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By Jones Insurance Services, Aug 8 2018 07:58PM

Posted in General, Auto, Business from Grange Insurance

Distracted driving is a bad habit, and one worth breaking.

It’s dangerous — not only for drivers and their passengers, but also for pedestrians and bicyclists. It can also be deadly. In 2016, 9% of fatal crashes in the U.S. were reported as distracted driving crashes and about 14% involved a cell phone. Additionally, drivers age 15 to 19 years old made up the largest proportion of drivers who were distracted at the time of a fatal crash.

It all comes down to this: if we can break our distracted driving habits, we can help save lives. And that’s worth doing!

Safe driving requires visual, manual and cognitive attention to work together. Taking your attention away from even one of these areas means you’re driving distracted.

1. Visual.

Visual distracted driving means taking your eyes off the road. To properly see, anticipate and react to obstacles while driving, you must watch the road.

Examples of visual distractions:

Taking your eyes off the road to adjust your radio, climate controls or navigation system

Reading something on your cell phone, a book or a computer

Looking in your rearview mirror to talk to a passenger

Watching an accident scene as you drive by (i.e. “rubbernecking”)

Reduce visual distractions by:

Asking a front seat passenger to adjust your radio or climate controls.

Setting the location in your navigation system prior to driving. If you need to adjust it mid-drive, safely pull off the road or park to update the system from your stationary vehicle.

Placing devices outside of your reach while driving so you can’t pick them up.

Focusing your eyes on the road instead of passengers inside your vehicle.

Practicing extra caution while driving by an accident scene and watching for people, cars and road debris in the path ahead of you.

2. Manual.

Manual distracted driving means taking your hands off the steering wheel. Keeping two hands on the steering wheel is the best way to stay on the road and avoid accidents. One hand, two knees or anything else you might use to steer your vehicle isn’t going to give you the control or turning radius to stay safe.

Examples of manual distractions:

Taking a hand off the steering wheel to adjust your radio, climate controls or navigation system

Texting or talking on a cell phone or operating a device while driving

Eating, drinking, smoking or putting on makeup

Searching for an item in your purse or fast food bag

Reduce manual distractions by:

Asking a passenger to adjust your radio, climate controls or help you navigate.

Making hands-free phone calls and committing to never text while driving.

Putting devices outside of your reach or turning them off.

Applying makeup, eating or smoking only in a parked and stationary vehicle.

Keeping both hands on the steering wheel when the car is in motion.

3. Cognitive.

Cognitive distracted driving means not focusing on driving. Stress is no stranger to most drivers. But when thoughts, feelings or tiredness get in the way of paying attention to what’s happening on the roadway, it’s time to pull over and take a break. Then you can come back onto the road ready to focus and drive safely.

Examples of cognitive distractions:



Crying or emotional distress

Listening and singing with the radio or other music

Reduce cognitive distractions by:

Pulling over to rest if you become tired while driving.

Actively thinking about driving.

Pulling off to a safe location until you’re ready to drive again.

Driving alone without passengers or asking them to quietly occupy themselves.

Turning off the radio or music and enjoying the sounds of the world around you.

This article is for informational and suggestion purposes only. To learn more about Grange auto insurance, talk to your local independent agent.


- National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA)


By Jones Insurance Services, Jul 26 2018 05:55PM

College can be an exciting time for young people. It often serves as the first major step on the road to independence. For a parent, it can be both exciting and sad to watch your child leave home. This time also can be fraught with worries. Will they get enough to eat? Will they succeed without help? Will they and their possessions be safe away from home?

The last question, of course, is a significant concern and, for parents of first-time college students, the ins and outs of insurance coverages are not always clear. From auto coverage to renters insurance, there's a bit to learn about the life of a college student.

Protecting Possessions

When a student moves to college, she or he often brings many belongings from home. In addition to clothes, shoes and toiletries, most college students take stereo systems, cell phones, laptops, jewelry and other valuable items to their dorm room. At home, possessions are protected under a homeowners policy. But what happens when a child is away at school?

In an environment where theft is a real problem – there are approximately 798 burglaries for every 100,000 students – proper coverage is important. For students living in dorms, the family’s homeowners insurance can protect many possessions. But don't take this for granted. Be sure to contact an independent agent to verify the coverage you may already have. As Selective notes, some policies limit coverage on dependents' dorms to 10% of the value of the home's total coverage amount. So be sure you know the coverages for your homeowners insurance policy.

Students living off campus should consider renters insurance (as should anyone living in an apartment) for coverage of their personal property such as stereos, televisions, furniture and other possessions. Coverage on most homeowners policies is limited to dorms, not other forms of student housing. So a renter without a stand-alone policy might not have any protection at all. Renters insurance costs average $190 per year, according to the Insurance Information Institute. This coverage can provide peace of mind by providing protection not only for personal possessions but also for liability and additional living expenses, especially for those on the cusp of adulthood.

Staying Safe on the Road

For many college students, especially those living on campus, driving becomes significantly less important than it was in high school. Campus transportation and walking to class are common, and this trend is only increasing with the rise of ride-sharing services. But college students still need insurance if they drive when they're home for summers and holidays.

Some new students bring their cars to college. If this is the case, it's important to notify your insurance company. In order to maintain appropriate coverage, your insurer must know where a car is located primarily, even if that means parking on campus a few hundred miles away from home.

Students who will be commuting from home to college may also want to reconsider their coverage, especially if they are driving long distances. Check with an independent agent about what coverage is needed.

College can be an exciting time for students across the country. The right insurance coverage can help protect students while they pursue the American dream of higher education.

Thanks to for posting a great article!

By Jones Insurance Services, Jul 12 2018 07:32PM

By Beverly Bird

A mortgage is a lien against a piece of real estate and must be paid whether or not one of its owners left a last will and testament when he died. If a spouse dies intestate, or without a will, his estate is settled or probated according to the laws of the state where he lived rather than by his own wishes. His estate pays his debts from his assets, just as if he had left a will. Depending on how the deed to the home is held, this can happen in a few ways.

Surviving Spouse

Many spouses take out mortgage loans in joint names. If this is the case and your spouse dies, you are still a borrower on the mortgage and you are responsible for continuing to make the payments. However, federal law prohibits the lender from calling the entire mortgage due because one spouse has passed away. If you also held title to the home jointly in a deed with rights of survivorship, your spouse’s half of the home passed to you automatically at her death. Although you are now responsible for the entire mortgage on your own, you also own the entire house.

Mortgage Company

Some mortgages include a life insurance policy that will pay off the mortgage if the mortgager passes away. If your spouse has died, contact the mortgage company to find out if his mortgage included such a policy. Such an insurance policy would automatically resolve the mortgage.

Insurance Company

A life insurance policy is not a probate or estate asset if it transfers to a named beneficiary other than the deceased’s estate. Therefore, it would not be subject to the laws of the state. The state cannot force the beneficiary to use it to pay off the estate’s debts, and creditors can’t make a claim against it, either. If your spouse had a life insurance policy with you named as the beneficiary, provide the insurance company with a copy of the death certificate and file a claim for payment. You can then use the proceeds to either make the mortgage payments while your spouse’s estate is settled, or you can pay off the mortgage entirely if the house passed to you when he died.

The Estate

If your spouse had more assets than debts and she owned the house and held the mortgage in her sole name, then the state will pay off the mortgage as part of the probate process. The worst-case scenario is that the house may have to be sold to pay the mortgage off if there aren’t enough other assets to cover the outstanding amount. However, when there is no will and assets are distributed to heirs according to the intestacy laws of the state, the surviving spouse is always one of the first in line to receive the remainder of the deceased’s assets after debts, taxes and funeral expenses are paid. If the mortgage can be paid off through other assets, in many cases, the spouse would receive the paid-off home as his share of the estate.

Protect your loved ones

By Jones Insurance Services, Jul 11 2018 07:37PM

According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, an estimated 81,938 people visited emergency rooms due to being injured by lawn mowers in 2015.

The blade of a 26-inch push mower can spin at 3,000 RPMs and generate 2,100 ft lbs of kinetic energy. That's equivalent to a 1.17-pound ball traveling at 232 mph. Such power can sever body parts or turn small objects into dangerous projectiles.

Most lawn care equipment injuries can be avoided with safety procedures and adequate personal protection equipment. Stay safe this year by following these safety tips.

No Children Allowed

Mowing the grass can be a rite of passage for many young people, but it shouldn't be allowed too early.

In the U.S., more than 800 children are run over by riding mowers or lawn tractors annually, requiring more than 600 limb amputations and 75 deaths. For children under 10, lawn mower accidents are the number one cause of limb loss.

Read the Manual

Safety begins with knowing how to correctly use a piece of equipment. Your owner’s manual can help you understand all of the features of your machine and how to use them properly.

If you no longer know where it is, you can usually find it online by searching the model number. Or, you can call the manufacturer and request a copy.

Wear Proper PPE

Wear adequate personal protection equipment to prevent lawn care injuries:

Closed-toe shoes

Long pants

Eye protection

Hearing protection

Clear the Lawn Area

Objects flying out from under a lawn mower can travel in excess of 170 mph. At these speeds, even small items can cause severe damage.

Walking the area to be mowed to remove hazards greatly reduces this danger. However, mowing is not a spectator sport, and others should not be in the mowing area. Children are at particular risk due to their smaller stature and general lack of awareness.

Beware of Stored Energy

According to Dr. Troy Madsen at the Wound Treatment Center of Utah, stored energy is becoming more of a hazard each year.

Many of today’s mowers can have energy stored in the drive-train even if the engine is no longer running. You should never attempt to clear a clogged or stalled mower by hand. The blades can spin when freed and result in serious injuries.

Avoid Burns

Even small gas-powered motors can generate sufficient heat to cause severe burns or ignite fuel. Never touch any part of the mower that's not part of its operating controls, unless it's cool to the touch. Let mowers cool a few minutes when they need to be fueled.

Watch the Terrain

Mowing on hillsides can be particularly hazardous. Cutting across the slope can lead to mowers tipping over or sliding out of control. Uphill, straining to push a mower can cause you to fall. This leads to the risk of the mower rolling onto you or a riding mower flipping backwards. Downhill, your feet can slip out from under you and under the deck of the mower.

Mowers with an automatic shutoff can help keep your family safe, but it’s also important to pay attention and use safe mowing practices.

Whether you use a push mower, self-propelled mower, riding mower or string trimmer, always remember that these are powerful machines designed to cut. Treat them with respect and follow appropriate safety practices to stay safe this summer.

Found on

By Jones Insurance Services, Jul 6 2018 06:07PM

The summertime brings thoughts of bright, sunny days. However, the summer months also include extreme heat, hurricanes, lightning, and wildfires.

Prepare your family for severe weather hazards. Stay safe at home or on vacation with information from the Ready Campaign at Learn how to respond to the most common summer weather:

• Extreme Heat

• Floods

• Hurricanes

• Lightning

• Wildfires

Visit the National Weather Service for more tips, such as rip current and beach safety.

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