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Space Heater Safety Tips

As many of you are aware, Langlois Insurance Agency is located in a beautiful 1897 Victorian in New Lenox, IL. We love this building and all of the character & charm that comes with it.  What we don’t love, is the insulation. During the frigid midwestern winters, it gets cooooold in here!  So, we do rely on space heaters throughout the building.

I am aware that many of my customers also use space heaters throughout their homes in order to combat the cold. So, I wanted to share with you a few Space Heater Safety Tips to avoid any fires and/or injuries from occurring.

Space Heater Safety Tips

1) Did you know that space heaters should have certification labels on them? This ensures that they were tested in a laboratory for safety. According to Consumer Reports, “Make sure the heater you buy carries a safety certification label from an independent testing organization, such as the UL mark, the ETL label from Intertek, or certification from CSA International.”

2) Read the instructions and warning labels prior to using a space heater. In addition, you should choose a space heater that automatically shuts off when it overheats.

3) Choose a space heater with a tip-over switch that does the same if the heater is knocked over. And, remember, place the heater on a hard, level, and nonflammable surface. Space heaters are intended to sit on the floor, and never on a table.

4) Do not use a space heater that has a frayed or damaged electrical cord. In addition, space heaters should not be plugged into an extension cord. Instead, they should be plugged into a wall outlet.

5) Never leave a space heater running when no one is in the room. Unplug space heaters that are not being utilized.

6) Turn off the space heater when leaving the house or going to sleep.

7) Remember that space heaters should only be used temporarily.

8) Do not put items or materials within three feet of a space heater. It is a good idea to establish a 3-foot kid & pet-free zone around the heater.  We also recommend to never put a space heater in a child’s room.

9) And, perhaps the most important tip — if you do decide to use space heaters, make certain that you have installed working smoke alarms on every level of your home and in every bedroom, and test them monthly.

As always, if you have any questions about this blog, or any of your insurance needs, please don’t hesitate to give us a call at #815-485-2106.  We always love to hear from our customers!

Warmest Regards,

Matt Langlois

 

What do you do if you have an auto fire?

As many of you are aware, we love our Langlois-mobile. So, we try to take care of our car with routine maintenance. But, even with routine maintenance, issues can always arise in your automobile. So, today’s post is about how to properly avoid and react to an automobile fire.

Imagine you are driving down the interstate when black smoke starts rolling out from under your hood. Do you have any idea what’s going on? How are you going to react? Automobile fires are pretty rare compared to other types of highway incidents, so most people don’t know what to expect or how to handle the situation when it happens to them. However, car fires are extremely dangerous, so it’s important to avoid panic by knowing how to react if it occurs.

Reasons Why It Might Be On Fire

Car fires can be caused by a variety of things. Fuel leakages, overheating, short circuits, and car accidents can all cause fires. If you frequently see fluids collecting underneath your car, or if fuses in your car’s electrical system are getting blown out from old or loose wiring, it’s a good idea to get your car serviced right away. Older cars and vehicles that aren’t very well maintained are at a higher risk of catching on fire, so make sure you get your car checked regularly and address any issues you notice.

What to Do If Your Car Catches Fire

  • Turn your signal on and immediately move to the safest place to stop.
  • Put the car in park and turn off the ignition. Stopping the fuel flow and electric current is very important to prevent the fire from getting worse.
  • Get every person out of the car, and don’t allow anyone to go back to retrieve personal items.
  • Move at least 100 feet away from the burning vehicle to avoid the flames and toxic fumes and also keep bystanders back.
  • Call 911.
  • Alert oncoming traffic if possible.

What NOT to Do

Anytime drivers pull off the road to address a car issue, their first instinct is to look under the hood and try to determine the problem. If your car is smoking or you see flames, there’s no need to check it out – you know what the issue is here! Opening the hood sucks in a gust of air that actually fans the flames and exacerbates the problem. You can find out the cause of the fire later.

Also, don’t try to put the fire out yourself. Car fires can escalate quickly, and explosions are always a risk. It simply isn’t worth putting yourself in danger just to attempt putting out the flames. Let your insurance take care of the loss.

Lastly, don’t hesitate to call any of us at Langlois Insurance Agency if this situation occurs. After you’ve dialed 911 and authorities are on their way, give us a call from the scene if you can. The earlier you get in touch with us, the sooner he or she can start working on your claim and get you back on the road safely!

As always, if you have any questions or comments, please don’t hesitate to give me a call.  I always love to hear from my customers!

Warmest Regards,

Matt Langlois

 

 

Why Would A College Student Need Life Insurance?

As any college student, and their parents can tell you, the cost of a college education in 2019 is skyrocketing. So, it is definitely not a surprise that student loans now make up the largest portion of U.S. non-housing debt. This means that college students owe more in student debt than they do for their credit cards and/or auto loans.

In fact, Millennials face record levels of student debt, and the culprit seems to be the explosive increase in the cost of a college education, coupled with a lack of wage growth. Due to this, one of the life insurance policies that we have been offering a lot lately at Langlois Insurance Agency is designed to protect the cosigners of a student loan.

Why Would A College Student Need Life Insurance?

The reality is that most college students need to get private loans for their education. Due to this, chances are they had someone co-sign their student loan, which is usually a parent or guardian. But, what many students – and their parents/guardians – don’t know is that when a loan is co-signed and something happens to the student, the co-signer would still be liable for the debt.

Sadly, this happens all the time, every year, across the United States. A college aged student dies, and the parent/guardian is not only left without their child, but also stuck with the student loan debt, which needs to be paid off.

So, if you are a parent/guardian that has cosigned for student loans, let us help you protect yourself. We will calculate how much life insurance is needed to pay off these student loans in case something happens to your loved one. This type of policy would give you great peace of mind, and can be very affordable. For approximately $10 a month, we can provide life insurance protection for $100,000 in benefits.

As always, if you have any questions about life insurance, or your insurance in general, please don’t hesitate to give any of us at Langlois Insurance Agency a call. We always love to hear from our customers!

Warmest Regards,

Matt Langlois

 

Congrats to Toni Eberhart

Langlois Insurance Agency is excited to welcome Toni Eberhart as our newest Independent Insurance Agent. In order to become a licensed agent, Toni underwent 20 hours of pre-licensing classes and a difficult Illinois state exam. After passing with flying colors, Toni is now able to sell both Property and Casualty insurance in the state of Illinois. Congratulations Toni!

“We are looking forward to having Toni on board at Langlois Insurance Agency.  She offers exceptional customer service and we know she will be such an asset to our customers and our agency,” notes Matt Langlois, owner of Langlois Insurance Agency.

Toni will be working with our current customers, as well as new customers to Langlois Insurance Agency. And, fun fact – when she is not selling insurance, Toni loves to hang out with her family and go out on the river on their boat. Her favorite thing to do is attend her son’s football games — especially the home games at Lincolnway Central!

In fact, in the short period that she has been here, Toni has already done a wonderful job issuing policies to new customers:

Langlois Insurance Agency is a second-generation family business founded by Darrell L. Langlois in 1983. Matt Langlois joined forces with his father in 2000 and has been able to grow the agency by adding additional carriers and increasing agency staff, all in an effort to serve you better. Although we are growing, at our heart we are still a locally-owned and operated family business dedicated to providing friendly and professional service.

Langlois Insurance Agency is an Independent Insurance Agency which represents an average of ten insurance companies. We thoroughly research these companies to find you the best combination of price, coverage, and service. We work for you the customer, not the insurance company!

It is our privilege to help guide you to the best possible insurance program to meet all your insurance needs. Please take a minute to search our website and let us know how we can serve you. See for yourself the excellent insurance value we have to offer!

Langlois Insurance Agency is located at 200 West Maple Street in New Lenox, IL.  We can be contacted at #815-485-2106.  We always love hearing from our customers!

Warmest Regards,

Matt Langlois

4 Tips For How to Handle a Hit and Run

As an insurance agent, I get many calls regarding car accidents.  Some of the most distressing to me are when your valued customer has been involved in a hit & run accident. Most of the time, collisions happen when you least expect it whether you are driving or parked. While the right thing is for both drivers to step out of the car and handle the situation, some have other ideas and try to flee from the scene. <This is when I would insert the angry face emoji>

This is always shocking and highly upsetting, but you can still be prepared for it by following these steps:

Call the Authorities

It’s understandable that you might be shaken up from the collision so it’s wise to take a moment to assess the situation. Once everything is clear, call the authorities immediately to let them know what happened. If you wait too long, the police may not be able to track down the perpetrator in time. You will also need a descriptive account of the situation when you file your claim, so make sure you get in touch with any of us here at Langlois Insurance Agency soon, while the incident is still fresh in your memory.

Get As Much Information As You Can

This may not be a simple task since the vehicle is on the move, but it is still possible to gather enough information for a claim. Your first plan of action should be to get the license plate number of the perpetrator, if possible. Also try to determine the make, model, and year of the car. If their vehicle has any damage, take note of that too so they can be tracked down easier. Also take note of which way the vehicle went to give others a starting point. After you have all the information down about the other driver, focus on your car next. Like with any collision, you have to document the entire event. Where the location was, where it happened, how it happened, etc. Then take photos/videos of your car. This documentation will help with any possible insurance claim later on.

Stay at the Scene

While it may be tempting to go follow the person that hit your car, you are actually putting yourself in a bad position if you do this. You will need witnesses when filing your claim. If, however, you flee the scene, you could lose this opportunity to speak with others who provide valuable information that you need.

Be Patient

Like with any collision, there will be a lot to handle in the aftermath. You may need someone to come tow your car depending on how severe the damage is, and making a claim is not a quick process. While it might be a frustrating time, be patient while everything gets sorted out. Talk with your loved ones to make any necessary arrangements and let everything work itself out over time.

The last thing you need after a hit and run is a massive bill to pay. Luckily, with the right coverage plan, you don’t have to worry. Give our office a call today and get in touch with our professional staff who can find you the insurance plan you need in case of any accidents down the road.

And, as always, please don’t hesitate to reach out to any of us at Langlois Insurance Agency with any questions.  We always love to hear from our customers!

Warmest Regards,

Matt Langlois

How to Save Money on Business Insurance

The last thing you want to focus on when starting or running your business is what could go wrong. While you aren’t necessarily going to face struggles right away, if you aren’t covered with a good insurance policy, you’ll likely experience some issues down the road. Since running a business is risky, you should plan on being prepared to handle anything that comes up with the proper business insurance policy. But how do you avoid spending too much? Here are some tips that could save you some money on your insurance plan.

Know What You Need

Not every business needs the same amount of coverage. It all depends on what your business does and the risks involved. At the minimum, most businesses are required by law to have policies for workers’ compensation and unemployment. But that’s just the minimum. When looking at how much coverage you need, you can start by looking at general liability insurance which will cover your business for any third-party damages, legal defense costs, and reputation damage from libel, slander, or copyright infringement. In addition, also consider a Business Owner’s Policy (BOP) to cover your business’s property and typically cover more for less money that a general liability policy. Other coverages will depend on the nature of your business, which your insurance agent can discuss with you your options in more detail related to your situation.

Increase Your Deductible

For most insurance policies, not just business insurance, you can lower your premium by increasing your deductible. Paying a higher deductible means less money the insurance company will have to pay after you make a claim on your policy. Because of this, insurance companies are willing to offer coverage at a lower price. Any of our agents at Langlois Insurance Agency will be able to discuss with you whether or not this would be a favorable decision for your business and the pros and cons of each choice.

Bundle Your Policies

Bundling your policies means that instead of buying separate policies for every type of coverage you need, you can purchase a package that will offer the same coverage for a lower price. Think of it like going to a restaurant. If you order an entree, side, and drink separately, you’ll end up paying a bit more than if you had ordered the combo that includes those items at a lesser cost. Bundled policies are the “restaurant combos” of insurance.

Be Safety-Minded

The higher the risk of injury at your business, the higher your insurance premiums will be.The safer your work environment is, the better deal you’ll get with your insurance. To get a better price, follow all safety recommendations from your insurance company such as enforcing safety precautions to avoid having your premiums raised to cover the extra risk.

Review and Update Your Coverage Every Year

As your business changes, so will your coverage needs, which means you should review your policies each year around the time of renewal to see if there are better options for either coverage or price. Also, by reviewing your policy with any of us at Langlois Insurance Agency, we will be able to make sure you aren’t paying for any policies that you may have needed for the previous year but not the upcoming year.

Consult with Langlois Insurance Agency

Remember when you are reviewing your policies or looking at what kind of coverage to get for your business, consult us to help you shop for the best deals. We know insurance policies inside and out and will be able to guide you through making the best decisions for your business. If you have any questions or think you could be spending less on insurance for your business, give us a call today at #815-485-2106.  We always love hearing from our customers!

Warmest Regards,

Matt Langlois

 

 

 

Why You Must Buy Home Insurance Before Closing on a Home

Buying a home isn’t as exciting of a process as it may look like on HGTV. It involves a lot of paperwork and finances to bring you to that happy closing day. For most homeowners, lenders are required to help them obtain the home of their dreams, unless you happen to have enough cash to purchase the home in full. However, if you are like most people, here’s what you need to know about buying home insurance before closing.

 

Do I Have to Buy Home Insurance Before Closing?

Just in case you are still thinking you can get out of home insurance, yes, you do have to purchase it for at least a year in order to close on your home. In order to protect their investment (your new house), lenders will require you to cover your home against disasters. Until you have paid off your mortgage, your lender as the stakeholder has the right to hold possession of your property to protect what is technically their property. Home insurance is designed to protect both you and the lender, which is why lenders typically will not agree to lend you the money for your home until they know it will be protected.

 

How Much Coverage Do I Need?

Home insurance policies can protect your physical house, your belongings on the inside, and the cost of medical expenses for a person injured on your property. The amount of coverage you need typically depends on your lender. However, the general rule is that you need enough to cover the cost of rebuilding your home from the ground up in case of disaster.

 

A standard home insurance policy will protect you against:

  • Damage from the weight of ice or snow
  • Explosions
  • Falling objects, such as tree branches
  • Fire
  • Frozen plumbing, heating, AC, or other household systems
  • Hail, windstorms, and lightning
  • Smoke
  • Theft and vandalism
  • Vehicles

 

By having homeowners insurance, you and the lender are protected in the event that the house is damaged or destroyed. Additional coverage can also be added such as flood or earthquake insurance, depending on your situation.

 

Types of Homeowners Insurance

 

Replacement-cost policy–  This type of policy covers the current cost to replace your home. For example, if you were to buy an older home that has unique features, the cost to restore it may be higher. A replacement-cost policy will cost more than a cash-value policy, but will cover the cost of rebuilding.

 

Cash-value policy– This type of policy costs less than a replacement-cost policy and covers the market value cost of your home and its contents. So rather than reimburse you the amount you paid for something, you will only get back its depreciated value amount, which is not something that Langlois Insurance Agency recommends.

 

While some types of insurance may be optional, homeowners insurance is a must if you want to own a home.

 

Please allow Langlois Insurance Agency to find the best policy with the right coverage and price. Let us know how we can help you by giving us a call today at #815-485-2106.  We are always happy to hear from our customers.

Warmest Regards,

Matt Langlois

matt@langloisinsurance.com

What to Do After You Have Hit a Deer

Accidents are sudden and very nerve-wracking. Although we try to avoid them as much as possible, they still occur in great volume. On average, there are almost 1.23 million deer-related accidents in the United States every year. This number grows around the later months when mating season is in session. This causes more deer to accumulate in populated areas, making some roads very dangerous for drivers. Hitting them is sometimes unavoidable because they appear in your direct path. While we hope this never happens to you, here are the steps you should take if it does.

Move Over

We understand that during a wreck you are so shocked that your priorities are all over the place. However, you should try to stay calm and pull to the side of the road as soon as possible. You are still at risk for being hit by oncoming traffic even though the wreck has already occurred. If you are able to move your car over, do so. Once you are safe, turn on your hazard lights, check your passengers, and take a deep breath.

 

Alert Authorities

Don’t wait to give the police a call. Alert them of the situation immediately so they can handle everything. If the wreck is bad enough, they will need to direct oncoming traffic out of the way so you and others are kept safe. If the deer is still at the scene, it could block traffic and needs to be removed. When authorities do arrive, you will probably need to fill out an official report with them. Having the details fresh from the scene will be handy when filling out your insurance claim.

 

Document the Incident

When the road is safe, it’s time to start documenting. Take pictures of the scene including your surroundings, your car, the road, and any injuries you or your passengers have sustained. This will all be important information for your agent to look over when filing your insurance claim.

 

Stay Away from the Deer

Although it’s okay to check on the deer, you might want to do this at a safe distance. If the deer survives the collision, it will be rattled up and might pose as a threat if it decides to attack out of fear. Deer are known for having powerful legs and sharp hooves that provide a damaging kick.

 

Contact Langlois Insurance Agency Immediately

Like with the authorities, don’t wait to give any of us at Langlois Insurance Agency a call. The sooner, the better. We can immediately get started on your claim when the situation is fresh on your mind rather than later when you might forget some details.

 

Examine Your Car

Although you are probably more than prepared to go home, take a moment to examine your car thoroughly. If it has sustained a significant amount of damage, you should not drive home in it. You could put yourself in even more danger if you do. Instead, contact someone you trust that will take you and your passengers home while you have your car towed.

 

When you are met with a tough situation such as a car accident, the last thing you need is added stress. Having the right agent on your side will give you peace of mind. Let us take care of you today. Give our office a call at #815-485-2106 to see how we can assist you and your family.

As always, please don’t hesitate to contact any of us at Langlois Insurance Agency with any questions that you might have.  We always love to hear from our customers!

Sincerely,

Matt Langlois

Frozen or Burst Pipes? How to Prevent (and Fix) this Common Problem.

One of the most common homeowners claims that Langlois Insurance Agency receives during these cold, winter months are from frozen or burst pipes.

The words “frozen or burst pipes” can strike fear with any homeowner (and insurance agent!).

Why is this? It’s because when water freezes, it puts pressure on your pipes, which can then burst, releasing damaging water into your home. And, even after you repair your home and clean up the mess from the burst pipe, your home is at risk for rot, mildew, and mold.

So, how can you prevent frozen pipes? There are definitely steps that you can take to prevent frozen pipes, most of which are simple undertakings for any homeowner.

Take care of outdoor water hoses and faucets first
Drain your hose, detach it, and store it indoors for the winter. If you can, shut off the water source to any outside faucets, then turn the faucets on to empty the pipes of any remaining water. Cover your outdoor faucets with an insulated cover.

Use foam insulation
For indoor pipes in cold areas of your home, wrap the pipes with foam pipe insulation. We suggest using heat tape, which can help keep your pipes warm in freezing weather.

Leave your faucet dripping
You may already know to leave your faucets dripping during a freeze. This is because it makes the water less likely to freeze; a small trickle also helps prevent a buildup of pressure. So even if your pipes do freeze, that little flow of water can help prevent a crack.

Open your cabinet doors
Most of your plumbing may be along uninsulated outer walls. Opening your cabinets and letting warm air into the space underneath your kitchen and bathroom sink can help keep the water in those pipes from freezing.

Keep the heat on
Leaving your heat set at 55 degrees (or warmer) whenever you aren’t home is also recommended. Turning your heat down below 55 degrees puts your pipes at risk of freezing and bursting. The cost of heating your home is worth it compared to the cost of fixing burst pipes. I always tell my customers that this is one of the most important things to do if you ever leave your home for a long extended period of time, for example a winter holiday.

Now the big question – What do you do if your pipes do freeze?
If you turn on your water, and you only get a small drip, or worse, nothing at all, there’s a good chance you have a frozen pipe. Make sure you know where your main water cut-off valve is in case a pipe does burst. If the frozen section of pipe is exposed, you can usually locate it by looking for frost or feeling for especially cold sections.

Insurance Fact of the Day: Did you know that a pipe with even a tiny crack can unleash 250 gallons of water in a day.

It is also recommended that you turn on your faucet and use a hair dryer or space heater to thaw the frozen section. Langlois Insurance Agency advises against using a propane torch or other open flame, as that could boil the water in your pipes and cause a crack…and, it just isn’t safe!

Once your water begins flowing, allow your faucet to run for a few minutes to clear out any remaining ice. It is also recommended that you check the water line for leaks and call a plumber if you do happen to notice one.

OK – So Your Pipes Burst. What Now?
If you take steps to prevent frozen pipes but you’re still faced with a burst pipe, immediately turn off the main water valve right away. It is also a good idea to turn off the electricity in that area of your home to prevent electrocution.

And, should you ever be unfortunate enough to experience an incident from a burst water pipe, please call Langlois Insurance Agency immediately at #815-485-6676. We can provide a recommendation for a reputable restoration company to ensure your home is back to its former self as quickly as possible. As always, please don’t hesitate to contact any of us at Langlois Insurance Agency with any questions or comments.

We always love to hear from our customers!

Sincerely,

Matt Langlois

Langlois Insurance Agency
matt@langloisinsurance.com