March 2013
Don't Let Spring Floods 'Dampen' Your Spirits

Don't Let Spring Floods Dampen Your Spirits

Spring is just around the corner and with it come longer days, warmer sun and frequent rain. Unfortunately, spring rains — combined with rapidly melting snow — increase the risk of flooding. You don’t have to be in a floodplain to be at risk, either.

Be aware, be prepared

March 18 begins Flood Safety Awareness Week, which focuses on the hazards of floods and what you can do to protect your home from surging floodwaters and the financial hardship they can cause. Here are some tips that could help you reduce costly property damage stemming from flooding.

Protection with flood insurance

From 2007 to 2011, the average residential flood claim was almost $30,000. A good way to protect yourself from a devastating financial loss is with flood insurance.

Flood insurance is a federal program that makes coverage available to homeowners, renters and condo owners. Costs vary depending on the amount of insurance, what it covers and the property's flood risk. Because flood insurance carries a 30-day waiting period from the date it is purchased until the policy goes into effect, now is the best time to buy.

Tips to minimize flood damage

If your home is threatened by flood conditions, here are a few tips to minimize your losses:

  • Clear debris from drains, gutters and downspouts so they channel rainwater away from your home.
  • Roll up area rugs and carpeting and move them to the highest floor of your home. This will reduce the chances of rugs getting wet and growing mold.
  • Move furniture and electronics to the highest floor of your home.
  • Store important papers and personal mementos in a waterproof container placed on the highest floor of your home.

More information about flood protection for your home is available in the American Family Learning Center. For more information about flood insurance or to request a quote, contact your American Family Insurance agent.

Life Insurance for Different Times In Your Life

Life Insurance for Different Life Stages

Find the right types of insurance for the right times in your life.

Deciding to get life insurance is always a step in the right direction. And, depending on what stage of life you’re at, certain types of life insurance may be a better fit for your needs than others.

Here's a high-level look at life insurance options and how they might fit with different stages of your life.

Term Life Insurance: Popular with Younger People

Term Life Insurance is a policy that will remain in effect for a specific term or length of time. This type of coverage can provide financial protection for temporary obligations or can provide an option for protection in a time when permanent life insurance may be less affordable. Unlike Whole Life or Universal Life insurance, Term Life policies do not accumulate a cash value.

While people of all ages may benefit from Term Life Insurance, it’s often popular with younger people who are just starting their families, or new homeowners with a mortgage, especially if budgets are tight. Term Life Insurance may allow you to purchase a larger amount of coverage at a very reasonable cost.

American Family Life Insurance Company offers Term Life Insurance and SimplyProtected Term Life Insurance.

Whole Life Insurance: An Option to Consider For Those in Mid- to Later Life Stages

Whole Life Insurance is a permanent policy that remains in effect for your whole life. An important advantage is that your premium payment is guaranteed to stay the same throughout the period you select, regardless of changes in health or age. That means no surprises or increased financial burden that may come with life changes.

A whole life policy also builds cash value tax-deferred that you can borrow against in an emergency. And, it can also pay yearly dividends.* Whole Life Insurance can help you leave a legacy to grandchildren or charitable organizations, and can cover your final expenses.

Consider looking into Whole Life Insurance from the American Family Life Insurance Company.

*Although they're not guaranteed, dividends may increase the policy's cash surrender value and death benefit, depending on the dividend option selected at the time of purchase.

Universal Life Insurance: Flexibility for All Ages

Universal Life Insurance provides long-term protection with built-in flexibility to meet your changing needs. Monthly premiums are higher than those of Term Life Insurance, but Universal Life Insurance also offers certain advantages, such as the accumulation of cash value and a guaranteed minimum interest rate.

You also can adjust the coverage amount** to meet major life event changes, including new additions to the family, home purchases or kids graduating from college. And, you may be able to lower or raise your premium payments, depending on what your family budget can handle.

Due to its flexible features, Universal Life Insurance can be advantageous for all ages.

**Increasing coverage is subject to underwriter approval.

How much life insurance is enough?

This calculator will help you estimate the right amount of coverage for your insurance needs.

Take a closer look at how American Family life insurance products help protect what matters most – the people and things that make up your dreams.

Learn more by viewing American Family's four-video series on life insurance.

Follow These Safe Driving Tips for Springtime

Follow These Safe Driving Tips for Springtime

Ah, spring. Flowers begin to bloom, the melodious sounds of songbirds fill the air, and people’s moods brighten as the days grow longer and sunnier.

But springtime also is known for rainy, stormy, unpredictable weather resulting in hazardous driving conditions. According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, 75 percent of weather-related crashes occur on wet pavement, 47 percent happen during rainfall and 11 percent take place on slushy roads.

Keep these tips in mind before you hit the road this spring. They could help you avoid accidents and costly car repairs, and they might even save your life!

Back off, slow down: Allow extra distance between your car and traffic ahead of you. Why? Cars need two to 10 times more distance to stop on wet roads than on dry ones. Slowing down, especially during sudden downpours, reduces the chances of hydroplaning, too.

See clearly, drive safely: Defrosting and using windshield wipers help you see clearly, reducing accident risks. If rain or fog completely impair visibility, pull off the road and turn on your hazard lights. When it's rainy, misty or foggy, don't use high beams, which reflect water vapor and make it hard to see – use your low beams instead. During the spring, the angle of the sun may make it difficult to see, even with a visor, so use sunglasses and slow down.

Check it – don't wreck it: Check all vehicle lighting, including headlights, back-up lights, turn signals, parking lights and brake lights, which help other motorists see your vehicle, especially during inclement weather. Replace wiper blades when they function improperly. And, replace worn tires and make sure they're properly inflated, to decrease the risks of sliding.

Watch those puddles and potholes: Avoid large puddles, which can affect your brakes, cause your car to swerve and impair other motorists' vision. Springtime seems to be "pothole season" — avoid swerving, reduce your speed and brake lightly.

Get more tips on spring driving safety and avoiding potholes in the American Family Learning Center.

Prevent Accidental Poisoning

Prevent Accidental Poisoning

Don't let a preventable accident cause a tragedy in your home.

Colorful household liquids make great cleaners but can be poisonous if swallowed. The medication you take works wonders to relieve your symptoms, but taken by the wrong person in the wrong amounts can have deadly effects.

For the past 12 years, an average of nearly 80,000 unintentional, nonfatal poisonings among children were treated in emergency rooms. With a little care and common sense, most of these could have been prevented.

Stay Safe at Home and Away

To draw attention to the problem of accidental poisoning, March 17-23 is National Poison Prevention Week. Here are a few tips to prevent accidental poisoning in your home:

  • Store medicines, cosmetics, vitamins and household cleaners in a locked location, out of the reach and sight of children.
  • Keep insect- or rodent-control chemicals in tightly locked containers away from children.
  • Always put medicines and vitamins away after every use. Never leave them on the counter.
  • Keep all products in their original containers with original safety warnings.
  • Make sure your furnace or any other source of combustion (fireplaces, gas stoves, etc.) are properly vented to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning.
  • Post the Poison Control Help number (1.800.222.1222) and other emergency numbers near every phone.

Additional information on protecting your family from accidental poisoning is available in American Family Insurance's Learning Center.

For information about other ways you can protect your family, contact your local American Family insurance agent.

Don’t Miss These American Family-Sponsored Prep Basketball Events

Don’t Miss These American Family-Sponsored Prep Basketball Events

Want to see the nation's top high school basketball players display their talents on national television? Check out these high-energy events, sponsored by American Family Insurance. It's all part of our commitment to protecting teens and their dreams.

2013 McDonald's All American Basketball Games

April 3, Chicago: Featuring the top 48 high school basketball players in the country, the 36th Annual Boys Game and 12th Annual Girls Game help raise funds for Ronald McDonald House Charities®. Watch the girls game at 6 p.m. CDT on ESPNU, and the boys game at 8:30 p.m. CDT on ESPN.

2013 American Family Insurance High School Slam Dunk and 3-Point Championships

April 6, Atlanta: This fun-filled event features 24 of the nation's most highly recruited prep basketball stars. Vote now on Facebook for your favorite high school dunker or shooter. Watch the action at 1 p.m. CDT on CBS.

Directly related to its sponsorship of these games, American Family has a strong track record of supporting and protecting the dreams of teens through the Teen Safe Driver Program. This award-winning initiative has helped teenagers reduce risky driving habits by more than 70 percent.

To benefit from the Teen Safe Driver Program, enroll today. Not an American Family customer? Get an online auto quote.