Keep Your Emergency Kit in Your Auto Stocked Up

Winter is here and with the cold temperatures comes blizzards, icy roads and hazardous conditions. Now is the time to make sure you are ready to handle the wintry roads around Little Falls, MN by checking up on your emergency auto kit and making sure it is completely stocked. The folks at Hanneken Insurance Agency Inc. have created this handy checklist to make sure you have it all.

  1. Shovel: The chance to slide into a snowbank, or simply struggle to pull out of a parking lot can be a reality. The handy collapsible shovel won’t take up much space and will send you on your way without calling for a tow truck.
  2. Jug of Kitty Litter or Sand: To help you gain a little extra traction in an icy spot, toss some of the sand in front of the slipping wheel, wait a minute for the ice to soften and drive on.
  3. Battery Charger and/or Cables: Winter is when your battery will give up the ghost as it struggles to maintain a charge through sub-zero temperatures. Your roadside assistance company might not be able to come to your rescue for hours. A portable battery charger can get you home to safety without delay.
  4. Flares and Flashlight: When stranded on the side of the road in a storm, you need to help others see you. Make sure those flares haven’t fallen apart after years of rolling around the trunk and replace them if needed.
  5. Blanket and Snacks: Being stranded during a blizzard is a reality around here. If conditions are too dangerous, you might be forced to wait for help to arrive. Even that scratchy old blanket you dumped in the garage will provide welcome warmth at such a time. Store some protein bars in the glove box as well.

For more safety tips and information on auto insurance in the Little Falls, MN area, give the Hanneken Insurance Agency Inc. a call to talk to one of our friendly agents.

Preparing your home for your winter vacation

You’re probably more than ready for winter vacation after the flurry of activity of the December holidays. Your home might not be ready for your absence, though. Although it can’t talk, it will "miss" you and your ability to look after it on a daily basis. There are a few things you can do to prepare it for your trip, suggests USA Today. You’ll save money, energy, and lower your chances of coming home to problems. Save yourself potential home insurance claims with these easy tips from Little Falls, MN, Hanneken Insurance Agency Inc.

1. Unplug unneeded electrical devices. Those lamps, TVs, stereos, and space heaters still use energy when plugged in even if they’re turned off. They also create a fire risk if left plugged into an outlet.

2. Turn down the thermostat to 50 degrees. This setting still protects the pipes from bursting but saves energy. If you’re leaving behind your pets, adjust it accordingly, bumping it up to 55 or 60 degrees.

3. Turn off your home’s water supply and open and drain all the faucets. Leave one faucet open on the lowest floor of the house to let excess water and air drain.

4. Lower the water heater to the lowest setting or turn it off altogether to save energy and money.

5. Let service professionals like the cleaning service know when you’ll be gone. Alert your credit card company and alarm service to and let them know how you’d like things handled in your absence.

6. Ask a friend to check on your home daily while you’re gone. Have them bring in the mail and newspapers, feed the pets, etc. To make it look like you’re the home, you may also need to request sidewalk shoveling, if necessary. You might leave some funds for them to hire a neighborhood teen to do the work.

7. If you have a pool and have not already closed it for winter, now is the time. Scrub the decks, too.

8. Close all entry points to your home, such as the fireplace flue. This way, you won’t come home to unwanted pests like birds nesting in your living room, says <a href="">Home Advisor</a>.

9. Clean out the refrigerator and freezer before leaving. Throw out anything that could rot or spoil while you’re gone. If the power goes out, you have one less thing to worry about.

10. In wind-exposed areas, install storm shutters. Secure them before leaving.

A few quick items can keep your home safer during winter. Complete these ten items and give yourself peace of mind while enjoying your time away from home.