The Importance of Locking Your Car Doors

Are you a trusting person? Although this is not a negative attribute, it could lead you into some trouble in regards to your car. You may think your neighborhood or local grocery store is totally safe and protected from crime. However, an unexpected event could occur at any moment, and if you leave your car doors unlocked, this could result in a car theft. You don’t want to suffer loss and guilt over such a situation. Therefore, in order to prevent a burglary, you need to lock your car doors at all times.

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You and your family depend on your vehicle to get from one place to another. If this mode of transportation were to be stolen, this would stop everything. Don’t take this risk by leaving your car doors unlocked. Instead, follow these tips as to why you should always lock your car:

• You do not want to lose your personal possessions due to a car theft. The items burglars look for include GPS, cell phones, money, and other valuables.
• Not only could your vehicle be in danger, but so could your home. If you leave your garage door opener or house keys in your car at night, this could result in a possible entry. Keep your residence, life, and car safe by locking all doors.
• Keeping your car doors unlocked not only exposes your home, but the entire neighborhood. Don’t put everyone at risk. Make yourself and others a difficult rather than easy target by securing your car with locked doors.

At Barker, Beck, Collins & Kronauge Agency, we hope these suggestions can help protect you and your vehicle. By addressing safety concerns around your home and vehicle, you can efficiently protect your family and valuables. Being aware of your surroundings and locking your car doors is the best way to prevent financial loss and prepare for worst case scenarios.


Therapy (AKA – Happiness) on Horseback

For Scott Barker, one of our agents here with Barker, Beck, Collins & Kronauge Agency, horses have been an integral part of life. When he decided on a change of pace from the competitive world of playing professional polo, he looked for an opportunity where he could still use his equine skills. Three years ago, he started volunteering for an organization called the Therapeutic Riding Institute or TRI for short. Founded in 1973, TRI’s purpose is to enrich the lives of children and adults with special needs by providing equine riding therapy. TRI’s program is only one of 36 similar programs in Ohio that have been accredited by the prestigious Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship.


<v:V:V:V:V:V:V:V:V:V:V:IMAGEDATA src="”> Each special needs person that participates in the TRI program comes once a week for a session that lasts for 5-7horse 2.jpg weeks. There are 3-4 sessions per year and many of the participants enjoy it so much that they are involved in more than one session each year. The participants are so excited about the program, that some of them have their cowboy boots on early in the morning of class day ~ even though class isn’t until evening!


Let’s take a peek at what a typical class would be like.


Each class time serves 2-3 special needs riders and lasts for about 45 minutes. Volunteers arrive a &frac12; hour or so before the participants to prepare the horses for class. As the volunteers are doing the final preparations with the horses, cheerful, excited faces peek between the fence boards surrounding the paddock. It is just about time for the class to start.


After each rider is helped onto his or her horse, two side helpers and a horse leader accompany the pair for the entire class time. The side helpers walk on either side of the horse to assist the rider in maintaining balance. The horse leader is responsible for maintaining control of his or her assigned horse, while following the directions of the instructor. The classes focus on teaching through the process of mounting, warm-up, lesson, exercise, games and dismounting. The exercises and games vary from night to night, but a typical night would find the happy faces of the riders beaming with pride as they drop colored rings in a spot designated by the instructor. Confidence soars as each rider’s skill improves and that sense of accomplishment transfers into other areas of the rider’s life.


TRI’s outreach is not limited to the special needs children and adult participants and to the volunteers who serve them. Organizations like the Girl Scouts, Boy Scouts and 4-H, as well as, local businesses in the area are encouraged to contact TRI to learn more about them and about horses.


In addition to contacting them directly, everyone is welcome to go to the Dayton Horse Show benefiting the Therapeutic Riding Institute on August 1 – 4th at the Montgomery County Fairgrounds. Come and enjoy a wonderful show and give back to the community at the same time. We look forward to seeing you there!

Help Your Lawn Grow Healthy and Strong this Summer

Are you having trouble helping your lawn grow to its fullest potential? In life, nothing goes perfectly, but with a little guidance and support, a strong and healthy outcome may result. As you work towards improving the look of your yard, it is also important to think about how your home could be a better and safer place for your family. The comfort your property emits is what will help it last for years to come, just as your lawn should.

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You may have noticed that the lack of rainfall has damaging your lawn, causing it to turn brown. Since the region has been abnormally dry, it is important that you take care of your grass so you can help protect it, just like you would your home. The following are some tips on how to nurture and grow your grass during the dry and hot summer months:

• Grow your grass longer than you usually would. This will help your yard withstand the heat since longer grass can retain water better.
• Keep the moisture level in your yard stable by leaving mulch grass clippings throughout.
• You may think fertilizing your grass is helping it, but in reality, this is a threat to it. The mixture of extreme heat and lawn fertilizer will damage your grass.
• Watering early in the morning as opposed to later will help your lawn remain moist and not dry out so quickly. In addition, watering it deeply helps the lawn extend its roots deeper into the soil, where moisture can be found.
• Wasting water during the summer on your lawn always seems to be a problem for many homeowners. By installing a timer or an automatic shutoff for sprinklers, you can monitor the use of water, nourish your lawn, and save money.

At Barker, Beck, Collins & Kronauge Agency, our goal is to help you and your family save money as well. We encourage you to maintain a healthy and happy Ohio home by implementing safety rules. Keeping your family protected from the unpredictable may sound difficult, but with the support of homeowners insurance, you may do so more easily. This policy can help cover you from many different perils, including liability risks, loss or damage to personal items, damage to the structure of your home, and much more. So as you work on bettering your yard this summer, remember to upgrade your policy as well.


Backyard Fire Pits ~ Plan for Safety

            A backyard fire pit can either be one of the most relaxing and enjoyable ways to unwind at the end of a long day or it can be the cause for much anguish and pain. The outcome of your evening depends in large part on your planning and your attitude of respect for the damage your seemingly harmless fire pit can bring. Remember, any time you are dealing with fire, common sense will be your ally.


Plan for Safety Before the Fire is Lit


·        Follow the local regulations in your area to avoid hefty fines, as some municipalities prohibit recreational fires.


·        Unless fire pits are prohibited in your area, here in Ohio, you should follow the Ohio Fire Code stated  regulations.

                         Recreational fires must be:

·         No larger than 2 feet wide by 3 feet highFire pit.jpg

·         At least 25 feet away in all directions from the nearest flammable items. Look up and all around where you plan to put your fire pit. Dry brush on the ground, overhead tree branches, your or your neighbor’s house, garage, or fence could be potentially in danger from a fire pit placed too close to them.

·         Contained in within a pit, fire ring or commercial fire pit


 In addition, keep in mind these points:


·         When purchasing a commercial fire pit, make sure to read and understand all of the instructions before using the unit for the first time.


·         If using a gas unit, make sure the vents are open and clear to avoid smoky flare-ups and make sure that you are not using unit in an enclosed space where the fumes could be harmful.


·         Avoid starting a fire in a strong wind or in a wind coming from a direction that makes it likely that the flames will gallop toward a nearby structure or tree.


·         Avoid starting a fire in a dry period (like the one we are having now.) It would be too easy for a fire to rage out of control.


·         When building the fire in a bowl-shaped fire pit use sticks that are only &frac34; the diameter of the bowl. This will help ensure that the fire will stay manageable.


Stay Safe Once the Fire is Going


·         Use a fire screen to protect from wayward sparks.  


·         Per the Ohio Fire Code, have someone over the age of 18 present at the fire pit at all times.


·         Never leave children unattended around the fire pit.


·         Keep in mind that even if your fire is legal, if it is objectionable to your neighbor, you must extinguish it.


·         Keep a fire extinguisher handy just in case your fire pit’s cozy glow turns into a monster that jumps and claws its way toward objects it shouldn’t. The best typeof extinguisher  to have is a dry-chemical extinguisher with a B or C rating or one that is multi-purpose~ like you would have for your kitchen. To properly use the fire extinguisher, remember PASS. Pull the pin. Aim at the bottom of the fire. Squeeze the trigger slowly. And finally, sweep back and forth as you are squeezing. Most portable extinguishers only have a range of 6-10 feet and will only last for 8-10 seconds.


·         If your fire pit is made out of ceramic it’s a good idea to keep a bucket of sand nearby, since the cold water from a hose may crack the fire pit container.


·         Make sure at least one person has a cell phone with them. You never know when a quick call to the fire department might be needed.


Extinguishing the Fire


·         Make sure all of the hot coals are extinguished with water from a bucket or your garden hose. Continue dousing the embers with water until no more steam is being released.


·         Cover the fire pit with a lid once the fire has been put out.


·         Leave all of the extinguished embers alone for at least 24 hours. Do not dispose of the ashes until you know for sure that there is absolutely no heat left in them. Store the ashes in a metal bucket to further protect your safety or place them in your garden.


Those of us here at the Barker, Beck, Collins and Kronauge Agency wish you a safe, enjoyable, and relaxing summer. Here is a recipe to help you enjoy your backyard fire pit.



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    Fire pit corn on the cob.


Homeowners Insurance Rates Increase Explained

Has a spike in your homeowner insurance premium this year left you wondering about the reason for the increase?   You may think that your premium is only influenced by what happens here in the Miami Valley or with your own personal claim history. Those are only part of the equation. While it is true that Ohio was whipped in 2011 with the second highest number of tornadoes since 2006  and we have had our share of damaging flood waters, those alone would not explain the jump in homeowner insurance premiums. The reason for the increase in premiums can literally be attributed to something more global.

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                Your premium could actually be affected by events in places around the world as far away as Japan, Thailand, and New Zealand.  As reported by Best’s Review, a leading source of insurance industry news, out of the top 40 insured loss events from 1970-2011, six occurred in 2011, three here in the US and 3 in the countries listed above.  To understand why an earthquake triggered tsunami in Japan could raise your homeowner premiums here in our little ole mid-sized Midwestern town, it is helpful to know the background of how the insurance industry works.


                Let’s talk about this from a few different perspectives, starting with insurance from the average consumer’s point of view. Let’s pretend, you’ve just purchased a new home whose replacement value is $200,000. The process as you see it is simple. You talk with your agent about your needs. He or she processes your request, and then gives you a quote that you accept. Voila, your home is now protected with insurance.


                From your local independent insurance agency’s perspective, they handle your request for insurance by putting it through a rating process. Numerous factors as diverse as your credit score, your recent claim history, and the insurance industry’s projected claims risk will be evaluated and the premium you are quoted will reflect the findings of the rating process.


                Then another step removed, there is the insurance that happens from a more global perspective in the insurance world that the average person doesn’t even know about. It is called re-insurance. To protect their own financial well-being, the insurance company that your independent insurance agent represents will turn around and get insurance on your insurance policy through a re-insurance company. That re-insurance company most likely will have insurance holdings in numerous countries across the globe. See where this is going?


While normally, insurance industry’s premiums are calculated by taking into account the US national average frequency of one major claim every 8-9 years, per client, last year’s record number of claims has caused a shift how premiums are determined.  The $116 billion in insured losses paid out by insurers last year ranks 2011 as the year with the second-highest total of insured losses since 1970. This has put the ratio of claims to premiums way out of balance.  The coffers have been greatly depleted and projected catastrophic events both natural and man-made are on the rise.  To put things back to a more even balance, premiums have risen, in part, because of the unusually large number of catastrophic events of the recent past and the prediction that the catastrophes will continue.


                Don’t take this as all bad news, though, there are still ways within your control to minimize how much your premiums may rise.  Here at Barker, Beck, Collins, & Kronauge we pride ourselves on being your trusted advisor in these changing times. Call us to discuss in detail your specific situation.


Dangerous Drivers Are Everywhere

Some drivers are dangerous because they are intoxicated behind the wheel. Others are dangerous because they are texting while driving. But what about someone without a valid license? This can also pose a danger to you on the road. In order to protect your vehicle and family from unpredictable accidents, no matter what the cause, you need the support of Ohio auto insurance by your side.

According to recent statistics, nearly 1 million Ohio drivers were behind the wheel without a valid license last year. Many of them got caught driving on a suspended license multiple times. “We write several DUS charges every day,” Clark County Sheriff’s Sgt. Brad Barnhart said. The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety released a national study that found 6.7% of drivers that had suspended or revoked licenses were involved in fatal crashes between 2007 and 2009. Another 5% were unlicensed and among those, more than half had alcohol in their systems.

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So far in 2012, the Springfield Police Division Traffic Control Unit has investigated eight serious injury or fatal crashes, with five of those drivers having been under suspension and three resulted in fatalities. This problem has continued into Clark County, with more than 42,000 active suspensions last year. These statistics are why law enforcement has been using several tools to find and charge suspended drivers. This includes license plate readers installed on some patrol vehicles. When a license plate is read, the officer is flagged if the owner is suspended.

With so many unlicensed drivers out there, it is important that you have comprehensive Ohio auto insurance from Barker, Beck, Collins & Kronauge Agency. We can help protect you and your vehicle thoroughly and affordably. Our team strives to meet all your insurance needs while providing top of the line service. Your policy can be designed to include coverage such as uninsured motorist, bodily injury liability, collision and comprehensive, medical injury protection, and much more. Take action now by having this plan so you can remain safeguarded against financial loss.


Does Your Vintage Car Qualify for Antique Auto Insurance?


To celebrate National Car Collector Appreciation Day, here’s a question for you:

           What do a 1981 DeLorean and a 1929 Oldsmobile have in common?

Delorean 2.jpg  and  Oldsmobile 122K.jpg

Answer: Each of the cars is owned by an agent associated with our agency and both cars qualify for Antique Auto Insurance.


In fact, the 1929 Oldsmobile just won first place in its category at the 4th of July, Americana Festival here in Centerville, OH.

So, just what makes a car qualify as a vintage car under the current guidelines of the company we represent that offers this type of insurance?


  • The car must be 25 years old or more. So, no, your beautifully maintained 1996  Camaro wouldn’t yet qualify.
  • The car must not be driven more than 4,000 miles per year. But, that’s okay. If she’s your baby, you don’t want her out on the road that much, anyway.

Keep in mind that other stipulations may be required. Not only do you need a clean driving record, but the car should be maintained for exhibitions, parades or as a collector’s item.


To make sure your investment is protected, do a periodic review of your coverage, because the market value for classic cars is rising. What you insured your sweet ride for a number of years ago, may not be enough in today’s market.


Whether you have had your cherried out classic car for a number of years or are in the process of restoring her to her former glory, give Barker, Beck, Collins & Kronauge Agency a call to protect your investment with Antique Auto Insurance.



Avoid This Mistake with Your Family’s Future

Make sure you
are not making the mistake of going without life insurance in an effort to save
money. The perceived cost savings, now, could put your family at risk of
financial devastation should you or your spouse die.  The latest 
Trends in Life Insurance Study conducted by LIMRA found that 4 out of 10 households with children under 18
said they would have immediate difficulties in meeting their living expenses if
one of the primary wage earners in the family died. To add to the scary numbers
above, 3 out of 10 families only have enough in savings for a few months of
expenses and would have difficulties keeping up with their financial
obligations once their savings ran out.

If life insurance coverage is not yet a
part of your long-term financial plan, you are not the only one.  Nearly one-third of American households have
no life insurance protection.  This
reflects a five decade high in the number of families that are neither covered
by an employer life insurance plan, nor have taken out a plan on their own.

So what gives? What is causing the decline in people buying
life insurance? The most logical explanation is the current economic times.
Employer-sponsored life insurance programs may have found their way to the
proverbial shedder in the sky as companies look to manage their profitability
in these lean financial times. Individual households may have opted to discontinue
or not get life insurance as they try to pinch pennies and make their dollars
last longer.

One needs to take a step back and ask the hard questions,
however, when planning for his or her family’s financial future. With funeral
costs averaging $7,000 – $10,000, if you are one of the many Americans who are
living paycheck to paycheck each month, where will the money come from to pay
that expense? Could your family afford it? How would they pay off any debts
that you leave behind? How would they manage to pay their day-to-day expenses
in the months after your death?

Now that you have a glimpse of the possibilities, be
proactive with your family’s financial future. For less than the cost of one
fast food meal for a family of 4 each month, you could get comprehensive life
insurance to protect both you and your family. The insurance agents at Barker,
Beck, Collins and Kronauge Agency are happy to help get you started in protected
your family with life insurance. Call us today to gain your sense of security and
then…. go have fun with your family.

Keep Your Home Cool During the Severe Heat Wave

During this time of the summer, the temperatures can become unbearable at times. This is particularly true for the Midwest region. As a resident of Ohio, it is important to prepare your family for the next heat wave that passes. By remaining hydrated, staying cool with air conditioners, and updating your Ohio home insurance policy, you may receive security and protection on all fronts.

Last week, the new record temperature of 102 degrees for Dayton reached record books last Thursday. However, this “honor” led local officials to declare a heat warning, resulting in the opening of cooling centers to provide relief. Public Health of Dayton and Montgomery County announced that a “Public Health Heat Warning” will remain in effect until further notice as highs are expected to remain above 90 degrees.

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Not only were humans in danger of the extreme heat, but so were animals. This is why the Montgomery County Animal Resource Center was called to various homes to help dogs survive the weather. They advise to keep dogs hydrated and fed in order to not feel distress. Also, the heat combined with windy, dry conditions fueled several grass fires.

At Barker, Beck, Collins & Kronauge Agency , we encourage all homeowners to follow these rules and if circumstances have it, report to the nearest cooling center. The community support felt in the area for those in need is what inspires us to protect local residents as well. With our reliable Ohio home insurance, you can safeguard your assets, structure, and loved ones in your property. We will search high and low to find you and your family the right insurance coverage at the right price. Our policy will help cover you from many different perils, including liability risks, loss or damage to personal items, living expenses, and more. Let one of our friendly agents help make your protection needs a reality now and during the next peril you may face.