What to Do After a Car Accident

<img style="margin: 5px; width: 250px; float: right;" alt="orangesky3.jpg" src="” />According to a report entitled “Traffic Safety Facts” by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 5.5 million vehicle crashes occurred in the United States in 2010 alone. Here at the office of the Barker, Beck, Collins and Kronauge Agency, we frequently get calls from clients who have just had an accident with their vehicle. 

Those accidents, no matter how minor, tend to be unnerving to all of those involved. To help serve you, here are some frequently asked questions that will help you be prepared when the unexpected happens to you.

What should I carry in my car in the case of an accident?

 Your insurance information
 Pen and paper (for exchanging information with the other driver)
 Mobile phone with the capability of taking photos or a disposable camera
 List of emergency contact numbers
 List of critical medical information in case the accident renders you unconscious

I have just been rear-ended. What should I do first?

 Get a good look at the other vehicle involved. Make a clear mental note of the make, model, color and license plate number of the other vehicle. In case the other driver decides to flee the scene, this information will be helpful in possibly locating him or her.

 Turn on your hazard lights.

 Assess whether any of the person’s involved in the accident have any injuries.

 Call the police, even if it is only a minor fender bender. A police report helps an insurance company to determine who will be responsible for paying the damages.

What points should I remember when talking with the other driver?

 Simply ask if the other driver is okay and exchange pertinent information with the driver. Do not sign any papers unless they are handed to you by the police officer.

 Do not admit fault or say “I’m sorry” in the course of your conversation with the other driver, as that may be used against you in court.

 This is the type of information that your insurance company will need about the other driver:
 Phone number
 Email address
 Make, model and year of the car
 License plate number
 Insurance company
 Insurance policy number
 If the name on the registration is different that the name of the driver, record the relationship between the two people.

The police have been called, the injured have been attended to and the other driver and I have exchanged information, what should I do now?

 Identify any witnesses and get their names and phone numbers.

 As long as you can do so safely without walking into the line of oncoming traffic, take photos of the vehicles and document any cuts or bruises of the drivers and passengers.

What other information will your representative at the Barker, Beck, Collins & Kronauge Agency need to know about the accident?

 Time of accident
 How the accident occurred
 Location of accident (city or jurisdiction and streets)
 How many vehicles were involved
 Description of the damage to each vehicle

 Were the police called?
 Was a police report filed?
 Name of responding police officer
 Badge number of police officer

Until you have gathered the above information, it is premature to call your insurance agency, as they will not have enough information to move forward on assisting you with a claim.

Should a vehicle accident happen to you, hopefully, the above pointers will help you to handle the situation with a greater sense of calm.

As always, remember that the Barker, Beck, Collins & Kronauge Agency is your source of Trusted Advice ~ Reliable Solutions.

Destination ~ Newport, KY

Our Weekend Picks.pngThis weekend, let’s go exploring. Our destination is Newport, Kentucky.  An area rich in history, this section of Kentucky is just across the river from Cincinnati, OH, adjacent to Covington, Ky. There is so much to do there that you could spend a month of weekends exploring it all and still have new experiences to discover.

Here are just a couple of items to get you started:

Newport on the Levee
A wonderful combination of places to eat, play and shop await you at Newport on the Levee. No matter what you have in mind, this multi-level urban retail entertainment center is likely to have something to suit your entertainment wishes. From AMC theatres, a 20 screen movie house, to nightclubs, to bowling or Locomotion on the Levee offering exercise classes, your entertainment wishes are covered. Check out the events calendar for upcoming special happenings. 

Newport Aquarium
Through February 29, 2013, the aquarium is celebrating Winter Family Days.  Now is your chance to see Mighty Mike, the 14 foot, 800 pound alligator who will be leaving soon for another home. During Winter Family Days, for every adult full-price admission in the family, 2 children get in for free. Go, be enchanted by the creatures of the sea.

Ride the Ducks Newport
While winter time is off season for this attraction, keep Ride the Ducks Newport on your list of must-do’s this coming summer.  Cruising leading sites and attractions of Northern Kentucky and Cincinnati in a customized amphibious vehicle, is a great family-friendly way to get to know the area. The amphibious vehicles are modeled after similar vehicles that were used during World War II. The 45 minute tour will take participants over land and sea and will travel past sites such as Great American Ball Park, Paul Brown Stadium, the World Peace Bell, Newport Aquarium and Covington’s Historic Riverside Drive, all the while telling the rich history of the region.

Highly Rated Restaurants of the Area

York St. Café
Ranked fourth on Trip Advisor for places to eat in Newport, Ky, this eclectic venue serves hearty fare ranging from chicken cherry salad to voodoo tilapia to filet mignon. Vegan friendly, they also serve options like a Cauliflower Steak with kalamata olives, sun dried tomatoes, garlic and smoky tomato sauce that is served over quinoa that sounds yummy. Stevereviews stated that York St. Café is “A JEWEL that ISN’T a chain – the BEST choice in Northern Kentucky.”

Mitchell’s Fish Market
Ranked number two in Trip Advisor, the reviews of this eatery rave about how wonderful the food is. Many extoll the efficiency and attentiveness of the service staff and state that the venue’s location overlooking the Ohio River and downtown Cincinnati’s skyline adds to a wonderful experience.

In neighboring Covington, KY
Otto’s in MainStrasse

Art on the walls adorns this wonderful little family owned and operated cozy little sit-down bistro/cafe.
The food is delicious and impeccably served. The secret is out though, so reservations are recommended.  Rated 4 stars in Yelp with 87 reviews.

We’d love to hear what you have to say. Drop us a line on Facebook to let us know what is your favorite place to visit in Newport, KY.

You might also be interested in:
Winter Recreation at Perfect North Slopes 
Go! Local Eateries

12 Ways to Save Money on Gas

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Gas prices are rising again, however, gas savings can be yours, regardless of your vehicle’s make, model, and estimated gas mileage. Whether the estimated gas mileage for you vehicle is closer to 20 or 40 mph, there are things you can do before you leave home, as you are driving and at the pump to give you more fuel for your funds.

Before You Drive

1. Empty Out Your Trunk

While it may seem trivial, those boxes of books you’ve been meaning to drop off to Good Will or the bags of gardening soil you just haven’t taken out of the trunk, yet, are making your engine work harder. According to the Energy Department, fuel efficiency is reduced by 2 percent with every extra 100 pounds a vehicle hauls around.                                                                                                                    Photo Credit: Jonny Hunter    

2. Make your vehicle more aerodynamic

Roof racks, carriers and roof top bike racks cause drag, or wind resistance which can decrease your fuel economy by upwards of 5 percent.

3. Give Your Vehicle Regular Maintenance

Common maintenance tasks for your vehicle can go a long way to adding to its fuel efficiency. Consider replacing clogged air filters, getting an engine tune-up, changing the oil and making sure that your tires are properly inflated and aligned. Fuel efficiency can be enhanced anywhere from 3-10% by paying attention to these simple measures. When gas is $3.70 a gallon, you could essentially be saving 11 -37 cents per gallon.

4. Plan your trips

Plan your errands so that you take the most efficient route that is free of back tracking. Consider making a loop with quick in and out stops to all the places on your route or make stops on the way home from work rather than going back out after you’ve gone home for the evening.

5. Carpool
Ride sharing with a family member, co-worker or neighbor is a great idea not only for your pocketbook, but for the environment. Check out websites like RideSearch.com and eRideShare.com for additional ideas of where to find people with whom to share a ride.

Driving Habits

6. Drive the speed limit

For every 5 miles per hour you drive over 50 miles per hour, gas mileage decreases significantly, according to Fueleconomy.gov. This is costing you money at the pump.

7. Anticipate traffic conditions

This will lessen your need to use your brake. Being alert for slow-downs and changes in traffic signals can allow you to simply let up on the gas, rather than driving with reactive jackrabbit stops and starts. Easier, smoother driving habits can have a positive effect on the miles per gallon your vehicle gets.

8. Use cruise control whenever it is appropriate

The steady speed of cruise control does positive things for your fuel economy.

9. Limit air conditioner use

Use your vehicle air conditioning only when absolutely necessary. Air conditioning uses a large amount of energy to operate, causing a dramatic reduction in your fuel economy.

At the Pump

10. Get Price Savvy

GasBuddy.com allows you to look up stations along your travel path and find the one offering the cheapest gasoline.

11. Use Your Rewards

Locally, with a loyalty card, Kroger grocery purchases can add up to savings at Shell or Kroger fuel pumps.  Nationally, it may be wise to check into credit cards that give you rebates or rewards for gasoline purchases. Websites that offer credit card comparisons such as nerdwallet.com and creditcards.com allow you to assess which card might best suit your needs.

12. Don’t Be Trigger Happy

Holding the pump trigger all the way down when you are pumping gas produces more gas vapor. Once the gasoline turns to vapor, it isn’t going to put fuel in your tank, so you could be paying for gasoline that never makes it to your tank. Along the same line of thought, remember to pump your gas in morning when the day is coldest. Heat causes gasoline to expand and a mid-day fuel-up will give you a little less gas per gallon.

Armed with these ideas, hopefully, you can slow down the money you are pouring into the gas tank, even when the price of gasoline goes up. As always, look to the Barker, Beck, Collins & Kronauge Agency for Trusted Advice ~ Reliable Solutions.

You might also like: 

9 Tips for Dealing with Aggressive Drivers

How to Safely Handle a Tire Blowout

What to Do if Your Gas Pedal Sticks


Traditionally Yours ~ Valentines Across Time

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Every February 14th we celebrate Valentine’s Day where we remember and celebrate the ones we hold dear.  Have you ever wondered how and why the items that typically bring to mind Valentine’s Day have come to be associated with the day? Read on for a tour through history of Valentine’s Day symbols and gifts.


Since ancient times, the heart has been considered the source of all emotions, while over time it came to be associated most strongly with love. The Valentine heart shape that we are now so familiar may have come about in an early attempt to re-create the shape of the actual human heart.


In centuries past, it was common for a woman to carry a lace handkerchief. As a way of encouraging a potential suitor, she would drop her handkerchief. If the gentleman picked it up, then a conversation could begin and a romance might blossom.


This custom began in Europe when Charles II of Sweden in the early 1700’s shared a Persian art called “the language of flowers”.  With this language, where every flower conveyed a meaning, entire conversations could be had with a well-chosen bouquet. While this historical practice can still be followed, today there are no set rules. What governs the giving is the sentiment behind the gesture, with the meaning of the flower coming from a more sentimental place.

The most typical flower associated with Valentine’s Day is the rose. Universally, roses signify love. However, folklore contends that the color can hold meaning for the depth or intention of that love ranging from the friendship of yellow roses to admiration or joy of pink roses to the passionate love of red roses.


While chocolate has been enjoyed by the aristocracy since 900 AD, the Industrial Revolution of the 1800’s made chocolate available to the masses. Richard Cadbury of Cadbury Brothers is credited with creating the first ever heart-shaped box for Valentine’s Day, thus sparking the link between chocolate and Valentine’s Day. It is reported that 75 percent of chocolate purchases for this holiday are by men.

Valentine Cards

While as far back as the middle ages, it was common for suitors to sing their words of adoration to the ones of their affection for Valentine’s Day, the first written valentine was not penned until 1415. Written by Charles, Duke of Orleans, the poem was a love sonnet sent to his wife while he was a prisoner of war. That poem is among numerous other manuscripts from the Duke’s life that are now in the collection of the British Library in London, England.

Written valentines became commonplace by the 1700’s in Great Britain, and by the late 1700’s to early 1800’s, the popularity of this valentine custom had found its way to the United States.  Up until 1848, valentine cards in the United States were handmade or were store-bought imports from overseas. That all changed when Esther Howland, a 20 year old with an entreprenueral spirit, created the first mass-produced American valentines under the name New England Valentine Company. Following her lead, Joyce Hall, founded Hallmark in 1910. The Hallmark Company which has since prospered as the leader in the greeting card industry says that Valentine’s Day is the second most popular holiday for sending cards (second only to Christmas). According to the Greeting Card Association, over 1 billion people express their love and devotion with a Valentine’s Day card each year. Eighty-five percent of the card purchases are by women.

So, now that you know how some of the Valentine’s Day traditions began… come to our Facebook page and tell us your favorite way to celebrate the day.

Other posts you may like:  Welcome Our Newest Partner: Bellbrook Chocolate Shoppe

Welcome Our Newest Partner: Bellbrook Chocolate Shoppe

Please allow us to introduce Bellbrook Chocolate Shoppe, Barker, Beck, Collins & Kronauge Agency’s newest partner to our Partner’s page.

Bellbrook Chocolate Shoppe is a family owned and operated local business that has been delighting the taste buds of chocolate connoisseurs with its award-winning signature blend of chocolate since 1984.

Like many successful businesses, the Bellbrook Chocolate Shoppe began with the quest to find a solution to a problem ~ albeit a problem of the sweetest kind.  Founders, Betty Blose and her husband had differing tastes in chocolate. Betty preferred light chocolate while her husband hankered for dark.

Chocolate bliss occurred when they formulated the perfect blend of chocolate that satisfied them both. Their hand-made confections were soon delighting their friends and family and in no time a business was born.

Today, Betty is still an integral part of running this local business. Her son, Marshall, who is in charge of production can be found each morning rolling and dipping each confection by hand in the work area of the retail store.  Marshall’s wife, Laura, runs the day to day operations and their daughter along with 2 other part-time employees assist in packaging and help to keep their customers happily stocked in chocolate. 

From specialty treats like truffles, buckeyes and chocolate covered cherries, to fresh-baked cookies to fudge to chocolate treats of every imaginable shape, size, and taste combination, a trip to the Bellbrook Chocolate Shoppe in the Cross Pointe Centre in Centerville is a chocolate-lovers little bit of heaven.   It is said that a picture is worth a thousand words, so, let’s take a tour.

Upon entering the store you’ll notice the beautiful wooden display case that Betty had especially made for the store.  Refrigeration of their candies and confections is a must, as the Bellbrook Chocolate Shoppe does not use preservatives in any of their items.

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According to Laura Blose, one of their most popular items is their chocolate covered strawberries. Each strawberry is hand-picked and then is double-dipped, first in a layer of white chocolate, and then in their signature chocolate blend. 

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Boxes made completely from chocolate are available in various sizes.

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Want something extraordinary to say happy birthday to your special someone? Try the cookie cake.  It is sure to please with its 3 buttery shortbread cookies layered with home-made butter cream frosting, all of which is then covered in a generous layer of the signature chocolate and decorated. What a fun way to celebrate a birthday!

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Corporate, wedding, and personal gift giving options are easy with Bellbrook Chocolates. Special orders that fill your chocolate wishes are just a phone call away.  Creating your own chocolate bar with your company’s logo to as a gift to clients or customizing a chocolate treat for your wedding guest favors are just a couple of the types of items that are commonly special ordered.

The retail store is filled with items that you can walk in and purchase on the spot. Choose from holiday items and a wide array of pre-packaged chocolate confections from individual pieces to chocolate greeting cards to boxes of assorted chocolates ranging in size from 6 to 108 piece boxes, sold individually or in towers, each complete with a pre-printed chocolate map.

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Or … customize your boxes or other container with an assortment of your personal favorites or personalize a chocolate bar with your own message. Make sure to ask about other customization options.

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Sugar-Free candies are available, so everyone on your list can be included in the deliciousness.

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Stop by Bellbrook Chocolates and get a gift for someone special. While you are there, make sure get a treat for yourself, too. You deserve it!

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Hours :

Monday – Friday:  10am -6pm
Saturday:   10am – 5pm
Sunday:  Noon – 4pm
Phone : 937-436-5066
Fax: 937-436-5067

What 9 Items Are Best Bought in Winter?

<img style="margin: 5px; height: 180px; float: right;" alt="bigstock-Saving-Money-8173913.png" src="” />While traditionally retail spending by consumers hits the winter doldrums in the months of January and February, it is the perfect time to purchase out of season items, and overstock of last year’s models of certain types of merchandise.

Besides some specific individual items, there are also two major sales events to look forward to in the winter. The first sales event is features football’s Big Game and consumers can find deals on all items that would help them to enjoy the game.

Another shopping bonanza revolves around President’s Day, which now is always celebrated on the third Monday of February. Started in 1879, as a Federal Holiday to celebrate George Washington’s birthday, over time the holiday has come to be referred to as President’s Day, to honor all presidents past and present. That tradition has evolved into a mecca for retailers who use the day as a great time to offer discounts on items of all kinds. Expect to find special deals on cars, major appliances, home furnishings (particularly mattresses), winter clothing and vacation packages.

Winter is a great time to take advantage of retailers’ need to purge old inventory.
1. Digital Cameras and Small Electronics
Trade shows like the International Consumer Electronics Show take place early in January and showcase new models of cameras and small electronics.  By late January and early February, retailers anxious to make room on their shelves for the new inventory, discount last year’s models to the benefit of, you, the savvy buyer.
2. Furniture
New furniture designs are released in spring so winter is a great time to search for bargains. Be on the lookout in showrooms for “as is” but good condition floor samples of discontinued models.
3. Winter Clothing
Spring is coming quickly and retailers will be clearing their winter sweaters, jackets and boots for the fresh, light fare of more summery clothing. Look for greatly reduced items.

Save on items that are typically used in warmer weather.
Winter in colder climates can mean savings for you, the consumer, on items that would typically be used in the warmth of summer days. With these items, the major factor in the savings is supply and demand.  Retailers know that when demand is high, they can charge more.  So, outsmart them by purchasing off-season items when the demand is low.
In winter look for savings on items like:
4. Bicycles
5. Air Conditioners and Fans
6. Gas Grills
7. Boats

Winter wedding bells can mean a cost savings for you.
8. The least expensive time to get married is when everyone else isn’t. November through February are typically the months to get the best deals on wedding items (vendors – venues), since most couples prefer to hold their wedding in warmer months.

A mid-winter lull in travel brings savings on travel items like luggage.
9. With the holidays are over and spring and summer breaks not yet here, February is the best time to purchase luggage at a discount. If your current luggage has seen just a few too many miles, now is the time to snap up your new set before the deals fly away.

Even if these items are not on your must purchase list for this year, tuck the ideas away and remember you can always look to Barker, Beck, Collins & Kronauge Agency for Trusted Advise ~ Reliable Solutions.

9 Tips for Dealing with Aggressive Drivers

Aggressive driver.jpgIf you have been driving for even a little while, it is likely that you have witnessed aggressive driving behavior. In fact, a large majority of the participants in a 2002 National Highway Traffic Safety Administration survey, reported feeling threatened by the aggressive behavior of another driver at least occasionally in the year prior to the survey.

To show you a glimpse of aggressive driving behavior, let’s pretend you are traveling down the highway on your way home from work.  Driving in the fast lane, you notice in your rear view mirror, a sporty black car coming up fast. The driver is weaving in and out of traffic. You move out of the fast lane and he passes you. Traffic is packed and there is little room for the black car to move. Riding the bumper of the car that had been in front of you, he honks and gestures to get them to move. That driver finds a break in the traffic and complies.  The aggressive driver speeds off continuing to weave his way in out of traffic until, soon, you no longer can see him. You breathe a sigh of relief and hope that everyone in his path stays safe.

Aggressive driving behavior doesn’t have to be this extreme to be a problem. While they probably won’t take their actions to the worse case scenario, a business person late for an appointment, or a mom driving a sick child to the hospital may, in their anxiousness to arrive to their destination, exhibit the typical aggressive driving maneuvers of speeding, tailgating, running red light and stop signs, improper passing and weaving in and out of traffic.

Since, seventy-eight percent of the respondents to a 2008 AAA Traffic Safety Culture Index Report, rated aggressive drivers a serious or extremely serious traffic safety issue, it is obvious that knowing how to handle this potentially dangerous situation would benefit you.

So, what are the best ways to handle an aggressive driver?

Keep your own safety in the forefront of your thoughts and act in ways that will keep that goal in mind.

1. The first step is to eliminate distractions (cell phone, eating etc.) in your own vehicle, so that you can fully attend to your driving.
2. Keep a watchful eye out for the behavior of the drivers around you. If you see someone driving aggressively, be wary of him. 
3. As he approaches do what you can to safely move out of his way. Be prepared to safely take evasive action should the aggressive driver make sudden moves that affect the path of your vehicle.  (Plus, take an extra second  or two at stop lights or signs to ensure that the cross traffic is actually going to abide by the traffic laws. An aggressive driver may shoot into the intersection unexpectedly.)
4. Allow your ego to take a backseat to the whims of the aggressive driver. Maintaining your lane or otherwise challenging the aggressive driver could escalate the situation into a confrontation that could endanger your life or the lives of others. You do not know their situation and it is best to give them lee-way. His or her emotions may be running high and there is no benefit in adding fuel to their negative emotions.
5. Avoid direct eye contact with the aggressive driver.
6. No matter what gestures the driver does, ignore them and do not return the “favor”.
7. If you are stopped in traffic, make sure your doors are locked.
8. If an aggressive driver is following you, continue driving until you have reached a well-lit public place. Do not stop your vehicle or pull over until you are in a safer environment.
9. If you have a cellular phone with you and you feel threatened, call 911.

As always, all of us at Barker, Beck, Collins & Kronauge wish you safety in your travels.

Winter Recreation at Perfect North Slopes

This week’s Go! Our Weekend Pick has you tubing, skiing or snowboarding down the snow covered hills at Perfect North Slopes. With the recent snow, the hills are beauti<img style="margin: 5px; width: 200px; float: left;" alt="snow-65692_640.jpg" src="” />fully snow covered and ready for your day of fun.

Located in Lawrenceburg, IN, Perfect North Slopes is a wonderful day trip that will give you all the best of wintery recreation. Choose between skiing, snowboarding and tubing. 23 slopes, with difficulties ranging from easy to expert only, and 23 tubing lanes give you plenty of options.

If snow sports are new to you, you can rest easy knowing that an introductory lesson is included the price of the ticket. Perfect North Slopes is committed to helping you get started right with tips and tricks that will have you enjoying your day on the slopes. The 50-minute lessons are taught on the hour and are available for persons age 4 and up. (Subject to instructor availability.)

For your comfort, come dressed in layers, with the outer layer made from water resistant material. Remember to wear a hat. If your head is warm, you are likely to stay warmer all over. Bring waterproof gloves or mittens. Goggles are strongly recommended for increased visibility on days that are cold or snowy. Wear sun screen on your face and remember to bring lip balm that is SPF 15 or higher. For energy out on the slopes or tubing hills bring a snack of fruit or a trail mix bar. Trail maps are free and available at the lodge. Do not bring your own items to use on the tubing hills. The tube rental is included in the cost of admission.

Mon – Thurs: 9:30AM – 9:30PM
Fri – Sat: 9:30AM – 1:00AM
Sunday: 9:30AM – 9:30PM

Snow Tubing
Mon – Thurs: 1:00PM – 9:30PM
Fri – Sat: 9:30AM – 1:00AM
Sun & Holidays: 9:30AM – 9:30PM

Prices for Ski and Snowboarding Slopes range from $33 – $45. (Ski and clothing rental extra.)
Prices for tubing range from $20 – $35 depending on the day and the person’s age. (It is recommended that no one under the age of 3 go on the tubing hills.)

The wintery snow is upon us…. we might as well get out and enjoy it. Have a great weekend!!!