Here’s a scary thought: an insurance agency blogging about alcohol. Seems counter intuitive, right? Well people apparently need to hear the facts more often, because the same mistakes keep being made. Almost 1 in every 3 deaths from car accidents is caused by drunk driving. That equates to some big bucks paid out by the insurance industry over silly decisions. On average, someone is injured by a drunk driving-related event once every 90 seconds. That is very sad… and very avoidable! We are by no means telling everyone not to drink; but we are urging people to be smart about it. Here are some great tips for safe drinking that everyone should keep in mind…

  • Use the 0-1-3 Rule

    • 0 Drinks if driving, pregnant, ill, or under-aged

    • 1 Drink per hour is a safe pace to set

    • 3 Drinks per occasion is a good limit (can vary between individuals)

  • Practice portion control (know what we mean by a “drink”)

    • 12 oz of beer

    • 9oz of malt liquor

    • 5oz of wine

    • 1.5oz of hard liquor

  • Use safe drinking techniques

    • Drink non-alcoholic drinks (like water!) between alcoholic drinks

    • Eat before and during your alcohol consumption

    • Know your limit before starting, and make sure you don’t go over that limit!

    • Avoid drinking games or pounding shots

Now that we covered some ground rules, let’s have a bit of fun! Here are a few of our favorite shots from around the office…

Cathy Harms – “Shot O’ Bailey’s” – 1.5oz of chilled Bailey’s Irish Cream

Ruth Montgomery – “Swamp Water” – 1.5oz Lime Vodka, 1.5oz Apricot Brandy, 1oz Sweet&Sour, 1oz 7Up.

Isaac Steffes – “Southern n Lime”- 1.5oz Southern Comfort, Splash of Lime Juice

Dan Dittmar – “French Toast” – .5oz Fireball whiskey, .5oz Bailey’s Irish Cream, .5oz Butterscotch Schnapps

Linda Tasch – “Merlot” – Just a nice Merlot, no shots!

Nathan Walters – “Irish Car Bomb” 1oz Jameson, 1oz Bailey’s dropped into 4oz of Guinness

Nate McCoy – “Can of Busch Light” – A can… of Busch Light.


Comment below to let us know what your favorite shots are! And on behalf of all of McCoy Insurance, thank you for keeping those safety tips in mind and drinking responsibly!

Employee Spirit Month


In honor of March being Employee Spirit Month, I thought it was only appropriate to showcase the personality you get each time you call or stop in to McCoy’s Galena office. Ruth Montgomery has been with McCoy Insurance for 19 years, and still welcomes every single person in with a smile. I can’t think of a client that has visited with Ruth and didn’t end up laughing at some point.

Not only has Ruth been a superstar in our office, she has done so much for the community. She served as the President of the Galena Booster Club, and has been the long-standing Secretary for the East Galena Township. Not only that, this year she was recognized for her hard work for the American Heart Association, and awarded with a prize money donation from Safeco Insurance Company to the charity.

She has taken on the responsibility of baking a cake for every one of her coworkers on their birthdays. Not simply any cake, either. She will actually take a suggestion and bake a cake of our choosing from scratch. That alone would make for an amazing coworker, would it not?! Always full of stories and giggles, she is a blast to work with, and I believe she is the brightest point of the day for a lot of our clients that visit.

Thank you for all that you do, Ruth!


Today, February 10th, is National Umbrella Day. It seems a little silly to me that we celebrate the umbrella in early February, when over half of the nation is in snow weather. Heck, it seems a little silly to me that we have a National Umbrella Day to begin with. I mean, what’s next, National Boots Day? National Jelly Donut with Sprinkles Day?


There is one useful thing I can derive from today’s “holiday”: Umbrella Insurance. Ever heard of it? If you don’t know what it is, you better read on. Put simply, Umbrella Insurance protects you from the crazy things that might not be picked up by your other insurances, or in cases that more money is required than your primary insurance covers. Get all of that?


Let’s give an example. Let’s say you get in a car accident. That happens all the time, so it’s not that big of a stretch of the imagination. Well, sometimes people can be injured in car accidents, and it may cost more than the limits of your auto policy to cover their injuries. What’s worse, that party may sue you for even more on top of the medical costs. This is where your handy dandy Umbrella Policy comes into play. It pays an extra amount (usually about $1 million, depending on the policy) above and beyond the limits of your auto policy to pay these extra medical costs and/or lawyer fees and settlements.


Pretty nifty way of keeping your head dry in the proverbial rain!

The snow is still piling up out there; make sure the process of removing it doesn’t make your medical bills pile up too! Here are some things to keep in mind when you go out there, shovel in hand:


1. Limber up!

Remember that shoveling is a pretty strenuous workout. What do people who are about to run a race or play some kind of a sport do? Stretch! Stretch out your back, legs, and shoulders before getting at the snow to lessen stiffness and avoid pulling a muscle.


2. Don’t move the snow further than you have to!

From sidewalks to driveways to patios, almost everything that you shovel is some sort of a rectangle. Always shovel from the center to the shortest side. Even if there only seems to be a slight difference in the haul, multiple trips keep that difference adding up, and can save you a lot of work.


3. Cars first!

Ever gotten the driveway shoveled, then get frustrated to see a bunch of snow all over your drive again when you clear off the snow from your car to leave? Brush the snow off the cars first every time, and problem solved.


4. Use good form!

A- Push the snow whenever you can, using mostly your legs

B- If you need to lift, make sure to keep your back straight

C- Keep one hand as close to the shovel blade as possible

D- Do not twist your upper body as you are tossing the snow


5. Take a break!

Depending on the driveway and the snowfall, you could be moving from hundreds of pounds to literally tons of snow. You don’t have to do it all at once!


6. You don’t have to get it all!

While the goal of shoveling is to get rid of all of the snow, you don’t have to get every last bit with the shovel. Once you get it down to a very thin layer, a combination of de-icer and the darker color of sidewalk/driveway as opposed to the white snow attracting sunlight will take care of the rest.


7. Dress in layers!

Of course you don’t want to freeze in the first few minutes you are outside, but it is a very common mistake to wear too much winter gear and get soaked in sweat once you really get into the shoveling. Use layers that you can peel off as you get too warm.


8. Get help!

Shoveling can be very boring and time consuming. If you can talk someone else into helping, it will not only get finished more quickly, but the time will go by much faster.


9. Be proactive!

It’s much easier to shovel two inches of snow than seven! If you know you are going to be getting bombarded with snow, try to go out and get a head start, taking several passes at the job.


10. Limber down!

Stretch again after you get done shoveling to reduce muscle strain and avoid inflammation.


Hello, and welcome back to McCoy Insurance’s “Insurance 4 Dummies” Blog series. This week I will be covering Homeowners Insurance, and everything that entails.


Let’s start with the all-important question: “Why do I need homeowners insurance?” Well, most would answer, “So I can build a new house if mine burns down!” While this is absolutely correct, there is so much more that Homeowners coverage does for you besides reimbursing your destroyed home. Before I get too far into that, though, let’s go over some of the key words for Homeowners Insurance.


Deductible: Same pesky word from the last lesson. Deductibles on home insurance keep the insured from filing claims every time a lamp gets knocked over or a dish is dropped.


Replacement Cost: The amount of money it takes to replace the destroyed property. This may seem like common sense, but it is much different than the following term.


Actual Cash Value: The amount of money the destroyed property was actually worth at the time is was destroyed. I will talk about this a little more in depth later.


Guaranteed Replacement Cost: The insurance company guarantees to pay whatever it costs to replace your house (usually up to 20% more than the Replacement Cost stated on the policy)


Personal Comprehensive Liability: Fancy way of saying the insurance company will cover you if someone gets hurt on your property, or if you hurt another person anywhere else.


Insured to Value: The value for which your home must to be insured to qualify for full replacement coverage.


The tricky thing with Homeowners Insurance is that there are only a few words, but they are used several different ways. I will try to make small statements about each to show you how they are all related, yet different.


Replacement Cost is the amount it would take to replace your house. This is probably the easiest part to understand. An assessment of some kind is taken, and that is the value for which your home is insured. In the event of a loss (fire, tornado, Godzilla attack), the insurance company cuts a check for the value given on the policy.


Replacement Cost on Contents transfers the same philosophy from insuring your home to insuring the things in your home. You should take an inventory of what the items in your house cost to get an idea of how much insurance you should carry to cover everything. Almost all policies automatically include a generous amount of coverage for your personal property, but it would not be a bad idea to take a look at that number and make sure it is enough! If you have replacement coverage on your contents, you get your property replaced as if they were new when they were destroyed. No one wants the insurance company to buy them a 10 year old television if it were to get stolen. They want a new one, and that’s what Replacement Cost on Contents does.


If your house had Actual Cash Value coverage instead, it would be covered for the Replacement Cost minus depreciation. Put simply, that means an old house with a shoddy roof and a questionable foundation would only be covered to get another house comparable in size with another shoddy roof and questionable foundation. Needless to say, that is not an ideal situation, and it is pretty uncommon to come across ACV coverage on a home these days. However, if you notice your policy shows that is what you have, you should probably talk to your agent!


Something a bit more common is finding out that your personal property is covered under Actual Cash Value. In the television theft example I used earlier, this coverage would replace your stolen television with one of similar age and value. This is not what most people want, but sometimes don’t realize it until too late. Make sure you are covered how you think you are!


Guaranteed Replacement Cost is an option on most newer homes. When this settlement option is selected, the replacement cost is figured just like it is on a regular Replacement Cost policy. However, it will actually pay the insured extra, well beyond the stated value if it turns out that it costs more to rebuild . Sometimes the cost of labor and materials increases much faster than expected, and this guarantees that you get your dream home back without the insurance check being exhausted before the work is completed.


What exactly does it mean to be Insured to Value? Put simply, being Insured to Value is the same thing as being fully or properly insured. How do you know if you are Insured to Value? Well, that depends on the type of coverage you elected to have on your home. For Full Replacement Cost coverage, you need to carry a limit of 80% of what is deemed necessary to fully replace your home, yet the policy will still pay the full 100% in the event of a loss. This gives you some cushion to insure your home for a bit less, and still be fully covered. Be careful, though, because if you are not insured for 80% of the full Replacement Cost, you will only be paid out a percentage of full Replacement Cost in the time of a claim.


Here is an illustration:

Home Full Replacement Cost $100,000. Home is insured for $80,000. In the event of a loss, insured receives $100,000 because it is insured to value.

Home Full Replacement Cost is $100,000. Home is insured for $70,000. In the event of a loss, insured receives $70,000 because it is not insured to value.


This also applies to partial losses!

In the first example, if the roof sustains hail damage resulting in $5,000 worth of damage, the insured gets a check for $5,000, minus whatever their deductible is.

If the roof on the second example house was damaged by the same hail storm and does $5,000 worth of damage, the insured would get a check for 70% of $5,000, or $3,500 minus their deductible, because they were not insured to value.


It pays to make sure that you are properly insured!


Just like last time, here are some answers for common questions…


Q: Is my ATV covered under my Homeowners policy?


A: This is a tricky one that we have been getting asked quite a bit lately. There isn’t an easy answer, because every company is different. A general rule is that it is covered under your Homeowners policy if you don’t leave your premises. If you do leave your property on it, some companies require you to take out a separate ATV policy, or find a way to add it to your Auto policy. Every company is different, so the best way to find out for sure is to ask your agent.


Q: Am I covered in the event of a flood?


A: Do you have flood insurance? If the answer is no, my answer is most likely the same. Flood Insurance is actually run by the government, but can be purchased through private insurance companies. The higher risk flood zone you are in, the higher the premiums. Flood insurance can get very pricey in a hurry if you are in a high risk zone! If the water damage comes from excessive rain water that comes up from your drains, however, there may be coverage. We put a protection called Water Backup on our Homeowners policies that covers exactly that, and is a great way to add that heavy rain coverage without taking out a full blown flood policy.


Q: My dog chewed up my new couch. Is that covered?


A: Maybe. This is more of a case by case situation than an across the board rule. In cases where you have an aggressive dog or a history of dogs chewing things up, it is most likely not covered. However, if you took proper precautions and the mangy mutt still managed to mangle your movables… you might be in luck! As is the case every time you think you might have an eligible claim, call your agent, and they can advise you of your options.