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7 Ways to Ready Your Vehicle for the Future Cold


Summer is gone, fall is here, and that means colder weather is coming. As cooler temperatures approach, it’s a good idea to think about ways you can help your car take care of you. After all, your car is likely your sole means of transportation for getting you from point A to B.

As an auto claims adjuster and car enthusiast, I have both professional and personal experience with the mechanics and operation of vehicles. I believe it’s very smart to make vehicle maintenance a habit as colder weather draws near, and I’ve included a few tips to get you started.

  1. Tire pressure. The air pressure in your tires decreases about 1 psi for every 10 degree drop in temperature. By keeping the tires properly inflated, you’ll not only maintain good fuel mileage but will prevent under-inflation, which can lead to tire failure and a potential accident.
  2. Belts and hoses. Colder temperatures can weaken the rubber from which these parts are made. By checking the integrity of the belts and hoses and replacing them prior to their failure, you’ll help keep yourself from being stranded on the side of the road waiting on the tow truck.
  3. Wipers and wiper fluid. Be sure to fill your windshield wiper fluid tank with anti-freezing wiper fluid. Anti-freezing fluid paired with new wiper blades will allow you to maintain better visibility at all times of the year, but especially when ice and road salt or debris can accumulate on your windshield and impair your visibility.
  4. Engine coolant. Check your coolant to ensure it is at the right level in order to prevent costly engine repairs. Coolant not only prevents overheating in the summer and freezing in the winter, but it also consists of anti-corrosive properties which prevent the accumulation of rust in the engine.
  5. Engine oil. Check to make sure it’s at the appropriate level, and that you have the right oil viscosity in the engine designed for colder temperatures. The colder the outside temperatures and the thicker the oil, the slower it flows. This can lead to premature damage due to increased friction when starting your engine.
  6. Battery. Extremely cold temperatures can kill a car battery about as easily as with extreme heat. The older a battery, the more susceptible it is to surrender to cold temperatures. Check the age of the battery. If it’s close to or over five years old, consider replacing it. This will likely save you a major inconvenience as batteries typically fail at the worst possible time.
  7. Emergency kit. Consider creating an emergency kit consisting of jumper cables, flashlight, road flare, basic tools, and a thermal blanket. These items can help rescue you in the event that trouble with your vehicle occurs.

Remember, take care of your vehicle and you can depend on it to take care of you. Hopefully, we all can enjoy true fall weather before winter temperatures and snow gets here. However, I hope I’ve encouraged you to get prepared to stay safe when it arrives.

Copyright © 2019 Central Mutual Insurance Company. All rights reserved.


Posted 11:00 AM  View Comments

October is Cyber Security Awareness Month


Now that it is National Cyber Security Awareness Month, what better time to educate yourself on the current levels of cybercrime around the world. More than half of mid-market businesses have experienced a data breach[1], and more than 175 million individuals become victims of cybercrime annually[2]. In fact, cybercrime is growing so rapidly it is projected to cost the world $6 trillion annually by 2021, representing “the greatest transfer of economic wealth in history,” and becoming “more profitable than the global trade of all major illegal drugs.[3]

Cybercrime affects individuals, families, and businesses.

Cybercriminals seek out vulnerabilities in our computer networks and online behaviors. Hackers and identity thieves spare no person or business. Particularly vulnerable groups include minor children, college students, senior citizens, natural disaster victims, and small businesses.

What are the most common cyber risks for individuals and families?

As the average person spends more time online, both individuals and families encounter many new cyber risks, from identity fraud to dangerous doxing and cyberbullying. Identity thieves can gather personal information from social media and cyberstalking, as well as phishing e-mails and fake websites to help them impersonate you and/or take over financial accounts.

Other online threats can be both physical and emotional. Doxing—or publishing a person’s physical location and contact information—can result in reputational harm and even threats of physical confrontation. Cyberbullying causes emotional dismay and reputational damage. On dating websites fake profiles get created to “catfish” victims—sometimes for the perpetrator’s personal fun but other times for more nefarious purposes. Finally, cyberstalking can lead to very real—and dangerous—physical stalking behaviors.

What are the most common cyber risks for businesses?

Modern companies run on information technology. Data about customers, employees, sales orders, operations, research and development, and financials are the beating heart of any business. Between cloud software, the Internet of Things, and e-commerce, more business information gets exchanged online than ever before.

The greatest cyber threats to businesses are the theft of company data through a data breach and the disabling of IT networks by ransomware. Many times, cybercriminals gain the information or credentials they need to attack business networks by sending phishing e-mails to employees or executives. These e-mails can look very authentic and appear to come from people inside your company. Cybercriminals spend time researching organizations in order to use social engineering to fool their targets into opening the phishing e-mail.

Own IT. Secure IT. Protect IT.

This year, the theme of National Cyber Security Awareness Month is “Own IT, Secure IT, Protect IT.” Hackers are always at work—they never rest. There is no time to wait. Take action now to secure and protect your personal identity and business data.

OWN your IT and personal information by educating yourself about cyber threats.

  • DON’T OVERSHARE personal or financial information on social media platforms.
  • BE SELECTIVE about who you connect with on social platforms or dating websites.
  • REVIEW PRIVACY SETTINGS for social media and other applications.

SECURE IT changing your online habits to enhance your cyber defenses.

  • STRENGTHEN PASSWORDS on computers, devices, and websites and change them regularly.
  • AVOID PHISHING e-mails and don’t click on links from people you don’t know or e-mails that don’t seem legit. When in doubt, telephone the recipient and ask.
  • TURN ON MULTI-FACTOR AUTHENTICATION to make your logins more secure, especially on any website where you do online banking, bill payment, or shopping.
  • SHOP SAFELY by making online purchases only from well-known stores and brands and always looking for the https:// in the URL before entering payment information.

PROTECT IT by implementing solutions and services that can increase cybersecurity and monitor against suspicious events.

  • INSTALL SECURITY SOFTWARE including anti-virus and anti-malware to protect personal and business computers.
  • UPDATE SYSTEMS to ensure your web browser and operating system have the latest security updates.
  • IDENTITY AND CREDIT MONITORING services watch for unusual activity 24/7/365, alerting you to any trouble.
  • BACK-UP DATA regularly to protect yourself and your business from hard drive/server failures and ransomware.

Another way to protect yourself is to invest in cyber insurance. Many insurance companies offer solutions for both businesses and personal protection. Contact your independent agent to learn more about these coverages and how they can protect you, your family, and your business from the effects of cybercrime.

Content provided by CyberScout.

[1] “Small and Mighty—CyberSecurity Special Report,” Cisco, July 2018.

[2] “Norton Cyber Security Insights Report Global Results,” Symantec, 2017.

[3] “2019 Official Annual Cybercrime Report,” Cybersecurity Ventures

© 2019 CyberScout Breach Resources. All rights reserved.

Copyright © 2019 Central Mutual Insurance Company. All rights reserved.


Posted 5:16 PM  View Comments

Welcome to Our New Website!


            One thing that is true in life is that things change, that includes our website. In order to provide you better service we decided our website needed an update.

            The new website will be adaptive meaning that it should look the same on your phone as it does on a computer screen. We’re also incorporating this blog to help provide you with additional information. We certainly hope you like to new look and that it makes it easier to navigate.

            We look forward to seeing you in the office or hearing from you soon!

Posted 9:41 PM  View Comments

When choosing an insurance company, the obvious factor that many customers are concerned with is cost.  While this is certainly understandable (who doesn’t like a great deal?), it is only one facet by which the quality of your coverage can be judged. 

In the evolving world of insurance, customers often believe that they can “save money” by getting a quote directly online.  While this approach is definitely convenient, what are you really saving?  When the time comes to make a claim, whom do you contact?  Do you have an 800 number to call?  Will you be directed to a call center that’s not even in Ohio?  Will the customer service representative know how to pronounce your name?  Many customers find that the individual service provided by an independent insurance agent is still the best way to get the personal service that they require.

Insurance companies generally feature two types of agents – “captive” and independent.  A captive agent works exclusively for one insurance company.  This type of agent acts as the principal contact between the insurance company and you, the consumer.  But if the agent is employed and trained by the insurance company, where is the incentive to give you the best deal possible??

This is where an independent agent comes in.  Independent agents, like the agents at Battles Insurance Agency, are not beholden to any one insurance company.  We work with multiple insurance providers and more importantly, we work directly with YOU.  Our agents will learn all about YOUR unique situation before putting together a plan that works for YOU. By comparing rates with many different providers we can make sure that you get the best value for your dollars, and best of all, if you ever do need to make a claim, your agent will work with the insurance company on your behalf.  Service is Foremost at Battles.

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