5 Steps to Achieving Your New Year’s Goals

With a new year comes the spirit of new year resolutions. January is a great time to create personal or professional goals. However, as we often come to find, new year’s goals are easy to forget about and it can be difficult to remember to work towards fulfilling them. We’re here to help, with five steps to encourage you to reach and complete your new year’s goals this year!

Step 1: Reflect

Looking back to see what you were or were not able to accomplish can help provide a baseline for what goals you might want to achieve this upcoming year. For personal goals, taking some time to sit down and write any thoughts about the new year could be a great first step. If you are a business owner and don’t know where to get started, check out our end of year checklist for businesses to help you review last year and prepare you for the new year.

Step 2: Be specific 

After a couple of months, it can be easy to forget what goals you set when they aren’t specific. For instance, a goal could be to cut costs or save money…but by how much? Adding in extra detail to your goals can help make them feel attainable and easier to plan for. It’s also a great idea to keep them somewhere that you visit frequently to help keep them top of mind. 

Step 3: Plan

By laying out steps, action items and even deadlines, you can keep yourself on track and accountable to fulfilling your goals. Plans don’t have to be completely figured out, but at a minimum should start with a rough outline. Creating a plan can help make your goals feel less daunting and more achievable. 

Step 4: Check-in

Throughout the year, it’s important to check-in on the goals you’ve set, and keep track of any progress. For example, set a reminder or calendar event on your smartphone, or ask someone to check-in with you. During these check-ins, stick to an agenda. Ask yourself if you are making these goals a priority or what roadblocks are preventing your success. Goals are great in that they are flexible, so it’s okay to change course as the year progresses.

Step 5: Re-evaluate 

It can be easy to both overestimate and underestimate what’s possible. If you set a goal to cut costs by 10 percent and complete it in six months, cross it off the list and write a new goal! Re-adjusting goals or revamping your approach to how you complete them is the beauty of intentional goal setting – they are for you. If your priorities shift and you feel a goal isn’t worth pursuing anymore, make the change. New year, new you, right? 

As you establish and work towards achieving your new year’s goals, remember to plan with your OKFB agent to ensure your assets are protected. Whether that’s for your Commercial Insurance, Farm & Ranch, Auto, or Home policy – we want you to worry about achieving your goals, and we’ll make sure you are covered and protected in the process.

6 Ways to Prepare for an Ice Storm

Snow and ice can be a pretty sight in small doses, but Oklahoma is no stranger to heavy ice storms. You can help ensure minimal impacts to your property by following these six ways to prepare for an ice storm. Check out these tips:

1. Prepare an Emergency Home Kit

Severe ice storms can cause road closures as well as city-wide power outages, thus leaving you situated in your home for a potential long period of time. It could be helpful to have an emergency home kit with the necessities that could include things like:

  • Flashlights and batteries
  • Candles 
  • Canned goods and no-cook foods/snacks
  • Bottled water
  • Medication and first aid kit 
  • Blankets
  • Warm winter clothing and accessories
  • Emergency radio 

2. Have Tools on Standby

Too much ice or snow could trap you inside your home, so having a crowbar, axe, chiseling tool or shovel could aid in making a path to escape. Additionally, having tools nearby could be helpful for making any quick repairs. For instance, closing a small hole to stop the cold from filling your home. Remember to stay warm or find shelter if the damages are dangerous. 

3. Check on Pipes & Gutters 

As fall winds down and winter begins, take time to clear out rain gutters, repair roof leaks, and check the roof to make sure it can handle the extra weight of snow and ice. You’ll also need to insulate water pipes or faucets with winter covers on the exterior of the home. Allowing faucets to drip or trickle during cold weather or if the power/heat are out can also help avoid freezing pipes. When water freezes, it expands, and this can cause water pipes to burst. Know how and where to shut off water valves if a pipe bursts.

4. Watch Out for Trees

Trees lose limbs and leaves annually, and they also grow wider and bigger annually. Thus it is important to inspect trees before winter and to remove any branches that could fall on a house, powerline, car or other structure. After the storm, it’s also important to be careful around trees. Ice can accumulate and cause limbs to snap and fall down. For your safety, watch out for trees when walking around the property or shoveling ice out of the driveway.

5. Be Mindful About Carbon Monoxide 

Carbon monoxide poisoning is dangerous and there can be a heightened possibility for it after an ice storm. You’ll need to check and clear out the areas where your furnace and other vents are located, in case ice or snow start to block the vents. If the power does go out, remember to turn off anything that runs on gas or propane. To receive an early warning if carbon monoxide does become present, install battery-operated carbon monoxide detectors in the home. 

6. Save Water, Then More Water

One way to save water is by filling bathtubs, sinks and kitchen pots with water before the power goes out. Water is necessary for staying hydrated, and it can also help you operate your home in many other ways. It could give a toilet enough pressure to flush and even for hygienic purposes such as brushing your teeth and cleaning. 

As you take steps to prepare your home for an ice storm this winter, remember to contact your OKFB Insurance agent and review your Home Insurance policy. Insurance claims are an important part of recovering from storm damage. Review your homeowners, renters, or business insurance policies to ensure you have appropriate coverage for your property and personal belongings. Photograph and inventory your property to assist with post-disaster claims.

Tips for Saving Money and Energy This Holiday

The holidays are around the corner and this time can be exciting as well as stressful. Getting into the holiday spirit is easy but following a holiday budget can be a little more difficult. To help keep you on track, here are some tips for saving money and energy that could help add some extra bucks into your pocket this holiday season.

1. Try Something New

Most people are looking for ways to save money during the holidays, so don’t be afraid to offer a new idea. You could propose a white elephant gift exchange so everybody is only in charge of bringing one gift. You could mix up the tradition or even get rid of gift-giving altogether. At the end of the day, this end of year period is about spending time with loved ones and showing them how important they are to you.

2. Make a Plan for Saving Money

It is too easy to walk into a store or get on a website with no plan in mind. This could cause impulse buying, which could lead to purchasing something that may not necessarily be needed. To prevent this, make a plan and/or a list for what you need to buy and then stick to the plan. Knowing what you’re looking for means you can search online for that product to find the best deal. 

3. DIY Your Heart Out

Gifts don’t have to be about giving the highest dollar amount. Gifts can be thoughtful and intentional, which can make for a pretty memorable gift. Fresh out of ideas? Pinterest is a great resource for fun and easy DIY holiday projects and gifts for the whole family, no matter your skill level. 

4. Don’t Forget to Check the Windows

Windows can be a big culprit for energy loss and drafts in the home. Check your windows by holding your hand in front of the window and seeing if you feel a breeze. For quick fixes, add plastic sheeting or window treatments with heavy lining to cover the space. Ultimately, you’ll want to caulk any gaps in the frame or hire a professional to do an inspection, which may result in the need for new energy-efficient windows. Investing in windows can lead to a reduction in heating bills and electricity costs. 

5. Ho, Ho, Oh No

Santa isn’t coming down the chimney until later in the year, so don’t forget to close the fireplace flue when not in use to keep your home warm and safe. If you do use the fireplace, remember to adjust the thermostat temperature accordingly. Lowering the thermostat a few degrees once a fire is started could help lower overall energy use.

6. The Thermostat Trick

During winter months, it is common to have the heater working on over-time because of the freezing temperature outdoors. However, this is sure to drive up any energy bill. Consider keeping the heater off or at least a few degrees cooler when nobody is home during the workday, or when you’re cozied up in bed at night, so that you can begin saving money. 

Enjoy your holidays with a little extra cash in your pocket, thanks to these tips! And as the year comes to a close, remember if any changes have been made, to contact your OKFB agent to ensure your home insurance policy is up-to-date and everything is covered.

How to File a Home Insurance Claim

At OKFB Insurance we want to help you prepare for the unexpected. We can try our best to prepare for ice storms, break-ins and try to prevent damages, but we can’t prevent everything. If you’ve never filed a claim or want a refresher on how to file a home insurance claim, see the steps below. 

1. Report Damages to Local Authorities

If there was a break-in, vandalism or another circumstance where the local authorities need to be notified, then reporting the incident should be the first step. The responding police or fire department will file a report of the incident. Be sure to ask for a copy of it as it can help with the next step: calling your home insurance company. 

2. Contact Your Home Insurance Company

If the incident is minor and was not reported to the authorities, you may want to review your home insurance policy to make sure it covers the damage you’re about to claim. At OKFB, the quickest way to do this, would be to sign in to your My Insurance Portal to review your policy. If the incident is covered, then calling your agent is the next step in this process. You can also call the new claims hotline at 1-877-632-2524 24/7 to start a new claim. 

3. Take Inventory and File a Home Insurance Claim

After calling your insurance agent, they will likely send over claims forms that need to be filled out. Remember before cleaning up the damage to take photos and look at your home inventory to see what is missing or broken. It’s important to provide as much detail on the claim form as possible to help expedite the process and ensure there aren’t an abundance of questions being asked later on. Remember to also take note of how long you have to submit a claim; every insurance company is different.

4. Conduct small repairs, if needed

If minor repairs are needed immediately to make the home habitable, take photos of the before and after. Additionally, save receipts and work with your agent to submit this documentation for reimbursement or actual cash value.

5. Have Your Phone Ringer On

Every claim is different, and some could require more communication. Ensure your agent has up-to-date contact information for your phone number and email address. It could also be helpful to have your phone ringer on, so you don’t miss any calls from the claim representative. 

We know this process can be stressful and we hope by providing these steps, it’s a little less so. Also, having a home insurance policy you can count on can help make this process easier. Contact your OKFB agent to make sure you have the right amount of protection in place, or for guidance in completing your home inventory checklist.