Spreng-Smith Agency

Your trusted resource for insurance products and risk-management advice in Ashland, North Central Ohio and beyond.

Small Business Winter Risks: Avoid Problems That Bring Your Business to a Halt

Ice and snow, power outages and extreme temperatures are just a few perils that pose significant challenges for small businesses. Small business winter risks put your customers in danger, and can put your business in a vulnerable position for liability suits. Know the risks and how to circumvent problems.small business winter risks

Snow removal

Prompt removal of snow from parking lots and sidewalks keeps customers and tenants safe from slipping and falling on ice, and it also prevents people from tracking snow into your buildings, where it melts and then creates another hazard. Develop a strategy to respond to snow and ice. Have enough salt and shovels on hand, designate employees to remove snow and apply salt as necessary or hire out the job.

Safety equipment

Fire protection devices such as sprinklers and extinguishers are especially vulnerable in colder temperatures. Make sure you schedule annual maintenance for the equipment to ensure it’s in good working condition.

HVAC system

Your business’ furnace plays a vital role in winter, especially if you store or manufacture sensitive equipment. Ensure the building maintains a consistent temperature by replacing an outdated furnace and servicing the heater every fall. Do the same for water heaters, boilers and ventilation systems.


Review your business insurance annually with your local, independent insurance agent. Discuss liability limits and premiums, and investigate additional coverages like business interruption insurance and water damage policies.

Where do you see weaknesses in your business’ insurance? Do you need to talk to an expert about mitigating small business winter risks? Talk to the professionals at the Spreng-Smith Agency about insurance coverages for your business. We’re happy to walk our neighbors in North Central Ohio through the options for protecting personal and business property, or upgrading auto insurance or home insurance.

Tell us: Do you hold additional insurance coverages for perils like snow hazards or loss of business?



Winter Safety Precautions for Businesses and Homeowners

Over the winter season, homeowners and business owners will contend with power outages, heavy snowfalls and icy conditions. Staying safe involves following winter safety precautions like keeping sidewalks clear, purchasing generators and investing in home and business insurance. Whether or not you stick around for the entire winter or close up shop after the holidays, there’s one danger to which no one is immune: frozen pipes.

When pipes freeze

When temperatures drop, the pipes in your residence or place of business become vulnerable to freezing. When pipes get so cold that they freeze, the water resting inside of them starts to expand. The expanding water exerts pressure on the pipes, and eventually, they crack and burst. When that happens, liquid water behind the frozen blockage runs out of the pipes at great speed, with gallons and gallons of water filling your basement or place of business.

Mitigating damage

Whether a residence or business, there are steps you can take to mitigate the risks of pipes freezing. These include:

  • Checking on pipes that run on the perimeter of your home. The exterior walls of your building are usually colder than the interior, so pipes running along these areas will freeze quickly. Consider insulating these pipes so they’re protected from extreme temperatures.
  • If you know temperatures are going to drop, open the faucets that connect to exterior-facing pipes and let them drip just a bit. This action helps to prevent the water from freezing.
  • Open under-sink cabinet doors to let heat circulate around the pipes.winter safety precautions
  • Find out how deeply your main water main to the building is buried. If it’s not below the frost line, your pipes will be more vulnerable to freezing. For pipes above the frost line, keep several faucets open when temperatures are 20 degrees or lower.
  • When you go out of town or close the business for the weekend, keep the building’s temperature higher to avoid problems, drain water from the pipes, shut off the main water source, and/or have someone keep an eye on the pipes’ condition.
  • Purchase insurance. The right insurance coverage for water damage helps pay for expenses related to repairing your building’s structure and replacing water-damaged items.

Be a savvy building owner this winter and take the necessary precautions to prevent water damage from frozen pipes. Talk to the professionals at the Spreng-Smith Agency about securing insurance coverage for water damage to your home or business. We’re happy to walk our neighbors in North Central Ohio through the options for protecting personal and business property, or upgrading auto insurance or home insurance.

Tell us: What steps do you take to protect your building’s pipes during the winter?



Plans for Online Holiday Shopping Should Include Safety Precautions

It’s convenient.

It’s full of deals and discounts.

But it’s not always safe.

Online holiday shopping has revolutionized the way many consumers shop for the holidays. From the comfort of your couch, you can purchase toys, books, clothing, electronics—the options are endless. Americans are expected to spend over $46 billion on holiday shopping, which accounts for nearly 25 percent of the year’s total spending.

online holiday shopping

Millennials are tech-savvy and we can learn a lot from their internet behaviors. When it comes to internet security, millennials:

  • Regularly change their password or privacy settings on social media platforms.
  • Password-protect their mobile devices.
  • Have high levels of concern for getting hacked or having their identity stolen.
  • Are worried about clicking on a malicious email link.
  • Have already experienced online identity theft, credit card theft, or infected device.

Take note of what millienials do to support safe online shopping behaviors to protect your online identity and personal credit card information. It’s important to know the risks involved with online shopping during the holidays and have a heightened concern for the possibility of getting hacked or clicking on a malicious link. Here are some more tips for staying safe:

  • Don’t connect to public Wi-Fi to do your shopping.
  • Don’t plug a USB stick into your device unless you’re sure it’s safe.
  • Update the security software on all of your devices (smartphones, tablets, laptops, etc.)
  • Take a few moments before making a purchase to properly vet the site’s security.
  • Regularly check your credit card and bank statements to catch suspicious activity right away.

Identity theft is just one concern that online and mobile shoppers must consider this holiday season. Avoid the headaches that follow cyber-attacks and data breaches. Invest in insurance that mitigates your risk and reduces financial losses, and call Spreng-Smith Agency today! We’re happy to walk our neighbors in North Central Ohio through options for protecting personal and business property, or upgrading auto insurance or home insurance.

Tell us: What precautions do you take when shopping online for the holidays?




Will Insurance Cover a Loss of Power in Your Home or Business?

Did you know that if you lose power in your home or business, you also run the risk of damage? Before the winter storms hit, and the possibility of frozen, downed power lines and electrical outages increase, check that you have the right coverage for your home or business.

loss of power in your home

Residential coverage

Many carriers don’t cover damage to home that’s cause by failure of utilities. That means that if you lose a freezer due to power loss or all of your food spoils in the fridge, you won’t receive compensation for it. It is possible, however, to get coverage for events like these by adding an endorsement or additional coverage to your homeowners’ insurance policy.

Talk to your local, independent insurance agent about your options, and make sure you have the coverage you need to survive a loss of power in your home.

Business coverage

When a business loses power, it’s not only highly inconvenient; it can be quite costly, too. Loss of business income and having to close your doors due to a power outage can especially cripple a small business. As with residential coverage, some carriers don’t include damage due to loss of power as a standard component of business insurance.

Talk to your agent about your existing coverage, and make sure to add critical, essential coverages like business interruption insurance and utility service outages.

As harsh, cold weather heads our way, residents and businesses in North Central Ohio are gearing up to batten down the hatches, ready for whatever Mother Nature throws our way. Make sure you’re ready for a loss of power in your home or business, and talk to an expert at Spreng-Smith Agency today! We’re happy to help our neighbors in North Central Ohio with homeowner’s insurance, auto coverage, and health insurance, as well as comprehensive business insurance.

Tell us: When did you last review insurance coverage with your agent?


7 Holiday Shopping Safety Tips for Online Shoppers

Are you among the 70 percent of Americans that plan to shop online this holiday season? Online shopping is generally safe; however, there are opportunities for identity and financial theft, just like there is in stores. Be aware of internet, email and mobile scams before shopping this season and know how to protect yourself.


Here are seven tips to follow:

  1. The more devices you use, the more opportunities there are for scammers to get a hold of your valuable financial information. Keep the systems on your smartphone, laptop and tablet up to date at all times.
  2. Be wary of a site that asks you for personal information or credit card information—unless you’re making a purchase and the site is safe.
  3. Only purchase through the internet or a mobile if the site is secure, has “https” in front of the URL, and a symbol of a lock at the head of the URL.
  4. Avoid clicking on links on social media platforms, one place where scammers are hoping to catch shoppers off guard.
  5. Be wary of the apps you download, too, as scammers are using malicious applications to steal information there, too. Only download trusted apps.
  6. Use hefty doses of doubt if you receive special offers via email. Most likely, there are phishing scams hoping to get your financial information in exchange for the false lure of a high-priced item.
  7. Avoid falling for messages that entice consumers with contests to win an iPad or other such offer. They are generally a way for scammers to get you to click through or give up personal information.

Online and mobile shopping is ultra convenient and a generally safe avenue from which you can easily purchase holiday gifts—without leaving the comfort of your couch. To stay safe, follow these tips and use common sense when making online purchases. If you have questions about home insurance, or you’re heading out of state for the holidays, contact Spreng-Smith Agency today! We’re happy to walk our neighbors in North Central Ohio through options for upgrading auto insurance or home insurance. Just give us a call today!

Tell us: Have you been the victim of fraud from online shopping?



9 Thanksgiving Travel Safety Tips

Thanksgiving is a time for food, family and fun, but it’s also one of the weekends in which people hit the roads en masse and more road accidents happen. This is definitely a time when being on high alert while driving is a must.Thanksgiving Travel Safety


Thanksgiving Travel Safety

Before you set out on a road trip, take the time to check that your insurance is up to date, and then follow these Thanksgiving travel safety tips:

  1. Make sure your vehicle is in good condition, and give it an oil change and check the tire pressure before getting on the road.
  2. Slow down in work zones and follow recommended speed signs.
  3. Always wear your seat belt.
  4. Be on the lookout for impaired drivers, and use caution when you suspect one is in your vicinity.
  5. Minimize distractions while driving, and limit activities like using cellphones and listening to loud music.
  6. Don’t drive if you’re tired. Pull off the road and take a break, or switch drivers to remain safe.
  7. Keep a safe distance between your vehicle and the one ahead of you.
  8. Always use headlights once it becomes dusk.
  9. Keep an emergency preparedness kit in the car, which can include snacks, water, blankets, a first-aid kit and flat-tire repair kit.

Special memories are made with family and friends during the holidays. Be sure that you follow optimal road trip safety guidelines, and stay alert and ready to respond when you’re behind the wheel. If you have questions about car insurance or you want to increase your liability limit before you head out, contact the experts at Spreng-Smith Agency today! We’re happy to help our neighbors in North Central Ohio with homeowner’s insurance, auto coverage and health insurance.

Tell us: What tasks do you perform before heading out on a road trip during the holidays?


Home Holiday Prep: You’re Buying Gifts, but What About Fire Safety?

One of the best parts about home holiday prep is breaking routine and spending time with friends and family. But the perks of the holiday season are precisely what can lead to higher risk, and in many households around North Central Ohio, a break in routine means a higher risk for fire.

The numbers

Research shows that fire risk increases around the holiday:

  • Fire claims increase by around 40 percent during the holiday season.
  • Homeowners are also more likely to experience a fire during the holidays.

Want to know where the highest risk for fire hazards lie? Here’s what you need to know:home holiday fire safety

  • Candles are the number one starters of holiday fires.
  • During the holidays, homes experience more fires caused by turkey fryers than another other time of the year.
  • Over New Year’s Day, the industry sees firework claims increase dramatically.
  • Christmas trees can cause costly damage, on average, Christmas tree-related damage is $100,000.
  • The biggest holiday claim expense is due to artificial Christmas trees.

Preventing holiday fires in your home

Awareness of the risks goes a long way toward preventing fires. As you plan for and engage in holiday activities, keep in mind that risk increase when you:

  • Try to do too many activities as once.
  • Attempt to cook something new.
  • Drink alcohol.
  • Adjust your daily routine.

The good news about home holiday prep is that you don’t have to abandon the fun times to stay safe. Increase your alert level to the risk of fire, and talk to your family about the risks. Then, as you decorate the tree or cook a special Christmas dinner, keep your eye on candles, electrical hazards and so forth. For more information about fire safety or home fire insurance, talk to the experts at Spreng-Smith Agency today! One of our friendly professionals is happy to help walk you through fire insurance coverage and cost options. Just give us a call today! We’re happy to help our neighbors in North Central Ohio with homeowner’s insurance, auto coverage, and health insurance. Just give us a call today!

Tell us: Have you ever had to deal with a holiday fire?


Disability Insurance: Your Last Line of Defense

Did you know that disability insurance offers consumers a layer of protection when social security disability and worker’s compensation fail? Have you thought through how you (and your family) would survive if you didn’t have a consistent income coming in? If you are hurt off the job and not able to work, the best way to avoid financial ruin is to secure disability insurance.

Social security

Social security disability is a great option—if you qualify. In order to claim these benefits, however, you have to meet the government’s strict definition of eligibility. First, you would have had to contributed into the social security “pot,” having past jobs that were covered by social security. To qualify, you also have to get a medical diagnosis that defines you as as unable to work at all—not just unable to do the work you currently do.

disability insurance

Workers’ compensation

These benefits cover an accident or incident on the job that leads to an injury. But what if you aren’t hurt at work? What if you are injured in a car accident and you can no longer perform manual labor or sit at a desk?

Disability insurance

Disability insurance provides the net that people need when they don’t qualify for social security benefits or workers’ compensation. It typically won’t replace 100 percent of your income, but it will cover between 45 to 65 percent of it and help keep your household above water during financially challenging times.

Get in touch with a disability insurance specialist to talk through your options. You should know how the various options work, exploring social security disability programs and workers’ compensation before selecting disability insurance. At Spreng-Smith Agency, our friendly professionals are happy to help walk you through the available options, run the numbers and explain the coverage options. Just give us a call today! We’re happy to help our neighbors in North Central Ohio with homeowner’s insurance, auto coverage and health insurance. Just give us a call today!

Tell us: Do you currently hold disability insurance?


College Student Insurance: The Basics

If you’re still reeling from sending your child off to college for the first—or last—time, you can take comfort in knowing that your student is covered in case of an unforeseen accident, theft or health problem. That is, if you have the right insurance.

Here’s a guide to must-have college student insurance. If your student isn’t covered, it’s not too late to get your ducks in a row.

college student insuranceInsurance for personal belongings

Your student likely has valuable belongings on campus, such as a laptop, electronics and a smartphone, as well as household items, jewelry and so forth. If you have a homeowner’s policy, check to see if your child is still covered under that policy. If he/she isn’t, you can purchase renter’s insurance, which will cover the belongings and offer liability protection.

Insurance for a vehicle

Unless your child doesn’t have a vehicle at college, and you’re sure that he or she won’t be driving anyone else’s vehicle, you need to ensure vehicle coverage is up-to-date. Liability and uninsured motorist coverage are a must. Check with your insurance agent to find out if a current policy will cover your student under these new circumstances, and in a new location.

Insurance for health

Today’s students are generally covered under their parent’s health insurance policy, if they have one, until the age of 26 — or even 30 if the student is a veteran. You might want to call your insurance company and discuss what-ifs for coverage, especially if your son or daughter is in a different city or state. You’ll want to know what you’re facing if your child needs out-of-network health care.

If you don’t have coverage, talk to your insurance agent about options for students under the Health Insurance Marketplace or student health insurance through the school.

Health insurance expenses, theft of personal belongings, and an uninsured accident are the last things you want to worry about when your student is at college. Make sure your child has appropriate coverage for personal belongings, a vehicle and health. For more information about college student insurance needs, contact Spreng-Smith Agency today! We’re happy to help our neighbors in North Central Ohio with homeowner’s insurance, auto coverage, and health insurance. Just give us a call today!

Tell us: What kind of coverage does your college student have for personal belongings, auto or health?


Long-Term Care Insurance and Finding a Facility: An FAQ

Health insurance is vital as we age, and as our loved ones grow older, too. But long-term care insurance is just as important to securing a comfortable future. Finding a facility in which to spend our last days is another component. Here’s an FAQ covering long-term care insurance and factors to consider that will help when the time comes to choose a facility or a policy.

long-term care insurance Insurance FAQs

What does long-term care insurance cost?

The cost varies depending on the age you are when you purchase it, how much the policy pays out per day, the total number of days the policy covers, and its lifetime amount. Talk to your insurance agent for specifics about terms and premiums.

Are policies generally the same when it comes to daily payout?

Some have strict limits on the length they will pay and the daily costs they will cover, while others will pay for benefits as long as you live.

Once I purchase insurance, can my rates increase?

In most cases, insurance carriers can increase premiums, so check into the carrier’s rate-increase history before purchasing.

Facility FAQs

How can I compare facilities?

The site medicare.gov allows consumers to compare facilities. Make sure you look for an apples-to-apples comparison, though. For example, check the costs of assisted living facilities that are the same size.

What makes for a great assisted living facility?

A good nursing home that cares for the elderly will have few violations when it comes to factors like abandoning residents, bed sores and medication errors. Good facilities will also have minimal turnover for staff. If it’s good, the staff tends to stick around.

What’s the best way to choose a facility?

Insist on a site visit, and look for factors such as roominess, brightness, wheelchair accessibility, personal care factors (such as private rooms and private bathrooms), the friendliness of staff, the staff-to-patient ratio and so forth.

Deciding on a facility for your loved one? It’s a difficult decision, and one that you should investigate thoroughly. If you have good long-term care insurance, it’ll go a long way toward giving you options when choosing a facility. For more information about long-term care insurance or facilities, contact Spreng-Smith Agency today! We’re happy to help our neighbors in North Central Ohio with homeowner’s insurance, auto coverage, and health insurance. Just give us a call today!

Tell us: Do you presently have long-term care insurance? Do you have some insight you can share about choosing a good facility?


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