Letters to the Editor

11-15-19

Deer are common along Illinois roadways this time of year. Drivers should be alert and know how to respond when deer are nearby. Use the following strategies to reach your destination safely and avoid injury.

  • Wear a seat belt. Seat belts keep occupants from being tossed around following impact with a deer or other object.
  • Avoid distractions. Drivers may have very little time to react to a deer. Be alert at dawn, dusk and night-time hours when deer are most active. Pay extra attention when road signs indicate deer are common.
  • Honk. Deer travel in groups. Blast the horn if you see a deer near the roadway to scare others that may be nearby.
  • Use high beam headlights at night whenever possible.
  • Hit the deer rather than swerving or braking suddenly. You may lose control by abruptly changing vehicle direction. Better to hit the deer than a tree, post, or oncoming car.
  • Pull over to a safe place and call for assistance if you hit a deer. Request medical help for injuries. Do not get out to check on the animal. Stay inside your car until help comes or it is safe to move the vehicle.

People often turn to an insurance company to help with vehicle repairs following a deer-hit. Comprehensive insurance covers damage when there is direct contact with the deer. Swerving to avoid the deer and hitting another car or fixed object is a collision claim. Liability-only insurance provides no coverage for damage to your vehicle.

10-16-19

National Teen Driver Safety Week is October 20 - 26. An estimated six teen die in motor vehicle crashes each day according to the Center for Disease Control. Hundreds more are injured.

This sobering statistic should motivate parents, families, community members and all licensed motorists to be part of the solution. Teen driver safety is everyone's responsibility and National Teen Driver Safety Week is an ideal time to unite on this issue.

Start the conversation by supporting and raising awareness to teen driver safety initiatives. Talk about driving distractions and best practices to avoid them. Stress the importance of following speed limits, leaving adequate space between cars and adjusting to changing driving conditions. Urge young people to buckle up on every trip whether driving or riding as a passenger. Discourage teens from driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, including certain prescription and over-the-counter medications. Drowsiness impairs the driver's ability to operate a vehicle too. Encourage good sleep habits.

Inexperience is a factor in many teen driving accidents. Illinois' Graduated Driver Licensing law addresses this problem by requiring more supervised time behind the wheel for beginning drivers. Use this opportunity to help the young person in your family recognize and respond appropriately to hazardous driving situations.

We all benefit when teens are capable, skilled and careful drivers. The Illinois Insurance Association, a property casualty trade association, and its member companies encourage residents to discuss, encourage and model safe driving practices during National Teen Driver Safety Week and throughout the year.

Kevin J. Martin

Executive Director, Illinois Insurance Association

08-13-19

A new school year is about to begin. The Illinois Insurance Association, a state property casualty trade organization, and its member companies encourage motorists to drive carefully in the coming weeks.

Crashes involving children are most common between go-to-school and get-back-home hours. Use extra caution when driving between 7:00 a.m. - 9:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m.

Be alert to school buses. Children may need to cross the road when getting on or off the bus. Never pass a stopped school bus from either direction unless you are on the opposite side of a divided highway. Slow down in rural areas where higher speeds are often allowed.

Watch for walkers and bicycle riders. Children are unpredictable and may dart into the roadway from between parked vehicles. Reduce speed when children are nearby.

Keep an eye out for beginning motorists. Inexperienced drivers are vulnerable to making mistakes behind the wheel.

Commit to avoiding distractions each time you slide into the driver's seat. Illinois law prohibits the use of cell phones in school zones, but motorists lose focus for many other reasons. Keep hands on the steering wheel, eyes on the roadway and concentrate only on the task at hand.

Other tips to avoid injuring children on their way to and from school: obey the speed limit - especially in designated school zones; follow crossing guard instructions; never block crosswalks; respect school drop off and pick up rules for students.

Protect Illinois children by making school traffic safety a priority.

Kevin J. Martin

Executive Director, Illinois Insurance Association


06-17-19

The Fourth of July holiday is approaching fast. Independence Day is a time to celebrate, reflect on freedom and of course enjoy fireworks. Federal, state and local laws and ordinances restrict - and often prohibit the use of fireworks. Despite these limitations, hospitals treat thousands of firework-related injuries every year and fire departments respond to numerous fires related to hot sparks and falling debris.

Fireworks are explosive and extremely hot. Mishandling them can have life-altering consequences. The Illinois Insurance Association and its member companies urge families to leave firework displays to professionals. Residents resolved to putting on their own shows should keep the following points in mind:

  • Be familiar with federal, state and local laws related to fireworks.
  • Only adults should use fireworks. Firecrackers, reloadable shells, roman candles, bottle rockets and novelties may seem harmless, but they cause 41 percent of firework-related injuries according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. Another 19 percent are related to sparklers, which can burn at temperatures as high as 1200 to 2000 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Set off fireworks outside, in a clear, flat, open area clear of combustible debris.
  • Keep a water bucket or garden hose near the light-off location.
  • Use water to extinguish deployed fireworks and then place them in a metal trash can. Do not re-light duds. Soak the nonfunctioning firework in a water bucket before throwing it away.

The Illinois Insurance Association reminds residents to be cautious around fireworks in the coming weeks. Have a safe and happy holiday!

Kevin J. Martin

Executive Director, Illinois Insurance Association


04-01-19

An alarming number of Illinois State Police officers have been struck by motorists this year. Three have died. Knowing these crashes were preventable makes the statistics even more disturbing.

The Illinois Insurance Association and its member companies urge drivers to protect emergency responders by following traffic laws, avoiding distractions and never driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

Illinois’ rules of the road require drivers to yield, slow down, and if possible, change lanes when emergency vehicles are stopped along the roadside. Obey Scott’s Law and give first responders room to do their jobs!

Commit to not using your cell phone while in the driver’s seat. Adjust seat position, radio, temperature control and navigational system before leaving the driveway. Confirm all passengers are properly buckled. Pets should be inside a crate.Organize food, drinks, tolls and other items you might need to access during the trip. Fully engaged motorists are ready to react when unexpected weather, traffic or roadway situations arise.

Make safe driving your top priority. Everything else can wait. Let’s all do our part to protect first responders and improve Illinois’ highway crash statistics.

Kevin J. Martin

Executive Director, Illinois Insurance Association

03-20-19

Many parts of Illinois are currently or will soon be dealing with flooding as local waterways swell with melting snow and heavy rainfall. Just a few inches of excess water can make roadways dangerous and cause major property damage.

Flood safety begins with preparedness. Be familiar with the differences between flood and flash flood advisories, watches and warnings. Review flood safety procedures with your family. Flooding causes millions of dollars in damage each year. Victims face serious financial hardship.

Individuals can share the cost of flood-related repairs with an insurance company if appropriate insurance protection is in place before flooding occurs. Vehicle owners are covered for flood-related loss if the auto insurance policy includes comprehensive coverage on the damaged car.

Coverage for flood-related damage to dwellings and personal belongings is available, but only by purchasing a flood insurance policy. People often think homeowners insurance covers flood damage, but this is not the case. A separate, stand-alone flood insurance policy is the only way flood victims have guaranteed access to money for repairing flood-related damage to their homes and personal belongings.

Consider flood insurance even if your home is not located in a floodplain or has never flooded before. The Illinois Insurance Association and its member companies encourage residents to investigate flood insurance sooner rather than later as coverage begins 30 days after the policy's effective date. A local homeowners insurance agent can provide more specific details on cost, coverage options and restrictions.

Kevin J. Martin

Executive Director, Illinois Insurance Association

12-06-18

Victims of recent tornadoes that ravaged central Illinois will soon start rebuilding damaged property. The Illinois Insurance Association urges residents to be on the alert for scam artists posing as legitimate building contractors.

Illinois' Consumer Protection Against Storm Chasers Act protects citizens from those who would prey on them following a natural disaster. The law applies to storm-related repairs linked to insurance settlements. Contractors are prohibited from rebating or waiving the policy deductible and cannot represent or negotiate on behalf of the homeowner in the claim process. In addition, contractors must let committed homeowners know the repair contract can be canceled and provide the appropriate cancellation form.

The Storm Chasers Act allows homeowners to cancel the repair contract in five business days of receiving a denial letter from the insurance company. It also obligates the contractor to return the homeowner's advance payment, less emergency repair costs.

Roofing contractors must include their name and license number on bids, contracts, building permits, commercial vehicles and advertisements. In addition, Illinois roofers cannot lease their license numbers to out-of-state roofing contractors.

Storm victims can protect themselves from unscrupulous contractors by consulting with their insurance agents and adjusters. It is best to work with a familiar builder or one recommended by the insurer. Residents that believe they have been approached by someone engaging in a deceptive practice should contact the local State's Attorney Office.

Kevin J. Martin

Executive Director, Illinois Insurance Association

10-16-18

Nearly half of all teen drivers will experience a car crash before graduating from high school, and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) cites one of the main reasons being that parents are becoming less involved in training teen drivers after they receive their license and not regularly reinforcing teen driving safety measures.

A recent report released by the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) highlights that progress has been made in the last 10 years to curb the number of teen driver-related crashes, but teen drivers are still 1.6 times more likely to be involved in a car crash than adults.

Illinois has made important strides to improve teen driver safety, such as banning the hand-held use of mobile devices while driving and implementing a Graduated Driver Licensing (GDL) system that gives beginning drivers more supervised time behind the wheel before graduating to full licensure. As a result, teen driving fatality crashes have decreased by 60 percent in Illinois since 2008.

The Illinois Insurance Association (IIA) and its members recognize that while progress has been made, more needs to be done to protect teen drivers and their passengers. In the month of October and throughout the year, IIA continues to promote safe driving initiatives for teens such as the NHTSA’s “5 to Drive” campaign, which offers teen driver safety tips and highlights five practices statistically associated with safer outcomes: no drinking and driving, no distracted driving, no extra passengers, no speeding and consistent seatbelt use.

Kevin J. Martin

Executive Director, Illinois Insurance Association

06-29-18

Scorching temperatures, barbeques and fireworks. Heat naturally comes with the summertime, but fire-related injuries can be prevented. As the Fourth of July nears, insurers want to remind consumers that if safety precautions are taken summer heat doesn't have to lead to harm.

The Illinois Insurance Association joins the National Safety Council in encouraging families to enjoy fireworks at a public display conducted by professionals. But for consumers who choose celebrate at their home, we offer a few tips for safe firework displays:

  • Only adults should use fireworks.
  • Follow federal and state firework laws.
  • Use fireworks in clear, flat, open areas.
  • Extinguish and dispose of fireworks safely.
  • Know how to handle firework duds.

More fires are reported on July 4 than any other day of the year. According to the National Safety Council, fireworks cause on average 1,300 structure fires, 300 vehicle fires and nearly 17,000 other fires resulting in thousands of injuries every single year.

So, enjoy the heat, but take precautions to prevent fire-related injuries and property damage.

Kevin J. Martin

Executive Director, Illinois Insurance Association

04-03-18

Distracted driving - that's a teen issue, right? The Illinois Insurance Association wants you to rethink that assumption.

No matter your age, modern life offers a full menu of potential distractions every time you get behind the wheel. The one that succeeds in taking your eyes off the road might be a friend's text, but it could just as easily be a talkative co-worker, an email from the boss or the fast food in your lap.

April is Distracted Driving Month, and law enforcement, insurance companies and safety advocates have a clear message for Illinois' drivers - just drive.

Cell phone use increases drivers' risk of getting in an accident. That's why states like Illinois banned texting while driving. But while drivers' phone use has leveled off, traffic fatalities have increased since 2015.

Insurance companies don't know all the reasons this is happening. We do know many crashes are avoidable and that you reduce your risk by deciding not to drive distracted.

We also know that distractions can impair a driver's reaction time as much as having a blood alcohol content above the legal limit - and that conventional wisdom about which distractions are dangerous is not always accurate.

For example, a Texas A&M study found that voice-to-text is not significantly safer than manual texting, and AAA's Foundation for Traffic Safety determined drivers using hands-free devices are no less distracted than those holding phones.

There's only one foolproof way to combat the risks of distracted driving - just drive.

Elise Spriggs

Illinois Insurance Association Chairperson &

Regional Vice President, State Auto Insurance Companies

11-12-17

November is an active month for deer. Drivers may have very little time to react when deer linger, step onto, or leap across the roadway. The Illinois Insurance Association reminds motorists to be cautious during deer season. Keep the following tips in mind.

  • Always wear a seatbelt, and insist that passengers do the same.
  • Be vigilant, especially between 5:00 p.m. and 7:00 a.m. when deer are most active.
  • Drive with high beam headlights at night whenever possible.
  • Deer crossing signs are placed in areas where deer are common. Use caution in these areas.
  • Slow down, and honk the horn if a deer appears along the roadside. More are probably nearby.

If the deer cannot be avoided, hit the animal straight on rather than serving to avoid it. Apply brakes firmly, grasp the steering wheel tightly, and stay in your lane. Do not touch an injured deer. Call 911 to request medical assistance if anyone is hurt. Dodging the deer may cause you to lose control of the vehicle and crash into a bridge, post, tree, or oncoming car. Serious injuries and major vehicle damage are likely.

Keep in mind that a liability-only auto insurance policy does not pay for damage to your vehicle. Repairs from a deer crash are covered only if your auto insurance policy provides comprehensive coverage for the vehicle involved in the accident. The loss is a collision claim if you swerve to avoid the deer and hit a vehicle or other object.

Kevin J. Martin

Executive Director, Illinois Insurance Association

10-03-17

National Teen Driver Safety Week is October 15-21.

In 2015, nearly 2,000 teen drivers were involved in fatal traffic crashes nationwide. Almost 100,000 teen passengers or drivers were injured in motor vehicle collisions, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Excessive speed, impaired driving, and distracted driving were common factors in these crashes.

Illinois has done its part to reduce these numbers by banning hand-held mobile devices behind the wheel, and instituting a Graduated Driver Licensing system that gives teenagers more supervised driving time before full licensure. But motor vehicle crashes remain the leading cause of teen deaths, and tougher laws alone cannot prevent the tragic loss of young lives from motor vehicle accidents.

The Illinois Insurance Association (IIA) ad its members support safe driving initiatives such as the NHTSA's "5 to Drive" campaign. 5 to Drive offers tips for talking with teens about driving habits, and highlights five safe driving practices: 1) No drinking and driving; 2) No distracted driving; 3) No extra passengers; 4) No speeding; 5) Consistent seatbelt use.

Parents can also foster roadway safety by learning about Illinois' Graduated Driver Licensing (GDL) law and reinforcing its system of restrictions and consequences, including increasing freedom for teens who follow the rules and drive without violations.

It's going to take a collaborative effort to save the lives of teen drivers and their passengers. IIA will continue to support safe teen driving initiatives not only in the month of October, but all year long.

Kevin J. Martin

Executive Director, Illinois Insurance Association

09-14-17

September is the deadliest month for pedestrians under the age of 18. Forty percent of crashes involving youngsters occur between 3 p.m. and 7 p.m. when children make their way home from school and after-school activities.

The Illinois Insurance Association is reminding drivers to practice safe driving habits around schools, school buses and students on foot.

IIA suggests drivers observe the following back-to-school traffic safety rules:

  • Never pass a stopped school bus unless you are on the other side of a divided highway.
  • Leave at least 10 feet between your car and a school bus stopped ahead of you. Watch for children in the roadway before continuing your trip.
  • Follow school zone speed limits.
  • Be alert for crossing guards and children who may be distracted or crossing where there is no crosswalk.
  • Never block a crosswalk while stopped at a red light or waiting to turn.
  • Respect school rules when dropping off or picking up students. Don't double-park. Drop off children on the same side of the street as the school building.
  • Watch for children riding bicycles to and from school. Beware when approaching an intersection, preparing to back up and opening your car door.
  • Stay off the phone and avoid other distractions behind the wheel, especially in a school zone.
  • Teach your school-age children or grandchildren to cross only at crosswalks, obey crossing guards and remain alert - with headphones off and electronic devices put away - while walking or bicycling in high-traffic areas.

Kevin J. Martin

Executive Director, Illinois Insurance Association

07-14-17

It takes just a few inches of water to cause costly structural damage and ruin belongings. People often buy insurance to shift the cost of repairing and replacing unexpected property damage with an insurer. Those unfamiliar with their policy’s coverages may not realize that homeowners insurance does not cover flood-related property damage. Homeowners insurance policies exclude certain types of losses, and flood is among them.

Victims that have flood insurance should turn in a claim for damages as soon possible.

Vehicles may be damaged by flood waters as well. This type of loss is covered by auto insurance if the affected vehicle has comprehensive (also called other than collision) coverage.

Situations like this highlight the importance of verifying property insurance needs and coverages before damage occurs. Review the protection provided by your policy with your local agent. Be familiar with restrictions, limitations, deductibles, and coverage gaps. Buy additional coverage, such as flood insurance before a loss occurs.

Kevin J. Martin

Executive Director, Illinois Insurance Association

06-26-17

As the Fourth of July nears, the Illinois Insurance Association encourages everyone to prevent injuries, property damage and even death.

About 10,500 people were injured by fireworks, according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission’s most recent Annual Fireworks Report. Those injuries include 3,800 burns, 1,300 eye injuries, 800 trunk injuries and 11 deaths. Children comprise about ten percent of the total injuries in emergency rooms, and nearly 30% of overall fireworks-related injuries result from sparkler use.

The National Fire Protection Association estimates 15,600 reported fires to homes, vehicles and undeveloped land. In the CPSC’s 2014 Annual Fireworks Report, four of those 11 reported deaths occurred to people who were not doing fireworks themselves, but died in house fires caused by fireworks.

With all of this in mind, is lighting off your own fireworks worth the risk of dismemberment, permanent impairment or death to you, your family and loved ones, and your neighbors?

We want you to enjoy our national celebration of independence this Fourth of July, and we recognize that seeing fireworks is part of the traditional celebration. But we hope you’ll let the professionals – who are trained, tested and licensed – set off the fireworks.

If you still choose to do your own display, please buy legal fireworks and keep these safety tips in mind:

1) Never allow children to use fireworks, including sparklers;

2) Follow federal and state fireworks laws;

3) Use fireworks in clear, open areas;

4) Light fireworks on flat surfaces;

5) Have fire extinguishers and hoses ready;

6) Store and dispose of fireworks safely;

7) Know how to handle firework duds;

8) Light fireworks carefully;

9) Once lit, keep your distance;

10) Do not experiment with fireworks.

The Illinois Insurance Association also reminds residents they can access the Illinois Insurance Hotline if they have general questions about insurance. The Hotline can be reached at 1-800-444-3338 Monday through Friday or by email at insurancehotline@illinoisinsurance.org.

Kevin J. Martin

Executive Director, Illinois Insurance Association

05-16-17

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) and the Highway Loss Data Institute (HLDI) have spent decades studying the effects of increased highway speeds, and the results are clear: Increased speed means increased fatalities.

Yet, Senate Bill 2036 is sponsored by more than 20 state legislators, Republican and Democrat alike.SB2036 proposes raising the speed limit on suburban and rural interstates from 70 miles per hour to 75 mph.Speed limits on urban interstates would go from 55mph to 60mph.

A dangerous culture of speeding already exists. More than half of drivers surveyed admit to driving 15 mph over the speed limit at least once in the past month. When you think about that behavior, it’s no surprise that 37% of Illinois crash fatalities are a result of speeding.According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Illinois is well ahead of the national rate of 28%.Raising Illinois’ speed limits will only encourage this dangerous behavior.

We live in a world with physical realities and limits.Driver response time decreases as speed increases, and yet distractions continue; crash protections built into cars lose effectiveness at higher speeds; and as speed limits increase, the likelihood that drivers exceed the limit also increases.

Some people say that raising the speed limit to match the speed people are driving is safer. That story defies physical reality, and it defies what is known by transportation officials, police, and the insurance industry.

Given what is known about driving behavior and Illinois’ aging infrastructure, raising the posted speed limit to 75mph seems unethical – and a death sentence for more than 350 Illinoisans every year.For more information, see the National Safety Council’s blog: Speed kills: always has, always will.

Encourage your state legislator to vote “no” on SB2036.

Kevin J. Martin

Executive Director, Illinois Insurance Association

04-21-17

Face it – every time you get behind the wheel, you’re about to encounter potential dangers over which you have no control.

Traffic. Weather. Other drivers. They can all affect whether you get there safely – and all you can do is react to them as best you can.

But there are other risks that you, the driver, can take control of and eliminate. You have choices, and one of the most important is the choice you make to focus on the road and ignore the distractions competing for your attention.

The Illinois Insurance Association is partnering with law enforcement and community leaders in April to observe Distracted Driving Month. We’ve joined this effort because we know the devastating consequences of driving while distracted; 3,744 lives lost and 391,000 injuries in 2015 alone were attributed to crashes caused by distracted driving.

You may have heard that when you read or type an average text on the highway, you’re driving the length of a football field without looking at the road or the cars around you.

But texting isn’t the only dangerous distraction. Eating, adjusting the radio, setting your GPS or talking to passengers can just as easily impair your focus. A Texas A&M study found that voice-to-text is not significantly safer than manual texting, and AAA’s foundation for Traffic Safety discovered that reaction times slow and brain function is compromised even when drivers use hands-free technologies to accomplish tasks such as responding to emails. The bottom line is that when you’re driving, you have only one job that matters – getting to your destination safely. Everything else can wait.

IIA believes decreasing the death toll will require greater public awareness and consistent law enforcement. We also know the best line of defense is the good choices drivers like you can make every day.

Kevin J. Martin

Executive Director, Illinois Insurance Association

March 3, 2017

Dear Editor,

The strong storm that passed through southern Illinois and nearby communities earlier this week is a grim reminder of nature’s destructive power.

Illinois’ Consumer Protection Against Storm Chasers Act protects citizens from those who would prey on them following a natural disaster.The law applies to storm-related repairs linked to insurance settlements.Contractors are prohibited from rebating or waiving the policy deductible, and cannot represent or negotiate on behalf of the homeowner in the claim process.In addition, contractors must make homeowners aware of their right to cancel the repair contract and provide the appropriate form.

The Storm Chasers Act allows homeowners to cancel the repair contract within five business days of receiving a denial letter from the insurance company.It also obligates the contractor to return the homeowner’s advance payment, less emergency repair costs.

Roofing contractors must also include their name and license number on bids, contract, building permits, commercial vehicles, and advertisements.In addition, Illinois roofers cannot lease their license numbers to out of state roofing contractors.

Storm victims can protect themselves from scrupulous contractors by consulting with their insurance agents and adjusters.It is best to work with a familiar builder or one recommended by the insurer.Residents that believe they have been approached by someone engaging in a deceptive practice should contact the local State’s Attorney’s Office.

Kevin J. Martin

Executive Director, Illinois Insurance Association

October 17, 2016

Dear Editor:

Distracted and impaired driving are the leading causes of teen-driving fatalities, but they are 100 percent preventable.

In 2014, 2,679 teen drivers were involved in fatal traffic crashes, resulting in 3,004 deaths nationally. An estimated 123,000 teen passenger vehicle drivers were injured in motor vehicle traffic crashes, according to the National Traffic Safety Administration (NTSA).

While Illinois has done its part to help reduce these numbers by legislating a ban on the use of mobile devices while driving, laws are not going to be enough to stop these tragic events.

Teen driving safety education needs to become a top priority for parents and schools across the nation. The Illinois Insurance Association (IIA) and its members are committed to helping promote teen-safe driving initiatives such as the NTSA’s “5 to Drive” campaign, which helps parents teach their teen drivers about the rules of the road.

Parents play an important role in helping ensure their teens take smart steps to stay safe on the road by explaining all driving restrictions outlined in Illinois’ graduated driver licensing (GDL) law and the deadly consequences of unsafe driving practices.

The NHTSA “5 to Drive” campaign gives parents tips on how to talk about safe driving behaviors with their teens and address the five most dangerous and deadly driving behaviors for teen drivers: alcohol, lack of seat belt use, distracted driving, speeding, and extra passengers.

It is going to take a collaborative effort by government agencies, parents, schools and the insurance industry to help end these tragedies in Illinois and across the country. It is important that we continue to promote and support teen-safe driving initiatives not only in the month of October, but all year.

Kevin J. Martin

Executive Director, Illinois Insurance Association

June 29, 2016

Dear Editor,

Last year, the Office of the Illinois State Fire Marshal released a report that firework accidents led to 149 injuries and thousands of dollars in property damage. As the Fourth of July nears, the Illinois Insurance Association encourages residents to take precautions to prevent firework-related injuries and property damage.

Home fireworks can be dangerous. Keep the following safety tips in mind: 1) Only adults should use fireworks; 2) Follow federal and state firework laws; 3) Use fireworks in clear, open areas; 4) Light fireworks on flat surfaces; 5) Have fire extinguishers ready; 6) Store and dispose of fireworks safely; 7) Know how to handle firework duds; 8) Light fireworks carefully; 9) Once lit, keep you distance; 10) Do not experiment with fireworks.

The Illinois Insurance Association also reminds residents they can access the Illinois Insurance Hotline if they have general questions about insurance. The Hotline can be reached at 1-800-444-3338 Monday through Friday or by email at insurancehotline@illinoisinsurance.org.

Kevin J. Martin

Executive Director, Illinois Insurance Association