Valley Trust adds Lexington office

Valley Trust Insurance Group has added an office location in Lexington with the purchase of Wilhelm Insurance Agency.

Tim Wilhelm will join the team at Valley Trust, which has been offering insurance solutions to customers in the Shenandoah Valley for more than 50 years.

“We’re excited to expand our team and grow our relationships with individuals, businesses and farmers in Lexington,” said Mark Dorton, the co-owner of Valley Trust Insurance Group, which also has offices in Staunton, Verona and Buena Vista. “We look forward to building on the trust that customers have already built with Wilhelm for decades.”

Wilhelm Insurance Agency was founded in 1983. Tim Wilhelm, an alum of Lexington High School and Dabney S. Lancaster Community College, is licensed in property, casualty, life and health, and will be entering his 40th year in the insurance business in 2020.

“I’m looking forward to continuing to serve my policyholders in Lexington and Rockbridge County in a professional manner,” Wilhelm said.

Valley Trust Insurance Group sponsors Staunton Cybersecurity Event

Valley Trust Insurance Group is among the sponsors of an April 4 event promoting important information in cybersecurity for business.

The Staunton Cybersecurity Event will be held at the Stonewall Jackson Hotel in Downtown Staunton on Thursday, April 4, from noon-6 p.m.

The event is aimed at CFOs to give them the chance to learn from, and network with, key players in cybersecurity.

The event is also sponsored by E-N Computers, SVOE, Cisco and Ricoh.

Sign up for the event: click here.

Jodi Tibbs joins Valley Trust Insurance Group

Valley Trust Insurance Group announces Jodi Tibbs has joined its team of insurance professionals as a Commercial Account Executive.

Tibbs has worked in the insurance field for nearly two decades, working to facilitate education and compliance to area businesses and individuals. Her experience goes beyond just selling policies. As an advisor, she strives to regularly review coverage to ensure clients are getting appropriate coverage.

“I am excited to join the Valley Trust Insurance team,” said Tibbs. “I look forward to working to serve the local community and to connect with past and future clients.”

Tibbs is active with many local organizations including the Greater Augusta United Way, Augusta Regional Chamber of Commerce, National Association of Insurance Women and Staunton City Schools.

She graduated from Concord College with a degree in business and has lived and worked in the Shenandoah Valley for more than 20 years. She currently resides in Fishersville and is married to David, with one son, Adam.

Tibbs is licensed in Property and Casualty, Life and Health and holds a Benefits Consultant license.

“Jodi brings a wealth of insurance knowledge and expertise to our team,” said Mark Dorton, owner of Valley Trust Insurance Group. “She joins us to continue to build on our philosophy of developing a long-standing positive relationship with clients.”

Valley Trust Insurance is independently owned by Mark Dorton and Jake Schindler, and has more than 50 years of experience in Virginia with offices in Staunton, Verona and Buena Vista.

For more information or an insurance quote, call (540) 885-5531 or visit

Valley Trust adds Goodville Mutual Casualty Co. to portfolio

Valley Trust Insurance Group, with offices in Staunton, Verona and Buena Vista, now has additional coverage available to farmers through Goodville Mutual Casualty Co.

Goodville Mutual, headquartered in New Holland, Pa., is one of the nation’s leading providers of insurance coverage for the farm community. They also offer auto, home, business and insurance for churches.

Founded in 1926, Goodville Mutual has, for the past nine years running, been named among the top 50 property and casualty companies in the U.S. in the prestigious Ward Group survey of more than 3,000 insurance providers.

“We’re excited to be able to add coverage from Goodville Mutual to our portfolio and have more options for individuals, businesses and farmers throughout Virginia,” said Jake Schindler, the co-owner of Valley Trust Insurance Group, which has been providing for the insurance needs of Valley residents for nearly 50 years.

For more information on what Valley Trust has to offer including coverage through Goodville Mutual, call (540) 885-5531 or visit

Your stress-free guide to Thanksgiving travel

Thanksgiving is one of the busiest holidays for road trips. Whether you’re driving over the river or through the woods this holiday season, here’s what to know to safely (and sanely) arrive at your destination.


  • Get your car in gear. Now is the time to make sure you’re on schedule with oil changes, wheel alignments and any other services your car manufacturer recommends. Also, make sure your tires are properly inflated — cooler weather can make the pressure drop more than usual.
  • Master the art of not getting lost. Have all your addresses handy, and consider inputting them into your GPS before you set off. If you plan on using Internet-based map services like Google Maps, make sure to save the maps to your device — you never know when you’ll enter an area without service.
  • Bring backup chargers — and lots of them. Things can quickly go south when devices run out of power. Bring extra chargers — or, even better, invest in a multiple-port car charger.
  • Stock your emergency kit. To quote your mom, safety first. Even if you’re only traveling to the next town, it’s essential to have a fully stocked emergency kit, just in case.
  • Prepare for, “Are we there yet!?” Road trips with kids can create lasting family memories… but also test a parent’s patience. If you’re traveling with kiddos, make your trip more engaging with these 4 brilliant ways to keep kids occupied on road trips. 
  • Don’t forget your furry friends! Traveling with Fluffy or Rover? Then make sure you have a safe pet harness and/or pet carrier and a pet kit full of food, bottled water, toys and any necessary medications.


Here are five apps travel gurus rely on:

  • GasBuddy to locate the cheapest fuel wherever you are.
  • Roadfood to forgo rest stop food in favor of memorable small-town eats along the way.
  • Sit or Squat to learn which public restrooms are clean—and which aren’t.
  • iExit to find out what kind of food, fuel and lodging is available at upcoming exits.
  • Waze to get real-time traffic updates along your route.


Picture this: You get a flat tire… but there’s still 200 miles to go before you’re home for the holidays. Do you know who to call for help?

A flat tire, lockout or a dead battery is a major hassle anytime, but especially during holiday travel. Fortunately, ERIE offers 24/7 Roadside Assistance that pays for reasonable auto towing and required labor costs at the site of your vehicle breakdown. (Yes… even at 2 a.m. on Black Friday.)

Emergency Road Service* is an optional add-on to your auto insurancepolicy that’s available with the purchase of comprehensive coverage. Better yet? It only costs about $5 per vehicle per year.

Find an Erie Insurance agent to ask about adding it to your auto policy, or learn more about how Road Service works.


Check out these other helpful stories from the Eriesense blog:

From the simple pleasures of being together to time-honored family traditions… Thanksgiving is about making memories with the people you love. Enjoy yours, and travel safe!

*Restrictions apply in North Carolina. This program does not cover accident-related towing.

What determines the price of my auto insurance?

Maybe you’ve been there before. Something changed in your life – you bought a new car, moved into a new neighborhood or started a new job…then, one day, you notice what you pay for auto insurance changes. Why does that happen?

Ultimately, what ends up on your insurance bill depends largely on both what you drive and how you drive… as well as other things related to your overall life. While every insurer handles things a little differently, here are the most common things that affect the price of your auto premium.


Safety ratings
Vehicle safety ratings are determined through tests and evaluations by the auto industry and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Insurance companies supplement that information by collecting large amounts of data from customer claims. Safer vehicles are often less expensive to insure. Meanwhile, some insurers increase premiums for cars that have poor safety records and are more susceptible to damage or occupant injury.

Related: These 15 cars earned the highest safety rating in 2018

Newer model or popular favorite?
Insurance companies carefully track data on vehicles to determine which makes and models are more prone to mechanical or safety issues.

The longer an insurance company insures a type or model of car, the more data it has to determine fair pricing. If the vehicle has built a solid track record over several years, odds are it will insure at a reasonable rate, and stay stable over time. Conversely, vehicles with poor safety history, a short track record, or those that are a favorite target for thieves will be costlier to insure.

Related: The one insurance add-on every new car needs

Cost of maintenance and repairs
Information about the cars that are cheapest to maintain and service can also be a good indicator of the most-affordable cars to insure. Vehicles that have lower reliability ratings can be a warning light of potentially higher insurance costs, because insurance companies take the data about maintenance and service of specific models into consideration when determining premium rates.

Size matters
You may think a smaller car means a smaller insurance premium. But not so fast. In an accident, larger vehicles tend to fare better – and keep occupants safer – than smaller vehicles. That can translate to lower premiums for a larger vehicle.

Anti-theft devices
If your car has an alarm, a tracking device to help police recover it, or another theft deterrent, it’s less attractive to thieves… and less expensive to insure, too.

Related: My car was broken into. What do I do now?



As we mentioned, it’s not just about the car, but also the driver. Here are some key ways how you drive can factor into insurance pricing.

Your driving history
Your track record on the road can have a direct impact on your wallet when it comes to insurance. Insurance companies have found that past performance often does foretell future results. If you’ve had speeding tickets or accidents, or other violations within the last few years, your auto insurance rate may be higher than if you have a spotless driving record.

Related: Are you eligible for these 7 auto insurance discounts?

How much you drive
Are you a road warrior, or a homebody? The difference will show up in your premium rates. Someone who drives only a few miles a week will likely pay less for auto insurance than someone who covers hundreds of miles most weeks. It just makes sense, the more time on the road increases the chances of being involved in a crash or sustaining damage to your car.

Related: How to keep your high-mileage car running



Your credit history
Research has shown that good credit is connected to good driving – and vice versa. Certain credit information can be predictive of future insurance claims. When permissible, many insurance companies use credit history to help determine the cost of car insurance. The bottom line: Good credit can have a positive impact on the cost of your car insurance.

Related: 6 reasons you’ll love having an insurance agent

Your age, sex, and marital status
Crash rates are higher for all drivers under age 25, especially single males. Insurance prices in most states reflect these differences. If you’re a student, you might also be in line for a discount. Most car insurers provide discounts to student-drivers who take driver-safety training and start building a safe driving record.

Related: Answers to common questions about insuring teen drivers

Where you live
One key factor that goes into insurance pricing is largely out of your control – at least in the short-term. That’s where you live. Generally, due to higher rates of vandalism, theft, and crashes, drivers in more densely populated areas may pay more for car insurance. If you do live in a higher cost insurance area, make sure to pay close attention to the other factors that you can control. An ERIE agent can help.

Doing your homework makes a difference
It’s no fun getting an unexpected surprise about insurance costs. By doing some homework upfront about potential auto insurance rates, you can make informed decisions and better understand why your rates go up or down.

Better yet? You don’t have to do it alone.

Erie Insurance agents are here to help you understand and navigate all the variables that impact your rates. Find a local ERIE agent in your neighborhood to understand what coverage you’re buying, why it matters and how it works.

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