Teen Driver Safety Week

Do you know what the #1 cause of death is for teens in the USA?  Car accidents.  Why do teens tend to have so many fatal car accidents?  This video has some of the answers-

Parents have a huge responsibility when it comes to their teens getting behind the wheel, responsibility, and fear.

Never fear!  We know of an outstanding defensive driving course, we offer affordable first-time driver insurance coverage,  and there are THE RULES

Making sure that your teenager has affordable, quality car insurance is just one of the things that we do really well, and we know all of the tips and tricks to “insure” that you have the coverage you need.  If you have questions about insuring your teen driver, give Hudson Valley Agents a call, 845-778-2141.  #teendriversafety  #insurelocal  #HudsonValleyInsurance

Is Your Insurance Ready For Hurricane Season?

As I write this Hurricane Florence is predicted to hit the Carolina’s, and evacuation plans are already in place.  We truly hope that everyone in its path remains safe.

Hurricanes rarely impact those of us in the Hudson Valley, but remember Hurricane Irene and all the damage that arrived with her?  When the winds and rains hit, they leave behind destruction that the average homeowner never expected and many people find that their insurance does not cover some pretty major expenses.

We want our fellow Hudson Valley residents to be prepared, everyone from Westchester to Albany should know what their insurance will and will not cover in the event of a hurricane.

HOMEOWNERS-

  • Flooding.  Flooding by rivers, ponds, and lakes are only covered if you have already purchased a separate flood policy.
  • Tree removal. You must purchase a separate endorsement to cover this.
  • Back up of sewer and drains.  This is not standard on every homeowners policy, but many independent insurance agents will make sure they add it on.  Double check your policy or contact your agent for details.
  • Mold removal.  Mold removal is complicated, it is usually covered by insurance but your agent needs to discuss the hows, whens, and whys.

CAR INSURANCE

  • Flooding.  This is covered by the Comprehensive part of your Comp and Collision coverage.  If you are carrying the New York State minimum amount of insurance coverage, then all costs to fix this will be out of pocket.
  • Damage to your car by falling trees.  This is also covered by the Comprehensive portion of your Comp and Collision coverage.  Everyone else will have to pay their repair bills out of pocket.

Many insurance companies will not allow you to add extra coverage to your existing policy if there is a storm predicted to hit the area.  The best time to purchase additional insurance coverage is before the event is predicted, not afterward.

The time to ensure that your home and car is properly insured is right now, not the day before the hurricane is supposed to hit, we can help with that.  Call Hudson Valley Agents today for fast, friendly, affordable insurance coverage that actually covers what you need covered.

Youtube your way to insurance knowledge

Our Youtube channel has many fun and informational videos to answer many of your insurance questions.

Like this one about why some car insurance rates are higher than others –

#lowcarinsurancerates

Or this one, it’s all about UFO’s visiting Pine Bush –

Motorcycle insurance questions?  We have answers!

#motorcycleinsurance

Opening up a new distillery in the Hudson Valley?  We can help with that too!

#distilleryinsurance

Get to know Hudson Valley Agents, find out what a local, independent insurance agency can do for you –

College students and insurance, what you need to know

Graduation day has come and gone; now it’s time to look towards college and how these changes can impact your home and auto insurance.

Let’s look at your homeowner’s insurance first:

THE GOOD NEWS

  • 9 times out of 10 your current homeowners’ policy will cover losses that occur while your child is living on campus.  Many companies will not honor this if your child is over the age of 21.
  • If your child is staying off campus but still in New York state, many companies will still allow your homeowners’ policy to cover them, but they would prefer that a separate renters policy is taken out.

THE BAD NEWS

  • If your student’s dorm room is flooded or catches fire, you have a limited amount of money that your insurance company will pay out.  That amount is anywhere between $1,500 and $2,500 unless you took the time to schedule your electronics or requested an additional endorsement, you might not be able to replace all the items that were lost or damaged.  A brand new Mac Book costs $1,299.  A new iPhone can run $1,000 easily and don’t get me started on the cost of textbooks…
  • If your student is enrolled in a technical school, there is a good chance that your homeowners insurance will NOT extend to their living arrangements while attending school.
  • If your student is living off campus and out of state, they really need a renters policy.
  • 90% of insurance companies do not extend coverage to college students over the age of 21.

Now let’s look at your car insurance.

THE GOOD NEWS

  • If your teen has their own car but is on your car insurance and leaves the car at home (meaning that it will not be driven by anyone else until he/she comes home from college), your agent can change your coverage to reflect that.  This can lower your monthly costs.

THE BAD NEWS

  • There’s no bad news.

The first year away at college is daunting to both parents and students alike.  The one thing you shouldn’t have to worry about is your insurance coverage.  Hudson Valley Agents has been helping Hudson Valley parents ensure that they and their students have insurance coverage that actually covers the things that matter most.

Congratulations to all of the Class of 2018, good luck in all that you do!

#classof2018  #homeownersinsurance  #carinsurance  #hudsonvalleyagents  #insurelocal  #hudsonvalleyinsurance #rentersinsurance

 

Happy Insurance Awareness Day!

Happy Insurance Awareness Day!

Exciting stuff, right?

Maybe not, but it IS essential that you periodically review your personal and/or business insurance coverage. Preferably before renewal or whenever a major life or business change occurs.

Before I became an insurance agent, I took my own insurance for granted. It was simply a ‘box to check’ on life’s long list of must-dos. But it literally pays off to pay attention.

For example, as a Hudson Valley business owner, your annual payroll and gross sales help determine your premium. If you’ve grown 100% and added 15 employees and your policy is still based on the figures you gave your agent three years ago as a start-up – you could incur a stiff workers compensation penalty or premium bump.

Or say you’ve added some new and very expensive manufacturing equipment. Make sure to increase your coverage so you don’t have to pay that hefty price tag twice when the business unexpectedly floods and your new equipment is destroyed.

And don’t even get me started on cyber liability. Small businesses are increasingly targeted for data breach thefts because they are more likely to process credit cards without the data protection in place of larger businesses. If you take credit cards or store customer information, you need cyber liability.

On the personal insurance front, if you are a homeowner and you’ve built a tiny house for your mother-in-law to live in on your property, but you’re only covered for your original one-car garage for ‘other structures’ – you’ll be sadly disappointed when a huge old tree falls on the tiny house (hopefully while she’s away) and you find you’re not fully covered.

There are also set limits of coverage for your special household items, including silver, artwork, jewelry, and more. If your policy only covers $2,000 for jewelry and you inherit your eccentric (yet lovable) great-aunt’s collection of vintage Tiffany brooches, you’ll need to add a jewelry endorsement to cover the full value.

Circumstances and changes that may not occur to you can greatly impact your coverage and, in some cases, can end up saving you money. Defensive driving courses, reaching a certain age, and even getting a degree can end up lowering your premium, depending on your carrier.

It only takes about 15 minutes to review your coverage(s) with your independent insurance agent (like us, Hudson Valley Agents). We’re here to help you make sure you’ve got the best and most appropriate coverage at the best rate.

It’s your insurance – make sure it’s working for you and not against you.

 #insurelocal  #HudsonValleyInsurance  #HudsonValleyAgents

Philip J. Bender-Tymon

Why is my car insurance so expensive?

Everyone has wondered why their car insurance is so expensive, everyone. Your Uncle Joe’s neighbor’s best friend only pays $19.99 a month for his brand new SUV, why are you paying $200 for a 2010 Peugeot? The answer makes more sense than you might think.

Uncle’s Joe’s neighbor’s best friend, for simplicity, let’s call him Uncle Joe’s Neighbor, might have a perfect credit score, a spotless driving record, and live in a low traffic area (like Rosendale NY), and drive a 2018 Honda. Also, Uncle Joe’s neighbor is most likely telling “fish tales.” You know, embellishing, because nobody pays $19.99 a month for car insurance anywhere in NY, but we’ve all heard these stories though am I right

Also, Your credit score might be 380, you have a ticket maybe an accident on your driving record, and you might be living and driving your 2010 Peugeot in Newburgh NY. These things all change how the car insurance companies look at your rates.

 

Let me explain:

– Car insurance companies look at your credit score, the higher the credit score the lower the insurance rate. They see people with lower credit scores as being a higher risk for fraud. This reasoning is based on strong statistical analysis. Unfortunately, like all statistics, it doesn’t hold true for everyone in that situation but when you are a company insuring tens of thousands of people, you have to rely on statistics.

– The car you chose can also increase your rates astronomically. Hondas are everywhere and the parts are affordable, making them cheaper to repair if they’re ever in an accident. Peugeot is a whole different ball of wax. This company is not widely sold in the US and the parts to repair/replace are very expensive. Which care do you think is cheaper to insure? If you said the Honda, you would be correct.

– Your driving record shows the insurance companies what to expect from you, a clean driving records lets them know that you are either an excellent driver or you are just really good at avoiding speed traps. A driving record filled with speeding tickets, moving violations, and DWI/DUI’s lets them know that they had better get all the money they can from you PRONTO.

– Where you live has an impact on your rates as well. The closer you live to NYC, counties like Rockland or Westchester pay higher rates than those who live in Ulster or Dutchess counties. There are caveats if you live in Newburgh (Orange Co) or Poughkeepsie (Dutchess Co) your rates will most likely be higher than someone who lives in Otisville (Orange Co) or Pine Plains (Dutchess). Why do you ask? Because these areas are more densely populated and have a higher rate of accidents as well as break-ins and car theft, and these things drive up YOUR car insurance rates.

– Your insurance carrier. Every carrier has their own rating system so every carrier has their own price. Their price is based on their experience. If company A had $1,000,000 in claims payouts over the last 2 years and company B had only $300,000 in claims paid out over the same period, then company B will have a lower rate the following year due to better results.

Working with an independent agent like Hudson Valley Agents can significantly reduce your monthly car insurance payments without any reduction in coverage (and maybe even improved coverage’s.) Imagine going to an agency that only has one company (company A) or going to another agency that has company A, company B, company C, D, E, F… Where do you think you’ll do better?


Here are some things that do not impact your auto insurance rates in NY:
– Driving a red car
– Whether or not you wear glasses
– Your height or weight
– Your occupation

Do not be fooled by those incredibly low prices you see in commercials or the internet. Unless you understand coverage limits and insurance lingo, you may find yourself seriously underinsured.



#carinsurancerates  #HudsonValleyInsurance  #insurelocal  #carinsurance #whyaremyratessodamnhigh

Insuring your Hudson Valley farm

“Agriculture is civilization.” – E. Emmons

Today’s blog is the first in a series of written by David J Bonne, VP for Hudson Valley Agents.  David had a  dream of providing locally sourced insurance coverage (yep, we can do that by insuring businesses with Hudson Valley insurance companies.) for the Valley’s farmers, farmer’s markets, restaurants, breweries, distilleries, and wineries and he has turned that dream into a reality.

Farm to Table Series, Pt 1 – The Farm

When it comes to insuring your assets such as your farm, it’s really easy to make a mistake and either over insure your properties our of sheer paranoia, or under insure them in order to try to save money.  Also, there is a broad spectrum of insurances to choose from, and picking the right coverages for the right amounts can be critical to keeping your farm afloat.

The first thing you should know is that one size does not fit all when it comes to insuring farms.  Thinking about your liability exposure first, the more acres you have, the greater the exposure is, just on the math alone.  Nosy wandering trespassers, subcontracted laborers, employees, visitors, and customers can all get hurt easily on farm property no matter how hard you try to prevent it.  Sometimes even the smallest, most frivolous claims can turn into tens of thousands of dollars in defense costs.  Depending on the size, type, and structure of your farming operations, some non-attached parcels may not be covered correctly, if at all.  These are the things that must be discussed with your agent before accepting your policy terms.

Next, there is the issue of properly insuring farm property which can fall into several different categories and is rarely lumped into one.

  • Non-attached buildings for instance.  On a standard homeowners policy and maybe even on a country squire/small hobby farm policy, non-attached buildings are usually sub-limits of the home-dwelling amount.  However, on a standard farm, those other buildings usually cost way more to repair or replace than those sub-limits afford.  In many cases, the barn alone can cost much more than the farmhouse, and in most cases, there are quite a few outbuilding structures such as run-in sheds, barns, utility sheds, garages, etc.  In all those situations the farm owner needs to be aware of the settlement option on those buildings.  Are they insured for full replacement value, actual depreciated cash value, or possibly an agreed upon value, and for the correct amounts?  With a standard farm policy, you can usually pick and choose which buildings to insure and set an agreed upon value.  This can be a helpful tool in controlling your costs.
  • Farm equipment is another aspect of farm property.  On a home or hobby farm policy, the contents coverage as a sbulimit of the home may or may not suffice here, but on a standard or larger commercial farm, it most certainly will not.  Properly insuring farm equipment can be tricky and requires the advice of a really good agent.  In many cases, the farm equipment can swarf the building coverages.  A realy good tractor can cost upwards of $250,000, not to mention irrigators, duster, plows, bailers, wagons, combines, the list goes on.  Once again, having the correct settlement option and valuations on your equipment is vital.  Also, are you co-insuring your equipment?  Many policies offer the option and in some cases only offer this optoin to co-insure.  Which means you may still be on the hook for a good portion of your loss in the event of a claim.  Then there is choosing the right dedctible as well.  Is your equipment scheduled or just blankedted with one lump sum of coverage, and is that the correct way to do it in your specialized case?

Now, on to your crops and/or livestock.  Crops and livestock are not automatically covered under ANY policy.  They have to be endoresed and specified in the policy.  Once they are, how do you know exatly what they are covered for?  Tornado, flooding, pestulance, pests, or wildfire?  Before buying crop insurance, it is vital that the farmer submits an accurate representation of the planted aceage they have per unit.  If they underreport, there may not be reimbursement for all losses they could realistically experience.  Livestock also has many different options and requirements.  There is mortality insurance, transit coverage, auction coverage, cattle cage, pasture, etc. An equine racehorse farm would have very different needs than a cattle farm or a crop farm.  Make sure you have the correct insuracne policy in hand.  Crop and livestock coverage can be partially funded by the USDA as well.

Workers Compensation is also vital to having a legally operating farm when you employ people.  Contrary to what some believe, there are NO EXCEPTIONS for farm workers, they must be insured by a worker’s compensation policy in NY.

As a farmer, you have many obligations, not just to your family and employees, but to your vendors, distributors, and even your insurance company.  Like any insurance policy, there are strict requirements on the part of the policyholder to safeguard their property and minimize the chance of a loss as much as possible.  If you are not familiar with your obligations to your insurance carrier, then it is time for a review of your policies.  If you have not discussed your insurance with anyone in quite some time, then you are overdue for a review of your current policies.  Farm insurance is not something to let stagnate or keep buried in a drawer somewhere.

The next installment in our Farm To Table series will be on distilleries, vineyards, craft breweries, and meaderies.

Please contact Dave Jr for further information:  845-778-2141 or davejr@hvagents.com

#farmtotable  #farminsurance  #eatlocal  #insurelocal  #farmtotableinsurance  #HudsonValleyInsurance

The top 3 phone calls we get during December

December is a busy month for insurance agents and here are the top 3 types of phone calls we’ve been receiving:

1- Help!  I hit a deer!-   Everyone in the Hudson Valley has had to make this phone call at least once since they first got behind the wheel.

2- Help!  My pipes have frozen and burst!- Your homeowners insurance will cover the repairs to your walls and floors, but not to the pipes themselves.

3- Do I need extra insurance coverage for…. – Did you ask Santa for a new car?  What about a drone?  Some of your holiday gifts need specific insurance coverage (drones), and some (like high-end electronics or jewelry) need a low cost insurance rider in order to ensure coverage.

Don’t allow holiday mishaps to turn you into a Grinch, make sure your insurance is ready for all of your holiday fun!  Our insurance experts are here to help you make the season bright.  Call 845-778-2141 for more information & great insurance rates today!

#holidayinsurance  #carinsurance  #jewelryinsurance  #insurelocal  #independentinsuranceagent

3 Reasons to love your insurance agent!

When someone mentions the holidays there are things that always come to mind, shopping, wrapping paper, decorations, carols, but no one ever thinks about their insurance agent!

Here are 3 very good reasons to love your insurance agent this holiday season:

1- Sewer Backup.  Did Aunt Marge pour all of the turkey grease down the kitchen sink?  Did Uncle George clog your toilet again this year?  If your insurance agent made sure you purchased Sewage & Drain coverage, then you are covered!

2- Stolen holiday gifts.  So, you spent the day shopping for the holidays, after a few grueling hours spent fighting the crowds you make a quick stop at the grocery store for eggnog, and you come back to the car you find that all of your newly purchased gifts have been stolen!  Now what?  If you have a homeowners or renters policy you have nothing to worry about.  No renters or homeowners policy?  Contact your credit card company.

3- EVERYTHING ELSE.  If Santa Claus gets stuck in your chimney, you are covered by homeowners insurance.  If the Grinch breaks in and steals all of your gifts and your roast beast, covered by homeowners insurance.  If Rudolf and his cohorts fall through your roof during a hard landing, covered by homeowners insurance.

A good insurance agent will make sure that your insurance fits your budget.

A really good insurance agent will make sure that your insurance fits your coverage needs and your budget as well.

If you have questions about your current insurance coverage, or you are in the market for lower insurance rates, please give us a call.  David, Kathy, Ashley, and Philip are ready to put their insurance knowledge to work for you.

#holidayinsurance  #insurelocal  #hudsonvalleyagents

Halloween Tips for Hudson Valley homeowners

Tomorrow night is Halloween, tonight is Hell Night (or Devil’s Night, or Cabbage Night (?)) and if you are a homeowner you should be taking a closer look at your insurance coverage.

  • Will your auto insurance pay to repaint your car after it was egged?  (Hint- Only if you have Comprehensive coverage)
  • If you decide to answer “Trick” instead of “Treat” & you find yourself with smashed pumpkin soaking your home and discoloring the siding, will your insurance cover the repair?  (Hint- Probably, but check with your agent)

There are things that Hudson Valley homeowners should always do to protect themselves & trick or treaters:

  • Make sure all walkways are free of debris and obstacles and are well lit.
  • Use LED candles instead of real candles
  • Bring in your outdoor decorations before going to bed, if you can.
  • Park your car(s), bicycles, ATV, lawn mower, or skateboards in the garage and close/lock the garage door.
  • NEVER answer “Trick” when costumed people say “Trick or Treat”.
  • Be extra aware of pedestrians tonight and tomorrow night.  Dark costumes, ill fitting masks, and excited kids, can make your evening commute treacherous.

Insurance claims skyrocket during the end of October.  Mischief night and Halloween are 2 of the biggest nights for damage to personal property and theft.  Ensuring that your insurance coverage can stand up to everything your neighborhood ghouls can throw at it is the key to a good night’s sleep on All Hallow’s Eve.

Happy Halloween Hudson Valley, stay safe!   Have you seen our latest Halloween video?  #HudsonValley  #insurelocal  #Halloweensafetytips  #homeownersinsurance  #autoinsurance