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

 

Are you addicted to your cell phone?

 

We just realized that every single person in our Walden office has their cell phone sitting on their desk, usually right next to their keyboard.  Every.  Single.  One.  Of.  Us.

We are cell phone addicts.  We check our phones while brushing our teeth, before we get out of bed in the morning, and while watching television.  Is this just fear of missing out (#FOMO) or are we truly addicted?  No matter what you call it, checking your cell phone while driving can negatively impact your car insurance premiums!

If you are caught using your cell phone while behind the wheel you could rack up almost 5 points on your drivers license and that will definitely increase your auto insurance premiums and, in some cases, could cause your insurance company to not renew your insurance at all.  Court fees, fines, increased insurance costs, the total could run into the thousands, it simply isn’t worth it.

Here is the other cost of cell phone use while driving –

 

#distracteddriving  #cellphoneaddiction  #insurelocal  #autoinsurance  #HudsonValleyAgents

National Insurance Awareness Day

The Oxford Dictionary defines the word insurance as, “A thing providing protection against a possible eventuality.” and Merriam – Webster defines insurance as, “A means of guaranteeing protection or safety.”.   Insurance is our business so we have always defined it by the protection it provides our clients as well as ourselves but not everyone sees insurance the same way.  Today’s blog post is about increasing awareness of what insurance does for you.  We’ll do our best not to speak in the same tired cliches our industry is known for and offer you a fresh perspective on what many think of as a boring industry.

When we asked our staff what aspects of insurance they most wished our clients were aware of they told us this:

Dave Jr, owner of Hudson Valley Agents,  would like our clients to be aware of the fact that insurance “Is highly regulated by the state of NY, that is why it is less expensive in many other states”.  That explains the enormous difference in the cost of auto insurance from state to state.  For questions on this topic, please send an email to davejr@hvagents.com

Kathy would like her commercial clients to know that properly cancelling your policy, rather than allowing it to lapse due to non-payment, will make it easier for you to re-insure with that company again and it can save you money in the long run.  For questions about insurance for your business, please email Kathy at kathy@hvagents.com

 

Ashley handles our personal lines.  She would like her personal auto insurance clients to know that rental car coverage does not mean that you can rent a car while you are on vacation and your insurance will pay for it.  Rental car coverage means that your insurance company will pay for a rental car if your own car has been damaged in an accident.  For questions about personal home or auto insurance, please contact Ashley at ashley@hvagents.com

Philip wishes more business owners were aware of the differences between personal auto insurance, commercial auto insurance, and Hired/Non-owned coverage.  If you or your employees routinely travel to deliver goods or services there are policies that protect them and your business should there be an auto accident while en route to a delivery.  Ensuring that you have the proper coverage will save you a headache later on and the coverage is affordable too.  For further information on this, please contact Philip at philip@hvagents.com.

Insurance impacts our lives in so many ways, it is important to understand what your policies cover and what they do not.  We are always happy to share our knowledge, so if you have questions about your insurance, please do not hesitate to contact us, we are always happy to be of service!

#insurelocal  #HudsonValleyAgents  #NationalInsuranceAwarenessDay

 

Going on vacation? Call your agent first.

Summer vacation is on the horizon and we want to help you make yours a trip to remember!  Did you know that your homeowners and car insurance could help with some of your travel related frustration?  One quick call to your agent and you’ll stress less about these 3 things:

1- Lost luggage or stolen electronics can be covered by your homeowners policy.

2- Your car insurance covers your rental car, if you carry comprehensive coverage.

3- Trip Cancellation insurance is REALLY AFFORDABLE and easy to purchase.

Vacations are meant for relaxation, not worrying about what might and might not be covered by your insurance.  Know what’s covered before you go, and then enjoy that sweet, sweet, vacation!

For further information or a free insurance quote give us a call 845-778-2141, check out our web page, or download our free app for iPhone and Android users.

#insurelocal  #HudsonValleyAgents  #TravelInsurance  #HomeownersInsurance  #AutoInsurance  #hudsonvalley

 

Does your homeowners insurance cover flooding?

Almost every county in the Hudson Valley is under a flood watch.  The forecast is calling for some pretty significant rainfall tomorrow with high winds and the possibility of thunderstorms.  Our rivers and streams are all higher with snowfall run-off and recent rainfall.  All of this adds up to flooded streets, flooded yards, and flooded basements, so we thought you might want to know what your homeowners policy covers and what it does not.

  • If your basement floods due to rainfall your homeowners policy will be of no help to you.  Flood insurance must be purchased separately from the National Flood Insurance Program.  Yes, you can come to our office to purchase a policy, but there are rules about how and when it can be purchased so please contact us if you have any questions, 845-778-2141.
  • If your car is damaged due to flooding you will be covered if you carry comprehensive coverage.  This is usually sold along with collision (aka comp and collision) as an addition to NYS required basic liability.  You’ll have to pay your deductible out of pocket.

If you have any questions regarding your current homeowners policy with Hudson Valley Agents, please contact Ashley in our Walden office.  If you have questions about your current homeowners policy and would like a free quote just click (hvagents.com), call (845-778-2141) or stop by (99 West Main St, Walden NY), our brick & mortar hours are Monday thru Friday 9 – 5.  Stay dry Hudson Valley!  #insurelocal  #HudsonValleyAgents  #homeownersinsurance  #HudsonValleyAgents  #WaldenNY  #HudsonValley  #FloodInsurance

Meet our staff – Ashley Berry

Ashley Berry is amazing.  Ashley handles personal lines in our Walden office, and if you have ever called us for a homeowners or auto quote she’s the lady you spoke to.  She has a talent for taking insurance-speak and making it understandable to the average mortal, so when you she explains your insurance coverage to you, you actually understand it!

Ashley is pretty crafty, check out the fairy gardens she created for our office!

She occasionally sells her fairy gardens so stop by and see her latest creations!

This isn’t Ashley’s first time being featured in our blog, so we had to switch up her bio questions-

What is your favorite song? – Build Me Up Buttercup

What is your favorite movie – Legand with Tom Cruise

How long have you been in the insurance biz? 3 1/2 years

If someone made a movie about your life who would play you?  Lisa Kudrow

What is your favorite place to visit in the Hudson Valley?  New Paltz

We are lucky to have Ashley on our team, her can-do attitude and her gorgeous fairy gardens brighten our office every day.  She can build a garden and she can insure it!    #HudsonValleyAgents  #insurelocal #fairygardens

Common insurance terms every driver should know

 

When you purchase auto insurance you enter into a legally binding contract between you and your insurance company, so (by a show of hands LOL) how many of you have actually taken the time to read the declarations page of your policy?

This infographic shows some of the common terms that many of our insureds have questions about –

If you have questions about the terms or terminology on your insurance policy, please give us a call at 845-778-2141.  A good insurance agent will give you a brief run-down of what is covered by your policy, a great insurance agent will take the time to educate you as to what these terms mean and why you need or do not need that specific coverage!

#autoinsurance  #HudsonValleyAgents   #insurelocal