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

Stress relief for small business owners

Lower Your Small Business Stress for a Happier Holiday Season

The holiday season is once again upon us and if you are a small business owner, you’re likely nervously hoping for a safe and successful season of robust sales.

Since November is Stress Awareness Month and the Saturday after Thanksgiving is Small Business Saturday, we thought we’d give you a few tips to ease your anxiety while protecting your business.

  • Review your current business owner’s insurance to make sure the coverage for your business contents and your liability are up to date and will cover you if you have a loss.  Some people just ‘let it ride’ as their businesses grow and when a loss happens, they might find they aren’t insured for an appropriate amount.
  • The same for your building if you own the property.  Make sure your coverage reflects your real replacement costs. And check with your tenants to ensure that they are also carrying adequate liability insurance.
  • Make sure your signs and plate glass windows are covered. Many business owners don’t know to insure them specifically because they might not be covered by a general business policy.
    One of our clients had a bar and nightclub open next to her luxury retail store where she had more than 40 linear feet of plate glass as part of her storefront.  She confessed to lying awake some nights wondering if that was the night she’d receive ‘the call’.
  • Consider adding a central station burglar and fire alarm system that will notify the fire, police, or monitoring agency. Maintain fire extinguishers annually and consider installing an automatic sprinkler system. Not only will these help protect your business, you’ll receive credits that will lower your insurance premium significantly.

It may seem like a lot of work, but if you work with your independent insurance agent, he or she can help you navigate through it and find you the best coverage at the best price.

In closing, we’d like to wish everyone a joyful, safe, and successful holiday season from all of us at Hudson Valley Agents.

And relax. We’ve got you covered.

(P.S. If not, give us a call!  We’re really good at this.)

#shoplocal  #smallbizsaturday  #insurelocal

Here’s the secret to lower homeowners insurance costs

HVA Knowledge Tip

Because Knowledge Is Power!

Today’s blog comes to us via David J Bonne, our VP

When it comes to insuring properties, whether it be your own home or rental properties as a landlord, you need to know this one thing in order to make sense of your insurance costs:

The better shape the property is in, the lower your insurance premium will be.

Here’s the logic:

Property insurance covers damage to the property and the interior from common perils such as water damage (not flooding), wind damage, fire and smoke damage, etc.…

· If your property has curling shingles on the roof, the chances of interior water damage are much greater, therefore you will pay more for your insurance through a company that factors that into their risk assessment. Other companies may just turn you down or demand repairs within 30 days in order to avoid cancellation.

· If your property has old electric or fuses instead of 100+ amp circuit breakers, the chance of a electrical fire are much greater, and therefore you will pay more for your insurance through a company that factors that in their risk assessment.

· If your property still has old fashioned plumbing that does not wear well and gets pitted and is prone to leaks, your chances of water damage will increase immensely and once again, you will pay more for your insurance through a company that factors that in their risk assessment.

· If your property has old non-insulated windows from the beginning of time, your chances of incurring frozen pipes and the ensuing damage from that will increase quite a bit. I’m sure you know what comes next.

These are just a few glaring examples as to why your insurance carrier makes these demands that you may or may not feel are unreasonable or none of their concern, but there are many more than just this.

Hudson Valley Agents has an insurance market for almost every type of property out there, from the preferred pristine property to a property with one or more of these risk multipliers mentioned above. Just keep in mind the costs are commensurate with the condition of the property.

#propertyinsurance  #insurelocal  #rentalinsurance  #homeownersinsurance  #landlordinsurance  #HudsonValleyAgents  #WaldenNY

Personal Injury Liability Insurance

Today’s blog comes to us via a guest writer, our own VP – David J Bonne.

Whether you are a landlord of a small one to four family dwelling or a larger apartment complex, there is a very important insurance coverage you should probably consider and it doesn’t even cost that much; its called “Personal Injury Liability.

Many insurance agents that are not familiar with true landlord exposures, may not even offer this optional coverage to you, even though it generally costs as little as $40 – $50 to have added to your policy.

Personal Injury Liability on a landlord or business owner’s insurance policy covers “wrongful acts.” Wrongful acts sounds like a harsh term since most of the potential acts are usually committed in error (not intentionally) or not committed at all, but perceived to be by a tenant.  These potential wrongful acts can be one or more of the following:

  • Wrongful eviction
  •  Discrimination
  •  Slander
  •  Libel
  •  False arrest
  •  Invasion of privacy, etc.

A personal injury liability endorsement on your policy will simply add these coverage definitions to your existing landlord liability, which usually only covers basic scenarios such as trip and fall, or tenant property damage. Some insurance companies limit what is covered under wrongful acts, so be sure to check with your agent for coverage definitions by the insurance carrier you are written with when asking for this important coverage.

You should also try to reduce potential future claims of this sort by performing the following simple tasks:

  •  Do not deny a tenant a lease on the basis of race, color, religion, etc.
  •  Keep good records of all tenant leases and any interactions you have with them.
  •  Make notes of conversations and follow up with a confirmation letter on what was discussed and the date.
  •  Know your responsibilities as a landlord. Check the housing and urban development website portal for the State of NY
  •  Never enter a leased rental without ample prior notice, unless it is an emergency.
  •  Follow all eviction laws and guidelines.

When an eviction is necessary, document the reasoning, every step taken, and all relevant information for your legal protection.

Happy landlording

David J. Bonne

Hudson Valley Agents

Walden, NY

(845) 778-2141 7 (845) 764-4482

http://www.hvagents.com

 

#landlordinsurance  #personalliabilityinsurance  #insurelocal  #hudsonvalley  #waldenny

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

 

Welcome to the HVA family, Philip Bender-Tymon

Please join us in welcoming Philip Bender-Tymon to the HVA family!  Philip is an Ulster county resident with firm ties to his community, he is currently the Director of Communications for the Kingston Uptown Business Association and his husband is a local business owner.  Philip has an extensive background in communications and problem solving, and is looking forward to putting those skills to work for our clients.

We were worried that Philip might find the world of an independent insurance agency a little slow compared to his previous life in corporate America, but he assures us that this is not the case,”I’m having a way better time meeting one-on-one with current and future clients and helping them to protect the things they love and treasure.  Not having to set my alarm to 4 a.m. for a conference call to China is a huge bonus.”.

You can contact Philip at our Walden office, 845-778-2141 or via email philip@hvagents.com.  Remember  to eat locally, shop locally, play locally, and insure locally with Hudson Valley Agents!

#welcometothefamily  #HudsonValleyAgents  #insurelocal

Top 5 New Year’s resolutions in the Hudson Valley

There are only 4 more days left in 2016, and for that we are thankful!  2016 has been the year from hell for most of America and we find ourselves looking towards 2017 with hope and a little bit of nervous laughter.  2017 will be welcomed in with hearts filled with the hope that this will be the year we actually keep our New Year’s resolutions.

Making resolutions for the new year is something we have all done and 2017 will be no exception.  An impromptu poll of Hudson Valley residents (we asked our friends and family members) shows that these are the 5 most popular Hudson Valley New Year’s resolutions:

1- Lose 10 pounds

2- Save money

3- Live your best life

4- Shop locally more often

5- Become more organized

Hudson Valley Agents can help you keep 3 out of 5 of these resolutions!

  • Saving money on your insurance is easy, call, click, or stop by for a free quote on all of your insurance needs.  We work with many insurance companies that offer competitive rates and many of them are located on the east coast.
  • We love to shop local and we really love to insure local!  We work with several Hudson Valley-based insurance companies as well as companies based in New York state.  We also offer affordable insurance coverage for small businesses throughout the state.  You can always #insurelocal with us!
  • Organizing your insurance policies is easy with our free app for iPhone and Android users!  Finding your policies, making claims, making payments, even finding your car in a crowded parking lot just became a whole lot easier.

#HudsonValleyAgents #NewYearsresolutions  #insurelocal

Insurance that comes with an independent agent and a free app!

5231 Capture+_2016-08-05-11-36-20

Allow us to introduce you to HVA’s phone app!  Now Android and iPhone users can start a claim, make a payment, get a free quote, find their parked car, and more just by downloading our free app.  The Hudson Valley’s number one independent insurance agency just made insurance a whole lot smarter and easier.

HVA app free for boosting

Find out why we are the Hudson Valley’s #1 independent insurance agency, get your free insurance quote today!  #hudsonvalleyagents  #insurelocal

What is a BOP?

what is a bop

In honor of Small Business Week (#DreamSmallBiz) we thought we would answer the “What is a BOP?” question.  A small business owner needs insurance, and a BOP is simply a Business Owners Policy.  A BOP covers many of the things that a small business owner needs coverage for-  basic liability and business property.

Your Business Owners Policy covers these specific things:

  • Unexpected business stoppage.  If you cannot open your business due to certain circumstances, this policy helps you pay things like payroll and rent.
  • Liability protection.  If your business is ever sued this is the coverage that helps you handle it.
  • Property coverage.  If your place of business is damaged or your equipment is stolen this is the policy that helps you get back on your feet.

It is important to keep in mind that a BOP might not be all of the insurance coverage your small business needs!  The only way to truly ensure that your small business is properly protected is to speak to a Hudson Valley Agent’s agent.  Call 845-778-2141 and speak with Dave Jr or Kathy about insuring your small business today.  If your small business has an artisanal flare keep Hudson Valley Agents in mind, we have specific policies to fit your unique insurance needs.

Follow us on Instagram @hvagents & don’t forget to #insurelocal

5 ways to #insurelocal with HVA

HVA insuring the hv

Hudson Valley Agents has adopted the #insurelocal hashtag for a very good reason, we have 5, yes 5, New York state-based insurance companies that we work with and that is a pretty big deal.

When you insure with a regionally based insurance company your rates are regionally based.  For example, if your homeowners insurance is with Allstate or State Farm then you might have noticed an increase in your premiums after the California wild fires destroyed so many homes.  This happens when your insurance company covers everything everywhere.  A locally based insurance company’s rates reflect the risks and losses of their region and not the rest of the country.

If you would like to #insurelocal then give us a call, we work with these local companies –

Keep your money where you live, shop locally, eat locally, play locally, and insure locally with Hudson Valley Agents!