Independent contractors need an independent insurance agent!

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Are you an independent contractor in the Hudson Valley? If you answered yes to this question then allow me to ask you this – Are you carrying the right amount of insurance coverage?

Insurance can be the absolute biggest headache an independent contractor has to deal with. Generally an independent contractor should carry several types of insurance coverage –

– Coverage for errors and omissions: This coverage is for independent accountants, landscape architects, financial planners, and interior designers. This covers the liability risks that can be incurred if your advice to your client causes damage or they incur losses.

– Liquor and product liability: Independent bartenders and caterers need to protect themselves an illness or injury occur due to food or alcohol.

– Property damage and physical injury: Backhoes and other heavy equipment can do some damage if they aren’t operated properly.

These three things are just the tip of the iceberg! Don’t forget about contract liability coverage, professional liability, commercial vehicle, advertising personal injury, disability insurance, health insurance, general liability and more. How can an independent contractor figure all of this out on their own?

Hudson Valley Agents understands the insurance needs of the independent contractor. We are the Hudson Valley’s family owned independent insurance agency and we have been doing this for twenty five years. We can customize your independent contractors insurance policy to fit your needs and your budget and we do it quickly. We work with many companies and know which ones offer the best independent contractor insurance discounts. Protect your business, protect your assets, with low cost NY insurance from Hudson Valley Agents.

Meet some of the insurance companies HVA works with

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You won’t find the insurance companies we work with blasting their jingles from your radio, they don’t have cavemen or lizards for mascots, and you won’t find any spots stadiums bearing their names and believe it or not this is a really good thing. There is a reason for this – when the product that you offer has real value to the people who purchase it word of mouth can be the best advertising!

Whenever I work out of our Walden office I often hear our clients talking to Kathy and Ashley, they say things like – “I’ve never heard of Maphre before you quoted me my car insurance, but I’m really happy I went with them.” or “I didn’t know that Preferred Mutual is a New York State insurance company, talk about keeping it local!” When you call Hudson Valley Agents for an insurance quote you might not always recognize the names of the insurance companies we work with and that is why I wanted to introduce you to a few of them today.

Preferred Mutual – This Chenango county based company was founded in 1896 and they only work with independent agents. The Professional Insurance Agents (aka PIA) ranks them as the 4th top performer in New York state.

 

Maphre– This company began in 1972 in Webster, Massachusetts and went by the name The Commerce Group. Today they are known as Maphre and they have branched out to 19 US states.


Mercury Insurance – Mercury Insurance is a California based company and it has been in business for over 50 years.

 

Before HVA decides to work with an insurance company our VP, Dave Jr, looks them over from stem to stern. They have to offer his clients great insurance at reasonable prices and they must address insurance claims quickly and fairly. If an insurance company cannot give our clients the best insurance value for their hard earned money then we will not work with them.

Take a moment to get to know HVA and the insurance companies we work with and then give us a call at 778-2141. You and your bank account will be very happy you did.  Low cost NY insurance that still comes with a live agent!

Calling all contractors – HVA has you covered!

 

CALLING ALL CONTRACTORS – Hudson Valley Agents can provide you with certificates of insurance quickly, and we’ll make sure you have the coverage you need at great prices!

All contractors need insurance, plumbing, electrical, construction, even dog trainers and that is the subject of today’s blog post. What types of insurance coverage does an independent contractor need? Well, that depends on what type of independent contractor you happen to be, an independent caterer needs product and liquor liability coverage, but an electrician does not. A typical independent contractor should carry –

– Professional Liability Coverage – aka errors and omission insurance. This policy protects you should any mistakes be made that cost your client money.

– Workers Compensation – If you have employees this is a must have policy.

– Commercial Auto – If you have a work truck that you use exclusively for business then insure it as such.

– Independent Contractors Liability Insurance – This policy has many sub-categories such as: general liability coverage, property damage, contract liability, bodily injury, advertising personal injury, contract liability and completed operations and product. It is really important to talk with an independent insurance agent about this policy to ensure that all of your needs are covered.

– Business Owners Policy – Many aspects of your independent contractors liability insurance can be combined with other insurance coverage to create an individualized business owners policy (aka BOP) and this could earn you a significant discount on your insurance coverage.

The best way to make sure all of your insurance needs are covered is to talk to an independent insurance agent. Any gaps in insurance coverage could be catastrophic to your business and you work too hard to have that happen. Hudson Valley Agents is the Hudson Valley’s contractor insurance expert and we can get you your insurance certificates quickly and efficiently. Time = Money and your time is too valuable to wait for anything! Call Hudson Valley Agents today 778-2141.

Life in the biggest little city in the Hudson Valley

 

We all know that the Hudson Valley is a fantastic place to live. We have easy access to NYC and easy access to our own local cities as well. We aren’t a “party all night/sleep all day” place but we still know how to party. We have plays, live music, business growth, plenty of parks to hike and bike in, the best restaurants, great wineries, fantastic breweries, and an up and coming distillery scene. What’s not to love about living in the Hudson Valley?

When my significant other and I decided to cohabitate we knew we needed to be in the Hudson Valley and in either Orange county, Dutchess county, or Ulster county. We sat down and discussed the pros and cons of each county, we had both grown up in Orange county (Scotchtown for him, Newburgh and Mount Hope for me) and neither of us felt it was a good fit for us now. We considered Dutchess county simply because I had lived there before and raised my daughter there. Ulster county was the one big unknown, we had both visited it on day trips, Woodstock and Kingston’s water front district were our usual haunts, but neither of us knew what it would be like to live there. In 2013 we rented an apartment in Kingston and plunged into getting to know our new city. We kept telling each other that if we did not like this new place we could always move. It’s now 2015 and we have been in our house for just over a year. Kingston is now home.

I was hesitant to move to a city. If you are at all familiar with Mount Hope then you understand why, nothing but cow pastures and trees as far as the eye can see out there. Life in a city with an active freight train that runs through it takes a little getting used to but the occasional wait at a train crossing is nothing when you compare it to everything else this city has to offer. Yes, there are seedy sections but even the most rundown parts of Kingston look better than anywhere in the city of Newburgh or Poughkeepsie. Kingston is a city on the upswing, something Newburgh and Poughkeepsie are still striving to do.

Family and friends often make a point of coming to visit us in Kingston and we still aren’t sure if they come for us or the city itself. Aunt Ro likes the historical buildings and the cemetery at the Old Dutch Church (Kingston was the very first capitol of New York State), Aunt Janie likes the unique shops and the Kingston Candy Bar (Best. Candy. Anywhere.), both of their spouses love the restaurants as well as The Stockade Tavern and Keegan Ales. The big bonus is that we are five minutes from the Thruway so visiting from Utica or Long Island is a breeze.

Our typical summertime Saturday morning consists of a seven minute walk uptown to the Kingston Farmers Market to buy produce, peanut butter, and quiche, then a walk over to Outdated Café for brunch and antiquing. All through the spring, summer, fall, and winter I have access to locally sourced food within a seven minute walk from my front door, this! Our Farmers Market is huge and practically on the doorstep of every single restaurant uptown making the Saturday night dinner specials even more special. Oh, and if you happen to be gluten free you’ll find that almost every restaurant has gluten free options that are divine.

Business rents are incredibly reasonable, some are downright cheap compared to Dutchess or Orange counties. As a matter of fact you can even rent office space in an opera house! The local government officials work hard to make sure businesses come and stay in the area, it’s nice to have everyone working towards a common goal.

Kingston is not without its problems. A high school desperately in need of repairs, traffic patterns that make zero sense, and ancient water mains. Yes there is crime, yes there is are places you might not want to walk around in at night but it is a city not a village. Even with these issues Kingston is a wonderful place to live, this is where Hippies and Hipsters come to coexist! Can you believe that there is even a #movetokingstonnow movement?!?

Were you aware of the fact that where you live has an impact on your insurance rates? Before you put down roots in a new place talk to an independent insurance agent. Insuring your home and car may be more expensive in some areas and less expensive in others. Hudson Valley Agents understands the insurance needs of the Hudson Valley and they work with New York State based insurance companies to bring their clients the best rates with great coverage. It’s not quite farm to table insurance but we can insure your farm and your table too! Give them a call today at 778-2141!

4 Things you never knew about insurance agents

 

I spoke to a woman today who told me that she is paying way too much for insurance but she will not change companies because she’s uncomfortable trusting any insurance agent to not be “a sleaze ball”, and that my friend’s is an exact quote. I told her about Hudson Valley Agents, I even went so far as to say, “Hudson Valley Agents is the Hudson Valley’s best family owned independent insurance agency!”, talk about shameless promotion! I think insurance agents have an undeserved bad reputation so today’s blog should help clean that up.

Independent insurance agents are some of the hardest working people in the insurance business and perhaps it is time we acknowledged this fact. Before one can actually call themselves an insurance agent they have to learn the business, they have to study and pass a state licensing test and have hours of continuing education to keep that license. They need to be versed in many different types of insurance and have a well honed business sense. They must calmly and compassionately help clients who have just suffered a tragedy (house fire, car accident, death of a loved one). They are part financial planner, part counselor, part insurance law expert, and part business person all rolled up in one.

When you look for a new independent insurance agent there are things you need to keep in mind –

1- It isn’t all about money. A good insurance agent will find you the best coverage available even if it is with a company that pays the agent a low commission. The client must come first.

2- They have to give above average customer service. Normally people only speak to their insurance agent when they first purchase their policy, when they need to add or subtract something from their policy, or when they need to make a claim. They have only two or three interactions in which to make a positive impression. When a client needs to make a claim or change their coverage they expect to be taken care of promptly and professionally so good customer service is the key to repeat business.

3- You need to be pretty darn smart to be an insurance agent. Life insurance, business insurance, auto insurance, homeowners insurance, boat insurance, classic car insurance, vacation insurance, wedding insurance, and many, many other types of insurance policies are sold by the same agency and your agent should be able to answer any question you have about any aspect of your policy.

4- Independent insurance agencies are usually a family affair. Our agency is a father and son agency and together they have several decades of insurance knowledge. When something is part of your family you work harder for it. Your business reputation and your family reputation go hand in hand.

Remember the lady I spoke of in the beginning of the blog? She just called me and asked for Hudson Valley Agent’s phone number (845-778-2141). She told me that if anyone could speak so highly of her insurance agent then they must be worth looking into! When you find a great insurance agent it’s kind of hard to keep quiet about it so if you love your insurance agent tell a friend or two and share the love. Hudson Valley Agents is the Hudson Valley’s best family owned independent insurance agency. Let them show you that the best insurance in the Hudson Valley can be found at Hudson Valley Agents.

9 Magazines that are all about our Hudson Valley

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There are many publications that I go out of my way to read every month and they are all Hudson Valley based and many of them are free. These publications are all about the Hudson Valley and some are just about certain Hudson Valley counties.

Let’s start with the two Hudson Valley food loving magazines (aka food porn)-

EDIBLE HUDSON VALLEY – This publication celebrates every aspect of food in ten different counties. Farmers, vineyards, bakers, if someone has something to do with the Hudson Valley food scene chances are they can be found within these pages. This is a quarterly publication and can be found online or free in many small businesses around the Hudson Valley.

THE VALLEY TABLE – Supporting and celebrating local sustainable agriculture and celebrating the food of the Hudson Valley is what this publication does best! The Valley Table launched Hudson Valley Restaurant week in 2006 and it has become a highly anticipated event. This is a free publication that can be found online or in certain small businesses in March, June, September, and December.

Many counties in the Hudson Valley also have their own publications celebrating what makes their corner of the Hudson Valley so special. Ulster Magazine, Orange Magazine, Westchester, and Rivertown Magazine covers Rockland county. Who knew these counties had enough going on to fill an entire magazine? Both Pine Bush and Walden have excellent publications devoted to them as well.

If you have never picked up a copy of Hudson Valley magazine or Chronogram you are missing out on some of the best things about our Hudson Valley! Hudson Valley magazine can be found at almost every book store and grocery store in our valley and Chronogram is a free publication that can be found almost everywhere. Beautiful photos and well written articles filled with Hudson Valley information, trivia, food, and news can be found in both of these publications.

As you already know, Hudson Valley Agents has a whole lotta love for the Hudson Valley! That is why we urge you to check out these publications, support their advertisers, and share your Hudson Valley pride! Remember to shop local, eat local, and insure local with Hudson Valley Agents!

Captive insurance agents VS Non-Captive insurance agents

 

Insurance is everywhere, at least in the advertising world. Sit down to watch your favorite half hour sitcom and you will see at least three insurance commercials. Pick up a magazine or look at a website and you’ll see an advertisement for insurance. Car insurance, renters insurance, business insurance, homeowners insurance, pet insurance, and more bombard our every waking moment and yet most of us put our insurance needs on auto pilot and never think of it again.

The majority of heavily advertised insurance companies have captive agents, captive agents work for one company only and can only offer you the insurance products that their company carries. Those choices may or may not be a perfect insurance fit for your insurance needs and that could leave your assets unprotected. These captive agents are also unable to help you shop around for better coverage or better insurance rates. I liken it to eating at a restaurant that only offers two choices for breakfast, two choices for lunch, and two choices for dinner. You really have no choices at all.

Hudson Valley Agents is not a captive agency, it’s just not our style. We work with many different insurance companies that believe that their insurance products speak for themselves so heavy advertising is not necessary. Dave Jr has personally chosen to work with insurance companies that offer great value as well as above average coverage. We work with companies like Mapfre Insurance, Safeco Insurance, and Preferred Mutual to name a few. Several of the insurance companies we work with are New York State based, that means you have the chance to really insure local!

The Hudson Valley has embraced the farm to table movement as well as the shop local movement so why not embrace the insure local movement? When you insure with a local independent insurance agency like Hudson Valley Agents you get real choices, better rates, improved asset protection and your insurance dollars aren’t paying for annoying commercial jingles! Stop the jingles and insure local, call us today!

Choosing a Hudson Valley Contractor

 

It seems that the Hudson Valley might have a truly soggy spring once Old Man Winter loosens his hold. Once all of this snow finally melts we will finally be able to get a clear picture of the damage this harsh winter has caused. I already have my contractor on speed dial I am just hoping that he will be able to get to me because Spring is every contractor’s busy season.

Choosing a contractor can be tricky work, we have all heard stories about contractor’s from hell and that is why we will wait almost forever for the one’s we trust to become available! The Insurance Information Institute has created a video guide to choosing a contractor and it has some great tips –


If you find that your home has suffered damage due to the horrendous cold, wind, snow, and ice make sure to call your insurance agent. Making a homeowners insurance claim should not be a difficult process and that is the reason the insurance gurus at the Insurance Information Institute created this video –

Start asking friends and family for contractor references sooner rather than later, this way you won’t have to make any emergency repairs without having done your research. If friends and family are unable to help give homeadvisor.com a try (I found a great gutter guy through them!). Hudson Valley Agents insures many local contractors and we offer same day certificates of insurance, easy payment plans, and insurance discounts when you combine commercial auto insurance with your contractors insurance, and even further discounts for your tools and workers comp! There are insurance discounts for Hudson Valley contractors and HVA has them all! We offer great coverage at low rates for every aspect of your life, home, auto, health, and business too.

 

Have you been to Kingston or Beacon lately?

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Those of us who live in the Hudson Valley know just what an amazing and diverse place this truly is. We revel in our proximity to the mountains, the Hudson River, and New York City and we are fiercely loyal to our cities, towns, and villages. We are home to the best restaurants, music, art, and outdoor beauty in the state!!! The Hudson Valley is perfect and it is getting better every single day.

We have two cities that are gaining a lot of mention in the press recently for being “The New Brooklyn”, I’m talking to you Beacon and Kingston! As a Kingston resident I find the idea of becoming “The New Brooklyn” terrifying and exciting. As a Hudson Valley resident all I can say is “I always knew this was the best place to live, let me show you around!”. We could not stay the under rated diamond in New York’s crown forever, people were bound to discover what we all knew years ago – the Hudson Valley is a great place to live and work.

Kingston and Beacon are our valley’s current hot spots and here’s why –

Beacon has a great art scene, the Dia is a huge draw. There is a plethora of restaurants and bars. It’s a hipsters paradise and I have never seen so many perfectly groomed beards in my lifetime! Having the Town Crier leave it’s home in Pawling for Beacon’s Main street helped boost the city’s music scene. It’s a wonderful day trip and only a 59 minute trip from Grand Central, plus there’s the added bonus of Beacon having its own stop on Metro North! Why wouldn’t people leave NYC to visit Beacon? Beacon was a kind of scary place in the early 1990’s, it is nice to see how the community came together and welcomed new businesses to the city. I’m really proud of you Beacon, kudos!

Kingston is just perfect. I live here so I can say that, and I find that I say it so often I have begun to feel more like a cheerleader than a neophyte insurance blogger! We have a rich history, after all we are the original capital of NYS, and even IBM’s closing did not fully bring this city to it’s knees. We have a thriving uptown district thanks to organizations like KUBA (Kingston Uptown Business Association) and a thriving waterfront district as well! Keegan Ales is our brewery and BSP is our go to music and arts venue. We have one of Esquire’s top rated bars, The Stockade Tavern, and museums and art galleries galore! Kingston has wine bars (like The Elephant), gastropubs (Frogmore Tavern) and many of our restaurants embrace the farm to table movement (too many to list). Kingston’s art scene is phenomenal and the O+ Festival as well as the independent galleries just part of it. We are perfectly situated between Manhattan and Albany via the NYS Thruway, just a short 97.1 miles from Grand Central and 56 miles from Albany. Sadly we do not have direct access to public transportation to Manhattan, for that we must travel to Poughkeepsie or Beacon if the Poughkeepsie Metro North lot is filled. Public transportation can get you around Kingston but you can easily walk from the waterfront to uptown.

The Hudson Valley is a very special place and it has been heartwarming seeing the positive changes that Beacon and Kingston have made. Many people have invested their blood sweat and tears to create communities that they can be proud of and those investments should be protected. Hudson Valley Agents is the Hudson Valley’s best independent insurance agency and they work with New York state based insurance companies. They can make sure you have the best insurance coverage to protect your Hudson Valley home or business. They even insure events and festivals! So shop locally, eat locally and insure locally! #movetokingstonnow #insure local #HudsonValleylove