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

3 Things you need to know about insurance and income taxes

It’s Tax Season and there are 3 things you should know about income taxes and insurance:

There is one man who can help with your income taxes and your insurance and he happens to be in our Middletown office, David Bonne Sr.   Dave Sr has decades of insurance experience and five years of income tax experience with Liberty Tax Service and he’s happy to put all of that knowledge to work for you.

Let our family help your family save time and money today!  #LibertyTax  #HudsonValleyAgents  #insurelocal  #taxseason  #deathandtaxes

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

Let’s talk about income taxes and life insurance

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Dave Sr is the only person we know of who happens to be tougher than death or taxes.  His work with Prudential Life Insurance was, wait for it, legendary!  Just check this out –

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Dave Sr is our health insurance, life insurance, and tax preparation expert and he’s here to put his decades of insurance and income tax knowledge to work for you right here at Hudson Valley Agents.

Meet the man who tames both death and taxes, stop by HVA/Liberty Tax in Middletown office today.

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#HudsonValleyAgents  #insurelocal  #LibertyTax  #lifeinsurance  #healthinsurance

3 Types of insurance every college student needs

3 types of ins college students

Are you one of the many Hudson Valley parents who are busily helping their teen get ready for their first year away at college?  Do not forget to contact your insurance agent before they leave the nest!  Making sure that your son or daughter has the right insurance coverage before they leave home can bring you real peace of mind.  Most college students need these 3 types of insurance coverage-

  • Health Insurance.  If your son or daughter is not on your current health insurance plan, then you must purchase health insurance for them.  Most colleges offer a health insurance plan if yours does not, please give us a call.
  • Renters Insurance.  Contact your insurance professional, do not just assume that laptops, tablets, and jewelry are covered by your homeowner’s insurance.
  • Car Insurance.  If your son or daughter is going to school out of state and leaving their car at home, you might qualify for a discounted insurance rate.  Speak to your insurance professional if your son or daughter is going to school out of state and bringing their car with them to find out if there are any changes that need to be made.

Hudson Valley Agents can help with all of your insurance needs and we now have a free app for iPhones and Android, call 845-778-2141 today!  #insurelocal  #hudsonvalleyagents

What does insurance have to do with the Super Bowl?

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The Super Bowl (or Superbowl) is one of “America’s Drunkest Days” according to Forbes.com and there is a lot of truth behind that statement.  In 2015, NYS Troopers made 31 DWI arrests and handed out 1,400 tickets on Super Bowl Sunday.  Considering the fact that American’s are expected to consume roughly 325 gallons of beer this Sunday, I’m actually surprised that last year’s statistics are as low as they are.  The average cost of a DWI conviction for a first time offender in NY is almost $10,000.  Your car insurance premiums will increase and drive that number even higher.  Uber has teamed up with MADD has a promo code to be used on Super Bowl Sunday.  For every person who uses the promo code “thinkandride” Uber will donate $1 dollar to MADD.  It can only be used between 3 pm and 12 pm EST.

American’s will consume close to 1.23 million chicken wings and approximately 9 million pizzas on Super Bowl Sunday.  Now, add to that, gallons of guacamole, chips, and any other junk food you could dream up and watch our bellies grow.  Obesity, like smoking, could cause your health insurance costs to skyrocket.

If you plan on serving alcohol at Sunday’s party you should give your insurance agent a call to find out if you are fully covered for any injuries to your guests or damage to that brand new television you bought just for the game.  You should also ask your insurance agent about social host liability too.  Always serve alcohol responsibly and have the phone number of a local taxi service on hand.

So stay safe this weekend Hudson Valley, enjoy the Super Bowl no matter who wins and please drink responsibly and drive safely!

 

Let’s talk taxes and health insurance

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Hudson Valley Agents understands health insurance and Liberty Tax understands all of the tax penalties and tax deductions that pertain to health insurance and that is why having these two businesses share office space was such a great idea!  Open enrollment for health insurance ends on January 31rst and the tax penalty this year is steep – some individuals could be paying the government  upwards of $1,800 simply because they did not have health insurance.

Some would say that having to pay out $1,800 is much cheaper than the $2,900 a year they would pay out for health insurance.  Next year that tax penalty for not having health insurance will increase substantially and who knows what health insurance will cost.  Many people are willing to pay the penalty rather than purchase health insurance.

If you find that you need help signing up for health insurance before the open enrollment deadline please call our Middletown office, 845-673-5515.  If you need someone to do your taxes please call our Middletown office’s Liberty Tax number, 845-673-4300.  Save time and money with Liberty Tax and Hudson Valley Agents.  #youbelongatliberty  #insurelocal

How not to catch the office cold this year

Dont share your germs

When you work in an office you tend to share things.  You share a pen with an office mate that needs one, you share your lunch with your office bestie, and you share your cold with EVERYONE!  Let’s talk about ways to “insure” that you don’t bring a cold or the flu home from work.

  • Wash your hands frequently
  • Avoid touching your face
  • Wipe down your phone, keyboard, and other non-porous desk surfaces with an anti-bacterial wipe
  • Work from home until you are well
  • Do not cough or sneeze into your hands, use a tissue or the crook of your elbow

There is no magic pill that can make the common cold go away, all we can do is muddle through it.  Take a moment to follow these 5 tips and keep yourself and your officemates healthy this cold and flu season.

Remember – Open Enrollment for health insurance ends on January 31, if you haven’t signed up for health insurance yet please call Hudson Valley Agents today.

 

Hudson Valley winters are cold, keep your pets warm!

Keep your pets warm this winter

Hudson Valley winters can be brutally cold and windy, not to mention icy and snowy, and our pets need extra care during these cold months.  We are all dog and cat lovers here at Hudson Valley Agents and we don’t want our furry friends forgotten so here are a few tips to help get them safely through the winter.

  • NEVER leave your dog or cat outdoors for an extended period of time in the winter.  A fur coat does not mean that they do not get cold or frostbitten.
  • Take shorter walks when the temps dip below freezing and always wipe down their paws when you get home.  Deicing agents can be hazardous to their skin and could poison them should they lick their paws.
  • Cold weather can be dehydrating, make sure your dog or cat has access to clean fresh water.
  • Clean up any antifreeze spills quickly.  The main ingredient in most antifreeze is sweet tasting and deadly to dogs and cats.
  • Check your wheel wells and engine compartment before starting your car (or just bang loudly on the hood).  Stray cats and other small critters like to hide in these places to get out of the elements and be as close to the heat from the car engine as possible.
  • If you see a cat or dog that has been left outside in the cold tell someone!  Your local animal control officer, animal shelter, or police department should be able to assist.

We know just how harsh our Hudson Valley winters can be on us, imagine how difficult it is for a cat or a dog!  Keep them safe and warm and if you do not currently have a dog or cat to keep warm please consider adopting from any of the Hudson Valley’s many shelters.  Having a pet in your life can “insure” that you live longer and can decrease your blood pressure as well.  Pets aren’t a substitute for health insurance but if you need health insurance remember that open enrollment ends January 31.  Call Dave Sr in our Middletown office for all of your health insurance needs – 845-673-5515.  Stay warm Hudson Valley!

HVA can help you keep 2 of your New Year’s resolutions

HVA save money in 2016

Since we all have New Year’s resolutions on our minds I thought I would blog about the one I’m having the toughest time with, saving money.  I’ll bet that saving money is one of your New Year’s resolutions too so it only seems natural that I share one of the easiest ways to do it.  Get your life, auto, home owners, and business insurance policies reevaluated by an independent insurance agent.  This is one very simple step that has the potential to save your family thousands of dollars a month and all you have to do is pick up your phone.  Seriously, it is that easy.

An independent insurance agency like Hudson Valley Agents, has the insurance knowledge and the access to many different insurance companies needed to find the perfect insurance coverage with an affordable monthly rate.  No need for you to shop online and cross your fingers that you are buying the right coverage for your insurance needs, we’ve got you covered.

Is one of your New Year’s resolutions to shop locally more often?  Hudson Valley Agents can help with that as well!  Not only are we a small Hudson Valley business we also work with many New York state-based insurance companies.  Keeping your money in the Hudson Valley and New York state is just as important to us as it is to you.

So there you have it Hudson Valley, 2 great ways that Hudson Valley Agents can help you keep your New Year’s resolutions!  Looking to save even more money in 2016?  Liberty Tax shares office space with Hudson Valley Agents in our 731 Rt 211 East, Middletown NY office, call 673-4300 for an appointment today.  #shoplocal #insurelocal #hudsonvalleyagents #youbelongatliberty