Top 4 Homeowners Insurance Claims In The Hudson Valley

The leaves are turning and the nights are getting chilly, welcome to fall in the Hudson Valley!

Preparing for winter is a top priority for Hudson Valley homeowners because our winters can be brutal and no one wants the added annoyance of having to call their insurance agent to start a claim.  Here are the top reasons that homeowners in Kingston and Poughkeepsie make claims on their homeowners’ insurance during the winter months-

1- Exterior Wind Damage.  If a tree falls on your home or car due to high winds, 9 times out of 10 your insurance will cover the removal.  If a tree falls across your driveway or just on your lawn, regular insurance WILL NOT cover removal, an additional endorsement can be purchased to cover this.

2- Plumbing or appliance water damage.  This one is not as clear-cut as you might think.  Your homeowner’s insurance will cover the water damage done to your home if your pipes burst or your dishwasher decides to flood your kitchen, what it will not cover is the repair of the pipes or dishwasher.  Taking steps to avoid frozen pipes is the homeowner’s responsibility, not the insurance company’s.

3- Hail damage.  Covered by homeowners insurance.

4- Ice and snow damage.  You are responsible for maintaining your roof and gutters by keeping them in good repair and clear of debris.  If the damage to your home is due to the weight of snow and ice, you’re covered.  If the damage to your home is due to an ice dam because you haven’t cleaned your gutters in 5 years, then your claim will be denied.

Insurance is a legally binding contract between the homeowner and the insurance company.  If you are unsure of what your current policy covers and what it doesn’t, give Hudson Valley Agents a call.  We want every Hudson Valley homeowner, from Westchester to Albany, to have the best coverage the insurance industry has to offer and at affordable prices.  #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.

The Truth About Dogs and Your Homeowners Insurance

“A dog is the only thing on earth that loves you more than you love yourself.” – Josh Billings

Some say that we didn’t domesticate dogs, they domesticated us, and there is some truth to that. They have moved from our fires to our couches, and that is just fine.  Unfortunately, many insurance companies are not as willing to accept our canine companions as we are, but do not let that stop you from adopting one!

Here’s the truth about dogs and homeowners insurance:
1- Ownership of certain breeds of dogs will cause your homeowners’ insurance to be canceled. If you adopt a dog that looks like a Pit Bull or an Akita your insurance company will assume that it is a purebred and cancel your policy.
2- Most dogs in shelters are not purebred and may only resemble a Pit Bull or Akita, or a Doberman. Canine DNA tests cost less than $100 and often prove that the dog in question is actually a beagle/labrador mix and not a Pit Bull at all so that you can keep your dog and your homeowners’ insurance too.
3- There are options for those who live with Pit Bulls, German Shepards, and other dogs on the “bad dog list.” Some companies will still write your policy, but exclude coverage for dog bites or damage caused by your dog. You may be able to purchase a particular policy to cover those instances.
4- You are responsible for your dog’s behavior. Children are most often the recipients of dog bites, and inadequate adult supervision is often the reason. Most dog bites can be prevented if owners are paying attention.

“The average dog is a nicer person than the average person.” – Andy Rooney

Take some time this weekend to visit some of your local animal shelters, the UCSPCA, DCSPCA, or Hudson Valley SPCA. If you find your new best friend and are unsure if your current renters or homeowners policy will cover them give us a call, we can help. We believe that mans best friend belongs in the house, not at a shelter. Adopt, don’t shop. Contact Hudson Valley Agents at 845-778-2141 for further information.
#adoptdontshop #homeownersinsurance #hudsonvalleyinsurance #hudsonvalleyagents

Are you overdue for an insurance coverage review?

 

Hey Hudson Valley!  Our own Philip Bender-Tymon is ready, willing, and able to share you with all of his insurance knowledge.

Are you overdue for an insurance coverage review?

One of the things I encourage my clients to do – and friends and family for that matter – is to conduct a regular insurance review to make sure they’ve got the right coverages.

All too often, people ‘let it ride’ on their insurance policies only to find out that they are under-insured, improperly insured, and/or paying too much.

Here are some things I suggest:

Personal Insurance

• Make sure you carry personal liability as part of your homeowner policy. This protects you and your family for any at-fault injuries or damage they may cause to others ON or OFF your property.
• Consider adding a personal umbrella. That provides an extra layer of personal liability coverage to both your homeowners AND your automobile coverages. And it’s very affordable.
• Make sure you have sewer and drain backup coverage. One incident is all it takes to make you realize how important it can be.
• Tree and debris removal. As recent storms have shown, many people are not aware that some carriers provide endorsements that help homeowners clear their property after a storm. Without it, most basic homeowner policies do not cover those expenses.
• Has your automobile situation changed? Did you retire and stop commuting to work? Did you pay off your car loan? Did you take a defensive driving course? Each one of these, among others, is an opportunity to save money off your car insurance premium.

Business Insurance

• Has your employee count changed? If so, review your workers compensation and disability coverages to see if you need to change it up before you get an audit surprise. Ask your agent about ‘real-time’ workers comp programs that change with you throughout the year.
• Have you added business personal property (equipment, furniture, technology, retail stock, etc.) since you last renewed? If your answer is yes, have your agent update your policy ASAP. A small premium increase is well worth avoiding a loss that is not fully covered.
• Do you operate off-site events or ‘pop-ups’? Make sure your business policy covers them or consider ‘day of’ policies that provide 24 hours of coverage.
• If you perform credit card transactions electronically; store sensitive customer information on computers, phones or tablets; or keep recorded customer information on-site – you need Cyber Liability coverage. One data breach can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars and can drive small business owners out of business in a matter of months.

Spending just one-half hour spent with your independent insurance agent or broker once a year can save you money, time, and heartbreak.

Let us help you – that’s what we’re here for!

Hudson Valley Agents has been helping people ensure that their homes, cars, and businesses are properly and affordably insured for 28 years.   We work with many New York state-based insurance companies (some of which are really local- Kingston and Montgomery type close.) and with larger companies such as Progressive and Safeco (part of the Liberty Mutual family).  Find out what an independent insurance agent can do for you- call, click, or stop by!

#insurelocal  #hudsonvalleyinsurance  #homeownersinsurance  #carinsurance  #businessownerinsurance

Insurance Solutions for Hudson Valley Airbnb Hosts

Did you know that there are more than 100 listings on Airbnb for Kingston New York.  100 + people are either renting out their homes or rooms in their homes, and they probably do not realize that their homeowner’s insurance will drop them like a hot potato if they ever found out.  And trust me, they find out.

Airbnb is cool; it opens up a whole new world to those who travel and a much welcome bump in income to those who open their homes.  Sounds like a win/win to me.  Remember, with every blessing, there is a curse, and within every curse, there is a blessing.  Increased income is the blessing; insurance headaches are the curse.  Not to worry, we can help with that.

Airbnb does offer limited coverage that is meant to supplement your existing homeowner’s policy.  Please note the use of the word LIMITED.  Limited or not, at least you have an extra cushion should disaster strike,  right?  Don’t be so sure about that.  Insurance companies don’t like risks and having unknown people have full run of your home while you are/are not there is not something they look upon with happiness.  Ask most insurance people how they feel about insuring an Airbnb, and you will see just the slightest grimace of pain cross their faces.  Very few companies in the industry have embraced the sharing economy, and that makes it difficult to ensure that you have coverage that you can use if the need arises.  

Not every insurance policy is created equal.  Some companies will still cover your home if you list it on Airbnb, but they will only cover you if you rent out for a set amount of days, and they probably require you to be in residence for the entire time you have guests.  There are insurance companies who will not cover you at all if you list on Airbnb, and there are those who simply require that you increase your coverage.  You never know what you’ll find until you ask, and once you ask, you might not be happy with the answer you receive.

Ensuring that your home has the correct coverage can be as simple as picking up your phone and dialing 845-778-2141.  Ashley, Kathy, Philip, and David are ready, willing, and able to solve all of your insurance dilemmas, and we do it with a smile.  We are Hudson Valley Agents, the Hudson Valley’s insurance superheroes!

#insurelocal  #hudsonvalleyinsurance

 

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 –

Pet fire safety day (could Fluffy cause an insurance claim?)

The ASPCA estimates that 3.2 million dogs and cats are adopted from shelters every year. That’s a lot of critters! Unfortunately, these furry friends can sometimes be the cause of catastrophe (no pun intended) and sometimes that catastrophe is a house fire.

This is Smegs,

If our boss’s home ever burns down this furball will probably be the reason. You see, Smegs likes to knock lit candles off of whatever surface they are sitting upon. He does not limit himself to candles either. Sit down with a cup of coffee to watch the news on a Sunday morning and he will find a way to dump it on the ground, preferably into a wall first where it will inevitably drip down into the wall socket. Smegs is 14 years old, has no teeth, and no front claws. He is destruction in a catsuit and the reason David has only led candles and travel mugs.

This is Miss Molly.

Miss Molly used to have a bad habit of counter surfing. In her younger days, she had an addiction to scrambled eggs, not the eggs themselves, just the pan the eggs were cooked in. If you did not remove the frying pan from the stove immediately after making yourself breakfast, she would find a way to knock it off of the stovetop and has managed to turn the burner on more than once. Miss Molly is the reason David’s stove has baby locks on the burner knobs.

Meet Eddie & Patsy (aka Mischief and Mayhem)

Eddie and Patsy are proud to call Philip Dad, and he’s just as happy to claim these furry beasts as his own.  They have earned their nicknames of Mischief and Mayhem.   When they barrel through the house, chasing each other at breakneck speeds,  neither man, nor beast, nor china cabinet are safe.  They do not have a history of fire starting though, which makes them very good dogs indeed.

Our dogs and cats are family members, and protecting them from themselves isn’t always easy. Making sure that they make it out of the house if there is ever a fire won’t be easy either, but there are things that you can do to help ensure their safety:

  • Keep a collar on your pets at all times.
  • Hang leashes next to the front door.
  • Pet Alert Safety stickers can be purchased at almost every pet store in our area. Put them on your doors and windows to ensure that firemen know that your pets are inside.
  • Pet-proof your home. Keep electrical cables where pets can’t chew on them, remove your stove knobs or put protectors on them, and switch to led candles.

We love pets. This is not a statement you usually hear from an insurance agency. Insurance companies are notorious for declining coverage to homes with dog breeds that are on their “no” list. We believe that every dog deserves a home and will do all that we can to find coverage for our clients with dogs. Homeowners insurance can be customized to fit you and your furry family members, contact us for further information.

#homeownersinsurance  #insurelocal  #insuranceproblemsolvers

#Petfiresafetyday

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

Are you covered for tree removal after a tornado?

Parts of the Hudson Valley are still cleaning up from the storm that spawned 4 tornadoes on Tuesday, May 18, 2018, it was a storm that many of us will never forget. 4 tornadoes touched down in our area that day; 2 in Putnam county, 1 is Orange county, and 1 in Ulster county. One of the Putnam county tornadoes was verified to be an EF2, that means that this particular twister had winds that clocked in between 113 and 157 miles per hour and was capable of turning the debris it created into missiles and ripping the roofs off of houses, YIKES! Orange hosted an EF0 strength twister, winds at 40-72 miles per hour with the capability to uproot shallowly rooted trees and tumble brick chimneys. Ulster county’s EF1’s winds blew in at 73-112 miles per hour and were capable of blowing mobile homes off of their foundations. This storm was no joke.

If you think that these tornadoes were just a freak occurrence, think again. From September 20, 1975 – May 2000 there were 11 verified tornadoes in Ulster county. Orange county also had 11, theirs were first recorded on July 25, 1969 – July 11, 2011, and Orange county has a body count. Dutchess has had 11 as well, August 7, 1978 – June 25, 2006.

On Wednesday morning our phones began to ring, it seemed like everyone in our local community of Walden, and Motgomery NY had some damage done to their home or vehicles. Large branches and sometimes entire trees littered our roads and yards, schools were closed or delayed, and everyone had the same question; “Am I covered for tree removal?” The answer, more often than not, was not something they wanted to hear.

Tree removal is one of those things that 99.9% of homeowners insurance policies DO NOT ROUTINELY COVER. Shocking, isn’t it? Other catastrophes that are not covered by a typical homeowners insurance policy are:

  • Mold removal
  • Earthquakes
  • Termites
  • Flood

A homeowners policy is designed to help you repair your home and generally does not cover your yard, so if a tree falls and does not land on your home, there is usually no coverage. Unless you have had your policy endorsed with specific add on overages that have been developed recently, pests, earth movement, flood, and mold have never been covered.  Call you agent to see if you can have some of these newer endorsements added to your policy. It will cost more but some companies now offer sub-coverages such as tree removal, fungus abatement, earthquake, pest damage, and even a limited flood endorsement is now being made available by one of our carriers. For those of you that do not have a flood insurance policy but are still a little concerned about the possibility of flooding due to a change in the topography in your area, call your agent to find out. That added coverage is incredibly affordable and really comes in handy when the Hudson Valley’s weather decides to go big or go home.

When was the last time you sat down with your insurance agent? Insurance is asset protection, don’t wait for a disaster to find out that you are under insured.

#insurelocal  #homeownersinsurance  #hudsonvalleyinsurance  #hudsonvalley