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

Does your hobby need insurance?

Hobbies run the gamut from cheap and easy (reading) to wildly expensive (building stock cars), and then there’s everything in-between.  Did you know that there are scrapbook tools that cost more than $400?  We didn’t.

Think of it this way, if you have invested more than $500 in your hobby you should speak to your insurance agent about how to properly protect your hard work and financial output.  If your hobby’s costs are less than $500 you should still add those higher ticket items to your home inventory.  January is an excellent time to update your current home inventory list, don’t forget to add all your new electronics too!

Almost every hobby requires some amount of financial output, and if your hobby creates something of worth (such as jewelry making), then your investment is increased.  Ensuring that your investment has proper insurance coverage is where we come in.  Insurance coverage that actually covers your belongings is a reality.  Visit our website, pick up the phone, or just stop in for more information.

#insurelocal  #hobbyinsurance  #independentinsuranceagent  #homeownersinsurance  #hudsonvalley

 

 

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

Thanksgiving safety tips for the Hudson Valley

Thanksgiving is a mere 14 days away and Christmas is 32 days away.  Is your homeowners insurance ready for the influx of relatives, the cooking, the gift shopping, the parties, the decorations, as well as the normal chaos that comes with day to day life?

Thanksgiving is the start of a holiday cycle that does not end until January 2, and ensuring that your family fun is fully covered can make recovering from any holiday disaster quick and painless.

Follow these tips for a safe holiday season:

  • Never, ever leave the stove unattended while cooking.
  • Never, never, ever put a frozen or wet turkey into a turkey fryer.
  • Use extra precaution when driving, especially the day before Thanksgiving.
  • Have the phone number for a cab company ready or install the Lyft app on your phone, this makes it easier for tipsy guests to get home safely.
  • Use caution around candles or invest in LED candles.
  • Always sand or salt driveways and walkways during inclement weather.

Here are a few of the things we wish insurance covered during the holiday season:

  • Overcooked turkey
  • Undercooked pie crust
  • Holiday traffic
  • That one Uncle that insists on drinking a fourth glass of wine and discussing politics.
  • Being exiled to “the kids table”

We hope that your holiday season begins and ends with a smile.  Be safe, enjoy yourself, and make sure you have the best insurance coverage for your life and everything in it.

#holidayinsurance  #insurelocal  #hudsonvalleyinsurance

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

 

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