Teen Driver Safety Week

Do you know what the #1 cause of death is for teens in the USA?  Car accidents.  Why do teens tend to have so many fatal car accidents?  This video has some of the answers-

Parents have a huge responsibility when it comes to their teens getting behind the wheel, responsibility, and fear.

Never fear!  We know of an outstanding defensive driving course, we offer affordable first-time driver insurance coverage,  and there are THE RULES

Making sure that your teenager has affordable, quality car insurance is just one of the things that we do really well, and we know all of the tips and tricks to “insure” that you have the coverage you need.  If you have questions about insuring your teen driver, give Hudson Valley Agents a call, 845-778-2141.  #teendriversafety  #insurelocal  #HudsonValleyInsurance

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

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

Insuring the Hudson Valley’s Distilleries

The Hudson Valley NY region is arguably the best place on earth, producing craft spirits from small-batch distilleries to microbreweries, cideries, and vineyards. Because of the farm to table atmosphere here and so much fresh produce and food accessible in the area including the Catskill Mountain range bordering the west side of the valley, it’s normal that wineries, breweries, distilleries and cideries are incredibly dominant here as well. There’s no better way to complement the exceptional food found here than matching it to a fine bourbon, wine, cider, or craft beer produced right here in the region. In fact, the Hudson Valley is known for being the oldest wine region in the United States.

Insuring the regions precious commodities such as these may, however, require a little finesse. You can’t just go to any insurance company and say “insure my craft spirit facility please.” If you do, you may be in for many surprises. Such as incomplete or improper coverage if the company or agent is not entirely familiar with your type of risk, or you could also end up paying too much as well if our business is not appropriately rated.

If your policy doesn’t have extra non-standard benefits like Water processing, Contamination, and adulteration, Product withdrawal expenses, or Special processing equipment coverage just to name a few, then you may have already started out on the wrong foot. You should also know what is not covered under these types of policies. For example, many of the vineyards hit by the celebrated Napa Valley fires that destroyed much of the California wine industry were finding out after the fact that while their inventory and property may have been appropriately covered, their crops were not in many cases. This resulted in major expenses they were unaware of when restarting their operations.

In summary, insuring a craft distillery is similar to insuring a farm in the sense that there are quite a few coverages that do not apply to ordinary insurance policies and quite a bit of finesse required to build the proper policy.

David and Philip are the people to speak to when you’re talking about insurance coverage for your distillery, your tasting room, and your off-site events.  Hudson Valley Agents, problem-solving insurance agents on a mission to offer affordable, comprehensive insurance to every Hudson Valley business.

#insurelocal  #distilleryinsurance  #wineryinsurance  #breweryinsurance

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

Making sense of commercial truck insurance

Finding excellent commercial auto insurance in the Hudson Valley can feel similar to having your teeth pulled, especially when thinking about commercial truck insurance.  Here are the 5 things to keep in mind for a smooth transaction:

1- Cognizances. You’ve got to be mindful of the different kinds of truck insurance.  While there are numerous factors to consider when insuring your truck, commercial vehicle insurance can be broken down into 4 main types:

A- Liability insurance – this is the mandatory insurance which pays for any damage you cause while utilizing your truck.  Driving without this insurance is illegal and may cause heavy penalties.

B- Physical damage coverage – not really a legal requirement, yet this insurance covers your truck against perils like fire, theft, and flood damage.

C- Cargo – this insurance covers the contents you’re carrying. It isn’t really required however some shipping companies will require it.

D- Bobtail insurance – also referred to as non-trucking liability, A term created applying to auto liability insurance for an owner/operator after a load has been delivered while your truck is not being used for trucking purposes.

2- The Basics. The information you’ll need to acquire commercial truck insurance.

Even just getting set up with truck insurance might be a tricky process, though it’ll be a little smoother when you furnish as much information as is feasible. Some insurance companies will give you a quote without having the following information, but they will need proof of this data before you can actually purchase coverage.

A- Your current insurance coverage declarations page.  If you do not possess a business insurance declaration page (no prior coverage), use a current personal auto page instead.

B- Drivers license numbers and basic driving records of all drivers, including all tickets. Your quote will rise exponentially if a driver is later observed to have a worse driving history than previously claimed.

C- VIN numbers (vehicle identification numbers) of each vehicle, including a rundown of safety and security features on each truck.  If you do not have the VIN number handy, just provide the insurance company with as much detail as you can in regards to the vehicle, including the year, make, and model.

If there’s any information you simply can’t find, some companies will provide you with a quote based on your estimations. However, the quote will change when they inevitably determine the facts.

3- The Factors. The key factors affecting commercial vehicle premiums.

To a degree, you possibly can control some of the essential factors which govern your truck’s insurance costs.  The key issues which come into play include:

A- Driving record – how many speeding fines or traffic offenses you or your drivers have incurred over the last few years.

B- Garaging Location – Where your trucks are kept, especially overnight. More dangerous areas may mean higher premiums.

C- Limit of liability insurance required – see below for a rundown of what you need.

  • Kind of and radius of operation.
  • Shipping hardscrabble across the country has a different liability risk factor than shipping televisions from Ulster County NY to Westchester County NY.
  • Age, condition and safety features of the vehicles can also affect the premium.

4- Methodology. Methods used to save money on commercial insurance.

There are a few key do’s and don’ts for saving money on your insurance, but maybe the best recommendation is, to be honest regardless of how tempting it could be to overstate the value of your truck or forget to mention a speeding ticket.  Some truckers even overstate the price of their vehicles hoping that they will get a good deal if anything happened to it.  That is not how insurance works.  Your insurer will discover just how much it would cost to obtain a comparable replacement.  Should you say that your truck is worth more than it is, then you are more likely to over-pay for your coverage.

Get quotes from several insurance companies before you commit to one, and present each of them with the exact same information.

Run a safety program. Ask your insurer for information on how to put one together for your business, and you can save even more.  A written maintenance plan could also save you money simply because the insurance company will know that you are serious about maintaining your vehicles.

Removing comprehensive (fire and theft) coverage from some of your older vehicles can save money as well, especially if the cost of the coverage doesn’t even cover the amount that might be paid out.

How come truck insurance so expensive? In essence, trucks themselves are expensive. Your insurance company is at risk of having to replace your whole rig!  Trucks are big as well, so, in case you do crash into something it will generally do a considerable amount of damage.  Way more than if you were in the average automobile.  Trucks are much more likely to be stolen than cars, partly because they are worth more, and also because they often contain valuable cargo.

5. ICC (Interstate Commerce Commission) authorities and MC (Motor Carrier) numbers.  You will need to get an MC number from your ICC authority before you ship goods across state lines.  In order to obtain one, your bodily injury and property damage insurance coverage will need to meet the prerequisites based on weight and class of your vehicle as well as the loads you’ll be carrying.

For vehicles with a Gross Vehicle Weight rating of 10,001 pounds or higher:

$750,000 for general, nonhazardous commodities.

$1,000,000 for hazardous freight except for class A and class B explosives.

$5,000,000 for class A and class B explosives.

Non-hazardous freight under 10,000 lbs requires a $300,000 minimum.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration website (FMCSA)  is an amazing resource for truckers and features all of the guidelines and advice you could possibly expect and then some!

Hudson Valley Agents has been serving the Hudson Valley’s commercial insurance needs for 28 years. We write long-haul truckers in Maybrook NY, short-haul truckers in Poughkeepsie NY, plumbers in Middletown NY, contractors in Kingston NY, electricians in Rhinebeck NY. If you use your truck or car for your business then you need commercial auto insurance.

#commercialautoinsurance #contractors #electricians #longhaultruckers #shorthaultruckers #plumbers #insurelocal #HudsonValleyInsurance #hudsonvalley #maybrookny #poughkeepsieny #middletownny #kingstonny #rhinebeckny

 

Important insurance info for band parents!

Today’s blog comes to you from our office band geek, Philip Bender-Tymon (pictured above).

Blow that horn, baby (but insure it first)!

I had the good fortune to grow up in a musically talented family. I also attended a great Midwestern high school that had a fantastic music program where I played various instruments in concert band, swing band, orchestra, and marching band.

Playing music as part of a group taught me many lessons about teamwork, discipline, and respect. And not just respect for my fellow musicians – but for the instruments.

I also learned – the hard way – that those instruments can be extremely expensive to repair or replace. My parents once wrote a pretty hefty check to repair a crumpled tuba bell following a marching band misadventure.

 

Today, it can cost $400-500 just to repair a school-grade brass instrument – double or triple that for professional quality brass horns. And when it comes to stringed instruments – violins, cellos, etc. – it can cost thousands of dollars to replace one.

That’s why it can pay to have insurance for them, especially if that’s how you make your living. Transporting and shipping your beloved instrument multiplies the risk.

Basic musical instrument insurance or endorsements can cost as little as $150 a year (without shipping coverage). A small price to pay for peace of mind.

Contact Hudson Valley Agents to find out more.  (845)-778-2141

And play on!!

#bandgeek  #insurelocal  #musicalinstrumentinsurance  #waldenNY  #HudsonValley

Plan for the financial future of your small business

Today we are talking about financial planning for your small business and the role that insurance should play in that plan.

If you own your own business, you already know how important it is to protect what you have worked so hard to build.  Insurance is asset protection and too many owners overlook these key policies:

  • Loss of business income coverage.  This enables you to cover payroll and pay your bills if your business is unable to operate as usual.
  • Employee benefits coverage.  Coverage and benefits that help you hire and retain employees.
  • Key Person Insurance.  Is there one person who is so key to your business that without them the entire business would crash and burn?  If you answered yes, then you need this coverage.
  • Life insurance.  This is a must for family-owned businesses. It can take the stress and financial strain off of grieving family members and ensures that the business can continue to function.
  • Cybersecurity.  Protect yourself and your clients from hackers and data breaches.

David, Philip, and Kathy are experts in ensuring that Hudson Valley small businesses have the tools they need to protect their livelyhood.

We are Hudson Valley Agents.  A full-service independent insurance agency that believes in keeping things local.

#insurelocal  #BOP  #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