“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
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:
• 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.
• 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
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!
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 –
Or this one, it’s all about UFO’s visiting Pine Bush –
Motorcycle insurance questions? We have answers!
Opening up a new distillery in the Hudson Valley? We can help with that too!
Get to know Hudson Valley Agents, find out what a local, independent insurance agency can do for you –
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
8 Things Independent Business Owners Should Know about Insurance
So, you’ve decided to take the leap and open your own independent small business. It can be a scary proposition if you don’t have any guidance up front.
One of the advantages of buying into a franchise business is you are generally given a roadmap, and some companies even recommend insurers and other vendors.
But as an independent, you’re on your own.
Here are at least eight types of insurance you should know about and consider for your business.
- General Liability – Every business, even home-based businesses should have general liability coverage. This provides defense and damages should you or your employee cause physical harm or property damage to a third party.
- Property Insurance – If you are a property owner, this coverage protects you in cases of fire damage, vandalism, smoke damage and theft. Your property coverage should also include loss of income and business interruption should your property be unusable to conduct business.
- Business Owner’s Policy – Commonly known in the industry as a ‘BOP,’ this policy covers general liability and offers protection for your building and business property (stock, furnishings, computers, etc.). Somewhat of a hybrid encapsulating both general liability and property coverage, BOPs offer popular endorsements (additional coverages) and are very popular with and competitively priced for small and medium-sized businesses.
- Commercial Auto – This protects your company’s vehicles that are used to transport goods, people, or equipment. This policy covers, trucks, SUVs, vans and cars from damage and collision. If your vehicle has lettering and/or your business logo on it, you MUST have commercial auto insurance to be properly covered.
- Hired and Non-Owned – If you don’t have company vehicles and you and/or your employees drive personal autos to conduct company business, you need hired and non-owned. This protects the company if the vehicle causes physical harm or property damage and is an endorsement generally offered on a BOP.
- Professional Liability/Errors and Omissions – This coverage protects those who provide professional services to clients. This includes insurance agents, lawyers, strategic and financial consultants, and even hair salons, among many others. This type of coverage is not covered by your general liability.
- Workers Compensation and Disability – In New York state, if you have at least one employee or a contract employee working via a 1099 form, you are required to carry both coverages. Workers compensation provides continued pay (usually at 50%) and medical benefits to an employee who is injured on the job. Disability insurance offers temporary cash benefits to an eligible employee who is disabled or taken ill outside of work or becomes disabled through pregnancy.
- Cybersecurity/Data Breach – Increasingly, businesses need this coverage to help them, and their clients recover if their private personal data is stolen. Businesses who take credit cards, store customer data electronically, or who keep detailed private personal information on file are especially at risk. This insurance helps pay for credit monitoring services for potentially exposed customers, legal fees, and professional service fees needed to recover. It also provides resources and systems to help the insured protect themselves from attack in the first place.
For more information on what kind of insurance is right for your business, contact your independent insurance agent.
Hudson Valley Agents #insurelocal
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
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
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
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
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