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

 

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

Insuring your Hudson Valley farm

“Agriculture is civilization.” – E. Emmons

Today’s blog is the first in a series of written by David J Bonne, VP for Hudson Valley Agents.  David had a  dream of providing locally sourced insurance coverage (yep, we can do that by insuring businesses with Hudson Valley insurance companies.) for the Valley’s farmers, farmer’s markets, restaurants, breweries, distilleries, and wineries and he has turned that dream into a reality.

Farm to Table Series, Pt 1 – The Farm

When it comes to insuring your assets such as your farm, it’s really easy to make a mistake and either over insure your properties our of sheer paranoia, or under insure them in order to try to save money.  Also, there is a broad spectrum of insurances to choose from, and picking the right coverages for the right amounts can be critical to keeping your farm afloat.

The first thing you should know is that one size does not fit all when it comes to insuring farms.  Thinking about your liability exposure first, the more acres you have, the greater the exposure is, just on the math alone.  Nosy wandering trespassers, subcontracted laborers, employees, visitors, and customers can all get hurt easily on farm property no matter how hard you try to prevent it.  Sometimes even the smallest, most frivolous claims can turn into tens of thousands of dollars in defense costs.  Depending on the size, type, and structure of your farming operations, some non-attached parcels may not be covered correctly, if at all.  These are the things that must be discussed with your agent before accepting your policy terms.

Next, there is the issue of properly insuring farm property which can fall into several different categories and is rarely lumped into one.

  • Non-attached buildings for instance.  On a standard homeowners policy and maybe even on a country squire/small hobby farm policy, non-attached buildings are usually sub-limits of the home-dwelling amount.  However, on a standard farm, those other buildings usually cost way more to repair or replace than those sub-limits afford.  In many cases, the barn alone can cost much more than the farmhouse, and in most cases, there are quite a few outbuilding structures such as run-in sheds, barns, utility sheds, garages, etc.  In all those situations the farm owner needs to be aware of the settlement option on those buildings.  Are they insured for full replacement value, actual depreciated cash value, or possibly an agreed upon value, and for the correct amounts?  With a standard farm policy, you can usually pick and choose which buildings to insure and set an agreed upon value.  This can be a helpful tool in controlling your costs.
  • Farm equipment is another aspect of farm property.  On a home or hobby farm policy, the contents coverage as a sbulimit of the home may or may not suffice here, but on a standard or larger commercial farm, it most certainly will not.  Properly insuring farm equipment can be tricky and requires the advice of a really good agent.  In many cases, the farm equipment can swarf the building coverages.  A realy good tractor can cost upwards of $250,000, not to mention irrigators, duster, plows, bailers, wagons, combines, the list goes on.  Once again, having the correct settlement option and valuations on your equipment is vital.  Also, are you co-insuring your equipment?  Many policies offer the option and in some cases only offer this optoin to co-insure.  Which means you may still be on the hook for a good portion of your loss in the event of a claim.  Then there is choosing the right dedctible as well.  Is your equipment scheduled or just blankedted with one lump sum of coverage, and is that the correct way to do it in your specialized case?

Now, on to your crops and/or livestock.  Crops and livestock are not automatically covered under ANY policy.  They have to be endoresed and specified in the policy.  Once they are, how do you know exatly what they are covered for?  Tornado, flooding, pestulance, pests, or wildfire?  Before buying crop insurance, it is vital that the farmer submits an accurate representation of the planted aceage they have per unit.  If they underreport, there may not be reimbursement for all losses they could realistically experience.  Livestock also has many different options and requirements.  There is mortality insurance, transit coverage, auction coverage, cattle cage, pasture, etc. An equine racehorse farm would have very different needs than a cattle farm or a crop farm.  Make sure you have the correct insuracne policy in hand.  Crop and livestock coverage can be partially funded by the USDA as well.

Workers Compensation is also vital to having a legally operating farm when you employ people.  Contrary to what some believe, there are NO EXCEPTIONS for farm workers, they must be insured by a worker’s compensation policy in NY.

As a farmer, you have many obligations, not just to your family and employees, but to your vendors, distributors, and even your insurance company.  Like any insurance policy, there are strict requirements on the part of the policyholder to safeguard their property and minimize the chance of a loss as much as possible.  If you are not familiar with your obligations to your insurance carrier, then it is time for a review of your policies.  If you have not discussed your insurance with anyone in quite some time, then you are overdue for a review of your current policies.  Farm insurance is not something to let stagnate or keep buried in a drawer somewhere.

The next installment in our Farm To Table series will be on distilleries, vineyards, craft breweries, and meaderies.

Please contact Dave Jr for further information:  845-778-2141 or davejr@hvagents.com

#farmtotable  #farminsurance  #eatlocal  #insurelocal  #farmtotableinsurance  #HudsonValleyInsurance

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

Do inventors need patent insurance?

Do you need patent insurance?

For people who design or invent new things, patenting your idea is a form of insurance. Once you’ve patented your ‘intellectual property’ (IP), you now have a set of standardized legal protections in place should anyone try to steal or copy it.

But what most folks don’t know is that defending yourself against a claim of patent infringement – or taking legal action against someone who has infringed upon or stolen your IP – can be very, very expensive.

In the years since the patenting system was first created, the types and number of patents registered each year have exploded. In 2016, the United States Patent and Trademark Office estimated that there were more than nine million unexpired patents. That’s a LOT of IP to keep track of.

A relatively recent development in the patenting world is the ‘patent troll’. A patent troll is a person or company who acquires patents and attempts to enforce their patent rights through aggressive legal tactics including frivolous litigation and harassment. Patent trolls can cost companies and individuals untold amounts in legal fees.

Accordingly, there are two basic types of patent infringement insurance:

  • Patent infringement liability insurance helps protect manufacturers, users, and sellers of IP who are accused of infringing a patent holder’s rights (like by a patent troll). Defense coverage is provided and might include additional profits and royalties to be turned over to the patent holder.
  • Patent enforcement litigation Insurance covers the owner of a patent against infringement by another person. It includes the cost of legal defense to enforce the patent. The policy includes a co-payment provision, usually 25%. Excluded are the liability for compensatory or consequential damages, fines, punitive damages, exemplary damages, and multiple damages.

So, if you have a patent, you should at least have patent enforcement insurance. And if you don’t have patents on your product line, you should carry patent infringement insurance,

The cost of patent insurance varies greatly – from a few hundred dollars a year to many thousands – depending on the amounts and types of coverage, among other variables having to do with the IP itself.

For further information, contact David or Philip at Hudson Valley Agents 845-778-2141

#insurelocal  #patentinsurance  #protectyourintellectualproperty

Monday motivation, does it work?

Every Monday morning our social media feeds are filled with #MondayMotivation images to inspire us to do our best and achieve our goals.

But do these images truly have the power to provoke a positive response?  Could posting one of these #MotivationMonday quotes to your social media feed actually work to excite our drive to perform?

Maybe.

Yes. The artwork on a motivational poster might be enough to brighten up the office and that makes people happy.  There is the added bonus of reading an inspirational message when you feel bogged down to boost your flagging spirits.

No.  Everyone is motivated differently so one post will not change the world.  People will always eventually stop reading the motivational posters that routinely hang on office walls.  Not because the message is not positive, but because it has become part of the background of daily life at the office.

We can’t “insure” that this blog will spark your creativity or increase your workday happiness levels, but we can insure your home, car, small business, and more!

Happy Monday Hudson Valley

#insurelocal  #HudsonValley  #independentinsuranceagent

 

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

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