Insurance Solutions for Hudson Valley Airbnb Hosts

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

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

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

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

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

#insurelocal  #hudsonvalleyinsurance

 

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

8 Things Business Owners Should Know About Insurance

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.

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.  

 Philip J Bender-Tymon

Hudson Valley Agents  #insurelocal

 

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

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

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

 

Firearm Liability Insurance

According to FBI statistics, nearly 800,000 crimes were recorded in New York State for 2015 – with more than 317,00 of them being property crimes. The FBI defines property crimes as burglary, break-ins, vandalism, arson, vehicle theft and carjacking, among others.

Many New Yorkers choose to own firearms to protect their homes, property, and families from such incidents. Unfortunately, justifiable circumstances alone are not always enough to shield them from potential liability exposure from using them. Sometimes civil and criminal charges are brought, resulting in a significant loss of time and money.

Most homeowner’s insurance policies specifically exclude this type of loss, leaving the gun owner personally and financially liable.  And even frivolous or unfounded allegations must be defended, potentially leaving the gun owner responsible for tens of thousands of dollars in defense costs alone.

It’s called Firearm Liability Insurance and starting at $135 a year, it’s extremely affordable.  Firearm Liability Insurance provides coverage for attorney retainers, legal expense reimbursement, bail bonds, damages, awards, and judgments. More expansive packages also cover compensation for lost wages while in court, and even psychological support services.

At the time of this article, there is legislation in front of the  NYS Assembly that is expected to be passed by both houses and ratified by the Governor that “Requires owners of firearms to obtain liability insurance in an amount not less than two hundred fifty thousand dollars.” This coverage is available now at Hudson Valley Agents if you do not wish to wait.

For more information on coverage that protects you while you protect your family and home, call Dave or Philip at Hudson Valley Agents at (845)-778-2141.

#firearmliabilityinsurance  #insuringfirearms  #insurelocal  #HudsonValleyAgents

What happens when you put 200 insurance agents into 1 room?

What happens when you put 200 independent insurance agents into one room?  They learn from one another and they teach the insurance industry a thing or two.

Everyone is back from the annual SAN Group meeting in Worcester and excited to put their new knowledge to work. Dave Jr and Philip spent their time taking classes,

Speaking to representatives of insurance companies,

They acted silly

And they found some insurance history too-

The insurance industry is always evolving to meet the ever changing needs of their insureds and the independent agents who serve them.  Annual meetings like this help new agents, like Philip, get one on one time with companies and that benefits our clients and our agency.  It also allows insurance companies to learn about changes they need to make from the people who know the needs of their clients.

Our partnership with the SAN Group allows us access to insurance companies that many other agencies are unable to work with.  This partnership allows us to better serve our small businesses with insurance coverage that best fits their insurance needs and budgets.

Are you a small business owner in need of insurance coverage?  Philip, David, and Kathy are ready, willing, and able to give you a free quote!  Call (845-778-2141), click, or just stop by our Walden office today.

#independentinsuranceagency  #HudsonValleyAgents  #insurelocal  #businessinsurance

 

Going on vacation? Call your agent first.

Summer vacation is on the horizon and we want to help you make yours a trip to remember!  Did you know that your homeowners and car insurance could help with some of your travel related frustration?  One quick call to your agent and you’ll stress less about these 3 things:

1- Lost luggage or stolen electronics can be covered by your homeowners policy.

2- Your car insurance covers your rental car, if you carry comprehensive coverage.

3- Trip Cancellation insurance is REALLY AFFORDABLE and easy to purchase.

Vacations are meant for relaxation, not worrying about what might and might not be covered by your insurance.  Know what’s covered before you go, and then enjoy that sweet, sweet, vacation!

For further information or a free insurance quote give us a call 845-778-2141, check out our web page, or download our free app for iPhone and Android users.

#insurelocal  #HudsonValleyAgents  #TravelInsurance  #HomeownersInsurance  #AutoInsurance  #hudsonvalley