School Bus Rules of the Road

A Short Safety Refresher for the Back to School Season in New York

school bus rules of the roadThere is nothing more important than the safety of our children in getting back and forth to school.  Whether they are walking, riding a bike or traveling in a school bus, it is imperative for drivers to be constantly aware, patient and exercise caution.  Take a look through the following information for a refresher on School Bus Rules of the Road.

 

First of all, have patience when driving.  Leave yourself extra time for your morning and afternoon commutes, especially if you travel during the typical school pick-up and drop-off times of day in your area.  School busses make frequent stops, so be prepared for this and drive carefully.  Slow down so that you can get where you are going on time and without incident.

 

In addition, driving in the fall and winter seasons can be slippery.  Wet leaves during the fall and snow and ice conditions in the winter and early spring can be hazardous and make it more difficult to stop safely.  The best preventative measure for an accident is to reduce your speed when driving and be vigilant about intersections, crosswalks and general travel routes to and from our local schools. Don’t follow a bus (or line of following cars) too closely.  You are at a disadvantage when you can’t see what might be ahead, and if a bus slows suddenly to avoid a hazard, you don’t want to be in a situation where you collide with the vehicle in front of you.  

 

When a school bus is getting ready to stop, their lights will flash yellow.  This is your indication to begin slowing down and prepare to stop your vehicle.  All traffic must stop when the lights turn to red and the bus is actively loading or unloading passengers.  This applies to cars that are behind the bus (no passing allowed) as well as to vehicles that are traveling in the opposite direction – even if it is a divided highway.  If the red lights are on and the stop sign is out, all traffic must stop until the bus gets back underway.  Your car must be at least 20 feet away from the bus when you are stopped.

NYS DMV Where to stop for a school bus with red lights flashing

Image from New York DMV – where you must stop for a stopped school bus. 

 

Many busses now are equipped with cameras to capture information about vehicles that pass a stopped school bus and violations can exact some hefty fines and penalties for violations. Points for driving infractions can increase your auto insurance costs and premiums, and convictions can even result in jail time.

 

For full information on School Bus Safety from the NYS Department of Motor Vehicles, please visit https://dmv.ny.gov/more-info/school-bus-safety.  For help with all your insurance needs, contact our team at Bieritz Insurance at 607-547-2951 or submit our web contact form at https://bieritzinsurance.com/contact-us/.

 

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Think about Insurance BEFORE you Need it

Think about Insurance BEFORE you Need itOne of the most important things we can tell our clients is to think about insurance before you actually have a need for it.  If there is one thing we have all learned over this past year, it is that life can be unpredictable.  While it may be hard to imagine the kinds of things that can happen that upend our lives, there are some systematic ways to assess some of the basics.

Take Time to Review Your Coverage

An annual review of your insurance coverage is a process that can help you to evaluate your risks, along with any changes that might be needed to your policies.  What home improvements have you recently made? Are you planning on making any changes in the coming year?  Are you looking for a job change? Did you have a child ? Have you purchased a new car?  Do you have a teenager ready for a learner’s permit or new drivers license?  Are you protected in the event of a fire or a flood?

It’s hard to prepare for the unknown and unexpected, but if you take some time – even just for a few hours once a year – to consider whether or not to make changes to your insurance to more accurately protect your assets (and yourself), the value can be tremendous.

In light of today’s construction costs, it may cost more than you expect to rebuild or repair your home.  Is your coverage keeping up with inflation?  Does your current insurance policy still protect you in the event of an emergency?  Check with our team to learn if you are covered in the event of an accident or natural disaster.  We may be able to help you make modifications to your policy to make sure you are properly protected.

Just over the last 10 years, we have seen several flood events in our region with communities that have been hard hit with damages.  With changes to our climate, these events are likely to occur more and more frequently.  If you are not sure if you would be covered in a similar type of event, schedule an appointment with your team so that we can help you interpret your policies to make sure you are secured with a level of protection that makes sense for your specific needs.

If we could tell you one thing, it would be “Don’t put this off”.  Take the time today to assess your risk, document your current assets and their value and take action to protect yourself with appropriate coverage – before you need it!  As always, our team is ready to assist.  Call us for an appointment at 607-547-2951 or submit our Contact Form Here.

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Summer Grilling Safety Tips

Who Doesn’t Love a Barbecue?

Summer Grilling Safety TipsOne of the best things about summer is the ability to cook outdoors.  We hold family barbecues, attend outdoor picnics, and just generally cook outside whenever we can while the season is here.  70% of our households in the U.S. own an outdoor grill or smoker.   While a big part of our summer fare, outdoor cooking does not come without risks.  An average of 10,600 home fires are caused each year and almost 20,000 emergency room visits are directly related to home grilling and about half of those injuries involve thermal burns.  Take a look through these Summer Grilling Safety Tips – recommended by the National Fire Protection Agency (NFPA).  NFPA is a global self-funded nonprofit organization, established in 1896, devoted to eliminating death, injury, property and economic loss due to fire, electrical and related hazards.

 

GENERAL GRILLING SAFETY TIPS 

  • Propane and charcoal BBQ grills should only be used outdoors. 
  • The grill should be placed well away from the home, deck railings and out from under eaves and overhanging branches. 
  • Keep children and pets at least three feet away from the grill area. 
  • Keep your grill clean by removing grease or fat buildup from the grills and in trays below the grill. 
  • Never leave your grill unattended. 
  • Always make sure your gas grill lid is open before lighting it. 

 

CHARCOAL GRILL SAFETY 

There are several ways to get the charcoal ready to use. Charcoal chimney starters allow you to start the charcoal using newspaper as a fuel. If you use a starter fluid, use only charcoal starter fluid.  

  • Never add charcoal fluid or any other flammable liquids to the fire. 
  • Keep charcoal fluid out of the reach of children and away from heat sources. 

There are also electric charcoal starters, which do not use fire. Be sure to use an extension cord for outdoor use. 

When you are finished grilling, let the coals completely cool before disposing in a metal container. 

 

PROPANE GRILL SAFETY

Check the gas tank hose for leaks before using it for the first time each year. Apply a light soap and water solution to the hose. A propane leak will release bubbles. If your grill has a gas leak, by smell or the soapy bubble test, and there is no flame, turn off both the gas tank and the grill. If the leak stops, get the grill serviced by a professional before using it again. If the leak does not stop, call the fire department. 

If you smell gas while cooking, immediately get away from the grill and call the fire department. Do not move the grill. 

If the flame goes out, turn the grill and gas off and wait at least 5 minutes before re-lighting it. 

 

So, enjoy your barbecue, but remember to take steps for safety!  If you should need any guidance on insurance in case something goes wrong, please feel free to contact our team at Bieritz Insurance Agency to see if you have the protection you need.  We are happy to assist you.

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Transitioning Your Yard to Native Plants: How?

If you have made the decision to begin transitioning your lawn to a native plants habitat, but you’re not quite sure where to begin, then this information should be helpful.  We will provide some guidance on how to get started.  This article is the second part of a 2-part article.  To view prior content, please visit: Transitioning Your Yard to Native Plants: Why?

Find a local supplier

One of the first steps in the process is to find a good local supplier that has expertise about native plants.  They will be able to advise you along the way and provide expertise and options for how to best develop your native plant garden.  Use someone local whenever possible – someone that can access plants that are specific to your region, from your region.  Big box suppliers may have plants labeled as native, but may actually come from places far from your location.  Often you might find native plant ‘cultivars’ – which are a modified version of a native plant and may not provide the same type of benefits.  If you are not sure who your local experts are, a good resource is the New York Flora Association.  Their board members likely know people throughout the state that can help you with true expertise.

Determine Parameters – Identify Conditions

Next in your process is to designate your space.  You can start with one area and expand this over time.  Select a practical location to begin and allow for room to expand over time.  You will want to assess the existing conditions of this space.  Is it sunny throughout the day or well shaded?  What is the soil type? Look at drainage and other factors that might impact the types of plants that would be best suited for that location.  When you have this information, consult your provider for recommendations on what plants might be best.

Plan Your Design

Consider the design for your garden.  In addition to focusing on plants that provide a good variety and quantity of food resources (nuts, berries, seeds, nectar, etc.), you might also want to incorporate vertical structure – with plant species grouped together and providing different shapes, sizes and heights.   You can design for seasonal colors and blooms, with some plants that bloom in spring and others that bloom in fall months.  Other features can include natural concave rocks for catching rainwater, and some brush piles or branches to create additional shelter throughout the year.

Prepare Your Soil

To prepare your area for new plants, you may need to remove lawn or any invasive plants.  Add compost to the soil for a nutrient rich environment.  Once you have prepared the soil, you can cover with layers of newspaper and mulch until you are ready to plant.

Plant and Enjoy

Native plants need time to adapt to their new habitat, so it is recommended to plant on cooler days in Spring or Fall, or during a cooler summer week.  They will need some basic watering and care while they start out for the first few weeks, but after that, maintenance is just checking for and removing any invasive weeds that appear.  If you have additional questions, you can find information at Bird-Friendly Plants FAQ from National Audubon Society.

 

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Transitioning Your Yard to Native Plants: Why?

Rose- breasted Grosbeak in a Sugar-maple; Image by Putneypics-Flickr-CC(BY-NC 2.0)

As the weather finally begins to warm, we expect many will be spending some time working on their outdoor spaces.  If you are looking to do some landscaping around your home this season, you may want to consider starting to transition your yard to native plants.  The impending impacts of climate change will find birds and wildlife ranges shifting northwards, and will also increase our prospects for experiencing severe weather events.  Using native plants in your landscaping can provide many benefits including support for local wildlife and making your home more resilient.

What are the benefits of using Native Plants?

Flood prevention and erosion control

As a rule, native plants, trees and shrubs establish strong, deep root systems that are not found with lawn grasses and sod.  These root systems can help to reduce the flooding impacts from major storm systems by storing water during and after heavy rains.  They are also more effective at slowing water down and therefore reducing erosion and loss of soil on your property.  Avoiding flood damage can reduce your insurance claims on your homeowners policy.  Claims on your insurance will typically result in increased rates over time, so therefore, this is an investment that could save you money in the long run.

Increased habitat and less maintenance

Native plants naturally require less fertilizers and  pesticides to keep them healthy and once they are established, they require less watering and maintenance than a grassed lawn.  In addition, they provide important sources of food and shelter for birds, insects and local wildlife. Habitat loss is the number one threat to birds and other wildlife, so every patch we can create is an oasis of much needed space.  Over the past century, the US has lost over 150 million acres of habitat and farmland – a trend that shows no sign of slowing. Converting our lawns can help reclaim over 40 million acres of needed habitat.  Native animals rely on local plant species – for cover from predators and protection from the elements as well as for nuts, seeds, berries and insects that they host.

Healthy ecosystems and beautiful spaces

From an ecological perspective, native plants help to maintain the integrity of the ecosystem and they can help to reduce the spread of invasive species.  They can also be a beautiful addition to your property as many native plants produce showy flowers, abundant fruits and seeds, and brilliant fall foliage.  They are healthy places where you and your family can spend time.

(To be continued in Part 2: Transitioning Your Yard to Native Plants: How?)

 

 

 

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Can Going Green be Good for Your Business?

Last week, we celebrated the 51st anniversary of the first Earth Day.  The first event in 1970 looked a lot different than it does today.  It was the largest single-day protest in human history when more than 20 million people poured out onto the streets throughout the US.  Shortly after that, in 1972 landmark conservation laws and regulations were passed that included the Clean Water Act, the Endangered Species Act, the Marine Protection, Research and Sanctuaries Act, the Marine Mammal Protection Act, to name a few.  While there is a lot that has changed over the last 50 years, a good deal of our original challenges that remain today.  For example, Recycling remains a challenge.  In Otsego County, only about 12% of recyclable materials are recovered with close to 80% continuing to go to landfills.

If you own a business, you likely take some time each year to do some planning.  What are things that you are doing that are working well?  What are some things you can do better? etc.  Do you keep your environmental impact in mind when you are going through these planning steps?   Going green with your business can be a good thing!

Otsego County Solid Waste Department recently launched their Waste-Smart Business Certification to recognize businesses that are making the effort to improve their practices.  They have three levels of recognition that are based on a point system.  Your certification can be a deciding factor for someone who might want to do business with you.  When researching you and your competitors, this may have weight in the decision making process.  Learn more about the requirements and benefits at their website at https://www.otsegocounty.com/departments/s-y/solid_waste/waste-smart_business_certification.php.

There are other ways that environmentally-friendly practices can save your business money and lower your insurance risk.  For example, you can switch to using only non-toxic cleaning products in the workplace.  Exposure to fewer toxins can keep your employees healthier – reducing the number of sick days as well as expenses on health insurance.   You can save energy and dollars in a number of ways as well.  By powering down your business machines at the end of the workday, you can save energy and avoid risks of data breaches during the off hours; making the switch to LED light bulbs means less energy cost, less bulb replacement cost, and less risk of injury if replacement requires a ladder.  If you drive as part of your work, following fuel efficiency guidelines can not only reduce your costs for fuel, but can also improve safety and reduce your chances of having an accident.  Less accidents can translate into lower rates for your insurance.

These are just a few ways that your green practices can make sense for both the environment and for your business!  Take a few minutes and decide on something you can do today to make a difference.  If you are looking to assess your business insurance plans and your risks, please give our team a call and schedule for a free consultation.  Reach us in Cooperstown, NY at 607-547-2951 and in Morris, NY at 607-263-5170.

 

 

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Your Insurance Needs When You Are Moving

While buying a new house is certainly one of the most exciting things anyone can do, the actual process of getting into that house is often full of stress and hard work. Even when the sale has finally closed, you still have an incredibly daunting task ahead of you: moving. Some people choose to do it themselves; others hire professional help. Either way, it’s important to consider your valuable possessions, and what might happen to them during the move. No matter how careful you are, there’s always the risk that something bad can happen to these irreplaceable keepsakes. This is why it’s important to consider moving insurance.

 

What is moving insurance?

Just like it sounds, moving insurance is insurance that is specifically designed to protect you from loss during the process of moving from one home to another. It is a short-term policy that covers the cost of these items should they be stolen, broken or lost during the move. As stressful as this time can be, the peace of mind that comes from knowing your valuables are protected is often worth as much, if not more, than the items themselves.

 

Moving company guarantees

But wait, you might ask – don’t moving companies guarantee the items they move? The answer to that question isn’t easy. In theory, a moving company guarantees your items against negligence. This is called “valuation,” and it’s a moving company’s version of insurance (although, it should be noted that for legal purposes they aren’t allowed to call it that).

 

Most basic moving company contracts will provide some form of valuation, and you can actually upgrade the valuation for more protection. However, this is not always fool-proof. In some cases, the valuation has a limit to the amount of protection offered. This means that more expensive items, such as antiques, heirlooms and large pieces of furniture, might not be covered under the terms of the valuation contract.

 

In addition, it’s not unusual for companies to try and wiggle out of paying by claiming that events were outside of their control – if you packed some boxes yourself, for example, they could try and claim that it was your faulty packing that led to the damage.

 

Existing insurance coverage

You might also wonder if your existing home insurance covers this move. Again, it’s a good question that doesn’t have an easy answer, because in truth it depends on the policy and its coverage. It’s safe to assume that it doesn’t cover it, however, since most homeowner policies only cover things while they exist inside the home. Once an item leaves the home, the coverage usually no longer applies. It’s a good idea to contact your insurance company and nail down specifically what is and isn’t covered during a move under your existing policy.

 

Purchasing moving insurance

So, even though we’ve seen that the moving company and your existing policy might offer some protection, it’s a safe bet that it isn’t enough coverage for the life you’ve built up over the years. This is where moving insurance comes in. This type of insurance is built specifically to cover items while they are being packed up in one place, transported across town, across the country or even internationally and unpacked in a new location.

 

Even better, most moving insurance policies last for a while, and cover damage of any kind, no matter what. So, if your items are in transit, but have to sit in one place for whatever reason, they’re still covered. If an earthquake happens to damage your items during the move, they’re covered.

 

In addition, many moving insurance policies also cover internal damage to electronics and appliances. So, even if the item in question looks completely fine, if it doesn’t work properly once it reaches its final destination, it’s possible to file a claim to get the item replaced.

 

Of course, different types of moving insurance plans can cover different sorts of items, events and amounts, but in general this sort of coverage provides you with the satisfaction of knowing that you’re covered, even if unforeseeable problems occur during the move.

 

Contact us today

If you are looking at a move in your near future, you’re probably stressed out enough as it is. You owe it to yourself to purchase the peace of mind that comes from moving insurance, and we are ready to help you. Please contact us at Bieritz Insurance today so our team can help assess your needs and come up with a plan of protection for you and your valuables. We look forward to hearing from you!

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Parking Lot Safety: What You Need to Know

Parking lots contain a lot of potential safety hazards for both pedestrians and drivers. The National Safety Council (NHS) states that tens of thousands of crashes occur in parking lots and garages each year. This results in hundreds of deaths and thousands of injuries. Parking lots are busy places. Drivers can be distracted by talking or texting on their phones. Pedestrians can also become distracted as they cross the lot. Here’s what you can do to protect yourself and others while looking for a parking spot.

Follow the Signs

Watch out for signs stating specific rules for driving or parking in the lot. For intersections without a stop sign, make sure to follow the right-of-way procedures. Stay within the lanes and avoid cutting across the parking lot. Only park in designated parking areas. Parking spots with a wheelchair logo, are for drivers with the handicap card or license plate. Also, be sure to watch the direction the arrows of the pavement are pointing towards.

Stay Alert

Backing out of a parking lot requires your full attention. While backing out, do so slowly and proceed with caution. Small children tend to dart quickly around and behind vehicles. Use your rearview mirror or if equipped, your car’s backup camera system. The American Automobile Association (AAA) suggests that drivers reverse into parking spaces when possible. Also, finding a parking spot that allows you to drive forward instead of reversing can make exiting the lot easier.

Slow Down

You might be tempted to increase your speed while searching for the perfect parking spot. Take your time and follow the posted speed limit. There can be unseen hazards such as potholes, debris, or ice that can cause injury to both the pedestrian and the driver.

 

Parking Garages

Parking garages also contain many potential safety hazards. Poorly lit parking garages can be a difficult environment for visibility, especially at night. To ensure safety, park your car near well-lit areas. Not only will it make it easier to spot passing pedestrians, but it can also serve as a deterrent for thieves. Parking garages contain blind spots and many drivers ignore traffic signs. While driving through the parking garage, be sure to follow the arrows and traffic signs.

 

If you find yourself in a fender bender, don’t fret. Our team at Bieritz Insurance Agency is here to help you. We are family-owned and operated, and will provide professional and exceptional customer service. Expect to talk to real people, not machines. Contact Bieritz Insurance Agency today to speak to a team member for more information today!

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Things to Know when Buying Your First Home

For many, there’s nothing more exciting than buying your first home. Being a homeowner is the ultimate rite-of-passage into a world full of adult responsibilities, and to many it is the ultimate goal.  Buy a home can be a daunting prospect – it is a long-term commitment.  Most people have heard horror stories, such as home sales falling through at the last minute – even up to the day of closing – or a beautiful house turning out to be a money pit. How can you make sure that something like that doesn’t happen to you? You can’t plan for every contingency, but do everything in your power to avoid those sorts of problems simply by arming yourself with knowledge beforehand.

Here are some things to know as a first-time home buyer that can help you avoid some of the worst pitfalls.

Clear Your Credit Now

The biggest barrier that prevents most people from even being able to consider buying a house is their credit score. If you’ve not given much thought to your credit up until this point, it’s time you take a good look at it now. That number for your credit score has serious ramifications on what is and isn’t possible. A high credit score can open many doors, and can make home ownership both possible and affordable.

The good news is that it’s easy to check your credit score. Many banks offer free credit reporting for their customers, and there are other services that allow you to see your current credit score and investigate what factors might be having an impact.

Things like the number of accounts you own and the total amount of debt you currently carry can play a big role in whether a financial institution will be willing/able to lend to you. Monitoring your credit lets you see where you stand, and lets you fix any mistakes or problems that your report might show before you begin the process for a home purchase.

 

Find a Mortgage Before You Find a House

After deciding to buy a house, many first-time buyers make the mistake of house-hunting right away, before they’ve actually secured a mortgage offer from a lending institution. This is a mistake for several reasons.  First, they run the risk of looking for houses that are out of their price range. Not only is this a waste of time; it also makes for great disappointment later. Imagine, finding the perfect house, only to realize later than you can’t afford it!  Securing your funding in advance will help to avoid this kind of heartbreak. A second reason to get a mortgage before you shop is because no offer on a home will be taken seriously without a mortgage letter in hand, stating that the prospective buyer actually has the money to pay for it. Until that happens, any other offer with an actual mortgage lender behind it will be considered and accepted first.  The third reason to get the mortgage secured first is that it can take time to get through that process. Many documents have to be collected and sent in, and underwriters and other deciders need to review all of the information before deciding whether to extend a mortgage offer, and for much. This can all take time (a few months is not rare) – time that could mean the difference between having an offer considered or rejected.

 

Think About a Down Payment

Another financial question to consider is the down payment. How much money are you able to save up in the amount of time you have available to you? How much you actually need can depend on which loan program you go through. A regular bank is most likely going to require a down payment of some sort (although the old-fashioned requirement of 20% down is no longer the industry norm). Some programs, though, such as VA Mortgages or USDA Mortgages can offer customers the possibility of no-down payment loans, which can make home ownership a much easier proposition for many people.

 

Make Sure You Will Have Money Left Over

Between paying the down payment, discount points and other possible fees, it’s easy to leave the closing with zero money left in the bank. Don’t let that happen! After you move in you’re going to find dozens of things you might need to buy, from light bulbs to new locks, and having a little extra set aside is going to be extremely helpful.

 

Consider Purchasing a Home Warranty

Early on in the process of making an offer and negotiating terms, it’s vital to request that the seller purchase a home warranty. Even with a thorough home inspection coming back clean, chances are good that something in the house is going to break after you move in, and the peace of mind that comes with a full-coverage home warranty can not be understated.  NOTE: If a Home Warranty is not available, then you can consider adding insurance for your home equipment and infrastructure.  We have information about this at the link below:

Insurance for your Home Equipment and Infrastructure

 

If you are interested in buying a home and need more information about how we can help with your insurance needs, please contact us today!

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We’re Hiring! Position Announcement January 2021

Insurance Customer Service Representative

Do you enjoy working with people and businesses to help them succeed?

Join the Bieritz Insurance Agency, in Cooperstown, NY. We are seeking a full time Customer Service Representative.  Experience in P&C insurance is preferred but not required.

Training and licensing to be provided. Pay to be determined upon experience.

Requirements: Pleasing phone mannerisms, database skills, one year of customer service experience and the ability to multitask.

To apply, please complete and submit the form below.  Thank you!

 

Employment Application Form

Click or drag a file to this area to upload.
Click or drag a file to this area to upload.
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How to Be More Energy Efficient and Stay Warm on a Budget This Winter

caulking glass windows and doors to stay warm this winterIf you want to be energy efficient or stay warm on a budget, you are in luck. Keep reading to learn about ways to stay warm without increasing your energy bill or reinsulating your entire home.

 

Check Your Glass Doors

Glass doors are often advertised as a positive feature. They provide natural light and a view of the outdoors. Unfortunately, glass is a terrible insulator. If you have touched a window on a cold day, you already know that. In extreme cases, it is noticeable cooler by a door than it is away from it. A frustrating and expensive amount of heat is lost through glass doors. There are several ways you can combat this heat loss. Replacing the door is always an option, either with a more energy-efficient glass door or one that is not made of glass. Newer glass doors usually have an additional insulator in the form of air or plastic that reduces heat loss. There are options that offer all of the benefits glass doors have with none of the associated costs.

 

There are other options if you do not want to replace your glass door. Simply hanging drapes in front of a glass door can be effective, even if you only close them at night. An estimated 25 percent of home heating costs stem from heat loss caused by windows, glass doors and skylights, so anything you do will make a difference.

 

Caulk Around Windows

Caulking around windows is a cheap and simple DIY project that can have enormous benefits. A tube of caulk will likely cost less than $10, depending on where you live and the brand you buy. Use the right type for the job to achieve the best results. There are exterior caulks designed specifically for outdoor use and humidity and mold-resistant ones for use in bathrooms.

 

Even if you have never caulked anything before, it is worth trying. There are numerous how-to YouTube videos available on the subject and even more articles offering advice. Only apply caulk to dry surfaces. You do not want to seal potentially damaging moisture into a crack, which will only cause more problems in the long run.

 

Use a Programmable Thermostat

Using a programmable thermostat is a great way to save money, as it allows you to be more energy-efficient. Hire someone to install it for you if you do not feel comfortable doing it yourself. It may be the most expensive advice on the list, but it is worth it. According to the EPA, using a programmable thermostat can reduce the cost of heating your home by up to 30 percent, if you use it correctly.

 

To take full advantage of your thermostat, program it to keep your home at 68 degrees Fahrenheit when you are awake and in the house. If you are sleeping or at work, set it to be 10-12 degrees cooler. This temperature is warm enough to keep your pipes from freezing while still saving you a considerable amount of money.

 

Buy a Humidifier

While it might sound counterintuitive, humid air holds more heat than dry air. Humidifiers are fairly affordable, and they are well worth the money. The EPA recommends keeping the humidity in your home between 30 and 60 percent for the best indoor air quality. At 40 percent humidity, 68 degrees Fahrenheit in your home will feel equivalent to 74 degrees when the humidity is at 20 percent.

 

In addition to saving money, using a humidifier will keep your home more comfortable. There are also potential health benefits. Increased humidity in your home may help alleviate allergies, coughs, dry skin and even sinus headaches.

 

Cook at Home

Cooking or baking at home during the winter is both cost and energy-efficient. Heat given off by your stove is heat your furnace does not have to produce. Since you have to eat, it is a great way to reduce heating costs during the winter months. Cooking at home has several added benefits. It is much cheaper than going out to eat, which will also save you money. It’s usually healthier too, and eating can help you feel warmer.

 

Complex carbohydrates are among the best foods to help you feel warmer. They increase thermogenesis, which is your body’s heat production. That means you can snack on whole wheat bread, potatoes, quinoa and oatmeal guilt-free this winter.

 

These are just some of the options available to increase your home’s energy efficiency while helping you stay warm this winter without breaking the bank. We hope you found this advice helpful and that you’re excited to implement these ideas.

 

If you end up making significant upgrades to your home, contact our offices to see how this might impact your insurance.

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How Covid-19 is Changing Life Insurance

Life insurance is a necessity for most adults. Protecting and providing for your family is important should something happen to you. With how drastically our world has changed over the past few months, you may wonder if the life insurance industry has shifted as well.

Life insurance has always been important and relevant for people who have financial dependents, but the true value of it has come into focus. It is about the entire financial security of your loved ones. It is even more important now that we have seen firsthand what a pandemic can do. Views of life insurance and the corresponding policies have shifted slightly.

How Consumers Views of Life Insurance Have Changed

The way people look at life insurance has changed:

  • People are thinking about it more.
    With a pandemic and life being changed so much, people are more concerned about their families and the future. There are so many unknowns and people want to be sure their families are protected. This concern helps bring life insurance back to top of mind for many people. Many life insurance providers have seen an increase in applications during this time. If you have financial dependents, you should look at getting the proper life insurance coverage now.
  • An easy online application is needed.
    Because people are not risking going out as much, the life insurance application needs to be fast, easy and available online. People do not want to go out unecessarily at this time because they are concerned about their health. Because of this, applications need to be quick. Many insurance companies have expanded their automated underwriting processes to help account for this shift in mindset.
  • Affordable and flexible coverage is important.
    Many people are currently unemployed and the economy is struggling. People may be overly cautious when it comes to spending money. They are looking for more affordable life insurance premiums.
  • Exceptional customer service is imperative.
    Life insurance is something that most people do not want to think about. Death is a scary thing and life insurance can be confusing. People will want to talk with someone they trust and someone who will answer questions quickly. They will not want to have to take the time to search out information on their own. A company that is easy to work with is invaluable during this process.
  • Reliability is a high priority.
    People may be finding it difficult to see friends and family during this time. They are connecting more virtually. With this uncertainty hanging over them, they will want something more reliable. They want to work with an insurer who they can count on to be there when they are needed.

 

How Life Insurance Practices and Policies Have Changed

Review these considerations when assessing life insurance:

  • Active policy will not change.
    If people already have an active life insurance policy in place, they do not need to worry about not being covered. Your policy is secure and will not change.
  • Exams are still being required in many cases.
    Even though people are not going out as much, exams will probably still be required. Many insurers use third party companies, who will follow closely with CDC guidelines to ensure patients’ safety.
  • Age restrictions could factor in.
    The full effects of the virus are yet to be seen and some companies may impose limits for those applying for life insurance. Some places have stopped issuing new polcies for people who are over 70 years of age. Applying earlier rather than later is essential, especially with how things are right now.
  • Disclosure of travel.
    Another thing that could factor into your application is travel abroad. This is usually a consideration if you have traveled within the past 30 days. It is important that you are specific on your application and do not omit information because you are worried about getting approved. Your application could be postponed if you traveled to high-infection areas.
  • If you currently have coronavirus, it could affect getting approved.
    Insurers are asking people with coronovirus to wait to apply for coverage. You will need to disclose your medical history and whether you are currently sick. Coronavirus has the potential to make someone terminally ill very quickly, so you may not be able to get a guaranteed issue policy until you have recovered.
  • Otherwise, do not wait out pandemic before getting coverage.
    With the looming pandemic, many people are avoiding doing certain things. Acquiring life insurance should not be one of them. It is even more important to have this protection during times of crisis.
  • Changes are company-dependent.
    The changes above are things to consider, but you need to confirm any policies with the individual insurer.

Our team can help you with any questions you may have about life insurance. Contact us at Bieritz Insurance today.

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The Impacts of Being Underinsured

Insurance is meant to protect your home, your car, your belongings and your family from financially devastating incidents.  Few people *like* to pay for insurance. For many, home and auto insurance seems like large expenses for something they probably will never need, and for that reason, some will choose to insure for a bare minimum in order to save more and spend less. However, while being underinsured may seem thrifty, in the long run, the money you end up having to pay will likely exceed the amount you save. Here are some of the reasons why being underinsured is more expensive than receiving sufficient insurance.

 

Expensive Emergency Repair Costs

As anybody who has had their home severely damaged after an accident or natural disaster can attest, however much they were paying on insurance, it was pocket change compared to the costs in repairs. If you don’t have enough coverage, you could be on your own when disaster strikes. What’s more, if you’re not sufficiently insured, you may run into some trouble with your local government for not adhering to local regulation codes in regards to home insurance.

 

Risk of Flood Damage

Some people who have insurance for most risks choose to abstain from buying flood insurance to save money. After all, most standard homeowner policies don’t automatically cover flood damage and floods are a rare occurrence anyway. This is a bad idea, however, as even with maximum FEMA flood protection, you could be left with massive deductibles, so it’s important to get additional coverage in case of these natural disasters.

 

High-Value Items may not be Covered

The problem with small, basic insurance policies is that they only cover general forms of damage to things like walls and floors, etc. But there are many items of significant worth like jewelry, paintings, rare coins, antiques, china and clothing that often slip through cheaper policies. There could be thousands of dollars worth in valuable items that you could lose completely without the right coverage.

 

An Accident Could Have a Very High Deductible

Deductibles are often not looked at very closely by people shopping for insurance. Most people prefer lower premiums even with the risk of paying high deductibles. This makes some sense financially, however, you don’t want to ignore deductibles completely, as this could lead to you spending considerably more money after an accident. A typical $500 dollar deductibles could be turned into a much higher deductible for a less expensive policy and should be considered when making decisions on the overall expense.

 

Your Insurance May Not Cover Your Repairs 

‘Bare-boned’ insurance policies may simply not provide enough to cover your actual repair costs.  If you opt for a minimal policy, make sure you review a ‘worst-case’ scenario with our team so that you can make an informed decision.

 

Extra Expenses Can Add Up

Finally, remember that insurance policies are not simply meant to cover the cost of damage to your house or car, they are also to help you with any extra expenses that may result. Even if your insurance covers your house in case of fire, you may have lodging expenses to pay while your home is being repaired. Likewise, if your basic insurance covers your car for accidents and repair costs, it might not reimburse you for a rental that you need to get around in the meantime.  Insufficient policies often leave people hung out to dry when it comes to assisting them with additional expenses, and these expenses can add up.

 

Many people, especially now, are trying to take steps to save money on their monthly bills. Insurance is not the area to make cuts as your policy needs to cover expenses when filing a claim. If you’re worried that you might be underinsured, look over your home and car policies and discuss your concerns with our team at Bieritz Insurance. Review your policies each year to make sure they continue to provide adequate coverage. Remember to think about your insurance in relation to the price of your house, your property value, and the demand in the housing market in your area.

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Ten Things to Do to Get Your Car Ready for Winter

As fall is approaching, it is time to start thinking about cold weather and what changes it can have on your daily life. As the winter months get closer, so does the threat of winter weather. Ensuring your car is prepared for winter weather is crucial for keeping yourself safe and your car in good shape. Here are the top ten ways to prepare your car for the winter.  

Change Your Oil/Schedule for Service

One of the most essential things to get your car prepared for the winter is to schedule for a full service appointment. This usually includes an oil change, tire rotation and a general checkup of the car’s basic functions. Regular servicing of your vehicles is a great way to ensure everything is working properly, which is especially important when preparing for winter. 

When getting your car serviced, talk to your mechanic about which oil is right for your car for colder weather. As the weather gets colder, oil tends to thicken and may not lubricate your engine as well. 

Check Your Heater and Defroster

The functionality of your heater and defroster are essential for getting through the winter. Have your mechanic inspect your heating system and defroster before the weather gets cold – just in case there is anything that needs to be fixed (before you actually need it). For example, a broken defroster can be dangerous in cold weather since it can obstruct your field of vision. 

Check Your Coolant Levels

Coolant helps to prevent your engine from freezing and cracking. It also ensures that everything stays lubricated and doesn’t become corroded. Check your coolant levels regularly to ensure proper function. You can test your coolant’s freeze protection by using a ‘coolant tester’ to make sure you are ready for cold weather. 

Check Your Tires

As the weather gets colder, the air pressure in your tires may decrease. Check your tire pressure regularly during the winter to ensure you are not at risk of getting a flat tire. Luckily, most newer cars can automatically detect low tire pressure and will notify you.

If you live in an area that is prone to heavy snow like ours, consider investing in snow tires. Snow tires will improve your traction so you can drive through snowy areas more easily. Snow tires can be used in the winter months as opposed to all-season tires which can be used for the rest of the year. If you are considering snow tires, make sure you are aware of any installation fees that may come with them. 

Test Your Car Battery

If you find yourself stuck in the snow, a dead car battery is a worst-case scenario. If you have an older battery, have your mechanic check the charge levels to ensure that it is working properly. Make sure the battery has enough water and that the connections are corrosion-free. Regardless of the health of your battery, always keep jumper cables in your car just in case (see our auto emergency kit recommendations below)

Consider Winter Wiper Blades

For heavy snow areas, it may be necessary to invest in winter wiper blades. Regular wiper blades can easily get covered with snow which affects their performance. Winter wiper blades are usually wrapped with a rubber casing that prevents snow from sticking. Luckily, they are affordable and can be used interchangeably with your regular wiper blades. 

Lubricate Areas That Will Easily Freeze

In extremely cold weather, certain areas in your car may freeze or become stiff. Window tracks and weather stripping are the first areas to freeze since water can seep in. Once that water freezes, it can freeze your door shut and lock you out of your car. Latches, hinges and door locks are also prone to freezing. Dry Teflon spray, silicone spray or graphite lubricant all work well for use on vehicle parts to prevent freezing. 

Have a Basic Survival Kit 

Regardless of the weather, it is essential to have a survival kit in your car in case of an emergency. This is especially crucial in the winter due to blizzard conditions and icy roads. Here are some must-have items needed for every car survival kit:

  • LED Flashlight
  • Jumper Cables
  • Hat, Gloves and Extra Shoes
  • Cat Litter or Safety Absorbent
  • First-Aid kit
  • Tire Repair Kit
  • Tire Chains
  • Shovel
  • Ice Scraper
  • Flares and/or reflective caution road markers
    (Note: if you are using road flares, remember to practice safety when lighting them. https://www.wikihow.com/Light-a-Road-Flare

Don’t forget to bring some bottled water with you on longer trips as well.

Know What to do in Winter Emergencies

If you get stuck in the snow or caught in blizzard conditions, make sure you know what to do during an emergency. If you are stuck, stay with your vehicle and call for help. Put on extra clothing to stay warm and run the car periodically. Use flares if need be and make sure to stay hydrated. 

Four-Wheel Drive

If you have a car with four-wheel drive, ensure that you know how to use your four-wheel drive system and that everything is working properly. Since four-wheel drive systems are not used in the summer months, make sure everything activates properly beforehand. 

Overall

Overall, gearing up for the winter months may require extra maintenance and preparation for your vehicle. Taking these steps will help keep you safe and secure during the winter months, while also ensuring your vehicle is in good shape. If you are looking for insurance for your auto, please contact us today for a free quote or visit our website to learn more. 

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Finding the Best Insurance Coverage for Your Antique Automobile

Just like a fine wine, some of our greatest material possessions gain value over time. This is true of exceptional antique automobiles. Your antique automobile must be protected in all ways, from suitable shelter to ample insurance coverage.

 

When insuring an antique auto, there are many considerations to make. Equip yourself by exploring the specific aspects of selecting antique automobile insurance.

 

Understand the Terminology

The first step is understanding the vocabulary used when discussing collectible antique vehicles. What is the difference between a classic, vintage and antique car? 

 

It is important to understand that there is not a single definition that is accepted in all situations. Many state Departments of Motor Vehicles (DMV’s), insurance companies and distinctive car clubs classify the terms differently. However, there are widely-accepted distinctions between the categories that should be known:

 

 

  • Antique:  The Antique Automobile Club of America denotes an antique automobile as one being 50 years old or older. (Some organizations begin the distinction at 45). This classification includes the Veteran Era, the Brass Era, and the Vintage Era. 
  • Classic: The Classic Car Club of America designates cars between 30-49 years old as classic cars. 
  • Historic: Automobiles may be placed in the category of “historic” or “historical vehicle” if 25 years or older or 15 years or older and no longer manufactured. 
  • Vintage:  An automobile may receive this title if it was manufactured between the years 1919 and 1930. 

 

Understand the Qualifications

Does age alone qualify a vehicle for these classifications of distinction? Absolutely not. If this were true, every junkyard would be filled with antique and classic cars. To achieve the designation of antique, classic or historic, insurance companies are looking for these additional qualifications:

 

  • Limited Use: The vehicle cannot be used for everyday commuting or for running errands or other common purposes. The vehicle is driven rarely and for specific reasons. You may be required to show proof of ownership of a primary car for everyday use.
  • Properly sheltered: Many insurance policies require you to show that the car is adequately stored. The garage or building must protect your vehicle from the elements and the likelihood of damage or theft.
  • Increase of value over time: Unlike the majority of automobiles that depreciate in value due to customary use and wear, a distinctive antique or classic car will actually appreciate over the years. This vehicle is an investment worthy of the highest levels of protection.

 

Understand the Process

Once you have educated yourself on the terminology and qualifications for antique vehicles, you are ready to make a wise decision in insuring your automobile. Follow these steps to achieve maximum insurance coverage:

 

  • Know your own priorities and goals:
    Review your dreams and objectives in investing in an antique car. Do you want to enjoy the look and feel of your car for the pleasure of yourself and your family? Would you like to take the car for short rides and share it with friends? Are car shows and travel in your future? Have a clear vision of what you want from your experience in determining your insurance needs.
  • Select an insurance company that understands antique cars:
    Not all insurance companies are alike. Some companies have little knowledge or experience in protecting the specialized needs of car collectors or antique car enthusiasts. Shop for companies that have a great record in classic and antique cars (like us, Bieritz Insurance!).
  • Find someone who can answer your questions:
    Now that you know what you need and have narrowed your field of companies, find one that is willing to discuss all of your questions. Is the company capable of raising the coverage as the value increases? Are there members on staff that have a specialized knowledge of collectible vehicles who can address situations as they arise? Is there an adequate allowance for unique towing and repair needs?

 

Does the policy being offered allow for the number of car shows and travel that you will require? Coverage can vary widely on allowances for travel to car shows and other venues. These qualifications must be explicitly stated within the policy. Exclusions can be made that would preclude you from traveling to these shows, or may require towing to do so. 

 

You want to fully enjoy the privilege and pleasure of owning an antique vehicle. Educating yourself goes a long way in selecting the insurance coverage that is right for you. 

 

Don’t leave your specialized insurance needs to anyone but the professionals. We at Bieritz stand ready to share our extensive knowledge and insurance options with you. We will help you get the most out of your investment. Contact us today at our website at bieritzinsurance.com/contact-us

 

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Common Questions about Motorcycle Insurance

If you already have a motorcycle, are planning on getting your motorcycle license or are planning on purchasing a motorcycle in the near future, you may want to read this. Though motorcycles can travel on the same road that all types of passenger and commercial vehicles, insurance with motorcycles works a little bit differently.

 

Here is an overview of some of the most frequently asked questions about motorcycle insurance.

 

How is a motorcycle insurance policy different from auto insurance?

There are a few key ways that motorcycle insurance is different from car insurance: 

  • It can be more expensive than car insurance depending on the type of motorcycle you purchase and the type of protection you want.
  • Personal injury protection is not mandatory but is a good idea should you have an accident.
  • You need added coverage if you plan on taking passengers. 
  • There are different coverage add-ons than with car insurance.

 

First and foremost, you should realize that motorcycle insurance can cost more than your standard car insurance. This is for the obvious reason that motorcycle drivers are at much higher risk of an accident than people driving passenger vehicles. Motorcycles are more costly to insure because motorcyclists are up to 27 times more likely to die in traffic accidents and have a 5 times higher risk of injury (Source iii.org). 

 

Unlike passenger vehicles, motorcycles offer virtually no protection to riders when they are on the open road. In the event of an accident, motorcycle riders are usually thrown completely off of their vehicles. This dramatically increases the likelihood of an injury. If a motorcycle is in an accident with a passenger vehicle, there is a far greater likelihood that the motorcycle driver will be seriously injured, more so than the passengers in a passenger vehicle. There is a form of personal injury insurance called PIP (Personal Injury Protection) that is made available to motorcycle drivers and motorists, which help cover you in the event of an accident involving a serious injury.

 

With standard automotive insurance, the passengers in your vehicle are usually covered unless you have basic liability coverage that states otherwise. Motorcycles are considered to be a mode of transportation for just one person, which means you need to add guest passenger liability insurance if you expect you are going to have passengers on your motorcycle. Bear in mind that this  insurance option covers passenger injuries, but only if you are not the person liable or responsible for their injuries. You can also add medical payments coverage which will cover injuries to your passengers regardless of the fault of you or the other driver.

 

What are some of the things you need to keep in mind when purchasing your policy? 

Keep in mind that the more expensive your motorcycle is, the more expensive your insurance will be. Make sure to ask your insurance agent or company about add-ons to your policy for passengers or special forms of insurance. If you aren’t going to be driving your motorcycle year-round, let them know so you can set up different insurance for the times of year you aren’t riding.

 

What if you Drive Your Motorcycle less than 6 Months Per Year? 

Insurance companies realize that you may live in a climate where it isn’t safe and it doesn’t make sense to ride your motorcycle 12 months out of the year. If that is the case for you, you can get laid up insurance. Laid up insurance offers insurance coverage for your motorcycle against fire, theft and other threats associated with storing your bike for cooler months of the year and putting your bike into winter storage. Keep in mind that laid up the insurance is less expensive than your normal insurance when you are riding, but you will not be covered by your insurance if you take your bike out during this time period when it is supposed to be stored.

 

Are there greater discounts for participating in safety courses? 

Taking and successfully completing a motorcycle safety course can give you greater discounts on your insurance rates. Make sure to ask your insurance company to see which courses they approve of, and how much completing those courses could lower your insurance bill.

 

Are there best practices for protecting your motorcycle? 

Make sure to park your motorcycle in safe, well-lit areas where motorcycle parking is designated or permitted. You may want to take a waterproof motorcycle cover with you to protect it when it is parked outdoors.

 

Motorcycles can be a great way to get around in the warmer months, but make sure you keep in mind the additional costs for insurance and safety equipment.  If you have more questions about motorcycle insurance, contact our team at Bieritz Insurance.  We will be happy to help you.  

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Benefits of Bundling Home and Auto Policies

 

When you’re in the market for insurance, the choices can seem overwhelming. If you’re looking for multiple types of insurance, it may make the most sense to bundle them or buy them all from the same company. This is often done with homeowner’s and automobile insurance. Depending on the company you are working with, you may be able to bundle additional insurance types, such as a personal umbrella policy. There are many reasons to consider bundling your homeowner’s and auto insurance together. 

 

 

Benefits of bundling

Just as with purchasing any insurance, you need to do your research to evaluate prices and coverage. Often times it makes sense to bundle for the following reasons: 

  • It is cost effective. 
    Most insurance carriers will offer a discount when you bundle your homeowner’s and automobile insurance policies. The actual discount varies by insurer but is usually between five and 25 percent – a great incentive for additional coverage and a solid discount.
  • It is convenient.
    Bundling your insurance policies together makes things much easier for you. It makes it easier to manage multiple policies as you may only need one login and password and it reduces paperwork. This also saves you time and headaches because you only need to deal with a single carrier instead of multiple carriers with multiple policies.
  • Making changes are easier.
    By working with just one company, changing or adding to your policies will also be much easier. Your agent will have a good handle on your situation and be able to make it easier to add insurance, apply discounts and add endorsements. This relationship will be more and more beneficial over time as things in your life change.
  • It can give you access to unique product tiers or more complex bundles.
    If you decide to combine all of your policies, insurers will usually offer more complex bundles or unique product tiers. They may offer one product package to cover all your insurance needs. Most home and auto insurers offer insurance in other specialized areas of personal property protection as well. Unique product tiers are helpful for cutting out paperwork, wrapping it all into a single bill and could reduce everything to just a single deductible.

Things to consider

  • The price of your home.
    If you have a higher value home, you could get a higher discount for bundling home and auto insurance.
  • The price of your vehicle.
    The opposite is true for a luxury vehicle, which can drive up bundled premiums. This is because of how expensive it can be to repair these types of cars. It could be better in this case to have separate policies.
  • Where you live.
    People who live in safer places will probably save more money than those in high-risk flood and other disaster areas.

 

Bundling your home and auto insurance can have great benefits, but it all comes down to your specific circumstances and working closely with your insurance agent. Contact our team at Bieritz Insurance today to find the best policies for you!

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Understanding Rental and Non-Owned Vehicle Insurance

Everyone wants assurance that he or she is fully protected on the road. Most drivers understand the need for comprehensive, reputable insurance when driving their own vehicles. When you must drive a rental vehicle or operate one that is not your own, having a clear understanding of insurance regulations and coverage in these situations is vital. Don’t be blindsided by finding yourself not as fully covered as you thought. Educate yourself on how insurance works for rentals and other non-owned vehicles, and find out why Bieritz Insurance Agency is a strong choice for all of your insurance needs.

Knowledge is Power

This cannot be stressed enough. Do your research before operating any vehicle that is not your own or lending a vehicle to others. Conduct a thorough review of your own policy, and take the time to call your insurance company to review your level of coverage, especially if you are considering lending your car to someone else. Clarify the specifics of your policy, such as deductibles, coverage limitations and coverage for rental vehicles.

Honesty is Key

When speaking with your agent, be forthright. Let your agent know the specifics of your situation, even if you are considering lending your convertible to your second cousin for prom. You may know that seems risky, and may not want to be upfront, but it is critical that you review the situation with your company’s representative as fully and honestly as possible. Factors such as age or the frequency of lending may affect the car’s coverage.

Basics are important

Clarify with your provider about how your insurance coverage works, so that there is no costly misunderstanding. Also, be sure to review how insurance is applied in the main categories of operating a non-owned car:

Coverage for Rented Vehicles:

Many rental companies will lure you in with a great weekly rate, then pressure you to add on rental insurance. If you have already done your homework and thoroughly reviewed your own policy, you will be ready to make a wise decision. Under most comprehensive policies, you have coverage for vehicles that are similar to your own. However, if you are on a blowout vacation that includes a luxury or brand new vehicle, your policy for your ten-year-old sedan may leave gaps. In this case, rental insurance is wise, even if it doubles the cost of the rental. Rental companies can tack on fees and penalties in the case of an accident that won’t be covered by the renter’s insurance. Also, if you are reserving and paying for the rental by credit card, the credit card may provide secondary or gap insurance. Take time to find out.

It is important to weigh out all of these considerations when renting any vehicle. Make decisions ahead of time so that you will not succumb to pressure at the counter.

Coverage for Borrowed Vehicles:

The basic rule of thumb is, insurance follows the car, not the driver. In most situations, the insurance policy on the car will cover the car when it is borrowed. A comprehensive policy should include situations of lending or renting the vehicle. A deductible will be required. It should be worked out ahead of time who will pay the deductible in case of an accident. An awkward conversation at the beginning is better than an angry confrontation later. In all cases, make sure that the vehicle’s registration and proof of insurance is kept conveniently in the glove compartment for easy retrieval.

What if the borrowed vehicle is involved in a major accident, such as causing the pile-up of several cars? In the event that an accident exceeds the limitations of the owner’s policy, a claim can then be filed with the driver’s insurance company in order to cover the gaps. This is why it is important not to lend to an uninsured driver unless you specifically purchase short-term insurance. This insurance, known as Endorsement 27, covers “civil liability for damage caused to vehicles of which named insured is not owner” and is provided by many companies.

Considerations of the proper insurance in times of renting, borrowing or lending a vehicle are important, yet complex. If you have need to rent or hire a vehicle, turn to the professionals for guidance. Call on Bieritz Insurance Agency to provide you with the information and insurance services that you need. We offer a wide-range of vehicle coverage products and possess the knowledge to help you make decisions that will save time, money and headache, even in most challenging situations. We have the ability to offer our clients a multitude of options because we work with over twenty providers to find exactly the right product to fit the need.

Contact Bieritz Insurance today in Cooperstown at 607-547-2951 or by email at agent@bieritzinsurance.com. You may also reach our office in Morris at 607-263-5270 or at agent@morrisinsuranceny.com.

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Insurance for Contractors

Insurance for ContractorsIf you are a general contractor or own a construction company, having insurance is a necessary expense. Insurance helps to protect  you if accidents or mistakes occur or if your or one of your employees gets hurt on the job. There are several different types of insurance that relate to businesses, so it can be difficult to know what needs to be included in your business insurance policy. Here is some general information to help provide an overview.  We recommend that you connect with our team for more detailed information.

 

General Liability Insurance

General liability insurance is required by law for general contractors. This type of insurance covers you from common accidents that might occur on the job, including injury to a third party, damage to the property at which you are working and physical injury to yourself or issues such as slander. General liability insurance is the most important type of policy you can carry to protect you and your business.

 

Workers’ Compensation

Workers’ compensation is another type of insurance that you are required to carry by law. This type of insurance is crucial because it covers you in the event one of your workers becomes ill or is injured while on the job. Workers’ compensation insurance will kick in and pay the salary and medical benefits of the worker, which can save you a great deal of money. Furthermore, your workers’ compensation policy will protect you from being sued directly, which can save you both time and money by preventing a lawsuit. If you work for yourself and do not have any employees, this type of insurance may not necessary, but check with our office to make sure you are in compliance.

 

Third-party Liability

Most states require contractors to carry third-party liability insurance. This type of policy protects your clients from claims you make against them. Further, if you have a subcontractor working for you, then they must have third-party liability insurance to protect you.

 

Auto Insurance

Any and all vehicles you use for your contracting business need to be properly insured. In addition, any employees you have authorized to drive your vehicles must be covered on the policy. It is also a wise idea to make sure any employees you allow to drive your vehicles have up-to-date commercial driving insurance.

 

Although the above types of insurance policies are required for contractors, they are not the only types of insurance policies that are available. Below are some addional, optional insurance policies that you can consider.

 

Specific Coverage Extension

Construction work is risky, so you need to be prepared for unexpected issues that happen on a worksite. Specific coverage extension insurance covers issues that come about because of flawed planning, design, materials or poor workmanship. This coverage kicks in to cover any expenses that arise from these issues that your general liability policy does not cover.

Flood Insurance

As its name implies, flood insurance protects your worksite in the event of a flood. This is an excellent option if your worksite is in an area that is prone to flooding, such as on the coast or near a river.

 

Property Insurance

Although property insurance is most often associated with homes and business properties, it can be beneficial for contractors, too. You can use this type of insurance to cover your physical assets like your office space, warehouse, building materials, equipment and tools.

 

Contractors Pollution Insurance

As a contractor, you must follow specific environmental laws that are in place to keep the Earth healthy and viable. If your project runs the risk of violating environmental laws (excavations near fuel lines, or other possible contaminants, pollution insurance can help protect you from lawsuits and the expenses that accompany them.

 

Builders Risk Insurance

Your materials, tools and equipment cost a lot of money. If they are lost, stolen or damaged the cost of replacing them can be exorbitant. Builders risk insurance can help defray the costs associated with these losses. This type of insurance is also helpful or subcontractors or equipment owners, too.

 

Roofers Insurance

This specific type of general liability insurance provides coverage for roofing contractors. It can be used  in the event of a workplace incident that leads to the injury of a worker. This type of insurance is separate from general contractors’ insurance because roofers work at a higher height and the risk of accidents is much greater.

 

If you are a contractor, it is crucial to your business to have a sufficient amount of insurance coverage. If you have any questions regarding the best types of coverage for your business, contact Biertiz Insurance today.  Our team is happy to answer your questions and find the right products to meet your needs at an affordable price.

 

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NYS Dept. of Financial Services Information re: COVID-19

Attention all insurance policy holders:

If you are experiencing financial hardship due to the COVID-19 pandemic, there is information available through the New York State Department of Financial Services that discusses the new regulations concerning payments, missed payments, late fees and more, as per the Governor’s Executive Orders (March/April).

CLICK HERE TO VIEW OR PRINT THE FULL GUIDANCE DOCUMENT.

The above document is the full, formal, legal document, so if you have any trouble understanding what it might mean for you, please contact our office at 607-547-2951 and we will be happy to review your needs together with you.

Above all, we are here to help our clients safely navigate through these unprecedented times and provide our support as needed.

Stay safe and be well.

Ben Novellano, President
Bieritz Insurance Agency

 

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