Getting your home ready for the winter

The fall months present a great opportunity for home projects that can help you prevent incidents over the winter season. In addition to accident and damage prevention, some of these can save you some money on energy costs as well!  Here are a few tips to help you get your home ready  for the winter.

  • air leaks
    Common Home Air Leak Areas

    Survey your property for dead tree limbs and remove them before they fall during a storm.  Taking down dead and dying tree limbs can prevent damage to your home and power lines.  Make sure you take safety precautions or hire a local professional to help you with this.

  • Check your plumbing.  Are there water pipes in your home that are susceptible to freezing over the winter months?  You can insulate your pipes with pre-slit pipe foam (available at most hardware and home repair stores).  Just cut pieces to the proper length for exposed pipes and use duct tape to secure them.  You can also insulate your water heater too!

  • Inspect and clean your chimney.  As we move into the fall months, you might want to enjoy an evening by the fire in your fireplace or woodstove.  Make sure that your chimney is structurally in good shape and clean out any debris build up that may cause chimney fires.  This usually needs to be done by a professional chimney expert, but is well worth the cost.

  • Sealing and weatherstripping in preparation for the winter is always a good idea to keep your heat in  your home and should be checked and repaired when you are replacing your screens with storm windows and doors.

  • Get your door drafts ready!  In addition to sealing, closing off rooms in your home will help keep each room warmer during the winter months.  Door drafts will help prevent cold air from coming in under your doorways – they really do work!

  • Reverse your ceiling fans.  In the summer months, your fan blades rotate counterclockwise to push cooler air down to your floor.  The cooler air evaporates moisture which helps you feel cooler.    In the winter, your ceiling fan should rotate clockwise at low speed.  This pulls cool air up which pushes the warmer air near your ceiling down along your walls and back to the floor, making your room feel warmer.

  • Don’t forget to clean out your gutters! Check your gutters for debris after the trees lose most of their leaves to assure for good drainage of melting water during the coming winter months.  Check your roof for missing shingles, possible leaks etc.

We hope you have found these tips helpful!  Check with Bieritz Agency for all your insurance needs.  Call us for a free quote – we can save you money!

Bieritz Insurance Agency, is proud to offer two convenient locations in Otsego County.

Your “Hometown” Insurance Specialists!
HOME • AUTO • BUSINESS • LIFE • FARM • BOAT • CYCLE & MORE

Bieritz Insurance Agency
209 Main Street
Cooperstown, NY 13326
607-547-2951
FAX 607-547-4487
info@bieritzinsurance.com

Morris Insurance Agency
128 Main Street
P.O. Box 70
Morris, NY 13808
607-263-5170
FAX 607-263-5270
agent@morrisinsuranceny.com

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Auto Insurance for College Students

collegelotIf your child is leaving home to attend college, make sure you check with your auto insurance
provider to see if there are any updates required to maintain your policy because of this change.
It is not recommended to drop a college student from your policy when they leave for school for several reasons.  First, continuous coverage will benefit your child when they are no longer listed on your policy and purchase coverage on their own.  Second, your child may need to drive when they return home during school breaks or if they drive a friend’s car while at school.  Third, having your child listed for coverage on your policy protects your child in the event of any auto-related accident while they are away, as a driver, passenger or pedestrian.
Some companies also offer discounts for your full-time college student drivers.  If your child maintains a grade average of 3.0 or higher, you can provide a transcript and submit for consideration.  You may also qualify for a discount if your child is attending college 75 miles or more away from home.
Students who are taking a car that you own to school can remain on your policy (likely less expensive than under their own policy as a young driver), but you should notify your insurance company of the new address where the vehicle will be located.  If it is in a less populated area, you might end up with a lower rate.  If your student is traveling with their vehicle out of state, make sure your current policy meets the minimum insurance requirements for that state.  If your student owns the vehicle and holds the title, it is likely that they will need to obtain their own insurance.
If you have a student that is attending college and you have questions about their Auto Insurance, call us today at 607-547-2951 in Cooperstown or in Morris at 607-263-5170.

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Bieritz Agency – A Business with Values

Yes, we have Values. We value our clients and we value your business!

fp-showcase2-bieritz_June2015As a local business competing in a marketplace that includes many industry giants, we are always thinking about what makes us different from other insurance agencies.  We are also constantly looking at ways to differentiate ourselves so that we remain competitive in every way possible.

 

As a small family-owned and operated business, we are not owned by a bank or large conglomerate, and as an independent agency, we have the ability to offer our clients options from over twenty different companies.  We can assess your needs and find options for the best insurance product at the best rates to make sure you have the coverage you need at the lowest cost.

 

We strive to for friendly customer service and support in all of our interactions and have invested heavily into professional development and training for our employees so that they can serve the needs of our clients to their best abilities.  We pride ourselves on answering our own phones and returning messages promptly, regardless of how you reach out to us – whether by email, phone call or Facebook message.

 

Our community is very important to us, so we make it a point to remain actively involved in supporting our local schools, businesses and non-profit organizations in a number of ways.  We participate as a member of our local Rotary Chapters and Chambers of Commerce and go the extra mile to help support and promote messages that are important to our community.

 

We have been successfully serving Otsego county residents and businesses for over 26 years in Cooperstown and over 72 years at our location in Morris. If we can help you with your insurance questions or insurance needs, please call us today at 607-547-2951 in Cooperstown or in Morris at 607-263-5170.

 

Bieritz_Blue

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Celebrating Small Businesses

July is National Independent Retailers Month.  At Bieritz Agency, we are always celebrating our small business partners and the Shop Local message for keeping our dollars within our community.  Please support your local businesses!

 

Every business is unique and has different needs when it comes to insurance.  Whether your company is large or small, we can find the right product to meet your needs and your budget.  We work with all industries – restaurants, retailers, service and financial businesses as well as lodging and accommodation properties and we offer a number of insurance products for businesses and business owners.   Our staff in Cooperstown and Morris would be happy to answer any questions or provide a quote that could save you money each year.

 

Our business products include the following:

  • Business Owners Packages
  • Commercial Liability
  • General Liability
  • Commercial Auto
  • Commercial Umbrellas
  • Payroll Deduction Programs
  • Business Retirement Plans
  • Business Life Insurance
  • Church and Non-profit Products
  • Civic Organization Liability
  • Workman’s Compensation
  • Disability Insurance

 

Call us today at 607-547-2951 in Cooperstown or in Morris at 607-263-5170.

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Best Local Places to Enjoy Fun in the Sun

Summer has finally arrived and we are enjoying some hot sunny days offset by cool evenings at last. We are fortunate to have some very special places in our area where we can enjoy the water and the beach.

Glimmerglass State Park
Glimmerglass State Park

Feel like a swim or a day at the Beach? Here are a few of our area favorites!

  • Glimmerglass State Park, located at the north end of Otsego Lake accessed from the east side at County Highway 31. Vehicle entrance fee of $7 per car or with Empire Passport (unlimited day use entry to most NY State Parks for $65. Open for swimming 11am-7pm on weekends and holidays through June 19, then daily through 9/7/15. Non-motorized boat launching is available near the parking area.
  • Fairy Spring Park- East Lake Road, County 31, Cooperstown, NY – Open weekends through June 26, then daily through the summer. 11am to dusk with swimming allowed when lifeguards are on duty. Free for residents of Cooperstown Village with a family pass + $5 per person for guests.
  • Three Mile Point – 6266 State Highway 80, Cooperstown, NY – Open weekends through June 26, then daily through the summer. 10am to dusk with swimming allowed when lifeguards are on duty. Free for residents of Cooperstown Village with a family pass + $5 per person for guests. Docks available for boating and fishing.

 

Image from Canoe & Kayak Rentals and Sales, Portlandville, NY
Image from Canoe & Kayak Rentals and Sales, Portlandville, NY

Feel like being out on the water? Try one of these for the day!

  • Canoe and Kayak Rentals and Sales – State Route 28, Portlandville – June through August 9am-6pm daily. Half day, full day and week long rentals are available. Launch from and return to dock in portlandville. Calm water paddling on the Susquehanna River. Shuttle and delivery services are available to additional locations. Fishing pole rentals are also available! 607-286-7349
  • CP’s Fishing Charter Service – Based in Richfield Springs, NY – Charters are available 7 days a week during April through September. Your New York fishing guides are fully licensed and insured. All trips are fully equipped with necessary tackle, necessary electronics and fish finding equipment. Boat is a registered and inspected public vessel by the N.Y. State office of Parks and Recreation. Otsego Lake sightseeing tours are also available. 315-360-7113
  • LadyBug Kayak Rentals – Kayaks are available for rent for full and half day at Glimmerglass State Park. No reservations required. Delivery available to other locations on Otsego and Canadarago Lakes. 315-941-8380
  • Public Boat Launch, Otsego Lake – Fish Road, Cooperstown – The only public boat launch on Otsego Lake. Open 5 am to 7:30 pm, $10 single boat fee (multiple launch passes available). Boats must be clean of vegetation, will be inspected. On-site vehicle parking limited (including trailers). Parking available at the Trolley Lots. 607-547-4149
  • Sam Smith’s Boat Yard – County Route 80, Cooperstown – Rentals of canoes, kayaks, fishing boats, cruisers, and large and small pontoon boats. Rent by the hour, half day or full day. No tubing or water skiing are allowed with rentals. Reservations are recommended. 607-547-2543
  • Time Out Boat Rentals – based in the Cooperstown area – Pontoon Boats are delivered to the hotels, motels, parks, and camps on Otsego Lake along with with Personalized instruction. Rentals are available for hourly, half day (4 hours), full day (8 hours), and weekly rates. 607-287-7737

 

Enjoy the summer and don’t forget your sunscreen! If we can help you with your insurance needs for home, auto, watercraft, business, financial and more – give us a call at one of our area offices in Cooperstown at 607-547-2951 and in Morris at 607-263-5170. Our staff is happy to assist you with information and a quote.

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Win a $25 Gift Card towards Lunch at Brewery Ommegang

Enter this promotion between May 15 and May 31 to win!

How to Enter:

1:  Like the Bieritz Insurance Agency Facebook Page.
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2ommegang-cafe: Complete the form below and click Submit.

The Contest is open to residents that fall within the Bieritz Insurance Agency service region (Otsego County, NY and surrounding areas).  One eligible entry per person, 21 and older.

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Click Here for Official Contest Rules

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Insuring your property in storage & self-storage

self-storageYour homeowners insurance policy covers your property, but if you store your property off your site at a storage facility or self-storage unit, do you need additional protection?  In the case of natural disasters like flood, or tornado, the facility is not likely legally responsible for your belongings.

The best way to insure specific property is to list it specifically in your policy.  If you are using a storage facility for a short amount of time (such as during the time period when you are relocating to a different home), then your property is likely still covered.  If you are looking for long term storage, you might consider adding the storage location to your insurance policy as an additional insured location to assure coverage for your property.

Whatever you choose, check with your insurance agency to make sure that your policy applies to items stored offsite and make sure to bring proof of insurance with you when you sign your contract for storage.  You should also make sure that your items comply with any restrictions or policies of the storage facility to prevent voiding your rental contract.

 

 

 

 

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Homeowners Insurance and Your Outdoor Property

outdoor-patio-with-kitchen

Your homeowners insurance policy covers a lot of things, some you might not realize – and it also does not cover things that you might think are included.  Here are a few things many people might find surprising!

 

A typical homeowners policy likely covers a few things that you don’t realize.  (NOTE: you should always double-check with your agent for details specific to your own insurance policies.) These include things like medical expenses for guests that have been injured in your home (typically whether or not you were responsible for the injury) and charges from your local fire department for responding to an alarm call.  If someone drives through your lawn and damages your yard, chances are that your homeowners policy can help you to replace much of the damaged items.  If you spend a lot of time and money on your landscaping, you can always increase your coverage for these things.  Your homeowners policy also covers your college student’s property while they are away at school as well as your refrigerator and freezer contents if you lose power for a long period of time during a storm.

 

Many of these items have a replacement cap, and deductibles may or may not apply, depending on the situation and your coverage.  Although these items are all covered under a typical policy, homeowners should always consider the costs and benefits for submitting small claims.  Policies with a higher deductible amount can typically prevent small claims that could result in higher premiums.

 

It may be surprising to learn that property that is kept outdoors might not be protected by a homeowner’s policy in the event of damage or theft.  Think about your outdoor grill, your patio furniture, bicycles left outdoors, your ornamental garden plants or items you might keep in an unlocked shed. Replacement coverage for items like these are not commonly included in your homeowners insurance, but you may be able to add them for a higher premium to extend your coverage to include backyard possessions.

 

It is always helpful to assess your coverage to make sure that your policy fits your needs and your budget.  Our team at Bieritz Agency is happy to answer any of your questions so that you are informed about exactly what your policy covers and what it does not.  We can work together to fill in any gaps.  Bieritz Insurance Agency, Inc. is a local independent agency that represents over 20 companies and has offices in Cooperstown and Morris, NY.  Bieritz Agency has served the community as the only locally-owned and operated, independent agency for over 25 years.  Bieritz provides quality service, excellent prices and products that are in the client’s best interest!  Contact Bieritz Agency at 607-547-2951 today.

 

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Preparing for Snowmelt

Tips to prevent flooding with the coming thaw.

snow-melt-comicYes, we’ve all had enough of the cold weather and snow this winter and many of us are looking forward to seeing it all disappear …but, all that water has to go somewhere.  As little as 6 inches of melting snow and ice can lead to flooding – in our streets, and in our homes.  During the first thaws, the ground is still frozen, so water will run across the surface instead of seeping into the ground.  This makes our homes more susceptible to water intrusion and associated damage.

Here are a few tips to help prevent damage from all that water:

  • dig snow out of window wells and basement exterior stairwells (including any drain areas)
  • remove any snow a few feet away from outside doors, and dig a path for water to flow away from your home
  • be aware of ice dams (view past article here) – try to clear gutters and downspouts and prepare drainage paths away from your home for areas where roof runoff is likely to occur
  • after the thaw, inspect and repair roof shingles and flashing as needed to prevent water damage in the future
  • homeowners who experience basement flooding each year with the spring thaws should check their sump pump to make sure it is operational before the season begins

For information about whether your insurance coverage protects you from water damage from snow melt flooding, please feel free to contact our offices (in Cooperstown at 607-547-2951, and in Morris at 607-263-5170).  Wishing all our clients and neighbors a safe and DRY spring!

snow-melt-flooded-yard

 

 

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Hosting a Superbowl Party this Weekend?

superbowl2015If you find yourself as host to a large gathering this weekend for Superbowl Sunday, this article has some great information about Social Host Liability.

Content provided by the Insurance Information Institute: http:iii.org

Social Host Liability

Be a Responsible Host When It Comes to Serving Alcohol at Parties
Whether you are hosting a Super Bowl party or greeting the New Year with friends in your home, if you are planning to serve alcohol at any type of party it is important to take steps to limit your liquor liability and make sure you have the proper insurance.
Social host liability, the legal term for the criminal and civil responsibility of a person who furnishes liquor to a guest, can have a serious impact on party throwers. Social host liability, also known as “Dram Shop Liability” laws vary widely from state to state, but 43 states have them on the books. Most of these laws also offer an injured person, such as the victim of a drunk driver, a method to sue the person who served the alcohol. There are circumstances under these laws where criminal charges may also apply.
While a social host is not liable for injuries sustained by a drunken guest (as they are also negligent), the host can be held liable for third parties, and may even be liable for passengers of the guest who have been injured in their car.
Before planning a party in your home, it is important to speak with your insurance agent or company representative about your homeowners coverage and any exclusions, conditions or limitations your policy might have for this kind of risk. Homeowners insurance usually provides some liquor liability coverage, but it is typically limited to $100,000 to $300,000, depending on the policy, which might not be enough.
Most importantly, whether you are hanging out with a small group of friends for cocktails or throwing a big family bash, remember that a good host is a responsible host, and takes steps to ensure guests get home safely if they have been drinking.

How to Protect Yourself and Your Guests

If you plan to serve alcohol at a party the I.I.I. offers the following tips to promote safe alcohol consumption and reduce your social host liability exposure:
  • Make sure you understand your state laws. Before sending out party invitations, familiarize yourself with your state’s social host liability laws. These laws vary widely from state to state. Some states do not impose any liability on social hosts. Others limit liability to injuries that occur on the host’s premises. Some extend the host’s liability to injuries that occur anywhere a guest who has consumed alcohol goes. Many states have laws that pertain specifically to furnishing alcohol to minors.
  • Consider venues other than your home for the party. Hosting your party at a restaurant or bar with a liquor license, rather than at your home, will help minimize liquor liability risks.
  • Hire a professional bartender. Most bartenders are trained to recognize signs of intoxication and are better able to limit consumption by partygoers.
  • Encourage guests to pick a designated driver who will refrain from drinking alcoholic beverages so that he or she can drive other guests home.
  • Be a responsible host/hostess. Limit your own alcohol intake so that you will be better able to judge your guests’ sobriety.
  • Offer non-alcoholic beverages and always serve food. Eating and drinking plenty of water, or other non-alcoholic beverages, can help counter the effects of alcohol.
  • Do not pressure guests to drink or rush to refill their glasses when empty. And never serve alcohol to guests who are visibly intoxicated.
  • Stop serving liquor toward the end of the evening. Switch to coffee, tea and soft drinks.
  • If guests drink too much or seem too tired to drive home, call a cab, arrange a ride with a sober guest or have them sleep at your home.
  • Encourage all your guests to wear seatbelts as they drive home. Studies show that seatbelts save lives.

http://www.iii.org/article/social-host-liability

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Insuring Your Teen Driver

Your teenager just received their driver’s license!  This is likely one of the most exciting and joyful moments in the life of a young person, and one of the most stressful and worrisome moments for parents.

Attractive Brunette Holding Keys in Vehicle MirrorFrom the student’s perspective, a driver’s license represents some very big things:  freedom (the ability to go where you want, when you want); independence (not having to depend on parents or others to get there); responsibility (for ones’ self, for passengers, for a car, for gas, for others on the roadways).  The driver’s license is one of the milestones in the transition from youth to adult.

From the parent’s view, the addition of a newly licensed driver in the family is more of a mixed bag.  While there is undoubtedly some relief in the ability to share the driving load, there is likely some trepidation as well. 

The addition of a new driver in your household also means changes to your insurance policy.  Adding a teen to the family insurance policy is cheaper than purchasing a separate policy, but any infractions may result in increased rates on your premiums.

In New York State, you can expect your policy to increase by about 53% when you add a teen driver; this is actually one of the lowest surcharges in the US, and a bargain compared to New Hampshire, where it’s 111%.  While these percentages represent state averages, there are other factors that will influence this rate, so it is always best to get a quote specifically through your agent.

Rates will typically drop for each year of experience your new driver accrues without any violations, accidents or claims, lowering to about half the original amount when the driver turns 19.  In some cases, good academic grades and successful completion of driver safety courses can also help to bring the rates down.  The kind of vehicle your teen driver is using will impact your rate as well: less sporty/less flashy vehicles with high safety ratings are less costly to insure.

As a parent, you have the ability to start conversations about safe driving habits with your teens early in their driving education. These conversations are influential to their future driving success!  A National Young Driver Survey found that teens are 50 percent less likely to speed, 71 percent less likely to drive after drinking and 29 percent less likely to use their cell phones while on the road if they have parents who actively talk to them about the dangers associated with these behaviors. (CDC- CDD.GOV/ParentsAreTheKey)

There are also a stream of new auto safety apps for smartphones to help lessen distractions while driving.  Most of these will automatically detect the phone’s GPS location and determine if it is moving at speeds above 10mph.  If moving, it will hold all phone notifications until the end of the trip.

If you have a teenager that will become a new driver soon, give us a call at Bieritz Insurance (607)547-2951 and we’ll help you navigate your insurance options – no GPS required!

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