Car Features That Can Lower Auto Insurance Premiums

Cars manufacturers are building cars with new features all the time and some of these can make your vehicle safer to operate.  Safety features can help you save money on your car insurance.  If you find yourself in the market for a new car this Spring, here are some things to consider.  Check with our agents to learn if these features can save you dollars on your annual premium – the savings may be worth the additional cost.

 

  • Automatic or Adjustable Seatbelts (with pretensioners)
    Automatic seatbelts mean that the passenger is more likely to use them and adjustability will make them more comfortable and thus more likely to keep them on.  Seatbelts save lives and reduce injury.

  • Daytime Running Lights
    These make your vehicle more visible to other drivers.  Better visibility prevents accidents.

  • Antilock Brakes
    An Antilock Braking System allows for better control in rain or snow or on unpaved roads.  They  don’t prevent skidding, but they help to prevent loss of control.

  • Traction and Stability Control
    A Traction Control System (TCS) or Electronic Stability Control (ESC) work similarly to antilock brakes, but they help to maintain traction in the event of a skid.

  • Extra Air Bags
    In addition to driver and passenger air bags, other air bags (side, curtain and rear) can be standard or extra depending on the vehicle, and can earn you extra savings on your premiums.

  • Anti Theft Device
    These usually qualify for savings since having one prevents attempts from theft.  Just knowing there is a system equipped is enough of a deterrent to theft in most cases.

  • in-dash-car-night-vision-systemNight Vision System
    Some dashboards are capable of indicating heat signatures (from deer or other animals) within a 300meter range of the vehicle to help prevent accidents at night.

  • Drowsy Driver Warning System (Lane Departure Warning)
    This is a program in your vehicle that senses if/when you change lanes without using your directional and beeps to wake you up.  Using your directional helps other drivers know what to expect from your vehicle and prevents accidents as well.

  • Adjustable Headrests
    If adjustable, headrests should be raised high enough to almost reach the top of the head, rotated forward to be close to the back of the head, and they should lock in place to give firm support in the event of a crash.

  • Car Safety Rating
    There are many things that effect the safety rating for a vehicle, but some of the basics include the size of the car, the type of vehicle, the type of engine and more.  For information on safety ratings for vehicles, check the following links: Kelly Blue Book and Consumer Reports and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety

  • Safe Bumpers
    These are bumpers that exceed the federal bumper standards for low speed crash protection.

  • Tire Pressure Monitoring System (most cars built after 2007 have these)
    Sensors within the tire send an indication of an “underinflation event” when the PSI falls to below an acceptable range. Underinflated tires offer a less stable ride, negatively impact your gas mileage and are prone to possible blowouts.

  • Driver Safety Record
    Not a vehicle feature, but something that can certainly affect your premiums.  If you have a safe driving history or if you have taken a refresher driver safety class, make sure you tell your agent!  Indicate this for other drivers as well.

eyes on the road

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10 Spring Cleaning Tips

_BieritzYes, of course we mean insurance!  

Spring is officially upon us which means that it is Spring Cleaning Season.  As we go through our homes and yards and closets, we should take the time to review other areas of our lives as well – like our insurance policies.  You may be paying for items that are no longer necessary or you may need additional protection. Did you perhaps gift a piece of jewelry and not update your homeowners policy? Here are a few things to keep in mind.

Auto Insurance:

  1. Are there any new drivers in the house?  Make sure they are listed on the policy

  2. Have you paid off your car loan? – If so make sure you have notified your agent and have had the lien holder removed.

  3. Do you qualify for any discounts? Many carriers provide discounts for having AAA, good student discounts, or low mileage discounts.

Home Insurance Policy (house, condo or even renter’s):

  1. Do you have enough dwelling coverage? Is there enough to get everything back if there is a total loss

  2. Make sure the replacement value is not higher than your coverage limits

  3. Contents Coverage – have you acquired any expensive jewelry or electronics?

  4. Check your liability coverage – have you added a pool or a trampoline? Did you get a new dog?  Withholding this information could put in danger should a loss occur.

Multiple Policy Discounts:

  1. Also remember, many carriers offer discounts for having both your Home and Auto with a single carrier, this can often save you 20% on your home and 10% on your car.

  2. If you are a renter, consider a tenant’s policy to protect your belongings, often times the discount you will receive for having two polices will pay for this.

Best Rates:

  1. Finally – remember that each insurance carrier has its own rates for every driver or home category, so it benefits you to explore your options.  At Bieritz, we work with over 20 companies so that we can provide you with the coverage you needs at the best rates available.  Call us today at 607-547-2951.

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March 13 is World Kidney Day

National_Kidney_Month_March

National Kidney Month this year is bringing attention to Chronic Kidney Disease.  Take a look at the infographic below  to learn some of the facts about this silent killer.  Then, on March 13 (World Kidney Day) – start your day off with a glass of water to show that you take care of your kidneys.

Glass-water_final_imageInfographic

 

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Life Insurance – It’s About Love

Today is Valentine’s Day, the second most popular gift and card-giving day of the year (Christmas is the first).  It is a designated day to recognize the people we love and let them know how much they mean to us, often through tokens of affection, dinner, candy, flowers, etc.  It is also the perfect time to think about Life Insurance.

It might not be the most romantic of thoughts, but making sure you are adequately insured provides financial protections for those you love.  The emotional burden of losing a loved one is difficult enough – life insurance helps to make sure that financial concerns don’t add to that burden.

LifeInsExpenseStat2

Life Insurance can be beneficial to everyone: single or married people; those with or without children; younger or older.  It can be a means to cover funeral costs, medical expenses, to pay off existing debt or to provide income replacement.  Everyone has different life insurance needs depending their individual situation and goals.

We can help answer your questions – Do you need it?  If so, how much do you need? What are the different types of Life Insurance?  How much does it cost?  While you probably want to stick with the candy and flowers for today, tomorrow is a good time to take action if you are not currently insured.

Do it for Love.

Did you know…

Did you know your Life insurance policy can also help you pursue your savings goals? Video courtesy of Security Mutual:

209mainstBieritz Insurance Agency is an independent agency working with over 20 companies to offer our customers a variety of options, and find the right product and company to fit your needs. We operate in the beautiful Leatherstocking Region of Central New York and are proud to call the Cooperstown Area our home. We are an Award Winning Allstate Independent Agency, having received recognition for being among the top 30 Independent agents in the United States. Contact us at (607) 547-2951, 209 Main Street, Cooperstown or (607) 263-5170, 128 Main Street, Morris.

 

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2014 Cooperstown Winter Carnival This Weekend

Beginning with a Fireworks Display at 6:30pm on Friday, Feb. 7 at Lake Front Park in Cooperstown and culminating on Sunday, Feb. 9 with a 5K/10K race, Cooperstown’s Winter Carnival is sure to chase away the winter doldrums!  With over 40 different events and activities for all ages taking place throughout the area, the event truly offers something for everyone!

View the Complete Schedule Here!

Cooperstown Winter Carnival has been an area tradition since 1967.  See Event History Here.

snow on main street

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Winter Home Hazards – Ice Dams

 

With ten more weeks of winter still to come, we are sure to find a few snowstorms in our future. The next time it snows, do yourself a favor and take a look at your roof. Does the snow cover your roof evenly or does it melt in the center and remain visible only towards the eaves? Do you find that large icicles develop from your gutters or roof edge after a few days? These are visual signs that your home is forming ice dams.

Ice dams are formed when warm air escapes into your attic and heats/melts the snow on the roof. When the water from the snow melt reaches the eaves or gutter area, it gets colder again (no longer effected by the warmer attic temps) and freezes along the edge. Ice begins to build up along the edge, with water accumulating behind. This water can continue to build up and eventually seep through the roof, causing damage.

This video illustrates the process very well.

Ice dams can be prevented by making sure that heat from your home is not escaping into your attic. An energy audit from a local service provider can help give you information on where air leaks are coming from and recommendations on how to fix, either through improvements in attic insulation or proper ventilation. In many cases in New York State, a home energy audit can be done for free – see information here from NYSERDA.

In the meanwhile, if you have ice dams that have already formed and are causing damage, you are going to want to contact a local roofing professional who can use steam to safely clear the ice blockages from your eaves.

For more information about ice dams, view Energy Star Fact Sheet here.

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January is Blood Donor Month

BloodDonorMonthDid you know…

  • …donating one pint of blood can help save the lives of up to three people.
  • …blood cannot be manufactured – it only becomes available through the generosity of donors.
  • …the number one reason that people give blood is they “want to help others”.

For more Blood Facts and Statistics, visit the American Red Cross Website Here!

 

Please consider donating at one of the following blood drives in our area  – Jan 20 through Jan 31.

Jan 20, 12-5pm at Worcester Central School

198 Main St, Worcester, NY 12197

Donation Types: Double Red Cells, Blood
Notes: All presenting donors will receive a voucher for a free pound of Dunkin Donuts coffee.

Jan 21, 1-6pm at St James Episcopal Church

St James Episcopal Church, 305 Main St., Oneonta, NY 13820
Donation Types: Double Red Cells, Blood
Notes: All presenting donors will receive a voucher for a free pound of Dunkin Donuts coffee

Jan. 27, 1:30-6:30pm at Richfield Springs Community Center

Walnut St, Richfield Springs, NY 13439
Donation Types: Double Red Cells, Blood
Notes: All presenting donors will receive a voucher for a free pound of Dunkin Donuts coffee

Jan. 27, 1-6pm at Otego Methodist Church

Site: Otego United Methodist Church, 10 Church St., Otego, NY 13825
Donation Types: Double Red Cells, Blood
Notes: All presenting donors will receive a voucher for a free pound of Dunkin Donuts coffee

Jan 29, 9am-2pm at Milford Central School

42 West Main St, Milford, NY 13807
Donation Types: Double Red Cells, Blood
Notes: All presenting donors will receive a voucher for a free pound of Dunkin Donuts coffee

Jan 29, 2-6pm at Cherry Valley Springfield High School

Site: Cherry Valley Community Center, RT 54, Cherry Valley, NY 13320
Donation Types: Double Red Cells, Blood
Notes: All presenting donors will receive a voucher for a free pound of Dunkin Donuts coffee
Jan 30, 12-5pm at State University of New York Oneonta

 

Site: State Univerity of New York, Blodgett Rd, Oneonta, NY 13820
Donation Types: Blood
Notes: All presenting donors will receive a voucher for a free pound of Dunkin Donuts coffee

Jan 30, 10:30am-4pm at Golden Artist Colors, Inc.

Site: Golden Color Artists, Inc., 188 Bell Rd, New Berlin, NY 13411
Donation Types: Double Red Cells, Blood
Notes: All presenting donors will receive a voucher for a free pound of Dunkin Donuts coffee

Jan. 31, 12-5pm at State University of New York Oneonta

Site: State Univerity of New York, Blodgett Rd., Oneonta, NY 13820
Donation Types: Double Red Cells, Blood
Notes: All presenting donors will receive a voucher for a free pound of Dunkin Donuts coffee
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Safety Tips for the Holiday Season

HolidayDinnerThe Holiday Season marks a special time of the year, providing opportunities to gather with family and special friends.  Whether you are hosting guests at your home or traveling to another destination, our team at Bieritz Insurance Agency would like to share some tips with you for a safe holiday season.

Safety in the Kitchen

Each year, firefighters respond to an average of 155,000 cooking fires, the number of which increases during the holiday season.  To stay safe in the kitchen, keep in mind the following:

  • Make sure your appliances are working properly.  This includes stove tops, burners, ovens, microwaves, etc.

  • Don’t forget to turn off your stove or oven when finished using it.  You can set a timer for this as a reminder.

  • Don’t leave food unattended on a stove top or in the oven – stay alert.

  • If a pan catches fire, cover it immediately with a lid and turn off the burner.  Water on a grease fire will make it worse.  Make sure your kitchen has a fire extinguisher (and check the expiration date to make sure it will work when you need it).

  • If you have a fire in your oven, turn off the oven and keep the door closed.

  • Keep flammable items away from your stove (pot holders, paper towels, food packaging, etc.).

  • Wear tight fitting sleeves when cooking.  Loose clothing can easily catch on fire from open burners.  Remember “stop, drop and roll”.

  • Never use extension cords to plug in appliances as this can overload a circuit.

  • Make sure you have smoke alarms installed and that their batteries are fresh.

  • Review your escape routes with your family and guests.  Have a pre-determined meeting place to make sure you have the proper head count.

Safety for your Guests

Family gatherings include members of all ages, from toddlers to grandparents. Walking through your home and property and correcting any potential problems will help to prevent injuries that could occur.

Inside the home:

  • Keep stairways clear of toys, shoes, loose carpeting, etc.

  • Avoiding rugs in areas of your home where people can potentially trip and fall.

  • Keep stairways, hallways, and entry ways well lit.

  • Apply non-skid strips to the bottoms of bathtubs and use non-skid rugs outside of bathtubs and showers.

  • If you use extension cords, use tape to secure each cord to the floor to avoid tripping.

Outside the home:

  • Make sure sidewalks and outdoor steps are clear of toys or objects that block a clear path for walking.

  • Repair any cracks or missing pieces on sidewalks and walkways.

  • If you live in an area with snow, keep sidewalks, staircases and paths clear and free of ice and snow. Add sand to the ground to help avoid slipping hazards.

Childproofing:

  • Move chairs, cribs, beds, and other furniture away from windows to prevent children from climbing onto sills.

  • Install hardware-mounted safety gates at the top and bottom of every stairway.

  • Attach childproof covers to corners of coffee tables, furniture, and countertops with sharp edges.

  • Add childproof covers to all electrical outlets.

 

Safety on the Road

For road travelers, the following winter driving tips will help you stay safe and a little less anxious on your next trip.

  • Have your car examined before you leave. Take it to your local auto shop for a quick once over, and make sure your tires are winter ready and properly inflated.

  • Be prepared for a change in course. Before you depart, become confident in knowing your route. Keep the directions as well as appropriate state map(s) handy, in case you need to reroute your trip.

  • Stay hydrated for the journey. It probably seems like dehydration isn’t very likely, but a recent Mayo Clinic study shows that a mere one- to two-percent loss of body weight can quickly lead to fatigue and decreased alertness, which could be deadly in icy winter driving. Also, your body requires more fuel in the cold — so rely on high-energy food including sandwiches, a thermos filled with soup and fruit.

  • Pack a winter safety kit for the car. Don’t leave without the essentials for a safe road trip — a cell phone (don’t forget the car charger); ice scraper; tow rope and jumper cables; sand or cat litter to aid with traction; blankets; flashlights, matches and emergency candles; first aid kit; portable radio; and a good book, in case you do get stuck.

  • Make frequent rest stops. Winter driving is much more fatiguing than in the summer, so you’ll want to make time to stop and stretch your legs. Just a few minutes off the road will make all the difference in improving your alertness when you’re back behind the wheel.

 

To all of our Friends, we wish you a safe and happy holiday season!

209mainstBieritz Insurance Agency is an independent agency working with over 20 companies to offer our customers a variety of options, and find the right product and company to fit your needs. We operate in the beautiful Leatherstocking Region of Central New York and are proud to call the Cooperstown Area our home. We are an Award Winning Allstate Independent Agency, having received recognition for being among the top 30 Independent agents in the United States.  Contact us at (607) 547-2951, 209 Main Street, Cooperstown or (607) 263-5170, 128 Main Street, Morris.

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Does Your College Student Need Insurance?

MUfreshmen nws kwg 8Sending a child off to college is a wonderful thing. It marks a new stage in their lives and allows for a new level of independence and real growth in learning to become responsible adults. Today’s student arrives at college with an array of personal belongings that help make them effective students and provide for comfortable living while away from home. In addition to clothing, furniture items, and books, they arrive at school with laptops, tablets, televisions, smartphones, printers, game consoles and more.

Many parents assume that personal belongings are protected by insurance provided by the school’s housing insurance, but this is not typically the case. SUNY Resident Life Handbooks clearly state:
“The College cannot be held responsible for loss of or damage to personal possessions in student rooms or suites resulting from fire, theft, leaks, vandalism, confiscation, mechanical failure or acts of nature. Residents are encouraged to carry personal property insurance.”

Renter’s insurance is one way to help protect your college student and your budget. At Bieritz Insurance, a typical policy costs in the area of about $100 per year and provides for replacement value of $10,000 with a $250 deductible. Another avenue would be to obtain a rider on homeowner’s insurance, however this typically has a high deductible ($500 to $2000), so it wouldn’t make sense to file a claim for something like a stolen smartphone as it wouldn’t cover the requirements for the deductible. Additionally, a claim through your homeowner’s insurance could effect your policy.

Replacement cost coverage (as opposed to actual cash value) will reimburse the full value of a replacement item, after you purchase the replacement and submit your receipts. This requires a greater up-front cost, but you are likely to receive accurate compensation for possessions. Insurance companies will want proof of purchase for all items on a claim, so it is helpful to keep a file at home (not on campus) that documents all items that you want insured – include purchase receipts, model numbers, serial numbers, etc. Photo documentation is also helpful.

If you are looking to protect the property of your college student, contact Bieritz Insurance to find out what might be covered under any existing policies and we can help you determine if a separate renter’s insurance policy is a better option.

209mainstBieritz Insurance Agency is an independent agency working with over 20 companies to offer our customers a variety of options, and find the right product and company to fit your needs. We operate in the beautiful Leatherstocking Region of Central New York and are proud to call the Cooperstown Area our home. We are an Award Winning Allstate Independent Agency, having received recognition for being among the top 30 Independent agents in the United States. Contact us at (607) 547-2951, 209 Main Street, Cooperstown or (607) 263-5170, 128 Main Street, Morris.

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Bieritz Insurance Agency Adds YouTube Channel

YouTubeLogo

Bieritz Insurance Agency Adds YouTube Channel

We have created a new YouTube Channel to provide educational information about various insurance products and to highlight some of the things that make our community special.

To access videos, you can either go to our YouTube Channel , or Click the Headline below to open the article, then click the image to view.

 

If you have content you would like us to include, please email Steve Bieritz, President, at steve@bieritzinsurance.com.

 

 

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FEMA News:4 Reasons to Submit Loan Application Now

TRENTON, N.J. — Hurricane Sandy survivors who register for federal disaster assistance may be referred for a U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) low-interest long term disaster loan.  The loans can go to homeowners, renters, business, and non-profit agencies to pay for disaster-caused damages not covered by insurance.

Hurricane Sandy survivors who receive an SBA loan application should complete it now, because there are potential benefits that can happen as a result.

They would have readily-available funds for hidden damage that may be discovered after the initial inspection.

  • Applicants may be automatically referred to other disaster assistance programs for which survivors may be eligible if they are turned down for a loan.
  • The initial estimate of the cost of repair may prove inadequate for the work that is actually required, and the loan funds could cover the difference.
  • A survivor’s insurance policy or settlement may not cover all repairs, replacement or rebuilding costs and the loan funds could be used to fill that gap.

The SBA loans are low-interest, and long-term. In some cases, SBA can refinance all or part of an existing mortgage. SBA loan officers work to come up with a plan that fits a survivor’s budget.

Loans of up to $200,000 are available to eligible homeowners to repair or replace disaster-damaged or destroyed real estate. Homeowners and renters may apply for loans of up to $40,000 for personal property, including clothing, furniture, cars or appliances.  Loan amounts cannot exceed uninsured losses.

Businesses and private nonprofit organizations may borrow up to $2 million to repair or replace real estate, machinery and equipment, inventory and other business assets that are not fully covered by insurance.

Interest rates are as low as 1.688 percent for homeowners and renters, 3 percent for non-profit organizations and 4 percent for businesses with terms up to 30 years.  Loan amounts and terms are set by the SBA and are based on each applicant’s financial condition.

Applicants may apply online using the Electronic Loan Application (ELA) via SBA’s secure website at https://disasterloan.sba.gov/ela  Applications can be downloaded from www.sba.gov . For more information, call the SBA’s toll-free line at 800-659-2955. If you use TTY, call 800-877-8339.

Individuals can register for assistance and follow up on previous applications by registering online or by web-enabled mobile device at m.FEMA.gov. By phone or 711/VRS, you can call 1-800-621-FEMA (3362) or TTY 1-800-462-7585.

The SBA has also opened ten Business Recovery Centers throughout New Jersey to help survivors.

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Allstate Appoints Steve Bieritz

Allstate Insurance has recently appointed Steve Bieritz, President of Bieritz Insurance in Cooperstown, to its Agents Advisory Council for the State of New York. This council is made up of 10 independent agency owners in NY and is designed to provide input to the company on ideas, changes, and improvements that can effect how Allstate does business. NY is the largest Independent system for Allstate in the country. This appointment was made official at a recent meeting in Binghamton, NY.

The Bieritz Agency and Morris Insurance Agency have represented Allstate for 18 years and earned the status of the top 30 Allstate independent agencies in the country for 2011. Serving Otsego County since 1990, Bieritz Insurance represents over 20 companies and is located at 209 Main Street. For information call 607-547-2951

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