Why Shop Around for Insurance?

A client-contributed article from Susan O’Handley

I have been working with the Bieritz Agency over the last few years as a consultant for website and marketing support services. On occasion, I would receive a gentle reminder from Steve to consider switching to Bieritz, or at the very least letting them provide a quote for us.  Although I had meant to do this (I believe in supporting local businesses and my clients whenever possible), insurance is one of those things that’s easy to push off to a later date, and when our policies came up for renewal, we just renewed them and forgot all about switching.

moneyUntil recently.  On the heels of another gentle reminder (never a high pressure push), I decided to just go ahead and send our current policies over for a comparable quote.  I am very glad I did!  To begin with, we ended up saving close to $250 on our auto insurance policy with the same coverage – so we are already ahead.

Information that came back to us on our homeowners policy came as a bit of a surprise.  After reviewing our policy, we learned that we were underinsured for the replacement value for our home and were also paying extra money for a low deductible option.  Beth Spence, the Bieritz Agency Manager,  provided us with several options, all of which gave us better coverage and terms for literally a few extra dollars.

When we purchased our home as first-time buyers over 10 years ago, we never gave the insurance a second thought.  I don’t recall shopping around for quotes at that time (closing on your first home is what I consider a whirlwind experience), and since it is tied into our mortgage payment, it was something that just automatically renewed each year – never really needing attention.  I assumed that the coverage was complete and that it continued to meet our needs.

Thankfully, we have never had a claim on either policy (knock on wood), but I am glad that we found out about our home policy now instead of being surprised in a time of need by having too little coverage.  I encourage friends and neighbors to review your insurance policies and send them over to Bieritz for review!  Even if you don’t wish to switch companies/brokers, take the time to review your policy with your family and agent. Like us, you might find yourself in for a surprise.

The Bieritz team lives up to their reputation of first-class customer service, with responsive and helpful interactions – they are indeed ‘Your Hometown Insurance Specialists’! Give them a call today and see if they can assist you with your policies.

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What Determines the Price of My Auto Insurance Policy?

The cost of Auto Insurance can be affected by a number of different factors.  Check out the full article at the link below and give us a call if we can help you with your policy!

The average yearly auto insurance premium is almost $800, but there is wide variation around this average. Many factors can affect your premium. Not all companies use all of these factors, and some might use factors not listed here…

Read the Full Article Here from the Insurance Information Institute

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Insuring Your Summer Toys

boatlakeAfter a long winter, we bet you are more than ready for summer and all of the things you can do to take advantage of the warmer weather.  The pool is open and your boat or jetski is in the water, all ready to enjoy for the season.  Think for a moment and consider your insurance.  Are you prepared for the possibility of an accident?

Summer ‘ toys’ can include an RV (recreational vehicle) for your summer travel or an ATV (all terrain vehicle), a PWC (personal watercraft) like a jet ski or waverunner or boat, or even things like a golf cart, a motorcycle, a trampoline, swingset, pool, and even a bicycle.  Insurance helps to protect you from the risks associated with injuries and damages when using these items.

The first step is to review the types of insurance available for your summer recreation toys.  Consider physical damage for your property as well as liability insurance.  Many policies include property damage to others and coverage that reimburses you or a guest for hospital or doctor bills.

traditional-poolFor property damage, estimate the value of each item and how much you would lose without insurance.  For items like an RV or a boat, this can be a considerable loss.  You can choose a high liability limit and add an umbrella policy to your coverage. For liability, you can add extra coverage to your homeowner’s policy or include summer items on an umbrella policy to extend your liability coverage.  Each carrier is different with what summer toys can be included, so be sure to check to make sure each addition is allowed.

trampolineFor items that carry significant risks, like trampolines, check with your carrier to make sure this coverage is allowed or included on your homeowner’s policy.  Some carriers prefer not to absorb the risks associated with trampolines and may cancel or decline to renew your policy if they learn you have one on your property.

Insurance helps to protect you in the event of an accident, but your first line of protection is to always take safety precautions when operating your summer toys.  Taking measures to preventing accidents helps keep your premiums low by minimizing the number of claims you need to make.  Insurance protects your purchase, yourself and your guests as well.

Please contact our office to further discuss your insurance needs.  Have a wonderful and safe summer and enjoy those toys!

 

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National Safety Month – Summer Safety

2014 GraphicJune is National Safety Month, so our team has decided to provide resources from the National Safety Council to help improve some general safety practices for all our friends and clients.

This week, we are featuring information and resources about summer safety.

Everyone enjoys a little bit of summer fun, but it’s always important to monitor the weather conditions in extreme heat—especially if you plan on being outside.

Read the Summer Safety Tip Sheet Here

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National Safety Month – Distracted Driving

2014 GraphicJune is National Safety Month, so our team has decided to provide resources from the National Safety Council to help improve some general safety practices for all our friends and clients.

This week, we are featuring information and resources about distracted driving.

Using a cell phone while driving makes it four times as likely that you’ll crash – while using handheld or hands-free devices.

View Facts about Distracted Driving Here

The Great Multitasking Lie infographic
Provided by The National Safety Council

 

Employers have realized the dangers of cell phone use while driving and are taking action by passing policies to prevent cell phone distracted driving. The National Safety Council recommends policies prohibit both hands-free and handheld devices and apply to all employees. 

EMPLOYERS:  Download a Cell Phone Policy Kit from the National Safety Council HERE

This free kit helps employers reduce crash risk. It has all the materials you need to:

  • Build leadership support in your organization for a cell phone policy
  • Communicate to employees the crash risks and the need for a policy

Driving Down Distraction infographic
Provided by The National Safety Council

Visit us next week for information about Summer Safety!

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National Safety Month – Be Aware of Your Surroundings

2014 GraphicJune is National Safety Month, so our team has decided to provide resources from the National Safety Council to help improve some general safety practices for all our friends and clients.

This week, we are featuring information and resources about being aware of your surroundings.

Today, there are always multiple things vying for your attention. However, a lack of focus on the task at hand can lead to tragedy, especially in riskier situations…

View the information sheet HERE.

Visit us next week for information about the myths of distracted driving!

 

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National Safety Month – Slips, Trips and Falls

2014 GraphicJune is National Safety Month, so our team has decided to provide resources from the National Safety Council to help improve some general safety practices for all our friends and clients.

This week, we are featuring information and resources about Slips, Trips and Falls.

Falls are one of the leading causes of unintentional injuries in the United States, accounting for approximately 8.9 million visits to the emergency department annually (NSC Injury Facts 2011).

Adults 55 and older are more prone to becoming victims of falls, and the resulting injuries can diminish the ability to lead active, independent lives. The number of fall deaths among those 65 and older is four times the number of fall deaths among all other age groups.

Please take a few moments to review the information below.

Slips, Trips and Falls Information

Slips, Trips and Falls Fact Sheet

Fall Proofing Your Home – Checklist

Visit us next week for information about being aware of your surroundings (and potential hazards) in the workplace and at home!

 

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May is Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month

ShareTheRoad_LogoIn recognition of May as Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month, Bieritz Insurance Agency would like to reach out to all of our Otsego County motorists and motorcyclists alike, encouraging them to “share the road” in order to reduce motorcycle deaths and injuries. Motorcycles are among the smallest and most vulnerable vehicles on the road, putting riders at greater risk of death and serious injury in a crash. In fact, according to the Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), motorcyclists are 30 times more likely than occupants of cars to die in a crash, and 5 times more likely to be injured.

The latest statistics from NHTSA display this tragedy in stark numbers. Motorcycle deaths have increased every year for 14 of the past 15 years, except in 2009, which saw a decline. In 2012, 4,957 motorcyclists died on America’s roads, accounting for 15 percent of total highway deaths. Motorcycle crash-related injuries also increased from 81,000 in 2011 to 93,000 in 2012.

One way we can decrease the number of fatalities and injuries, and make the roads safer is if we work together, motorists and motorcyclists alike. Adhering to the following rules will improve highway safety for everyone.

Drivers should:

  • Be on the lookout for motorcyclists at all times;
  • Signal all lane changes and turns, and constantly check mirrors and blind spots before proceeding;
  • Be fully focused on the task of driving and being in control of their vehicles at all times; and
  • Never drive impaired by alcohol or drugs.

 

Riders should:

  • Obey all traffic laws and be properly licensed;
  • Wear a DOT-compliant helmet and use reflective tape and gear to be more visible. (NHTSA estimates helmets saved the lives of 1,617 motorcyclists in 2011) and
  • Never ride while impaired or distracted.

Additional information about motorcycle safety can be found at www.nhtsa.gov/Safety/Motorcycles. Please join us in reaching out to other motorists and motorcyclists this month to encourage safe driving every day of the year.

Be safe!

Bieritz Insurance Agency
Cooperstown, NY – 607-547-2951
Morris, NY – 607-263-5170

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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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