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.

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


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!




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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.


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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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Social Media Security for the Holidays

VacationSM2Social media is a great way to stay in touch with friends and family from all over the world, but privacy settings only go so far to limit what people can see and learn about you. Although this is not a new topic, we just want to remind our friends, clients and families to please be careful with the information that you share on your social networks.

According to AAA, over 46 million Americans will be traveling over this holiday season. Don’t make your home a target for break-ins by sharing details about your travel plans on your social networks, as your family and friends might not be the only ones watching. Avoid accepting friend requests and connections from people you don’t know, and make sure your privacy settings are set correctly for your security.

If you are leaving town, boost your home security by letting friends and neighbors know where you will be and ask them to keep an eye out on your house. Make arrangements for someone to pick up your mail while you are away or ask the post office to hold delivery for the time that you are expecting to be away. Prevent easy entry to your home by making sure all your doors are locked and your windows are secured. If you are traveling with your smartphone, make sure you disable “geotags” on the applications you use so that information about your real-time location doesn’t get shared publicly.

Holidays are special times to be with friends and family, and photos are a great way to record and preserve those memories of time together – but we suggest you wait until you get home to post those pictures!

Our Team at the Bieritz Agency wishes you all a Happy and Safe Holiday Season!

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A Deer in Your Headlights

A note to all of our Bieritz Agency clients and friends:

During the months of November and December our local populations of deer are migrating and mating, resulting in a dramatic increase of movement.  More deer collisions occur during these months than at any other time of year, so we urge drivers to be especially careful, particularly in the early morning and evening hours (times when many people are commuting to and from work).

Deer collisions can cause a great deal of damage and can also be lethal.  A “heavy” deer might weigh over 200 pounds, but even an eighty-pound yearling is capable of totaling a vehicle traveling at high speed.  According to New York Outdoor News, motorists hit over 80,000 white-tailed deer on New York roadways each year (the third highest rate of reported incidents in the U.S.), almost 20% of which happen during the month of November.

Deer tend to stick to certain major travel corridors, which they adjust seasonally to match their movements to food availability and other habitat needs.  Deer warning road signs often indicate areas where deer are often sighted or where multiple collisions have occurred.  A collision can be a car hitting a deer or a deer hitting a car.  Most people are aware that  when you see one deer, there is usually another.  This holds up not only when there are young fawns in early summer, but also during breeding season where bucks follow does or in later winter months when groups of males form “bachelor groups”.

Traveling at slower speeds increases your reaction time if a deer leaps out in front of your vehicle.  Scan the roadsides and watch for eyeshine in your headlights (only visible if the deer looks directly at your car).  Use high beams if there is no oncoming traffic and low beams if it is foggy or snowing.  If you see and successfully avoid deer, flash your lights at oncoming vehicles to warn them of a hazard ahead, and watch the behavior of cars around you as well – a car slowing suddenly could indicate a deer in the area.  Make sure your headlights, brakes and tires are all in good shape.  It is recommended to hit your brakes to try to stop and not swerve to try to avoid a collision.  Swerving out of the travel lane increases the risk of hitting another vehicle or losing control of the car.


Because most of our local country roads intersect with wildlife habitat, our drivers have a greater chance of collision, so please keep in mind the above tips to help minimize your risk.  Damage caused by an accident with deer or other animals is covered under the optional comprehensive portion (not the collision portion) of an automobile insurance policy. If you would like to check your coverage, please give us a call at our Cooperstown, NY office at (607) 547-2951 and our Bieritz Insurance Agency staff will be happy to help you.  Safe driving to all from the Bieritz Team!


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Replacing your Smoke Detector Batteries

Bieritz Insurance Reminds Residents to Replace their Smoke Detector Batteries
smoke detector2COOPERSTOWN, NY (10/03/14): Bieritz Insurance Agency, a local business providing full spectrum insurance products and services, is reminding area residents to replace their batteries on smoke detection devices in their home.

According to the National Fire Protection Association, three out of five home fire deaths result from fires in properties without working smoke alarms, and the risk of dying in a home fire is cut in half in homes with working smoke alarms.  There is no doubt that smoke alarms save lives. To help keep your family safe, stop in at the Bieritz Insurance Agency during the month of October and pick up a free 9v replacement battery for your smoke detector (while supplies last).

Typically, smoke detectors should be tested monthly and if they do not have a lithium 10-year (long life) battery, their 9v alkaline batteries should be replaced once each year.  Smoke alarms that are hardwired into a home’s electrical system will usually have a back-up battery that needs to be replaced each year as well.  In addition to changing your batteries, any smoke detector unit should be replaced every ten years.

Bieritz Insurance Agency, 209 Main Street, Cooperstown, NY

CoverPhotoBieritz Insurance Agency Inc. is a local Independent insurance agency that represents over 20 companies. Bieritz Agency has served the community as the only locally-owned and operated, independent agency for over 24 years.  Bieritz provides quality service, excellent prices and products that are in the client’s best interest!  Free quotes are available through both Cooperstown and Morris offices.  Contact Bieritz at (607)547-2951.

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