Understanding Automobile Collision Insurance

When it comes to automobile insurance, it’s important to understand your policies. You want to have enough coverage should something happen, but at the same time you don’t want to pay for coverage you don’t need. There are different options available to you and it’s important that you understand them.

collision insurance

Collision insurance coverage is something you need to consider as part of your policy. It has many benefits, but it needs to be under the right circumstances. There are certain things you need to understand about collision coverage and things you need to evaluate about your own vehicle before you decide about moving forward. Take a look at the information below to see what you need to do.

What you need to know about collision insurance coverage

– It’s optional. 

The first thing is that you need to understand this type of coverage. Collision insurance coverage is not required by state law like other types of insurance. For this type of coverage, you can decide for yourself if it’s something you want. If you still have a loan though, your lender will probably insist that you maintain collision coverage and may add it to your loan if you don’t purchase it. 

– What it covers.

Collision insurance can help you in certain accidents. If you have a collision with either another vehicle or hit a stationary object, your vehicle could have a lot of damage. Collision insurance helps to repair or replace your vehicle in these cases. 

This type of insurance is also very helpful in case the other person caused the collision and is uninsured. You may have issues getting the funds from someone who isn’t insured, so collision insurance will be able to help you in this case.

– There is a deductible. 

Usually you would be able to choose the amount of your deductible when you buy coverage. Your deductible should be an amount that you can easily pay in the event of an accident. The lower your deductible, the higher your premium will be, so keep that in mind. 

– There is a limit. 

Keep in mind that there is a limit to the amount that your collision insurance will pay. It will only pay up to the value of your vehicle. It is possible that your vehicle could cost more to fix than it is valued. 

Do I need it?

– Consider your specific vehicle. 

The decision to drop collision coverage is not one to take lightly. It is also one that is different for everyone and depends on your individual circumstances. 

When deciding whether or not to have or drop collision insurance, you need to know the actual value of your vehicle. This is a great place to start. Most people are likely to drop this coverage once their car is at least eight years old, according to analysis from Insurance.com. If you decide to drop your coverage, it should mean that you’re able to function without the car or you can replace it on your own.

Personal finance writer Kathy Kristof suggests to weigh the coverage cost against the replacement cost. If you pay 10 percent or more of the replacement cost of your vehicle for collision coverage, you might want to consider dropping it. In order to determine this, you need to know the worth of your vehicle.

– How to figure out the value of your vehicle. 

Kelley Blue Book is an authority on vehicle value. You will need to do is enter in your vehicle’s year, make, model, mileage and zip code. Then answer some questions about your specific car and you will be able to determine your car’s trade-in value.

– Consider your savings and budget.

When you make any sort of purchase, consider how the cost will affect your budget. You should also take into account how much you have in your savings. Could you replace your car if you had to on your own?

Collision insurance can be a valuable asset in times of need. Make sure you understand your policy and if your vehicle should be covered under this protection. Work closely with your insurance company to fully understand what you need. Contact our Team for more information.

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The Two Types Of Insurance Deductibles And What They Mean To You

Home, life and auto insurance consists of paying providers in premiums and deductibles. A premium is your monthly fee for the insurance. Without insurance, you are left to foot a huge bill for injuries, accidents and property damage if you are held liable. Premiums basically have you pay monthly so that when something serious does happen, you only pay a smaller, fixed amount of money, which is the deductible.

Deductible Title On Legal Documents

What Is An Insurance Deductible?

For those that need a better understanding of what an insurance deductible is, it is how much money that you would have to pay in the event of damage or a loss. Some examples of having to pay a deductible would be if you are responsible for causing a car accident, if you drive through somebody’s fence, etc.

You might have an insurance policy that costs 50 dollars a month, with a deductible of $500. That means you will have to pay just $500 with the rest of the expenses being paid for by the insurance company. For auto, this is to not just promote responsible driving, but to also spread the cost of damages evenly between drivers and their insurance providers.

You can buy insurance with a high or low deductible, but whatever type of deductible you get, you get a fixed premium that reflects it. If you, for instance, choose a low monthly payment or premium, the deductible goes up, meaning that you will have to pay more in the event of an accident or damaged assets. If you choose a high premium, and pay more each month for insurance, your deductible will typically be lowered. The relationship with premiums and deductibles has a teeter-totter effect to it.

When considering a high or low deductible, however, there are many factors to consider. Choosing your deductible is a pivotal personal and financial decision that should define what meets your needs the best.

Insurance plans are essentially based on risk, with both the provider and the consumer in an agreement to assume a degree of risk. Provider can have multiple insurance plans available, both that have high deductibles when an insurance claim is submitted, as well as high premiums.

The insurance plan that is best for you depends on a number of factors including your financial commitments and expected income. Before signing an insurance contract, it is important to be able to have the money available to cover deductibles, medical bills, rental cars, co-payments, and/or anything else.

High Deductible

High deductibles are more favorable to consumers thanks to the low monthly payments. Paying for a higher deductible might be worth it for people that avoid having to drive long distances and in high-traffic areas. High deductibles are also worth it for people that have the cash saved up in case of such an event.

Will the money that you save with a low monthly fee be worth the higher risk with a high deductible? High deductible are worth it for people who want to be rewarded for driving safely and have money on reserve in the event of an accident or damaged assets.

Low Deductible

Some people decide that it is worth it to pay more in premiums per month and get a lower deductible in return. If an accident or anything were to happen to your property, you would have to pay less out-of-pocket.

Low deductibles are ideal for young drivers who are still getting used to driving or are driving rather reckless. Low deductibles are also better for repeat offenders. People who drive recklessly are more likely to get into an accident than people who drive safely, so having an insurance plan with a low deductible will be the better of the two choices.

Choosing Between High And Low Deductibles

If you are still contemplating high and low deductibles, you should consider your current financial situation as well as your driving record to determine what sort of insurance plan you should go with. If your driving record is spotless and have been driving for longer than ten years, there is a chance that you can lower your deductible without raising your monthly premiums. When reviewing insurance policies, you should come across choices in deductibles such as 250, 500, 1,000 and 1,500 dollars. If you’ve never had an accident, it makes sense for you to choose a high deductible. Otherwise, you likely want a low deductible if there are a few blemishes on your driving record.

Conclusion

Both types of deductibles can be good to have, and we do not consider one to be better than the other. Both types of deductibles can be seen as advantageous depending on financial situations, security and driving habits, and the needs of either vary depending on the customer.  If you have questions about deductibles or any of your insurance plans, contact our team at Bieritz Insurance for an appointment.  We will be happy to provide the information and options you require for the best plan possible.

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Don’t Go There; Four Reasons You Shouldn’t Choose Online For Insurance

Are you contemplating which direction to go in regards to getting insurance? Two general options that people take are applying for insurance locally or applying online. While some insurance buyers like the convenience factor of getting their insurance online, that is usually where the advantages end with online companies. Online insurance companies tend to be mainstream corporations that look to reach far and wide for as many customers as possible, whereas a local insurance company only works to cater to people who live around their area. 

If possible, we suggest to skip the online route and get your insurance from a local provider, and here are four reasons why.

You’ll Have To Make The Tough Decisions On Your Own

With a local insurance company, in order to find the best policy for you, you only have to talk to your agent and tell them about your situation. Well all know how to talk to people, so that is usually all it takes to find the best policy. While talking with an agent can take some time, talking with an agent is not known to be directionless and painstaking like applying for insurance online.

Menus, forms, articles, all sorts of web pages are things that you need to read, review, navigate through and fill out, and that doesn’t even include all the policy options that are available to you. You’re left to apply for insurance on your own with limited help available to you.

Any Person You Talk To Would Require Dialing A 1-800 Number

1-800 numbers are not as dreadful as they seem, but people often find it a nuisance to have to call the number, listen to an automated system and then wait for what seems like a long period of time before they have the chance to talk to a human being about their insurance. It will instantly remind you of customer service for any given mainstream corporation, and you shouldn’t have to experience this if you don’t need to.

When you have questions or problems arise, you would like to have a person talk to you, and to be available once you dial their number. With a local insurance agent, it is great to have this advantage, as if you were dialing a friend. That isn’t to say that they might not be available to respond to your calls all the time, but still having the agent’s number is a big decisive factor for many to choose local insurance over online insurance.

You Are Your Own Insurance Guru

Not everybody picks up on insurance at a rapid pace, but thanks to insurance agents, we don’t need to. With a local agent, you are able to talk and interact with a person who lives and works around you. This person known the ins and outs about insurance and are often hired as a guide to help a person or family find what is best for them.

With an online insurance company, you don’t have this. There is no agent available to help you choose the right plan or policy, which means you need to spend some time researching which insurance plan would be the best option for you. And even then, you could still have some doubts about whether or not the plan is something to pursue.

Alternatively, you can call the 1-800 number to get advice from a representative of that online company, but because you don’t have an assigned agent like you would locally, you will get paired with somebody different every time you call the 1-800 number. There are instances where the representative that you are matches with can be super helpful with you, and you wish that you can call that person every time you need help, but you can feel the same way all the time by opting to talk to a local insurance agent.

You Don’t Have A Human To Interact With In The Event Of Damage Or Disaster

Lost or damaged property means that you will need a claim to get filed. If you have local insurance, your agent can likely file your claim for you. If you have online insurance, you will need to file it on your own. This is important for a couple of reasons.

During a time of stress, having a trusted person to talk to is very important. Hearing a familiar voice talking to you, whether in person or on the phone should be very comforting and satisfying in a possible time of need.  But not only can a local insurance agent be good to talk to amid an unfortunate event, but they can file your claim so that you don’t have to. With your mind of many other things, you won’t have to worry about doing the paperwork. Just tell them what happened in detail, and he or she will handle the claim from there.

It’s great to have somebody in your own community to turn to, which is why local insurance is oftentimes the better choice over online insurance. Give us a call today and our team will be happy to review your options with you!

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Umbrella Policies: What You Need to Know About This Clever Insurance Plan

The umbrella is known to be a reliable means of protection from hazardous weather, so it’s only fitting that there’s a useful policy named after it: The umbrella policy. You likely know the basic policies like auto insurance and homeowner’s insurance. Most customers know what they do, which is why they are the most sought-after. 

An umbrella policy is not as popular as auto or homeowner’s insurance, but it can still be a very prolific policy to have should you choose to pursue it.

What is an umbrella policy?

An umbrella policy covers you in situations where you might be held accountable for bodily harm or property damage to somebody else. Umbrella policies also offer coverage for losses that may not be covered by your typical homeowner’s insurance policy. This policy gets its name due to having higher levels of protection than your typical car and home insurance.

Insurance companies will tend to bundle umbrella policies with other auto and home coverage. An umbrella policy will typically add an extra one million or more dollars of liability insurance in addition to basic home and auto insurance at the cost of a few hundred more per year. Multiple policy discounts can also come into effect with the addition of an umbrella policy, so you could pay less to get a bundle than if you bought each policy on their own. 

A neat trick that insurance companies will also often recommend is to raise your deductibles on homeowners and auto policies and dedicate the money you save from premiums to pay for the umbrella policy.

When will an umbrella policy come into effect?

Liability insurance under homeowners and auto policies pay for expenses that you would otherwise need to pay out of your own pocket. The person who suffers a loss or an injury needs expenses to recover and would likely also want to receive their lost wages from missed work. 

The policyholder that caused harm to the person would be responsible for paying all of this, but this liability insurance would be able to cover it all so that you do not have to lose money or assets yourself. Liability insurance is also good for paying for court and defense attorney fees amidst a lawsuit or claim against you.

The likelihood of a driver, car owner, homeowner or boat operator to be considered responsible for the injury of another person or damage to their property is frequent. These people can also be held accountable for personal injury, which isn’t like bodily injury, but includes psychological trauma such as “grief” and “suffering.”

What is covered under an umbrella policy?

The “umbrella” serves as a security blanket that protects you from having to take money from your savings account or having to sell some of your assets in order to pay a claim or judgment. This policy can keep your personal, home and business assets from being taken by a claimant. 

For example, if a storm blows over a tree in your yard and it damages your neighbor’s car, this is one incident that can cause a financial loss. If your property happens to damage other property or injure another person, and it is beyond your control, that is considered an accident that can be covered with an umbrella policy.

Many policies, including the umbrella policy, have a list of incidents that they do not cover. These instances include malpractice lawsuits, workers compensation claims, damage that you intentionally caused (such as vandalism of other people’s property) or damage caused by a business (such as your business producing harmful toxins that harm people and the environment).

Who is an umbrella policy for?

Many homeowners, especially those that often participate in community affairs, should recommend getting an umbrella policy. When working for religious, civic, and even charitable organizations, there is always that chance that you could end up being subject to claims, conflicts, and even legal action. You still need to defend yourself, even if the court throws out a lawsuit against you. What umbrella liability coverage does, however, is to cover the costs of court and attorney fees, no matter if you are found liable or not. 

Getting sued is a very costly and unfortunate circumstance for you, even if it turns out you did nothing wrong. Whereas homeowner’s insurance will not be able to cover attorney and court fees, an umbrella policy will.

Should I consider getting an umbrella policy?

There are two factors that should influence your decision on whether or not to get an umbrella policy: The value of your assets and the likelihood that you might get sued. 

As an umbrella policy is meant to protect your money and assets from lawsuits, you should consider getting one if you do not wish to lose those assets. It is said that an umbrella policy is good for anyone that has more assets than they possess in liability coverage from their basic insurance policies.

If you also drive on the road or have guests over often, the odds of being involved in an auto accident or having an injury or property damage becomes greater. If either or both of these circumstances apply to you, then you would be a good candidate for an umbrella policy.

If you have any questions about whether an umbrella policy is right for you, just contact our team at Bieritz Insurance and we will be happy to assist you!

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Insuring Your New Home Purchase

Homeowners insurance isn’t optional. If disaster strikes, without homeowners insurance you could be in severe financial trouble. In short, you don’t want to buy a house if you don’t plan on getting it protected from damage. But how exactly does homeowners insurance work and what should you look for when purchasing a new home that may raise your rates? Here are some things you need to know before finding a place to settle down.

Basic Facts About Homeowners Insurance

Homeowners insurance can seem a little daunting, but it’s actually pretty simple. These are the main things that homeowners insurance covers for you.

It helps you repair your home and other structures on your property

If your house is damaged or destroyed by, say, a fire or a hurricane, homeowners insurance will help you cover the cost of reconstruction, so you don’t have to break the bank trying to pay out of pocket. Also, homeowners insurance covers any structures you have on your property such as sheds, pools, swings, tree-houses, decks, lawns, etc. This way you can rest easy knowing that not only your house but features around it are protected in case of a disaster.

It helps you replace personal belongings

Most homeowner insurance policies not only cover your house but your personal belongings as well, such as furniture, TVs, jewelry, pretty much anything of monetary worth. Also, homeowners insurance doesn’t just cover valuable items from destruction in your house, but even outside your home. This means that if you lose a necklace in a hotel or the airport loses your luggage, your as protected as you would be if something was destroyed in your home.

It protects against liability

Homeowners insurance even covers some things you may not have thought of, but are just as important. For example, if someone gets hurt on your property–maybe your dog bites them, or they burn themselves on your stove, homeowners insurance can take care of any legal fees and medical expenses. Even if you accidentally hurt somebody away from your house, you’re still protected. 

 

What Homeowners Insurance May not Automatically Cover

While there is a list of things that nearly all homeowner insurance policies cover, such as fires, thefts, hail, pipe bursts, explosions, and lighting, here are some things that most plans don’t cover.

Floods and earthquakes

When people buy homeowners insurance, many take it as a given that damage from earthquakes and floods will be included in the policy. However, most plans don’t actually cover these natural disasters automatically. If you want them covered, you may need a separate policy. Also, depending on whether or not you live in a hurricane-prone location, your insurance may not cover hurricanes unless you specifically request that it be included, and then you will have to pay extra.

Gradual wear and tear

Insurance is designed more for sudden, unpredictable, large-scale disasters. That doesn’t include wear and tear that occurs over long periods of time such as damage from mold or termites. If you want to protect against things like this, make sure to pay attention to the general upkeep of your house.

Government action

If for any reason the government seizes your land or your property, homeowners insurance, unfortunately, won’t cover any expenses which may result.

 

What to Look for When Buying a New Home

Now that we’ve covered what homeowners insurance is, what it includes and what it doesn’t, here are some things which will impact the cost of your insurance that you should pay attention to when buying a new home.

What your home would cost to rebuild

Insurance agents are going to pay close attention to the age of your house and what it would cost to rebuild if it were to be destroyed. You should too. If your home is especially expensive to restore, it will probably mean you will be paying higher rates on your insurance policy. A particular house may catch your eye, but if it’s too costly to insure, it may not be worth the investment.

History of claims in your neighborhood

Another thing insurance agencies look for when creating your rates is how many claims are made in the area around your house. Since insurance companies naturally want to make as few payouts as possible, if your houses neighborhood is known for a high frequency of claims, it is going to show on your bill.

Things in or around your house which may be a risk

If your house has anything that may pose a risk of injury like a swing set or pool, your rate for coverage may go up. Since these things can be liabilities, insurance companies will often try to counteract them with higher premiums. 

 

New homeowners have enough to worry about apart from insurance, however as anyone will tell you, it is not something that can be ignored. Fortunately, it’s not as complicated as it may seem. For more information, a quote, or to purchase insurance, contact our team at Bieritz Insurance.   

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Insurance Terms Explained: Actual Cash Value VS Replacement Cost

It always pays to have insurance — that’s common knowledge. Yet sometimes trying to cut through the terminology and jargon can prove difficult. When shopping for insurance or preparing to file a claim, you may find that you need a little guidance on what some of these terms mean; such is the case with the terms Actual Cash Value, or ACV and Replacement Cost.

In some instances, a policy with one of these could pay significantly less on your claims than the other — it literally pays to know the difference. How can you know which? First you need to understand what the terms mean.

Defining the terms

In the simplest terms, Actual Cash Value refers to the monetary value of an item. Keep in mind that this takes into account depreciation. For example, a vehicle purchased five years ago will have a lower ACV now than when you first bought it.

Replacement Cost refers to the cost of replacing damaged property with a replacement used for the same purpose and made of similar material and of comparable quality.

A real world example of ACV

Let’s return to the aforementioned vehicle purchased five years ago. In this example you have taken great care of your vehicle, but it has still sustained minor scratches in the paint. It would not be unreasonable to assume that you have driven roughly 60,000 miles in those five years. So if that vehicle sustained damage requiring a replacement, your insurance company would not compensate for the price of the vehicle when purchased. Rather they would consider the vehicle’s current worth, or ACV.

How insurance carriers calculate Actual Cash Value varies from company to company, and these calculations often get incredibly detailed and complex. For this example, however, the insurance company would subtract the depreciation from the replacement cost to assess the Actual Cash Value. The level of depreciation itself can involve a complicated calculation involving an estimate of the length of time property would remain useful, and how long it had been used.

In most cases, this calculation is much more complex, but this example provides a useful summary of ACV and explanation of how insurance companies arrive at that figure.

An example of Replacement Cost

Most people find Replacement Cost a bit easier to understand — largely because it’s more straightforward. It simply refers to the expense of replacing damaged property based on current costs. In the case of the damaged vehicle, Replacement Cost would refer to the amount of money necessary to provide a comparable replacement. This doesn’t mean that an exact duplicate of the damaged vehicle, but a similar vehicle of comparable quality.

Actual Cash Value VS Replacement Cost

One the surface, these two seem incredibly similar — and they are. The only significant difference between them lies in the deduction of value based on depreciation. Otherwise, both terms refer to the cost of replacing destroyed or damaged property with new property.

In practice however, ACV might not help as much. In our vehicle example, the calculation for Actual Cash Value might not take into consideration the rising cost of vehicles. You might find it difficult to replace your totaled vehicle with one of comparable quality with ACV.

As another example, consider if you lost your house because of fire. The Actual Cash Value may not provide enough money to purchase a house in the current market, especially if property values have risen in your area.

Replacement Cost, however, addresses the real life cost of replacing your property. In the case of the vehicle, it would adjust for higher vehicle prices. In the example of the house lost to fire, it would allow you to rebuild your home based on the current costs of materials and labor.

ACV or Replacement Cost

For most property owners, an insurance policy that covers Replacement Cost offers a much safer option. Because of the reasons stated above, these policies will go a lot further to replace your property than those that cover Actual Cash Value.

This comes with a few caveats. Often policies with Replacement Cost coverage will have higher premiums than policies that offer Actual Cash Value. Additionally, some property owners who rent out homes will opt for lower premium ACV policies, and require tenants to insure their personal possessions via renters insurance.

In most cases, insurance policies that cover Replacement Cost will offer greater security in the case of damaged or destroyed property. Although no one wants to face the challenge of replacing a vehicle, home or other property, an insurance policy that covers Replacement Cost provides the better route to getting yourself back to the life you had before the loss.

If you have any questions about insurance terminology and what the factors can impact your rates, our team is happy to provide you with some guidance!  You can Contact Us at your convenience.  For additional information on insurance terms, visit our website page here: Insurance Terms & Definitions.

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Understanding Collision Coverage and How to Decide If You Need It

collision coverage

Auto insurance is a necessity in some states and can be extremely beneficial in specific circumstances. With that said, every driver has different needs, so finding the right coverage is necessary to ensure you are protected financially, but at the same time you’re not overpaying for coverage you don’t need. If you drive an older model car, it can be tempting to drop your collision coverage to save money. Find out if you should consider dropping collision on your auto insurance.  

 

Understanding the Types of Insurance

There are several types of insurance with each intended to address different needs. Some states require drivers to carry specific types of auto insurance coverage. After you have whatever policies you are required to carry, you can adjust the other coverage you choose to have.

Liability

Liability coverage pays for damage to other vehicles, people and property you caused while behind the wheel. For example, liability coverage could pay the medical or repair bills if you hit a pedestrian, another vehicle or a mailbox. Most states require drivers to carry liability coverage at a minimum.

Collision

Auto collision coverage pays to repair or replace your vehicle if it is damaged in an accident. Your collision coverage will pay the repair bills for damage to your vehicle if you caused the accident. If other drivers are involved and their vehicles are damaged, those repair costs fall under your liability insurance. If another driver hit your vehicle and that individual is found at fault, then their insurance policy would cover the cost to repair your vehicle.

Comprehensive

Many auto insurance policies also offer comprehensive coverage. This is coverage designed to cover damage caused by something other than an auto accident. Vandalism, hail or a tree branch landing on your vehicle are the sorts of things covered by comprehensive coverage.

Premiums and Deductibles

Any discussion about auto insurance needs to address premiums and deductibles. A premium is the bill you pay just to have insurance coverage. A deductible is the amount of a claim you are responsible to pay. Once you pay the deductible, your insurance policy will cover the balance. For example, if you cause an accident that results in a $500 repair bill and you have a $250 deductible, you pay your deductible and then your insurance provider will pay the remaining amount.


Finding the Value in Collision Coverage

Collision coverage may not be worth it for you; although, going without may not be a good idea either. A couple factors can help guide you when deciding whether or not to carry collision coverage: your savings and your vehicle. Dropping collision coverage means you need to foot the bill if your vehicle is damaged or be willing to take the loss.

Pay for Repairs

If you have enough of a savings and can afford to make repairs to your vehicle then you may not need collision. This may be an easier decision for owners of older vehicles, because older cars are usually less expensive to repair. Opting for used parts can be a great way to keep costs down and keep repair work in an affordable range.

Cut Your Losses

Collision may be an unnecessary expense for older vehicles with a low value. If the cost to make repairs is greater than the value of the vehicle, most insurance companies will not pay for the repair work. When selecting coverage for an older vehicle with a diminished value, pay attention to how much coverage you choose and consider if it is even worthwhile to have coverage.

Dropping collision coverage can be a great way to save money. This can be particularly helpful if you plan to purchase a new car in the near future. You can use that money saved on collision to put towards your new vehicle.

Other Options

You do have other options if you’re not comfortable completely dropping your collision coverage. You can always adjust your deductible. Deductibles and premiums tend to balance each other out. Opting for a high deductible will decrease your premium, but going with a lower deductible will increase your premium.

You can choose to go with a lower premium which will save you money throughout the year. However, a low premium means a high deductible. If you tend to not have accidents, this can be a good plan to ensure you still have coverage, but you’re not paying a lot. When ever you go with a higher deductible you need to be prepared to cover that cost if you should have an accident.

Finding the Right Fit

Dropping your collision auto insurance can save money. There are a number of reasons why it may make sense to drop your collision coverage. Typically, this is only a good idea for safe drivers of older model vehicles, but each case is different. When you understand your needs and circumstances you can determine what coverage makes the most sense for you and go from there.  If you have questions about your auto policy, contact our team at Bieritz Insurance and we will be happy to assist you!

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8 Factors That Can Impact Your Life Insurance Coverage

When you are looking to protect yourself and your family, you need to consider life insurance. Life insurance is the financial security net that helps your family get through a rough time. But, when shopping for life insurance coverage there are several factors that can impact your premiums. These factors can include your age and gender. A carrier will also take into consideration not only your health history but your family’s. The carrier may also look at what you do for your career and your hobbies. Your choice in your insurance coverage also affects your premium.

Age

Life insurance coverage relies heavily on the age of the applicant. If you apply for life insurance when you are younger, the cost of the premium is lower. The older you get, the more costly the life insurance becomes because the possibility of health risks increases. Many investors suggest purchasing life insurance for your children when they are small. The lowest cost for life insurance is shortly after birth.

Gender

Another factor is your gender. If you are a female, you have an advantage. A life insurance policy will cost less for a female because studies show that females have a longer life expectancy. With a longer life, females can pay the insurance premiums for a longer period of time. So if a female pays less for life insurance that means that a man will pay higher life insurance premiums. Since a man has a shorter life expectancy, a man will not pay the premiums for as long a period of time as a woman.

Your Health History

When completing the life insurance application, you will need to answer several questions about your health. The insurance carriers are looking for health conditions that could affect your life. These health conditions may include:

  • Heart disease
  • Diabetes
  • High blood pressure
  • Cancer
  • Cholesterol
  • Body metrics and body mass index

When applying for life insurance, the carrier may also require you to have a medical exam. This exam may include blood work and other lab work to make sure everything is in the normal ranges. The medical exam may also provide insight into possible health problems that may occur later on. Your health history does affect your life insurance premiums. The fewer the serious health conditions you have the lower your premiums are likely to be.

Family Health History

Even if you currently do not have any medical conditions, your family health history can provide information on possible health problems that are hereditary. If your family has a history of high blood pressure, you have a higher risk for heart disease. This family health blueprint helps the insurance companies understand the possible health issues that can arise later in life and charge the life insurance premiums accordingly.

Smoking

Insurance carriers will charge a smoker a higher premium because of the additional health risks. If you smoke, you put yourself at risk for lung disease and cancer. These are serious health conditions that may not occur if you did not smoke.

If you were a former smoker, your premiums may still remain high depending upon when you quit. If you recently quit, the carrier may not accept your status as a non-smoker. You may not start seeing a decrease in the premiums until you hit several years of being tobacco free.

Hobbies

Another aspect that insurance companies look at is the hobbies you have. You can have a potentially higher premium if you have hobbies like rock or mountain climbing, skydiving, deep sea diving, flying a plane or racing a car. The higher the risk in the hobby causes the higher premium. The definition of high risk activities may vary by carrier, so you may want to get multiple quotes.

Career Choice

It is not uncommon for your career choice to play a role in the insurance premiums. If you have a career that is high risk, your premiums are higher. These high risk careers may include:

  • Racecar driver
  • Pilot
  • Iron worker
  • Police officer
  • Firefighter
  • Highway construction worker
  • Drivers
  • Stunt person

These careers have a higher possibility of injury so the premiums on the insured are going to be high.

Insurance Coverage

The coverage you choose will also impact the cost of the coverage. If you choose a policy with a higher value, the effect is an increase in the premium. The direct relationship between the policy value and premium occurs because the more coverage you want the higher the premium. So if you need to control the insurance costs, you should look for a smaller value to reduce the premiums.

No matter what life insurance policy you choose, make sure you get multiple quotes to ensure you are getting the most for your money. Contact our team at Bieritz Insurance for a free quote. We work with many companies in order to find you the right coverage to meet your needs at the right cost.

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How much life insurance is enough?

How much life insurance is enough?

Life insurance might be unpleasant to think about, but it can be devastating to ignore. If there are people who depend on you economically, you owe it to them to prepare for their financial futures in case you die before you’re able to take care of them yourself. Most people already know that they need some life insurance, how much is the appropriate amount? Though there’s no exact number we can give you, considering the proper amount is different for everyone depending on their financial situations, however, here are some general rules you should consider when choosing the policy that’s right for you.

What are Your Expenses?

Before buying life insurance, first, you need to figure out what your policy is going to need to cover should you pass away untimely. Keep these costs in mind when researching life insurance.

Debt

How much debt do you owe? The last thing you want is for your dependents to be left with your financial burden after they’ve already lost the income you produce. Therefore, make sure that your policy can satisfy any debt still pending.

Mortgage

Calculate how much money it would take to pay off the mortgage on your house and add that amount to your financial obligations.  

Education

Do you have children whom you would like to send to college? Make sure you still can even if you’re no longer alive to personally see it through by adding roughly 100,000 dollars per child to your policy, covering all educational expenses.

Daily Expenses

Aside from the significant expenses listed above, you cannot forget about the day-to-day cost of living. Food, car insurance, doctor visits, utilities, taxes, etc. Though they may not seem like a mountainous burden and do not need to be paid off all at once, the daily expenses of your loved ones must not go ignored.    

Miscellaneous

Nobody knows your financial situation as well as you do, so think carefully about any other expenses your family may be left with in the case of your passing. For example, if you are a stay-at-home parent, then add to your policy the cost of child care services. What about funeral expenses? Does one of your dependents have a serious medical condition that may lead to costly hospital bills? Whatever variables exist in your life, you need to discern the price and make sure your policy can account for it.  

Finding the Best Policy

What are the Costs?

Though there is no way to find the perfect amount of life insurance you need down to the penny, this guide should get you as close as possible. First, add of your annual salary and multiply it by ten. Then add any mortgage, debt, or educational expenses. This should be enough for whatever your loved ones require to live in comfort without any extreme financial burdens.

What Assets do You Already Have?

After you’ve calculated how much your dependents need, subtract from that amount any liquid assets such as existing life insurance plans, savings, amount already invested in college funds, etc., so you are not paying more than necessary.

Term Policies Versus Whole Policies

Term Policies

Since our lives are changing continually—you could move to another state, get another job, have a new baby, etc.—it may be a good idea to get multiple, smaller ‘term’ life policies rather than a single ‘whole’ policy, that way you could save money while getting the same amount of coverage. For example, instead of buying one plan for all of your dependents that lasts forever, you can buy one 30-year terms policy to protect your spouse until your retirement, and a 20-year term policy for your children until they are ready to graduate from college. Term policies are useful, especially for younger people, recently married, with small children, because they are meant to cover your dependents in case you die before their financial needs are met, meaning you can spend less while still getting the security you need.

Whole Policies

Then, once you outlive your term policies, you can turn them into whole policies which grow in value with time and are tax-deferred. Whole policies are single, general needs policies usually meant to cover funeral expenses and estate taxes. You may even be able to earn annual dividends on your whole life insurance policy; money that can be reinvested or taken as a tax surplus. Therefore, whole life insurance policies can almost be thought of as an investment.

Knowing the differences between term policies and whole policies can be the difference between you paying much more than you should, and you spending precisely what you need to protect your family and invest in the future.            

Life insurance is not only painful to think about, but it can be somewhat confusing as well. Fortunately, it’s not as difficult as it seems, and hopefully, this article was able to provide you with some insight into this critically important topic.    If you would like any additional information, please contact our team at Bieritz Insurance Agency at (607) 547-2951.

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Why Being Involved with the Local Community is Good Business

When it comes to forming and building a business, there are many things that you should take into consideration. While being online and participating in social media is important, interacting with people in person is still a great marketing move and can take things above and beyond. Being involved in your local community is not only a good business move, it can also be fun and enjoyable for you and your employees. It’s a great way to get the word out about your business and can lead to many great benefits.

Why your business should be involved in your community

– It shows you care

No matter how much you profess that your company cares about your community, actions still speak louder than words. When you get involved in your community, you are showing your community that you care about them. This will help you see what issues your community is facing and evaluate how you can help. Not only can you see where the problems are, you can also participate in the good things as well.

– Increased brand awareness

Brand awareness is essential for building your business. You want people to know who you are and why you are an expert in your field. Being out and involved with your community will do wonders for your brand awareness. It shows your potential customers that you care about what happens in the world around you. Not only that, but it provides great material for your social media accounts or your blog. When you run or participate in local events, it’s a great opportunity to highlight this on your social media outlets and your blog. This will add an additional level to your posts and allow you to connect with your followers on a more personal level.

– Grow your relationships with other businesses

Networking is imperative for building your business. Not only is this important for building your customer base, it’s also great for building relationships with other businesses. Get out in your local community and meet fellow business owners, even competitors. It’s also a good idea to join your local chamber of commerce and actually go to the monthly meetings. When you put yourself out there and network, you can find other businesses that you may be able to exchange ideas or even partner with.

– It improves relationships with and between your employees

Team building is very important to getting your team to work well together. When you get involved with your community and work together to make things better, it can really bring your team together as well. This gives your employees an opportunity to work together, but be in a more relaxed environment outside of work. This can be a lot of fun for everyone involved, depending on the activity that you choose.

– Happy employees stay longer

It can also help with employee retention. When you get involved in the local community, your employees may feel more positively toward your company as well and be proud to work for you. The ability to make a positive difference helps employees to be happier at their jobs. It also helps gain more skills than they may gain from their daily jobs, such as improved communication and better leadership.

– Set your business apart from the competition

Getting involved in your local community is a great way to set your business apart from the competition. This is especially true if your competing businesses are not involved in the community. Not only will this keep you top of mind to your potential customers, it will also paint your business in a positive light. You’re likely to attract more customers when you show that you care about the community.

– Actively participate in your social media outlets

Social media is another great way to interact with your customers. You can specifically reach out to those in your community, whether it be online or physically local. With so many people participating in social media, you’re sure to hit on many potential customers. This also allows you to be able to respond quickly to customer feedback. Make sure to do this within 24 hours, whether it is positive or negative. There is no excuse for ignoring people who try to interact with you on social media. You need to make sure to monitor these accounts closely or people may become alienated if you don’t respond.

Being actively involved in your local community has many benefits for you, your employees and your business. By doing it correctly, you can really feel good about your business as you’re building it. At Bieritz Insurance, we have a proud tradition of community involvement. It’s a cornerstone of our business philosophy. Look for us around town and make sure to stop by when you see us!

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Buying Snowmobile Insurance: What to Know

Buying Snowmobile Insurance: What to Know
Winter is here and, in New York, you can be reasonably sure of one thing: Snow.  And lots of it.  If you’re like many people, you’ve come to love the snow and all the fun that winter has to offer.  But, you also know that winter is only fun if you’re prepared. This goes for something simple, like bundling up to go outside to take a walk or play a game.  And it goes for more important things like owning and operating a snowmobile.  One of the most important things you can do to get your snowmobile prepared is to make sure you have insurance.

Insurance is Mandatory

Did you know that, in New York, snowmobile insurance isn’t just a good idea — it’s the law? That’s right. State law requires anyone operating a snowmobile on public lands, or even crossing a public road, to have a minimum amount of insurance — $25,000 liability coverage for accidents involving one person, $50,000 for accidents involving two or more persons, and $10,000 for property damage. Keep in mind, though, that’s the minimum.  It’s always a good idea to look at options above and beyond the minimum.  With snowmobile insurance, many times, it’s at no additional cost.  Because, as you know, it doesn’t take long for the cost of damages to add up to over $10,000. Just like with auto insurance, there are plenty of other options available and it might be a good idea to consider some of those other options, just to keep you safe from future financial troubles.

Insuring Year-Round

One of the big questions that snowmobile owners ask is whether or not they should insure their snowmobile for the entire year. At first, this question makes sense, doesn’t it? I mean, if you’re only going to get a few of months use out of the snowmobile, why bother insuring it for the entire year and paying all that extra money?  Well, there are two very good reasons for considering a year-round insurance purchase.

1) It’s Not as Expensive as You Think.

The biggest objection people have to year-round insurance is the cost. Who wants to pay for months of insurance when the snowmobile is tucked under a tarp, not being used? The difference in cost is not as great as you might think. That’s because insurers figure into the rates the time that snowmobiles are not in use.  Liability only policies can cost as little as $50 a year!  And cancelling the coverage will not result in a refund. In addition, many insurers are more willing to “lock in” better rates when you have year-round coverage. When you constantly cancel and re-write a policy, you might find yourself having to pay more than if you had just kept steady coverage.

2) Damage Can Still Happen in Storage

While you might think that insurance is simply unnecessary when your snowmobile is tucked away, keep in mind that insurance isn’t just about liability.  Just because it’s not winter doesn’t mean your property is out of harm’s way. A good, comprehensive insurance policy will also protect your snowmobile from damage  that can happen even when there’s no snow on the ground!  These incidents can include things like weather damage, fire or theft — all of which can leave you out of luck if you’re not properly covered during the off-season. And when you put these two reasons together, you’ll see that year-round coverage is worth it, no matter the season.

Other Things to Consider

When deciding on a policy, there are several factors to consider that will help determine the amount of coverage you get. For example: What Is Your History? Just like auto insurance, your driving history affects your cost.  If you have a clean record, then you can expect to pay less. It’s as simple as that.  So, drive safely out there! If you would like to know more about snowmobile insurance and what coverage is available to you , please don’t hesitate to contact us today. We are happy to provide you with some guidance along with a free quote!
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Is December the Best Time to Buy a New Car?

For many people, shopping for a new car is a process. Because this is a massive purchase that will last for many years, it’s imperative that you find the perfect vehicle for your needs. However, if you’re not too savvy, then how can you be sure that you’re going to get a great deal?

Fortunately, automakers and dealerships are always adding incentives to help move their stock and get people into their vehicles. Thus, if you know the best time of the year to buy a car, you could wind up saving big time as a result.

So, with that in mind, here are the best times to buy a new car.

During a Sale

It may seem obvious, but the fact is that more than a few people miss out because they don’t time their shopping experience with a dealership’s sale. Even if one isn’t happening right now, that doesn’t mean that there won’t be one later on in the year. Most dealerships have quotas that they need to fill, meaning that sales are always around the corner.

At the End of the Month

Although there are particular times of the year when buying a new car is best (more on that in a bit), if you’re going to buy one during the peak season, you want to avoid the beginning of the month.

As we mentioned, dealerships typically have quotas, which means that at the end of the month they are more motivated to sell a car than at the beginning. Thus, if you wait a couple of weeks and pick your time right, you could wind up with a lower price tag or bonus incentives to get you behind the wheel.

The Holiday Season

Usually, auto manufacturers announce their upcoming lineup in September. That means that dealerships have to be aggressive to move their inventory to make room for all of the latest makes and models.

Between October and December is an excellent time to buy a car because you can usually save a lot on this year’s models. Also, this is often when dealerships start offering their year-end sales, which makes it even more enticing for the average buyer.

Although all three months are great for car buying, December is usually the best. Here’s why.

Christmas Savings – because everyone is shopping around this time, dealerships know to take advantage as much as possible. Thus, they will offer more discounts or incentives, particularly for peak shopping days, such as Black Friday.

Slower Traffic – usually, people want to buy a new car in the Spring and Summer months because it’s much nicer out. However, that means that you have to compete with everyone else to ensure that you get the best deal. During December, however, that foot traffic slows down, which enables you to get more personalized attention. Usually, having more one-on-one time, coupled with lower sales numbers means that you can get a better sales experience.

New Year’s Eve – once the calendar year has finished, that’s it for quotas and sales counts. Thus, the closer you wait until the end of the year, the better the deals can get. Motivated salespeople are going to offer greater incentives, so being patient can pay off substantially.

Other Considerations When Buying a Car

Although picking the best time of year to find a new vehicle is an excellent way to save money, that shouldn’t be your only concern. As we mentioned, buying a car is a process, and you want to make sure that you take as much care with your purchase as possible.  Thus, keep these factors in mind as well.

Current Vehicle

What is the state of your car right now? Does it have a few good years left, or is it hanging by a thread? If it’s the latter situation, then you’ll have to be a bit more aggressive in your search, since you don’t want to be stuck with a lemon and have to buy something right away.

Trade-In Value

If your current vehicle is in excellent condition, then what can you get for it? Be careful to consider how much you may owe on the car, especially if it’s more than it’s worth (in this case, it’s upside down).  A great way to check on this is to run your make and model through a car evaluation site like Kelly Blue Book. Also, talk to dealerships about any trade-in offers they may have. Some places may have better incentives than others, so don’t be afraid to shop around.

Insurance

As you already know, buying a car is not a one-time purchase. No, we’re not referring to making monthly payments (although that is a consideration). Instead, we’re talking about all of the other costs and expenses that come with owning a vehicle.  Insurance rates should be a factor when buying a new car. In fact, you should talk with your insurance agent first to get their input on what will be the best for your premiums. Some makes and models are better than others, so you want to make sure that your rates aren’t going to increase as a result.

Contact Bieritz Insurance

If you’re ready to buy a new car, contact us today, and we can help you find a model that will keep your rates low. We know that the experience can be exciting, but it’s crucial to do your due diligence first so that you can be proud of your purchase. We’re here to help!

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Why Business Insurance is Important

If you own a business, the thought of a lawsuit threatening your company or an accident destroying your property will most likely fill you with a sense of dread. If you are not insured in the event of a business calamity, this sense of dread is warranted. Most people who are not insured find it difficult to conceptualize a future where their livelihood is at stake, since the threat feels so distant, so improbable. However, if your business is in danger of a liability claim, impeded by a natural disaster, or losing income after an unexpected setback, having the right insurance can be the difference between remaining unscathed and financially secure or closing your doors for good.

Here are some things you should keep in mind when choosing your insurance policy and protecting yourself from an unpredictable world.

Getting Started.

Keeping your business afloat can be difficult enough as it is, and just one unexpected financial crisis can be all it takes to bring you down. Insuring your business should be one of your top priorities. The first thing you should consider are the types of policies your specific business might need. For example:

    • If you own a landscaping business, look into attaining an extended business income provision policy. If your equipment fails or you lose workers and need a certain amount of time to get everything back in order, this policy will cover the income you will have lost while your work was halted. Also, since landscapers often use herbicides and pesticides, there is a chance that something may go wrong when using these chemicals. Herbicide and pesticide insurance will cover you for any costs that may arise, like property damage or pollution.
    • Real estate businesses may need commercial auto insurance if an employee has an accident while driving for work. Also, employment practices liability and employee benefits liability insurance will be helpful. This will protect you in case an employee makes a wrongful termination claim against your company, or your employee claims that he or she was not given the agreed-upon benefits.
  • Restaurants should get liquor liability insurance and temperature change insurance. If a customer causes an incident after consuming alcohol served by your restaurant, liquor liability insurance will cover any costs if a claim is made against your company. Furthermore, temperature change coverage will reimburse you for any lost supplies if your refrigerator malfunctions.

Remember to assess your needs and find the policy that will suit you and your business.  

What it Will do for Your Business.

Every business needs insurance. Not only will it protect you from lawsuits and ‘acts of God,’ but it will also help the day-to-day operations of your business function more easily. Having the right insurance will help you in ways you might not have expected.

    • Having insurance for your business will make your business look more professional and trustworthy. If your clients see that you’re insured, it means that they are insured, as well. If anything goes wrong with a good or service they purchase from you, they know they can be compensated. Stating that your business is insured is a great way to let potential clients know that you are serious about the work you do.
    • Having insurance is not only important, it’s actually mandatory. The law demands that businesses have certain insurance policies to protect workers. If your business has employees, you need to have workers comp, unemployment, and disability, otherwise you could be fined, charged with a crime, or have your business shut down.
    • Your business is more attractive for employees if you offer insurance benefit policies, like healthcare and disability. Finding and holding onto good employees is a major problem for business owners. Offering benefit programs that will protect them and their families in case of an emergency is a great way to encourage them to come and work for you.
  • Throughout the course of your career, your business will most likely need to sign a contract. This will probably happen more than a few times. If you’re not insured, you might not be able to actually sign the contract, especially if your business leases or rents your business resources, tries to obtain a loan to build new buildings or equipment or even gains a new client.

Insurance is not merely for the few occasions when something goes wrong, but insurance is necessary to help things go right. Having insurance will provide peace of mind so that if something does go wrong, you will know you are properly protected.  Contact us at Bieritz Insurance to learn more about a business insurance policy.  We can help guide you in obtaining the insurance you need at a cost that works for your business.  

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Hunting Risks for Landowners – What You Need to Know

This might be a little far fetched but it is wise to consider the risks when you allow someone to hunt on your property

 

As a property owner have you ever thought about allowing hunting on your land? If you have, you may not have realized the risks that comes with hunting on your property. These risks stem from accidents that can occur while others are on your property. Although it is just an accident, people may seek compensation. If the compensation is not what they expected, a lawsuit may follow. It is important that you have the right protection so you and your family are not at risk.

 

Causes for Risk

Several things can happen with other people on your land. Things may go from bad to worse when an incident happens. These incidents or risks can include the following:

  • Accidental shootings
  • All terrain vehicle (ATV) accidents
  • Falls
  • Cuts from knives or other sharp objects
  • Boating and watercraft accidents
  • Fires
  • Negligence

For example, you have a hunter on your property who just killed a deer and is cleaning the carcass when they accidentally cut themself. The hunter decides to file a lawsuit because they feel there was not enough first aid procedures or boxes on site. They also claim that they would not have cut themselves if they had a specified location to clean and prep the carcass. The hunter is claiming you are at fault for the incident. Now you have to fight this claim by hiring an attorney and possibly going to court. Now additional unexpected expenses are incurred to protect you and your property.

 

Financial Risk

The biggest financial risks for the property owner is having to pay compensation because the insurance you had was not enough or the correct type. If a hunting accident occurs on your property, your homeowner’s insurance policy may not allow for hunting on your property which in turn causes the claim not to be paid. Therefore, any legal, medical or compensation that must be paid to the injured party is now the responsibility of the property owner. These payment can be devastating to you and your family.

 

Another example of a financial risk is allowing ATVs on your property. Most automobile policies do not cover ATVs. So if you have two hunter’s on your property and they run into each while hunting, your auto policy may not cover the damage to the four wheelers. The hunters involved may look to you as the property owner to settle the damages and any medical bills.

 

Property Damage

The property damage can be significant. If a hunter is on your property and they start a fire but the fire is not out all the way your entire property is now at risk. A fire will not only cost you financially but would be devastating  because it could displace you and your family if the house is burnt down.

 

Other property damage can include hunters getting too close to the buildings on the property and accidentally shooting out the windows or hitting the building itself. Not only do you have property damage, you now have an unexpected financial cost to fix the windows or building where the bullets hit.

 

Differences in Insurance

As a property owner you have property and automobile insurance to cover your property. But that coverage may not be enough or even cover your property if you allow hunting on your land. There is a specific insurance that covers the land owner and hunters if an accident or property damage occurs from hunting. This insurance is hunting insurance.

 

When looking for hunting insurance review the following:

  • Coverage – know what is covered and what is not. Make sure the policy covers incidents with all hunting equipment like ATV’s, firearms, dogs, treestands, and boats
  • Cost – look for any hidden fees and costs like annual membership dues for a hunting club
  • Exclusions – read all exclusions carefully and ask questions. Make sure you fully understand the exclusions so you do not have unexpected issues later on

 

Minimizing Risks

Be proactive! As a property owner minimize your risks by:

  • Making sure all hunters know any and all rules you have established
  • Anyone hunting on your property must complete a hunters safety education course
  • Clearly mark your property lines so the hunters stay on your property
  • Establish emergency plans and make all hunters aware of them – review them frequently
  • Create a procedure for hunters to report maintenance problems like a broken treestand
  • Review your hunting insurance policy annually and understand any changes to the policy

 

Having hunting insurance is an important piece of security for a property owner. You hope that you will never need to use it but you have the extra protection for you and your family.

 

Contact us at http://bieritzinsurance.com/contact-us/ with any questions regarding hunting insurance or to establish a policy.

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Insurance for a High Risk Pet

How do you know if you have a high risk pet that will affect either your ability to get insurance or the cost of your current homeowners policy? Insurance companies consider certain dog breeds to be high risk because these breeds tend to be more aggressive and are therefore deemed to be more dangerous:

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Why Your College Student Needs Insurance on Their Items

It’s always an exciting time when your child graduates high school and begins a new career as a college student. Parents often face a mixture of emotions as they watch their children transition from high school to college. On one hand, your student has worked hard to graduate, and is stepping into a new life. One the other, that life is often away from the comforts and familiar faces of their hometown. Bieritz Insurance understands this is both an exciting and sometimes challenging time in the lives of both the students and the parents, and wants to help add an extra sense of security for both.

 

Once upon a time, when a child graduated high school, a graduation watch was the standard gift. As technology has advanced, this has lost its favor. Many parents gift their children a new, top-of-the-line laptop at graduation. The reason is simple – they’re useful, and required for studying and doing homework. Parents want to give their child a gift that will help them to succeed, and students love having a laptop that they can not only take from class to class, but use for leisure time when in the dorm room or with friends. For these reasons, laptops are becoming a very popular gift for college-bound students.

 

Other common gifts include cell phones, room decor, bicycles and luggage. Everyone is excited to see their students enter a new phase of life, and give the best possible gifts they can afford to help make the shift to college life a smooth transition. What is often overlooked, however, is that students come to the dorm with thousands of dollars worth of items, and the university typically doesn’t offer any sort of reimbursement for lost or stolen items on campus. While students can make a police report and hope a stolen item is returned, if an item is lost, stolen or damaged, the only recourse is to replace it. Unless it’s a manufacture defect for something under warranty, the full price of replacement will be paid by either the student or the parents.

 

What most people don’t consider is how they can protect the value of those very expensive items once the student is in the dorm room. A lost cell phone? Stolen computer? A dorm mate spills water on their electronics? After investing so much money in helping their student succeed, most parents are confused when it comes to taking the obvious step in protecting those items through insurance. It can be hard to tell what insurance would be best, or what is covered through different plans, and there’s nothing worse than paying your premiums only to find out your coverage is low or your deductibles are high. Our team at Bieritz Insurance understands that deciding on a policy can be confusing, and we can help you find the policy you need.

 

Bieritz Insurance offers private insurance policies to cover many of these expenses and protect your investment. After all, we are a family-owned and operated agency and understand your concerns. We’ve been in business for over 70 years and have received recognition for being one of the top 30 independent agencies. We hope that we can earn your trust as a customer while providing peace of mind. We’d like to take a moment to explain the different insurance policies that can help protect your college student’s belongings while they are living on-campus.

 

Homeowner’s Insurance

While most homeowners insurance will extend a portion of coverage to your student off campus, you may be surprised by how little is actually covered. Many homeowners insurance policies only extend a percentage of your limit for items in your home to off campus locations. For example, if you have a $50 thousand dollar policy, only 10 percent of that may apply. Homeowners insurance may also carry variable deductibles that could be higher than replacement value for some items that are lost, damaged or stolen.

 

Renters Insurance

Renters insurance is designed to offer coverage for items, but it also covers a lot that a dorm student might not need, such as liability for pet bites or slip and fall hazards around the building. As a dorm student, pets aren’t usually allowed and the facility upkeep is the responsibility of the University, so why pay premiums for something that you don’t need?

 

Dorm Insurance

Dorm insurance is beneficial because it insures only what you want – your belongings – and the deductibles are generally reasonable.  Dorm insurance offers an easy and relatively inexpensive way to protect the value of personal items to a higher value than your homeowner’s extension policy, while keeping deductibles low.

 

As you can see, there are many different types of insurance options available for your student. Deciding which one works the best for you depends on what your needs are. Please contact us at http://bieritzinsurance.com so that we can help you and your family pick exactly the policy that fits your budget and insurance requirements. We look forward to serving you!

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Top 5 Tips for Pool Safety This Summer

Summer. It’s the time of year when the days are long and hot. The kids are out of school and nothing seems like a better idea than hanging out around the pool with your family, hosting backyard bbq parties, and enjoying those extra hours of sunshine. It’s not surprising, then, that many homeowners turn their eyes to their own backyards to contemplate the addition of a pool to their property. Homeowners that already have a pool installed will spend time cleaning and prepping the area in anticipation of summer parties and get togethers. Whether you have a pool or are planning to install one, here are some safety tips to help you enjoy it more and worry less.

 

Safety Features Every Pool Should Have

Fences

There’s an old saying that goes : Good fences make good neighbors. In the world of private pools, good fences make, well, good pools. It’s not just a good safety feature to install a fence around your pool, it may be required depending on your state. Fences around the pool will not only help prevent a small child from falling in during a get-together, they can help protect the homeowner by preventing others from using their pool without their knowledge or permission. Pool fence codes can vary,and Bieritz Insurance Agency can help you decide what type of fence would work best for your needs and comply with any state standards. If you already have a pool fence installed, be sure to check it annually for any loose posts and schedule to have repairs done quickly.

 

Ladders, Slides and Diving Boards, Oh My!

Homeowners often overlook the accessories added to pools that make them even more fun. Ladders, slides and diving boards should also be inspected regularly to ensure they haven’t been damaged while in storage or during the last year of use. Accidents can happen anytime, and unnoticed damage to pool equipment can increase their likelihood, so be sure everything is in good working order before opening your pool. Ladders that are removable should be taken out  and stored every season for in-ground pools, and above-ground pools should have stow away ladders that can be folded and inaccessible when the pool is not in use. This will prevent any curious children from climbing the ladder and entering the pool without the homeowner knowing.

 

Pool Covers

Pool covers have moved beyond just helping to keep your pool clean when not in use, to being safety features of their own. Some pool covers are designed to hold more weight and work to prevent accidental fall ins. On the topic of keeping the pool clean, be sure to test your water regularly and treat the pool as indicated by the installer. Keeping the water clean will help limit the potential of bacteria growth within the pool, aiding in preventing rashes and other skin conditions that may be caused by untreated water. Additionally, this helps maintain the pool’s filtration system, so by keeping your pool clean you are not only being safe but protecting your investment.

 

Pool Alarms

Pool alarms are relatively new to pool safety, but they are being recognized as one of the best safety measures for your backyard pool. In fact, some local municipalities or states require their installation. There are four types of pool alarms, those that attach to doors leading to the pool, those that either float in the pool or are installed submerged, and those that can be worn on the wrist of an individual. Bieritz Insurance Agency can help you decide which would work for the local municipal codes in your area.

 

Plan Ahead

One of the best tips for pool safety is to plan ahead. Make sure that you have everything you’ll need: towels, sunblock, etc., with you when you go out to your pool. By ensuring that you don’t have to run back in you will help keep everyone safe by not leaving anyone alone in the pool. If you must go back in, make sure to not leave children unattended and bring them inside. Teach your family proper pool safety rules such as no running, horseplay, the rules of diving, and to never swim alone. Teach kids the potential dangers of drain vents in pools and caution them against playing with the filtration system of your pool. When you have that backyard BBQ, make sure to tell guests with young children you have a pool so everyone can be vigilant.

 

Bieritz Insurance Agency understands your concerns when installing or maintaining a pool on your property. We want you to be able to relax and enjoy every moment of your investment in your property and families leisure time. We hope you’ve enjoyed reading our tips to pool safety so that you can greet those long days of summer with a smile.  If you have any questions regarding your insurance needs for your pool or other summer recreational features, please feel free to contact us at our offices in Cooperstown and Morris, NY. We are happy to assist you!

 

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Do you need insurance for your Canoe or Kayak?

Most homeowners policies provide insurance coverage for a canoe or kayak (small paddle crafts valued at less than $1500) in the case of sinking, theft or damage to the craft.  If you use these at a second home, then you have to make sure they are included in your second home policy. If the value of your canoes/kayaks are over $1500, you might want to itemize them on your insurance policy along with other essential equipment like paddles and life vests.  You might also want to seek coverage to protect you in case you are responsible for an accident that causes injury or property damage. Although there is no mandatory insurance requirement in NY State for personal use of canoes or kayaks, it might be worth the cost for peace of mind.

If you are in the habit of loaning out your personal canoe or kayak or rowboat for others to use, then you might want to discuss a liability policy to provide coverage.  If you are renting or offering tours using small paddle craft, then the state will require you to provide coverage for your employees as well as customers. Often, a comprehensive watercraft insurance policy for your business will cover you for liability in case someone gets hurt as well as protection for your boats and equipment against damages, theft and loss.

If you are looking for guidance for other types of boat insurance (pontoons, small boats with engines, sailboats, jet skis, etc.), take a look through our article 5 Things to Consider When Buying Boat Insurance .

If you have an questions about insurance for your small crafts, you can contact us at our offices in Cooperstown and Morris, NY.  We are happy to assist you!

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Life Insurance: Term vs. Whole

Life Insurance: Term vs. WholeLife insurance isn’t a sexy topic, but at some point, it is one that most people have to think about.  The question of what happens to your family in the event of your death is an important one to consider.  This comes about sometimes after significant life status events – perhaps a marriage, the birth of a child or purchasing a home.  Life insurance helps protect your loved ones in the event of your death. It can cover your funeral expenses, pay off your mortgage or provide resources to replace your income for a period of time.  Two of the more prevalent types of life insurance are term life and whole life.  Knowing a bit about the differences between these two types of insurance can help you to decide which might be the best product for your needs.

Term life insurance covers you in the event of premature death within the specific term of your policy which is usually set up with a term of 10, 20 or 30 years.   Term life policies are typically straight forward – if you die within the term, the policy pays your beneficiaries the amount of your policy coverage.  The premium amount and the payout remain at fixed amounts throughout the term of the policy.  Because there is no cash value to the product and most people live through the end of their term, the premiums on this type of policy remains affordable (about 1/4 of the costs for whole life insurance).  In some cases, term life can be converted to whole life coverage at the end of the term.

Whole life insurance is a form of permanent life insurance and includes an investment component.  Your premiums are typically tax-deferred and the cash value of your policy grows with time.  You can borrow against your account or cash out/surrender the policy in the future if you need to.  The policy premium remains the same for life and the death benefit is guaranteed.  Whole life insurance premiums are higher than term life, primarily because the benefit is guaranteed.  It can provide for funeral costs, estate taxes, and more, depending on the amount of your policy coverage. Some policies can also earn annual dividends that can be re-invested back into the policy or taken as surplus income.

To learn more about which kind of policy might best suit your needs, schedule an appointment with our team at Bieritz Insurance.  We are happy to look into options and provide you with the information to make a decision that makes the most sense for you and your family.  You can contact us in Cooperstown at 209 Main Street, (607) 547-2951 or in Morris at 128 Main Street, (607) 263-5170.

 

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Insuring Your Vacation Rental Property

In our little corner of the world, the vacation rental business is booming.  While year-round lodging opportunities (hotels, motels, bed and breakfasts, inns, etc.) continue to exist as a mainstay of accommodation  options in our area – there are many properties that now cater mostly to the thirteen week summer season – primarily targeted to the baseball camp family audience for weekly rentals.  Some of these properties contract with local managers to list and rent their homes as summer vacation rentals and others (more each day) list with one or more of the national rental chains like HomeAway, VRBO (Vacation Rental By Owner)  or AirB&B.

 

A home that is used as a rental property is considered a business.  As a business, a typical homeowner’s insurance policy does not necessarily provide insurance coverage for your property (liability and damages, etc.) in the same way.   In some cases, if your property is used for short-term (less than 30 days) rentals, you might qualify for an endorsement on your existing policy. NOTE: You can check with our offices to see what your options are to make sure that you and your property are protected.   In most cases, you will need separate business insurance to cover you for liability (in case someone gets injured while staying at your property), building and contents (for replacement from catastrophic damage) and building income (to protect your business earnings).  If you offer extras like the use of bicycles or canoes/kayaks, or if you have a pool that guests will be able to use, you will want to make sure that your liability coverage extends to cover these items and their use by a renter.

 

Although some of the national rental chains (above) may offer their owners (and guests) the option to add insurance for their rentals, their policies might not provide the coverage that you need to be fully protected.  In some cases these policies do not allow for claims for extra guest fees, violations to the rental agreement, extra fees for cleaning or from pets, or loss of the ability to rent while repairs are being done. If you list your property through a national agency, Bieritz Insurance can review the details of that coverage for you so that we can advise how you can minimize your exposure to risks that might not be covered.  

 

Even with an insurance policy, some property owners continue to request a security deposit from their guests.  Although security deposits are time consuming to manage and are often points of contention between the owner and their guest, they do allow for the owner to provide documentation of damages and fees incurred to make repairs without going through the claims process (which often requires cooperation from the renter).  Security deposits may also provide a better incentive for renters to leave the property in good condition.

 

To protect yourself in a vacation rental business, your rental agreement with your vacationing guests should clearly stipulate the process for damages and claims.  You should also have a screening process in place so that you can make sure that your property and rules are a good fit for your prospective renter. A little bit of work in advance can alleviate headaches afterwards.  Our team at Bieritz Insurance in Cooperstown and Morris can help answer your questions and can find coverage to best meet your needs.  Contact us in Cooperstown at (607) 547-2951 and in Morris at (607) 263-5170. We are here to help you for all of your insurance needs!

 

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