Starting the New Year Fresh

The Importance of Reviewing and Updating Insurance Policies in the New Year

As the calendar turns a new page, many individuals and businesses take the opportunity to set resolutions and goals for the year ahead. Among the priorities that often get overlooked is the review and update of insurance policies. However, this crucial step can have a significant impact on financial security, providing peace of mind in the face of life’s uncertainties. In this article, we’ll delve into the importance of reviewing and updating insurance policies at the beginning of the year, and some proactive steps you can take to make sure your coverage is aligned properly with your current circumstances.

Assessing Life Changes:

Life is dynamic, and with it come various changes that can influence insurance needs. Individuals and businesses should assess their life situations as the first step toward ensuring that insurance coverage remains relevant and effective.

  1. Personal Circumstances: Life events such as marriage, the birth of a child, or changes in health status can significantly impact insurance requirements. A married couple may need to adjust their life insurance policies to adequately protect their growing family. Similarly, the birth of a child may necessitate updates to health insurance plans and considerations for additional coverage.
  2. Home and Property Changes: Changes in residential circumstances, such as renovations, additions, or the purchase of valuable assets, should prompt a reassessment of homeowners or renters insurance. The value of personal belongings, the structure of the property, and potential liabilities may all be affected by these changes.
  3. Vehicle Changes: The acquisition of new vehicles or changes in driving habits can impact auto insurance needs. Informing insurance providers about changes in the number of vehicles, mileage, or drivers in the household helps ensure that coverage aligns with the current situation.
  4. Business Operations: For business owners, changes in operations, expansions, or modifications to the nature of the business may necessitate updates to commercial insurance policies. Staying ahead of these changes ensures that the business is adequately protected against potential risks.


The Importance of Regular Policy Reviews:

Staying Ahead of Underinsurance: Failing to update insurance policies can lead to underinsurance, where coverage is insufficient to meet actual needs. Regular reviews help individuals and businesses identify gaps in coverage, allowing for the adjustment of policies to better protect against potential risks.

  1. Taking Advantage of New Coverage Options: The insurance landscape is constantly evolving, with new coverage options emerging to address modern risks. Regular policy reviews present an opportunity to explore and integrate these new options, enhancing overall protection.
  2. Maximizing Cost-Efficiency: Lifestyle changes and shifts in risk profiles may affect the cost of insurance. A review enables policyholders to explore cost-saving measures, such as bundling policies, adjusting deductibles, or taking advantage of discounts for safety features.
  3. Adapting to Market Conditions: Economic and market conditions can impact insurance rates and coverage availability. Staying informed about these changes and adapting policies accordingly ensures that coverage remains both comprehensive and cost-effective.


How to Review and Update Policies:

  1. Compile Policy Documents: Gather all insurance policy documents in one place. This includes homeowners or renters insurance, auto insurance, life insurance, health insurance, and any other relevant policies. Having a comprehensive overview makes the review process more efficient.
  2. Evaluate Coverage Limits: Assess the coverage limits of each policy. Are they sufficient to cover potential losses in the current circumstances? Adjust coverage limits as needed to align with changes in lifestyle, property values, or business assets.
  3. Consider Deductibles: Evaluate deductibles for each policy. Adjusting deductibles can impact premium costs, and individuals may choose to increase or decrease deductibles based on their risk tolerance and financial situation.
  4. Review Beneficiary Information: For life insurance and retirement accounts, review and update beneficiary information. Marriage, divorce, births, and deaths can all influence beneficiary designations, and it’s crucial to ensure that these designations reflect current wishes.
  5. Explore New Coverage Options: Research and consider any new coverage options that may be relevant. This could include cyber insurance for individuals with increasing digital assets, umbrella policies for added liability protection, or coverage for specific high-value items.
  6. Update Personal Information: Ensure that personal information provided to insurance providers is accurate and up-to-date. This includes addresses, contact numbers, and any other relevant details. Accurate information helps prevent potential issues during the claims process.
  7. Consult with an Insurance Professional: Seek guidance from an insurance professional or advisor. Their expertise can provide valuable insights into potential coverage gaps, emerging risks, and cost-saving measures. An insurance professional can also assist in navigating the complexities of policy adjustments.

As we embark on a new year, the importance of reviewing and updating insurance policies cannot be overstated. Life is a journey marked by change, and the landscape of risks and uncertainties evolves alongside it. Taking the time to assess personal and business circumstances, understanding the importance of regular policy reviews, and proactively adapting coverage ensures that insurance remains a reliable shield against the unexpected. By incorporating this practice into annual routines, individuals and businesses can start each year with the confidence that their insurance policies align with their current needs and provide a solid foundation for financial security. Contact our team today at 607-547-2951 for a free quote!

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William Cooper’s Vision for the Maple Sugaring Industry in Otsego County, NY

William Cooper's Vision for the Maple Sugaring Industry in Otsego County, NY - Bieritz Insurance Agency

William Cooper, a pioneer and visionary of the maple sugaring industry in Otsego County, NY, had a unique and innovative approach to the production and marketing of maple syrup. He saw the potential for the maple sugaring industry to provide a sustainable source of income for farmers and to promote the development of rural communities in the region. This vision for the industry would have a profound impact on the region and its residents for generations to come.


Cooper moved his family to Cooperstown, NY in 1790. He was a farmer, businessman, and civic leader, who had a deep appreciation for the natural resources of the region and a strong commitment to its economic development. He saw the potential for the maple sugaring industry to provide a sustainable source of income for farmers and to promote the development of rural communities in the region.


Cooper recognized that the traditional methods of maple sugaring were inefficient and wasteful, and he saw the need for modern and innovative production methods. He developed a system of providing sugaring vats to local producers in order to grow the industry in our region and then worked on transporting the finished product to Albany so that it could be shipped by river to the New York City markets.


Cooper also recognized the importance of marketing and branding in the success of the maple sugaring industry. He established a cooperative of maple sugar producers in Otsego County, which allowed them to market their syrup under a common brand and to benefit from economies of scale in production and marketing. He also established trade relationships with wholesalers and retailers in the region, which provided a reliable market for the syrup and helped to establish the industry as a key component of the regional economy.


Cooper’s vision for the maple sugaring industry in Otsego County was realized through his tireless efforts and the support of the local community. The industry continued to grow and expand over the next century, providing a source of income for farmers and supporting the development of rural communities in the region. Today, the maple sugaring industry remains an important part of the regional economy, with many families continuing the tradition of maple sugaring and producing high-quality syrup for local and regional markets.


Cooper’s legacy continues to inspire the next generation of maple sugar producers, who are committed to preserving the traditions and values of the industry, while incorporating new and innovative production methods to improve the quality and sustainability of the syrup. They are also working to promote the industry and to raise awareness of its importance to the regional economy and the local community through local and statewide marketing programs.


William Cooper’s vision for the maple sugaring industry in Otsego County, NY was a visionary and innovative approach to the production and marketing of maple syrup. He saw the potential for the industry to provide a sustainable source of income for farmers and to promote the development of rural communities in the region. His legacy continues to inspire and guide the next generation of maple sugar producers, who are committed to preserving the traditions and values of the industry, while incorporating new and innovative production methods to improve the quality and sustainability of the syrup. The maple sugaring industry in Otsego County remains a testament to Cooper’s vision and commitment to the region and its residents.

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The Craft Beverage Industry and Its Impact on Otsego County, New York Economics

The Craft Beverage Industry and Its Impact on Otsego County, New York Economics - Bieritz Insurance Agency

Otsego County, located in central New York State, is known for its rich history and natural beauty. In recent years, the county has also become known for its thriving craft beverage industry, which has had a significant impact on the local economy.


The craft beverage industry in Otsego County is a diverse and growing sector, encompassing craft breweries, wineries, cideries, and distilleries. These businesses are making a name for themselves by producing high-quality, locally sourced, and unique products that are in high demand. In turn, this has led to a surge in tourism and a boost to the local economy.


One of the key ways that the craft beverage industry has shaped Otsego County economics is through job creation. These businesses require a variety of skilled workers, from brewers and winemakers to tasting room staff and marketing professionals. In addition, the industry has helped to create indirect jobs in areas such as agriculture, transportation, and tourism.


The craft beverage industry has also had a significant impact on agriculture in Otsego County. Many of these businesses source their ingredients from local farms and suppliers, providing a valuable market for local agricultural products. This has helped to revive and sustain the local farming community, as well as promote sustainable agriculture practices in the region.


Tourism is another area in which the craft beverage industry has had a significant impact on the local economy. Otsego County is home to a number of world-class craft beverage producers, and tourists are drawn to the area to sample the products and learn about the industry. This has led to increased demand for local lodging, dining, and other tourist-related services, providing a major boost to the local economy.


In addition to its economic impact, the craft beverage industry in Otsego County is also helping to create a sense of community and place. These businesses often host events and support local causes, helping to bring people together and to build stronger relationships between local businesses and the community.


To support the growth of the craft beverage industry in Otsego County, a number of initiatives have been established. These include local marketing campaigns, business incubators, and training programs that help to provide support and resources to entrepreneurs in the industry. The state of New York has also been supportive, offering tax incentives and grants to businesses in the craft beverage industry.


There is no doubt that the craft beverage industry has had a major impact on the economy of Otsego County. Through job creation, support for local agriculture, increased tourism, and a sense of community, this growing sector is helping to shape the future of the county and to provide a model for sustainable and vibrant rural economic development. Whether you’re a local resident or a visiting tourist, be sure to sample the products and support the businesses that are shaping the future of the craft beverage industry – right here at home! 

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The Benefits of Shop Local Initiatives in New York State

The Benefits of Shop Local Initiatives in New York State - Bieritz Insurance Agency

In recent years, the concept of “shop local” has gained popularity across the United States, with many communities and businesses promoting the benefits of supporting locally owned and operated businesses. This movement has also taken hold in New York State, with many communities and organizations advocating for the importance of shopping local and supporting the local economy.


One of the primary benefits of shop local initiatives is their impact on the local economy. When consumers shop at locally owned businesses, they are supporting the local economy by keeping money in the community. These businesses are more likely to purchase goods and services from other local businesses, creating a ripple effect that helps to strengthen the local economy. This, in turn, creates jobs and attracts new businesses to the area, making it a more vibrant and prosperous community.


Another benefit of shop local initiatives is the unique and diverse shopping experiences that they provide. Locally owned businesses often offer products and services that are unique to the area, creating a shopping experience that cannot be found at larger chain stores. These businesses are also more likely to offer personalized service and to be active members of the community, creating a sense of connection and community that is difficult to find at larger chain stores.


In addition to the economic and shopping benefits, shop local initiatives also have a positive impact on the environment. Local businesses are often more sustainable and environmentally friendly than larger chain stores. They are more likely to source goods and services locally, reducing the carbon footprint associated with transportation, and to implement environmentally friendly practices in their operations.


Shop local initiatives also help to foster a sense of community and build stronger relationships between local businesses and consumers. Local businesses are more likely to be involved in community events and to support local organizations and causes, helping to create a sense of community and to build relationships with the customers they serve.


In New York State, many communities and organizations have embraced the shop local movement and are working to promote its benefits. These initiatives range from local “buy local” campaigns to events that celebrate and support local businesses. There are also a number of organizations, such as the New York State Independent Business Alliance, that work to promote the benefits of shopping local and to support the growth of locally owned businesses in the state.


The benefits of shop local initiatives in New York State are numerous and far-reaching. These initiatives promote the local economy, provide unique and diverse shopping experiences, have a positive impact on the environment, foster a sense of community, and build stronger relationships between local businesses and consumers. By shopping local, New York State residents can help to support the growth and development of their communities and to build a more vibrant and prosperous state.

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Insurance Protection Check for the Summer Months

sparklersThe summer months are ones we look forward to all year long, but they bring certain risks along with the great summer weather.  After our long, cold, winter months, we are all more than ready to be outdoors and enjoying fun times with family and friends.   To minimize your risks, you can do a quick insurance protection check to make sure you are ready for the summer months.

  • If your summer includes a home pool, you can make sure you have specific safety measures in place to prevent accidents and drownings.  Have a fence with a locking gate is a great way to protect your pool from young children. Make note of those who can swim and make sure that any non-swimmers are geared with appropriate flotation devices.  For young children in a pool, consider using ‘touch supervision’ – where an adult is within touching distance of any young child in a pool, in order to react quickly in case of an accident.  While your homeowners coverage will cover some of your liability if an accident should happen, it likely will not be sufficient for any catastrophic incidences.  To assure protection, consider increasing your liability protection with a separate umbrella policy.

  • If you enjoy boating during the summer months, remember that boat owners are liable for any accidents.  Unlike auto insurance, boat insurance is not mandated (unless you have a loan on your boat, in which case your lender will likely require this).  Auto insurance does not cover boat owner liability.  Check with our office if you are in NY State to get a quote on coverage for your vessel and passengers.

  • Severe storms and hurricanes are more and more common as we head into a new ‘climate-changed’ world, so remember that flood insurance is a separate policy, often not covered by your homeowner’s insurance.  This is especially important if a hurricane is not a ‘named storm’ as identified by the National Weather Service.  While our inland properties are at less risk than coastal lands, you should likely still make sure you are protected.  We can help answer any of your questions about this coverage.

  • As we head into the 4th of July weekend and Fireworks season, there is a greater risk for personal injury and home damage from fire as a result.  Other than small poppers and sparkling devices, fireworks are illegal in New York State for the general consumer.  If you have damage that is the result of the use of illegal pyrotechnics, you can pretty much count on your insurance company denying any claim for coverage.

  • Grills, Barbecues and Lawnmowers are three of the biggest sources of home-based summer injuries.  Outdoor cooking areas should be monitored closely when in use, with a designated attendant, and small children should be restricted from those parts of the porch or yard.  The American Academy of Pediatrics suggests that mowing should be done only by those who are old enough to safely operate the equipment – 16 or over for riding mowers and 12 and over for push mowers.

  • With school out of session for the summer months, there is typically a surge of teen drivers on the road – going off to summer jobs or heading off to see friends or spend a day at the beach.  If you have a teen driver, take the time to talk to them about road safety, particularly in terms of the use of cellphones while driving.  Set some rules for safety – turning off their phones when in a moving vehicle (there are apps for this), driving at or below the speed limit, using caution when driving near bicyclists, being aware of areas with greater pedestrian traffic during the summer months, etc.

Summer can be a great season.  Take some extra time to consider safety factors for best peace of mind, and give our team at Bieritz Insurance Agency a call at 607-547-2951 if you have any questions or if you need more information.  We are happy to assist you!




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Your Year End Insurance Assessment

The transition from one year to the next is often a time of reflection about our lives.  We assess the things that we might like to change to make our lives a bit better, feel happier, healthier and more productive.  Just as we make assessment of our personal habits, we can assess our surroundings as well.  The new year allows us the opportunity to step back and reflect on ways we can make our households run more efficiently – maybe with some re-organization, or updates, repairs and improvements to our home in ways that make sense for our budgets and our future.

If you made improvements to your home over the last year, or if you are planning any in the upcoming months, don’t forget to review these updates with your insurance agent as these changes can sometimes impact your policy and your coverage.  Ask your agent to provide you with updated quotes – and remember to include all your insurance products particularly if they are bunded for additional discounts.  Heading into a new year with some instant savings can feel pretty good!

In addition, consider any other major purchases or life changes that you are considering or will be making, as these can also impact your policies.  Your insurance provider will be able to advise you on the coverage changes to consider as well as any cost increases or reductions that you might qualify for.

Regularly making these assessments at the end of each year can keep you informed and can allow you to be prepared for the impacts of changes that are on the horizon.  The pdf linked below from American Modern provides a good checklist to help guide you in your year-end assessment.  If you have questions or need any additional help, contact our team at Bieritz Insurance in Cooperstown, NY at 607-547-2951.

Insurance Year End checklist

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Think about Insurance BEFORE you Need it

Think about Insurance BEFORE you Need itOne of the most important things we can tell our clients is to think about insurance before you actually have a need for it.  If there is one thing we have all learned over this past year, it is that life can be unpredictable.  While it may be hard to imagine the kinds of things that can happen that upend our lives, there are some systematic ways to assess some of the basics.

Take Time to Review Your Coverage

An annual review of your insurance coverage is a process that can help you to evaluate your risks, along with any changes that might be needed to your policies.  What home improvements have you recently made? Are you planning on making any changes in the coming year?  Are you looking for a job change? Did you have a child ? Have you purchased a new car?  Do you have a teenager ready for a learner’s permit or new drivers license?  Are you protected in the event of a fire or a flood?

It’s hard to prepare for the unknown and unexpected, but if you take some time – even just for a few hours once a year – to consider whether or not to make changes to your insurance to more accurately protect your assets (and yourself), the value can be tremendous.

In light of today’s construction costs, it may cost more than you expect to rebuild or repair your home.  Is your coverage keeping up with inflation?  Does your current insurance policy still protect you in the event of an emergency?  Check with our team to learn if you are covered in the event of an accident or natural disaster.  We may be able to help you make modifications to your policy to make sure you are properly protected.

Just over the last 10 years, we have seen several flood events in our region with communities that have been hard hit with damages.  With changes to our climate, these events are likely to occur more and more frequently.  If you are not sure if you would be covered in a similar type of event, schedule an appointment with your team so that we can help you interpret your policies to make sure you are secured with a level of protection that makes sense for your specific needs.

If we could tell you one thing, it would be “Don’t put this off”.  Take the time today to assess your risk, document your current assets and their value and take action to protect yourself with appropriate coverage – before you need it!  As always, our team is ready to assist.  Call us for an appointment at 607-547-2951 or submit our Contact Form Here.

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Summer Grilling Safety Tips

Who Doesn’t Love a Barbecue?

Summer Grilling Safety TipsOne of the best things about summer is the ability to cook outdoors.  We hold family barbecues, attend outdoor picnics, and just generally cook outside whenever we can while the season is here.  70% of our households in the U.S. own an outdoor grill or smoker.   While a big part of our summer fare, outdoor cooking does not come without risks.  An average of 10,600 home fires are caused each year and almost 20,000 emergency room visits are directly related to home grilling and about half of those injuries involve thermal burns.  Take a look through these Summer Grilling Safety Tips – recommended by the National Fire Protection Agency (NFPA).  NFPA is a global self-funded nonprofit organization, established in 1896, devoted to eliminating death, injury, property and economic loss due to fire, electrical and related hazards.



  • Propane and charcoal BBQ grills should only be used outdoors. 
  • The grill should be placed well away from the home, deck railings and out from under eaves and overhanging branches. 
  • Keep children and pets at least three feet away from the grill area. 
  • Keep your grill clean by removing grease or fat buildup from the grills and in trays below the grill. 
  • Never leave your grill unattended. 
  • Always make sure your gas grill lid is open before lighting it. 



There are several ways to get the charcoal ready to use. Charcoal chimney starters allow you to start the charcoal using newspaper as a fuel. If you use a starter fluid, use only charcoal starter fluid.  

  • Never add charcoal fluid or any other flammable liquids to the fire. 
  • Keep charcoal fluid out of the reach of children and away from heat sources. 

There are also electric charcoal starters, which do not use fire. Be sure to use an extension cord for outdoor use. 

When you are finished grilling, let the coals completely cool before disposing in a metal container. 



Check the gas tank hose for leaks before using it for the first time each year. Apply a light soap and water solution to the hose. A propane leak will release bubbles. If your grill has a gas leak, by smell or the soapy bubble test, and there is no flame, turn off both the gas tank and the grill. If the leak stops, get the grill serviced by a professional before using it again. If the leak does not stop, call the fire department. 

If you smell gas while cooking, immediately get away from the grill and call the fire department. Do not move the grill. 

If the flame goes out, turn the grill and gas off and wait at least 5 minutes before re-lighting it. 


So, enjoy your barbecue, but remember to take steps for safety!  If you should need any guidance on insurance in case something goes wrong, please feel free to contact our team at Bieritz Insurance Agency to see if you have the protection you need.  We are happy to assist you.

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We’re Hiring! Position Announcement January 2021

Insurance Customer Service Representative

Do you enjoy working with people and businesses to help them succeed?

Join the Bieritz Insurance Agency, in Cooperstown, NY. We are seeking a full time Customer Service Representative.  Experience in P&C insurance is preferred but not required.

Training and licensing to be provided. Pay to be determined upon experience.

Requirements: Pleasing phone mannerisms, database skills, one year of customer service experience and the ability to multitask.

To apply, please complete and submit the form below.  Thank you!


Employment Application Form

Click or drag a file to this area to upload.
Click or drag a file to this area to upload.
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The Impacts of Being Underinsured

Insurance is meant to protect your home, your car, your belongings and your family from financially devastating incidents.  Few people *like* to pay for insurance. For many, home and auto insurance seems like large expenses for something they probably will never need, and for that reason, some will choose to insure for a bare minimum in order to save more and spend less. However, while being underinsured may seem thrifty, in the long run, the money you end up having to pay will likely exceed the amount you save. Here are some of the reasons why being underinsured is more expensive than receiving sufficient insurance.


Expensive Emergency Repair Costs

As anybody who has had their home severely damaged after an accident or natural disaster can attest, however much they were paying on insurance, it was pocket change compared to the costs in repairs. If you don’t have enough coverage, you could be on your own when disaster strikes. What’s more, if you’re not sufficiently insured, you may run into some trouble with your local government for not adhering to local regulation codes in regards to home insurance.


Risk of Flood Damage

Some people who have insurance for most risks choose to abstain from buying flood insurance to save money. After all, most standard homeowner policies don’t automatically cover flood damage and floods are a rare occurrence anyway. This is a bad idea, however, as even with maximum FEMA flood protection, you could be left with massive deductibles, so it’s important to get additional coverage in case of these natural disasters.


High-Value Items may not be Covered

The problem with small, basic insurance policies is that they only cover general forms of damage to things like walls and floors, etc. But there are many items of significant worth like jewelry, paintings, rare coins, antiques, china and clothing that often slip through cheaper policies. There could be thousands of dollars worth in valuable items that you could lose completely without the right coverage.


An Accident Could Have a Very High Deductible

Deductibles are often not looked at very closely by people shopping for insurance. Most people prefer lower premiums even with the risk of paying high deductibles. This makes some sense financially, however, you don’t want to ignore deductibles completely, as this could lead to you spending considerably more money after an accident. A typical $500 dollar deductibles could be turned into a much higher deductible for a less expensive policy and should be considered when making decisions on the overall expense.


Your Insurance May Not Cover Your Repairs 

‘Bare-boned’ insurance policies may simply not provide enough to cover your actual repair costs.  If you opt for a minimal policy, make sure you review a ‘worst-case’ scenario with our team so that you can make an informed decision.


Extra Expenses Can Add Up

Finally, remember that insurance policies are not simply meant to cover the cost of damage to your house or car, they are also to help you with any extra expenses that may result. Even if your insurance covers your house in case of fire, you may have lodging expenses to pay while your home is being repaired. Likewise, if your basic insurance covers your car for accidents and repair costs, it might not reimburse you for a rental that you need to get around in the meantime.  Insufficient policies often leave people hung out to dry when it comes to assisting them with additional expenses, and these expenses can add up.


Many people, especially now, are trying to take steps to save money on their monthly bills. Insurance is not the area to make cuts as your policy needs to cover expenses when filing a claim. If you’re worried that you might be underinsured, look over your home and car policies and discuss your concerns with our team at Bieritz Insurance. Review your policies each year to make sure they continue to provide adequate coverage. Remember to think about your insurance in relation to the price of your house, your property value, and the demand in the housing market in your area.

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NYS Dept. of Financial Services Information re: COVID-19

Attention all insurance policy holders:

If you are experiencing financial hardship due to the COVID-19 pandemic, there is information available through the New York State Department of Financial Services that discusses the new regulations concerning payments, missed payments, late fees and more, as per the Governor’s Executive Orders (March/April).


The above document is the full, formal, legal document, so if you have any trouble understanding what it might mean for you, please contact our office at 607-547-2951 and we will be happy to review your needs together with you.

Above all, we are here to help our clients safely navigate through these unprecedented times and provide our support as needed.

Stay safe and be well.

Ben Novellano, President
Bieritz Insurance Agency


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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.


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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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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An Annual Review of Your Policies can Save You Money

Many people think of March and April as the time of year for Spring Cleaning.  The snow and ice begin to melt away and we start to think about spending more time outdoors.  We look at things that we need to to outside in our yards for annual maintenance, and we begin to prepare for tax season – where we look at our financial documents for the year and assess our financial ‘health’.   It’s also a great time of year to conduct an annual review of your insurance policies.

Our lives change on an ongoing basis, so it’s important that your insurance coverage changes as well.  How long has it been since you last assessed your policies?  Our team at Bieritz Insurance wants to make sure you are not overpaying for your policies and we also want to make sure you are not under-insured.  When you conduct a review of your insurance, you might find out that there are increases, deductions or discounts.

Things that can impact your rates are things like a new baby in your household, additions or improvements that you have made to your home, property that you may have inherited, recreational vehicles that you have purchased or sold, a college student who is renting an apartment, or maybe you have reached retirement age.  There are other things as well: new drivers in your household, real estate market changes, landscaping changes, etc.

Typically, we understand that our assets change over time. What we don’t usually think about is that the value of those assets change as well.  If your home has appreciated in value, you need to make sure that your insurance coverage allows for this increase in value in case of catastrophic loss.  If you purchased your home at $250,000 ten years ago, and the value has since appreciated to $300,000, you want to make sure that your insurance policy will cover you for a $300,000 loss in case of a catastrophic event.  In other words, if your coverage hasn’t been updated since you purchased your home, your insurance value might not cover full replacement if your home value has increased.  In this instance, a review of your policy might increase your policy payments, but you are assured of having the coverage that is right for you.

There are other instances where your policy payments might decrease.  Maybe you installed a home security system or an emergency battery backup for your sump pump or perhaps you have hit an age milestone that would qualify you or members of your family for additional discounts on your auto insurance policies.

A look through your policies on an annual basis can help you find these things and can ultimately save you money on your policy premiums.    Whether you are a current client or maybe just looking for some cost comparisons as part of your process, you can contact us in Cooperstown at  607-547-2951 or in Morris at 607-263-5170 to schedule an appointment for a review!  In most cases, we can save you money.  We work with over 20 companies so that we can find exactly the right products to fit your needs at the right price for your budget.


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Cataloging your possessions for insurance

A homeowner’s insurance policy covers replacement value of your home and possessions in the event of a catastrophe, break-ins or other events. If you need to make a claim, you will need documentation of your household possessions to prove replacement value.  Our favorite tool to help you with the process of cataloging your possessions among several available is one called ‘Know Your Stuff’.

know your stuff

Important Note: Before you begin this process, it is recommended that you check with your insurance provider to see if they have specific reimbursement requirements so that you can be aware of them for your inventory.

Know Your Stuff is a free online inventory service provided by the Insurance Information Institute. The site will walk you through configuring rooms in your home and listing the specific items in each area, complete with photos and receipts for documentation. Because the site walks you through everything you need to enter, you can be sure you’re recording all of the right information. When you are finished with your documentation, everything is stored securely online, so you have easy access to your home inventory from anywhere you have an Internet connection.

Even though an online service makes things easier than keeping an inventory on paper, it can still be frustrating to have to photograph all of your possessions and attach those photos one by one to your inventory. To simplify things, Know Your Stuff also has a free app for both iPhone and Android phones. Using the app, you can modify or add to your online inventory—and easily add photos directly from your phone.

We think that Know Your Stuff has the most comprehensive toolset available on the web or your mobile device, which makes it our top recommendation for the best digital home inventory tool.

If you are not quite happy with Know Your Stuff, there are other tools available (also for free) including:

If you are looking for any additional information about cataloging your household, please feel free to contact us.  Bieritz Agency can help you with all your insurance needs.  Call us for a free quote – we can save you money!

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

Your “Hometown” Insurance Specialists!


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Bieritz Insurance Agency
209 Main Street
Cooperstown, NY 13326
FAX 607-547-4487

Morris Insurance Agency
128 Main Street
P.O. Box 70
Morris, NY 13808
FAX 607-263-5270

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