Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Water, water, everywhere...

I’ve gone back and forth over the years with clients both for homeowners and business owners about the importance of Flood Insurance. Did you know that out of all of the types of “what-if’s” that can happen that water can do the most damage? You know this if your basement has ever filled with water, your water heater broke, or even if it has rained for days and there is no place for the rain to go. Just a few inches of water can cause tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars of damage and can be both emotionally & financially draining if you don’t have the proper coverage in place.

I know what you are thinking – “But I don’t live in a flood zone. My mortgage company doesn’t require it, so why should I have it?”

Here is why:

1.) Because a flood can occur anywhere and at anytime quickly without warning. This is the definition of what we call Flash Flooding. You know that rain that comes from nowhere & has no place to go…so it goes into your house and anyplace it can travel? That is Flash Flooding.

2.) Because there is no coverage for this type of loss on your homeowners insurance.

Flood Defined
The National Flood Insurance Program defines a flood as “A general and temporary condition of partial or complete inundation of two or more acres of normally dry land area or of two or more properties (at least one of which is you property) from:

· Overflow of inland or tidal water

· Unusual or rapid accumulation or runoff of surface waters from ANY source

· Mudflow

· Collapse or subsidence of land along the shore of a lake or similar body of water as a result of erosion or undermining caused by waves or currents of water exceeding anticipated cyclical levels that result in a flood as defined above. “

Is Flood Insurance Really Worth It?
Take in point this scenario: You live on .25 acres and so do your neighbors and your neighbor’s pool breaks and is now on yours and their property – you now have a flood. Why? Because this is considered by the NFIP “an unusual rapid accumulation of surface waters from ANY source with partial inundation of two or more properties.” So if you have flood coverage, you would be covered up to the limits of the policy, which you would discuss with your agent.

Ok. So How Much Can I Get & What Does It Cost Me?
You can purchase up to $250,000 on your home and up to $100,000 on contents. Businesses can purchase up to $500,000 through the NFIP. The cost of the Flood Insurance can vary based on if you live in a Flood Zone and on how much coverage you need. If you are curious, you should contact you agent.

Can I Get Flood Insurance Even If I’m Not In a Flood Zone?
Yes! Actually a flood – or flash floods can happen anywhere even if your not in a “flood zone.” The good news is that flood insurance for you, is less expensive than if you live in a flood zone.

How & When Can I Buy Flood Insurance?
You can purchase flood insurance at any time, whether you live in a flood zone or not, but be aware that in most cases, there is a 30-day waiting period unless your mortgage company is requiring it. Call your agent for more information on how you can purchase flood insurance and for more information. Or visit the FEMA Website which can also give you more information. or visit

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

The Most Important Gear to Protect You on Your Motorcycle

If you own a motorcycle, one of the best parts about a nice day is going for a long ride. Whether it be by yourself or in a group, there is something about the wind in your face and its just you and the open road. But just you and the open road is exactly the reason why you have to take precautions to make sure you safe at the same time. Its also a reason why getting the right coverage can be more protection for you than your helmet and gear.

Its around this time, we get a lot of calls for motorcycle coverage. The customer calls us looking for coverage…cheap coverage. Cheap however, isn’t always saving you in the long run.

Did you know that in New York State Personal Injury Coverage doesn’t cover you on your motorcycle?
I know what you are thinking… What? Wait a minute I see Personal Injury coverage on the quote you gave me.” Yes, there is PIP coverage for motorcycles which is required by New York State but it only applies to injured pedestrians. Not to you. Not to your passengers.

Your reply: “Ok. Well I have health insurance, so I don’t need that PIP coverage anyways." Wrong again. Unfortunately, if you are injured in a motorcycle accident where you are driving the motorcycle, your health insurance will not pick up the tab either.

Finally your reply: “Ok. Is there ANYTHING that will cover me if I wipe out on my bike?”
Yes. Actually with many companies, you can purchase voluntary coverage called Medical Payments. While sometimes this may not be as high as the limit on a personal auto policy, many companies offer coverage anywhere from $5,000 to $25,000 or higher in medical payments. This is what will cover you if you are injured on your motorcycle.

One last question: “What about my passengers who are on my bike with me?”
Your passenger would be covered under the passenger liability portion on your policy. Some companies include this directly with the Bodily Injury coverage on the liability of your policy. Other companies have this as an option. Make sure your agent includes this if it isn’t already included.

Things to Remember:
Besides protecting yourself with a helmet and the proper gear, make sure you double check your coverages before you head out to hit the open road this summer. Make sure your agent max’s out the coverage for you on your policy on your medical payments. If you are getting a quote and they are quoting you with multiple carriers find out what the maximum coverage each company offers. Be sure you know exactly what you are paying for. If you are unsure of the coverages, ask your agent to explain and review them with you so that you understand them. This is the only coverage to protect you on the open road. Know before you go, it can be just as important as a helmet.