Thursday, October 4, 2012
Wednesday, September 26, 2012
Monday, August 13, 2012
1.) How can I secure my house or apartment while I'm away?
Create a lived-in look to deter burglars. Do this by stopping newspaper and mail deliveries; asking a neighbor to park a car in your driveway occasionally; and putting lights on a timer or asking a neighbor to turn lights on in the evening. Use a telephone answering machine or call forwarding to quiet ringing telephones. And, make sure all windows and doors are locked to make entry difficult for intruders.
2.) If my home is burglarized or damaged by fire, are all of my possessions covered?
Under a standard homeowners insurance policy for a single-family home, the contents of the home normally are covered for at least 50 percent of the amount of insurance on the building ($50,000 contents coverage on a house insured for $100,000). A renters policy is written for a specified dollar amount, based on what you own, to cover the loss of personal belongings in your apartment. There are special limits of liability on certain items in certain situations, however. Typically, there is a $200 limit on money and $1,500 on securities, passports, tickets and stamps. There is generally a $1,500 limit on watercraft, trailers and outboard motors. For fine jewelry, furs and watches that are stolen, a usual limit of $1,500 is set. And, there is typically a $2,500 limit for theft of guns and a $2,500 limit on theft of silverware, goldware and pewterware.
A home inventory is important to have should you become the victim of a burglary or fire. The inventory is a list of your possessions, including makes, models and serial numbers. Photographs or a videotape of your belongings are other ways of recording what you own. These records should be kept in a safe place away from the house or apartment so they would not be lost in the event of fire.
3.) What if the items I take with me on vacation are stolen?
Your belongings generally are covered by your homeowners or renters policy anywhere in the world, including items in storage facilities, suitcase contents and items lent to friends. Exceptions to this are items usually kept at another residence of yours, which then would be limited to the greater of $1,000 or 10 percent of the personal property limit shown on your policy (some restrictions also apply to theft). Typically, you would have another policy to cover all the eligible property at that location, including loss by theft.
4.) We'll be traveling by car on vacation. Do you have any suggestions?
Check with our agency to make sure that your policy is up-to-date, and make sure the car is in good running condition. While traveling, be sure your passengers wear seat belts and young children ride in car seats at all times. Also, keep cameras, purses and other valuables with you while on vacation; never leave them in the car.
5.) I plan to rent a car for this trip. Is it necessary to buy the insurance the rental agency sells?
It may not be. Prior to leaving for vacation, check with your professional insurance agent to determine if your personal auto insurance policy covers damage to a rented vehicle, as many policies do. You may want to contact your major credit-card company to ask if a rental car charged to that account is covered for damage. If you don'tt have one of these pre-existing coverages, it may be wise to purchase insurance from the rental agency.
Have more good questions? We love them! Call us or email us. (888) 565-2212 or email@example.com or visit us online at www.bryanagency.com
Friday, June 22, 2012
It's that time of year...graduation time. This is the crowning moment in any teenagers life – graduating high school. And as many of you as parents can attest to, it is not without hard work and perseverance from both your children and you. So, to recognize this great achievement, what better way to do that than have a graduation party? Something that you, your child, their friends, and the rest of the family can do to celebrate.
The party day arrives and all the friends and family show up. However, you, being busy hosting the party, are unaware that some of the friends show up and end up drinking in the garage and others even show up drunk to the party. They drive off to the next party and get into an accident with another vehicle. The police show up and in the report, they tell them that they were leaving your house from their friend's graduation party. Weeks later, some legal papers show up at your house for the accident, showing that you may be liable for hosting the party. What do you do now? You wonder, am I covered for this?
While this scenario seems bad, it is possible, and it is important to know where you are liable in a party. Now the question is, is this covered under your homeowners insurance? The answer is, it depends.
Here are the top questions we get around this time of year to think of when planning your party:
Q: My kids are going to drink anyway, so can't I serve them? This way I can monitor what happens.
A: If you are knowingly serving alcohol to minors, while you are covered under the liability on your homeowners under the "Social Host Liquor" rules, serving alcohol to minors is not legal and therefore may not be covered under your homeowners policy. And if you are charging for alcohol, you could fall under the "Dram Shop Liabilty" and your homeowners would not cover you for that.
Q: What if I have a party outside of the house, like at a park or clubhouse?
A: Good news! Your homeowners liability and umbrella policy will cover you outside of your home. What this means is that if you have your child's party at a park or other area, the Social Host Liquor rules will extend from whatever the limit on your homeowners insurance policy provides.
Q: If one of my kids friends shows up intoxicated to the party and I send them away, am I still liable?
A: Yes, you could still be found liable because you knowingly sent him/ her away in a vehicle when they were visibly intoxicated, and they are underage. Now, this may or may not be covered by your insurance as well.
Q: What if I am away, and my kid throws a party on their own?
A: As the owner of the house, it doesn't matter if you are there or not there. If someone gets hurt on your property, or was drinking at your house, you could be held responsible. Depending on the situation, the liability coverage of your homeowners may come into play here as well to protect you.
Q: What if someone trips and falls or gets hurt otherwise?
A: Most likely, you are covered in this event. Although each policy varies from coverages and the limits, if someone is injured on your property, you have medical payments and liability coverage on the standard homeowners policies, which protect you in this event. If you are not sure, you should check your policy or call your agent and have them review it with you.
Q: What else can I do to protect myself?
A: In today's litigious society, I always recommend to take as much liability on your homeowners as you can and take an umbrella policy as well, especially with children in the house. They are covered under your policies as a resident relative of your household as long as they are living there. An umbrella policy is extra liability that would cover over your home and auto policy and can be purchased for less than $13 per month for an extra $1,000,000 in coverage.
It is also important to review your current coverages to see what you have. If you are unsure, you should review them with your agent or insurance company.
Also, it is a good idea to have an agreement with your child. Let them know the implications of their choices and how it can affect you as well. This way, everyone can enjoy the party and celebrate what really matters, your child and their great accomplishment!
Congrats to all of the Graduates of 2012! We at the Bryan Agency wish you all of the best in your success!
Have more questions? Call our office (888) 565-2212 or stop in at 3068 Route 9W Suite 500, New Windsor, NY 12553. We love questions. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org ***If your question is featured in one of our blogs, we will send you a thank you gift card in the mail. ***
You can also visit us online at http://www.bryanagency.com/ or www.facebook.com/bryanagency
Monday, June 18, 2012
What dog doesn’t like to go for a car ride every once in a while—and what dog owner doesn’t like to indulge that? And cats, while not friends of automobile transportation in general, need to visit the vet annually in order to ensure their continued good health which means they, too, must travel by car on a somewhat regular basis. But driving your pets around isn’t just a matter of throwing them into the car and hoping for the best. Here are some tips on the safest ways to transport your favorite four-legged family member.
Tips for Dogs
- Close the window: This may be heartbreaking to read, but allowing your dog to ride in the car with his head out the window is actually dangerous. Debris in the air can get into his eyes or lungs, and according to the Humane Association, cold air forced into their lungs can cause illness.
- Use a harness: Just as it is dangerous with a small child, it is dangerous to travel with your dog unseatbelted. Dogs should either be in a carrier while you drive or in a harness that connects to your vehicle’s safety belt system. This will prevent them from getting thrown and injured in an accident.
- Only bring pets to pet friendly locations: No animal should be left unattended in a vehicle, no matter how comfortable the weather is. If you are driving to a destination that does not allow pets to come inside, leave your dog at home.
- Use a carrier: For the safety of both the cat and the people in the car, trips with cats should always be conducted with the cat inside a carrier. Frightened cats are a danger in terms of their claws and their small size, so keep them in a carrier at all times.
- Get the cat used to traveling: It can be extremely stressful to your cat to go on a long car ride, even when she’s in the safety of her carrier. To get your cat used to the car, About.com recommends you take her on short trips a few times a month and reward her with treats afterward. You can gradually lengthen the trip times in order to get her ready for a multi-day trip.
Did you know?Did you know that Progressive Insurance is one of the few companies which provides injury coverage to your pet in the event of an accident? They offer up to $1000 of coverage if your pet is injured in a car accident.
For more tips and information on Pet Safety, call us at 845-565-2200,
email us at email@example.com or visit us online at Bryan Agency or on Facebook
Monday, June 4, 2012
Camper or RV insurance is a must-have for people with travel trailers or motor homes, because insurable incidents don’t leave you alone just because you’re on vacation.
- Keep food and liquids out of the camper when stored.
Friday, April 20, 2012
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety reports that 74 percent of 16-year-olds’ crashes are caused by driver error. Young licensed drivers, ages 15 to 24, account for the highest fatality rates.
Alarmed by the high number of serious accidents involving teen drivers, our agency urges you to help your teen driver slow the transition to the road and give him or her more time to learn and mature.
What can I do as a parent of a teen getting ready to hit the road?
As a concerned parent, there is much you can do to help make your teen a safer driver. Set time aside to help your teen prepare and practice, and set limits for your young driver.
Encourage awareness of traffic safety.
- Talk to teens and pre-teens about driving etiquette while they’re driving with you. Set an example of safe-driving practices—wear your seat belt, obey the traffic signs and don’t speed.
- On the road, emphasize to your teen the importance of being aware of vehicles and hazards and leaving an adequate safety margin around the car.
Gradually increase your teen’s driving privileges commensurate with his or her developing skills and good judgment.
- Limit night driving until your teen has more experience behind the wheel. Most teen drivers’ nighttime crashes occur from 9 p.m. to midnight, so teens should not drive much later than 9 p.m.
- Require permission for your teen carrying passengers (especially other teens) and restrict the number of people in the car.
Set and enforce important rules.
- Negotiate an agreement regarding your teen’s responsibilities for gas, insurance, upkeep costs and maintenance. Be sure your teen understands that he or she is responsible for paying all traffic and parking tickets.
- Enforce zero tolerance for alcohol use, yet make sure your teen knows if he or she gets into a situation in which alcohol use has made it unsafe to drive, he or she should call you for a safe ride home.
- Make sure your teen understands the importance of using safety belts. Insist upon full safety-belt use for everyone in the car at all times. It is the law!
Is there a way to lower the auto insurance rates for my young driver?
Automobile rates tend to be higher for drivers under age 25 because as a group, they are involved in more crashes than people of other ages. As your professional, insurance agent, it is our job to see that you get the best coverage at the best price. Check with our agency to see if your auto insurance company offers any of the following discounts.
- Driving the family car—Rates usually are higher for young people who own their own cars than for those who drive family cars.
- Good student discounts—Full-time students age 16-25 who are in the upper 20 percent of their class, maintain a B average and/or make the honor roll or dean’s list may be eligible for discounts.
- Driver-training discounts—Discounts may be available for drivers under 21 who have completed an approved driver- training course. Some companies give discounts to individuals of any age who complete “defensive” driving classes.
- Resident student discounts—Families with a young driver without custody of a car who resides at college more than 100 miles from home may receive discounts.
Remember, you also may elect to take on a higher deductible for collision coverage, which will lower the premium. Or, if you have an older car, you may wish to drop the collision coverage.
Be sure to contact our agency when you are ready to add your teen driver to your auto policy. Call us at 845-565-2200 or 888-565-2212 or visit us online at www.bryanagency.com today!
Thursday, April 12, 2012
The Proposed Insured’s Health
When you think of risk in terms of a life insurance policy, the first thing you consider is the health of the applicant. There are many different things to consider when looking at a life insurance applicant’s health.
1.) Medications – The medications you take show both existing diagnoses you have received and potential future health complications that require preventative treatment. For instance, you may not have had a heart attack yet, but if you’ve been prescribed a blood thinner and a cholesterol reducing medication then it is likely your physician thinks you are at risk for one and is trying to prevent it through medications.
2.) Chronic conditions – Chronic conditions like muscular dystrophy, heart disease and diabetes can shorten your life span and increase your risk as a life insurance applicant. Other chronic conditions, like high blood pressure, when not combined with other heart or circulatory issues may be less risky but still affect your overall risk.
3.)Potential future conditions – Over time, seemingly unrelated conditions and diseases can work together to create dangerous health consequences. For instance, diabetes and high cholesterol are not necessarily related (although they can be). But diabetics with high cholesterol might be more likely to have a hardening of the arteries, making stents harder (or impossible) to place in arteries, and therefore making bypass surgery necessary after a cardiac incident. Underwriters must look at all these unrelated factors and determine how they might come together to impact the applicant’s health in the future.
4.) Paramedical exam – A paramedical exam, when required by the insurance company, can give even more indication of an individual’s health and may show potential problems that the individual isn’t even aware of. During a paramedical exam, the proposed insured has his or her weight, blood pressure and sometimes urine and blood checked. Someone who hasn’t been to the doctor in years may seem healthy because they have no prescriptions or medical records indicating compromised health, but if the paramedical exam shows a problem then the underwriter knows his or her lack of a health history does not equal a diagnosis of good health.
5.) Age – While your age doesn’t necessarily have anything to do with your health, it does indicate a statistical life span.
6.) Weight – Individuals who exceed standard life insurance company weight charts may not have been diagnosed with any of the problems or diseases that can strike the obese (like diabetes, high blood pressure and heart disease) but their weight indicates a higher likelihood that they will in the future.
7.) Medical Information Bureau – The Medical Information Bureau (MIB) keeps track of all your health issues that are reported by other insurance companies. Insurance companies pull your MIB report when you apply for insurance and the codes on this report will list all the reported health issues found during other application processes. This information may not lead directly to higher premiums, but it can cause an underwriter to delve deeper into your history, request more supporting materials and documents or even decline your application. The Proposed
Because of differences in life expectancy among genders, your policy premium will be affected by whether you check the Male box or the Female box on your application for life insurance.
The Proposed Insured’s Lifestyle
The way you live your life will have a great effect on the life insurance premiums you are charged. From dangerous careers to death defying hobbies to questionable moral turpitude, every aspect of your life may be examined by the underwriters, depending on the amount of insurance you apply for. Each of these items will be analyzed to determine how much more risky it makes insuring you.
You may be asked to fill out supplementary questionnaires depending on your occupation and hobbies or the insurance company may ask to contact friends or business associates in order to ask them a set of questions about you during a telephone interview.
Your underwriter may or may not request a Motor Vehicle Report (MVR) to see what accidents and tickets you’ve had over the past few years. This report can indicate how careful you are as a driver, what risks there may be of your having a fatal car accident, and your propensity to abide by posted speed limit and other traffic laws. As you might have already guessed, there is almost no stone that goes unturned when you are applying for a life insurance policy. This gives the insurance company greater control over the risks they undertake.
The Death Benefit
Your death benefit is the amount of money that the insurance company promises to pay your beneficiaries. The larger that amount is, the greater your premiums will be.
Additional coverage options such as spouse and child riders, accidental death benefits, benefit acceleration and return of premium riders (among others) add additional cost to your premium because they provide greater benefits and risk. Keep in mind, as people are living longer, rates are getting better. Also, if you have lost a significant amount of weight or have quit smoking, you may be elgible for a better rate on life insurance, depending on what your needs are.
If you would like to inquire more about what life insurance would best fit you and your families needs, please call at (888) 565-2212 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org . We are now proudly offering excellent Term policies through William Penn!
Tuesday, March 20, 2012
Ok, so National Umbrella Month it's really this umbrella...
But the REAL umbrella I want to talk to you about is the one that covers not just your head, but your home, your family, your cars, your business, your rental properties, your kids friends that you carpool, your motorcycle, your boat, your ATV and much more. I know what you are thinking...1. ) that's a BIG umbrella, and 2.) that must cost a lot. But did you know, that for less than $0.50 a day, you could buy $1,000,000 in extra liability to cover all of these things? Who says you can't buy a million dollars today? Not me!Here are some answers to questions many of you have asked about why they should purchase an umbrella policy. (Also, make sure you check out the end for a special offer until the end of this month just for getting a quote on an umbrella policy!)
Q. Wouldn't I be covered under my homeowners policy if I am sued by someone who was seriously injured on my property?
A. Yes, your homeowners policy will protect you, but only up to the liability limits of your policy and, then again, only if the injury did not involve molestation, physical or mental abuse or corporal punishment. In today’s lawsuit-oriented society, your homeowners policy may not provide adequate liability coverage in the event you are involved in a significant lawsuit.
Did you know that you didn't even have to be home for someone to sue you? Someone can just be walking across your property, trip and fall and get injured and you could be found liable.
Q. What about my car insurance, wouldn't that protect me?
A. Yes, Similar to your home policy, your auto policy provides coverage in the event of a vehicle-related lawsuit, but only up to the limits of the policy.
Did you also know that you don't just have to have a teenager to be exposed in a car claim. If you carpool or carpool your kids friends to afterschool events and get in an accident, you may not have enough coverage.
Q. Ok, I get that, but what would happen if I was held liable for a settlement that exceeded the limits of my insurance coverage?
A. You would be held personally responsible for paying any portion of the settlement that your insurance company did not pay. Your present assets—your home, your savings account, your car and any other assets you might have—as well as your future earnings could be taken from you to pay the settlement. They can also garnish up to 25% of your current wages.
*** Take the test: Do you need an umbrella policy?
1.) Do you have a car?
2.) Do you own your home?
3.) Do you own a business or rental properties?
4.) Do you have teenage drivers in your household?
5.) Do you drive your kid's friends to and from events or other activities?
6.) Do you volunteer?
7.) Do you have a motorcycle, boat, camper or other specialty vehicles?
If you answered "YES" to more than two of these, you may need an umbrella policy to protect you, your family, and your assets.
Find out if you qualify by calling our umbrella specialist today. 888-565-2212 or go online at Bryan Agency. The price for protection and peace of mind is more affordable than you think!
**Also, for everyone who gets a quote on an umbrella policy for this month, will receive a complimentary umbrella (yes, the umbrella that protects you from the rain!) Call or go online to get a quote today!
You can also the test on facebook! www.facebook.com/BryanAgency
Tuesday, February 28, 2012
Life insurance is the only type of insurance policy that you can use to create a lifestyle for your heirs after you pass on. This makes it an extremely individual product. Instead of deciding what the value of an object is and then insuring said object for that amount, with life insurance you must decide how powerfully you want your death benefit to affect the lives of your beneficiaries and assign a value to that power and legacy creation.
- Paying off debt
- Saving for retirement
- Supplementing an income
- Replacing your income
- College tuition
- Starting a business
Considering Your Situation
Saturday, February 11, 2012
College graduation: When you graduate college, you might not have much more than an auto insurance policy. But this is the time to consider life insurance and, if you move into your own apartment, a renter’s insurance policy. After college you will probably have a lot of debt to deal with. A life insurance policy will ensure that your family isn’t responsible for the debt that you leave behind. Renter’s insurance will protect your contents from possible damage and will protect you from liabilities if anyone is hurt in your home, because the last thing a new college graduate needs is a lawsuit form someone who is injured in their apartment or the expense of replacing items damaged during an insurable incident.
Having a baby: With a new baby on board, your life is going to change completely—and so are your insurance policies. This is a good time for you and your spouse to increase your life insurance death benefits, adjust your contingent beneficiaries to whomever will get custody of your child should you both pass away, increase the limits on your homeowners or renters insurance and even consider reducing your deductibles so that you have fewer out-of-pocket expenses to worry about. You also should consider adding a life insurance policy for your child so that you can lock in rates that they will still be able to pay once they have children of their own.
Not sure when your last review was? Call us (845) 565-2200 to schedule a review now or visit us online at http://www.bryanagency.com/!