Friday, June 22, 2012

Graduation Parties - Are You Covered?

By Guest Blogger: Nelson Rivera Jr.

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.

Like any responsible parent, you will have drinks for the adults only and soda for your child and his or her friends. Your child is a good kid, so you have made it clear that there will be no drinking at the party, and they have agreed.

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  ***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 or

Monday, June 18, 2012

Pet Safety: The Safest Way to Drive Your Pet Around

The Safest way to Drive Your Pet Around

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.
Tips for Cats
  • 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, 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.
It doesn’t take much effort to keep your pet safe and comfortable when traveling. Taking these extra steps will help add years to their lives.

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 or visit us online at Bryan Agency or on Facebook

Monday, June 4, 2012

The Top 7 Camper Claims...Did you know?

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.

Take a look at the top 7 claims experienced by camper and RV owners, and you’ll see just how necessary insurance is whether you are on—or off—the road.

1.) Fire Damage

Gas leaks and unattended indoor cooking sessions are often to blame for the fire damage claimed by RV owners. To avoid them yourself:
  • Use leak detector solution to check for gas leaks.
  • Don’t leave cooking food unattended.
  • Do not use a grill inside the camper.
  • Follow manufacturer’s instructions when using portable heating devices 
2.) Roof Damage

 Claiming damages that occur after driving into overhangs, signs and bridges is a common activity for RV owners. To avoid this:

  • Know the height of your RV from the ground to its highest point.
  • Always check clearances before driving underneath something.
  • Remove antennas before driving if they extend higher than the highest point.
3.) Damages after a Tire Blowout
Tire blowouts can be easy to prevent:
  • Keep tires properly inflated.
  • Check tires at least weekly when the camper is in use.
  • Keep weight appropriate to limits on the tires.
  • Keep tires rotated and replaced when tread is low or tires cracked.

4.) Body Damage

Body damage can occur to any RV owner, but it can be easy to avoid if you::

  • Take a course in learning how to back in, how to use your mirrors, and understanding your blind spots.
  • Keep the RV or camper parked level and wheels secured so that it can’t roll.
5.) Damage to Awnings and Steps
Always retract steps and awnings before moving the RV or camper—even if you aren’t moving it far.

6.) Infestation

An unused RV makes a nice home for rodents and bugs. To lessen this risk:

  • Drive the RV occasionally when not vacationing.
  • Keep food and liquids out of the camper when stored.
  • Keep mouse and bug traps in the camper and replace them as often as necessary.


When travelling around from campsite to campsite, your RV can easily become the target of thieves, but you can reduce risk by:

  • Keeping your RV locked whenever it is unattended.
  • Keeping expensive items such as personal electronics out of view from the outside. 

For all your RV and camper insurance needs, give us a call 845-565-2200 or visit us online at Stay safe this summer!