Hudson Valley Agents

A Blog About Insurance

An ongoing series of informational entries

 regarding how insurance affects every one, every day in one way or another.

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Empirical Evidence Showing Why You Should Insure With Regional Insurance Companies

November 18, 2022

Hudson Valley Agents has been touting the benefits of insuring your interests with local and regional insurance companies for thirty years. Many times, this call to action falls on deaf ears.

As an independent insurance agency, we have been writing homeowners, car, and business insurance for over thirty years with regional and national insurance companies. However, when it comes to insuring property like homes, rentals, and investment properties, we specifically seek out our regional insurance company partners more often because our region, especially the Hudson Valley, is well insulated against the weather disasters that most of the rest of the country experiences regularly.

Recently, State Farm has told its re-insurers that it expects claims from Hurricane Ian in Florida to total $1.03bn and that most likely doesn't even cover damage to vehicles. Guess who gets to share in the rate increases that will no doubt come down the pike? New York policyholders, that's who.

On November 10th, an article on bankrate.com mentioned Louisiana’s position along the Gulf Coast and the low-lying areas along its southern border, making it particularly vulnerable to hurricane damage. Because of the risk of storm damage, the state's home insurance market is facing challenges. So, anyone in New York with insurance with a company that writes in Louisiana will likely see an exponential rate increase.

Again, on November 10th CBS News reported that Texas now has the 2nd highest homeowners insurance rates in the nation due to a 163% increase in natural disasters over the last ten years. Once again, those rate increases are spread out to policyholders in other states to help ease the pain in that one sector.

Anyone reading this gets the point. Hudson Valley Agents writes with seven different regional insurance companies that are domiciled right here in our region and only write business in our area. All of them are A-rated, financially stable companies. Why? Because they do not experience the kind of losses that national carriers like Geico, Allstate, or State Farm do.

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WHY WON'T MY CAR INSURANCE RATES GO DOWN

July 28, 2022

If you type "why won't my car insurance" into a Google search, the first thing that pops up is "why won't my car insurance go down." We would like to shed some light on that question and possibly help save you some money in the long run.

  1. Check your credit score. Auto insurance companies will check your credit score because statistics show that a lower credit score has a correlation with higher and more frequent claims.
  2. Be cognizant of your driving record and understand that it’s not just your record that affects your rates, it’s everyone that is insured by your company. Texting and driving is such a prevalent thing now, you would be hard pressed to drive 150 feet without seeing someone else do it. This quite often leads to running red lights or crossing lanes.
  3. Put your insurance policies with the same company. Put your renter's coverage and your car insurance together. Put your Homeowner's policy in the same place as your auto coverage. Most insurance companies offer money-saving discounts for multiple policies. Bundle baby! It doesn’t always help, but most of the time it does.
  4. Use an independent agent. Sticking with the same State Farm agent you've had since you were 18 is probably costing you money. Going online and getting a rate quote from a carrier that only offers one rate is like shopping for a new car at one dealership without getting prices from 10 others before you buy. Hudson Valley Agents will shop your rate out with 15 or more (A) rated or better, car insurance companies to find the best fit for you and your wallet. Also, trusting your car insurance to a data processor at an online insurance company will require some knowledge of insurance language and contracts to ensure that the possible low price you were quoted doesn't come with useless coverage, and does cover what you actually need in the event of a loss. Most importantly, if your rate goes up, all you have to do is call us and we will re-shop for you again! If you call an online insurance company or a captive like State Farm when your rate goes up, there will be nothing they can do except maybe send you flowers or something to help ease the pain.

Would you like to lower your other insurance costs? Hudson Valley Agents can handle your business, personal, and life insurance needs. Click here for a free quote now!

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4 FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS ABOUT HOMEOWNERS INSURANCE

May 06, 2022

Most of us don't even know where our paper policies are, let alone what they say. Your homeowners' policy is a legal contract, and it often will read like one. If you are not fluent in legal terminology, or you may have missed what your agent was going over with you regarding the ins and outs of your policy, then you're in the dark.


Here are 4 of the most frequent questions our clients have.


  1. Is mold removal covered by insurance? Insurance companies offer minimal mold (fungus) coverage on the average home policy.
  2. Are downed trees or tree limbs covered?Tree removal is covered only if it lands on the house or other structure. Your company may offer an endorsement to cover tree/branch removal from your property. (a must if you have many trees on your land)
  3. What if my carpets become damaged? Carpet damage is covered, but it must be from a covered peril, and you do have a deductible to pay first.
  4. Will my policy pay for my furnace repairs? Nope. But some companies offer a home service endorsement, and it covers all of your major appliances and is super affordable!Also, there is a mechanical breakdown endorsement that would cover the furnace and other mechanicals in the home that you should consider.

Understanding everything in your contract is essential, so we take the time to explain it to you. An educated consumer is our best customer.

2020 taught us just how important our homes are to our health and well-being. Knowing that you have excellent insurance coverage will make disasters less disastrous.

Being there for our clients when they need us is why we do what we do. Our clients are why we have carefully chosen the companies we do business with. What good is a cheap rate if the company never pays out on the claim? You deserve better than that.


Call Us For Your Farm Insurance Needs!

(845) 778-2141

INSURING HUDSON VALLEY FARMS

April 05, 2022

“Agriculture is civilization.” – E. Emmons

Today’s blog comes to us via David J Bonne, President of Hudson Valley Agents. David had a dream of providing locally sourced insurance coverage (yep, we can do that by insuring businesses with Hudson Valley insurance companies.) for the Valley’s farmers, farmer’s markets, restaurants, breweries, distilleries, and wineries, and he has turned that dream into a reality.

The Farm

When it comes to insuring your assets, such as your farm, it’s really easy to make a mistake and either over-insure your properties out of sheer paranoia or under insure them to try to save money. Also, there is a broad spectrum of insurances to choose from, and picking the right coverage's for the right amounts can be critical to keeping your farm afloat.

The first thing you should know is that one size does not fit all when insuring farms. Thinking about your liability exposure first, the more acres you have, the greater the vulnerability is, just on the math alone. Nosy wandering trespassers, subcontracted laborers, employees, visitors, and customers can all get hurt easily on farm property no matter how hard you try to prevent it. Sometimes even the most minor, most frivolous claims can turn into tens of thousands of dollars in defense costs. Depending on the size, type, and structure of your farming operations, some non-attached parcels may not be covered correctly, if at all. These are the things that must be discussed with your agent before accepting your policy terms.

Next, there is the issue of properly insuring farm property which can fall into several categories and is rarely lumped into one.

• Non-attached buildings, for instance. On a standard homeowners policy and maybe even on a country squire/small hobby farm policy, non-attached buildings are usually sub-limits of the home-dwelling amount. However, on a standard farm, those other buildings typically cost way more to repair or replace than those sub-limits afford. In many cases, the barn alone can cost much more than the farmhouse, and in most cases, there are quite a few outbuilding structures such as run-in sheds, barns, utility sheds, garages, etc. In all those situations, the farm owner needs to be aware of the settlement option on those buildings. Are they insured for full replacement value, actual depreciated cash value, or possibly an agreed-upon value, and the correct amounts? With a standard farm policy, you can usually pick and choose which buildings to insure and set an agreed-upon value. This can be a helpful tool in controlling your costs.

• Farm equipment is another aspect of farm property. On a home or hobby farm policy, the contents coverage as a sub-limit of the home may or may not suffice here, but on a standard or larger commercial farm, it most certainly will not. Properly insuring farm equipment can be tricky and requires the advice of a really good agent. In many cases, the farm equipment can dwarf the building coverage's. A really good tractor can cost upwards of $250,000, not to mention irrigators, dusters, plows, balers, wagons, combines, the list goes on. Once again, having the correct settlement option and valuations on your equipment is vital. Also, are you co-insuring your equipment? Many policies offer the option and in some cases only offer this option to co-insure. This means you may still be on the hook for a good portion of your loss in the event of a claim. Then there is choosing the right deductible as well. Is your equipment scheduled or blanketed with one lump sum of coverage, and is that the correct way to do it in your specialized case?

Now, on to your crops and/or livestock. Crops and livestock are not automatically covered under ANY policy. They have to be endorsed and specified in the policy. Once they are, how do you know exactly what they are covered for? Tornado, flooding, pestilence, pests, or wildfire? Before buying crop insurance, it is vital that the farmer submits an accurate representation of the planted acreage they have per unit. If they under-report, there may not be reimbursed for all losses they could realistically experience. Livestock also has many different options and requirements. There is mortality insurance, transit coverage, auction coverage, cattle cage, pasture, etc. An equine racehorse farm would have very different needs than a cattle farm or a crop farm. Make sure you have the correct insurance policy in hand. Crop and livestock coverage can be partially funded by the USDA as well.

Workers Compensation is also vital to having a legally operating farm when you employ people. Contrary to what some believe, there are NO EXCEPTIONS for farm-workers, they must be insured by a worker’s compensation policy in NY.

As a farmer, you have many obligations, not just to your family and employees, but to your vendors, distributors, and even your insurance company. Like any insurance policy, there are strict requirements on the part of the policyholder to safeguard their property and minimize the chance of a loss as much as possible. If you are not familiar with your obligations to your insurance carrier, then it is time for a review of your policies. If you have not discussed your insurance with anyone in quite some time, then you are overdue for a review of your current policies. Farm insurance is not something to let stagnate or keep buried in a drawer somewhere.

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3 EASY WAYS TO SAVE MONEY ON YOUR BUSINESS EXPENSES

March 23, 2022

Running a small business is never an easy task, and it is made monumentally more difficult during a pandemic. We are going through the same thing, and we want to help. Let’s look at ways your business could save some money on your insurance rates and fix any problems that could occur in the future.

1- Business owners have made multiple changes to their business during the pandemic, and fewer staff and changes in hours are just the beginning. Is your storefront still open, or have you moved to fully online sales? Significant changes in your business should be reflected in your current policy.

2- Have you purchased a new vehicle for deliveries? Maybe added some graphics to it so that your business’s name is visible as you drive around town? Did you buy a commercial auto policy? No? Do not have an accident; your regular car insurance will not cover it.

3- When was the last time you shopped around for lower insurance costs? How confident are you that you have the best coverage and the most affordable rates? Every penny counts right now, so take the time to give us your information so we can shop around for you.

Our small business is here for your small business. We make it easy, affordable, and local. Workers compensation, business liability, commercial auto, commercial real estate, seriously, we do it all, and we do it well.

Call Hudson Valley Agents today for your free insurance review. We will make this as quick and painless as possible; we know you have a business to run. 845-778-2141, [email protected], or hvagents.com. You can also use our secure dedicated link Shop local, hire local, and insure local!

4 Ways You May Be Wasting Gas

March 03, 2022

Hudson Valley gas prices are skyrocketing! Let’s look at a few ways our driving habits are wasting costly fuel.

1- Idling. Now that we are inching into spring, letting your car idle to warm up while you clear the snow from your windshield is happening less. Every fifteen minutes spent idling burns approximately a quarter of a gallon of gas.

2- Aggressive driving (fast starts, stomping on your brakes, speeding) can increase fuel consumption by as much as 40%

3- Use your cruise control! This is your car’s magic weapon for saving money. Set it to the correct speed limit, and you’ll save gas money and no speeding fines.

4- Lose the extra weight. Do you know that bowling ball and set of golf clubs you’ve been meaning to donate to your local Goodwill? Bring it there, and it’s costing you gas money. The heavier the load, the harder the engine has to work, the harder the engine works, the more gas it uses.

Looking for ways to save money? Consider ​one of th​ese apps to help you find deals on gas and which stations have the lowest prices.

Another money-saving tip, get your auto insurance from Hudson Valley Agents. We make it quick & easy to update your coverage and add cash to your bank account. We’ll shop our many companies, ensure that you’re not paying for anything you don’t need, and that you have the coverage necessary to protect your investment. Many of our companies offer discounts when you bundle your renter’s insurance or homeowners’ insurance with your car insurance. #gasprices #carinsurance

Click Here To Rejoice In Lower Rates For Your Distillery

Insurance For Hudson Valley Distilleries

January 14, 2022

Our valley is home to some of the finest distilleries in the country. We’re talking about places like Speakeasy Motors Whiskey Company, Taconic Distillery, and Hudson Whiskey, to name a few. Sipping a fine bourbon from the distillery up the road is a big part of the Hudson Valley experience.

The insurance needs of our Hudson Valley distilleries are very different from the average business owner’s policy. Your average cookie-cutter policy will leave you dangerously under insured, leaving you with crippling debt or closing the doors for good.

Here are some of the gaps that might be lurking in your current policy.

• Barreling.

• Bottling.

• Distribution.

• Coverage for damage to your outbuildings.

• Coverage for foundations and underground pipes.

• Brand and Label coverage.

• Key replacement, lock repair.

• Food contamination.

• Transportation/distribution.

• Marring and scratching.

• Money and securities.

We could continue with this list, but why waste your time. There is a much faster way to get our point across; let’s talk.

For the best insurance for your Hudson Valley distillery, grab your insurance policy, grab your phone, and call David at 845-778-2141. No time to talk? Click here to do it online.

Protecting your business is our business with things like Key Person insurance, real-time workers comp, fast certificates of insurance for when you take your show on the road. We’re here to make it all more manageable and more affordable for you and your business.

Drink responsibly and locally. Shop local. Insure local.

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Information About Firearm Liability Insurance

November 15, 2021

In 2020 New York State’s gun sales increased by 121%. From January 2020 to June 2020, 4,000 people in NY applied for a gun license.

Applying for a pistol permit is not as universal as you might think, neither is insurance.

Were you aware that pistol permit requirements differ from County to County in the Hudson Valley? Albany, Rensselaer, Greene, Columbia, Ulster, Orange, Rockland, and Westchester counties all require County approved gun safety courses. Putnam County requires the NRA safety course. Dutchess County requires no safety course at all.

Insurance policies, much like pistol permit requirements, differ in a lot of ways. Some differences are not that big of a deal, apples to apples, if you will. But other differences, like not requiring any safety courses at all, are a much larger deal. The issue for the consumer is not price, but the ability to speak “insurance lingo” and understand what it is you are purchasing.

That is why we wrote this blog. We want our insureds to know and understand precisely what it is they are buying. What they are covered for, and what they aren’t.

How many of those 4,000 new gun owners know about firearm liability insurance?

Firearm Liability Insurance was created to protect the insured from legal action from using the weapon in self-defense. Not the gun itself.

Here are some of the things it covers-

• Incidents of self-defense in the home

• Coverage for firearms that have been stolen, loaned out, or lost and subsequently used to cause bodily injury or property damage by someone other than the legal owner of the weapon

• Limited coverage for police officers* (no on-duty coverage, no service weapon coverage, not covered for protecting citizens while off-duty)

• Covers air rifles

• The policy covers all weapons in the home, not charged per firearm

What it does not cover

• No liability coverage when hunting

• No coverage for accidental discharge outside of the home

• No discounts for firearm courses or memberships

• The policy is for the weapon owner, too, if in self-defense, not the gun itself

• No coverage is provided if the client is found to be under the influence of alcohol, narcotics, or other intoxicants

For further information, contact David Bonne  845-778-2141. He has 30 years of insurance know-how and wants to put it to work for you.

Boat Fuel Is Expensive. Click Here To Save Elsewhere

Low-Cost Boat Insurance

April 07 2021

we are here to help you insure all aspects of your boating life!

There are so many things to learn about when you first buy a boat, learning who has the right of way, where to find a boat launch, getting your boating safety certificate, who has time to think about insurance? We do, we take care of the non-fun side of boating for you, and we do it well. Some types of watercraft do not require a separate insurance policy. If you own a kayak or a canoe, then you can add them to your homeowner’s policy with just a phone call. Speedboats, some fishing boats, and yachts need their own coverage.

Here are a few reasons not to skimp on your insurance:

1- Some fish finders cost $2,000

2- A good fishing pole can be $550 or more

3- A top of the line tackle-box runs about $80

4- Then there’s that $300 in lures to fill that tackle-box

That’s $2,930 that won’t be covered if you bought your insurance based on price and not coverage. We work with companies like Progressive and Safeco who offer multi-policy discounts when you add your boat to your homeowners or auto policy. Not insured with either of those companies? No problem. We have many others to choose from, and we will find the best fit for you and your wallet. You learn about water safety; we’ll handle the insurance. Boat safely Hudson Valley!

3 Easy Ways To Save On Business Insurance

January 7, 2021

Running a small business is never an easy task, and it is made monumentally more difficult during a pandemic. We are going through the same thing, and we want to help. Let’s look at ways your business could save some money on your insurance rates and fix any problems that could occur in the future.

1- Business owners have made multiple changes to how they do business during the pandemic. Less staff and changes in hours are just the beginning. Is your storefront still open, or have you moved to fully online sales? Significant changes in your business should be reflected in your current policy.

2- Have you purchased a new vehicle for deliveries? Maybe added some graphics to it so that your business’s name is visible as you drive around town? Did you buy a commercial auto policy? No? Do not have an accident; your regular car insurance WILL NOT COVER IT.

3- When was the last time you shopped around for lower insurance costs? How confident are you that you have the best coverage and the most affordable rates? Every penny counts right now, so take the time to give us your information so we can shop around for you.

Our small business is here for your small business. We make it easy, affordable, and local. Workers compensation, business liability, commercial auto, commercial real estate, seriously, we do it all, and we do it well.

Call Hudson Valley Agents today for your free insurance review. We will make this as quick and painless as possible; we know you have a business to run. 845-778-2141, [email protected], or hvagents.com. You can also use our secure dedicated link business-insurance.link . Shop local, hire local, and insure local!