Monthly Archives: June 2014

My Tenant Has A Puppy. What Type Of Insurance Do I Need?

puppyDear Sherri, I just found out that my tenant adopted a puppy. I have a fire policy with liability coverage of $500,000 and an umbrella policy too. Should I do anything else? – Dog-gone Worried in Hicksville

Dear Dog-gone Worried, I’m not sure, but are congratulations in order? Oh well, Mazel Tov! You sound like you have everything you need, but you didn’t say what kind of dog it is. Some policies have an animal exclusion clause that affects only certain breeds that have a, shall we say, bad rap. If your policy has that exclusion clause, you have no coverage for any legal suits associated with that dog. You should also advise your tenant to purchase a Renter’s policy with a minimum liability limit of $500,000 and their policy should name you, his landlord, as an additional interest. This should be your practice for all tenants, not just ones with dogs. In fact, purchasing a Renters policy should be in the lease agreement. So talk to your agent to make sure everything is ok, but enjoy your new 4-legged neighbor.

What Is Covered On My Wedding Insurance Policy?

gty_wedding_insurance_kb_140121_16x9_992Shortly after a young woman gets engaged she begins making plans for the big day. There is the location, the flowers, the band, the food, the dress, the wedding party, the limos, the house of worship, and it goes on and on. Most weddings are in the planning stages for approximately one year. Can you even imagine after all that expenditure of energy that the venue closes down just prior to the big event? That brides and grooms not only have to sue to get back their deposit, but they need to scurry around finding another suitable site in which to hold their nuptials.
Well, believe it or not, that is exactly what happened to many couples who planned to have their weddings at 147 Front Street, Brooklyn, NY 11201 between Jay and Pearl Streets in the trendy “Dumbo” area of Brooklyn.

One such bride actually posted, “Jilted by my wedding venue.” It is reported that the owner, Jason Stevens took the money and ran leaving brides without the needed resources to start the planning process all over again. Mr. Stevens is wanted for embezzlement and, as the owner of the establishment, he disappeared without paying over 35 employees and kept over 100 deposits totaling approximately $6K. The worst, however, was leaving his blameless staff to the wrath of untold numbers of brides and grooms shocked to learn what had happened.

All I can say is, if this is not an advertisement for wedding insurance, than I don’t know what is. Wedding insurance is exactly what it sounds like. It is an insurance policy which covers the event and financially protects the bride and groom against any misfortune or mishap. Such coverage is relatively inexpensive and can cost as little as $180. Most important, it can provide you with the peace of mind that if something like the following occurs, you will be able to recoup some if not all of the costs to reschedule some or all of your party:
• Weather
• A Missing Clergyman
• Missing Vendors
• Damage to the venue, venue out of business, fire, electrical or mechanical problems at the venue.

And there are even riders available for Military service if either the bride or groom is unexpectedly called to serve; gowns and tuxedos from stores going out of business or from damage, gifts against theft or damage, liability to cover injured guests, honeymoon cancellation.

Be advised, however, that failure to show due to cold feet is NOT covered!

By Karen Skoler, CPCU

Happy Father’s Day from Petschauer Insurance

JPandHFThis is a day I always love remembering and honoring my dad, John Petschauer, the founder of our firm. He may only be with me in spirit now but his memory lives on in my heart and in my every day life. Since I was a little girl, he always encouraged me and stood by me. I always knew he was the wind beneath my wings. Although I think of him everyday, on Father’s Day I am especially reminded of our extraordinary relationship and all the wonderful memories we made.

To all of you who are dads, may you enjoy your special day celebrating your relationship with your children.

To all of you who have lost your dads, as I have, use this day to embrace those fond memories and smile.

– Heidi Petschauer Fox

Does My Car Insurance Cover My Broken Windshield?

Cracked-WinshieldDear Sherri, I got into my car this morning to find a large crack in my front windshield, will my insurance cover that and what should I do? – Sincerely, Cracked Up in Forest Hills

Dear Cracked Up,
The first thing you should do is to call your insurance agent and confirm that you have ”full glass coverage” for your automobile. If you do, a simple call to the insurance company to make a claim is all it takes for them to set you up with an auto glazer that typically can come to your home or place of business to make the repair within 24 or 48 hours. They will bill your insurance company directly and your claim is settled. If you do NOT have full glass coverage, prepare a bloody Mary, drink up, and cry a little because you may have to pay for the entire thing as it may fall under your deductible. Either way, the important thing is to get that repaired immediately before you use your automobile again. Even though it might only be a slight crack, the whole windshield is now weakened and can be very dangerous.

Do Telematic Devices Save You Money?

Morpheus3-Open-Telematics-OS-and-SDK2The insurance industry has realized that electronics can now play an important role in the underwriting of a Commercial Automobile Policy. After all, our personal auto clients have been benefiting from GPS technology for years.
In Commercial Vehicles, the installation and use of telemetry can monitor items such as:
• distance driven
• time of day
• destination(s)
• speed
• brake usage
• safe and efficient driving practices
• proof that such safe practices are actually being engaged
The use of such information to monitor and coach drivers can coax more insurance carriers into providing credits for the use of this equipment. This can make the initial investment minimal in terms of the actual dollar return to be realized.
Certainly, this is more reliable than dialing #1-800 How’s My Driving!
It is said that the use of such devices can even be used to reconstruct accident details. Of late, Commercial Lines insurers are offering a 5% credit for the use of any and all telemetry.

And why not? The use of these electronics is certainly more practical than having the boss ride along with every driver in his fleet.
Recent articles in insurance periodicals indicate that development of additional telemetry for use in fleet systems has been hindered because the patents to more sophisticated devices are actually owned by a leading insurance company who specializes in writing auto policies for customers with varying degrees of driving skill and proficiency. The patents for “Snapshot,” and other such devices that have gathered driving habit(s) data over the last decade, are now being challenged. As a matter of fact, several of these patents are actually being cancelled.

Such Usage- Based Insurance programs are slated for rapid growth here in the United States and it is predicted that over the next 5 years, more and more carriers will incorporate some form of credit for the use of such technology. As a matter of fact, even seatbelt usage can be monitored by this means.

Does this imply that traffic tickets will ultimately be issued “after the fact” just because the device has ratted us out?
By Karen Skoler, CPCU

How To Save Money On Your Homeowners Premiums

home-insuranceI went to the supermarket last week and I couldn’t believe the prices. How do families put food on their tables and still have money left for clothing, shelter and FUN? This actually led me to think about the customers we insure and how they could benefit from knowing how to reduce costs on their homeowners insurance premiums.
That’s where our staff really excels. By listening, REALLY listening to our clients, we come to know their budgetary concerns regarding insurance and we do everything in our power to help them reduce the cost of their homeowners policy while still providing them with good coverages. How is that possible? Read on for some tips you might be able to employ:
• Increase your deductible
• Apply credit for installing burglar and / or fire alarms, smoke detectors and dead bolt locks
• Non Smoking Household Credit
• Mature or Senior Homeowner Credit
• Account Discount for having both Home and Auto with the same company

Make no mistake, these are all legitimate ways of lowering your premium without diminishing your protection and we take advantage of these discounts every day!
If, however, you are not speaking with your agent on a consistent basis, you will never know what you can do to take advantage of money saving ways to reduce premiums.

By Karen Skoler, CPCU