Tag Archives: insurance

How Snowbirds Can Winterize Their Homes Before Going Away

Snow home

If you are a snowbird heading south for the winter, there are several key things you can do to help protect your vacant home. Taking these steps can help protect your home from theft, water damage, heating or electrical system malfunctions while you are away.

Make Your Home Appear as Though It Is Continuously Occupied

Forward your mail, stop newspaper delivery, and ask a friend or relative to collect flyers or other items that may be left at your door.

Take Steps to Protect Your Home from Thieves

Secure external doors and windows with deadbolt locks, security-type hinges and sturdy door frames that cannot be spread apart. Install slide locks or other equivalent security locks on doors.

Protect Your Pipes to Avoid Water Damage by Turning Off Your Water Supply

Drain your pipes of all water by opening the faucets, and flush your toilet to clear the water from the tank and bowl, then consider pouring antifreeze in toilet tanks and bowls to prevent any remaining water from freezing.

Keep Your Home and Plumbing Warm if Your Water Supply Stays On

Set the temperature at 55°F or higher to help keep the interior of the floor and wall cavities above freezing temperatures. Keeping room and cabinet doors open also helps heat to circulate and warm the areas where pipes are located.

 Perform Routine Maintenance Before You Leave

If electrical service to the home is to remain on, consider having a licensed electrical contractor inspect your main electrical panel, wiring and outlets, if necessary.

Make Your Home Unattractive to Pests

Inspect your home for openings that animals could use to enter. For example, make sure your fireplace flue is closed, as bats, birds and squirrels are known to get inside this way.

Be Ready for Emergencies

Install smoke detectors on at least every floor (preferably tied to a constantly monitored fire alarm system so the fire department will automatically be notified in case of alarm), and confirm that the sensors and system are tested regularly.

For more information about how you can successfully carry out each of these steps and winterize your home, visit Travelers Insurance’s Snowbirds blog.

A 2017 Thanksgiving Message From Our President Heidi Petschauer

Thanksgiving Table

During this special time of year where we pause to give thanks, I begin this message with a very heartfelt thank you to my dad, the founder of Petschauer Insurance, John Petschauer. He always provided me with an opportunity to learn the insurance business as well as understand the importance of collaborating with others.

Because of my dad’s imparting wisdom, as leader of the Petschauer Insurance Team, I always focus on promoting everyone working together.  Everyone on our team has incredible strengths which are all unique and appreciated. Therefore, pooling our strengths truly promotes our values of always relating with honesty and integrity, so that we can continue to build trusting relationships with you – our valued clients.

So now, my heartfelt thank you goes out to our amazing Petschauer Team! They are always open and committed, as I was, to seeking every opportunity to learn and grow so that they can continue to keep you, your families and your businesses protected and feeling safe. I am truly blessed to have them as my Team!

To you: our clients, I am so grateful and appreciate your continued trust in us and the values we uphold.

I wish everyone and their families a very blessed, safe and wonderful Thanksgiving holiday. May you all take this time to reflect on the many blessings in your life.

Open Enrollment 2018: Key Information, Dates and Reminders

Doctor visit

If you are currently without health insurance, Open Enrollment for individuals is here. Open Enrollment is your opportunity to purchase this coverage so that you can be covered on January 1, 2018.

It is important to be aware that if you are earning an income above the Federal Poverty Level, you will be required to pay a penalty for any three consecutive months that you are without health insurance. If you have lost your coverage previously sponsored by an employer, or you no longer qualify to be on your parent’s plan because you are over 26 years old, Open Enrollment is your time to take action to purchase health insurance.

Here is how you can take advantage of this sign-up period to secure health insurance and avoid any subsequent penalties.

What is Open Enrollment?

This is a period during which an individual can apply for health insurance with fewer restrictions than any other time during the year. It is important for those uninsured individuals to make note of this eligibility period. Open Enrollment for the calendar year of 2018 extends from November 1st through December 15, 2017. During Open Enrollment, insurance companies    waive underwriting guidelines and any requirement for evidence of insurability. When Open Enrollment ends on 12/15/17, individuals seeking coverage need to be “qualified” for Special Enrollment, or they will be required to wait until the next scheduled open enrollment period for 2019.

What is Special Enrollment?

This is a period outside open enrollment during which you are given an exception and can purchase health insurance following a qualifying life event, including divorce, marriage, birth, adoption, moving, death and loss of employer sponsored coverage.

How can individual insurance be purchased?

A number of Health Insurance Companies are offering Individual health coverage either directly through health carrier websites, via the New York State Health Exchange, or off the Exchange through independent insurance brokers.

What penalties will you be responsible to pay if you are not covered?

In 2018: $695 or 2.5% of income (individual) and $347.50 (child). The maximum penalty will be set at $2,085.

Health insurance is extremely important for all individuals, even for those with a clean bill of health. Accidents happen, as do unforeseen illnesses.  The cost of emergency room visits, x-rays, MRIs, hospital stays and doctor visits can all add up and be a financial burden to you and your family. We urge you to take advantage of this opportunity to purchase health insurance.  Please contact us with any questions you have about Open Enrollment.

Great Tips For Keeping Your Cyber Information Secure

Technology provides us with great opportunities to make obtaining and sharing information easy, both in the workplace and our personal lives. While the below video from IIABNY refers to the insurance industry, it’s important for us all to be careful when communicating with others. You can come up with proper risk management procedures to prevent cyber liability. With October being National Cyber Security Awareness Month, this video is a great reminder with tips for the best practices.

How Will Purchasing Life Insurance Benefit Your Family?

Family dog

As part of Life Insurance Awareness Month, we would like to take this opportunity to shed light on the valuable benefits of purchasing life insurance. This is a chance to ensure your family is protected, accommodated, and comfortable in the event of your absence. Allow us to share some of the ways life insurance can take care of your family and potentially mitigate pressing expenses.

Income Replacement: If you’re the primary earner, your family depends on your livelihood. Life insurance can help your family cover the costs of expenses such as:

Mortgage: A mortgage may prove to be difficult to pay for as your family transitions to living life in your absence. The death benefit could help cover this cost while they adjust.

College Expenses: The death benefit could help cover tuition expenses for your children. It may take your spouse some time to find a job in your absence. Even then, there will be other expenses to account for and this benefit would allow your children to continue college with a smoother transition after their mourning period.

Family beachChild Care: If your spouse must work additional hours in your absence to supplement income or require assistance watching over young children, there may be a need for child care services. The death benefit can help pay for this expense.

Final Expenses: Your life insurance can also cover expenses related to your death, including:

  • Funeral
  • Burial
  • Last Rights
  • Medical expenses you leave behind that may not have been covered by health insurance.

Life insurance will offer your family some peace of mind while going through this sad and difficult time. Everyone’s situation is different, so feel free to contact us and we can tailor a plan that best fits your family’s needs in your absence.

Why Should Young Adults Consider Life Insurance?

Young Athlete

When’s the best time to purchase life insurance? The answer is NOW. If you find yourself thinking you’re too young to purchase life insurance, we urge you to stop and keep reading as we debunk other common life insurance myths with an assist from “Life Happens.”

It’s too expensive. In the ever-burgeoning budget of a young family, things like day care and car payments and possibly student loans eat up a good chunk of the money each month, and a lot of people think that life insurance is just outside those “necessities” when money’s tight. Life insurance is often not nearly as expensive as you might think, especially when you can get a good policy for less than the cost of a daily cup of coffee at the local café, and well, if money’s tight now, what if something happens to you? In other words, you cannot afford NOT to have life insurance.

I’m strong and healthy! You eat right, you stay active, and everyone admires how grounded and centered you are. You passed your last physical with flying colors! That’s GREAT! You’re neither immortal nor indestructible. It’s not even that something could happen to you—though it could—so much as when you’re at your strongest and healthiest, there’s no better time to get a policy to protect your loved ones. If you fall seriously ill or suffer significant injury later, it will make it tougher to get that kind of policy, if any at all. Simply put, purchase it now while you are healthy and it’s less expensive, so that it’s there for you and your family when cost/availability is out of reach in your mature years.

I don’t have kids. Kids are a big reason why some people get life insurance. That’s not the only litmus for needing protection. If there is anyone in your life who would suffer financially from your loss—your spouse or domestic partner, a sibling, even your parents—a life insurance policy goes a long way in making sure everyone’s still OK even if something happens to you. For peace of mind, purchasing life insurance now is key.

Check out more information from “Life Happens” during Life Insurance Awareness Month.

Have You Considered A Job In The Insurance Industry?

Job Interview 2

Congratulations! You’ve completed your collegiate career and are excited to use what you learned and embark on a new career. Celebrate your accomplishments! You have earned it!

As you enter this amazing time in your life and reflect upon where the next road leads, we encourage you to stay positive during what can be an overwhelming and challenging time.

As an ambitious professional looking to dive in head first and get real world experience, where can you turn?

We are here to share with you the many rewarding and lucrative areas of the insurance industry!

There are so many possibilities the insurance industry can offer with your versatile talents.

Check them out!

  • Customer service
  • Claims
  • Underwriting
  • Management
  • Marketing
  • Information Technology
  • Social Media
  • Human Resources

In addition, there are many perks to working in insurance.

• With various careers and respective roles to choose from, you will find of plenty of room for creativity, growth, and stability. Companies are often looking for young, energetic talent to train, nurture, and develop to help fill these roles.

• Insurance will be around forever! Insurance will always be needed regardless of the economic climate, so there will always be a place for you! Therefore it will provide ambitious individuals with the groundwork for job security. With varied roles to fill, you are bound to meet co-workers with diversified talents and personalities. No work day is ever quite the same.

• Most rewarding, you will come away with a sense of purpose. You’ll be part of an industry dedicated to helping people protect themselves, their assets, and their families in hopes of securing the best future and overall quality of life.

With all of this to look forward to, what are you waiting for? Visit our career page to stay on top of the opportunities we may have for you moving forward!

New York Paid Family Leave Law: Key Information, Dates and Reminders

Newborn with parents

New York’s new Paid Family Leave (PFL) law will go into effect on January 1st, 2018. This is a mandatory benefit for all New York employees, and employers have the option to approach their employees to make early deductions. Beginning July 1st, 2017 employers can start making these deductions. In the interest of sharing more information, Petschauer Insurance would like to answer some pressing questions to help readers understand how this law impacts you.

What is PFL & who qualifies for this benefit?

PFL supplements part of an employee’s income while they are out of work. Full-time employees who have worked 26 consecutive weeks and part-timers who have worked a minimum of 175 days are all eligible.

When can you take PFL?

Paid Family Leave can be taken for newborn bonding and/or foster adoption (within one year of birth/placement), the caring of a seriously ill family member, or family exigency/military leave. The need for exigency leave will arise if a covered military family member is on covered activity duty or active duty status.

How much will PFL pay?

In 2018, employees will be eligible for 50% income replacement for a maximum of 8 weeks. An employee’s approved time off and income replacement percentage will continue to increase through 2020.

How much will PFL cost?

Employees fund PFL through payroll deductions. The premium or contribution will be equivalent to .126% of an employee’s weekly wage, capped at $1.65 per week for New York’s average wage of $1,305.92.

Will you have job protection?

All eligible employees have job protection while out on Paid Family Leave.

Have more questions about Paid Family Leave? Please contact us today! 

Keeping You Safe Through the Sunshine & Fun Summer Season

Family Dog Outdoors

After eagerly awaiting through the cold winter months, we’ve finally arrived at summertime! This is an opportunity to soak in the sun, go for a swim, grill up some burgers, and participate in a number of other fun outdoor activities.

Along with the incoming heat wave, however, comes a need for safety and increased awareness.  Taking cues from some of our carrier partners, we’d like to highlight ways to practice safety while still having fun this time of year.

BBQ

HOW TO BE SAFE WHEN MAKING a dynamite meal FOR FAMILY & FRIENDS: It’s important to check your propane tank for leaks before you begin. As you start cooking up that delicious food, make sure kids and pets are both far away from the grill.   Afterwards, be mindful to clean the grease/fat buildup off the grill and respective trays so that you are ready for your next fabulous meal!  For more suggestions, Travelers offers a full pre, during, and post grilling guide here.

Help your pets enjoy summer, too! Sometimes the blazing heat can just be too hot for us to bear on a summer day. There’s a good chance that our pets feel the same way. According to the ASPCA, it only takes ten minutes for the inside of a car to reach 102 degrees on an 85 degree day.  Please, do not even think about leaving pets in the car, even for a minute while you run into a store!  This can lead to hyperthermia or WORSE! There are ways to make your furry friends comfortable during the sunshine.  Here are a few: when traveling outdoors with your pet, carry large amounts of cold water, exercise during cool parts of the day, find shady areas or bring umbrellas, walk in the grass and be sure they always wear a life vest if they are near the water or on a boat.

Pool PartyMake a positive splash! It’s always an exciting time of year when opening the pool. If you have young kids around, there are ways to ensure a safe environment before you officially hit the water. It would be best to secure the perimeter with fencing, a gate, and/or locked entrance. You can also equip the pool area with life preserver rings and rope, as well as a reaching pole with a rescue hook. Trusted Choice provides more pool safety/maintenance tips here.

One small step for “man”, one giant leap for safety!  The warm weather allows us to enjoy a variety of outdoor activities we look forward to all year round. For some, that includes jumping on a trampoline, using fire pits and waterfalls. Coverage on your homeowner’s policy may vary depending on the carrier so call your agent today to be sure your guests are covered in the event of an unforeseen accident. There are carriers that provide coverage based on certain safety measures being met. For your convenience, Nationwide offers insight as to how you can forge ahead with caution.  In addition, Travelers has you covered as well!

We’re all excited for summer and we wish you a safe and fun time!  Enjoy the start of the season!

What are the benefits of taking a defensive driving course?

Driver seatbeltWhen speaking to our clients about their auto insurance, we are often asked what determines their premium and what opportunities they may have to help lower it without jeopardizing their coverages.  In the interest of offering helpful information, we have one potential solution for you.

We’d like to share the benefits of taking a defensive driving course. Completion of a New York DMV-approved Point & Insurance Reduction Program will result in a 10% reduction of a driver’s liability, no fault and collision premiums. The discount extends over a three year period and applies to each vehicle for which you are considered the primary operator. In addition, it could result in up to a 4-point reduction on your driving record if you have previously received a traffic ticket.  The course would also be a good opportunity for young drivers who have recently received their licenses and/or more experienced drivers to benefit from a refresher, all while lowering their rate at the same time.Driving School

There are two different ways to take the course.  We offer this course online via our website to easily fit into your busy schedule.  If you prefer the in-person engagement, there are also classroom-sessions available.  You can click here for a full listing of New York state locations offering this type of option.

This is just one of the ways you can work on lowering your premium.  Feel free to contact your agent for more suggestions and/or information about your auto policy. We would be happy to answer your questions and review your options!