Hey!!! Why Is My Neighbor’s Insurance Policy Less Than Mine?

December 16, 2013 at 3:42 pm | Posted in Insurance | Leave a comment

Have you ever been out washing the car, mowing the lawn or shoveling the snow and stopped to chat with your neighbor?  One conversation leads to another and you end up chatting about your insurance rates, only to discover you are paying more than your neighbor?  If the chore you were performing didn’t make you hot, you were now!

But before you pick up the phone or bang out an email to your insurance agent consider the following factors insurance companies use to determine the premium you pay.

  • How is your credit rating?  Insurance companies use an insurance score to predict the likelihood of a client filing a claim and how expensive the claims might be.  Generally, consumers with a good insurance score file fewer claims and the losses are lower.  Credit scores run by financial institutions differ from an insurance score.  Financial institutions will look at your income, insurance companies do not!
  • Are your coverages broader than your neighbor’s coverages?
  • Some homeowner insurance factors:
    • Do you have the same type of alarm system as your neighbor?
    • Is your neighbor’s home the same square footage as yours?
    • Do you have an Italian marble island in your kitchen compared to the standard countertop in your neighbor’s kitchen?
  • Some auto insurance factors:
    • How’s your driving record?  If you have any speeding tickets or infractions and your neighbors record is clean, that will make a big difference.
    • Have you taken a defensive driving class?  Has your neighbor taken one? A defensive driving class saves you 10% on your vehicle liability, personal injury protection and collision sections of your auto insurance premiums.
    • The number of miles you drive to work is a factor as well.
    • The type of vehicle you drive is a consideration.  Some vehicles are more likely to be stolen than others.
    • Do you have youthful operators or more vehicles than your neighbor?
  • Some business insurance factors:
    • How long have you been in business or working in your industry?
    • Do you have employees that seem to repeatedly get hurt on the job?
    • Does your commercial building have sprinkler and/or alarm systems?
    • Does your business have a risk management safety program in place?

So while you might feel angry at first, the best thing to do is call your agent and review any discounts that might be available to you.  Discuss the “extras” your home or auto might have and how that affects your insurance premium with your agent.

The NSA Group is a Trusted Choice/Independent Agent which means we are also capable of quoting multiple insurance companies to make sure you are getting the best fit for your needs and your budget. Contact us if we can be of help with any insurance matter.

Make Your House a Haven For Trick-or-Treaters

October 31, 2013 at 2:21 pm | Posted in Safety, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Halloween is one of the fall season’s most treasured holidays. Kids love to dress up, get together with friends, and go door-to-door in search of the biggest and best goodies.

If your neighborhood tends to be teeming with little ghosts, goblins, superheroes and princesses, you’ll want to be sure your yard and stoop are safe and welcoming. A little pre-planning can prevent unfortunate accidents that could turn out to be tragic for kids and trying for you.

Here are some pointers for ensuring your house is a safe place for trick-or-treaters on Oct. 31.

  • Pets first. Many dogs, cats, and other furry family companions get scared when oddly dressed strangers approach their door in droves. Make sure your pet is in a safe and comfortable space or take them to a secure, relaxing offsite location for the evening.
  • Clean it up. If your yard gathers stuff – like toys, rakes and other yard tools, hoses, tree branches, you name it – take the time to clean it up. Make sure your yard is free of potential hazards and create a clutter-free walking path well before dusk falls this Halloween.
  • Light it up. Make sure you offer a well-lit path. You can do this using any type of yard lights, from solar, string, LED, existing outdoor lighting or glow-in-the-dark.
  • Turn it off. When you’re done for the night, make it obvious by turning any and all inviting lights off. However, if you’re still offering candy in a bowl outside, do make sure to keep the path well-lit until your sweet treats are tucked away inside the house.

At the NSA Insurance Group, we hope you enjoy a safe Halloween devoid of tricks and full of treats!

Contact Us!

At the NSA Group, we can work with you to make sure you’ve got the coverage you need, while at the same time using all possible credits and discounts to make that coverage affordable. Just give us a call at 631.722.3500 or send us a note at info@nsainsure.com. We want to help you meet your goals, and make sure what’s important to you is protected!

Content provided by Safeco Insurance

Tucking your boat in for the winter?

October 23, 2013 at 3:18 pm | Posted in Boat Insurance, Insurance | Leave a comment

For boat enthusiasts everywhere, the end of boating season can be disappointing because on-the-water adventures are about to come to an end and the task of winterization is about to begin.

As you know, taking the time to protect your watercraft through the winter requires an investment of time, labor and money. While winterization is an absolute imperative that can help prevent irreversible damage, think of the process not as a chore, but a chance to dream about next spring when you’ll be ready to go afloat on our beautiful Long Island waters!

To help you get started, we at The NSA Insurance Group have compiled two essential steps to follow.

1. Find the best storage place indoors or outdoors

  • If possible, find a place to have your boat spend the winter out of water and well out of the way of inclement weather.
  • If you are storing your boat outdoors, check on the level of security.  For example:  Is there security personnel on duty?  Is it  a locked facility?
  • And if your boat will be exposed to the elements over the winter, make sure it is shrink-wrapped by a professional.

2. Be thorough in winterizing or find a pro

If you’re a do-it-yourselfer, the steps to winterizing your boat can be easily found via many online resources.

Your boat’s owner’s manual also could be a great help, as most will include detailed winterization instructions.

Regardless where you get the details, you will ensure a better start come next boating season if you follow a comprehensive checklist now to get your boat ready for winter.

If you’re opting out of the do-it-yourself category and instead trusting the pros, you’ll want to find a shop that specializes in winterization. Get an appointment well in advance of the assault of inclement weather. To find the best option, consider getting a reference from a fellow boating enthusiast.

Regardless of how you choose to prepare your prized watercraft for the frigid days of winter, we at The NSA Insurance Group hope you enjoy the cooler season as you await the return of spring!

Contact Us!

At The NSA Insurance Group, we can work with you to make sure you’ve got the coverage you need, while at the same time using all possible credits and discounts to make that coverage affordable. Just give us a call at 631.722.3500 or send us a note at info@nsainsure.com. We want to help you meet your goals, and make sure what’s important to you is protected!

631.722.3500     www.nsainsure.com     info@nsainsure.com

Content provided by Safeco Insurance

Time to Honor Dad

June 12, 2013 at 3:28 pm | Posted in Community | Leave a comment

With summer drawing near and the weather warming up, New York neighborhoods come alive with the sights and sounds of the season: lawnmowers, power tools and backyard barbecues, to name a few.

For many people, those things all bring to mind one specific person: Dad. And since Father’s Day is just around the corner, we at The NSA Group thought we’d give you some gift ideas – and some fun history trivia, too!

The history of Father’s Day
Marked on the third Sunday of June in the United States (and in many other countries), Father’s Day was first celebrated in 1910 to complement Mother’s Day. According to Wikipedia, the day was created by Sonora Smart Dodd of Spokane, Wash., who wanted to honor her father, Civil War veteran William Jackson Smart.

Although Dodd originally suggested her father’s birthday in early June, she had not provided organizers with enough time to arrange the event – and the celebration was delayed until the third Sunday of the month.

Although Mother’s Day has been an official national holiday since 1914, Father’s Day had a tougher road. Congress refused to make the celebration official in the years immediately following Dodd’s first observance, fearing that the day would become commercialized. (Some would say those fears were well-founded; the creator of Mother’s Day later came to regret the commercialization of that holiday.)

It wasn’t until 1966 that Father’s Day received an official proclamation, thanks to President Lyndon B. Johnson. And six years later, President Richard Nixon signed a law making the day a national holiday.

Facts and figures (from government website USA.gov)
• There are an estimated 70.1 million fathers across the nation
• An estimated 1.7 million men are single fathers
• Approximately 176,000 fathers are stay-at-home dads

What to get Dad?
Once you’re past the age of, say, 10, the “Old Spice and a tie” routine probably won’t cut it anymore when it comes to getting a gift for your father. Here are some better ideas from AskMen.com:
• Grilling tools (this way, perhaps he’ll even cook for you on Father’s Day!)
• Alcohol (to be enjoyed in moderation, of course)
• Fishing gear
• Golf clubs, balls or other sporting goods – or take him out for a round of golf
• Books (particularly grilling cookbooks)
• Gadgets (such as a GPS; after all, many dads don’t like asking for directions)
• Landscaping services (so he can take a break from mowing the lawn)

Aside from ties and cheap cologne, you’ll probably want to avoid the most clichéd gifts, especially “World’s Best Dad” items (even if it’s true!) and socks.

As with all gifts, though, it’s the thought that counts. And we’re sure your dad will appreciate simply being appreciated. And if you’re a dad yourself – Happy Father’s Day! We hope you’ll enjoy your day.

I’m borrowing my friend’s car … am I covered?

March 27, 2013 at 2:02 pm | Posted in Auto Insurance, Insurance | Leave a comment
Tags: , ,

Most people have an idea of what’s covered and not covered under their various insurance policies. But at NSA Group, we get a lot of questions about borrowing or loaning a car.

Now that spring is here, and you might be looking to borrow your neighbor’s truck for a home-improvement project or a trip to the local landfill, we thought it was a great time to provide a little more information.

Generally, insurance coverage follows the vehicle rather than the driver. So in most instances, as long as the owner of the car has insurance, it’s covered even if someone other than the owner is driving it — as long as they have the owner’s permission.

The borrower’s insurance is considered secondary, meaning that in the event of an accident, it could apply if the owner’s insurance is insufficient to fully cover the damage.

It’s important to note that there are some exceptions to what is called “permissive use” coverage. For example, permission must be given by the owner, unless the borrower has a reasonable belief that they are allowed to use the car. However, the borrower cannot give permission to someone else. So if your teenager allows one of his or her friends to drive your car to the beach, your coverage likely won’t apply.

Coverage might also be denied if the borrower operates the vehicle in a negligent or criminal manner. And if the borrower is using your car for business purposes, your personal auto policy likely won’t cover that.

If you have a regular long-term arrangement to either borrow or lend a car, the borrower should probably be added to the owner’s personal auto policy. Those who don’t own a car, but often borrow one, might also consider “named non-owner coverage,” an endorsement that provides bodily injury and property damage liability, uninsured motorists coverage and more.

Ultimately, it’s usually safe to loan your friend your car for occasional errands or projects. And the same goes for borrowing a car. Just make sure it’s for “normal” use. You’ll want to confirm that the car has coverage and that your insurance, whether you’re the owner or borrower, will apply.

Feel free to give us a call if you have any questions — after all, you don’t want to wait until after an accident to get answers!

Jewelry Protection

February 14, 2013 at 7:38 pm | Posted in Insurance | Leave a comment

Have some new jewelry in the house?  Protect it!

Ah, Valentine’s Day is near, and love is in the air. Well, love and a few other things, such as chocolates, romantic dinners, candy hearts that say “Be Mine” – and, of course, jewelry.

It’s exciting to receive jewelry from a loved one — or to give it as a gift. Not to mention romantic. But if you’re lucky enough to have some new jewelry in your home this Valentine’s Day, you should take a few minutes to think about something you probably don’t find exciting or romantic: insurance.

Don’t know where to turn? Don’t worry. At The NSA Insurance Group, we think it is exciting to help our customers protect what’s most important to them — so we’re ready to help and can answer all of your questions.

Things to consider when insuring jewelry:

You may need to purchase additional coverage. Your homeowners policy covers valuable items such as jewelry only up to set amounts. If the cost of replacing your jewelry exceeds that limit, you will want to purchase scheduled personal property coverage. You can check your policy or give us a call at  631-722-3500.

You might want to reconsider your deductible amounts. As always, this impacts your policy premium. It’s a good idea to take a look at your deductibles whenever you make a change to your policy.

Do you need an appraisal? You may need to have an independent appraisal if the insurance company requires it or if you don’t know the value of your jewelry. Each item should be listed with a description and value on paper.

What kind of coverage is offered? You’ll want to determine if items are covered no matter where they are, whether they’re in your home, or on an international trip, and if the policy offers full replacement cost. You also should ask if you will be required to replace your jewelry if lost or stolen, or if you can simply keep the cash settlement.

Pictures can be helpful. Lost or stolen pieces of jewelry sometimes can be recreated if the jeweler has a good photograph to work from.

Is the value of your jewelry mainly sentimental? Is an item irreplaceable? If the answer to either of these questions is “yes,” you might consider foregoing insurance. But please, talk to us at 631-722-3500 before making that decision. That’s what we’re here for.

Of course, it’s important to store your jewelry securely when it’s not in use; a safe in your home or a safe-deposit box is best. We want your jewelry to be replaced if it’s lost or stolen, but we’d rather your sentimental and valuable pieces stay with you and your family for years to come.

Here’s hoping your Valentine’s Day is full of fun and romance. And if there’s no jewelry involved, well, there’s always next year!

Contact Us!

For further questions and assistance, please contact The NSA Insurance Group at 631-722-3500 or info@nsainsure.com.

Content provided by Safeco Insurance

Thoughts on Flood Insurance

January 22, 2013 at 7:58 pm | Posted in Flood Insurance, Insurance | 1 Comment

Hurricane Sandy wreaked havoc on the East Coast of the United States on October 29, 2012 and her fury is still being felt today.  It seems daily we read stories like this one in Newsday, “Many Sandy Damaged Homes Lacked Flood Insurance”. Of course the first thought upon reading the article was a feeling of sadness for the victims of Sandy, but the second and third thoughts tangled with each other.

The second thought was from the view point of an insurance agent; NSA Insurance is after all an insurance agency.  So the following sentences from the Newsday article brought a nod of agreement.

                    “But many homeowners don’t buy it – even in coastal  

                      areas.  In some cases, they have paid off mortgages and

                     opt to drop the coverage.”

As agents we hear almost daily (or at least we used to) “I don’t need flood insurance, we never have flooding.” or “I paid off my mortgage and it’s not required anymore.”  We do our best to explain some basic facts about flood insurance:

  • Homeowner & business insurance does not cover damage caused by flooding.
  • Everyone lives in a flood zone.  Floods are not only caused by hurricanes like Sandy but also by storms, melting snow, water backup due to inadequate or overloaded drainage systems, as well as broken water mains.
  • Everyone can buy flood insurance on their homes & businesses no matter what your flood risk.
  • All flood insurance policies are offered through the National Flood Insurance Program, run by FEMA.  Your flood policy maybe be serviced by another insurance company like Fidelity National Flood, Travelers, etc. but they are all the same product underwritten by the National Flood Insurance Program.
  • Contents coverage is also available to homeowners, business owners and tenants.
  • Even if the President declares a state of emergency and you do not have a flood policy, you would only be eligible for an emergency loan.
  • Under normal circumstances there is a 30-day waiting period for a flood policy to take effect.

The third read through and thoughts were from the point of view of the non-insurance agent reader.  Wondering why insurance isn’t doing what they thought it would.  There are numerous reasons for confusion but here are a few.

  • Why isn’t my homeowner policy paying for damage sustained to my home?  During Hurricane Sandy, for instance the main reason for denials of claims was that the “cause of loss” (insurance terminology for what happened first to cause the damage) was flood.  The first blow Sandy gave us was to cause the tidal waters to climb higher than most places had ever experienced.  Therefore, because flooding happened first that was the “cause of loss”.

                         Homeowner and Business policies do NOT cover flood.

  • Why isn’t my flood policy covering all the damage?  There are a few reasons why this might be the case.
    • The maximum building coverage for a typical homeowner flood policy is $250,000 and $500,000 for a business property.  If your damages add up to more than the maximum coverage ($250,000 home/ $500,000 business) there is no coverage for the additional cost.
    • The maximum contents coverage for a typical homeowner flood policy is $100,000 and $500,000 for a business policy.  And again if the damage to your contents is more than the maximum contents coverage there will be no coverage for the additional cost.
    • Typically, when a flood occurs in a home or business the flood insurance will only pay up to the part of the wall that was damaged.  So if the flood reached 6 inches in your home or business, the sheetrock or wall covering will be cut right above the line of flooding and only the damaged bottom part of the wall will be replaced.
    • For the homeowner who had more damage than the flood insurance policy covered our experience has been that our clients have been grateful to have something rather than nothing.  $250,000 maximum building coverage plus $100,000 maximum contents coverage or $350,000 towards a hypothetical $400,000 flood claim is better than having to apply for a Federal Disaster loan with an interest rate between 4% and 8% for the difference.

Sandy, Katrina, Irene and Andrew were all storms that made headlines and changed the insurance industry forever.  There is no easy insurance answer for all the devastation and loss.  The best thing we can all do as insurance consumers is

  • Educate ourselves about the insurance contract by asking our insurance agent for explanations and examples and have
  • Insurance Coverage Reviews as often as possible to make sure your insurance keeps up with the changes in your life.

Please feel free to contact any NSA Insurance Group office at 631.722.3500 and we would be happy to answer your flood insurance or any insurance related question.

For additional information:

NSA Insurance Group FAQ page

SBA Disaster Loan Fact Sheet

NY Times “Reconsidering Flood Insurance” 11/8/12

Newsday “Many Sandy Damaged Homes Lacked Flood Insurance” 1/13/13 

Why Should You Buy Uninsured Motorist Coverage?

July 24, 2012 at 2:45 pm | Posted in Insurance | 1 Comment

Has your insurance agent recommended Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist coverage to you?  Have you thought to yourself “Why should I buy coverage because someone else isn’t properly insured?” or “I have medical insurance, if I need it?”  Well guess what?  This coverage is there for your protection not theirs.

First, let’s start with the definitions of UM (uninsured motorist) or UIM (underinsured motorist) coverages.

  • Uninsured Motorist (UM) coverage:  “Coverage for bodily injury (BI) and, in some states, property damage (PD) incurred by an insured when an accident is caused by a motorist who is not insured. This coverage allows an insured to collect from his or her insurer as if it provided liability coverage for the negligent third party.” 1
  • Underinsured Motorist (UIM) coverage: “Coverage for bodily injury (BI) and, in some states, property damage (PD) incurred by an insured when an accident is caused by a motorist who is not sufficiently insured.” 2

Now let’s demonstrate with a hypothetical automobile accident.

You are driving along on a beautiful day, when you are hit by a vehicle NOT COVERED by insurance. (You may think this is uncommon, but according to the Insurance Research Council (IRC), 1 in 7 U.S. drivers do not carry auto insurance coverage and are therefore uninsured.)

Back to our claim story; you are hit by an uninsured motorist. Unfortunately, you have serious injuries and that require a hospital stay and surgery.  Because the other driver is not covered by insurance, your auto policy will be where we begin to pay your bills.

  1. If you live in a “no-fault state” (and in New York we do) your personal injury protection (PIP) will be the first coverage to provide help for paying medical expenses (whether you have personal health insurance or not), loss of income, and funeral expenses.
  2. If your medicals bills exhaust your PIP coverage, the next policy to take over would be your health insurance policy.  Considering the rising cost of health insurance today, many people have chosen not to carry health insurance and in some cases health insurance policies have a life time limit of coverage.  UM coverage is an affordable solution in these cases.
  3. Now let’s assume this accident has left you unable to work and you don’t carry any disability insurance.  Your medical bills may be taken care of but what about your everyday expenses?  Your medical policy won’t cover those expenses, but you are unable to work and collect a pay check.  This is where Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist coverage comes in.

UM and UIM protect YOU and your assets from the very real possibility you are involved in an auto accident with someone who doesn’t carry auto insurance or who doesn’t carry adequate insurance!  For additional information please contact one of the NSA Group offices  or your insurance agent.

Additional information:

1 IRMI. “Uninsured Motorists (UM) Coverage.” – Insurance Glossary. N.p., n.d. Web. 18 July 2012. <http://www.irmi.com/online/insurance-glossary/terms/u/uninsured-motorists-um-coverage.aspx&gt;.

2 IRMI. “Underinsured Motorists (UIM) Coverage.” – Insurance Glossary. N.p., n.d. Web. 18 July 2012. <http://www.irmi.com/online/insurance-glossary/terms/u/underinsured-motorists-uim-coverage.aspx&gt;.

Insure Equipment with an Inland Marine Policy

April 25, 2012 at 1:22 pm | Posted in Business Insurance, Insurance | Leave a comment

Here are three reasons why you always should insure your business equipment with an inland marine policy.

1.         Costs associated with equipment theft exceed $1 billion, according to the National Equipment Register (NER). This includes direct and indirect losses, such as rentals.

2.         The major reasons for the increase in equipment theft are the value of the equipment and its ease of sale. “Lack of site security” is the top reason why thieves seem attracted to heavy equipment.

3.         There isn’t much of a deterrent for equipment theft. Thieves also know that the penalties are fairly light if they are caught. The equipment is very difficult to trace and is recovered less than 15% of the time. (Stolen autos are recovered 60% of the time.)

According to the NER, equipment owners should register their equipment immediately. The next step is to consider your insurance coverage.   Although, most business owners take the insurance offered by the leasing company, an inland marine policy may be your most cost effective avenue and the best defense against financial loss due to equipment thieves.  Adding the equipment to your current business policy may also be an option so speak with your agent or contact the NSA Group with any additional questions.

Helpful Links:

NER HELPtech – Register Machine Product Identification Numbers

CNA/NER Partnership to Combat Heavy Equipment Theft

Be Aware of Hazards In and Around Your Home

March 14, 2012 at 7:26 pm | Posted in Insurance, Safety | Leave a comment

Most hazards will involve property that will attract children, but are extremely dangerous when handled improperly. They create a special obligation for homeowners to properly secure and protect them. Examples are:

  • swimming pools
  • trampolines
  • empty buildings/sheds
  • appliances kept outside
  • excavations
  • construction materials

All of these can lure children onto property and they all have the potential to cause serious injury.

Children do not have the reasoning ability of adults. A property owner will not escape liability because the child was trespassing.

Here’s how you protect yourself:
Do whatever it takes to prevent a child’s access to the property. You can:
1. Eliminate the property:

  • have old appliances hauled to a junk yard
  • tow old, non-running vehicles away
  • get rid of construction materials immediately after a building project is complete

2. Secure the property

  • take off doors or covers from large appliances awaiting garbage pickup
  • keep sharp tools, especially power tools and equipment, locked away
  • store construction materials in a garage or shed

3. Reduce the chance for injury

  • install a pool cover and have a locked fence to prevent access to pool
  • do not allow younger children to use equipment such as trampolines
  • make sure there’s adult supervision of children using play equipment

If you’re not certain about whether you have an attractive nuisance situation, contact us to discuss the situation.

Additional Information from:

Trusted Choice – Swimming Pool Risks

Mayo Clinic – Trampoline Safety

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