It’s Deck Season!

 May 9, 2016


With the weather warming up, you feel like you’re ready to start entertaining guests on your deck.  The first thing you want to be sure of is that all your guests will be safe and secure.

  • Inspect Your Deck – Check for loose nails/screws, warped wood, splinters and rot.
  • Secure Your Deck – Check for loose railings/stairs.  Repair as soon as possible to prevent falls.
  • Clean Your Deck – Remove any mold or mildew to prevent slippery surfaces.
  • Seal Your Deck – Add a waterproof stain to protect your deck from elements like rain and UV rays.

Inspect your deck now and you’ll enjoy the outdoor season from beginning to end.

Protect Your Home While On Vacation

 April 18, 2016

After you have packed your bags and planned your itinerary, you still need to consider how to vacbest protect your home while on vacation.

  • Hire a House – or Pet- Sitter.
  • Stop mail/newspaper delivery.
  • Lock ALL of your doors and windows.
  • Invest in timers that turn on the interior lights for a few hours every evening.
  • Put a bar on your sliding glass door.
  • Install a home security system or even just exterior lights that run on timers.
  • Don’t post your vacation plans for the whole world to see.

Solar Panels… How Do They Affect Your Insurance?

 March 29, 2016

SolarAs more and more homes are being contacted by solar energy firms offering ways to cut utility expenses, one has to wonder:  How will this affect my homeowners insurance?

Whether you add solar panels to the roof of your home or freestanding in your yard…make sure they are covered.

If you permanently install the panels on your home, they become part of the dwelling and you should increase your insurance coverage to reflect the additional value of your home.

If the panels are freestanding in your yard, you should increase your insurance coverage under “Coverage B” (Related Private Structures).

If you lease the solar panels, the solar company owns the panels and it’s their obligation to insure them.  You do not have to increase your insurance to accommodate the value of the panels.

Installing solar panels isn’t as simple as slapping cells on a rooftop.   So this is one that’s best left for the pros.  Make sure they are licensed and bonded, and no major complaints filed with the Better Business Bureau.

There’s also Tax incentives: The federal solar Investment Tax Credit (ITC) is a 30 percent tax credit for residential and commercial properties that convert to solar energy by the end of 2016.

Contact your Local Agent for more information.

Are You Prepared For Emergencies?

 March 23, 2016

PrepareSpring is the time of year when temperatures can swing back and forth between balmy and frigid.  Sunny days may be followed by a week of stormy weather.  Things are unsettled.

Increase your preparedness through action.

  • Sign up for local alerts and warnings, download apps or check access for wireless emergency alerts.
  • Create emergency communication plans for your household.
  • Assemble or update emergency supplies.
  • Conduct a drill to practice emergency response actions.
  • Collect and safeguard critical documents. (Legal documents, medical information, insurance policies, etc..)
  • Document property and obtain appropriate insurance.
  • Make property improvements to reduce potential injuries and property damage.
  • Plan with neighbors to help each other and share resources.


Low- Risk Land Lording…

 March 21, 2016

aptLearn how to protect your rental property from common mishaps and risky situations. Reduce likelihood of lawsuits, harm to tenants and guests, damage to your property, and financial distress.

Get the Right Insurance for Your Property – Review and discuss your current policy with your Agent.

Provide a Safe Environment – Keep your property safe so that people don’t get hurt.  Regularly inspect the property for hazards.

Maintain the Property – Install hard-wired smoke detectors, child-safe windows and have well-lit hallways and walkways.

Require all Tenants to Have Renters’ Insurance Coverage – Include a clause right in the lease that requires all tenants to provide proof of renters’ insurance coverage prior to occupying the premises.

Create an Emergency Procedure – Provide your tenant(s) with a manual that has an evacuation plan that’s tailored to your property.

Operate your rental unit in an Honest, Ethical, Professional manner.

Reach out to one of our Independent Agents today to see if you are getting the best price and coverage for your landlord’s insurance.

Spring Cleaning…

 March 16, 2016

SPring CleanupSpring is just around the corner and good planning and maintenance in spring will create less work and more enjoyment in summer.  The outside of your home has been exposed to the elements all winter season. Inspect the following:

Foundation- Look for cracks that may have developed during the winter.

Siding- Clean the siding with a pressure-washer to remove/prevent mold growth.

Landscape– Trim back shrubs, and cut down tree limbs that could cause damage.

Gutters– Clean out debris.  A clogged gutter sends a cascade of water down the side of your house, saturating your foundation.

Deck– Repair any loose or warped boards.  Apply a wood preserver.

Roof-  Have your roof inspected to ensure you won’t experience leaks during those April showers.

And if you’re looking to do a little spring cleaning of your insurance policy, contact one of our Independent Agents near you.

Can You Be Sued For A Million Dollars?…

 March 3, 2016

umb_page_001You do not have to be a millionaire to be sued for a million dollars.  

  • If you operate a vehicle and get distracted while driving, you are at risk.
  • If you own a swimming pool and it causes injury to someone while on your property, you are at risk.
  • If you own a boat and injure a water skier while boating, you are at risk.
  • If you host a party with alcohol, you are at risk.

Personal umbrella insurance is additional liability insurance.  Coverage starts with limits of $1 million and offers coverage where your homeowners or auto policy coverage ends.  It’s designed to pay out above your existing insurance policies.  It can be added to your existing policy with just one phone call to your local agent.   It’s inexpensive and easy to buy.  It’s a good value for the peace of mind it gives.

Insurance Shopping…

 February 23, 2016

How many of you search for insurance online, hoping to find a “great deal”? Shop Do you discover that it’s confusing and difficult?

Working with a Finger Lakes Independent Agent will help you cut through the clutter and find all possible discounts and savings available to you in far less time.  Our agents work for you when you purchase your policy and anytime you need to file a claim.  Contact a Finger Lakes Independent Agent today and get started finding the best available savings for your insurance needs.

Commercial Package Policies….

 February 8, 2016

WebWhat is a Commercial Package Policy?  It’s a type of package policy that bundles coverages together for several things including liability, property, boiler & machinery and other optional coverages.   The options available create flexibility that allow a Package to be customized for most kinds of business.

When it comes to your business, no matter how careful you are, someone can sue you for matters related to your company’s operations and you could be found legally liable for negligence.  Your business being properly insured is critical to protecting your financial security and success.

Do you have questions about Commercial Package Policy?  Contact one of our Independent Agents today to answer any questions about Commercial Package Policies.

Tips For Hosting A Safe Super Bowl Party

 February 5, 2016

 The Super Bowl is this Sunday.  Many of us are planning parties and inviting family and friends into our homes to enjoy the big event.  Party hosts need to understand their responsibilities when inviting people into their homes and serving food and drinks. Before hosting a party for the big game, homeowners/renters may want to consult with their Finger Lakes independent agent to review their policy.  You need to be aware that if someone drives drunk or becomes sick after consuming food at your party, you could be liable.

Ensure your home is safe for guests.  That includes being responsible if providing alcohol to your guests, making sure there are no obvious hazards and generally taking the same precautions for your guests’ safety as you do for your own.

If you want to impress your guests by frying up your famous kickin’ buffalo wings using your kitchen, please use caution and common sense.  To avoid grease fires, serious burns or injuries, never leave cooking food unattended!

Many of your guests will come into your home expecting or even bringing their own beer, wine or spirit of choice. Please remind your guests that while they enjoy their experience and have a good time, they need to drink responsibly.  Calling a cab or having a designated driver is worth far more than any Super Bowl title.