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5 Mistakes to Avoid When Switching Auto Insurance Companies

Auto insurance is ranked as the third highest expense of owning a vehicle, which means auto insurance can be a significant amount of your budget. While it makes a lot of sense to shop around and make sure you’re getting the best deal out there for your circumstances, no one can afford to make these mistakes that can have a detrimental effect on your finances.

Mistake #1: Not telling your current insurance agent

It may seem like an awkward conversation to have, but it’s incredibly important that you contact your current auto insurance agent before you switch to a different company. A professional agent will handle your call in a businesslike manner and may even be able to offer benefits that are not available to you as a new customer somewhere else. Take advantage of your agent’s expertise with the company you are currently with so that you are making a fully-informed decision. Also, your agent can review the lower-priced auto insurance quote (always get insurance quotes in writing) to make sure you are getting a comparable policy. 

Mistake #2: Not making sure your new policy is in place before dropping the old policy

If you don’t make sure your new policy is active before the old policy ends you could find that there is a gap in your coverage, which could be a costly mistake if something happens. Furthermore, letting an insurance policy lapse could signal risky behavior to an insurer, which could translate to higher insurance rates in the future.
If your original company sends a notice of renewal and you simply ignore it could create a costly problem because your policy won’t be cancelled right away. Rules vary by state, but in general there is a period of time where an auto insurer is required to give a grace period for nonpayment, which you then are still required to pay the premium. Paying that double premium could present a hardship for policyholders on a tight budget.

Mistake #3: Not getting a refund for the coverage you won’t use

If you paid for your auto policy up front you may be entitled to a refund for the portion of the coverage you won’t be using. For example, if you paid for a 6-month policy up front but decide to switch after only 3 months, you are entitled to a refund for the remaining 3 months. Sometimes insurers don’t make it easy to get back what you’re owed, so it is to your benefit to follow up and make sure the insurer refunds you the money you are due.

Mistake #4: Forgetting to switch out your new ID cards

It’s so easy to forget to change out your old auto insurance ID card for your new one. With the ease of digital downloads and the ability to print your own ID cards, making the change can be an easy task to put off. But, if you’re pulled over and don’t have valid proof of insurance, you could face a fine, or at least an inconvenient trip to traffic court to prove you have coverage. 

Mistake #5: Not notifying your finance or leasing company of the change
It is important that you notify your finance company and/or leasing company of the change of insurance provider and the amount of your insurance coverage. Part of your responsibility is to ask your new insurer to send proof of insurance to the leasing company as well as to you.

Please feel free to contact us for a free quote!  If you decide to switch to our agency we take all the hassle out of switching for you by handling everything for you - notifying the carrier, agent, lein holder, providing you new ID cards the same day you switch and even advise if you should expect a refund or not.

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September is National Preparedness Month: Business Spotlight

September is National Preparedness Month and a great opportunity to make sure our clients are ready for any disaster, including flooding—the Nation’s most common and costly natural disaster. 

Most property owners are unaware of their flood risk and how expensive recovery can be. Just a few inches of floodwater can cause thousands of dollars in damages, and many people are surprised to learn that homeowners or business owners insurance doesn’t cover flood damage. Anywhere it can rain it can flood, and it typically takes 30 days before a flood insurance policy goes into effect. 

We want to share what to do before, during, and after a flood with our clients by using our preparedness checklists for business owners:

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15 Tips for Making Sure You Don’t Get Scammed by an Auto Repair Shop

Here is a list of 15 tips you should pay attention to when you take your vehicle in for repair or maintenance. Learn the signs of a dishonest auto repair shop and avoid unscrupulous auto mechanics.

1.    Scare Tactics

Don’t buy into scare tactics. Statements like “I wouldn’t drive this car another mile” may be a red flag. If you were able to drive the vehicle to the shop, it most likely will make it at least as far as another mechanic shop for a second opinion.


2.    Questions


Ask a lot of questions. Find out how long the mechanic has been in business and ask for alternate recommendations. Professional mechanics are happy to answer your questions and give you an idea of the mechanic industry in your area.



3.    Up-To-Date Equipment


Find out what type of equipment they use and look for shops using modern equipment. Avoid mechanics that don’t use computerized diagnostic equipment; you want an accurate, provable diagnosis of your problem if at all possible.


4.    Mechanic Certification


Look for proof of mechanic training and certification. Reputable shops are happy to display their ASE, National Institute for Automotive Excellence or American Automobile Association certification.


5.    Signed Work Order


NEVER EVER sign a blank authorization form. This may seem obvious, but sometimes when it comes to your car it’s easy to succumb to pressure tactics. Always make sure to get a signed work order with a specific estimate for the work that is to be done and any warranties that will apply.


6.    Synthetic Motor Oil Lasts Longer

Stay away from mechanics who don’t recommend synthetic motor oil. It may cost a bit more but it lasts longer (and prevents unnecessary labor fees in the future.)


7.    Get a Second Opinion


Get a second – or third – estimate. And when you go for your follow-up estimates, don’t reveal the quote given you by the first (and second) mechanic.


8.    Lube Shop Scams


Beware of gimmicky recommendations at quick lube shops. A common scam is to try to get you to succumb to coolant and power steering flushes when many cars don’t need them until 100,000 miles. Check your owner’s manual to make sure what your manufacturer recommends. Also, watch out for cleaning fuel injectors; buy-it-yourself additives do a fine job.


9.    High-Quality Brake Jobs are Worth it


Cheap brake jobs usually mean low-quality brake pads which could mean a brake failure. It’s worth it to pay for original quality brake pads (or equivalent.)


10. Make Sure Your Tire Re-Treads are Weather-Worthy


Sometimes tire shops will try to sell old re-treads that are not going to be safe in bad weather. Make sure the initial build on the tires was no more than 2 years ago.  And before investing in new tires make sure yours really need replacing. Find out what your state’s tread specifications are and ask the mechanic to measure the old tread before buying new tires.


11. Don’t Pay Extra for “Lifetime Mufflers”


Mufflers won’t last a lifetime. And even if the shop agrees to replace your muffler for free in the future, they’ll charge you for expensive pipe repairs.


12. You May be Entitled to a Free Replacement of Catalytic Converters and Emission Parts


Don’t pay a mechanic to work on your catalytic converter or emission parts without checking with your dealer or manufacturer. Some of these items carry a long warranty and free replacement is often required by law.


13. Ask for Your Old Parts Back


Make sure your old parts were really in need of replacement – and were indeed replaced – by asking and inspecting the old part.


14. Don’t Take No for an Answer


No, your engine light shouldn’t be on all the time. And it isn’t “probably a loose gas cap.” If something seems fishy, it probably is. If the check engine light is on there is most likely a reason and you should find out what that reason is.



15.  Buy Parts Made in the U.S.A.


The market is being flooded with cheap parts from overseas. Ask for name-brand parts and ask to see the box. Your life and those of your family may depend on having quality replacement parts.


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State Awards $13.1 Million to Improve Water Quality and Conservation for New York Farms

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo announced that $13.1 million has been awarded to fund 42 agricultural water quality conservation projects across New York State in mid-July, 2016. This funding will benefit 120 farms. The funding has been designated to the Soil and Water Conservation Districts in 25 counties throughout the State. The funding is earmarked to allow farmers to address water quality issues in watersheds classified as “priority.” It is expected that these projects will improve New York by preventing water pollution, reducing erosion and limit the amount of harmful sediments and other deposits in New York’s water system.


While announcing the program budget increase, Governor Cuomo stated: “Ensuring that New York’s waterways remain pristine is essential to the long-term viability of our booming agricultural industry. This funding will provide farmers with the resources they need to protect our treasured waters and surrounding communities, and foster sound environmental stewardship while supporting more than 120 farms across the state.”

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Small Business Owners Ask “Do I Really Need Insurance?”

Small business owners often struggle with the costs of insurance premiums. After all, small businesses frequently wrestle with the budget required to start and operate their business. Some small business owners think of insurance as an expensive necessity, sort of like a tax.

Despite the perception of some, business insurance is essential for all businesses because it protects the risk embarked upon by the business owner. Every entrepreneur is a risk-taker that faces innumerable challenges every day. Insurance improves the odds that the owner will face crippling losses due to fires, accidents, theft or other unforeseen events beyond the business owner’s control.

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Top 10 Boating Safety Guidelines

Summer is here and for many families that means fun times on the water. No matter how much experience you have boating, it’s always a good idea for everyone to review boating safety rules before leaving the dock. Here are 10 boating safety tips to help everyone enjoy a relaxing, safe boating experience.
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What Type of Insurance Do You Need for Your Restaurant?

Selecting the right type of insurance for your restaurant business is vitally important. You do not want to skimp on having enough protection for your restaurant. Insurance can protect you from many problems such as liability claims and broken equipment. States may require certain restaurant insurance; your bank and mortgage loans may require certain types of insurance as well.

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Are Co-ops Beneficial for Farmers?

Co-operatives (co-ops) are businesses that are owned and ran by its members. Co-ops can be distinguished from other types of businesses because they are member-owned and their singular purpose is to benefit the members. Co-ops are a recognized type of business under State law. Advantages of Agricultural Co-ops There are a myriad of reasons co-ops have become a popular form of organization. These include: ·         Stronger bargaining power in the marketplace ·         Strengthened access to competitive markets ·         Ability to capitalize on new market opportunities ·         Competitive pricing for needed products and services ·         Increased access to revenue pipelines ·         Reduced costs ·  & ...
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Follow these tips to avoid a rejected auto insurance claim

When comparing and considering a New York auto insurance company, many prospective insurance customers wonder how simple it is to place to claims with selected insurers. This curiosity may result from past challenges in submitting claims or experiencing denied claims. Today, we aim to shed a new light on insurance claims and show you how to ensure that your claim will be paid. ·         How roadworthy is your vehicle? A car that has worn-out tires is more likely skid into oncoming vehicles or obstacles in poor weather. The onus is on you, the driver, to ensure that your car is in the best possible driving condition. If not, your auto insurer may not cover your losses. ·         Do you have a valid driver’s license? In most cases, only the claimant who is covered by their auto insurer will receive a payout in the case of an accident. But if that same claimant was a passenger in their own car, which was bein ...
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4 Tips for Success at Work

How is it possible to be successful at work? How do you impress upper management? And still have time to fulfil your personal goals? Whether you are a lawyer, an administrative clerk or a New York home insurance provider, the primary goal is the same: success. We’ve outlined the steps to workplace success below: Embrace Change – Change is all around us. Technology changes, processes change, and attitudes change constantly in the working environment. Only by being open to change will you open the path to success. If you are a manager or CEO at your company, enacting positive change will impact your entire team. Continuous Improvement – Stagnation is not only counterproductive, it’s stressful. Continuous learning (taking short courses, online studies, and internal company seminars) means that you are always improving your skillset, benefiting your organization and your potential future prospects. Become Indispensable – Are you the “go-to” individual at your comp ...
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