Having been working in insurance for over 30 years, I can recall the days of using carbon paper and typewriters. Back when I started, rating auto policies was done manually, with limited rating factors. Nowadays, rates are done through the computer using algorithms and it’s almost impossible to determine one’s rate. Rates are driven in a large part by credit, prior coverage history together with tickets, accidents and other claims going back as far as 5 years. Some companies even charge more for claims involving personal injury regardless of whose fault the accident was.
Interestingly, over all those years, the Assigned Risk really hasn’t changed it’s rating structure. The Assigned Risk is a state’s auto program that is designed to write people that have trouble getting insurance. Although I haven’t used the AR for years, I am beginning to now find that the AR or NYAIP can be a good fit in certain circumstances. This is because the AR does not base a rate on one’s credit or on having prior coverage. Furthermore, only tickets and at fault accidents, going back just 39 months, are rated. Not at fault accidents, hit and run accidents and no seat belt tickets are not rated. The AR also does not begin charging for a ticket or an accident until it is at least 3 months old.
Knowing the ins and outs of the Assigned Risk aka the New York Auto Insurance Plan has come in very useful.
From all of us at Curran Cooney Penny Insurance Agency, we would like to wish all of our clients a lovely first day of spring. Cheers to warmer, longer days and more time spent outside!
Did you know that if you die without a will, the state’s statutory laws will apply and all your assets will be divided amongst your family members without any say from you? In addition, guardians will be appointed for your dependents and they probably will not be the same that you would have chosen. There could be many additional costs in terms of legal fees and, if you had even a modest estate, most likely higher taxes. The state will not make any attempt to limit your exposure to taxes and will not make charitable contributions on your behalf.
By making and properly executing a will, you get to appoint your own executor, name the guardians for your dependents, make specific bequests and charitable contributions and be as creative as you would like. Since this could be the last interaction with others where it affects your loved ones, why not have your will properly represent your thoughts, wishes and values?
Another great estate planning tool is the use of a Trust. Whether it be a Family or a Life Insurance or Charitable Trust, a trust can allow you to ensure the financial well-being of your family by removing assets from an estate which helps to reduce probate expenses and possible estate taxes. A trust can potentially provide an income to you and/or your designated survivor(s) for life (or a set number of years). Lastly, a trust can enable assets to move swiftly, smoothly, and confidently into the hands of the desired recipient(s) because the assets escape probate. A trust is a very efficient estate planning tool in so many ways.
Feel free to call our agency for advice and direction on any and all estate planning questions. We believe in the importance of estate planning and would love to share our knowledge with you.
Vacation season is upon us! Imagine taking the kids to Disney World and returning home to a flooded basement, or even worst a break in. Here at Curran Cooney Penny we don’t want this to happen to you! We have complied a list of tips for you to consider before leaving home for your next vacation.
- Have a trusted friend or family member stop by daily to pick up any mail, and water your plants
- Stop your mail. USPS can stop your mail for up to 30 days
- Lock everything. Before you leave for paradise walk through your home and lock any possible entry point to you home. Ensure that ALL windows, even on the second floor, are locked and that all doors are locked with the deadbolt when applicable
- Test and check that your smoke and carbon monoxide detector are working
- Remove all spare keys hidden on the premises and store them away
- Lock the garage door manually and disconnect the remote
- If you leave your car in the airport parking lot or in a public parking area, change your home location in your GPS to a nearby restaurant in case your car gets broken into or stolen
- Stash all your valuables in your safe
- Keep valuables too large to fit in your safe (i.e. laptops) out of sight
- Shut off your water main
- Unplug all non-essential appliances (i.e. coffee maker, TV, computers, lamps, etc.)
- Install an outdoor sensor light
- Place security system stickers near your front and back door
- Simulate human presence with lights on a timer
- Ask a neighbor to put out your garbage cans and return them, even if they must put a bag of their trash inside the can
- If you have a lawn maintenance company, don’t cancel your scheduled appointment. If you do not have one, hire someone to keep the lawn maintained in your absence
- Keep a low profile on social media. Save all your vacation photos for Throwback Thursday when you return home
While you are enjoying your summer adventures, keep in mind that the staff at Curran Cooney and Penny are here to assist you with all your home coverage needs.
As an insurance professional for over 30 years, I have had countless conversations with clients. When it comes to insurance, you are either covered or not. You either decide to secure insurance or not. An insurance policy is a contract between you and the insurance company. Insurance companies want to include terms that benefit them and you need to make sure that the terms benefit you. At the time of a loss, the terms and conditions of your coverage will dictate how the claim is settled and what the outcome will be.
With this in mind, every individual and business’s needs are different. Each one of us is different and our needs differ in so many ways. Therefore, one should consider insurance that is customized to best suit his or her individual lifestyles. In my opinion, what is most important to insure are those things that you cannot afford to replace and losses that would have a devastating effect on your family. If you can replace something without it affecting you or causing you any type of anxiety, that you can self-insure. Here in the Berkshires, having the proper insurance on your home or property and everything in it makes great sense. Having the proper liability insurance when you have grown up toys, a business or building is critical. Umbrella coverage can provide an extra layer on top of everything else. Insuring for physical damage on your older vehicles, ATV or snowmobile, might not be as critical, depending upon the values of those items. Knowing and having great medical insurance is also key and having the proper life and disability insurance to protect yourself and your family’s financial future is also very important.
When speaking to clients, I try to put things into perspective in such a way that they can relate to it. Like the Berkshires, I love my profession and how I help clients better understand coverages. If you have an insurance challenge, an insurance professional can perhaps help you. There is never a problem until the problem occurs. My suggestion is to be prepared for anything as best as possible and insurance can play a huge role, if properly obtained. You should choose your insurance professional like you choose any other professional. Take the time and you will be rewarded with knowledge and the ability to make great decisions. To insure or self-insure, that is the question?
-As seen in the April 2019 issue of the Otis Gazette, Massachusetts
We had the exciting opportunity to visit Florida this past weekend and celebrate UPC’s 20 Year Anniversary with them. We are grateful to be working with such a good company and look forward to work more with UPC in the future!