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Solar Panels – Are they Covered?

I had a call today asking about Solar Panels.


As a general rule of thumb: any improvements that increase the value of your home should be reported to your agent.

Installing Solar Panels on the roof will be covered under Coverage A – Dwelling. If they’re in your yard, consider them Other Structures and they are covered under Coverage B.

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The automatic coverage provided by Other Structures is 10%. If you need more insurance for any other structure on your property, it must be endorsed on.

Examples of Other Structures include:
Sheds, Fences, Driveways, Solar Panels, Playground Equipment, Doghouses, Gazebos, etc.

When was the last time you reviewed YOUR policy coverages with your agent?



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No Basement coverage in your Flood Policy.

Today someone who is a friend but not a client told me about his unsatisfactory experience with FEMA and flood insurance.  His agent did not fully inform him about the lack of coverage below grade.  While it’s true that furnishings below the 1st floor are not covered, the homeowner’s policy does not cover any flood related damage at all.  Many people lost their entire home due to the flooding in Colorado, and before that, due to Hurricane Sandy. As a consumer you should always read all your policy documents carefully.  But as an Agent, I try to make sure my clients are fully informed.  There is no basement or below grade coverage in your flood policy.  But there is no Flood coverage in your Homeowner’s policy.Image

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Checking In

So much going on in the world today!  Good news and bad news compete for attention, and so often the bad news wins… 

I’d like to take a moment to acknowledge the tragedy at the Boston Marathon.  So many people injured and maimed.  And sadly some lost their lives.  Many found themselves unlikely heroes that day, and are now receiving the recognition they definitely deserve.

ImageOn both a local and federal level, law enforcement went into overdrive, and within the week, those responsible were either killed or apprehended.  I applaud those involved in the manhunt on their thorough search and determination to find these men.Image

Now, on to happier news! My brain has been plenty full of work, work, work!  That means our company is prospering during these tough economic times, and that’s awesome!  During my off hours, i’m still working!  Just not on insurance.  

My best friend is getting married in 2015 and we’re in overdrive trying to make plans, find venues, decide on dress styles, schedule appointments… It seems like there are a thousand decisions to make!  Who knew all these details had to be ironed out so far in advance?? I’ve never been a Matron of Honor before.  This all seems like a vast maze, that I’m having some trouble navigating.  Not to mention the varied opinions of the wedding party.  All of whom, just want to help, and all of whom have completely different ideas!

One thing I do know, we’re getting Wedding Insurance!  So many variables, something is bound to go wrong, and I’m protecting my friend’s investment! 

If you are coming upon a big change in your life, like a wedding, be sure to look into insuring your investment against the unknown.  Anything can happen!  

Travelers Insurance offers a terrific product.  Talk to your Agent.  http://www.protectmywedding.com/


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Hurricane Sandy

I may not be in NYC anymore, but many of my friends and loved ones still are.  Luckily all those I care about are safe and sound.  The same cannot be said for many others.  In the wake of Hurricane Sandy, many people in the NY metro area are without homes today.  Untold numbers are without power and still many more have no access to their homes due to flooding.

My prayers go out to all of them.  Having watched the news coverage and seen the destruction and flooding, my heart breaks.

But of course, this is an insurance blog, right?  So what would I be if not remiss, if I didn’t bring up… Flood insurance!

So many people that I talk to say things like, “I haven’t had a flood in 50 yrs, I’m not going to have one.”  Or “I don’t live near the water”

The fact is, you never know.  Many mortgage companies require flood insurance on new purchases, and if you live in a preferred zone, this year’s rates are approximately $417.00 per year.  That’s about $1.15 per day!

New York City’s subway system is under water, many homes and businesses are too.  What are the odds that all those homes and businesses had flood insurance?  Slim to none.  It saddens me to think how many people will not be able to repair or rebuild their homes.Image

This is Stuyvesant Town last night.


Bayside this morning, after the fires

So much damage.  Again, my prayers go out to all those affected.  Please be safe!

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Moving? Oh Boy!


As my moving day approaches, there’s so much to think about!  A big move like this is a logistical nighmare!  Relocating is difficult no matter how far you’re moving.  Packing, Unpacking, changing mailing addresses and making sure nothing’s left behind (especially those pesky bills!)

I recently came a cross an article that dealt with Mover’s insurance. I’m so glad I chose to take that coverage from my moving company!  Of course, I knew it wasn’t covered under my renter’s policy!  🙂


Have you had to deal with a big interstate move before?  What logistical challenges did you face?

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Happy Independence Day!

Happy Independence Day!

I’d like to wish everyone out there in internet-land a happy and healthy 4th. Please be safe and aware of your surroundings. If you’re watching a firework show, have fun! But don’t put on any of your own! This week has a high incidence of fires, historically, due to improper use of fireworks. Fireworks can be dangerous, even deadly. They are illegal in NY State and we don’t want you to ruin your holiday!

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Heat Safety – Use your head!

With yesterday and today topping off at about a hundred degrees here in the Northeast, how have you been keeping cool?  Especially for the very young, and the very old, being safe during the dog days of summer is very important.  But even those of us who land somewhere in the middle need to be aware of the best ways to keep cool and stay safe.

Some heat safety tips from the National Weather Service:

Child Safety Tips

  • Make sure your child’s safety seat and safety belt buckles aren’t too hot before securing your child in a safety restraint system, especially when your car has been parked in the heat.
  • Never leave your child unattended in a vehicle, even with the windows down.
  • Teach children not to play in, on, or around cars.
  • Always lock car doors and trunks–even at home–and keep keys out of children’s reach.
  • Always make sure all children have left the car when you reach your destination. Don’t leave sleeping infants in the car ever!

Adult Heat Wave Safety Tips

  • Slow down. Reduce, eliminate or reschedule strenuous activities until the Thermometer reads 110 degreescoolest time of the day. Children, seniors and anyone with health problems should stay in the coolest available place, not necessarily indoors.
  • Dress for summer. Wear lightweight, light-colored clothing to reflect heat and sunlight.
  • Put less fuel on your inner fires.Foods, like meat and other proteins that increase metabolic heat production also increase water loss.
  • Drink plenty of water, non-alcoholic and decaffeinated fluids.Your body needs water to keep cool. Drink plenty of fluids even if you don’t feel thirsty. Persons who have epilepsy or heart, kidney or liver disease, are on fluid restrictive diets or have a problem with fluid retention should consult a physician before increasing their consumption of fluids. Do not drink alcoholic beverages and limit caffeinated beverages.
  • During excessive heat periods, spend more time in air-conditioned places. Air conditioning in homes and other buildings markedly reduces danger from the heat. If you cannot afford an air conditioner, go to a library, store or other location with air conditioning for part of the day.
  • Don’t get too much sun. Sunburn reduces your body’s ability to dissipate heat.
  • Do not take salt tablets unless specified by a physician.

Visit the National Weather Services website to learn more information on heat related items. http://www.nws.noaa.gov/os/heat/index.shtml

The other major concern that we face during these excessively hot days and nights is energy conservation.  If we all think we’re hot now, how will we feel if there’s a blackout?

You can help save Energy by doing some of the following:

Some steps to stay cool include:

  • Making sure air conditioner filters are clean for peak efficiency;
  • Setting thermostats no lower than 78 degrees.  Each degree lower increases cooling costs by 6 percent;
  • Closing off the rooms not being used if you have a room air conditioner; if you have central air, block the vents in unused or vacant rooms;
  • Turning off lights and other appliances, using a timer to turn them on as necessary;
  • Running appliances such as ovens, washing machines, dryers, and dishwashers in the early morning or late at night when it’s generally cooler. Another alternative: using a microwave to cook, or a barbecue outside, if possible. 
  • Accepting Con Edison’s offer of a free programmable thermostat if you have central air conditioning.  Program the thermostat manually or from the Internet. Turning off your air conditioner when you’re not there beats leaving it on all the time, and programming it instead to turn on before you return is a wise way to save on summer electric bills. To learn more about Con Edison’s free programmable thermostat, call 1-866-521-8600 or visit www.conEd.com/cool.

Con Edison, here in New York City is doing everything they can to keep the power on and those AC’s running.  But there are things you can do to help.  Please visit the ConEd website to learn more: http://www.coned.com/newsroom/news/pr20120621.asp

I hope you all find ways to stay cool, stay comfortable and stay out of the sun!