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Frequently Asked Questions

Below are some of our frequently asked questions.  If you have any other questions or concerns, please feel free to contact us via the web, or come and visit us at a location near you.

  1. What steps do I take after an accident?
  2. Does my car insurance cover me when I rent a car?
  3. How does full glass coverage work?
  4. What is the difference between comprehensive and collision coverage?
  5. Do I need more than the New York state minimum coverage?
  6. Are no fault and personal injury protection the same thing?
  7. What is medical payments coverage on an auto insurance policy?
  8. Can I put anybody on my auto insurance policy?
  9. Can an auto insurance company deny coverage?
  10. Does my credit score really affect my premiums?
  11. If I use someone else's car and I get in an accident, whose insurance do I use?
  12. There are different types of car insurance?
  13. Should I bundle my car insurance with another policy?
  14. What discounts are available with auto insurance?
  15. What makes up my car insurance rates?
  16. My son/daughter just received his/her learning permit, do they need to be insured?
  17. Does my auto insurance cover me while driving outside of the United States?
  18. Why do car insurance premiums change?
  19. Can I cancel my auto insurance policy anytime?
  20. When can an auto insurance company deny your accident claims?
  21. What does homeowners insurance cover?
  22. What is personal property insurance on a homeowner insurance policy?
  23. How much homeowners insurance should I have?
  24. What is renter insurance?
  25. What insurance covers my jewelry for theft?
  26. What is coinsurance?
  27. How does escrow work with my homeowners insurance payments?
  28. What is not covered on my homeowners insurance?
  29. Does my homeowners insurance cover wear and tear?
  30. What is the replacement cost and actual cash value?
  31. How is condo insurance different from homeowner insurance?
  32. Will my homeowners policy cover a tree that fell on my house?
  33. Do I need boat insurance or is my boat covered by my homeowners insurance?
  34. Is homeowners insurance required by law?
  35. What homeowners insurance discounts are available?
  36. Can my homeowners insurance company drop me?
  37. Can you get homeowners insurance for an unoccupied house?
  38. Can you insure a house that is not in your name?
  39. How does a personal umbrella policy work?
  40. What does a personal umbrella cover?
  41. What is term life insurance?
  42. What is permanent insurance?
  43. Is my employer sponsored life insurance plan enough?
  44. Why is there life insurance for children?
  45. Can I get life insurance with no health exam?
  46. What do insurance companies look for in the health exams?
  47. Can I get a life insurance policy on anyone?
  48. I have or have had a serious medical issue. Can I get life insurance?
  49. I'm pregnant. Can I get life insurance?
  50. What are accelerated death benefits?
  51. What is covered on a commercial general liability policy?
  52. What is a business owners policy (BOP)?
  53. What is hired and non owned auto liability insurance?
  54. Does my business need business auto insurance?
  55. What is the right insurance for my brewery?
  56. What type of insurance does my auto repair shop need?
  57. Why does it take longer to get a business insurance quote than an auto insurance quote?
  58. What if my business needs changing?
  59. What is my loss ratio?
  60. What is Workers' Compensation insurance?
What steps do I take after an accident?

Step 1: Safety First

  • If the accident is minor, move the vehicles out of traffic and into a safe place.
  • Shift into park, turn off your vehicle, and turn on the hazard lights.
  • Use cones, warning triangles, or flares for added safety, if available.

Step 2: Get Help

  • Check for any injuries and call 911.
  • Call the police.

Step 3: Collect Information

  • Drivers and passengers: get names and contact information
  • Vehicle description (year, make, model)
  • Driver's license numbers
  • License plate numbers
  • Insurance companies and policy numbers

Step 4: Document the Accident

  • Identify the police officers
  • Get a copy of the police report
  • Take photos of all vehicles and the accident scene
  • Talk to any witnesses

Step 5: File a Claim

  • Call us as soon as possible at (845) 724-3031 to report the claim. 
  • Fill out a claim form and we will get in touch with you as quickly as possible.
  • Contact your insurance company directly to report the claim. Here are company links to report a claim.

Read more on our blog Five Steps To Take After a Car Accident



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Does my car insurance cover me when I rent a car?

In the continental United States, your New York auto insurance policy is going to cover you if there is an accident with a rental car. 

You must have auto insurance in New York and must be renting a car in the United States. Other states and other parts of  the world have different laws. 

If traveling outside the United States, it is best to look at other options such as local coverage or credit card options.

Read more about this on our blog Should You Buy Extra Rental Car Insurance?



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How does full glass coverage work?

Full glass coverage is an additional physical damage coverage which can be purchased on your personal or business auto policies.

Full glass coverage  needs to be purchased in conjunction with comprehensive coverage. Full glass coverage adds glass breakage as an additional named peril to your auto insurance policy. You have coverage in the event that a rock gets kicked  up off the road and breaks your windshield. There is NO deductible paid by you for full glass coverage.

Read more on our blog Will My Car Insurance Pay For a Cracked Windshield?



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What is the difference between comprehensive and collision coverage?

Comprehensive (also called Other than Collision) and Collision coverage are physical damage insurance coverages on a personal business auto insurance policy.

Collision provides reimbursement for damage to your vehicle after you have been in car accident in which there is no fault or you are at-fault. 

Comprehensive provides reimbursement for a named set of perils that includes fire, hitting an animal, falling objects, car gets struck by lightning, etc. Comprehensive will be provided in conjunction with full glass coverage. 

They are both optional, unless you carry a loan, in which you will be required to purchase comprehensive and collision coverage by the loan company. 

Read more on our blog Understanding Collision and Comprehensive Coverage

 



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Do I need more than the New York state minimum coverage?

Yes, it is a good idea to buy auto insurance that is more  than the state minimum coverage in order to protect your finances. It will cost more  to have more coverage, but the long run, it will save you a lot of time, energy, and money.

If you believe that insurance is in place to protect you for your worst day, then the state minimum coverage is never going to protect you for that worst day.



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Are no fault and personal injury protection the same thing?

Yes, it is the same coverage. No Fault insurance is the non-technical name in New York State for Personal Injury Protection on an auto insurance policy.

Personal injury protection is a mandatory insurance coverage on auto policies in New York state that covers you and the passengers in your car for medical and additional expenses after a car accident.

Read more about No Fault on our blog No-Fault Car Insurance in New York



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What is medical payments coverage on an auto insurance policy?

Medical payments coverage pays for medical or funeral expense after a car accident, regardless of who is at fault for the accident.

In New York, this coverage  is important because the mandatory personal injury protection or no fault coverage does not respond in the event that drugs or alcohol are involved in the event. Only medical payments coverage responds.



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Can I put anybody on my auto insurance policy?
You can include members of your household on your policy, but you must all live at the same address. An exception is if your child is away at college as a student. 

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Can an auto insurance company deny coverage?

Yes, they can. If you have a DUI on your record, have bad credit or have caused a serious accident, you can be denied service. 

If you are applying to that company for the first time, they can deny your application. If you are already a customer, they can non-renew you at the time of renewal.



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Does my credit score really affect my premiums?

Yes, absolutely. If you have a lower credit score, your insurance premiums will be higher, or you might even be denied for insurance.



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If I use someone else's car and I get in an accident, whose insurance do I use?
You will use their auto insurance. For whatever costs that are left over, you will then use your auto insurance.

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There are different types of car insurance?

Yes, here are the big ones. 

  • Bodily injury (BI) and property damage (PD) liability coverage pay for damage you cause to other people or their property.
  • Personal injury protection (PIP) pays for medical expenses and lost wages regardless of fault.
  • Collision coverage pays for damage done to your car in an auto collision.
  • Comprehensive coverage pays for damage to your car in non-collisions (ex: fire, vandalism, or theft).
  • Uninsured and underinsured motorist (UI/UIM) coverage protects you if you are in an accident and the driver at fault does not have auto insurance.


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Should I bundle my car insurance with another policy?
Probably. It is a good idea. Many insurance companies offer multi-policy discounts to clients who have both an auto and homeowners policy. Bundling car insurance with homeowners or renters can save you money.

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What discounts are available with auto insurance?

There are many discounts available. Big discounts include:

  • Good driver 
  • Good student
  • Defensive driving 
  • Multi-policy 
  • Multi-vehicle
  • Low-mileage
  • Car safety features


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What makes up my car insurance rates?

Your car insurance rates depend on a number of factors. These include:

  • Personal details like age, sex, and marital status
  • Where you live
  • Average annual distance driver
  • Your credit
  • Your vehicle
  • Your coverage amount and type


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My son/daughter just received his/her learning permit, do they need to be insured?
Those with learning permits are not required by law to have auto insurance. Some auto insurance companies will cover permit drivers under your current policy. The day that he/she gets his/her license, you should immediately add him or her to your policy.

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Does my auto insurance cover me while driving outside of the United States?
American auto insurance policies will cover you in two countries that we border - Canada and Mexico. Virtually all plans cover you in Canada and most cover you in Mexico. Outside those two countries, coverage varies widely. You might need to look into international auto insurance. Talk to your agent today if your policy covers you for international driving.

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Why do car insurance premiums change?

Insurance companies incur the same costs you do in buying goods and services. These costs can ultimately affect your premium. Costs affecting the ultimate price of an auto insurance policy include:

  • Medical costs to treats injuries
  • Auto repair costs
  • Costs to adjust claims
  • Inflation
  • Uninsured drivers 

Insurance companies can't directly control these costs. As they change, auto premiums must be adjusted. The costs affect your auto insurance premium whether or not individually you have had an accident or a claim.



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Can I cancel my auto insurance policy anytime?

You can cancel a personal insurance policy at any time without penalty in New York State. That means you can change your insurance company every month if you felt so inclined, though it highly recommended that you don't  do that. 

All policies are cancelled pro-rata which means you only pay for what you use.



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When can an auto insurance company deny your accident claims?
They can deny your claims if they have proven beyond a reasonable doubt that you were driving recklessly or lied about accident charges. 

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What does homeowners insurance cover?

In a nutshell, a standard homeowners policy covers:

  1. property damage
  2. personal belongings damage
  3. liability in the event that someone injuries themselves at or around your house and
  4. loss of use, which means the company will pay for temporary housing while your house is in repair.


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What is personal property insurance on a homeowner insurance policy?

Personal property insurance coverage is listed as Coverage C on your auto insurance policy. Personal property coverage is a separate limit of insurance from the building coverage on the home itself.

Personal property includes all your "stuff" including tables, chairs, clothes, dishes, electronics, jewelry, art work, etc.  It is important that certain types of personal property like electronics, jewelry, and art work have special sub-limits that limit coverage. 



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How much homeowners insurance should I have?

This is a very frequent question and the unfortunate answer is that "It Depends."

There are many factors that go into how much homeowners insurance you should have. In an effort to not get technical, if your policy is written and insured at replacement cost, then you are doing well. 

Determining the appropriate amount of insurance for your home is something that we will determine when we create a quote for you.



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What is renter insurance?

Renter insurance is an insurance policy built to suit the needs of individuals and families who do not own the property they live in. 

It is similar to a homeowners policy, except the building coverage has been removed. There is still coverage for personal property and personal liability, among other important coverages. 



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What insurance covers my jewelry for theft?

Theft coverage for jewelry is included on most homeowners and renters insurance policies. However, the coverage included is very limited. 

If you want to cover a piece of jewelry for it's true value, then you need to do one of the following:

  1. Specifically schedule the piece of jewelry onto your homeowners or renters insurance policy.
  2. Buy a separate inland marine insurance policy for that piece of jewelry.

In both cases,  you will need to get the jewelry appraised and give the appraisal to us.

Read more about this on our blog Adding Expensive Jewelry to Your Homeowners Insurance Policy



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What is coinsurance?

Coinsurance is a property insurance provision that penalizes the insured's loss recovery if the limit of insurance purchased by the insured is not at least equal to a specified percentage (commonly 80%) of the value of the insured property. 

If a building valued at $250,000 is insured with a policy containing an 80% coinsurance clause, the policyholder must purchase at least $200,000 in coverage. If the policyholder purchased less than $200,000, he or she would be responsible for a proportionate share of the loss.



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How does escrow work with my homeowners insurance payments?
If your lender set up an escrow account for your mortgage, each month you will make an escrow payment to cover your property taxes and homeowners insurance. Your lender will deposit this amount into your escrow account and will pay for both of these items on your behalf when they are due. 

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What is not covered on my homeowners insurance?

Homeowners insurance policies offer coverage for damage caused by fire, lightning, windstorms, and hail. It is important to know that not all natural disasters are covered. For example, damage caused by earthquakes or floods are not covered.

Read more about this on our blog 12 Perils Your Home Insurance Probably Doesn't Cover.



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Does my homeowners insurance cover wear and tear?

Wear and tear is the normal and expected deterioration of your house after prolonged use. As with your car, you would expect things in your home to deteriorate over time. If your carpet starts ripping up after 20 years, that will not be covered by your policy since that is considered wear and tear.

Read more about this topic on our blog Wear and Tear is Not Covered Under  Your Homeowners Insurance.



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What is the replacement cost and actual cash value?

These are different valuation methods that the insurance company may use to calculate the amount owed to you after a loss. The major difference is that actual cash value takes into depreciation, whereas replacement cost does not.

Read more about this topic on our blog Replacement Cost or Actual Cash Value?



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How is condo insurance different from homeowner insurance?

Condo insurance has some very significant differences from traditional homeowners insurance. The most notable is how the dwelling is insured. 

When you purchase a condo, you are insuring the air inside the building. The majority of the structure is not yours. The insurance you purchase does not cover the entire building. 

When you own a condo, you will be part of a condo association. If there are problems with the building or common areas, you can be assessed as part of the association to fix damages. 



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Will my homeowners policy cover a tree that fell on my house?

If a tree falls on and damages your house, homeowners insurance is likely to cover the damage and possibly the cost of debris removal.

Read more about this topic on our blog Will Homeowners Insurance Cover The Fallen Tree?



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Do I need boat insurance or is my boat covered by my homeowners insurance?

In a very limited capacity, some types and sizes of boats do have coverage under a homeowners policy. Hoping that your boat is covered by your homeowners insurance is not prudent.

The proper way to insure a boat is to buy a separate policy designed specifically for a boat. Most carriers have boat insurance.



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Is homeowners insurance required by law?
No, unlike car insurance which is required by law, states do not mandate that you insure your home. However, if you are financing a home, your mortgage lender will likely require you to purchase home insurance. The lender does not want to lose money on their investment. 

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What homeowners insurance discounts are available?
Sometimes homeowners insurance companies offer low rates to first-time homebuyers or first-time customers. You might also get a more affordable policy by adding certain security features to your home, like an alarm system. When you package your home and auto into your policy, many companies will offer a discount. 

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Can my homeowners insurance company drop me?

Yes, your insurance company can drop you. Being dropped is considered a non-renewal, which different from a cancellation.

You can be cancelled due to various reasons such as non-payment or misrepresentation on your application.

Being dropped or non-renewed usually happens when you have too many claims. The insurance company is essentially asking you to find coverage elsewhere. Non-renewal generally happens when your current policy term is set to expire and not mid-term.



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Can you get homeowners insurance for an unoccupied house?
Typical homeowners insurance policies won't cover fire, vandalism, liability or other types of claims for an unoccupied or vacant property. If you want  coverage for an unoccupied or vacant home, you need to purchase unoccupied or vacant home insurance. 

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Can you insure a house that is not in your name?
The answer is no. If you are not an owner and your name is not on the deed, then you have no insurable interest in the home. The insurance is for the home. You can purchase a renters policy to cover your personal belongings if you are renting from someone.

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How does a personal umbrella policy work?

An umbrella works exactly as it sounds. It sits over the top of underlying insurance policies and provides an extra layer of liability insurance.

For a personal umbrella, the underlying policies would be your auto insurance, homeowners insurance, boat insurance, rental property insurance, etc. If the limit of liability is used up on the underlying policy, then the umbrella kicks in to provide additional coverage.

Read more about this topic on our blog Personal Umbrella Insurance To The Rescue



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What does a personal umbrella cover?

A personal umbrella policy acts as last line of liability in the event the limits of liability of your underlying policies are used up.

For example, you get sued for $500,000. 

Your homeowners insurance has a limit of $500,000. After your homeowners insurance pays, you are still liable to pay an additional $500,000. If you don't have an umbrella, the payment is on you.

If you have a $1,000,000 umbrella policy,  it will come in and provide coverage for the additional $500,000 that you owe.

Read more about this topic on our blog Personal Umbrella Insurance To The Rescue.

 



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What is term life insurance?

Term life insurance pays a benefit to your beneficiary in the event of death of the insured within a chosen time frame. The most common time frames are 10, 15, 20 and 30 years.

Read more about this topic on our blog Term Life Insurance: Why Do I Need It and Can I Afford It?



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What is permanent insurance?

Permanent insurances covers you for you entire life, usually until age 100. The two types of permanent insurance are whole life and universal life.

Read more about this topic on our blog Permanent Life Insurance: Insuring You For Your Entire Life.



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Is my employer sponsored life insurance plan enough?

Usually no. Your employer might only provide a very small amount or only several times your salary. It's not nearly enough for a family with a mortgage and several children.

Read more about this topic on our blog I Have Life Insurance Through My Employer: Why Do I Need Another Policy?



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Why is there life insurance for children?

The thought of a child dying is more than most people can bear. Placing a life insurance on a child can make some people uncomfortable. Most life insurance policies bought on the lives of children are not purchased as a means of providing financial relief in the event that the child passes. Whole and universal life policies are bought as presents for the children.

These life insurance policies become tools for the child later in life. It may 20 years to see the benefit, but these children are often rewarded quite well for the investment made in life insurance.



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Can I get life insurance with no health exam?

Yes, you can. But, you need to qualify for the no exam life insurance. The requirements are strict and not everybody will qualify.

Read more about this topic on our blog No Medical Exam Life Insurance.



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What do insurance companies look for in the health exams?
The medical exams collects your height, weight, blood pressure urine sample, and blood sample. These results, along with your age, gender, family health history, and answers to health questions, will determine your rate class. 

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Can I get a life insurance policy on anyone?
Yes, but only if you have an insurable interest in that person. That means you would suffer financially if that person passed away. 

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I have or have had a serious medical issue. Can I get life insurance?

It depends on your disease and the severity. If you were just diagnosed with cancer, you will be declined. If you are ten years out in remission, you might be able to secure life insurance, but most likely at a higher rate.

For someone with controlled Diabetes Type II, you have a higher chance of getting a standard rate than someone who is not controlling their diabetes. 

With any ailment, life insurance companies want to see that you are seeking treatment and are following up regularly with your doctor. If you aren't seeking treatment or avoiding your doctor, your chances are much less.



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I'm pregnant. Can I get life insurance?

Yes, most pregnant women can still qualify for life insurance even while pregnant. The first trimester is usually the best time to apply. If you have any serious pregnancy-related issues, many insurance companies would prefer to postpone an application.

Read more about this topic on our blog Can You Get Term Life When You're Pregnant?



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What are accelerated death benefits?
Most policies these days have a provision that allows you to collect a significant portion of the death benefit while you are still alive should you become terminally ill. The money can be used at your discretion to pay for medical expenses or even to do specific things with your family and friends while you still can.

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What is covered on a commercial general liability policy?

A commercial general liability policy protects your business from financial loss should you be liable for property damage or personal and advertising injury caused by your services, business operations or your employees. It covers non-professional negligent acts.

It does NOT cover damages to your building or property. There is a separate policy for such type of damage.



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What is a business owners policy (BOP)?
A business owners policy, more commonly known as BOP insurance, is a policy that combines both property and liability into one package. Commercial property, general liability, and business income are the most common parts of the policy.

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What is hired and non owned auto liability insurance?

Hired and non-owned auto liability insurance is a coverage found most often on business auto policy or the business owners policies (BOP).

The coverage provides protection for the business in the event an employee gets into an at-fault accident while driving their own personal vehicle or any other vehicle not owned or a rented vehicle during the course of their work duty.

 



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Does my business need business auto insurance?

If you or your employees operate a vehicle in any capacity as part of your business activities, then you need to have this type of business in place.

Read more about the topic on our blog When Do You Need Business Auto Insurance?



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What is the right insurance for my brewery?

Starting a new brewery is very hard work, but it does have its many perks. There are many policies that you need to look at to keep your business afloat. Many companies offer special package policies for such type of business.

Read more about this topic on our blog Finding The Right Insurance For Your Brewery.



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What type of insurance does my auto repair shop need?

Auto repair shops need many different types of insurance including general liability, business auto, garage keepers liability, and workers' compensation.

Read more about this topic on our blog Auto Repair Shop Insurance



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Why does it take longer to get a business insurance quote than an auto insurance quote?
This is something that you should be thankful for. There is a lot more at stake with commercial insurance. Each policy is reviewed by an individual and is tailored to suit your needs. This can work in your favor pricing wise because a human can make pricing determinations based on your business' specific risks.

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What if my business needs changing?
The demands and opportunities your business faces are constantly shifting. As your business grows, offers new products or services, buys new equipment or develops new revenue streams, you may also take on new risks. It's a good idea to review your insurance whenever something significant changes. 

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What is my loss ratio?
The loss ratio is the ratio between the premiums that the insurance company receives from you compared to the amount of money they pay out as the result of claims to your business. 

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What is Workers' Compensation insurance?
Workers' Compensation insurance provides money to employees who are injured while on the job. This type of insurance is mandatory in New York if you have employees. 

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