Can Home Automation Devices Save You Money on Energy Costs?

Home automation offers homeowners several options when it comes to securing your home and saving energy. Timers, thermostats, and environmental hazard controls are available to monitor your home’s energy usage. In Selden, NY, the agents at XL Brokerage Inc. can help you discover new ways to save energy through the use of home automation.

Temperature Control

Smart thermostats work with home automation platforms like Google and Alexa to control the temperature of your home when you are there or away at work.  In the summertime, temperatures can be raised when you’re gone and lowered when you are on your way home saving energy costs and reducing your utility bills.

Scheduled Lighting

Putting indoor and outdoor lights on a timer reduces energy costs but also helps to keep your home secure, especially after dark. It also makes it easier for you to see as you enter your home at night.

Environmental Alerts

Environmental alerts will notify you when moisture is detected in your basement or in other parts of your home. They will also alert you if there is a spike or dramatic decrease in the temperature of your home. This can indicate that your HVAC unit is not properly working or that you are experiencing a power outage.

The agents of XL Brokerage Inc. offer assistance to residents of Selden, NY if they have questions concerning home automation and energy savings. Home automation and home security systems go hand in hand to help homeowners lower their utility costs and protect their homes at the same time. If you have any questions or concerns, call the agents today and set up a consultation to get the answers you need.

What is the Difference Between Replacement Cost and Actual Value?

When thinking about auto insurance, be sure to work closely with your agent at XL Brokerage Inc. serving Selden, NY and the surrounding area. Keep your agent informed of any changes that are happening in your life, such as a job change or letting another person drive your vehicle Also, for enhanced protection, consider insuring the vehicle for replacement value.

The Benefits of Replacement Value Protection

Replacement value differs from actual value. The actual value is what a vehicle would sell for on the used auto market. This can be estimated by referring to some industry-wide statistics for auto sales. Replacement value is the amount needed to buy a new vehicle of the same model and type.

If a vehicle is involved in a major accident and severely damaged, it may not be worth repairing it if the cost to repair it is more than the vehicle is worth. In common terminology, this level of damage is described as a vehicle that is “totaled.”

If the insurance covers only the actual value of the vehicle, the claim will be limited to the actual value amount less any deductible. If the insurance covers the replacement value, the claim will be up to the cost of a new vehicle of the same model and type, less any deductible.

One thing to consider is how much and how quickly the value of a new car goes down. It is said that a buyer loses a few thousand dollars of value simply by driving a vehicle off the dealer’s lot.

A Wise Strategy to Consider

One strategy to discuss with your insurance agent is how to choose a deductible and balance this amount with the premiums for replacement cost coverage. The cleverness of this strategy is that the deductible limits the amount of loss to a certain figure and a new car of the same type replaces a vehicle that is totally damaged. Even in the worst-case scenario, you know how much it will cost.

Each year it is a good idea to conduct an auto insurance review to make sure your coverage is adequate. Contact your agent at XL Brokerage Inc. in Selden, NY for a quote for any auto insurance needs and to see how replacement cost coverage is well worth considering.

Umbrella insurance takes over once your primary policy is exhausted

If you are a business owner or a high net worth individual, it’s time to take a look at umbrella insurance. One’s primary policy, whether commercial or homeowner’s, will have policy limits, that once reached, are exhausted and you then become liable for any excess loss. In order to protect yourself in the event that a covered loss exceeds your primary policy limits, an umbrella insurance policy will then kick in to protect you from damages that aren’t covered by your base policy. The team at XL Brokerage Inc. understand how important it is to have adequate liability coverage, and they are here to meet those needs for the greater Selden, NY community.

Umbrella insurance takes over once your primary policy is exhausted

It may feel like your policy limit levels are adequate to protect you and your family or business, but what happens in the event that they aren’t? One major event can exhaust a primary policy. Because life is filled with uncertainty, and it is always better to be prepared, it makes sense to add umbrella coverage to your primary policy. Personal liability can be devastating in many events, and having an umbrella policy can make the difference between a recoverable loss and financial devastation. Even if you have assets to absorb such a loss, why wouldn’t you want to allocate those assets to more beneficial uses? Many cases of personal liability can be avoided when one carries adequate umbrella insurance coverage. 

Don’t be left with liability that you could have prevented. Call or stop by the XL Brokerage Inc. office and meet with one of our knowledgeable local agents. We are proud to serve the greater Selden, NY area and look forward to meeting with you soon!

3 Tips for Buying Flood Insurance in Selden, NY

A flood is a devastating event that leaves homeowners in a terrible situation. Flooding is not only dangerous to people’s lives, it causes extensive damage in a short time. Once a flood occurs, it’s important to call in a cleaning crew immediately. Standing flood waters are dangerous to your health as they produce mold and bacteria.

Without a flood insurance policy in place in Selden, NY, you would be left on your own to cover the flood damage. To avoid this, consider purchasing a flood insurance policy to protect your home. XL Brokerage Inc. has put together a short list to help you get started with the process.

1. Bundle Your Insurance Policies

When you bundle all your insurance policies together under one insurance carrier, you will save money on your premiums. Keep this in mind when shopping for flood insurance as you can bundle this with your auto, home, life, commercial, and toy insurance, for example.

2. Compare Several Quotes

Not all flood insurance policies are the same. For this reason, it’s important to compare several quotes before making a commitment. A trusted insurance agent can help you go through the fine details, comparing cost and coverage, and help find you the right policy for the right price.

3. Work with a Reputable Agent

A trusted and reputable agent will be key to finding the right flood insurance policy. This experienced professional will have the knowledge needed to make sure you purchase the correct flood insurance policy.

To learn more about purchasing flood insurance in Selden, NY, contact XL Brokerage Inc. today. One of our friendly agents is standing by to help you get started.  

 

How to Determine if Commercial Insurance is Adequate Protection

Imagine an employee driving a company van down the road, going around a corner, and suddenly driving into a gigantic sinkhole where the road is supposed to be. Hopefully, there is insurance protection for that accident.

If there is no coverage or inadequate coverage, this is what is called a “gap” in insurance. Gaps in coverage on not necessarily obvious. A business may be going along just fine and then, suddenly, some shocking event occurs for which there is insufficient insurance protection.

Types of Commercial Insurance

Commercial insurance is a broad category and it includes many types of protection such as:

  • Worker’s Compensation: This insurance is required by law to protect workers and business owners from liability for injury and death that may occur while a worker is on the job.
  • Property and Casualty: This protects the facilities.
  • General Liability: This is for accidents that may happen, which harm things or people other than the workers.
  • Product Liability: This addresses the risks associated with making, selling, and distributing products.
  • Professional Liability: This is a category of insurance protection for health care workers, attorneys, those who work in the financial services sector, and other professionals.
  • Business Interruption: This is helpful if the business is prevented from operating by circumstances beyond anyone’s control such as a natural disaster.
  • Commercial Vehicle Insurance: This is for any vehicles used in business operations.
  • Specialty Insurance: This may be customized to offer risk protection for other things such as terrorism, cyber-attacks, fraud, and more. Talk with your agent to learn the details.

In addition to commercial insurance, it is a good idea to have umbrella insurance that extends the policy limits of other policies and may offer more protection for other things like defamation or discrimination lawsuits and help pay for legal expenses

Commercial Insurance Review

To make sure the business has adequate commercial insurance and to uncover any gaps in coverage, work with an agent at XL Brokerage Inc. serving Selden, NY and nearby communities like Mastic. To get a commercial insurance review or a quote for new commercial insurance contact the good folks at XL Brokerage Inc. in Selden, NY.

Landlord Insurance for Real Estate Investors

Many real estate investors start small with a single property that they rent out and then over time they add more rental properties to build up a nice real estate portfolio of rental homes. To make sure there is adequate insurance protection for each property work with your agent at XL Brokerage Inc. serving Selden, NY and the nearby communities to set up a uniform landlord insurance program.

What is landlord insurance?

Landlord insurance is much more than property insurance for the building. It includes that but also much more. It may provide protection for accidental damage and even loss of rent.

Loss of rent coverage is really helpful if the property cannot be rented due to circumstance beyond anyone’s control. This protection can help pay the mortgage payments of a rental property for a covered cause when there is no rental income coming in. Some lenders require this kind of insurance to be in place in order to make a loan on the property.

If the rental property is furnished, landlord insurance may be extended to protect the personal property owned by the landlord as well.

Discuss the specifics with your insurance agent because there is the possibility of a customized protection plan that fits your particular circumstances.

Landlord Insurance Review

If you already own rental properties that are insured individually then consider getting an insurance review to receive recommendations about landlord insurance to help you better manage your rental real estate.

If you are just starting out that is fine too, we are happy to work with you as you build your real estate portfolio. When a comprehensive landlord insurance program is established, it is easy to add additional properties to the coverage

To get a quote for landlord insurance contact an agent at XL Brokerage Inc. in Selden, NY by calling 631-736-6100 or the office in Mastic at 631-281-6100.

Does Home Insurance Cover the Cost of Damages Associated with Pests?

Pests are present in every home, even if you do not readily see them. These pests can cause major damage to your home so making sure you are repairing damage and getting rid of pests is essential. That being said, pest damage repair can be costly and having some help with costs would be helpful.  For those that live in the Selden, NY area, the agents with XL Brokerage Inc. can help you find the policy that covers what you need it to cover.

For the most part, home policies are not going to cover the cost of repairs that are associated with pests and the damage they cause. The cost of pest repair falls under the category of home maintenance, which cannot be claimed on a home owner’s policy. If you do have pests it is suggested that you take the time to get the infestation handled before it becomes too serious and before the cost of damages is too high. Repairing pest damage can be a gradual process that the homeowner or landlord must shoulder on their own.

You can claim damages that are caused by pets to a certain extent however or by other animals that belong to tenants for example if you are renting your home out. You should take the time to carefully consider what your home policy covers before you decide what policy you are going to take out and what policy is going to work for you and for you particular property and home.

For those that live in the Selden, NY area, the agents with XL Brokerages Inc. can help you to find the right policy for your needs and for your particular property and the coverage that it needs to be safe.  

What to do when your check engine light comes on

The Check Engine light is a confusing and often frightening indicator on your dashboard, explains XL Brokerage Inc. serving Selden, NY. It can mean anything from a loose gas cap to something so serious that you need to pull over to the side of the road, stop, and call for a tow.

If the check engine light comes on, it will either blink or shine red or shine constantly or shine yellow or orange. If the light is blinking or shining red, it’s time to stop and call for a tow. If the light is shining steadily or orange or red, the problem isn’t immediate but needs to be looked at as soon as possible.

When the check engine light comes on, the vehicle’s computer, which controls almost all aspects of engine performance and sometimes how the transmission shifts, will store a trouble code. Any mechanic’s shop has the equipment to read the code that would point a trained technician to the problem’s source. One can also pick up a relatively inexpensive code reader if one is a do-it-yourselfer.

However, unless the problem is a loose gas cap, something one can check right away, the cause of the check engine light is something that only a professional will be able to track down and fix. Ignoring something that causes the light to come on is the worst of bad ideas. More than likely, the problem will get worse, and the engine will take on more damage, adding potentially thousands of dollars to the eventual repair bill. It is best to get one’s vehicle to a repair shop as soon as possible.

If you have any other questions about car insurance, contact XL Brokerage Inc. serving Selden, NY

Why Flood Insurance Is Necessary In Every Home

Many homeowners in New York are not equipped with flood insurance simply because they are not in an official flood zone. While flood insurance is not required in non-flood zone areas of New York, it is recommended and many homeowners have unfortunately suffered tragedies and significant financial burdens due to a lack of this insurance. For homeowners in or around the Selden, NY area, XL Brokerage Inc. agency has a flood insurance policy available to protect them from the situations below that will prompt their need for this policy.

Heavy Rainfall

Flash flooding has the ability to occur at any point in the state of New York and can cause flooding in that general area in which the rain is falling. During this weather, an area is overloaded with a lot of heavy rainfall in a short time. During this time, the rain is dumped on the ground below, but it is unable to absorb in the ground or find a water source to flow before it causes significant damage. With this much water in an area and nowhere to go, it begins to flood homes and buildings in areas that may not be defined as an official ”flood zone.”

Dam or Reservoir Breaking

New York is home to several dams and reservoirs that are designed to contain water. Should these areas have a break or overflow, this water will be traveling quickly and flood homes directly in its path until it reaches other water sources, and eventually the ocean. 

Get Flood Coverage Today

Unexpected weather and accidents can be damaging to homeowners. The XL Brokerage Inc. agency serves the homeowners in Selden, NY and is available for your policy needs. For more information contact our agents today to receive your flood insurance coverage. 

Is there Insurance for Cyber Attacks?

Cyber Defense Magazine ran a recent story with statistics about cybersecurity risk that is chilling. One of the main takeaways is that the types of companies with the highest risks are not necessarily large multinational corporations. The largest companies collectively already pour billions of dollars at this problem. They work very hard to keep their cyber risks under control.

It is the smaller companies that have fewer than 1,000 employees that are the most at risk. These companies do not have adequate staff, budgets, and other resources necessary to keep the best practices for cybersecurity at the state-of-the-art level. Work with your agent at XL Brokerage Inc. in Selden, NY and the surrounding areas to discuss the cybersecurity risk insurance that is appropriate for your business.

The Cost of a Cybersecurity Breach

The average cost to a company for a major cybersecurity breach was $2.4 million in 2017. The vast portion of attacks (91%) come from basic emails that are used in a “phishing” attack and 85% of email attachments are harmful. In a phishing attack, the hackers send a fake email that looks legitimate. The email tries to deliver malware as files with a Microsoft Office format that appear to come from legitimate sources. In some cases, simply opening and reading an email is enough, for a user’s computer to become infected with malware.

The average time a cyber breach exposure is operating until it is discovered is over six months. Many cyber breaches go on for years before being detected.

How to Mitigate this Risk

Cybersecurity insurance is not a luxury that only big business can afford. This insurance is a priority for every business to have. Umbrella insurance can be tailored to cover cybersecurity risk as part of the named perils. Umbrella insurance is useful to a business because it extends the policy limits of other insurance to cover proven claims that exceed the other policies’ limits. It also can cover things like cybersecurity risk that is not covered in other policies.

Contact your agent at XL Brokerage Inc. in Selden, NY by calling to get a quote for umbrella insurance that includes cybersecurity coverage.