What is Gap Insurance?

Imagine driving through the scenic foothills of Port Jefferson Station or Gordon Heights, New York on your way to the farmer’s market and you are involved in an accident. Contacting your insurance company and possibly filing a police report are your first priorities. When the details of the accident are brought to light, you may have to pay a portion of the damages, depending on who was at fault.

A thought that must cross your mind is if you are at fault, who pays the expenses? While your insurance company pays a portion, if you purchases gap insurance when you purchased your car, you are in luck.

Gap insurance is not mandatory, but instead a supplemental insurance that pays the remaining balance due as a result of an accident. For example, if your vehicle is worth $20,000 when purchased and total damages equal $18,000, the gap insurance pays the $2,000 difference.

Although the thought of any type of insurance paying the remaining balance after an accident seems ideal, gap insurance does come with warnings. You are still potentially liable for costs associated with an accident if you do not have the proper amounts of comprehensive and collision insurance. Check with your insurance company to see the required amount needed for your state.

Another consideration of gap insurance is certain insurance companies only pay the replacement value of the car, not the remaining balance. For example, if your car is valued at $20,000 and accident costs amount to $15,000, but the replacement value is only $10,000, you are responsible for the remaining $10,000.

The best case scenario is to check your insurance policy to ensure you are properly covered in the event you are involved in an accident, or contact your agent.

How to Compare New York Auto Insurance

Before you purchase auto insurance in New York, it is important that you first compare coverage and premiums between insurers. Instead of only reviewing each insurance company’s rates and discounts, you should also find out how the company will handle your policy should you ever need to file a claim. After all, the reason you purchase insurance is to protect you from financial losses. It pays to do your homework before choosing a policy.

The first thing you need to find out when comparing auto insurance in New York is your insurer’s reputation for handling claims. Some insurance companies are notorious for giving customers difficulty in making claims, or otherwise refusing to renew coverage after one or more claims. To avoid hassle, check your auto insurance company’s reputation among other policy-holders and independent review agencies, such as the Better Business Bureau.

Auto insurance rates in New York can run high, but that doesn’t mean the insurer with the lowest rates is necessarily the best. When comparing New York auto insurance, it is important that you find out not only the premiums associated with your policy, but also the level of coverage you are getting. The very lowest rates may be the most pocket-friendly, but may offer you only $10,000 in property damage liability and zero collision coverage for your own vehicle.

That means that if you get into an accident for which you are at fault, you’ll have to pay for replacement or repair of your own vehicle out of your own pocket. Furthermore, if you cause damage to other property or vehicles that exceeds $10,000, you’ll be on the hook for the balance. Instead, be safe, and ask for coverage that will fully protect you if you need to make a claim. You may pay higher premiums than you would with an insurer who offers state-minimum coverage, but it could ultimately save you thousands of dollars.

New York Homeowners Insurance Made Easy

Owning a home in New York is not only a great invesment, it will allow you to enjoy the night life and shopping this state has to offer. Whether you are living in a single family home, a condo or an apartment, you will need to make sure your belongings are protected with homeowners insurance. You can quickly compare quotes when using an independent agent and find the best rates in the state of New York.

There are different types of homeowners insurance and you need to make sure you understand the difference. One type of coverage is actual cash value and the other is replacement value insurance. If you choose an actual cash value plan, you may save a little money on your premium, but you will not be able to replace all of your belongings if there is a fire or other accident in your home. This coverage takes into account the depreciation of your belongings and will only allow a claim for that amount.

If you are willing to pay a little more money up front, you should go with replacement value homeowners insurance in New York. This type of protection will allow you to replace your items quickly and easily. If a fire destroys the family room of your home, you will be able to replace your large, flat screen television, computer and all of the family game systems. This will make it easier to get life back to normal quickly.

How Fireplaces Change your Insurance

If you have a wood burner in your home or are thinking about getting one installed, you need to know that it can affect your insurance premium. That is, wood burners typically increase your premium.

For insurance purposes, any time there is an open fire, there is an increased chance of an unwanted fire that can cause damage or total destruction to your home. In addition, faulty equipment or installations done by nonprofessional further increase the risk of a potential fire hazard.

Research has shown that the risk of fire is increased when a wood burner is the primary (or only) heating source. If the wood burner system is not approved by Underwriter’s Laboratories (UL), then the risk is even greater.

There are also maintenance issues when it comes to New York wood burners. Chimneys must be regularly cleaned because dangerous creosote can build up in a chimney, leading to a chimney fire or worse. Although the EPA recommends that you use a professional chimney sweep to clean your chimney, many do-it-yourselfers try to take care of it themselves, which isn’t advised.

Smoke damage to the house is another risk factor of a New York wood burner.

Lastly, adequate insulation and proper protection must be laid between the floor, walls, furnishings, and the wood burner to ensure combustible materials are within safe distance of the wood burner.

Insurance companies understand these risks and change a premium.

Tips for Shopping Cheaper Insurance in New York

If your current insurance premiums are more than you can afford to pay, you may want to shop around for some cheaper rates. New York has some of the highest average auto insurance premiums in the nation, and average homeowner’s insurance premiums are on the rise in the state as well. Even if you find auto or home insurance at a slightly lower monthly premium than your existing rates, it can add up to a savings of hundreds of dollars per year.

When you start comparison shopping, check your existing policy to find out if you are over-insured. For example, New York state laws only require you to carry a minimum of $10,000 of liability coverage for damage to the property of other people, and $25,000 in bodily injury per person with at least $50,000 available per accident. Although you may not want to reduce your auto insurance to the bare minimum to save cash, you also probably will not need $500,000 in property liability coverage.

When you shop for cheaper insurance in New York, ask potential insurers about available discounts, such as good student discounts or companion policy discounts for purchasing both your home and auto policies from the same carrier. You can also lower your rates without sacrificing coverage by increasing your deductible. Although you may pay more out of pocket for a claim, you could also save hundreds per year in insurance premiums.

Finally, try comparison shopping policies using an independent insurance agent who is not directly affiliated with one particular company. By using an independent agency, you can receive insurance quotes from multiple New York insurance carriers, rather than finding the lowest available rates from one particular company.