Live Life Fully Covered

One of the best things you can do in life is to “Live Life Fully Covered.”

It’s time to just be honest and admit many bad things, gruesome tragedies and heart-rendering losses don’t always happen to “The Other Guy or The Other Woman.”

You Can Be “The Other Guy”

One day you could be “The Other Guy or The Other Woman” who;

  • Loses their husband or wife whose income helped meet mortgage payments, to cancer;
  • Suffers a life-changing heart attack which requires you to stay home to recuperate for six (6) months to a year or more;
  • During their prime working years finds themselves as the primary care-giver for a parent, other elderly relative, or even a sibling who lacks long-term care coverage;
  • Experiences the pain of  burying a child;
  • Watches as their house containing all their treasured belongings accumulated over a lifetime burns to the ground;
  • Comes home after a hard day at work to discover they’ve been burglarized;
  • Needs money to secure a new place to live while your home, co-op or condo is being rebuilt;
  • Gets sued by the cyclist, pedestrian or other driver who can prove you were at fault;
  • Gets sued by the cyclist, pedestrian or other driver who can’t prove you were at fault, but you must engage the services of an attorney to defend you against a baseless suit;
  •  Watches as their home is inundated by two (2) to ten feet of floodwaters even though you bought your home in a non-Special Flood Hazard Area (SFHA).
  • Owns the sweet and gentle nice old dog walking off the leash who rears up and mauls or takes a bite out of your neighbor’s child;
  • Wonders who stole their new car;
  • Never gets their wedding and bridesmaid dresses because the bridal shop went out of business unannounced, and the owners didn’t return your deposit.

It doesn’t always happen to “The Other Guy or The Other Woman.” It’s also amazing how these types of tragedies frequently happen yesterday, last night or while you were thinking about taking action to put the proper coverage in force.

Can Life’s Tragedies Be Stopped?

You can’t stop life’s tragedies. You can, however, take intelligent, adult steps to control their outcomes using;

  • Life Insurance
  • Disability Insurance
  • Long Term Care Insurance
  • Homeowners Insurance
  • Renters Insurance
  • Co-op Insurance
  • Condominium Insurance
  • Flood Insurance
  • Auto Insurance
  • Personal Umbrella Liability Insurance
  • Wedding Insurance

In over 37 years of helping my clients reach successful life outcomes using insurance and related financial services and products, I’ve realized for me it all comes down to one simple phrase:

“Live Life Fully Covered.”

I would be honored to help you reach your desired outcomes. Call me at 718-489-2218, or reach me by email at eustace@insuremeeg.com .

Let’s work together to make sure you “Live Life Fully Covered.”

Wheel Locks, Wherefore Art Thou?

One of my neighbors, seeing the precautions I’d taken for a then ten-year-old car with dents and rust made some derisive comments about wasting money on protecting something so old and out of date. I responded by asking him whether his wife still carried life insurance on his old and out of date self, which shut him up.

Wheel Locks, Wheel Locks, My Rims For A Set of Wheel Locks!

In a recent BrooklynDaily.com article, residents of the Bay Ridge community were crying the blues because of an uptick in the number of stolen tires and rims from their cars (http://www.brooklyndaily.com/stories/2016/36/br-rim-thefts-in-ridge-2016-08-26-bk.html?utm_source=20160829&utm_medium=email&utm_content=link&utm_campaign=newsletter). My question to the residents of the affected communities is a simple one: What, you never heard of wheel locks? How could you even think about parking any car on any street in New York City without wheel locks on each wheel? Since most criminals want to steal as quickly and simply as possible, the simple installation of one wheel lock on every wheel will solve the problem of stolen tires and rims quickly.

I remember the night I purchased the Subaru, the first accessory purchases I made were a set of wheel locks, and  a Club and Club Shield for the steering wheel from my local Auto Zone store.

The Nosy Neighbor

One of my neighbors, seeing the precautions I’d taken for a then ten-year-old car with dents and rust made some derisive comments about wasting money on protecting something so old and out of date. I responded by asking him whether his wife still carried life insurance on his old and out of date self, which shut him up.

Even a Mercedes baby, even a Mercedes
Even a Mercedes baby, even a Mercedes

Two days later, he came out of the house to find his car on blocks.

Three weeks later, after replacing the stolen rims and tires, the thieves didn’t go half-way.

They stole his car.

No, he lacked both wheel locks and a Club and Shield. Strange his Super-Duper, Organic Passive alarm neither sounded or protected his vehicle.

Some More Thefts

Two other tire thefts in my neighborhood come to mind when I think of the power of wheel locks to keep your wheels on your car.

I’d taken my daughter to meet her school bus at the intersection of Glenwood Road and East 18th Street. While parking my car, I noticed a brand-new, straight off the lot Nissan Maxima, well, not even on blocks. The wheel thieves added the ultimate indignity of leaving the car on the ground after stealing the wheels.

While I took pictures of this vehicle, the owner, a young woman, angrily asked me why I was taking pictures of her car. I responded, “Are you kidding? Your car is on the ground. Why didn’t you ask the dealer to install wheel locks on your car? Forget that, why didn’t you install your own wheel locks?”

“I bought wheel locks. My boyfriend told me to park on a safe block and my car would be all right for one night. He’s on his way with replacement rims and tires so I can get to work”

I am so glad I wasn’t him.

Just this past summer, I went for a Sunday afternoon walk, only to come upon another brand-new vehicle on bricks.

I Should've Bought Those Wheel Locks
I Should’ve Bought Those Wheel Locks

At least they put it on bricks.

Now the avenue where the car was parked has constant traffic at all hours of the day and night. It is also one of those streets where the police patrol constantly.

These thieves were good, but not that good. With the help of the local community and their barking dogs, the officers from the local precinct caught at least five of the thieves in the act of stealing rims and tires four (4) days later. This group of thieves worked in a six-man team, with two (2) driving cars, and the other four taking one wheel each on the target vehicle.

So, to my friends in Bay Ridge, and every other neighborhood, buy wheel locks. So what if they don’t look that good. At least you’ll still have your rims and tires.

Eustace L. Greaves, Jr., LUTCF,  is an independent insurance agent and broker and income tax preparer  based in Brooklyn, NY. Call him today at 718-783-2722 to make an appointment for your personal insurance review of your home, auto, flood, renters, coop, condo, life and disability insurance policies.

You can also reach Eustace  by sending him an email to Eustace@insuremeeg.com.

 

8 Tips To Save Money On Your Auto Insurance

Many companies will charge more for an auto insurance policy if you cannot show evidence of being currently insured for at least one (1) to three (3) years prior to your application …

Ah, as the cool nights of autumn become the, well, the warm days of winter, and holiday joy becomes the pain of looming credit card payments, you, like many others, may begin an annual search of finding ways to save money on everything from the cellular phone bill to food. Let me help with these 8 ways to save money on your auto insurance.

1. Many companies will charge more for an automobile insurance policy if you cannot show evidence of being currently insured for at least one (1) to three (3) years prior to your application. So, even if you don’t own an automobile, consider the purchase of a Non-Owned Automobile Insurance Policy. You can also join an organization like ZipCar for about $19.00 each month, which includes liability coverage limits of $300,000. Either way, you can save thousands of premium dollars.

2. Take a Point and Insurance Reduction Class. You’ll automatically
qualify for a 10% discount on your personal liability, no-fault and collision
coverages. And make sure your children, and anyone else who regularly drives your car (and is hopefully listed on your automobile insurance policy as a driver),
takes the class.

3. If you have children in high school, and they are trying to choose between a college  88 miles away, and another one at least 100 miles away, choose the school at least 100 miles away. As long as both schools offer similar need-based tuition plans, you will save money by sending your offspring just another 10 or so miles away. Why? Many companies offer a “Student Away At School” discount, and depending on the company, you premium will either not increase, or only suffer a small increase.

You child must simply go to school at least 90 miles away from home.

4. If you have high-schoolers on your current family policy, encourage them to maintain at least a “B” average, so you will qualify for the Good Student discount. And they still get to live indoors.

5. Purchase your automobile and home, renter, condo or coop policies
from the same company. You’ll qualify for multi-policy discounts, which can
save you at least 10% on each policy.

6. Before you actually purchase a car, call your agent and ask them to give you the symbol for the vehicles you are considering. One young lady was going to purchase a car with the letters “XL” in the model name. I told her the model with only an “L” was two symbols lower, which would result in much lower comprehensive and collision insurance premiums. The major difference between the two models of the same car? One had sun visors with extensions, and the other did not. So, she purchased the “L” model, ordered the fancier sun visors from the dealership, and installed them herself, saving a ton of money on her auto insurance.

7. Improve your insurance credit score. The higher your insurance
credit score, the lower your premium will be. And do everything you can to
avoid having any of the “Five Deadly Insurance Credit Score Sins” on your credit report in the last five years.

The “Five Deadly Insurance Credit Score Sins”are:

a. Foreclosures

b. Judgments

c. Repossession

d. Bankruptcy, or filed for bankruptcy

e. Liens

Always remember, ‘the higher your insurance credit score, the lower your premium’ and the reverse, ‘ the lower your insurance credit score, the higher your premium.’ Any of the “Five Deadly Insurance Credit Score Sins” can hurt your chances of qualifying for a lower automobile insurance rate.

8. Lastly, whatever you do, never, never, never let your automobile
insurance, or any insurance policy for that matter, lapse due to the
non-payment of premium. This alone will disqualify you for coverage with
many preferred companies for several years.

Eustace L. Greaves, Jr., LUTCF is an independent insurance agent and broker based in Brooklyn, NY. Call him today at 718-783-2722 to make an appointment to check your home, auto, flood, renters, coop, condo, life and disability insurance policies.

You can also reach Eustace by sending an  email to Eustace@insuremeeg.com.

 

Automobile Insurance Quote

Be honest and tell the tell the quoting broker or clerk if there are other drivers in your household, whether or not they will driving your car, or own their own cars. There are few things worse than being caught in a lie when looking for auto insurance.

Put The Car Behind The Automobile Insurance Quote.

Thinking about calling some insurance agencies for an automobile insurance quote? Looking for better coverage for your dollar, a less-expensive policy, or some combination of both?

Then do yourself and every broker or clerk you speak to a tremendous favor and prepare certain information before you make your first call for an automobile insurance quote.

Basic Information You’ll Need For Your Quote

  1. Your driver license because the broker will need the license number to order your motor vehicle record.  Yes, people do call for an automobile insurance quote and can’t find their driver license. What would they do if the police pulled them over and said “License, insurance card and registration”?
  2. Your date of birth.
  3. Your social security number.
  4. The age you were first licensed. 1
  5. The year you were first licensed. 1
  6. Has you driver license even been suspended or revoked for cause?
  7. Have you ever completed a Defensive Driving course? If so, what was the date you completed the course. 2
  8. The Vehicle Identification Number (s) of any vehicle you want to insure.
  9. Your vehicle’s year, make, and model.
  10. The cost of your vehicle when it was new.
  11. How the car or truck will be driven. In other words, will it be pleasure only, used for a short or a long commute to work, or will it be used in the course of your business?
  12. Your current address. If you haven’t lived at your current address for at least three (3) years, what was you last address, and how long did you live there?
  13. The name, policy number, and length of time you’ve been insured by your current auto insurer, and any other automobile insurance company you’ve been insured by in the last five (5) years.
  14. How many, if any, no-fault losses have you had in the past five (5) years? If any, when did they occur, and how much was paid for each claim? 1
  15. How many moving violations?
  16. How many accidents in the last five (5) years? How many were definitely your fault? 1
  17. When did they occur? 1
  18. How many points on your license? 1

Honesty Counts

Above all else, be honest. Tell the quoting broker or clerk if there are other drivers in your household, whether or not they will driving your car, or own their own cars and carry their own insurance. There are few things worse than being caught in a lie when looking for auto insurance.

For example, I recently tried to work with a young lady who, when our conversation began, confirmed she lived alone. There were no other people in her household.

This young lady then told me she had two (2) vehicles to insure. To insurance agents and brokers this is a sure danger sign, especially for someone who’d never had an automobile insurance policy before. So, I asked her whether she would be driving both vehicles, or would someone else drive the second vehicle. She said her husband would be driving the second vehicle. So, when I asked her if she and her husband lived together, she seemed slightly put off, telling me that of course she, her husband and their children lived together.

I asked why she didn’t provide this information when I first requested it and she admitted that a family member told her not to as this should get her a lower rate.

He must have some driving record. Little wonder why automobile insurance premiums are so high, especially here in Brooklyn and Queens.

Best of luck with your search.

References:

1   All of this information can be found on your driving record, or driving abstract. To avoid a trip to their local DMV office, New York State licensees can go to the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles website, http://dmv.ny.gov.

  1. Click on “Top Online Services” under the heading, “Driver Licenses.”
  2. Click on “Get My Driving Record.”

You can order your abstract either through the mail using the MV-15 form for $10.00, or get it online for the fee of $7.00. You will have to create a “MyDMV” account to this.

Of course,  you can always get a copy of your driver license by simply going to your  local DMV office.

2 Defensive Driving courses provide automobile insurance premium discounts and driver license point reduction which last for three (3) years from the course date.

For 33 years, and since October 20, 1995 when he opened his own financial services agency, Eustace L. Greaves, Jr., LUTCF has enjoyed providing his clients with the personal lines insurance coverages, income tax services, and defensive driving workshops they need to better their financial lives. 

Call him at 718-783-2722, or email him Eustace@insuremeeg.com for a competitive quote for your life, home, flood, disability, renters, coop, condo, long-term care, and automobile insurance, personal income tax preparation services, or the date of his next defensive driving class. 

3 Reasons To Dislike Quoting Auto Insurance

What is the company’s name? (Word to the wise, many auto insurance companies will not write a policy for someone coming out of an indemnity company. Think New York Automobile Insurance Plan with a fancy name attached. Another reason to always ask which company you’re being written in and whether or not this is an indemnity company. Better to pay an exorbitant premium for a year or two, and then, all things considered, move into a less expensive company within that company’s family of companies.)

The New Realities of Quoting Auto Insurance

Now, don’t get me wrong, my profession is providing and servicing personal lines insurance, including auto insurance, and I love my profession. Over three decades as an insurance agent and broker, I’ve come to realize, however,  there are three main reasons I dislike quoting auto insurance for strangers calling on the phone who are just shopping around for the cheapest automobile insurance quote they can get.

Reason number 1:

Too many people are under the impression that just because they can fog up a mirror, they are entitled to buy good, cheap auto insurance whenever they want, no matter  their driving history.

So what if they have moving violations, haven’t ever been insured to drive a car, have a suspended or revoked license, or just had same reinstated?

So what if their father once put several cars under their child’s name, and on their child’s auto insurance policy, cars driven by other people who collected accidents like leaches suck blood?

So what if there are three tombstones in the local cemetery directly attributable to their inability to control a vehicle?

So what if they have a DUI, DWI, or DWAI in the last ten (10) years?

You see, their cousin has insurance with your company, and they pay a low premium so you should give me a better rate.

They don’t realize their cousin has done all the right things throughout their driving career to earn that premium.

Reason number 2:

Now, providing anyone with a quote will, in the best of circumstances, take at least 20 to 30 minutes. So now I open with a series of qualifying questions, the same questions I will need answered to develop an automobile insurance quote. Some of them are;

What is your date of birth? Your Social Security number?

What kind of work do you do? How long have you done this type of work?

What is the name of your employer? How long have you worked there? What’s the address of the firm?

Have you ever had your driver’s license suspended or revoked? If so, which one, for how long, and when did you regain the privilege to drive? (Word to the wise, many companies will automatically disqualify you for these transgressions. Come on, be honest, would you loan your car to a friend with a lousy driving record? Yet you want insurance companies to insure you?)

How long have you been continuously licensed in the United States?

How long have you had auto insurance in your name, or been insured under someone else’s policy? (If you’ve neither owned a policy nor been insured under someone else for as little as one week you will pay a higher premium.)

How long have you been insured with the other auto insurance company? (If you’ve had a license for 15 years, but never owned a car, only rented when you had to, you will pay a higher premium.)

What is the company’s name? (Word to the wise, many auto insurance companies will not write a policy for someone coming out of an indemnity company. Think New York Automobile Insurance Plan, (NYAIP), with a fancy name attached. Another reason to always ask which company you’re being written in and whether or not this is an indemnity company. Better to pay an exorbitant premium for a year or two, and then, all things considered, move into a less expensive company within that company’s family of companies.)

How many and what kinds of accidents were you involved in during the last five (5) years? (Word to the wise, having two or more “incidents” involving either accidents or moving violations during the last two (2) to three (3) years will make you ineligible for insurance with many companies, forcing you to go into the NYAIP for what I call rehabilitation.)

While we’re on the topic, how many moving violations, and how many points have you accumulated during the last five (5) years?

Recently a young man from Baldwin, NY called my office for a quote.First, he called and didn’t leave a number, so I used my caller ID to call him back. He asked me if I was Travelers, and I informed him my agency is an independent insurance agency associated with Travelers. Then, came the dreaded request of “I want a quote.”

So I began to ask him my qualifying questions, and  he hesitated (always a bad sign) when I asked him if his license had ever been suspended and/or revoked (it had been). To top it off, he hadn’t been insured for over 5 months, was under the age of 25, and unmarried.

So, informing him my main companies wouldn’t insure him, I prepared a New York Automobile Insurance Plan quote for him. He only asked for liability on a relatively new automobile, and simply hung up when I gave him the premium.

Not even so much as a goodbye.

He could afford to buy the car. Can’t afford to insure it.

You can click here to see a copy of my Auto Insurance Quote Worksheet.

Reason number 3:

You see, just because you can buy a car doesn’t mean you can afford to insure it.

You can buy a car with no money down, but  you can’t buy auto insurance without making at least a minimum downpayment. Owning a car means you must maintain it, keep it insured, and avoid parking it on the wrong side of the street on alternate days. My clients usually call me before they buy a new car based on the year, make and model, so they will have a good idea of what their new budget will look like. That’s when I love to quote auto insurance, when it’s a client or a client referral on the phone. Those referred to me are usually fully compliant with all the questions, and it’s just a matter of getting the information into the computer.

So, you shouldn’t get mad at me because you now own, or are trying to pick up some beauty from the lot, and the insurance is too high for you.

Suggestions?

Suggestion number 1:

If you don’t own a vehicle, buy a Non-Owned Automobile Insurance policy from say, me. Then when you do purchase a car, you will be able to answer “how long have you been continuously insured” question satisfactorily. Purchase your renters, condo, coop, or homeowners insurance from say, me, and you’ll not only realize discounts on both policies, you stand a better chance of a great rate when you are ready to own a car.

Suggestion number 2:

You can join a car-share program like Zipcar, and take advantage of being insured under their policy until you buy your own Non-Owned policy, or buy your own car.

Suggestion number 3:

Lastly, you can speak to a family member about being placed on their policy. WARNING! WARNING! Don’t take offense if they are hesitant to do this. Remember, should you cause or be involved in an accident, (see Reason number 1), this will affect their premium, and perhaps their own insurability for up to five (5) years. Get moving violations and this will affect their premium. And God forbid you get arrested for a DUI after causing an accident which leads to the death of the other driver or their passenger or the passenger in your car. Your family member could stand to lose everything they’ve worked for, just to help you out.

For my money, I’d use suggestions numbers one and two. Just safer that way.

So, in closing, be ready to establish a relationship with an independent agent, and do what you need to do today to guarantee a great automobile insurance rate tomorrow.

For 33 years, the last 20 of those operating his own financial services agency, Eustace L. Greaves, Jr., LUTCF has enjoyed providing his clients with the personal lines insurance coverages, income tax services, and defensive driving workshops they need to better their financial lives. 

Call him at 718-783-2722, or send him an email to Eustace@insuremeeg.com for a competitive quote for all of your insurance needs.

And please, don’t make fun of him if he groans when you say, “I’d like a quote.”

“Daddy, God Is Crying”

We drove home, and the next morning when I went to call the client to tell him I would be late, I discovered I’d failed, in my rush to pack up the office and go home, to put the file in my bag.

9/11

Thirteen years ago today, I had an appointment to write a new client a Renters Insurance policy. His office was located in one of the Towers. The appointment was for 8:30 am.

9/10

I never made it to the appointment, because the night before, Ashley and Debbie (may she forever rest in peace), were involved in a collision at the Empire Boulevard McDonald’s at the drive through. The car in front of them, having left the drive-though window, suddenly reversed and ran into them. Why? Because the unlicensed driver, driving her aunt’s uninsured car without the aunt’s permission, was angry that her order was wrong.

They were both okay, but later that evening as I stood in front of the Met Supermarket taking pictures with a camera, a hot rain began to fall. It was as though a monsoon swept through the area.

“Daddy, God is crying”

Soaked to the skin, and angry about the accident, I got in the car and prepared to drive, when from her car seat, seven-year-old Ashley said, “Daddy, God is crying.”

My immediate response, “Yeah well right now, I’m crying too. I’m going to be late for the appointment, I have to take the car to the shop … wait, what did you say?”

“Daddy, God is crying.”

I looked at her mother, whose eyes were just as wide as mine.

“Why baby?”

“I don’t know why. I just know God is crying. I guess he’s really sad.”

We drove home, and the next morning when I went to call the client to tell him I would be late, I discovered I’d failed, in my rush to pack up the office and go home, to put the file in my bag.

By the time, I dropped them off at work and school, and left the car with Ernie, our mechanic, it was already 8:00 am, so I knew I was probably going to lose the case. I decided to go to the monthly PA President’s meeting at the District 22 office.

When I arrived at the District Office, I understood why God cried.

And the client I was supposed to meet? He woke up late, and came out of the train station, only to join thousands running from the site. As he ran, looking back to the floors where his company and friends were burning, he said to himself, “I hope that insurance guy made it out okay.”

My assignment wasn’t up.

11/11/02

I couldn’t understand why until one year and one month later, when Debbie died, leaving me a single parent to care for our child. Ashley and I cried.

So I still thank God for sending us the accident the night Ashley said, “Daddy, God is crying.”

Take a moment today and tell someone you love them, you cherish them, you value them, and they bring joy to your life.

You may never get another chance for a last kiss and hug.

 

Blizzard Nemo Causes Accident on Flatbush Avenue | BrooklynCovered

Talk about your empty roads. On Vanderbilt Avenue, there was only me and an Evelyn Car Service car. I experienced the joy of solitude circling the Grand Army Plaza rotary. I was shocked to see no evidence of any accidents.

My joy was short-lived as I drove down the hill on Flatbush Avenue. There, about 75 yards away from the entrance to the Prospect Park Wildlife Center, were the remains of an accident between a parked tractor-trailer and a sedan.

Blizzard Nemo Takes It’s Pound of Steel

When I left my office tonight, (I was waiting for an income tax client to show up for her appointment. She called me at 9:00 pm to tell me she went straight home to get out of Blizzard Nemo, and tell me she wasn’t coming. This happens.) I thought about the various winter driving tips I’d shared with my January Point and Insurance Reduction Workshop class. Especially my advice that there was no shame in crawling.

Use first gear in bad weather
See the number one at the bottom of the tree? During a snowstorm, heavy rain, or the end of the world, put your car in first and leave it there.

 

“During a blizzard, suppress your ego and put your car in first gear and crawl. Better still, park the car and  stay in the house. There is absolutely no reason to have your car in drive when there is snow or ice on the road.

“And don’t forget to remove all the snow and ice from your vehicle. For your safety, you’ll have relatively clear fields of vision. For other drivers’ safety, they won’t have to worry about snow and ice flying from your vehicle and smacking their windshields.”

So, I cleaned off the car, put it in first gear, and started to crawl home.

Talk about your empty roads. On Vanderbilt Avenue, there was only me and an Evelyn Car Service car. I experienced the joy of solitude circling the Grand Army Plaza rotary. I was shocked to see no evidence of any accidents.

Enter The Reckless Driver

My joy was short-lived as I drove down the hill on Flatbush Avenue. There, about 75 yards away from the entrance to the Prospect Park Wildlife Center, were the remains of an accident between a parked tractor-trailer and a sedan.

Impact with a tractor-trailer
Totaled car after impact with a parked tractor-trailer

The tractor-trailer won.

The impact was so great the air bags deployed. And any ambulance driver will tell you that once the airbags deploy, someone is usually on their way to the emergency room.

What caused the accident? Looking at the markings in the snow I could only surmise the driver lost control when they crested the hill before the long downslope, or  tried to avoid another driver’s reckless driving.

 

Damaged bumper
Damaged bumper

Whatever the reason, you have to hope the driver of the vehicle and any passengers survived this accident.

And why do I think the accident could have involved another driver? While I was crawling my way along Ocean Avenue, a stupid idiot in an SUV suddenly got right up on my tail and started to flash their high beams.

I kept crawling.

They kept flashing. And started to honk, too.

Finally, I relented in my quest to keep this fool alive, and pulled over so some deity could take their wheel. Big Dummy flashed past, made the right on Newkirk, and kept on trucking.

I did get a look at their license plate. Florida, of all places.

I guess they took umbrage with my recent Facebook timeline.

Dear readers, in this and every dangerous weather condition, alway remember it’s okay to crawl home.

Bundle Insurance Coverages, Or Else | Brooklyn Covered

According to a recent article in The Insurance Journal, a major insurance company announced plans to drop their North Carolina homeowers insurance clients who didn’t bundle, or combine, their automobile insurance policy with the same company. As many as 45,000 homeowners insurance customers were due to be non-renewed unless they bundled insurance coverages for their home and automobile insurance from this carrier by December 15, 2011.

Bundle Insurance Coverages, Or Else

According to a recent article in The Insurance Journal, a major insurance company announced plans to drop their North Carolina homeowners insurance clients who didn’t bundle, or combine, their automobile insurance policy with the same company. As many as 45,000 homeowners insurance customers were due to be non-renewed unless they bundled insurance coverages for their home and automobile insurance from this carrier by December 15, 2011.

The company doesn’t plan to simply let these former policyholders fend for themselves. They’ve already made arrangements with other companies to provide these former policyholders with coverage.

Let’s look at the positives of bundling insurance coverages.

  1. Bundling insurance coverages saves money. When you place one or more policies with the same company, you can qualify for what’s known as a multi-policy discount. This discount, depending on the company, can range from 5% to 15% on each policy you have with the same company.
  2. Bundling makes it easier to keep up with all your coverages. Now you won’t have to call two (2) or more agent or servicing companies to stay on top of your insurance. 
  3. Purchasing Umbrella Insurance. Adding an Umbrella Liability policy to your insurance portfolio is a cost-effective method of protecting your property from loss in case of a liability claim against you. To qualify to buy this coverage, many companies now require you to have both your auto and homeowners coverage with them. One reason for this is to guarantee the insured continually carries certain minimum personal liability amounts on each policy. And, the company knows immediately if either policy lapses, which could invalidate the umbrella policy coverage.

While there are positives, this “Forced-Bundling,” (sounds a bit like force-placed homeowners insurance doesn’t it?) does raise several critical questions. 

  1. What is their financial relationship with these other companies? Are they truly separate entities, or will they be some type of wholly owned subsidiary?
  2. How will this company compensate its agents for the loss of income they stand to face? Imagine an agent losing 50 – 250 clients in one fell swoop. This will create a huge loss of income during difficult economic times.
  3. Will they allow their agents to become licensed agents for these other insurance companies, or will that ability only be offered to  preferred agencies? Even if they allow all of their agents to seek agency contracts with the new companies, will those companies only offer agency contracts to the best and/or largest agencies?
  4. How will these same agents deal with the loss of community confidence and good will? People tend not to like being dictated to, and the easiest person to whom they can voice their displeasure is their local agent. And, they’ll vote with their feet, wallets and pocketbooks.
  5. How does the underwriting and claims handling ability of the  new companies compare with that of the original company?
  6. What if you’re paying less for your automobile insurance at another company, even while taking the multi-policy discount into effect? Why should you be forced to pay more than what you’re paying now with another carrier?
  7. Let’s suppose you have terrible credit and/or a lousy driving record. You may not even meet the basic underwriting criteria for any of this company’s auto insurance companies. What will happen then?

This situation will anger many, and that’s understandable. One of my clients claimed it was akin to being held up at gunpoint in a dark alley with the criminal telling you, “You’d better give me some money or I’m going to shoot you.”

And just your luck, you’re wearing your jogging shorts.

The ones without the pockets.

 I’ll let you know how this works out for all parties concerned.

 

Handheld Electronic Device Law Changes | Brooklyn Covered

While illegal though, the driver had to be stopped for another traffic violation in order to receive a ticket for using the handheld device. So, if you’re like many drivers I’d see on Brooklyn’s Third Avenue, heading to the Verrazano Bridge during the afternoon rush while texting, talking, checking email, and in one case playing Angry Bird, you could get away with murder. Probably the murder of some poor pedestrian, or another driver, who like me would have the blow the heck of their horn to get “Birdmans” attention before he ran into me

Stop wasting your time and money playing Powerball and Mega Millions. Just give me a digital camera so I can take pictures of drivers breaking the new Handheld Electronic Devices law. Then, I’ll upload the photographic evidence of their unlawful activity to the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles. They can send me a check for $1,000.00 for each law-breaker. Let’s see, ten (10) each day, at $1,000.00 each, that’s $10,000.00 each day, times 20 working days each month…

…Like I said, who needs Powerball of Mega? This is a sure thing.

Wait A Minute. Another New Law?

On July 12, 2011, New York State Governor Andrew M. Cuomo signed a new law about a drivers use of handheld electronic devices while operating a moving motor vehicle in New York State. Specifically, what once was a secondary traffic offense is now a primary offense.

What’s The Difference Between  Primary And Secondary Offenses?

Under the old law, it was illegal for a driver to use a cell phone, IPad, or other handheld electronic device for texting or talking while operating a motor vehicle, i.e., while the vehicle was in motion.

Though illegal, the driver had to be stopped for another primary traffic violation to be ticketed for using the handheld device. So, if you’re like the many drivers I see on Brooklyn’s Third Avenue, heading to the Verrazano Bridge during the afternoon rush who are engaged in texting, talking, checking email, and in one case playing Angry Bird, you could get away with murder. Probably the murder of some poor pedestrian, or another driver, who like me would blow the heck of their horn to get “Birdmans” attention before he ran into me.

The police were required to pull you over for failing to signal a lane change, speeding, or some other primary violation to smack you with a ticket for use of the handheld electronic device. So, in addition to the points and fine for the primary offense, law enforcement would also give you a ticket garnering you two (2) points and  a fine of $150.

How The Law Changed

As of July 12, 2011, law enforcement no longer needs any other reason to pull you over for violating what is now a primary offense. This means getting a ticket for three (3) points, and a fine of $150.00.

What Constitutes Illegal Activity?

Illegal activity includes holding an electronic device and:

  • Composing, sending, reading, accessing, browsing, transmitting, saving, or retrieving electronic data such as e-mail, text messages, or webpages;
  • Viewing, taking, or transmitting images, and;
  • Playing games.
How You Can Avoid A Ticket

As long as the device is attached to a surface inside your car, or is a GPS device attached to the inside of your car, you’re okay. You can also use a bluetooth earpiece if you absolutely must talk all the way home.

If you’re trying to communicate with law enforcement, the fire department, or medical personnel during an emergency, you won’t face a fine.

Who’s Exempt  From The Law?

Police officers, fire fighters or emergency vehicle drivers while they are performing their duties.

How The New Law Really Affects You

  • You’ll receive three points on your license, meaning your automobile insurance will  increase at renewal. If your insurance company decides to renew your policy. Your company may forgive an accident, but not one caused by your unlawful operation of a moving vehicle.
  • Based on the number of points already on your license, you could be required to pay annual assessments, every year for three (3) years.
  • Should you exceed the number of points New York State needs to suspend your driver’s license, you could find yourself taking the train and/or bus. Then you can talk and text all you want.

According to The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration,  5,500 people were killed and 450,000 people were injured in distracted driving crashes in the year 2009.1 Also, you’re 23 times more likely to crash if you text while driving.1 

So, stop the distracted driving. Chances are, you’ll live longer, pay less for your insurance, and only take the train and bus when you want to.

As for me, I guess it’s time to be “In it to win it.”

1.   http://distraction.gov , “Driving Safety.”

Two People Who Want To Kill Their Infant|BrooklynCovered

And the sad part? These two should-have-never-been-able-to-conceive excuses for parents would demand their insurance company provide the best care for their infant. As the child grew, they would demand the public school system provide the best possible education for their child. They would probably also demand their state and local legislators change existing estate planning laws re: Special Needs Children just so their child would benefit from greater access to lifelong services and funding.

Some Parents Treat Their Children Like They’re A Major Inconvenience

So, there we were, myself and Salvatore Cataldo, owner of the soon-to-be world-famous Cataldo’s Italian Restaurant and Pizzeria (www.cataldos54.com), at 564 Vanderbilt Avenue, standing outside of his restaurant this morning, Sunday, August 21, 2011 at approximately 11:20 am.

The sun shone brightly (the biblical rain I am listening to outside my window wasn’t falling this morning), and as Sal and I spoke, I saw what can only be described as the complete disregard for an infants well-being by what passes for parents today.

Heading north on Vanderbilt Avenue were two couples, and both fathers were responsible for transporting their babies on their bicycles. The second father was doing everything right. The child wore a protective helmet of the proper fit and size. The child was also secured in a protective bicycle seat. Even better, both Dad and Mom were wearing bicycle helmets. Great.

It was, however, Dad and Mom number 1 who made me want to run out into the street and snatch their child from their stupid grasp.

Dad number 1, you see, was carrying what looked like an infant in one of those cloth baby carriers. You know the kind I’m talking about. They’re made of cloth and designed to support the infant’s head while allowing their little arms and legs to move. Something you wouldn’t put a child older than one year of age in. They provide absolutely no protection in an accident. Worse yet, the little infant lacked any form of head protection.

Breaking The Law, Breaking The Law

Article 34, section 1238 of the New York State Vehicle and Traffic Law is quite specific about the minimum age of passenger on bicycles. It states;

Section 1238. Passengers on bicycles under one year of age prohibited; passengers and operators under fourteen years of age to wear protective headgear.   1. No person operating a bicycle shall allow a person who is under one year of age to ride as a passenger on a bicycle nor shall such person be carried in a pack fastened to the operator. A first violation of the provisions of this subdivision shall result in no fine. A second violation shall result in a civil fine not to exceed fifty dollars.

2. No person operating a bicycle shall allow a person one or more years of age and less than five years of age to ride as a passenger on a bicycle unless: (a) such passenger is wearing a helmet meeting standards established by the commissioner. For the purposes of this subdivision wearing a helmet means having a helmet of good fit fastened securely upon the head with the helmet straps; and

(b) such passenger is placed in a separate seat attached to the bicycle and such seat shall have adequate provision for retaining the passenger in place and for protecting the passenger from the moving parts of the bicycle.”

“So What?”  You Say?

Let’s imagine the worst. Both child-carrying Dads crash or fall because of  some obstruction on the roadway say,  a stone, a stick, a slippery metal road covering because of ongoing sewer rehabilitation. Even worse, they collide with a Distracted Pedestrian who’s watching a movie, texting or talking while walking.  Now Dad number 2 and his child may suffer some nicks and cuts, but should avoid suffering permanent damage to their brain cells.

Dad number 1 and his child would be a different story. The baby would have a higher chance of suffering permanent brain damage, not to mention the loss of use of one or more of its limbs. Or, the infant would die.

And the sad part? These two should-have-never-been-able-to-conceive excuses for parents would demand their health insurance company give the best care for their infant. As the child grew, they would demand the public school system provide the best possible education for their child. They would probably also demand their state and local legislators change existing estate planning laws re: Special Needs Children just so their child would benefit from greater access to lifelong services and funding.

Here’s What I Say-Deny, Deny, Deny.

Now, to his credit, Sal was trying to calm me down. Then  I gave him the reality of increased health care costs because these two “parents” didn’t love their child enough. Add to that the resources that might go to this child due to his parents foolishness, which could lead to higher taxes for us. And let’s not downplay the effect a liability suit could have on both the cost and availability of certain insurance coverages

And worse, the danger those parents placed their infant child in.

So here’s what I say: Deny.

Deny them the right to receive any medical benefits for their child.
Deny them the right to receive anything but the most basic education for their child, unless they pay for it from their own pockets.
Deny them the right to sue the city and/or utility or private firm for their failure to properly cover road hazards.
Deny them the right to sue the Distracted Pedestrian, or the driver of the car which strikes them by accident (Come on,  if they’re this dense, you know they’re running red lights on their bikes).

I do demand the law be changed. The civil fine for the first violation should be no less than one thousand dollars ($1,000.00). For a second violation of any part of the law, twenty-five hundred dollars ($2,500.00), and the impounding of their bicycles until they prove the child is properly protected and of age to be a bicycle passenger. A third violation? Removal of the child from the parents. Why? They are clearing demonstrating they love to bike more than they love their child.

Sal, once he helped me get my blood pressure down to a reasonable level, put it all into perspective. “My friend,” he said, “I can almost guarantee you nothing will ever happen to that kid. The kid whose parents do all the right things, that’s the one who will suffer. That one, nothing  will ever happen to it. And that’s the way it is.”

Let’s pray he’s right.