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ten-year-old car with dents and rust made some derisive comments about wasting money on protecting something so old and out of date. I responded by asking him whether his wife still carried life insurance on his old and out of date self, which shut him up.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ten-year-old car with dents and rust made some derisive comments about wasting money on protecting something so old and out of date. I responded by asking him whether his wife still carried life insurance on his old and out of date self, which shut him up.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.

 

Floodplains Outside Your Front Door

Unfortunately, for many homeowners, the answer they receive from their agent or broker will be “No, you don’t have flood insurance. You’re three and one-half miles from the nearest coastline. And if you recall we discussed adding flood insurance coverage to your insurance portfolio and you refused to spend money on a flood insurance policy when you lived in what you considered a very safe flood zone.”

Floodplains in Bedford-Stuyvesant? Bushwick? Brownsville? Park Slope? Fort Greene / Clinton Hill? Carroll Gardens? Getouttahere!

Floodplains are everywhere?

Who knew?

Picture this. It’s another beautiful day in the wonderful city of Brooklyn, New York. The birds are singing, the flowers are blooming, and that annoying depression in the middle of the street halfway down the block (which happens to be right in front of your house), suddenly erupts into the most glorious of geysers. Hundreds of thousands of gallons of water burst into the air,  land on the street and your sidewalk, and begins to pour into the first floor, garden level, and basement of your beautiful home.

Well, your formerly beautiful home. I mean, you can still use the upper floors.

You hope.

Strange how you never noticed your block is one of three forming a shallow valley. No matter which point you turn to on the compass, you realize adjoining streets and avenues all slope down to where you stand. In fact, it reminds you of the pictures you’ve seen of floodplains around the country. So that geyser spewing tens of thousands of gallons of water each minute from a broken underground water main, is filling up yours and the surrounding blocks as though they were one huge swimming pool.

And the water is getting deeper by the minute.

You suddenly realize what floodplains are, and your existence in one.

Thank Goodness For City Services

One real positive about living in New York City is how quickly the Department of Environmental Protection, (DEP), reaches your block and shuts off the main which gave life to the geyser, just an hour or two. Once they shut the water off, they set about pumping out the water which collected underground. After that they’ll invite each local utility with underground pipes, tubes and wires in the general vicinity of the water main break to come and check their equipment, making any necessary repairs.

Once this and other work, including repairs to the water main, are completed, the giant crater in the street is repaired, the water service restored, and all will be well with the world again.

Well, almost. You see, several major problems remain.

Property Owner, We Have A Problem

As the water poured into your home, you quickly called your homeowners insurance company to report the claim, only to learn your loss isn’t covered by your homeowners insurance policy.

Flood, as your insurance company’s customer service representative explained, is not covered by the typical homeowners insurance policy. This is clearly discussed in the Exclusions section of each homeowners insurance policy which reads,

“WATER DAMAGE, MEANING:

a.    Flood, surface water, waves, wave wash, tidal water, overflow of a body of water, or spray from any of these, whether or not a result of precipitation; or driven by wind … “

So, even though your property located miles from the coast, and you are not in a high-risk flood zone, you suffered a loss caused by a flood.

Your basement is a disaster. You need to rip out and replace floors, ceilings and walls, and replace your hot water heater and boiler and the freezer. Where will you find the money going to come from for all of these unexpected expenses?

The customer service representative asks you a frightening question. “You don’t have a flood insurance policy with our company. Do you have a flood insurance policy with any other company?”

Will You Get Good News or Bad News?

Now comes the moment of truth. You call your insurance agent to see if you have a flood insurance policy.

Unfortunately, for many homeowners, the answer they receive from their agent or broker will be “No, you don’t have flood insurance. You’re three and one-half miles from the nearest coastline. And if you recall we discussed adding flood insurance coverage to your insurance portfolio and you refused to spend money on a flood insurance policy when you lived in what you considered a very safe flood zone.”

If you think this is wrong, look at the situation in Baton Rouge, where they recently suffered heavy rainstorms which lead to wide-spread flooding. In Baton Rouge and its surrounds, some 82% of the houses suffering flood damage lacked flood insurance.

To make matters worse, some 7,000 plus businesses in the affected area suffered severe flood damage, causing them to at least temporarily, close their doors.

Over 73,000 employees are now unemployed until the affected businesses can secure bank and federal loans to reopen. If they ever reopen.

And some 80% percent of the affected homes and businesses are located in “X” flood zones, the zone where you should only have to worry about floods every 500 years.

Climate Change, Anyone?

This and other past and future flooding events prove there is a new model of what is a “safe” flood zone. Here’s a hint: There are none.

New construction which places concrete and macadam on what was permeable ground, changes the very nature of a community, increasing the flood risk.

Aging infrastructure in the shape of bad roads places more stress on underground water pipes, which themselves are in serious need of replacement, causing more and larger water main breaks.

For properties closer the shore, rising sea levels, and a warmer Atlantic Ocean create hurricanes packing increasingly greater destructive power, resulting in more damage to sandy beaches and dunes, and the homes they were designed to protect.

And the hurricane season, which is ‘supposed’ to only run from the first of June until the first of November, seems to start earlier, and end later, each year.

So please take this simple bit of advice: “Hurricane Season” is no longer just a season, it is a year-round event.

Flood zones are just lines on a piece of paper, and water is no respecter of lines on a piece of paper.

We are all at risk from the danger of flooding, and the rebuilding costs which follow.

Stay dry.

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 for your personal insurance review of your home, auto, flood, renters, coop, condo, life and disability insurance policies.

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

Tax Tips for Rental Property Owners , Part 1

Certain rental property expenses can be deducted from your rental property income to determine your profit or loss for a given tax year.

Time for Rental Property Owners to prepare for next year’s income tax return

With the end of the 2016 income tax filing season, it seems a good time to review two tax tips for rental property owners where there is partial personal use or not personal use of an owned dwelling.

This post will address which expenses are deductible. The next post will address the difference between repairs and improvements and how the different ways each can affect your income tax return.

What are deductible rental property expenses?

Certain rental property expenses can be deducted from your rental property income to determine your profit or loss for a given tax year. Some of the expenses you can deduct in the tax year you pay them are:

  • Mortgage interest
  • Real estate taxes
  • Property insurance
  • Utilities
  • Cleaning and maintenance costs
  • Supplies  (For example, garbage bags, brooms and mops used only to maintain the rental property. No fair bringing your broom from home to take care of the rental property)
  • Pest control
  • Lawn care and landscaping
  • Trash
  • Repairs, including the cost of labor
  • Credit and employment checks for tenants
  • Management fees if you use the services of an outside property manager
  • Legal or professional fees
  • Travel expenses (Keep records of automobile mileage, and taxi, train, and bus fees for all of those trips to Home Depot or to your local hardware or plumbing supply stores)
  • Advertising (The cost of placing ads for rental apartments in local papers)
  • Utilities (National Grid, Consolidated Edison, New York City Water and Sewer, and payments made to your oil company.

Why you need a separate checking account for your rental property

Owning a rental property is completely different from owning a one-family home. To make sure your experience as a rental property owner is a profitable one, get a separate checking account which you will use only for all of your rental property income and expenses. This account will accomplish two important tasks:

  1. All income and expenses for the rental property will flow into and from this separate account, making it easier for you to track what you spend to maintain the property and the income you’re receiving. This is easier than trying to remember if a certain Home Depot entry was for the book-case in your living room, or a new ladder for your rental property.
  2. Once all the income and expense information for your rental property is in one place, gathering the information necessary to prepare your income taxes is much simpler.   Since the 75 days of income tax preparation season are not the time to finally try to make sense of your financial life for the past year, I give a small discount to those clients who come in with all of their expenses on one or two pieces of paper.. If I must do client recordkeeping, the client will pay a premium for the extra time and energy I must expend to complete their return.

The costs of maintaining your one-family personal home are not deductible.

It’s important to know how the owners of a one-family dwelling they personally occupy are limited about how certain expenses affect their personal income tax return. With a one-family home, you can only itemize your mortgage interest, and real estate taxes. It is imperative to keep records of any improvements made to the house as this will increase the basis when the house is sold, resulting in a lower possible tax bill.

You can find more about this subject in Publication 527 on the Internal Revenue Services website, https://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/p527.pdf .

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. 

Get Irritated, Get To Work, Be Greater!

Hard? This year the Prep For Prep program will probably test another four to five thousand kids for the vying for the opportunity to occupy one of those 225 seats.
Look, the world is not your oyster. Even an oyster doesn’t excrete the nacre which creates it’s pearl until it’s irritated. So, get irritated, and get to work. And as my young friend, Qadir Forbes, a brand-new graduate of Williams College now working in finance for Disney says, “Be Greater!”

Get Irritated, Get To Work, and Be Greater

James Harrison of the Pittsburgh Steelers set off a firestorm of controversy this past summer when he made his son return summer camp trophies they’d received basically for just showing up.  Mr. Harrison took issue with this concept of “Everyone is a winner, whether you win or lose.” Why not be greater?

In my humble opinion, this culture of “Everyone is a Winner,” and, “There are no losers,”  created the crybaby culture we suffer with in this nation. And these crybabies are toddlers, pre-teens, teens, and 20, 30, 40, and 50 year olds.

I mean, Tee-Ball? One day these little ones will learn you don’t hit home runs in life from a stable stand. You’d better learn how to hit that pitch down and away over the fence. Those guys are the  ones who earn, not make, earn, the big bucks. And guess what, they fail more than they succeed. But when they succeed, entire stadiums stand as one to watch a little white ball land in the seats.

Children learn by playing games of every kind – Monopoly, Scrabble, Chess, Tag, sandlot football and baseball and basketball. When I played games with my daughter, she lost all the time.  At first, she’d get upset as only little ones can, dragging one fuzzy doll or another to complain to her mom. Sometimes she’d even act like she didn’t want to play when I’d set up a game board. Thing is, she kept coming back for more punishment until she figured out a way to win. And she did win, dang it. Beat me at chess when I wasn’t giving the game my complete and undivided attention. Her attention, and will to win caught up to and passed me.

The child crowed about that win for a week. Or two.

I won’t even tell you how she finally beat me in one of our nightly foot races. I will simply say, she cheated, sort of.

But the way she did it made me so proud. Also let me know that the thought of having more sneaky children was definitely out of the question.

When she and her dear departed mother played Monopoly, it was akin to blood sport. They would cheat each other, accuse each other of cheating, secrete caches of Monopoly money, hide property cards, I mean blood sport.

But win or lose, by the end of the game, (and their discovering I’d snuck out so I wouldn’t have to referee), they laughed about the game.

They’d enjoyed competing against each other. Even better, her mom, by this time, had adopted my mantra of “Win, or keep trying”, so Ashley knew it was no quarter asked and none given.

Children must learn that in this life there are times when you will be the  winner,  and others when you will be the loser. The trick is enjoying more of the former, and less of the latter.

If you don’t like the taste of losing, then work harder, learn everything you can about your passion, think about it, strategize about it, devote your life to the mastery of it. Then, if it’s a sport, practice until they have to drag you off the field or the court. School – study until your eyeballs bleed. Turn off the television, don’t even buy the Wii game. 

Did you know the kids who compete for the chance to win the Scripps Spelling Bee every year don’t waste time watching unnecessary or foolish television? They are engaged in increasing their personal vocabularies with words I never even knew existed. Talk about a great use of one’s time.  There was one two-time winner from Brooklyn whose family didn’t own a television. But books, the walls and floors were covered with books.

Real Housewives of Where? Grey’s What? The Bachelor?

I will never forget people from both sides of the family telling me I was mean and cruel for making Ashley spend two summers and Wednesday nights and all day Saturday in school with the Prep For Prep program. Even my Bajan father said I was cruel, and her maternal grandmother told me her book bag was too heavy for her.

“Good,” I told her. “The heavier the books, the smarter the brain.”

 She finished and attended Poly Prep Country Day School. From Poly Prep to Yale. The future? Bright, because she knows life gives you nothing. You work for what you want, and you’ll get it.

She knows that luck is nothing more than good fortune made manifest by opportunity meeting a mind prepared to take full advantage of all that opportunity contains.
And that program continues to this day. In late August, the latest survivors, the kids who cried but didn’t quit, commenced before attending some of the nation’s top private schools for middle and upper school. Fourteen months of what I once deemed academic hell, all for a glorious opportunity.

Opportunity. There goes that word again.

Hard? This year the Prep For Prep program will probably test another four to five thousand kids for the vying for the opportunity to occupy one of those 225 seats.
Look, the world is not your oyster. Even an oyster doesn’t excrete the nacre which creates it’s pearl until it’s irritated. So, get irritated, and get to work. And as my young friend, Qadir Forbes, a brand-new graduate of Williams College now working in finance for Disney says, “Be Greater!”

Thank you Mr. Harrison. I just hope more families follow your lead. Our nation, and our world, will be better for it.

And when your team loses to my NY Giants in the Super Bowl, I am sure you will work even harder.

Coach Tomlin hates, just hates, to lose.

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.”

New York City’s Three Rivers

This, unfortuately is when any business and property owners and renters learn they have absolutely no coverage for the foot or two of water which found it’s way into their living spaces.

What, you think Pittsburgh is the only town with three rivers? Trust me, New York City’s three rivers can beat that!

I couldn’t think of a better way to introduce my BrooklynCovered.com series on Flood Insurance, than using the actual example of what happened during and after a water main break on the night of July 31, 2015.

It proved what Rich Slevin of H2O partners, America’s  leading Flood Insurance education providers loves to say:

“If it can rain there, it can flood there.”

The series will answer questions about, but not limited to:

  • What is a flood?
  • What is a FIRM (and no, it’s not a new fitness gym)?
  • What does a flood insurance policy cover?
  • Why doesn’t my homeowners insurance policy cover flood?
  • What’s an Elevation Certificate?
  • What does Remapping have to do with me?
  • What’s this mandate I keep hearing about?
  • What are the requirements I must meet to buy a Preferred Risk Policy?

and other aspects of this little-understood, but oh so necessary coverage.

Our story begins on the evening of July 31, 2015. It was a peaceful, warm and pleasant summer’s night, when suddenly, all hell broke loose.  A twelve-inch (12″) water main burst at the intersection of Flatbush and St. Marks Place at or around 8 pm, shutting down train, bus and car traffic beneath, on, and through the Flatbush Avenue corridor from Grand Army Plaza, all the way down to just before the Barclay’s Center complex.

While the MTA, National Grid, and Consolidated Edison worried how this would affect their subways, gas and electrical services, businesses along Flatbush Avenue, and homeowners and renters on Saint Marks, Prospect Place, and even Bergen and Dean Streets  were even more concerned about how much, if any, water would wind up in their basements and garden level apartment spaces.

This,  unfortunately is when any business and property owners and renters learn they have absolutely no coverage for the foot or two of water which found its way into their living spaces.

So before we begin the Flood Insurance series in earnest, take a minute to watch a brief video of what lies beneath a typical new york city street.

What lies beneath. Sounds like a monster movie.


While I will do my best to work through the intricacies of flood insurance first, I will be touching on other subjects in the coming months. I plan to have Tax Tuesdays, Flood Insurance Fridays, and other insurance and defensive driving posts the rest of the week.

Stay dry,

Eustace

Eustace L. Greaves, Jr., is a New York State licensed insurance broker, qualifying income tax preparer, and defensive driving instructor. He is based in the Prospect Heights section of Brooklyn, with most of his clients residing in the Downstate New York Region. You can reach him at his office by telephone, 718-78–2722, or by email, Eustace@insuremeeg.com .

 

Need More Chalk, Debbie?

… not only did Robert E Leach​ meet and marry a wonderful woman, they now are the proud parents of a beautiful baby girl.

Happy 62nd Birthday in Heaven, Debbie!

Debbie Brinson, a true Teacher

Just in case you’ve been extra busy teaching everyone in your heavenly classroom, let me bring you up to date:

Ashley, yes our little Ashley Greaves​, is a Rising College Senior. And, to top it off, the one who, when she did something absolutely wacky, would give rise to our saying, “That’s your child”, “No that’s your child”, “What a little bunko artist”, and “What a little actress!”, is an actual paid actress! She’s actually received her first paychecks as an actress for her role as “Girl with Afro, Number 2” on an upcoming Netflix series, “The Get Down”, which is set in a high school in the ’70’s. When she sent me a picture of her hair, (thank God for her wanting natural hair!), all picked out in a ‘fro, I got really choked up for a moment, because she looked just like you did back then. I continually give thanks to Poly Prep Country Day School, for helping her grow into one of her passions, and especially to Sonya Baehr, Monica Flory, Jill Bolstridge, Cynthia Babak, Josina Reaves, Lori Redell, Susan Beiles, Whitney Davidson, Dr. Gini, Caesar Fabella, and Liane Dougherty, just to name a few of the wonderful crew who also helped Little Bit become an outstanding young woman.

Must give the top props to Dana Catherine, though. We met Ms. Catherine when Ashley was still in Prep for Prep, (“What, my child is going to learn Latin? Wait, they still teach that?”), and I knew that even though boys attended the school, any school smart enough to employ this wonderful educator and classy lady was good enough for my child.

And Beverly Ffolkes-Bryant, your last boss? Wow, did she step up in a big way after you died. In fact, even though I take credit for it, she made me give her money and our child, and she’s the one who took her shopping for her fifth-grade prom outfit. Ashley was even able to wear the same outfit to the Prep For Prep Lilac Ball when our reality movie, “The Journey Begins.”

Just knew I shouldn’t have signed away those rights.

Virginia Cintron Heyward​, and your favorite “Bay Bay” Jacob are doing well. Their babies, Peanut and Orpheus , (sorry, I still see the little man in diapers drinking from his bottle) are all grown up with families of their own. I guess you’ve Orpheus leading services at his mega-church.

Martha Leach​, just became a new Grandma again, because, not only did Robert E. Leach​ meet and marry a wonderful woman, they now are the proud parents of a beautiful baby girl. David DjDollar Bill Leach​, your other favorite Godson, is engaged to a wonderful woman, and his daughters are reaching milestones in their own lives. Martha is so happy nowadays, she just doesn’t know how to behave.

Everyone else is just fine. We miss you, share memories, and talk about you all of the time.

Yes, I know you know all of this, and even things we hope you didn’t know from your new vantage point.

You were so Blessed to realize your purpose while alive, I know God has you working overtime in heaven.

Again, from Ashley and I, we will always love you, we will always miss you, and we’ll never forget you.

No regrets. We shared a life. Love always,

Ashley, and Eustace

Eustace L. Greaves, Jr., born and raised and educated in Brooklyn, NY, is the Owner and Principal Broker of The Bridge Insurance Agency, and the Owner and Principal Tax Preparer of Greaves Financial Services. Call him at 718-783-2722, or drop him an email to Eustace@insuremeeg.com to address your insurance and personal income needs.

While this post has nothing to do with insurance, taxes, or even defensive driving workshops, it does deal with life during life, and the lives of friends and loved ones after a mother, lover, partner, friend and confidant pass to the other side.
So, take time today to hug someone who loves you, I mean really hug them. Tell them you love them, kiss them the way you used to when you were pursuing them, and hold them real tight.

You just never know when it will be the last chance you will get.

 

Just One Last Chance

Then, once they discover the joy of sitting, reading, and pondering life, you suffer through the dreaded, ” I’ve got to go and she’s not giving up the seat!” times. And the lady at the supermarket laughs and says, “How many rolls of toilet paper this week, sweetie?”

Okay, am I nuts or what? You go through all of this for just one last chance?

They emerge from their mother, a bundle of joy who will have you lugging home bundles of Pampers, wipes, and cases of formula, and waking up at 3 am (or faking you’re asleep), for a few years. Not to mention keeping the national economy going by keeping your wallet empty.

And you tell yourself, one day, oh one day, I won’t have to do this anymore.

Then comes the dreaded toilet training, with the cries of “No, no! You just want to drown me! Mommy! Mommy, You’d better get in here quick because Daddy’s wants me to drown me in the toilet bowl!!” Then, once they discover the joy of sitting, reading, and pondering life, you suffer through the dreaded, ” I’ve got to go and she’s not giving up the seat!” times. And the lady at the supermarket laughs and says, “How many rolls of toilet paper this week, sweetie?”

And you tell yourself, “One day I shall regain the throne!”

Then you learn you have to lock the bathroom door when taking a shower when she comes in and rips the curtain back while you’re showering, just to see what you’re doing in there.

My downstairs neighbor still laughs about how I ” … screamed like a girl,” that night.

I mean, I thought she was asleep. She was supposed to be asleep.

That’s okay, you think, for one day I won’t have to lock the bathroom door, or wear a suit of armor while I’m relaxing at home.

Then comes the first day of “Big School”, a.k.a. kindergarten, and then Middle School. Before you know it, it’s on to high school, and the AP’s, PSAT’s and SAT’s and ACT’s and college applications. Then, one day in late March, they find out who accepted them (thankfully, the one she wanted the most said yes). And on a glorious day in June, you sit back at a long-anticipated high school commencement, hearing her name and watching her cross the dais as she collects her diploma.

And you say to yourself, “In just three months I will be dropping her off to college, and I get the apartment, the throne, the TV, everything, back! Ha ha! Mine, mine, mine!”

The day arrives when you take her to college. You tote luggage up three (3) flights of stairs (no elevator). You meet the roommates she’ll be seeing more than you for the next four (4) years, and attend meeting after meeting until, some Dean says, “Okay parents, you have 15 minutes to say goodbye to your kids. The rest of this meeting is just for them. Go home now.”

And one guy in the audience says, “I’m not going anywhere without my child,” and you realize everyone is looking at you.

I guess I did say it.

Dean was lucky I believe in a God that forgives.

So, you leave the campus (accompanied by the campus police, just because you tried to kidnap your own child and bring her back home with you), doing 90 on I-95, hoping you’ll be pulled over, so you can tell the State Trooper we have to go back to the college, because they kidnapped my child.

Yes, itt actually happened. I will never the forget the look on the campus police officer as he said, “Release the Yalie, sir. Time for you to go home.”

He’d better be glad I believe in a forgiving God.

But it didn’t work. You make great time getting home though. Back to having the throne room to yourself. Not having to lock the bathroom door. Watching whatever you want to watch. Walk around the apartment any way you want to.

You shed a tear, wishing you had just one last chance to change a diaper, or stumble out of bed for the 3 am feeding and review of world events.

Just one.

And you count the days until she comes home for Thanksgiving Break, because it’s no fun having it all to yourself.