Let’s Set The Record Straight About – Customizing Your Insurance

Today’s clever insurance commercials are a necessary evil. They provide more information about bundling and saving and less about the coverages you, your family, and your business really need.

We can change that by simply asking the right questions.

Customizing Your Insurance

No insurance company owns a monopoly on helping you customize your insurance.


Commercials, Commercials, Commercials

Commercials are designed to increase brand awareness using gimmicks, including celebrity spokespersons, animals, car crashes and chases, and, well, anything they think you will remember when it is time to buy insurance.

Does Every Company Allow You To Customize Your Insurance?

You can customize your home, life, auto, renters, co-op, condo, disability, long-term care, personal umbrella, and, yes, even your flood insurance with any company licensed to do business in the State of New York and every other state in the Union.

Every company gives you the ability to customize your insurance.

Every single one.

The problem is that most consumers aren’t served by most of the television commercials aired today.

They are goaded into a perpetual state of dissatisfaction with their current career, even when their current career is doing a good job for them.

It’s What Consumers Don’t Know About Their Insurance Which Hurts Them

Each year, I make at least 25 insurance-based presentations for HUD-approved housing agencies and organizations such as Neighborhood Housing Services of New York City, Harlem Churches for Community Improvement, and Impacct. I always ask those in attendance to tell me their automobile insurance coverages. Inevitably, 14 out of 15 give the same answer, “Full Coverage.”

Not 25/50/10.

Not 250/500/100.

Full coverage.

When I ask them how much their policies cover in an accident, they usually reply that they’re not sure, but they did save money by bundling their home and auto.


Buying What You Need Is A Two-Edged Sword

As long as the policy or policies quoted for you meet your state’s required minimum coverage limits, buying the cheapest policy or bundle possible is actually all you need.

What if, though, you just struck and killed a pedestrian or lost control of your vehicle and totaled a house? Will your policy provide you with the actual amount of money you will need when the jury hands down some obscenely massive award against you?

Imagine coming home to find;

  • Your home is on fire.
  • Two (2) feet of toxic sewage water sloshing about your finished basement.
  • Burglars paid you an expensive visit while you are at work or the market.
  • Your good dog had a bad day.
  • There are three feet of floodwater in your home, and you don’t own a flood insurance policy.

What Questions Should I Ask?

  • What, if any, hoops must I jump through in case of a claim?
  • Are policy coverages or exceptions more important to know?
  • Why do I have duties after a loss?
  • In case of a covered cause of loss, how easily will my claim be settled?
  • Is your claim service fair?

What Should My Insurance Company and/or Independent Agent and Broker Teach Me?

  • Why buying home insurance based on your home’s replacement cost is essential.
  • How to determine your condominium and cooperative apartment “walls in” insurance coverage based on what a licensed contractor would charge to completely repair fire or water-damaged walls, ceilings, and floors.
  • It is important for renters to complete a personal home inventory down to the last sweat sock.
  • How owning Life and Disability insurance will prevent financial disaster should death or disability destroy the earning power of a family breadwinner.
  • Reasons why every property policy should include Water and Sewer Backup coverage. And why every cooperative and condominium apartment owner should add the Loss Assessment endorsement to their coverage.
  • Why buying flood insurance, even when their home is not in a high-risk flood zone, is a smart financial move.

And, of course, what coverages do I actually need to protect my family and home from most disasters?

The other day a woman asked me for my honest opinion of who I felt was the best insurance company out there.

My answer?

The one with whom you secured the proper policies, with sufficient coverages, which is in force at the time of your claim.

A company that won’t make you jump through hoops to settle a  claim fairly. An independent insurance agent and broker willing and able to service your policies. With premiums accurately reflecting the coverages your policies provide.

Nothing else matters.

As for the commercials, well, give my regards to Broadway.

At least until we can enjoy live theater again. Until then, stay healthy and safe.


Eustace L. Greaves, Jr., LUTCF is an independent insurance agent and broker, licensed to conduct business in New York State. Contact Eustace at 718-783-2722, 718-489-2218, by email at [email protected] or by completing the contact form on this page, or  one of the many contact forms on his website, https://greavesinsurance.com.



Farewell, Sweet Cuddle Time, Farewell

(Editor’s Note: You may be wondering why a blog dedicated to providing information about insurance,  personal income tax planning and preparation, and NYS Vehicle and Traffic Laws deals with “Cuddle Time. ” Trust me, you’ll get the ‘coverage’ connection. Well, I hope you do.  Besides, who can’t use a good laugh now and then? Enjoy! – Eustace)

Guys, It’s Time To Be Honest About Cuddle Time

Men. Suddenly we’re turning 40, 50, or even 60 years of age, and we, well at least some of us, must make peace with a sad reality: What we once did three, four, maybe even five times a night with gusto, flair, and concerns only about our own satisfaction, we now happily enjoy with true shared intimacy maybe three really good times each month.

With ample time in between for rest, recovery, reflection, relief,  and many prayers of  thanks to whichever Creator we worship that our efforts didn’t leave us in need of skilled nursing care.

But with this new reality, we also come to realize we always seem a step behind, a step too slow, just missing the boat, singing off-key, or didn’t set the hook fast enough. And now, we’ve gone and lost the big one – cuddle time.

Why is it when men of a certain age finally discover the power of the cuddle, (and yes, there is power in “The Cuddle”), their wives no longer need them for body heat?

And what vile, heinous, and foul construct stole our spouses and lovers affections, well, in some cases tolerance, you ask?

None other than the electric blanket.

That’s right. The electric blanket.

America is not the Great Satan, and sorry Theo Epstein and Boston Red Sox nation, the New York Yankees are not the true Evil Empire. No my friends, it’s the electric blanket manufacturers of the world who are creating all the problems for us men. That’s right  electric blanket manufacturers, I’m talking to you, I’m calling you out, you and your evil intimacy-destroying creations.

Oh, The Humanity!

Just imagine the workers who assemble these cuddle time-destroying creations. I’ve heard tales of women line workers raucously laughing, knowing yet another member of their sisterhood will sleep in vengeful comfort, while their male counterparts weep bitter tears at their plight, forced to assisting in the birthing of these heat-destroying engines of destruction of the last bastions of male joy and happiness.

All the Viagra and Cialis in the world cannot convince a woman enjoying the sweet, moist warmth of a Turbo 2000 Sweet Heat model to turn it off and let her husband turn her on. No, after years of neglecting her needs for truly emotional attention and connection, and too many half-hearted or failed attempts at, umm, humor, she’s gone and found a new electric lover which gives her the full cuddly body warmth she used to beg for. Now she plugs it in the wall, spins the dial to the desired level of warmth and voilà!, she doesn’t need her man anymore. And her comfort cover doesn’t complain about the texture of her dragon feet or her talon-like toenails.

And what’s really terrible is we are paying the electric utility bill for her guilty, guilty, sweet heat pleasure.

So, do we pin our hopes  on these soft and fuzzy destroyers of our remaining years of true intimacy constantly tripping the circuit breakers? Do we bring offerings to Al Gore begging him to declare them creatures of evil, possessing incontrovertible carbon footprints? Will this make wives and girlfriends repentant for their love of deviant coverage, even as they shed tears of sadness while packing their electric blankets away for the purpose of creating a more sustainable planet?

Oh yeah, that would work for me. And let’s tell the truth, it would work for a bunch of you guys too.

What About The Dragon Feet?

Is there a downside to our prayers? Yes, for once we win the recall of the accursed cuddle time-destroying covers, or our darlings sadly pack them away forever, our “on” switch must always be primed for dial-up.

Always on. Dialed up to whatever setting she wants. Be it cuddle, muddle, or just befuddled. #Cuddle Time Joy!

Even if she’s got dragon feet with talons for toenails.

Eustace L. Greaves Jr.,  is a Brooklyn-based business owner who provides his clients with integrated insurance, and income tax solutions and strategies. He is the author of BrooklynCovered.com and would really appreciate your subscribing to this blog, and sharing it with your social media families.

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.

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