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What is inflation and how does it affect the insurance industry and your premiums?

Inflation is a term that is thrown around a lot in the news, but what does it actually mean? In short, inflation is when prices for goods and services increase. In the world of insurance, this can have a big impact on premiums. In this blog post, we will discuss how inflation affects premiums and why it’s important to keep track of changes in the rate of inflation.

There are a few different ways to measure inflation, but the most common is the Consumer Price Index (CPI). The CPI measures changes in the prices of a basket of goods and services that are commonly consumed by households. In the United States, the CPI is released on a monthly basis by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

When the CPI goes up, it means that prices are rising and the purchasing power of your dollar is decreasing. In other words, it takes more money to buy the same amount of goods or services. Inflation can have a major impact on your insurance premiums because insurance companies use something called the “cost of living adjustment” (COLA) to account for changes in the CPI.

The COLA is a percentage increase or decrease that is applied to your insurance premiums to keep them in line with the rising cost of living. For example, if the CPI goes up by two percent, your insurance company may raise your premiums by two percent as well. Inflation can also affect the insurance industry in other ways. Another example would be, that if the cost of medical care goes up, it would be likely that you would see an increase in your health insurance premiums. In addition, inflation can erode the value of investments that insurance companies hold, which can impact their financial stability and ability to pay claims.

While there are a number of factors that can affect your insurance premiums, inflation is one of the most important to keep in mind. While this may seem like a disadvantage for consumers, it’s important to remember that insurance is designed to protect you from financial loss in the event of an unforeseen circumstance. In other words, while your premiums may go up in response to inflation, so will the payouts you receive if you need to make a claim. In the end, this ensures that insurance remains an effective way to protect yourself and your family from financial hardship.

If you have any questions about how inflation affects your insurance premiums, or if you would like to learn more about how insurance works, we encourage you to speak with one of our experienced agents. We would be happy to help! In the meantime, please check out our blog for more informative articles like this one.

Thank you for reading!!!

Catastrophic Events

We are officially in hurricane season, and along with hurricanes also come disasters like flooding, severe storms, and even wildfires. Informing our clients on how to be prepared for events like this, through purchasing the right coverage, is something we strive to do. Though it may not seem like something that could happen to you and your home, you never know when a storm may blow through. According to Asta (2022), in 2021 there were 18 weather and climate disasters in which damages were around $1 billion or more.


Something important that all homeowners should know is that your homeowner’s policy might cover many natural disasters such as hail, windstorms, and lightning, but what it likely does not cover is floods, earthquakes, and/or tsunamis (Asta, 2022). Flood insurance is coverage we always suggest to our customers, as we feel it is very beneficial. We’re also able to provide standalone wind coverage. For our clients who live in coastal areas, this policy provides coverage for damage from hail and wind, regardless of whether the damage is from a named storm or an everyday storm (Orchid).


Now, although flood and wind coverage is something all homeowners should look into purchasing, it’s also an important thing for business owners to consider as well. Catastrophic events don’t just affect homes, they destroy anything in their path. As a business owner, you want to make sure you plan in advance by making educated choices on what insurance coverage you really need (Asta, 2022).


One final way you can help protect your home, business, family, and employees from catastrophic events is to have a plan of action. If a disaster does strike, your family members and employees should know the procedure. For example, where to take shelter in the event of a tornado, where the fire extinguisher and emergency exits are located, or where to meet if everyone must evacuate the premises (Asta, 2022).


If you don’t already have flood or wind coverage, give us a call today so we can get you a fast and easy quote!

References:
Asta, Donna (March 1, 2022) Planning for the Future with Catastrophic Insurance. Big I Independent Agent. https://www.iamagazine.com/magazine/issues/2022/march/planning-for-the-future-with-catastrophic-insurance
Orchid. www.orchidinsurance.com. Accessed July 5, 2022.

Getting a Personal Insurance Quote

So, now that you have a little background knowledge on insurance, such as why it’s important to have, and which type of agent you should work with, it’s time to start thinking about getting insurance quotes. Before you start calling around to different agencies, you should first know what types of insurance you’re looking for. If you own a house, apartment, or condo, you will need homeowners’ insurance. If you rent a house, apartment, or condo you’ll need renters’/tenants’ insurance. If you own a vehicle or motorcycle, you’ll need car or motorcycle insurance. The list goes on…so take a minute to stop and think about the major things you own, rent or lease. If you’re still unsure of what coverage you need, plan to have a conversation with the agent you speak with, they can help guide you.

Next, do some research about agencies near you. Google and social media can be a good place to start. Once you find an agency, you may want to review their website and look over reviews. Once you’re ready to call, you may want to start by asking which specific carriers the agency works with. The more carriers, the more opportunity the agent will have to find you the best quote for your needs.

Many agencies will ask you questions like your first and last name, your date of birth, driver’s license number (if you’re looking for auto insurance), your marital status, and who your current carrier is. Here at ASZ International, we ask that you provide us with your declaration pages. This simply outlines the coverage you have in place right now, so we can make sure that when we look into a new policy for you, we are not giving you anything less. If you don’t want us to know how much your current premium is, we totally understand that, feel free to cross it out on your paperwork.


Now the tedious part is over. Your agent will begin to look into quotes for you. Again, if you work through an independent agent, they will plug your information into a comparative rater which will populate many different options. This is beneficial to you as it will allow you to compare coverage apples to apples with more than one carrier.

If you’re ready to start looking into quotes, download our app by clicking here and then following the on-screen instructions. We would be more than happy to assist you in finding the right coverage for you and your family!

Independent Agents vs Captive Agents

When looking for insurance, it can be incredibly stressful trying to decide which provider is right for you and your family. The entire process can be overwhelming, from narrowing down a provider, to getting the right coverage you need, and of course trying to stay within an affordable budget. Many people do not even know where to begin, and if that’s how you feel, don’t worry, you’re not alone.

This is where insurance agents come into play. First, let’s go over the difference between a captive insurance agent versus an independent insurance agent. A captive insurance agent is contracted to work for one insurance company and can only sell that one specific company’s policy (West Bend, n.d.). For example, if you reach out to a Nationwide insurance agent, they would only be able to get you quotes with Nationwide. Whereas an independent insurance agent is contracted to work with a variety of insurance companies and can sell policies from multiple providers (West Bend, n.d.). For example, if you reach out to us here at ASZ International, Inc., we can get you quotes from many different carriers like Nationwide, Lemonade, Erie, Travelers, and more, and then we compare them, apples to apples for you. This way you know exactly what each company has to offer, and it allows you to make a more educated decision on which policy is absolutely right for you.

Working with an independent insurance agent, in our opinion, is much more beneficial. Not only does your agent have the ability to go to different carriers who sometimes vary in the coverage they provide, but they can also shop around for you to see where they can get you the right coverage at the most affordable price. Another benefit is that when it comes time for your renewal, your agent will keep an eye out to see if they can get you a cheaper rate with another carrier. If they can, they’ll switch your coverage over and continue to be your assigned rep. Which leads me to another benefit of working with an independent insurance agency, not having to wait on hold or talk to a 1-800 representative. Instead, you get to call a real person, who is there to support, educate, and guide you throughout the whole process.

Here at ASZ International, that is exactly the kind of people we strive to be. We are here to work with you and for you. We don’t work for any specific insurance company, that’s not our job. Our job is to help you, the policy holder.



Reference:
West Bend. (n.d.) Does Your Insurance Agent Have Your Best Interests At Heart? The Silver Lining. https://www.thesilverlining.com/common-topics/independent-agents-versus-captive-agents

The Basics and Benefits of Insurance

Let’s talk about insurance, and why it’s so important. Do you own a home, apartment, vehicle, or any type of personal belongings? If you do, then you want to make sure those things are protected in case of a loss. When you buy insurance, you’re transferring the cost of a potential loss or accident to the insurance company in exchange for a fee. You’re buying yourself protection at a fraction of the price of what it would cost to get back those belongings. If you suffer a loss that is covered by your policy and you file a claim, insurance is there to help you pay for that loss based on the terms of your policy (Grange Insurance, n.d.).

Insurance not only provides protection against theft and damage from perils like fire and water, but it also protects you from the financial responsibility that could result from a visitor or guest being accidentally injured on your property. In a nutshell, insurance is very important. Though it is something you hope you never have to use, because nobody wants something bad to happen to them, it is something that you don’t want to be without if you end up suffering a loss.

So how does insurance work? When you purchase insurance, you are known as the policyholder. When multiple policyholders purchase insurance with the same insurance company/carrier, the insurance company uses the money collected from the policyholders and other investments, to pay for its operations and claims made by its policyholders (Grange Insurance, n.d.). So when you buy insurance, the payments you make are in exchange for being covered from certain risks (Araujo, 2021).

Next, we’ll dive into how to choose the right insurance provider for you and your family.


References:
Araujo, Mila. (2021, July 12). Get the Basics to Learn How Insurance Works. The Balance. https://www.thebalance.com/basics-to-help-you-understand-how-insurance-works-4783595


Grange Insurance. (n.d.). What is insurance and why is it important? The Grange Guide to Insurance. https://www.grangeinsurance.com/tips/what-is-insurance-why-is-it-important

Do You Have to Carry Motorcycle Insurance or Is it Optional?

At ASZ International Inc., serving the greater Westchester, NY area, motorcycle insurance is one of the types of insurance products that we offer our customers. One of the questions that we are frequently asked is whether you legally have to carry motorcycle insurance or whether motorcycle insurance is optional. Learning the truth can help you obtain the insurance you need to ensure you are complying with local laws. 

Do You Have to Carry Motorcycle Insurance in New York? 

In New York, you are required to obtain motorcycle insurance to register your bike. You are also legally required to get insurance and have insurance on the motorcycle any time you are operating it. The fines can be the same as auto drivers for motorcycle riders who do not obtain insurance. 

What Can Happen If You Do Not Carry Motorcycle Insurance? 

In New York, you can experience a wide array of issues if you do not obtain motorcycle insurance. If your car is not insured, you can be denied the vehicle’s ability to register. A law enforcement officer can also cite you for operating a motorcycle, something that carries a hefty fine. Finally, if you are involved in an accident and do not have insurance, you can be held financially liable out of your own pocket. 

If you are looking for motorcycle insurance in the greater Westchester, NY area, ASZ International Inc. would love the opportunity to help you. Reach out to us today to discuss your motorcycle insurance needs, and let us provide you with an estimate for a policy. 

What to do when involved in an accident with an uninsured motorist

Most states, including New York, require drivers to have the minimum bodily injury and property damage liability. However, there are still drivers driving around public roads without insurance. So what happens when you’re involved in an accident with an uninsured motorist in Westchester, NY? Find out how you can handle the situation like a pro.

Call the police

Whether there are injuries or not, it’s always wise to call the police. If you’re dealing with an uninsured driver, it’s even more important as the report will help you get the compensation you deserve and make the claim process easier.

Stay at the scene of the accident

Even if there is no damage or visible injuries and the accident seems minor, don’t leave the scene until the police have arrived.

Don’t accept money

At ASZ International Inc., we understand that auto insurance is not cheap, and neither are claims. However, that doesn’t mean anyone can drive around without insurance. The driver may attempt to pay you a specific amount to silence you and avoid legal repercussions. Don’t accept, even if there is no damage or injury.

Swap information

The other driver may not have their insurance information, but they have their contact information, vehicle details, and other relevant information you might need. Don’t forget to speak to witnesses and get their contact information as well.

Document the damage

Capture any damage done to your car and take pictures and videos of the other vehicle. You should also note down the location, time, traffic signs, and the direction in each vehicle was traveling.  You will need this information during the claim process.

Having enough auto insurance is the best way to stay out of trouble with the law in Westchester, NY. If you need to update your policy and increase your limits, ASZ International Inc. is always ready to help. Call us today!

Is motorcycle insurance required in New York?

Not many people know that motorcycle insurance isn’t a requirement in every state. However, it’s required in forty-nine out of fifty states. Also, the coverage amounts vary from state to state. However, New York is one of the states that require cyclists to carry motorcycle insurance to legally drive in the state. ASZ International Inc. of Westchester, NY takes pride in educating New York cyclists on the coverage requirements that must be met to legally operate their motorcycles in New York. 

New York Motorcycle Insurance Requirements

New York cyclists are required to carry liability insurance just like auto drivers are required to carry liability insurance. However, unlike automobile insurance requirements in the state of New York, motorcycle operators aren’t required to carry personal injury protection or uninsured/underinsured motorist insurance. The state requirements for liability insurance for motorcyclists include property damage, death, and body injury liability coverage. The state minimums include $25K per person and $50K per accident for bodily injury. Death liability requirements are $50K per person and $100K per accident. Property damage liability is $10K. Of course, motorcycle operators can carry more than the minimum coverage amounts but never less than the state minimum liability requirements. 

Other Important Details

New York motorcycle owners and operators must insure their motorcycles with the New York state minimum coverage amounts before they can register their motorcycles in the state of New York. To legally register your motorcycle in the state of New York, you must meet the minimum New York state-issued insurance requirements to legally operate your motorcycle in New York. Motorists who have questions about motorcycle insurance should reach out to ASZ International Inc. of Westchester, NY. We’re here to answer any and all of your questions. Give us a call. We’re standing by.  

What Motorcycle Insurance Coverage Is Required in New York State?

Operating a motorcycle is no different than driving a car when it comes to insurance. It is necessary to have your motorcycle insured to get it registered and to protect yourself and others in the event of an accident. Having proper coverage is crucial to operate a motorcycle legally and to protect yourself if you are injured.

Getting proper insurance coverage is necessary to operate your motorcycle in New York. It will be needed for purposes of registration and personal protection. ASZ International, Inc. in Westchester, NY has many years of experience helping motorists with a variety of different insurance options.

Do I need motorcycle insurance?

You will need minimum liability insurance to operate a motorcycle in New York. The state does allow individuals to carry a financial security bond or have a financial security deposit, but typically people purchase insurance from a provider to get minimum liability insurance. Helmets are mandatory in New York, and failure to wear one can have a negative effect on coverage if there is an accident.

What kind of motorcycle insurance is required?

Motorcycles are no different than cars when it comes to insurance requirements. They require the same type of liability coverage as cars do. There are slight differences, and some states do require some form of personal injury protection. New York does not require additional personal injury protection, though you may choose to get this added. Bodily injury, property damage, and personal injury are covered with minimum liability insurance.

If you own a motorcycle and need quality assurance, the agents at ASZ International, Inc. in Westchester, NY can help. Give us a call to speak to a representative today to discuss your insurance needs for your new or used motorcycle.


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