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200 Summit Lake Drive
Suite 220
Valhalla, NY 10595

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Florida Roofing Laws – What to Know

While many carriers are ceasing to write at least part of their book of business in Florida, others are taking further steps to help reduce their risk of exposures. Some insurance carriers are now avoiding writing homes or commercial properties with older roofs (Rabb, 2022).

If you’re a homeowner or business owner in Florida, this might be something for you to consider. If you haven’t had any updates to your roof or other areas in your home, like electrical, plumbing, etc., within the last 15-plus years, this might be a red flag for an insurance carrier.

According to Deventer (2022), “home insurance companies will be prohibited from denying policies solely due to the age of a home’s roof, but only if the roof is fewer than 15 years old and has five years of life left. Homes with older roofs may still be denied coverage” (para. 4).

The age of your roof impacting your insurance is largely due to the hurricanes and large storms that Florida faces (Carey, 2021). Annual inspections, maintenance, and necessary repairs are key to lessening the chance of a storm causing damage to your roof, while also giving you the green light when it comes to getting and maintaining a homeowner or commercial insurance policy in Florida.

Roof age has played a big factor in whether underwriters will accept a home. This is something we are constantly talking about with our insureds. So, before you start looking for a new homeowner or commercial insurance policy, do yourself a favor and find out when you last had your roof repaired or replaced. This will be a number one question your agent will ask you.



References:

Carey, Diane M. (2021, September 2). New Florida Roofing laws Affect Insurance. Hometown News. https://www.hometownnewsvolusia.com/news/new-florida-roofing-laws-affect-insurance/article_d6cae4ca-fec2-11eb-9387-1b8db5624822.html

Deventer, Cate. (2022, June 3). Will Florida’s Home Insurance Reform Bill be Enough to Review a Collapsing Market? Bankrate. https://www.bankrate.com/insurance/homeowners-insurance/new-2022-florida-property-insurance-reform/

Rabb, William. (2022, July 1). Gone with the Flo: Progressive Stops Writing DP-3 Policies in Florida. Insurance Journal. https://www.insurancejournal.com/news/southeast/2022/07/01/674326.htm

Florida Homeowners Insurance

No matter how you look at it, prices are increasing everywhere, from groceries to gas and even insurance rates too. No matter what state or county you live in, inflation is happening around us all and has become our new reality.

Florida residents know a lot about overpriced insurance premiums as it is, their auto insurance alone is the most expensive out of the 50 states (Deventer, 2021). But when it comes to homeowners’ insurance, Floridians have another thing to think about.

According to Rabb (2022), “The Florida property insurance market is showing more signs of trouble, with one of the state’s largest carriers deciding to stop writing new homeowners’ business in the state – while also asking for a rate increase on some policies” (para1). Unfortunately, it’s not just one insurance carrier who’s revealing they’re going to stop writing new homeowners and dwelling fire policies in the great state of Florida, it’s multiple (Rabb, 2022).

While some companies cease to write policies in Florida, the ones left standing are pushing ahead with rate increases (Rabb, 2022). This is a clear issue for Florida residents who have already been paying a large amount of money for their insurance policies.

So, what are the next steps for Florida? For now, insurance agents are urging lawmakers to make reforms that can help stem losses and reduce litigation, among other changes (Rabb, 2022).



References:

Deventer, Cate. (2021, December 31). Average Cost of Car Insurance in Florida in 2022. Bankrate. https://www.bankrate.com/insurance/car/average-cost-of-car-insurance-in-florida/

Rabb, William. (2022, February 8). Another Big Insurer Stops Writing Homeowners Policies in Florida. Insurance Journal. https://www.insurancejournal.com/news/southeast/2022/02/08/653123.htm

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

Does My Landlord’s Insurance Cover My Apartment?

While landlords in Westchester, NY are legally required to obtain dwelling insurance for their rental properties, this does not necessarily mean tenants are fully protected. Let ASZ International Inc. explain more about the risks tenants face and how you can protect yourself.

What Your Landlord is Required to Insure

The law says landlords must obtain dwelling coverage. But what does that mean? A landlord’s dwelling coverage is a policy that protects the structure of the building. In the event of a covered peril, such as fire, the policy will pay for the cost of repairing the damage to the structure.

This does not mean your personal property is covered.

What Your Landlord is NOT Required to Insure

Tenants are not protected against losses to their personal property. That means if your property is damaged, even in the same event, you will not be able to recover the value of your belongings. At least not without your own insurance.

Renter’s insurance is not required by law, but getting it is a good idea. It covers you and your property from perils such as:

  • Personal Property Loss (due to natural disaster or theft)
  • Loss of Use
  • Personal Liability & Medical

Some of these risks can even be covered when you are not home. For example, if your bike is stolen off the rack at the park, your renter’s insurance policy would cover that loss.

How Much Renter’s Insurance Do You Need?

The amount of renter’s insurance you need will depend on several factors, such as your income and the value of your personal property. ASZ International Inc. can help you determine the right amount of coverage for you. We will also help you understand how to compare multiple policies to find the best deal.

If you’re a tenant or about to become one in Westchester, NY, contact us today to get started!

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. 

Spring Cleaning Tips for Homeowners

As warm weather approaches, the urge to start spring cleaning around our homes and property arises. It is important to remember that spring cleaning is not just about fixing up the appearance of your home but also cleaning and fixing damages for a safer living area. Here are some helpful tips for spring cleaning and avoiding homeowners claims:

Clean Out Gutters and Remove Drain Build Up

Fall leaves and winter weather tend to leave behind lots of debris in your gutters and drains outside your home. Make sure to clean out the gutters and drains to prevent damage to the foundation of your home, rotting wood, leaks in your roof, water spots, and basement leaks.

Check Driveway and Sidewalks

The drastic change in weather and temperature from season to season can lead to ground movement creating uneven walking areas that can cause hazards on your property. By checking your driveway and sidewalks for cracks and holes and patching them, you can prevent claims that arise from injury.

Check Roof, Siding, Porch, and Deck

Wind, rain, snow, and other weather conditions can lead to damage to the roof, siding, porch, and/or deck of your home. It is important to assess the outside of your home to find areas of sagging, missing shingles/siding, rotting or loose material, loose nails, and unfastened railings. These hazards can affect your home’s safety and increase the likelihood of a homeowner’s claim.

Check Caulking in Your Bathroom and Kitchen

Over time, the caulk in your bathroom and kitchen can deteriorate and create cracks that lead to water damage in your home. Staying on top of the conditions of the caulking in your showers, sinks, bathtubs, and other plumbing areas in your home can help reduce the likelihood of claims and losses due to water damage.

Clean Out Dryer Vents

Lint buildup in your dryer can cause major problems in the effectiveness of your machine and can also cause dryer fires. It is important to not only clean the lint trap after each use but also to inspect the dryer hose and wipe out extra lint in your machine periodically as lint is extremely flammable.

Change Smoke Detector Batteries

It is important to change the batteries in your smoke detectors at least twice a year. Adding it to your spring-cleaning checklist can help protect you, your family, and your home in the event of a fire.

Benefits of liability insurance for boat owners

Liability insurance for boat owners is vital, no matter what craft you have. The team at ASZ International Inc. has the experience and knowledge that Westchester, NY area residents rely on when it comes to all of their insurance needs.

Benefits of increased liability protection for boat owners

Liability protection is a no-brainer for boat owners. There are many different scenarios where you can be held responsible for damage, injury, or loss. For example:

  • Your boat is involved in an accident that causes injury to a passenger.
  • A vessel you are piloting causes damage to another craft or someone’s property.
  • Any mishap that occurs when you are transporting your boat to or from the water.
  • Someone slips and falls on your boat while it is in the marina.

This is just a very short list of the many situations that can cause a liability headache for a boat owner. If you want to avoid such an experience, liability insurance can help. When you have adequate liability protection, you can be covered for the expenses that occur in the above or similar mishaps.

While exact financial protection is dependent on the policy and coverage level that you choose, having robust liability protection is always a smart idea! If you think it’s time to take a closer look at your current boat insurance policy, give our office a call today to set up an appointment.

Let us help you find the right coverage for your needs

ASZ International Inc. is here to serve the insurance needs of Westchester, NY, area boat owners. If you would like to find out more about the range of available boat insurance policy options, give us a call today!

Umbrella Insurance FAQ

With so many different types of insurance products available, it is vital that you understand how these products work and which products will work for you. At ASZ International Inc, serving Westchester, NY, and the surrounding areas, we can help you navigate these topics to make sound insurance choices. Keep reading to learn about umbrella insurance and how it can benefit you. 

What Is Umbrella Insurance?

Umbrella insurance is a type of insurance product designed to add to your other policies. If you have a claim event on one of your policies and the expenses exhausted the coverage amounts, an umbrella policy can kick in to pay the difference. Without an umbrella policy, you would be responsible for paying any difference. This could present a financial challenge. 

Who Should Get Umbrella Insurance?

An umbrella policy can benefit anyone who would like extra coverage. Still, it is beneficial for those with many assets they wish to protect from liability. If an insurance policy is exhausted, your assets could be at risk. This could leave you financially vulnerable in the future. 

What Will Umbrella Insurance Cover?

You can add an umbrella policy to auto, life, health, and commercial insurance. The best way to understand how to make this policy work for you is to sit down with an insurance agent. This professional will be able to look at your particular set of circumstances and make insurance recommendations that will best benefit you. 

If you would like to learn more about umbrella insurance or any of our other insurance services, don’t hesitate to contact us at ASZ International Inc, serving Westchester, NY, and the surrounding areas.  


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