Plan for Life Events

First Car/New Driver

Kids Perspective

A car for you means freedom to come and go as you please but it also means a big responsibility. The odds of you being in an accident in the first three years of driving are extremely high. Your personally safety, those of others and your family’s finances are on the line. Treat this new found freedom with respect.

Parents Perspective

Well the day has arrived to put your son or daughter on the road. Parents typically have a sense of anxiety with this moment because of the statistics. We encourage you to enroll your child in a defensive driving course (can be taken online now) and arm them with all the information you can without scaring them. From an insurance perspective you weigh two options, buy a policy just for them or put them on yours. Each has pro’s and con’s so call us and we can help you with that decision. It is more cost effective to add them to your policy but you do assume the exposure as well. Before your new driver has a permit think about purchasing a Personal Umbrella Liability policy to give you some added liability protection.

What You Both Should Know

Insurance is expensive in large part because of the statistics showing the odds of an accident for a new driver are high. It will remain expensive for the first three years. After that the costs will begin to decline as you grow older but only if you maintain a good driving and accident history.

Tickets & Accidents

Any violation in the three year period mentioned above will be scrutinized by insurance companies. Speeding tickets and accidents are especially difficult. Beware of cell phone use as well because there are some horror stories of teens in accidents while using a phone for talking or texting. Accidents in which you are at fault will be counted for a minimum of 39 months form the date of accident and will be surcharged if you have over $1,000 in damages or $1 in medical bills. Accidents that are not your fault will not be charged but can be a problem if there are other issues.

Insurance Required

Insurance is the most popular method of complying with New York State’s financial responsibility provisions. A car cannot be put on the road without proof of insurance. If you fail to maintain insurance NY DMV is notified electronically by your insurance company and your license can be suspended and fines charged. Police also have the ability to check this information at the time of an accident or traffic stop.


Defensive Driving courses only provide valuable information but allow you to save 10% on certain coverage’s for a three year period of time. We encourage you to take a course online or in a classroom setting it is well worth the time.
Good Student discounts are available from some companies and will require a B average or better. These will be checked periodically so if a grade average falls below the minimum then the discount will be removed.

Insurance Policy Overview

Insurance policies have a few major parts to them so please refer to our Vehicle Insurance section for more details.

First Apartment

Renters Insurance

The main insurance item to consider for a first apartment is Renters Insurance. There is a good chance the landlord will require some proof of insurance coverage when a lease is signed. Be realistic about the amount of coverage needed for your property and buy enough liability and medical expense protection as well. Click here to see our renters insurance site for more information.

Off to College

Car Insurance

If a student has a vehicle with them at school there usually is not much you will need to do. If the student’s primary residence is the school address then amending the garaging address or better yet buying a separate policy should be considered.

If a driver was listed as a primary operator does not take a vehicle with them call your agent. Listing them as an occasional operator will save premium dollars.

Do I need a Renters Insurance Policy for my Student Away From Home?

My student lives at school only during the school year and returns home on breaks.
For this situation your Homeowners insurance policy should cover a student’s belongings for up to 10% of your Contents or Personal Property limit. All exclusions and limitations in your policy will apply as well. There is no need to list an additional location. Keep in mind that for theft coverage to apply there may be a 60 day residency requirement so items left over a long break may not be covered.
My student maintains a residence at school year round.
Our recommendation in these situations is to purchase a Renters Insurance policy for your student to cover their liability as well as personal property. There are limitations to the definition of an “insured” as well as an “insured location” under many policies so this will avoid any problems.

Starting Your Career

There will be many challenges while you begin your career path but here a couple of insurance related items to consider:

Renters Insurance

As you accumulate more property be sure to keep your Renters insurance limit in line with the values. You may also want to consider increasing your Personal Liability limit as well. Click here to go to our specialized website dedicated to renters insurance.

Life Insurance

You may not have a family now but buying this product early can save you money down the line. Look into a policy on your own even if your employer offers this in your benefit package. It allows you to control the policy. You may also have some debt that would need to retired in the event of your death so factor this to the coverage amount as well.

Car Insurance

If you have not looked at your policy in awhile check the limits for Liability and No Fault coverages. Review deductible levels on coverages that protect your vehicle (Comprehensive and Collision) to be sure you can afford paying them in the event of a loss.

First Home

Homeowners Insurance

There are many new experiences with owning your first home and Homeowners insurance is one of them. You will be required by your lender to secure coverage prior to closing on your house so here are some important items to know.

The Process
Homeowners insurance is based on replacement cost (not market value or appraised value) and will require you knowing some key items about your home to include:

  • Square footage
  • Year built
  • Updates and when completed to Heat, Roof, Electric and Plumbing
  • Is there a fire hydrant within 1000 feet of your home
  • What fire department services your property and how far away is it
  • If you own a dog, what kind (even if mixed), bite history, age
  • Features of the interior of your new home

A replacement cost estimate will be done for your home. You are not required to carry the amount of your mortgage by NY law but your lender will be sure that your home is insured for replacement cost.
A quote will be done and if your shopping around price out car insurance as well to take advantage of the discounts on both policies
An application will be required and be prepared to pay the full annual premium in advance. If the subsequent years of insurance will be paid through your escrow account be sure it is setup that way. If not choose a payment plan that is comfortable for you.
A Binder will be sent to your Realtor and lender as part of setting the date for your closing. When your policy is issued you will receive that from your agent or company directly.
Personal Umbrella Liability Policy
A home is for most people their largest asset. Protect it from lawsuits by purchasing an Umbrella policy. This policy will give more total liability protection and ride over the top of your Home and Auto policy. The coverage limits start at $1,000,000 and are rated on your driving record, accidents, number of residences and vehicles. Costs can start in the $150 to $200 range for $1,000,000 in coverage.

Life Insurance

Be sure to update your amounts for any existing coverage. If you are buying your home with your spouse or significant other be sure they will have enough to either pay off the mortgage or continue to live in the home without creating a financial hardship. Term insurance works well for this exposure but should be evaluated to reflect your entire financial picture.

Car Insurance

Discounts are available for insuring your Home and Care with the same insurance company. Also update your limits to reflect your new asset. More is at stake when you own a home so protect it with adequate limits of coverage.


Car Insurance

Discounts are available for two or more cars on a policy. When you merge your policies together that will happen automatically. Be sure your company knows you are now married as rates for married people tend to be lower than if single.
Limits of coverage should be updated as well. Your assets have most likely increased so explore higher limits for Bodily Injury, Property Damage, No Fault and Under/Uninsured Motorist coverage.

Life Insurance

if you do not already have it – should be looked into. You and your spouse will make financial decisions based on both of your incomes and if something happens to one person it could have significant financial consequences for the surviving spouse. If money is tight research Term Insurance as a starting point to protect the one you love.

Jewelry Insurance

Maybe you did this when you were engaged but if not consider coverage for your rings. A rider can be attached to a Home/Renters/Condo policy that gives broader coverage for these items. Coverage advantages include no deductible, mysterious disappearance coverage and no sub-limit for theft. Appraisals may be required or a bill of sale may suffice if you recently purchased your rings.

Starting or Merging a Family

Renters/Condo/Homeowners Insurance

Remember to update limits as necessary especially if you are merging families together. This is not as big a concern for new families. Also be sure you review your situation if any children are entering or currently in college.

Car Insurance

New Family
Look over your No Fault and Under/Uninsured Motorist limits. These coverage’s pay you and occupants of your vehicle. A new family member increases the exposure for increased medical costs as a result of an accident.

Merging Family
Check to be sure all resident drivers are listed on your policy. Review all your limits to reflect the increase in exposure. Defensive driving courses can really make a difference in your premium if all drivers have completed a course within the last three years.

Life Insurance

Be sure to update beneficiary elections on all existing policies even insurance provided by your employer. Now is also the time to evaluate death benefit amounts to reflect a change in situation. More dependents often means more benefit required to maintain your survivors standard of living. It may be time to cancel an existing policy, roll over any value built up in one policy to another or take out some Term coverage for your increased exposure.

Disability Insurance

Now there is more pressure on your paycheck than ever. Disability coverage is available to all NY employees through your employer but it is short term coverage and has a maximum benefit of $170 per week. Individual disability polices offer more comprehensive protection so call us to explore your options.