"An insurance policy may have a good price, but poor value."

- John H. Connors

CAR PREPAREDNESS CRITICAL DURING WINTER

The recent winter storms, not only in our area, but parts of the South and in particular Atlanta, not only wreaked havoc on traffic, but left many motorists and vehicles stranded on highways for days.  Some people were forced to stay in their cars overnight, while others abandoned their vehicles to escape the gridlock.

The harshness of the winter that the entire country is experiencing emphasizes the importance of making sure that your vehicle is prepared for cold and inclement weather.

There are two important aspects of vehicle preparedness during the winter months.  Make sure that your car is winterized and make sure you have the right equipment on hand to help solve any problem that may arise.

Some important things to check when winterizing your vehicle would be your antifreeze level, brakes, heater and defroster, oil, tires, lights and windshield wipers.  And make sure to keep your gas tank as full as possible to prevent the fuel line from freezing.

If you’re on the road when disaster strikes, having the right equipment and materials in your car can help to rescue yourself and others, or allow you to safely remain in your car until help arrives.  These would include a first aid kit, ice scraper, jumper cables, blankets, a flashlight, snack foods and water.

Keeping your car properly equipped and in top condition will reduce the risk of a serious winter weather related incident on the road, as well as leave you better prepared to handle any emergencies that may arise.

Kevin Connors is a Certified Insurance Counselor and licensed Property/Casualty and Life Insurance Agent with The Connors Insurance Agency in Mechanicville, NY.  Mr. Connors can be reached at (518)664-7307 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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HOW TO SAVE MONEY ON YOUR AUTO INSURANCE

A question that is asked in our office nearly every day is, “How can I save money on my Auto Insurance.”  There are a number of choices you can make to put some of your Insurance dollars back into your pocket.  You can reduce your auto insurance bill by selecting coverage’s and deductibles that meet your individual and financial needs.

Reducing the amount you drive can reduce auto insurance costs.  If you car pool or use public transportation on a regular basis, you may be eligible for a premium reduction.  If you have a young driver living in your household, who is either away at school more than 100 miles, or has taken a driver education course, your premiums will be lower.  Drivers who complete an approved Defensive Driving course are also eligible for premium reductions.

You may also not need all the coverage you currently have.  Since cars depreciate over the years, you may want to consider eliminating Collision coverage on your older vehicles.  Increasing deductibles on your Comprehensive and Collision coverage can also save you money.  Of course, higher deductibles mean you’d have more out of pocket expense in the event of an accident, but most drivers save over the long run, while still being protected from larger losses.

Traffic violations, accidents and alcohol related violations can all raise your auto insurance premiums.  It is important that all drivers in your household realize the full implications of bad driving habits.  Even if no one gets hurt in a drunken driving incident, the financial consequences are expensive and long term.

Most Insurance Companies offer premium discounts for passive restraints or air bags, anti-lock brakes, anti-theft devices, defensive driving courses, which can now be taken online, good student credits, car pools and low annual mileage.  For more detailed information on how you can reduce your auto insurance premiums, contact your Independent Insurance Agent, who will be more than happy to discuss with you ways to save money on your auto insurance.

Kevin Connors has been in the Insurance business for over 36 years, and is a Certified Insurance Counselor and licensed Property/Casualty and Life Insurance Agent with The Connors Insurance Agency in Mechanicville, NY.  Mr. Connors can be reached at 518-664-7307 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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WINTER 2014 AMONG THE COSTLIEST

With still a few weeks of winter to go, insured losses from severe weather are estimated at $1.5 billion, and that covers only two of the four storms in 2014 so far, according to the Insurance information institute.  This compares to the $2 billion for storm losses in all of 2013.

Insured losses from winter storms include roof collapses, downed tree limbs and power lines, burst pipes from freezing and auto claims.  Businesses also suffered from closings and interruption, as well as transportation delays.  In all, over 175,000 claims have been paid to policyholders during those first 2 storms.

While most of these claims usually occur in the northeast or mountainous regions of the U.S., the severe cold this winter has also affected millions of homes and businesses in the south, many of whom were unprepared for such extreme conditions.

Severe winter weather, including snow, sleet, freezing rain, extreme cold and ice damage, is the third costliest natural disaster, behind hurricanes and tornadoes.

On a good note, Baseball’s Spring Training is already underway, with the Red Sox set to defend their World Championship title beginning March 31st in Baltimore.

Kevin Connors is a Certified Insurance Counselor and licensed Property/Casualty and Life Insurance Agent with The Connors Insurance Agency in Mechanicville, NY.  Mr. Connors can be reached at (518)664-7307 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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UPDATE ON AFFORDABLE CARE ACT

The Treasury Dept. and IRS recently issued their final regulations, implementing the employer responsibility provisions under the Affordable Care Act, which will take effect in 2015.

The final regulations will simplify employer-reporting requirements.  If employers choose not to offer insurance to their employees, these regulations will make employers share in the insurance payment responsibility beginning in 2015, in order to help offset the taxpayer costs of these non-insured employees to obtain affordable health care through the Health Insurance Marketplace.  This policy change will obviously affect employers and small business owners:

Small Business; defined as businesses with fewer than 50 employees, are not obligated to provide coverage or fill out any sort of forms in 2015.  Small businesses make up approximately 96% of all employers.

Large Business; defined as businesses with 100 or more employees, are obligated to offer at least 70% coverage in 2015, phasing upward to 95% in 2016 and beyond.  Those large businesses that do not properly cover its employees will need to make employer-responsibility payments in 2015.  Large businesses make up approximately 2% of employers.

Moderate-Sized Business; defined as businesses with between 50 and 99 employees, need to report on their workers and their coverage in 2015, but will not be applicable for an employer-responsibility payment until 2016.  Moderate-sized businesses make up approximately 2% of employers.

Kevin Connors is a Certified Insurance Counselor and licensed Property/Casualty and Life Insurance Agent with The Connors Insurance Agency in Mechanicville, NY.  Mr. Connors can be reached at (518)664-7307 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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