Frequently Asked Question: Who Is Responsible for Tree Trouble?

Questions and AnswersWe often receive variations of the question below regarding damage caused by neighboring trees.

Question: There is a tree in my neighbor’s property that is overhanging our fence. If the tree caused damage to the fence, whose Homeowners Insurance would pay?

Answer: Your Homeowners Insurance would pay for the damage to your fence. This means you would be responsible for the deductible and subject to the “Other Structures” limit in the policy. The exception is only if your neighbor was negligent in maintaining the tree, which is often difficult to prove after the fact.

If you have questions about how your policy would respond, please contact your MetzWood Advisor.

Allstate Foundation Awards Valatie Rescue Squad Community Grant

All State Foundation Helping Hands in the CommunityThe Allstate Foundation offers “Encompass Agency Hands in the Community Grants” to charitable, social or humanitarian organizations where Encompass Insurance agents volunteer. MetzWood Partner, Derick LaTorre, has been an active volunteer in the Valatie Rescue Squad for 19 years and serves as their President.

MetzWood is proud to announce that Derick’s application has been approved and the Rescue Squad has been awarded the $1,000 grant. The funds awarded will go a long way in the continued support that Valatie Rescue provides to the community!

iPhone Tip To Reduce Distracted Driving

iPhone tip for safetyOur smartphones provide the world’s knowledge and unlimited connection at our fingertips. We can’t seem to put our devices down, including when we are driving.

According to the Center for Disease Control, 9 people are killed and over 1,000 people are injured each day in accidents that are reported to involve a distracted driver. Sending or reading a single text message takes your eyes off the road for nearly 5 seconds – long enough for your car to travel the length of a football field.

Apple is attempting to help reduce this problem in the latest release of their iPhone software (iOS 11), with a solution called Do Not Disturb While Driving.

Here is what happens when the feature is activated:

  • Your iPhone stays silent and the screen stays dark. If someone sends you a message, they receive an automatic reply letting them know you’re driving.
  • iPhone delivers some notifications, such as times, emergency alerts, and alarms.
  • You will still be able to receive calls, if you are connected to a Bluetooth device.
  • You can still use Maps to navigate.

We recommend this feature to help limit the temptation to check your messages while behind the wheel. To Activate, simply go to Settings > General > Do Not Disturb. This small change can help keep you and family safer on the road.

We Now Offer Pet Insurance

We now offer Pet InsuranceIf you are like most pet owners, you know how costly a trip to the vet or animal hospital can be. Pet insurance helps ensure that you can give your dogs and cats the quality care they need, from routine checkups to emergency services.

Only five rating variables are needed to obtain a policy: zip code, dog or cat, breed, age and gender. The pet insurance policy covers accidents, illnesses, and hereditary and chronic conditions (a waiting period may apply to knee and ligament conditions). You can also add an optional preventative care with no deductible at an additional cost.

If you are interested in finding out more about protecting your furry friends (and assets), call your MetzWood Advisor at (518) 392-5161.

Managing Risk: Domestic Staff

Housekeepers, nannies, caretakers, and other domestic employees can help make life easier, and often feel like a part of the family. However, from a risk management perspective, these full-time employees present additional exposures that you will want to make sure you have covered.

Workers Compensation

Workers Compensation provides funds in the event of an on-the-job injury. It is required in New York State for anyone you employ that works over 40 hours.

NY Short-Term Disability

This is also a mandatory policy for any employees that work over 40 hours. It will provide compensation for off-the-job illness or injury benefit.

Employment Practices Liability

An Employment Practices Liability policy provides defense and coverage for allegations of discrimination, wrongful termination, harassment, and other employment-related issues. Contact your advisor if you have domestic employees and we can help you craft a plan to ensure you are properly protected.

Staff Accomplishments

CongratulationsTracy Ruggiero completed the 2017 Ironman Lake Placid, a 2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bike ride, and a marathon as the cherry on top!

Tammy Russell completed her fourth half-marathon this summer. A personal best time.

Matthew Wood won his second Club Championship at Columbia Golf & Country Club.

Yvette Belardo obtained her Kundalini Yoga teaching certification after 200 hours of training.

Derick LaTorre joined the board of the Columbia County Chamber of Commerce.

Jamie Leader walked in the Boston Marathon Jimmy Fund Walk for the 24th year, in memory of her brother Jason.

Thank You For Your Referrals for Good Causes

Referrals for Good CausesWe’re celebrating the anniversary of our Referrals for Good Causes program. Since we presented our first check in 2016, you’ve helped us raise over $3,846 for several local non-profit organizations.

Here’s how it works: For every referral MetzWood receives, we donate $10 to a different local non-profit, and we choose a new group semi-annually. Every referral that we receive through the end of 2017 will be donated to Community Hospice of Columbia-Greene.

Additionally, we will be donating $1 for every new like we receive on Facebook, so please consider liking us at

We love referrals and we appreciate the confidence you have in us when you recommend MetzWood to your family and friends. To find out more, and to refer your friends and family, visit

MetzWood Selects PURE Insurance as a New Additional Company

MetzWood recently appointed PURE Insurance to represent and insure our clients for Personal Insurance.

Privilege Underwriters Reciprocal Exchange (PURE) is a policyholder-owned insurer dedicated to creating an exceptional experience for responsible high net worth individuals and families. Their product suite includes best-in-class, customizable coverage throughout the U.S for high-value homes, automobiles, jewelry, art, personal umbrella liability, watercraft, and flood.

PURE was founded by some of the most knowledgeable and experienced professionals in the industry. They combined their experience, insight, and perspective to challenge the industry’s conventional thinking.

PURE recognized that policyholder-owned companies consistently delivered the greatest value and customer satisfaction. Further, they recognized that the leading specialized companies could offer broader coverage and more personalized service. PURE combines the best of both.

The appointment of PURE – alongside Chubb, Cincinnati, and others – adds to MetzWood’s strength in providing top tier products and service to the high-value home market.

And Now… Some Words From Our Customers

“Quick, responsive, helpful, and personable claim service. My agent came by my house himself to help me figure out the best way to proceed. What more could I ask for?” – Christie E.

“I have always valued my relationship with MetzWood. They are a top-notch insurance agency. All requests were reasonable and handled professionally. Love them!.” – James A.

“I couldn’t be happier. I thought customer service was dead, but this was a great example of what all customer service experiences should be.” – Chris M.

“My agent is always available to assist us, no matter whether we pop in, call or email. Our issues or concerns are immediately handled. I wish there were more people like my agent scattered throughout the rest of my world!!!” – Sharon K.

Uber in Upstate?

Consider your coverage

Uber and Lyft Driver's InsuranceThe NY State Senate and Assembly voted to allow ride-hailing apps like Uber and Lyft to expand across New York. At the time of writing, the bill is awaiting the Governor’s approval, which is expected.

Accordingly, Uber and Lyft are building their infrastructure for Upstate NY. You may receive solicitations for these companies asking if you would like to be a driver. Before signing up, it is best to understand the insurance implications of driving for these ride-hailing services.

Your personal auto insurance policy covers you when you are driving your vehicle for personal use, but they exclude coverage for “livery” – using your vehicle for hire or delivery. Uber and Lyft provide coverage for the duration of a trip, once you have a customer in your vehicle. The grey area, or gap, in coverage comes when you have your app turned on and are actively looking for riders, but have not yet picked up a passenger. You are actively operating the vehicle for livery purposes, which triggers the exclusion in the personal auto policy, and the Uber and Lyft policy only responds once there is a passenger in your vehicle.

No personal auto insurance companies in NY currently offer coverage if a vehicle is driven in whole or in part for livery. If you already have a personal auto policy and your company finds out that one or more of the vehicles are being used for livery, they may not renew your policy. The best option for proper protection would be to buy a commercial auto policy specifically for livery.

These ride-hailing apps could have a great impact in our area – reducing the rates of drunk driving, getting visitors from Hudson to the rest of Columbia County, and providing good freelance jobs.

If you are considering driving for Uber or Lyft, be sure to reach out to your MetzWood advisor to make sure that you have the proper coverage in place.