Sunday, March 19, 2017

Three of My Favorite Podcasts

Wait, what’s a Podcast?

For those of you that haven’t yet been bitten by the podcast bug, a podcast is like a radio series that you can download onto your computer or smart phone and then listen to at your own pace. I save my favorite podcasts on my phone and listen to them while I’m driving. That way I can listen to my favorite podcasts regardless of when I happen to be in the car. Some podcasts are also broadcast on the radio, while others are not. There are podcasts on just about everything! It's amazing what you can find on a podcast. Here are three of my favorites.

Ben Franklin’s World

Liz Covart

I love early American history. If you also love American history, or if you are interested in learning more about it, then Ben Franklin’s World is the podcast for you. Hosted by historian Liz Covart, each episode of Ben Franklin’s World gives a fascinating glimpse into 18th century America, focusing on historical people and events that have impacted and shaped our present-day world. Each show features a guest historian who focuses on a certain aspect of early American history, and is expertly interviewed by Liz. Her love of history is contagious, and Ben Franklin's World is always interesting and fun.

Twice Removed

The author (left) with A.J. Jacobs

I also love family history. Twice Removed is a podcast about family history hosted by A.J. Jacobs. A.J. is out to prove that we are all one family. In each episode, he takes his guest on a tour of their family history, and then he introduces them to a mystery relative - of whom they were not previously aware. The stories that A.J. uncovers are fascinating, heartwarming and fun.

As a side note: A.J. and I are cousins; I just don’t know how many times removed. If you want to see if you are related to A.J., you can start from his profile on which is a free, user generated, world family tree.

TED Radio Hour

Guy Raz,

If you are curious and enjoy learning new things like I do, then you will love TED Radio Hour. Hosted by Guy Raz, TED Radio Hour is a journey through fascinating ideas: astonishing inventions, fresh approaches to old problems, and new ways to think and create. It never ceases to amaze, enlighten and educate. Each show interweaves various TED Talks, covering a common theme, with interviews of the presenters by Guy, who does a great job tying everything together.


So those are three of my favorite podcasts. Have you listened to any of them? Did you enjoy them? If you haven’t listened to them yet, do give them a try. If you want to find other podcasts, two of the most popular places to find podcasts are iTunes and Stitcher. For a great directory of other podcast resources, check out How-To Geek. What are some of your favorite podcasts? I’d love to give them a try.

Monday, April 11, 2016

Covering Insurance Gaps for NJ Rideshare Drivers

Rideshare Drivers face a Potential Gap in Insurance Coverage

The National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) is encouraging Rideshare Drivers to "be aware of potential gaps in insurance coverage" (NIAC Consumer Alert). But what kind of  gaps are they talking about?

What Kind of Gaps?

Generally, your personal auto insurance policy wasn’t designed to provide you with coverage when you are working as a rideshare driver. And, rideshare companies’ full commercial liability coverage doesn’t apply until you accept a ride. When you add a Rideshare Endorsement, you can avoid a potential gap in coverage by extending your personal auto insurance coverage when you are logged in and waiting to be matched with your next rider.

Doesn’t the rideshare company’s insurance policy cover me when I’m working?

When you log in to the rideshare company’s app, you may only be covered by the rideshare company’s limited liability coverage until you accept a ride and their full commercial liability coverage applies. While you are waiting to be matched with your next rider, their policy generally only provides limited liability coverage* for medical expenses and damage you cause to others if an accident is your fault. Damage to you or your car are not typically covered by this policy. You could be faced with a serious coverage gap that would require you to pay for damages out of your own pocket.

Doesn’t my personal auto insurance policy cover me?

Probably not. Many personal auto insurance providers exclude coverage when you are using your vehicle as a rideshare driver.

What is the Solution?

Fortunately for New Jersey Rideshare Drivers, there is a new Rideshare Endorsement available in New Jersey from Farmers Insurance.® Get coverage here:

What does Farmers Rideshare cover?

Farmers Rideshare extends your personal auto insurance coverage through Period 1 until you accept a ride and the rideshare company’s full commercial liability coverage applies in Periods 2 & 3. This policy enables you to select the coverage that fits your needs, including:

  • Comprehensive and collision coverages that pay for damages to your car
  • Uninsured motorist coverage, in case you are hit by a driver who isn’t insured or is underinsured„„
  • Medical payment and personal injury protection (if required)

Farmers Rideshare coverage ends when you accept a ride. The rideshare company’s full commercial liability coverage applies until that ride exits your car. Farmers Rideshare once again applies until you accept your next ride.

How do I get Rideshare Coverage?

Go to to get a Farmers Smart Auto Plan Policy with Farmers Rideshare.

* Rideshare companies may maintain higher coverage limits and additional coverages as needed to meet the minimum requirements in all states. Minimum limits vary by state. In California for example, the limits are $50k bodily injury for one injured individual; $100k total bodily injury coverage limit; $30k property damage to someone else’s property per incident.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

PIP in New Jersey: FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)

What is PIP?
PIP stands for Personal Injury Protection. It covers your medical bills if you are injured in an automobile accident. PIP coverage must be included on every Auto insurance policy in New Jersey.

What is the amount of coverage under PIP?
The standard amount of PIP coverage is $250,000.

Are lower amounts available?
Lower amounts are available, but they are not recommended.

Is PIP “No Fault” and what does this mean?
Yes. This means that your own policy covers you for injuries sustained in an auto accident regardless of who is driving, whose car you are in, or who is at fault.

Will my health insurance policy cover injuries sustained in an auto accident if I select my health insurance as “primary”?
It depends on the type of health insurance plan you have. Therefore, it is important to find out if you have auto accident coverage under your health insurance, and how much coverage you have. If you want to select “health primary,” you must obtain written information on your health plan coverage for auto accidents.

Can I select Medicare or Medicaid as my primary health insurer for auto accidents?
No, you cannot select Medicare or Medicaid as your primary health insurer for auto accidents. Your auto insurance must be primary.

What if I select my health insurance as primary and they won’t pay?

If you have selected “health primary” and your health insurance won’t pay for treatment of injuries from an auto accident, you can file a claim under your auto policy. But you’ll have to pay back premiums to the insurance company, plus an additional penalty deductible of $750.

Where can I get more information about PIP or other insurance questions?
My website has a lot of additional information:

And you can email or call my office with any questions: 973-232-5086


Monday, April 20, 2015

5 Things You Must Do to Protect Your Small Business

Uneasy is the head that wears the crown. Being in charge of your own business can be enormously satisfying, but it can also be a headache. Here are a few tips to keep your business safe from some dangers both inside and out.

1. Never Underestimate the Value of a Good Lawyer
Many small businesses avoid lawyering up, either because they don't think they need one or they don't think they can afford one. But finding a knowledgeable lawyer can save you far more than it costs. Especially when signing any kind of contract; have a lawyer review each one before you sign it. One of my clients saved thousands of dollars when their lawyer suggested a small change in their commercial lease agreement. It may not seem necessary at the time, but the payout can be well worth it.

2. Have an Employee Manual
Obtaining an employee manual is another task that may seem unnecessary, but will be enormously valuable over time. A well-crafted Employee Manual can set expectations for employees, illustrate the benefits they're offered, and ensure that everyone is treated fairly. Plus, setting the standards that are expected of your employees up front can help avoid or win lawsuits, should it ever come to that.

3. Make sure that you are properly insured.
Many employers overlook Employment Practices Liability insurance and Umbrella Liability insurance, and don’t understand who needs to be covered under Workers Compensation. These are issues that can be extremely costly if you're not prepared. Even if you're not necessarily sure that your business needs these coverages, be sure to discuss them with your insurance agent.

4. Pay attention to cyber security
From 2008 to 2010, a group of hackers preyed on and compromised more than 50 small businesses in Seattle, causing over $3 million in combined damages. Many hackers are now targeting small business, because they often have lax or no security measures in place. According to a 2012 study by the National Cyber Security Alliance, 71% of small businesses are dependent on the internet on a daily basis to conduct business, but 83% don't have any sort of formal cyber-security plan. Educate yourself on what is most valuable in your company, and what's most vulnerable, and take steps to protect it. Make sure all of your data is backed up regularly, and shred documents that may contain usable information before discarding (dumpster divers contribute to a large portion of financial crime).

5. Consider Outsourcing Your Bookkeeping

When you're pouring over the same information day after day, it's easy to get desensitized. But when it's something as important as your business's income and expenses, you can't afford to miss a thing. Having an outside set of eyes reviewing your finances can help to catch errors and prevent fraud; one more cost that could be well worth the money.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

5 Everyday Objects You Didn't Know Are Fire Hazards

Only you can prevent forest fires, but what about laptops-in-your-bed fires? You can avoid those too - by knowing these 5 everyday objects that cause fires.

Laptops in Bed

I’m guilty of watching Netflix before bed, specifically while in bed with my laptop. But after a news story broke about a laptop left unguarded in bed for 16 hours that burned down a whole building, I never wanted to risk nodding off with a fire hazard in my lap again.

Since most laptops ventilate from fans on the bottom of the machine, it’s a good idea to elevate your computer to allow airflow. Not only will it avoid uncomfortable heat, but also dangerous accidents.

Dryer Lint
Another surprising fire-starter can be found in the dryer. Lint that wasn’t emptied (to the annoyance of the next user) often prevents the next batch of clothes from drying but can also start a fire. Leftover lint causes a reported 15,000 fires a year and should be taken seriously.

Next laundry day, remember to empty the lint trap for your clothes and your safety.  

Clutter in the Closet

Cleaning out your closet doesn’t just mean you’re starting a new way of life. It means you’re starting a new habit to avoid unintentional fires.

12% of house fires start in a closet, so if you have a closet that is stacked from floor to ceiling with junk, it’s time to let the fresh air in. Closet fires often begin when stored items touch a bare light bulb and catch fire. Whether or not it’s the season for spring-cleaning, get an early (or belated) start by reorganizing your closet and donating some old clothes.

9 Volt Batteries

There are probably some 9 volt batteries cluttered somewhere in my house. I image they’re resting peacefully, forgotten in a junk drawer or two. Dead batteries or alive ones should be treated equally and with care since fires caused by 9 volt batteries are on the rise.

Because 9 volt batteries can cause a spark if they touch something conductive, and that spark can start a fire if it lands on something flammable, in a junk drawer or trash can, always keep unused batteries in their original containers or wrap dead ones in electric tape before you toss them.

Batteries also require special recycling, so pick a drop off spot where you’ll likely get in the habit of recycling old batteries instead of hording them. You can find nearby recycling spots for batteries by clicking here.

Cooking Fires

Last, but certainly not the least dangerous, cooking is the number one cause of home fires. Thanksgiving is the most common day for home cooking fires, but that doesn’t mean other days are less flammable.

If you love to cook, your brain may be focused on the food but not always mindful of the ignition source on your grill or stove top, which is responsible for two-thirds of cooking fires. Always turn off burners when they’re no longer needed. It’s easy to forget burners if they’re left on a low setting, but triple check after cooking and before leaving the house. I literally do this every day.

With the exception of home cooking, this list covers some surprising culprits for fire hazards but there are plenty of others just waiting to cause a freak accident. Where there’s heat or open flames, there’s risk for fire, so take proper precautions and follow our blog for more tips on protection and insurance!

Monday, March 23, 2015

Rebuilding our Community, One Year at a Time

In 2012, the state of New Jersey (along with much of the East Coast) took a huge hit from Superstorm Sandy. The large number of homes and businesses affected was heartbreaking. Although it has been two years since the storm hit, there is still much damage that has yet to be fixed.

I have been fortunate enough, on multiple occasions, to be able to help to rebuild some of the damaged homes in New Jersey. I periodically volunteer with the St. Bernard Project, and will continue to do so as long as help is needed. They work in collaboration with AmeriCorps, Sea Bright Rising, and Farmers® Insurance to help rebuild the homes of those affected by Superstorm Sandy.

               Volunteering with these wonderful organizations is very rewarding. It feels great to be able to help my community here in New Jersey. As tragic as the storm was for so many people, it is extremely uplifting to see people and organizations banding together and help their neighbors in need.
               Are you interested in helping out? Consider donating to the St. Bernard Project or SeaBright Rising. I have included links below to these wonderful organizations that help many people in need.

Also, if you are interested in helping out with reconstruction, or any other projects, please feel free to contact me. I really can’t explain how rewarding an experience it is to help.


Sea Bright Rising

Disclosure: I am a Farmers® agent but these posts are my own and are not statements by or on behalf of Farmers.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

My Path to Farmers®

Why I Chose Farmers®
I started my insurance journey 25 years ago with the idea of opening my own agency engraved in my mind. In April of 2012, the opportunity I was waiting for presented itself. Farmers Insurance was calling my name, and I couldn’t have been happier. Although Farmers had been around since 1928, and had grown to be one of the leading multiline insurance companies in the industry, they surprisingly had no agencies open in New Jersey. I took this as a sign, and jumped at the opportunity to begin the journey of owning my own agency.

Where it all Began
The idea of owning my own business was implanted in my head at an early age. Watching the growth and success of my father’s small business, and knowing that both of my grandfathers were small business owners as well, created a spark of passion in me that grew as time went on. Coincidentally, my wife and both of her parents own their own businesses as well. As you can see, it definitely runs in the family. The decision to choose Farmers was not a difficult one. With the extensive training they provide, along with the reputation of the company itself, it was nothing but an easy choice.

What I learned Afterwards
Attending the University of Farmers® was a great experience, to say the least. They strive to go above and beyond in educating their agents to help make sure we aren’t just selling our clients products, but that we also help make them smarter about insurance.  The thing I love the most, however, is that the training never really stops. They have a team of people working behind the scenes to help with many of the questions we may have, which I think it a great plus! We have also received great feedback from some of our clients about our wonderful claims department. A customer whose home was severely damaged during Super Storm Sandy told me: “Dave, we feel blessed that we have Farmers…Our neighbors were shocked at how quickly a team from Farmers arrived at our home to take care of everything.” It makes me proud to work for a company that takes care of our customers the way Farmers does.

Communicate with us!
 I love meeting with new people, and educating them about insurance. Have any questions you need answering? I’d be happy to help you. Please feel free to reach out to me through the comment section below, give me a call, or head on over to my website!

Testimonial disclosure: “These testimonials are based on the experiences of a few people and you may not have similar results.” Disclaimer: “I am a Farmers® agent but my posts are my own and are not statements by or on behalf of Farmers.”