Defensive Driving

Save $$ on your auto insurance and reduce up to 4 points off your license by taking the New York Safety Program’s Defensive Driving Course!

Welcome to Merriam Insurance

Merriam Insurance is an award-winning full-service insurance agency providing commercial, personal, and health insurance, as well as employee benefits. By working with clients across the country through offices in Schenectady and Colorado Springs, we see the national trends and help you prepare for potential threats. Through our systematic approach to evaluating your risk management and insurance, we ensure that we cover all the bases and properly underwrite your risk. We show you the “must-haves” and present any options that make sense to consider. Additionally, our network of providers is so extensive that we can get risk personnel on the ground quickly . . . all to make sure that you are back up and running in the event of a loss. Contact us today for a free, no obligation quote.

Recent Articles

  • bigstock-Man-s-hands-of-a-driver-on-ste-73716925-web

    The Benefits of taking a Defensive Driving Course

    Does it ever seem that you are paying way too much for your auto insurance? Do you have a blemish or two on your record that causes you to miss out on insurance company discounts? There is a way to obtain a large discount that is open to every New York licensed operator: the Defensive Driving Course (DDC). This course carries a 6-hour commitment and may be taken in-person in a classroom setting or over the Internet. There are no tests and you needn’t get behind the wheel to demonstrate driving acuity. Merely watch some lively videos, engage in some discussions about values, attitudes and behavior, and fill out some Q&A items. Upon completing the 6 hours, typically divided over a couple sessions or accomplished all in one sitting, if preferred, you will be given a certificate which will result in up to 4 points being removed from your driving license. Even if you have no points, this certificate, when remitted to your insurance company, will prompt them to reduce the premium on your Liability, Personal Injury Protection, and Collision premiums by 10% for three years! You will find the discount greatly exceeds the cost of the course making this a truly valuable investment of your time. A cleaner record, a substantial reduction in your insurance premium and the learning of new information to help make you a better driver…that is a great result! Brian H. Merriam, CPCU, ARM, AAI Certified DDC Instructor The Benefits of taking a Defensive Driving [...]

    Read more
  • bigstock--185779186-web

    Medicare Eligible Employees?

    There are only certain times when people can enroll in Medicare. Depending on the situation, some people may get Medicare automatically, and others need to apply for Medicare. The first time you can enroll is called your Initial Enrollment Period. Your 7-month Initial Enrollment Period usually: Begins 3 months before the month you turn 65 Includes the month you turn 65 Ends 3 months after the month you turn 65 If you don’t enroll when you’re first eligible, you may have to pay a Part B late enrollment penalty. The size of the employer determines whether you may be able to delay Part A and Part B without having to pay a penalty if you enroll later. The employer has fewer than 20 employees. You should sign up for Part A and Part B when you’re first eligible. In this case, Medicare pays before your other coverage. Note: If you don’t enroll when you’re first eligible, you may have to pay a Part B late enrollment penalty, and you may have a gap in coverage if you decide you want Part B later. The employer has 20 or more employees. Ask your benefits manager whether you have group health plan coverage (as defined by the IRS). People with group health coverage based on current employment may be able to delay Part A and Part B and won’t have to pay a lifetime late enrollment penalty if they enroll later. If you want to delay both Part A and Part B coverage, you don’t need to do anything when you turn […]

    Read more
  • bigstock--201445291-web

    Two New Types of HRAs Expand Heath Reimbursement Arrangements

    Compliance Alert Two New Types of HRAs Expand Heath Reimbursement Arrangements On October 12, 2017 President Trump issued Executive Order 13813 promoting Healthcare Choice and Competition across the United States. This took the form of a Notice to expand the flexibility and use of Health Reimbursement Arrangements (HRAs) to provide more Americans with additional options to obtain quality, affordable healthcare. The proposed rules of this Notice created two new types of HRAs, an Individual Coverage HRA and an Excepted Benefit HRA. Both reverse the previous Administration’s position on HRAs. The rules are only proposed at this point and the IRS requested comments. WageWorks submitted comments on all aspects of the new HRAs and changes to some of the proposed rules are inevitable. Therefore, employers should not rely on these proposed regulations; and in any event, the rules would be effective for plan years starting on or after January 1, 2020. Departments of Health and Human Services (HHS), the Treasury Department, and Labor Department proposed new rules on October 23, 2018 that would provide employers with significant new flexibility in how they fund health coverage through HRAs. If finalized, this flexibility would empower individuals to take greater control over what health insurance benefits they receive. The Treasury estimates that more than 10 million employees would benefit from this change within the next decade. The proposed regulations remove the current prohibition on using HRA funds to purchase individual health insurance coverage; however, an array of stipulations apply to assure these new HRAs do not create an […]

    Read more
  • bigstock--215740693-web

    Long-Term Care Insurance

    A close relative of mine has always been a saver. He would squirrel away money and only bought used cars rather than new. When it came to wanting something that was new, even if it was on sale, he would instead choose to purchase used if in fact he couldn’t build it himself in his basement workshop! I have always appreciated his sense of economy and frugality. But he is now of the age where he has had to sell his house and move into an independent living arrangement. The cost is high due to there being staff on duty should he or his wife need help. After living in that arrangement for a couple years, his wife began to show signs of serious memory loss, aka dementia and Alzheimer’s. After several months of worsening behavior, it became evident that she needed to move to the memory care unit. Suddenly my relative’s rent went from $3,000 per month for both of them to an additional $5,500 per month just for his wife! Then, within a couple more months her Alzheimer’s caused her to forget how to walk and the facility staff informed my relative that it was time to move her to the full-blown nursing center. This raised her rent to $12,500 per month, in addition to the $3,000 that my relative continues to pay for himself. A total monthly cost of $15,500 is causing him to blow through a lifetime of work savings at an alarmingly fast pace. If […]

    Read more
  • bigstock-Hand-Writing-Carbon-Monoxide-137444429-web

    Tips to Help Prevent Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

    CO is a colorless, odorless gas produced by the incomplete burning of any carbon-containing material, including gasoline, natural gas, propane, coal or wood. CO is dangerous because it replaces oxygen in the blood and interferes with the transport of needed oxygen to cells in the body. Carbon Monoxide Safety Tips Many incidents involving carbon monoxide poisoning can be prevented — with the right preparation. Start with these eight tips to help keep your home and family safe from carbon monoxide. Know the risks of carbon monoxide. Anything that burns a fuel — such as a furnace, fireplace, generator, gas appliance or car — produces a toxic by-product: carbon monoxide (CO).When these devices are properly maintained and vented, this colorless, odorless gas can be effectively dispersed and channeled out of your home. If not, inhaling carbon monoxide can trigger serious health issues.At lower concentrations, victims may experience such symptoms as a headache, dizziness, weakness, nausea, vomiting, chest pain and confusion. But at higher concentrations, CO can quickly cause a loss of consciousness, even death. Keep your vents clear. During and after a storm, make sure nothing is obstructing the outside stack or vent for your dryer, stove, furnace and fireplace.Take special care to prevent snow from building up and blocking these critical exits for dangerous gases. Do not run engines in a closed area. Proper ventilation is critical to avoiding CO poisoning. So do not start a car, fire up a grill or stove, or run a generator in a closed area — like […]

    Read more
  • Nick-and-Brittany-Desso-web

    Equipment Breakdown Coverage for Your Home

    The summer of 2016 was very busy for Nick and Brittany Desso—they were moving, buying a house, and getting married, almost all at the same time. They used the Merriam team to help them find the right home insurance. They appreciated the thoroughness of the Merriam team in asking questions about the home and their situation, so that the correct coverage could be recommended. On January 30, 2017, Nick was working from home when he started to smell smoke. He went downstairs to discover his first floor filling with smoke that seemed to be coming from his laundry room. Concerned his home was on fire, Nick called the fire department. When they arrived, the firefighters discovered the gas boiler, responsible for heating the entire house, had overheated, caught fire, and cracked internally. Nick called and confirmed his boiler would need to be replaced—as soon as possible. Fortunately, Nick had agreed with the recommended “equipment breakdown” coverage on his homeowners’ insurance, which covered the sudden and accidental breakage of mechanical appliances, like his boiler. Their insurance company paid for them to receive a more efficient boiler at no cost to them, less the $250 deductible. In total, the Dessos received a claim check for $10,216, which paid for their new, 95% energy efficient boiler. “It was only an additional $20 more and I’m sure glad I went with it!” Nick Desso said. Quality insurance helps you when you need it most! Contact us today to learn more.

    Read more

The Benefits of taking a Defensive Driving Course

Teaching your Teenager Safe Driving Habits

Bundling Your Insurance: What You Need to Know