New York City is a market ripe for services that help you get things done faster, easier, and cheaper. (If it eliminates human contact, all the better, you may think.) While this might be the way to go when ordering dinner or getting tickets to a show, the same doesn’t go for buying apartment insurance online via app, or with the help of a bot.

“The formulaic approach taken by online insurance apps will not necessarily reflect your real estate reality, leaving you exposed and vulnerable,” says Jeffrey Schneider of Gotham Brokerage, a family-owned NYC insurance brokerage with 50 years experience covering New Yorkers’ assets. “For example, if you’re buying an apartment in a prewar building with thick plaster, wainscoting and cornices, and oak wood floors, insuring it at $100-a-foot is not going to do it. It’s better to be safe than sorry.”

Below, 3 good reasons not to buy your NYC apartment insurance through an app or bot.

1.  A long-term track record matters when it comes to insurance

Being new isn’t necessarily a red flag when it comes to a business, but experience and longevity matter when it comes to insurance. You don’t want to go to file a claim and find your insurer is no longer in business.

“There have been some nasty recessions in New York. Periods of high crime, vacancies in buildings. You go through periods when there can be substantial losses, so it’s good to deal with someone who’s gone through several business cycles,” says Gotham Brokerage’s Schneider, “We have been around for half a century, through booms and busts, and we only partner with insurance companies that have proven commitments to diverse exposures in NYC over extended periods of time, too.”  

2. There’s no such thing as a typical New York apartment

“Housing stock varies wildly—prewar, post-war, new construction, single- and multi-families, co-ops, condos, and beyond— and each have their own issues, peculiarities, and exceptions,” says Schneider.

Additionally, New York City is made up of many smaller, diverse neighborhoods, and different neighborhoods present different risk factors. Using an agent who is knowledgeable about these nuances is key to getting coverage that’s both smart and sufficient.

“We’re familiar with the actual buildings, familiar with reconstruction and replacement costs, what claims are likely to happen in what neighborhoods,” says Schneider.

Knowing what you need to insure is another consideration. You may house very little in your apartment, or keep high-end, professional equipment key to your livelihood.

“Not everyone has a straight nine-to-five job here, and it’s important to deal with a company that has experience working with clients of all professions and situations,” says Schneider.

Finally,  if you have a closet full of vintage Birkin bags, or a drawer full of Piaget watches, a seasoned, a local New York insurance professional will have experience ensuring such luxury items and brands.

3. Someone to call, if and when you need to

As much as avoiding human contact can seem like a luxury, sometimes you will want to talk to a human, whether it’s to clarify a question, or seek some guidance dealing with a stressful situation like theft, damage to your property, or a nearby emergency that makes your apartment temporarily uninhabitable.

“We lead people through the claims process, which can be a difficult and emotional experience,” says Schneider. “If there’s a problem, such as a difficult adjuster or a personality conflict, we know how and when to intervene. If you need help thinking of how to document something, we’re here for advice via email or a phone call.”

And no bot will do that for you.

Gotham Brokerage Co., Inc., an insurance brokerage, has been serving NYC renters, co-op and condo owners for over 45 years. For a free quote, click on over to Gotham Brokerage or give them a call at 212-406-7300.


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