Annual Insurance Review – January 2020

Auto | Home | Business                   

Despite what you may think, an insurance review doesn’t have to be as involved or a time-consuming endeavor. A conversation or a visit with your agent can help make sure you’re knowledgeable about your insurance coverage and comfortable that your limits are meeting your current needs.

When the bill arrives in the mail to pay your insurance premiums, this should prompt a reaction to review your policy. Insurance policies can be changed to accommodate changes in your life or circumstances. Many consumers don’t understand what coverage they have and could be uninsured or paying more than they need in insurance premium. Reviewing your insurance premiums and coverage should be done annually.  Failure to do this could result in paying higher premium or a headache down the road.

Home

When your homeowner’s insurance is up for renewal, it’s important to review each piece. Even if you haven’t made any significant developments or improvements to your home, it is possible that other changes have occurred that your insurance agent should know about. Changes in the real estate market may affect the current policy or changes in lifestyle, living situation, or income are all factors to consider when reviewing your homeowner’s policy.  

Auto

Auto insurance policies should be reviewed to ensure you have adequate coverage and protection for all drivers. If you have a new driver on your policy, it may be a good time to increase coverage. In addition to adding or changing the vehicles on your policy, it is important to review your driving habits. Are you driving more compared to last year or less?  Will you have any upcoming road trips that may require additional coverage?  If the value of your car has dipped below $2,500 it may be a good time to remove collision coverage and have liability only. If you take the time to review these aspects each year, it will help save you money and provide you with peace of mind.

Business

When small business owners are focused on the day-to-day activity of a growing business, it can be hard to realize all the small changes occurring that may affect insurance rates.  Perhaps you have purchased new equipment, additional vehicles, or developed new products or services. On the other hand, if your business is struggling and has lost money, you may want to lower your policy limit in order to accommodate a reduced value. This will also reduce your premium and save you a little money.

Common Commercial Property Insurance Exclusions – November 2019

Commercial property insurance – what’s covered, what’s not covered

Commercial property insurance is meant to help guard the physical assets of your business from specific perils, such as fire, explosions, storms, burst pipes, vandalism, and theft. It protects your building and business personal property, along with fences, signs, and other exterior fixtures. It is a core coverage of your business insurance policy.

If you have commercial property insurance coverage for your business, then you know you are covered for several risks. Did you know that there are common damages that are excluded from your coverage under commercial property insurance policies?

Commercial Automobile Accidents 

Commercial property insurance does not cover your company’s vehicles that are used in your daily business.  For your company’s vehicles to be covered you need commercial auto insurance.  The purpose of commercial auto insurance is to protect you by making sure you are covered for both damage to your vehicles and bodily injury or property damage resulting from an accident caused by a driver.

Flood or Earthquake Damage 

Flood and earthquake coverage are excluded from your business insurance policy, as it is with homeowner’s insurance.  To protect your company from these risks you need commercial flood insurance or earthquake insurance for your business.  If your company is in a flood zone or any prone area for earthquakes, our experienced agent will help you find the best price with the coverage you need.

Equipment Breakdown Coverage 

Commercial property insurance protects against damage caused by a covered peril, such as fire, theft, vandalism or explosion. It does not cover damage that has incurred by equipment breakdown or malfunction.  Unless equipment breakdown insurance is included in your business insurance package, the cost of repair or replacement will come out of your company’s pocket.

Off-Premises Power Failure 

A utility failure, such as an electrical outage or a disruption in water service, could force your business to close for a day or even longer.  This type of loss is not covered under your commercial property insurance.  You may be able to add off-premises coverage caused by a covered peril resulting in a loss of power as an endorsement to your policy. 

Excluded Property Coverage 

There are certain types of property that are excluded under a commercial property insurance, including:

  • Money, security, accounts, bills
  • Land, piers, docks, and wharves
  • Vehicles, aircraft, and watercraft (with certain exceptions)
  • Animals other than stock
  • Crops, hay, or grain located outside
  • Cost of excavation, grading, or back-filling
  • Building foundations
  • Walkways, roads, and other paved surfaces
  • Electronic data
  • Cost of restoring information on valuable records

Meet with an Agent

One of your responsibilities as a business owner is to ensure you are adequately protected with the right business insurance coverage.  Commercial property insurance does not cover everything, it is possible to purchase other coverage to help fill in those gaps.  Our experienced insurance agent would be happy to meet with you to review your business insurance policy.  We will advise you on the types of insurance coverage you need for your company to be adequately protected and to help you find the right coverage to provide you peace of mind, and affordability.

 

What Coverage Do You Need for Restaurants and Food Service Business? August 2019

If you own a restaurant or have thought about opening a restaurant, as with any business it takes allot of time and energy, not to mention blood, sweat, and tears, and allot of perseverance in getting it up and running. There are some unique risks involved when it comes to insuring a restaurant. Workers can or will get injured, patrons could get sick, cooling systems may break down, and the list goes on. It’s important to make sure you are adequately protected with business insurance in the event something major happens.  Setbacks due to fire, theft or other unexpected life events may be hard to recover from, especially before you’re turning a profit.

The greatest chance of success in the food-service business is to make sure your restaurant can handle a financial loss due to things beyond your control.  Here are some tips.

Basic Coverage’s

Business Owner’s Policy provides insurance for your property, liability and loss of income due to a loss on your business.

  1. Property: Provides coverage for your building (owned or rented, additions or additions in progress and outdoor fixtures). Covers your business personal property for damage or loss, kitchen equipment and inventory, including perishable foods. Commercial property insurance provides reimbursement if a fire damages your kitchen, even if a fire started in another building.  It provides coverage for vandalism, theft, and certain types of weather-related damage, such as burst pipes and hail damage.   
  1. Liability:Protects against lawsuits related to a customer’s injury or damage to a customer’s property that happened at your place of business. General liability insurance can help pay for medical expenses, pay for repair or replacement of customer’s property if damaged and help pay for court costs, attorney’s fees, and other legal expense if a customer holds you liable.  General liability provides coverage against advertising injuries, including defamation (libel and slander) and accusations of copyright infringement.  
  1. Business interruption: In the event of a loss this coverage will help make up for lost income and pay other related expenses to help you reopen. It covers loss of income due to a fire or other catastrophe that disrupts the operation of your business. It can also include extra expense of operating out of a temporary location.

Other Coverage’s

  1. Liquor liability:If your bar or restaurant serves alcohol you may be required to purchased liquor liability insurance, it can be added to a business owners’ policy.  This coverage protects your business in the event an intoxicated customer injures another customer’s property or causing injury to someone due to consuming too much alcohol at your business.  
  1. Commercial auto insurance:Can cover expenses related to accidents involving a business-owned vehicle. It provides coverage for vehicle theft and vandalism.  If your restaurant provides delivery service on a regular basis, make sure you have a commercial auto policy in place.
  1. Worker’s Compensation:This policy is required in most states for business with one or more employees.  It provides coverage for medical expense and partial lost wages if an employee is injured on the job.
  1. Food spoilage and contamination: Whether it’s due to a malfunctioning refrigerator or a power outage, damage to your stored food can be a big financial loss to your business.  This type of coverage will help you recover from the damage.  It provides coverage to help reimburse the cost of replacing spoiled frozen or refrigerated food, or shelved perishables.  Food contaminated by a supplier or improper handling may also need to be thrown away.  Food contamination coverage helps with replacement costs, along with associated cost such as cleaning or advertising to restore your reputation.  Food spoilage and contamination coverage can both be added to commercial property insurance on your BOP.

What is Umbrella Insurance – April 2019

What is Umbrella Insurance?

Umbrella insurance is an additional liability insurance that will protect you financially in the event you are sued for a large amount of money.  It provides additional coverage if you are faced with costs due to a liability claim.  Umbrella policies provide coverage in excess of your auto, homeowners, boat, or business and can be applied to all if you have these policies bundled. Umbrella insurance will step in when your primary insurance coverage isn’t enough.

What does umbrella cover?

An umbrella policy provides two types of coverage:  liability and defense costs.  Umbrella policies will cover an excess of what your primary insurance excludes and/or additional coverage beyond the limits set in your other insurance.  It provides coverage for a variety of situations if your held responsible for bodily injury, property damage, or personal injury.  An umbrella policy will help pay for these liability-related costs.

What does Umbrella insurance not cover?

Umbrella policies do not cover physical property damage.  It does not cover damage to your own home or vehicle; for e.g. someone steals everything in your house, or a hailstorm totals your car; an umbrella policy will not step in as coverage.  This would fall under your homeowners or auto insurance coverage.

What does personal umbrella insurance cover?

  1. Defense cost – If you are sued your umbrella insurance coverage steps in to pay for lawyer fees and processing expenses that will help defend yourself in court. Any remainder umbrella coverage not used for defense cost may help pay for any associated liability expense you owe.
  2. Teen Drivers – Did you know the crash risk is 3x higher for 16-19-year old, and teens account for about 8-10% of fatal crashes every year. This creates high risk and high liability.  Having umbrella insurance coverage boosts your auto liability limit to protect against these increase risks.  Teen drivers typically raise your insurance premiums.  Having an umbrella policy is a great way to provide additional coverage at a lower cost, rather than adding the extra line of liability on your primary auto insurance.
  3.  Intoxicated party attendee – You host a party or a BBQ cookout at your house. One of your guests drinks too much and is intoxicated.  Your guest leaves your party and, on his/her drive home causes an accident.  Depending on your state, you may be partially liable for his/her expenses.  A lawyer could make the claim you over served him and did not cut him off, you did not stop him from leaving by taking his keys, offering him to stay the night, or offer to call a taxi/cab. People don’t realize one of the most surprising and expensive liability claims they find themselves in is indirect liability.  Umbrella insurance coverage can help protect against this when homeowners’ insurance likely won’t.
  4. Dog bites – Do you own a dog? You walk your dog and another dog spooks him.  Both dogs get into a fight, and your dog bites that dog.  Your dog also bites the other dogs’ owner while in the mist of pulling the dogs apart. This would cause bodily injury to both the owner and the dog.  If your dog bites first or attacks person your will be responsible for medical expense, lost wages and even pain and suffering.  This may not be covered by homeowner’s insurance, especially if you have a dog that is on the excluded dog list, such as a Chow, German Shepherd, Pitbull, Rottweiler, Akita and there are a few more.  Umbrella insurance coverage could step in to pay for the costs.
  5. Pain and suffering – You have an accident and are found at-fault for the incident. You could be sued for “pain and suffering.”  Pain and suffering is one of the costliest liability expenses.  It could lead to hundreds of thousands if not millions of dollars in some cases.  Umbrella insurance coverage can help cover these costs; the minimum umbrella limit is $1 million.

Importance of Business Auto v. Personal Auto – March 2019

Did you know, how your drive your auto whether it’s for personal or business depends on the type of policy you should have?  Most people do not understand the importance of Business Auto Insurance.

Why business auto insurance v. personal auto insurance?                

There are several differences between business auto and personal auto insurance.  A business auto will have higher liability exposure to a risk than a personal auto.  A business auto will carry a much higher liability limit in coverage than a personal auto.  Business auto provides other coverage’s that personal auto does not, such as:

  • Property and liability trailer exposure
  • Equipment used with or attached to the vehicle
  • Additional insured requirements
  • Higher limits (up to $2 million)
  • Loading and unloading exposure
  • Hired-vehicle coverage
  • Non-owned vehicle coverage

Did you know?

If you own a vehicle that is insured under a personal auto insurance policy and use if for business, you need a commercial business auto policy.

Did you know? 

An insurance company may not pay claims for any damages you incur, if the insurance company deems it was used in the course of business as a commercial vehicle.

Why is it important to discuss with your agent how you use your vehicle?

In order to select the right policy coverage for your vehicle business auto or personal auto, it is important that you disclose how you plan on using your vehicle. This will help to prevent any claims issues.

How do I know if my car should be on a personal or commercial insurance policy? 

If you use your car for any business-related purpose, you need a commercial auto insurance policy.

Did you know how to classify a commercial vehicle?

Your auto is classified as a commercial vehicle if you use it to:

  • Pick up or deliver any goods,
  • Provide a service for a fee,
  • Travel to remote work location or between work locations,
  • Visit client locations.
  • Haul goods for a service

Additional conditions which your car may be classified as a commercial vehicle:

  • The owner’s name is listed on the vehicle title as a business – incorporated, unincorporated or LLC,
  • The vehicle is rented or leased by others
  • The vehicle is equipped with a snow plow, has an altered suspension system or other equipment or modification
  • The vehicle is used for a landscaping business
  • Is driven by you or your employees for both business and personal use on a regular basis.

If you use your personal vehicle occasionally for business use, it may be covered under your personal auto insurance. I would discuss with your agent how you plan on using your vehicle, whether it’s for personal or business usage.  Your agent will advise you as to the appropriate policy is for your situation.