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.
Business Owner’s Policy provides insurance for your property, liability and loss of income due to a loss on your business.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
Summer is here and you’re ready to head out on your boat and enjoy some time on the water. Who doesn’t love boating? Boating can be relaxing, exciting, entertaining and rejuvenating time. Hauling a boat on a trailer and launching it at the busy launch ramp can have it challenges. It can be dauntingly stressful and dangerous, and at times mishaps can occur.
Tips for Boat Trailer Safety
Follow this safety checklist before you haul your boat to your destination and into the water.
- Coupler, hitch and hitch ball are of the same size.
- Coupler and safety chains are safely secured to the hitch of the tow vehicle.
- All fasteners are properly tightened.
- Boat is securely tied down to trailer (winch line is not a tie down).
- Wheel lug nuts are properly adjusted and maintained.
- Load is within maximum load carrying capacity.
- Tires are properly inflated.
- All trailer lighting is working properly.
- Trailer brakes are properly adjusted and working (if trailer is so equipped).
- Brakes and additional equipment meet all local and state requirements.
At Lancaster Insurance Center, we want your boating season to be enjoyable while on the open water, instead of experiencing frustration while on the boat ramp or on the road.
Your boat is finally in the water, here are some tips for an accident free boating experience.
- Life preservers aren’t only for kids. Make sure you have life jackets on board – wear them! When an accident occurs people rarely are wearing them and don’t have enough time to react to grab a life jacket. Not only do the rules apply to children, but adults as well. More people in their 30’s die in boating accidents than any other age group. Life vests have come a long way in style, and you can even pickup a vest for your water-loving dog.
- Watch the back of your boat. Carbon Monoxide kills in minutes. Inform all your passenger where your exhaust pipes are located and turn off your engine when people are on the water, and don’t let passenger “water-ski or teak-surf” by holding on to the back of the boat. Carbon monoxide detectors are standard on most new boats.
- Alcohol and boating don’t mix. More than 50% of drowning results from boating incidents where alcohol is involved. Don’t drink and drive. Not only is drinking and driving illegal in cars, it is as well in boats.
- Care of your boat. When you get ready to head out on the water make sure gas tanks are vented and bilges are free of vapors, oil, waste and grease. Make sure your fire extinguisher is charged. Every year you should have a certified marine technician look over your boats operating system.
- Boating experience matters! Did you know, 70% of all boating accidents occur due to operator errors, according to the U.S. Coast Guard. Don’t just let anyone drive your boat. Make sure they are properly trained. Safety first!
Driving You’re Boat in the Dark
An evening cruise on your boat can be an enjoyable time. Like an evening drive in your car after sundown, it’s imperative you make some adjustments in keeping yourself and others safe.
Here are some tips to safeguard that you will return to shore and enjoy the rest of your evening.
Before You Get on the Boat
- Know where you’re going. Everything looks different in the dark, stay in an area you are familiar with when you’re on the water at night. Having a GPS device or an old-fashioned compass is good to have to help with navigation.
- Let someone know where you’re going. Provide a “float plan” to a trusted friend or family member. It should include your intended route, boats registration details and description, names of all passengers and when you plan to return. No one will know you’re missing if they don’t know you’re gone.
- Have the right safety equipment. Make sure you have navigation lights that work (test before hand), a horn or other sound-producing device, a radio, a flashlight, flares and fire extinguishers. Make sure everyone has a life jacket.
- Check the weather and your fuel tank. Make sure you have enough fuel in the event you get caught in a storm. It can be very dangerous and troublesome at night if you run out of fuel. Visibility is already troublesome, and the storm will only make things worse. If you’re stranded without fuel, help may take longer to respond.
Once You’re Afloat
- Watch your speed. When on the water at night you can’t see, and there is no indication of other boats or obstacles that may appear suddenly. Take it slow!
- Watch the lights. Know what lights on other boats indicate – now you must look for them. Lights on anchored or drifting boats can be exceptionally difficult to distinguish from lights onshore.
- Avoid distractions – drinking and driving. Don’t drink and drive while operating a boat, it puts you and other people at risk. Your vision is limited at night, sound becomes more important. Remember, a loud stereo could drown out the horn of an approaching boat.
- Remember, it’s not only you out on the water. There could be other vessels or boats on the water such as, commercial ships to kayaks; depending where you are at. Remember to obey the right-of-way rules and keep your distance and courteous when passing others. It’s open water and there is plenty of room for everyone, if you keep an eye out for each other.
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.
How do you prevent freezing and bursting pipes?
When temperatures drop or even reach subzero degrees you are at risk of your pipes freezing or bursting. Pipes are most at risk in unheated areas such as basement, attic and garage. Once temperature start to drop and reach 20 degrees or below you should take necessary measure inside to keep pipes warm and water running.
Here are some steps in protecting your pipes:
- Keep garage door closed, especially if there are water supply lines in the garage.
- Open Kitchen and bathroom cabinet doors, this will allow warmer air to circulate around the plumbing, especially if your sink in on an exterior wall.
- Turn on cold water and allow it to drip from the faucet, allowing water to run through the pipes or even trickle will help prevent pipes from freezing.
- Keep thermostat set at the same temperature during day and night. During a cold snap is not the time to reduce your thermostat setting so you can save money on your heating bill.
- If you plan to be away during cold weather, leave your heat on in your home, and set no lower than 55 degrees.
- For the long term, add insulation to attics, basements, and crawl spaces. Insulation will maintain higher temperatures in those areas. To prevent drafts, seal cracks and openings around windows, doors, and at sill plates, where the house rest on its foundation.
Do you know how to thaw frozen pipes?
If you turn on your faucet and only a trickle of water comes out, you may have a frozen pipe. If you think you have a frozen pipe, be careful when thawing because if the pipe has already burst, the water will come flowing out and flood your home. If a pipe is broke, turn off the water at the main shutoff valve. If the water is still running and no pipes have burst, you can take the following steps:
- Tun on the faucet. As you heat the frozen pipe and the ice plug begins to melt, you want the water to be able to flow through. Running water through the pipe, even as cold as it is, will help melt the ice in the pipe.
- Apply heat to the section of pipe. Use an electric heating pad wrapped around the pipe, a hair dryer, or a portable space heater, or you can wrap pipes with towels soaked in hot water. DO NOT USE – a blowtorch, kerosene or propane heater, a charcoal stove, or any device with an open flame; the high heat can damage the pipes or even start a fire.
- Apply heat until full water pressure is restored. Make sure you check all your faucets in your home to see whether you have additional frozen pipes. If one pipe freezes, other pipes may too.
- Call a licensed plumber if you are unable to locate the frozen area, if the frozen area is not accessible, or if unable to thaw the pipe.
Happy New Year ‘2019’
It’s time to ring in a New Year. This is when people make resolutions but never really follow through with their resolution. We are entering “2019,” so what is your resolution or promise to yourself? Most people would recognize the following phrase:
- “This is the year I’m getting organized.”
- “This is the year I’ll stop smoking.”
- “This is the year I’m going to get into the best shape of my life.”
These are great New Year’s resolutions, but what about resolutions that provide you with peace of mind, secure protection for you and your family, and saving money on your insurance that could put money back in your wallet. Lancaster Insurance Center encourages you to take the time and review three simple “insurance resolutions” that could help you start 2019 off on the right foot.
- Check to see if you qualify for auto and home insurance discounts to help lower your premium. Saving a little money is always nice, and by speaking with Lancaster Insurance Center about any potential discounts is a great place to start. While premiums are calculated based on the level of risk an insurance company must take in order to provide you with coverage, there are steps you should take in order to reduce those risks. Here are few examples: “protecting your home by installing an alarm system in your home that will alert local authorities if there is a fire or a home intruder, this will aid in the prevention and mitigation of a fire or break-in. This will help in providing you with peace of mind and help by reducing your homeowner’s insurance premium. If you have teen driver that is starting to drive or already driving, speak with your agent about the “good student discount,” and all drivers may be able to lower their premiums by successfully completing the “defensive driving course,” if offered in your state.
- Make a home inventory list. We purchase home insurance for the primary purpose to protect from fire, or any other loss that may occur. Homeowner’s insurance is designed to protect you in the event of a loss or damage to your property. There are ways to reduce your exposure and drastically reduce your premium; we suggest you review your insurance thoroughly once every three to five years. Preparing a comprehensive detail home inventory list will help you at a time of a loss in replacing your belongings. Keeping accurate records such as, a list of all items in your home, receipts of items purchased with serial and model numbers, and pictures will ensure the less possible chance of having any issues or disputes between you and the insurance company during the claim process.
- Find and fix gaps in coverage. Not having enough coverage or the right coverage is a one of the worst experiences anyone could have during a time of loss. You file a claim, and then your claims adjuster informs you that you do not have enough coverage or any coverage for the loss. The purpose of homeowner’s insurance is to get you back to whole in the event of a loss or/total loss. It’s important to remember cutting coverage to save money now could only hurt you at the time of a loss. Lancaster Insurance Center will work with you to try and eliminate any of these situations from happening. There will come a time when your circumstance could change, and if you do not review and update your insurance coverage accordingly, you may find yourself with a gap in your insurance coverage or no coverage. If you have any high value items such as jewelry or collectibles make sure you have the proper coverage in case of a loss or you may not be covered under your homeowner’s insurance. Your homeowner’s insurance should offer you a coverage called “scheduled personal property,” this coverage is an add-on to your homeowner’s insurance. Did you know that flood insurance is not covered under your homeowner’s insurance? In the event of a storm such as Sandy or any other storm related where intense flooding may occur will not be covered homeowner’s insurance, even if your mortgage company does not require you to have it. If you want coverage for this type of loss you need flood insurance. Having a flood insurance policy could provide you with an important piece of protection and piece of mind knowing that you are protected in the event of a flood loss.
Remember, find and fix any gaps in your homeowner’s insurance coverage before it’s to late. Lancaster Insurance Center would be happy to sit down and review your homeowner’s insurance policy with you to identify where there may be potential gaps, and help you obtain the proper coverage to fill them.
It’s a New Year, a new start and a time to start over. Commit yourself to these resolutions could help provide you with peace of mind, more protection, and hopefully a little more savings that provides you with more money in your wallet this New Year.