In a single, convenient package, a BOP provides the core insurance that most small businesses need, including:
You can increase the protection provided by your BOP and other business insurance policies by adding an excess liability or umbrella insurance policy. This type of supplemental policy boosts your coverage beyond the limits of your primary insurance policies. Depending on the policy, your umbrella coverage is designed to broaden and increase coverage; “filling in the gaps” left by other types of liability insurance by covering additional areas of risk and even reimbursing you for deductibles. Our insurance agency can advise you about combining an umbrella policy with a BOP or other business insurance.
Our agency can help you understand the many risks associated with running a small business. Feel free to contact us for a no-obligation review of all your insurance needs.
Myth 1 – Color determines the price of auto insurance
It doesn't matter whether your car is “Arrest Me Red” or “Hide In Plain Sight White”—the color doesn’t actually factor into your auto insurance costs. The price of your auto policy is based on many factors, such as car make, model, body type, engine size and the age of the vehicle, as well as the car’s sticker price, the cost to repair it, its overall safety record and the likelihood of theft. Insurers also take into account the age, driving record and sometimes the credit history of the driver.
Myth 2 – It costs more to insure your car when you get older
Quite the opposite, in fact—older drivers may be eligible for special discounts. For example, those over 55 years of age can get a reduction in their auto insurance premium if they successfully complete an accident prevention course (available through local and state agencies as well as through the AAA and AARP). Retirees or those who aren't employed full time—and therefore, who are driving less—may also be eligible for a car insurance discount. Older driver programs and discounts vary by state and insurance carrier and driver age, so if you think you may qualify, check with our insurance agency.
Myth 3 – Your credit has no effect on your insurance rate
Your credit-based insurance score—which is derived from your credit history—may matter. A good credit score demonstrates how well you manage your financial affairs and has been shown to be a good predictor of whether someone is more likely to file an insurance claim so many insurance companies take it into consideration when you want to purchase, change or renew your auto insurance coverage. People with good credit—and, therefore good insurance scores—often end up paying less for insurance.
Myth 4 – Your insurance will cover you if your car is stolen, vandalized or damaged by falling tree limbs, hail, flood or fire
This is only true if you opt for comprehensive and collision coverage along with your standard policy. If a car is worth less than $1,000, or less than 10 times the insurance premium, purchasing these coverages may not be cost effective—but you do need to have collision and comprehensive insurance to fully protect your vehicle from all types of damage.
Myth 5 – You only need the minimum amount of auto liability insurance required by law
Almost every state requires you to buy a minimum amount of auto liability coverage but buying only the minimum amount of liability means you are likely to pay more out-of-pocket for losses incurred after an accident—and those costs may be steep. The insurance industry and consumer groups generally recommend a minimum of $100,000 of bodily injury protection per person and $300,000 per accident. If you have substantial personal financial assets to protect in the event of a lawsuit, you may even want to consider an umbrella liability policy.
Myth 6 – If another person drives your car, in the event of accident, his or her auto insurance will cover the damages
In most states, the auto insurance policy covering the vehicle is considered the primary insurance. This means that the car owner’s insurance company must pay for damages caused by an accident, regardless of who is driving. Policies and laws differ by state, so make sure you understand the rules before allowing another person to drive your car.
Myth 7 – Personal auto insurance also covers business use of your car
If you are self-employed and use your vehicle for business purposes, personal auto insurance may not protect you so it’s important to purchase business vehicle insurance. If you have other people—such as employees—using your vehicle, regularly check their driving records.
Equipment Breakdown Coverage policies handle a substantial loss exposure to items such as unfired vessels - Air, steam or water tanks, refrigeration systems, rollers, steam pressers, ironing equipment, steam cookers, generators, chemical processing tanks, motors, switches and controls, compressors, pumps, gears, etc. Breakdown policies are important. They fill a large gap! Commercial property policies typically exclude losses involving machinery or equipment breakdowns. The breakdown form provides the following coverages:
1. Property Damage–This coverage pays for direct damage to covered property (certain types of office machinery and equipment) that has to be listed (described) in the policy.
2. Expediting Expenses–This coverage applies to extra costs insured experiences in order to make temporary repairs and to speed-up (expedites) the permanent repair or replacement of damaged property.
3. Business Income and Extra Expense–Extra Expense Only - These coverages may be purchased together or extra expense coverage alone. For example, a covered business loses most of its records due to a breakdown of its main server. Most of the costs to restore the information would be handled under this option.
4. Spoilage Damage–Spoilage damage to raw materials, property in process or finished products is covered when that property is in storage or in the course of being manufactured. Coverage applies to such property that the insured owns or is legally liable under written contract and spoilage is due to a lack of or excess of power, light, heat, steam or refrigeration.
5. Utility Interruption–This coverage is available ONLY when a customer also purchases coverage for Business Income and Extra Expense – Extra Expense Only or Spoilage Damage. This coverage responds to loss involving equipment breakdown created by loss of utility service (gas, electric, water or communication). Also, the loss or service must last beyond the time-limit that appears on the policy (a sort of time deductible).
6. Newly Acquired Premises–This feature automatically covers newly acquired premises purchased or leased by the insured and the period of protection depends upon the length of time selected for this coverage (i.e. such as 30 days, 60 days, etc.).
7. Ordinance or Law Coverage–The Ordinance or Law Exclusion eliminates coverage for loss created by the imposition of ordinance or laws affect the rebuilding of the damaged property. This coverage pays such costs, within guidelines in the coverage, provided any increase in the loss amount is necessary due to the enforcement of any laws or ordinances in force at the time of the breakdown which regulate the demolition, construction, repair or use of the building or structure.
8. Errors and Omissions–This coverage pays for loss or damage that would have been covered except for the insured’s error or unintentional omission in describing covered property, a failure to include any premises owned or occupied by an insured when coverage began or, the insured’s error or unintentional omission that results in the company canceling coverage at one of the insured's premises.
9. Brands and Labels–This provision pays part of a company's expense to remove and re-label its own, salvaged merchandise.
10. Contingent Business Income and Extra Expense–Extra Expense Only Coverage - This Protection applies to loss resulting from a breakdown to equipment at premises upon which the insured is dependent upon in order to run its own operation, such as a key materials supplier.
Breakdown policies are important. They fill a large gap! Commercial property policies typically exclude losses involving machinery or equipment breakdowns. Be sure to talk to our agency in case you need details on how to best protect your critical business equipment.
If you have just married or will soon, you are likely facing some complex insurance decisions. Getting smart about the insurance implications of combining lives and households can help you secure "happily ever after," and perhaps even save money. To get smart about insurance together without tearing each other apart, you need resources.
Have "The Talk"
To avoid misunderstandings that could dim your newlywed glow, Insure U recommends couples have a pre-wedding discussion to address topics such as auto, home, health and life insurance. Vow to follow these tips for marital bliss.
Usually insurance decisions are made on a static basis, related to life’s milestones such as the following:
However, there’s an issue with milestones. Typically years pass between these events and that may cause you complacency about your coverage needs. You may not recognize that having adequate protection is more dynamic.
Not to worry, there is an easy way to consider making necessary changes. Often, holidays and vacations include acquiring more personal items, such as Christmas, anniversaries and birthdays. These are times that, besides fun and memories, are also accompanied by gifts, such as jewelry or other high-value items. After these special days, take a moment to evaluate whether you received property that might make it prudent to update your coverage.
How about vacations? Generally any coverage concerns are unnecessary for routine trips within the country. However, what about dream vacations in foreign destinations or in-country get-aways for extended periods? In either case you may need to consider whether your existing policies cover the situation. For instance, do you need temporary, separate coverage for protection in other countries? Will your travel create any special liability issues? Did you acquire new property that needs protection? Will you be away so long that you have to address any issue created by your absence from your residence?
Having proper coverage means taking the steps to make sure that it protects you in the manner you need. Use these special days and events as touch points to contact our agency to make sure you have needed protection.
Flooding is the most frequent and expensive natural disaster in the United States. Yet, flood peril is not typically covered through most homeowners and renter's insurance policies.
What Are My Flood Risks?
With more than 20 percent of the National Flood Insurance Program's (NFIP) claims coming from outside high-risk flood areas those who live in areas with low-to-moderate flooding risk should understand their risk and consider flood insurance. The FEMA flood map service allows you to determine your flood risk. Risk levels are divided into three categories:
The popular Commercial Package Policy (CPP) may not be available because of your building’s size, age, construction or because of its contents. Fortunately there is an alternative, the Standard Property Policy (SPP).
While motorcycles operators and their driving considerations are quite different than persons operating other, larger, enclosed vehicles; there is one, major similarity…..the need for insurance protection. Most states have financial responsibility laws requiring you to carry proof that you are able to pay for any damage or injury you may cause while driving. Auto insurance is the way that most people comply with these laws. Typically, drivers are required to carry liability insurance at some minimal limit that varies by state. Liability coverages include the following:
Make sure your car coverage reflects your needs and budget
The vehicle you own, your personal priorities and your budget all factor into your unique auto insurance needs. Before comparing policies and insurers, evaluate how you use your car and what risks you face to figure out what options make the best sense for you.
1. How much do you drive?
Do you absolutely need your car every day—for instance, to commute to work or drive the kids to school and activities? Do you drive 100 miles a month or closer to 1,000 or more? Make sure your policy reflects how much you use your car.
2. Will you be using your car for work?
If you use your car not just to get to work, but to perform tasks for which you get paid, commercial auto insurance is a necessity. A personal auto policy will not provide coverage if you transport paying passengers through a ride-share service, deliver pizzas, drive as a courier or use your car for other commercial activities.
3. What type of car do you drive?
Insurers have mountains of data, and they know in precise detail what types of cars, makes and models are more—or less—likely to incur claims. A flashy sports car with a powerful engine may be more likely to be stolen and its bodywork costs will be more than on a mid-sized sedan—and your insurance will be priced accordingly. Some types of cars—such as modified or classic cars—require special insurance. By the same token, you may receive discounts if you have a "safe" car—one with the latest safety features and a good safety record.
4. How much do you love your car?
If you love the way your vehicle looks and take pride in its appearance, you’ll likely want it fixed perfectly—or replaced with the same model—if it gets damaged. That means you'll probably to consider the fullest range of insurance—including collision, comprehensive and glass coverage. On the other hand, if you drive a beater, see cars merely as transportation and want to save on premiums, you might prefer to limit your policy to liability.
5. Where do you live—and park your car?
Where you live will impact your insurance rates—and it may be a factor in what coverage you purchase. For example, cars parked on the street in urban areas face a greater risk for theft or vandalism, so comprehensive coverage might be a good option. You may discover that your premium rates are lower if you move from a city to a suburb.
6. Who else will be driving the car?
Generally, your car insurance will cover other occasional drivers. However, if other drivers live with you and use your car—whether a spouse, a teen driver or a housemate—they should be listed on your policy.
7. What are your legal obligations?
Nearly every state requires that you carry minimum liability coverage for your car. At the very least, you need to make sure your policy complies with state mandates. However, the levels of required coverage are generally pretty low. Keep in mind that, if you are involved in a serious accident, you may be sued for a large sum of money. Depending on your assets and financial risk tolerance, to be safe, you’ll probably want to purchase a higher level of liability coverage.
8. Is your car financed or leased?
If you still owe money on your car or have to return it in good condition when a lease expires, you’ll likely be required to insure the car for its full value—and even for any gap between what you owe and the car’s market value. Collision and comprehensive will cover damage to your car—and supplemental gap insurance will cover the rest.
Keep in mind that your insurance options and costs will also be affected by your age, gender and driving record. Be aware too that your credit score can also impact your insurance rates. Once you’ve looked at your needs and priorities, and understood how insurance options will match them, you’ll be better prepared to make an informed decision about the types and levels of coverage to buy.
Our agency is unique because it does not simply stick to one kind of insurance provider, but brings the clients the best deals from many different insurance carriers. In this way, clients have access to offers from multiple carriers all in one place. We look forward to helping you choose the coverage you need at prices you can afford.
Using business or personal vehicles to deliver services is a major liability exposure. Minimizing the exposure is critical and can be done by limiting the number of employees who drive on company business and ensuring that those that do drive have:
Take the time to assess your insurance policy as well as your assets and exposures. If you are underinsured or can identify coverage gaps, immediately make appropriate changes to your policy.
I recommend consulting with one of our experienced insurance agents who understand the exposures associated with the delivery of business services.