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Archive for July, 2012

Insurance for Flooring Contractors

Tuesday, July 31st, 2012

We understand the flooring business and the issues faced as a flooring contractor.  Whether your specialty is carpeting, wood floors, tile, or other composites, we help you get the most out of your insurance shopping process and we understand exactly which class codes can give you the best protection while saving you money on your general liability policy and your worker’s compensation policy.  We offer you years of experience and don’t charge a penny for our time to help you through the complicated process of making sure you have the right protection for your flooring contractor business.

Flooring contractors typically sell and install numerous floor coverings including wood, laminates, carpet, porcelain, and vinyl & ceramic tile. Due to the heavy lifting and nature of the work, knee and back injuries are prevalent.  Tearing out flooring and working in older structures also risks exposure to environmental issues.  Therefore a good workers’ compensation package is critical component of the flooring contractor’s insurance package.

Property insurance is an important piece of the total flooring contractor’s insurance package.  Often, flooring contractors operate their businesses from a store front which may serve a dual purpose; a showroom to display the stock, and a warehouse to store the inventory.  Property insurance will protect the hard assets of the business like furnishings and equipment whether leased or owned.  Ask your agent for specific options for covering tools needed to conduct your flooring contractor’s business.  Check on plate glass and signage coverage if you have a store front.  In addition, loss of use insurance, also know as loss of income should be discussed and added if necessary.

General liability insurance covers against claims from the operations of the business, after a job is completed, liability for customer injury or damages in the showroom or warehouse, and personal & advertising injury.

As a flooring contractor, your expertise is designing, costing, and installing flooring.  Let us design, cost, and help you install your flooring insurance package.

Daycare Insurance

Tuesday, July 24th, 2012

The economy is tough right now.  Many two income families have found cut backs and job lay offs having a serious impact on their financial situation.  As a result, many women (yes, this is a woman dominated industry) have started a day care in their home.  They’ve done this for a variety of reasons but essentially it is to supplement earnings and reduce their expenses.  A huge mistake made by many of these new entrepreneurs is assuming their homeowners insurance will cover any risks from the day care.  This cannot be farther from the truth.

In states where day care businesses must be licensed, proof of insurance is generally required for the license.  However, some states don’t require licensing, and others have a size requirement which allow many day care businesses to operate unlicensed.  Anyone operating a daycare business is exposing themselves to huge risk.  An accident, no matter its unintentional, exposes you to great loss.  If you are found guilty or negligent, you can be held personally responsible for all legal fees and judgments. Settling this type of judgment can put a huge burden on you, your business, and your family.  In fact, it could cost the day care operator everything, including the family home and savings.

In many states, it doesn’t take a lot of children to be required to have additional staff.  If you have employees, chances are pretty good you need to have worker’s compensation insurance for your daycare business.  Your licensed insurance professional and state department of insurance should be consulted to determine your specific requirements.

Many insurance carriers provide daycare (sometimes called child care) insurance.  The biggest component is the Liability aspect of the coverage.  This Liability coverage will protect your business even in the event you are found negligent and responsible for damages or loss. Liability insurance will cover legal fees and defense costs as well as any settlements or awards up to the policy limit. Many daycare policies offer an abuse and sexual molestation as optional coverage.  The reality of today’s world makes this coverage option worth taking a hard look at.  In addition, ask about a commercial liability insurance umbrella.  These policies offer additional protection in the event of a liability claim against your daycare business.

The most important recommendation we can make if you operate a daycare in your home or elsewhere to review coverage and risk exposure with a licensed insurance professional.  Don’t make the mistake of assuming your homeowner’s policy will cover you.  Don’t expose yourself, the family home, and peace of mind by ignoring the fact that you are running a business which needs its own insurance coverage.

Landlord Insurance

Tuesday, July 17th, 2012

With the recent downturn in the real market, investment purchases of rental property are actually on the rise. Many people turn to real estate to increase their assets and wealth.  Owning investment property makes you a business owner.  Every business needs to protect its assets and reduce the owners from personal risk.  This is done with the purchase of landlord insurance.

Landlord insurance is very similar to homeowners insurance in many ways.  However, it expands the coverage to protect the owners and the assets of business.  Your landlord insurance policy will cover your property for damage.  Should your building be destroyed or damaged from fire, your insurance covers rebuilding it.  It is important to work with your licensed insurance professional to determine the proper amount of coverage.  Get an estimate from a contractor or two, do the work to determine the real cost associated with rebuilding.  Underinsuring can cause headaches and you holding the bag to pay the difference if the coverage is not adequate.   In some cases, the gap in coverage is enough to cause very serious financial hardship which could include foreclosure or even bankruptcy. Consider what is excluded and make sure to ask about flood protection, lightning, wind, and other types of natural disasters.  Remember, if the property is listed as a historical property, let your agent know.  Historical property is insured differently than traditional buildings. Every carrier and policy is different, read the coverage carefully and make sure you understand what is covered and what is not.

A landlord insurance policy will typically carry a loss income provision.  Check to make sure your policy includes lost rental income.  In the event of a fire or loss, the lost rental income will reimburse you during the rebuilding phase.  If you depend on the rental income, make sure your landlord policy covers this provision.  This is a huge difference from a typical home owner’s policy.  A landlord insurance policy also will normally carry liability protection as well.  In the event a tenant or third party is injured or sues you, this coverage will protect you as the landlord.  Your landlord insurance will cover legal and court costs and pay out in the event of a judgment.  Review the liability coverage in detail with your licensed insurance professional.  If you hire an employee, you may need worker’s compensation insurance.  Before you hire an employee of any type, make sure to talk with your licensed insurance agent.

It’s also important to remember that your tenant’s belongings are not covered by your landlord insurance policy, only yours as limited by the policy.  Many landlords require tenants to carry their own insurance before renting to them.

Make sure you’re properly covered and review the landlord insurance on a regular basis with your licensed insurance professional.

Understanding Your Business Insurance

Tuesday, July 10th, 2012

Your business insurance, also known as your commercial insurance is more expensive as a rule, and much more complicated than your personal insurance. This insurance is the foundation of your business.  One mistake we often see business owners make time and time again is not reading or understanding the coverage they have, or most often, don’t have in place.

For example, many business owners assume that if the building they own or lease floods, it is covered.  The same is true of a tornado or wind storm.  The fact is it’s very possible none of these may be covered by the current property insurance you have in place. It’s important to check for any exclusion in your property insurance coverage. Many policies will cover rebuilding, but may not cover debris removal.  In the event of a catastrophe, the debris removal could run into tens of thousands of dollars, even more.

Another assumption business owners make is not about the insurance, but the down time involved in the event of a disaster.  Especially if other locations may have the similar damage and issues, rebuilding could take months or even a year or more.  Don’t make this costly assumption and overlook business interruption insurance.  This important coverage will protect the cash flow of your business in the down time.

Still another assumption by business owners is their equipment will operate without ever breaking down.  Some also mistakenly think this may be covered in their business property insurance.  Mechanical breakdown insurance, sometimes known as boiler and machinery insurance will cover these costly repairs or replacements which can have a tremendous financial impact on the business.

There are many more assumptions made by business owners every day that put their businesses at high levels of risk.  Assuming your general liability coverage may be enough is one.  Often professional liability insurance is needed to supplement that coverage, or perhaps even a commercial umbrella policy which would kick in after other limits are met.  Never assume it won’t happen to you, it can and it will.  No one ever believes it when an event takes place, but they always breathe easier knowing the proper coverage is there when it does.

Take the time to sit down with your licensed insurance professional and review your personal list of assumptions.  Never assume, always know what is in place for your business insurance.