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Archive for August, 2012

Insurance For Your Home Office

Friday, August 31st, 2012

Many people assume that if they are working from home, their homeowner’s insurance covers everything. Wrong!  Your homeowner’s policy is just that, a homeowner’s policy.  Even if you operate a basket or craft business from you home, your homeowner’s will cover minimal if any losses to business assets.  In this economy, more people then are starting home businesses looking to generate additional income.

Once you have a small business in operation, even before making your first sale, you have greatly increased your risk.  Suppose you are starting a home based business and have inventory stored in basement, garage, or additional room in your home.

Most homeowner’s policies have limited if any coverage to protect those business assets.  What would happen to your start up business if you had to replace the entire inventory a second time before generating a penny in revenue?  What would the impact be financially on you and your family?

The same goes for your vehicles if using them for your new business.  What could happen if you were to injure a third party and their vehicle or other property?

Again, your personal coverage may offer limited or worse yet, no coverage.  Then, the injured party may go after your assets such as your home, which you claim is the office or address of your business and therefore, even though your homeowners doesn’t recognize liability, a judge in fact just might.

You need to understand the liability risk you assume in starting and operating a home office or business.  Do you have employees? Some home offices and home based businesses do.  Before hiring one single part-time employee, you must determine if worker’s compensation insurance is needed.

It is far simpler to contact a licensed insurance professional, and make business insurance a part of your initial start up cost.

Discuss with your insurance professional all aspects of your business model and follow the recommendations to protect not only your business assets, but your personal assets too.  You’re working from home, starting a new business venture, congratulations.  Let’s make sure you are covered all around.

Daycare Insurance

Friday, August 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.

Church Insurance Is Available

Friday, August 17th, 2012

A church or synagogue, like any non-profit or a business, needs to put the proper insurance coverage in place to protect both the assets and members of the church.  In fact, a number of coverage options are available to reduce the various risk exposure faced by the operation of a church or synagogue.

With any church insurance coverage, the basics of property, general liability and worker’s compensation are a must.  Property insurance covers the buildings and equipment as well as other contents and some personal property.  In addition, it may make sense to add plate glass coverage with a rider if needed for stained glass. Special coverage may be needed for antiques and restoration.

Make sure theft and vandalism are also covered in the policy.  General liability will protect the church in the event of a claim of personal injury, or damages.  It would also cover contractual liability for services provided such as room or hall rental, or other service functions performed by clergy or staff.  Make sure to add product liability for food consumption, sales, or even distribution.

Like any business, worker’s compensation must be in place if there are employees.  Check with your state department of insurance for the specific requirements surrounding coverage.

Additional coverage considered would be professional liability to covers teachers and clergy.  Directors and officer’s liability should also be carefully considered.

If daycare is provided, additional coverage may be necessary or packaged with teachers and school insurance.  Fine arts and antiques may have to have separate coverage added or included depending on the carrier.  Boiler and machinery coverage may also make sense, as well as  business interruption coverage.

Work with a licensed insurance professional in determining what coverage options and liability limits need to be in place.  Ask whether a business owner’s package is available and how the options discussed can be included.  You may also explore whether an umbrella policy may make sense for your church.

Insurance for Accountants

Friday, August 10th, 2012

Specific to the accountant, it is important to determine with your insurance professional the policy limits of a Professional Liability policy or Errors and Omissions (E & O) insurance.  E & O insurance is additional coverage not covered in the general liability policy.  Accountants, Attorneys, and engineers, need this additional coverage which offers far greater and more specific liability coverage.

A Business Owner’s Policy normally covers all the basic needs for your accounting firm.  This includes basic property and liability protection for business.  More often than not, your Business Owner’s Policy can be added to and coverage(s) extended as your business grows.

Property insurance will include the building your business is located, either owned or leased.  In addition, furnishing, and equipment as well as machinery, tools, computer and phone systems, anything used to conduct business will be protected.

The general liability coverage, not to be confused with the Professional E & O described above covers the firm from being held liable for injury or error.  This includes damage to property as well as to people as well as implied damages.  It is important to remember that liability insurance covers the cost of litigation for these claims.   Additional types of coverage such as loss of income are often included in the business owner’s policy.  Discuss these options with your licensed insurance professional.

Every business, including accounting firms, need to protect the business, the owner, and if applicable, it’s officers and board.  If the firm is large enough, it may wish to consider directors and officer’s liability insurance.  Again, this differs from the general liability and professional liability insurance.

Every business is required to carry worker’s compensation except in Texas. (While not required, it still makes sense.)

Review the specifics of your business with your licensed insurance professional.  Together, you will be able to determine the proper coverage necessary to reduce the risk exposure of your business.

Masonry Contractor Insurance

Friday, August 3rd, 2012

As a masonry contractor, you understand the concept of a building a solid foundation.  It’s important to take that advice and apply it to the financial and business aspect of your business.  From a sole proprietor to a large corporation, masonry contractor insurance is one of the fundamentals of your business foundation.

There are some insurance policies you absolutely need, and some which merit serious consideration in protecting your business.  The foundation of a masonry insurance package must have general liability insurance.

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.  Property insurance is an important piece of the masonry contractor’s insurance package.

Often, masonry 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.

Due to the heavy lifting and nature of the work, knee and back injuries are prevalent.  Therefore, if a masonry contractor has any employees, workman’s compensation is a must.  Your agent and the state department of insurance will help you determine coverage for your worker’s compensation insurance.

Ask your agent for specific options for covering tools needed to conduct your masonry 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.  Make sure to have a good commercial vehicle policy in place for your company’s vehicles.