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Archive for the ‘Types of Insurance’ Category

Handyman Insurance Basics

Tuesday, June 7th, 2016

At CommercialInsurance.NET, we will assist you with obtaining general liability coverage for a variety of small businesses, including handyman insurance. Whether you own a janitorial or lawn care business, act as a general contractor, artisan tradesman, or landscaper, we can find policies to fit your needs, even if your business seems to change from day to day, as it often does for the jack-of-all-trades who works as a “handyman”.

On a daily basis we at CommercialInsurance.NET encounter folks looking to supplement their income by taking on small projects. Whether you are just fixing a screen door as a handyman, or completely remodeling a kitchen and bathroom as a general contractor, if you are entering someone’s home or place of business, you need a commercial general liability policy. This post will outline some of the reasons why handyman insurance is important.

You may ask yourself, “Why do I need Handyman Insurance? Why do I need a commercial general liability policy for such a small business?” No matter how small the project is, you are putting yourself at risk simply by being in someone’s home or on someone’s business property. For instance, the smallest caulking job can cause thousands of dollars worth of damage due to water leaks if done incorrectly. A fallen broom or tool instantly becomes a bodily injury hazard, to name another example. Handyman insurance is a way to manage these risks.

Now, you may say, “I’m always careful. I’ll never have a claim due to a mistake.” While this may be true, your handyman insurance doesn’t just protect you from your own errors, it protects you when someone blames you for property damage. For example, let’s say you’re repairing someone’s gutter after a storm, and before you leave your customer asks if you can tear off and repair some loose shingles on the roof. Because your handyman insurance does not cover roofing operations, you inform your customer that roofing repair needs to be done by a roofer insured for those operations, and you go merrily on your way. Several months later, you find out you are being sued because of water damage due to that customers’ leaky roof. Of course you will win in court because you always have a contract signed by the customer specifying the work you have completed, but wouldn’t you like to have a handyman insurance policy that will take care of those unnecessary court fees and attorney costs?

One of the most common questions we get from new customers is, “What information do I need to provide for a handyman insurance quote? Can I just get a price?” Even though your handyman service may consist of nothing more than a few small repairs a month, your general liability coverage is based on your location (every general liability policy has a physical location associated with it), estimate of gross receipts, and whether you have any partners, employees, or independent subcontractors working with you. Your agent will also have to confirm the answers for certain questions to confirm your eligibility. These questions usually reference operations like roofing, licensed trades, or work on high-risk properties such as medical facilities, schools, or very large mansions or estates.The process takes just a few minutes of your time, but it might be one of the most important investments you make in your business.

Call one of our specialists today at 1-877-907-5267 to get your same day quote for a handyman insurance policy.

Employee Benefits vs. Employee Insurance

Saturday, December 14th, 2013

Employee benefits are not the same as employee insurance or workers’ compensation insurance. Let’s look at the differences between the two.

While employee benefits differ from employee insurance, or workers compensation, many times your commercial insurance agent provides both insurance and employee benefits to your business.

Employee benefits generally start with health insurance and group term life insurance. With the ongoing changes of the Affordable Care Act — frequently called “Obamacare” — make sure you work with your agent to understand your responsibility.

As part of the health insurance package, an employer may opt to provide vision and dental insurance.  In addition to life insurance, an employer may also offer group disability insurance.

A retirement plan is generally offered as an employee benefit as well.  Unlike workers compensation insurance which is required by most states, employee benefit packages are provided at the discretion of the employer and may be funded with a variety of options.

Generally, employers can provide these additional benefits to just the employee or also opt to cover family of the employees as well.  Cost is almost always the determining factor in putting together an employee benefits package.  With the cost of health insurance, it is reasonable to ask the employee to pay a percentage of the coverage, and perhaps even all of the family coverage.

Workers compensation insurance is business insurance which will provide wage replacement and medical coverage for an employee injured on the job.  Once you hire an employee a prudent business owner will consider worker’s compensation insurance.  Varying by state, this coverage is mandatory depending on different variables.  Ask your commercial agent the requirements in your state.

As your business grows, an employee benefits package may be necessary to attract and retain good employees.  Work with your commercial broker to develop and implement an employee benefits package that makes sense for your business.

Business Insurance Overview

Sunday, December 8th, 2013

As a new entrepreneur starting a business, there are lots of questions to be considered.  Make sure you have questions regarding the type of business insurance coverage your business requires.  Commercial business insurance covers a broad spectrum of protection that includes your property, you and your employees, and your liability.  As you begin to understand how it works, it is important to remember the ultimate goal is to make sure you are never underinsured or exposed to risk in the event of an incident or disaster.

Business property insurance will cover losses to your building, and the property housed in it.  The computer and phone systems, furniture, finished goods, as well as carpeting, lighting fixtures and supplies will be covered.

There are two options, either actual cash value, which is purchase price less depreciation, or the replacement cost of the item.  Discuss these differences in more detail with your commercial agent and look for the solution which is best for you.

Most businesses are required to have workers compensation insurance when they have employees. Workers compensation covers the employee from lost wages and medical if job related while protecting the business against being sued by the employee.

More specific information is available from the insurance department of your state government and your commercial agent.

General business liability insurance must also be in place to protect the business, employees and the owner against lawsuits brought from claims of injury or damages.  A general liability policy will cover most situations that may arise.

There are specific types of liability coverage for risks not covered within the general liability policy.  An example would be liquor liability insurance which is a separate coverage generally taken out by bars and restaurants.

Discuss with your commercial insurance agent what else you should be looking at for in specialized coverage.

Tailor Your Policy To Your Business

Friday, December 6th, 2013

A commercial auto insurance policy or fleet insurance needs to be tailored to your business.

Any vehicle owned or operated by the business may put the business at serious risk financially in the event of an accident caused by that vehicle or the operator.  Most business owners know the risk involved with their product and service offerings but often assume their auto coverage is sufficient.

Often, one of the first perks a business owner takes is having the business pay for an automobile.

Commercial auto insurance needs to be take out anytime the vehicle is titled to the business.  It doesn’t matter the size, make or even if it is used strictly for pleasure.  The business name on the title brings the business into a lawsuit in the event of an accident or personal injury.  While the car may be used by the business owner’s spouse or family member exclusively, the titleholder (The Business) can be sued.

Make sure you work with your insurance professional on the liability limits covered by the policy.  Taking just state minimums again may expose your business to financial risk in the event of a lawsuit or judgment higher than the state minimum. Opposition attorneys review assets in addition to coverage.  You may wish to have your corporate attorney  review the coverage and potential for risk as well.

Vehicle classification, motor size, use, must all be noted and will impact both premium and coverage options. Your insurance professional can work with you in determining the proper coverage and policy.  It may make sense to opt for fleet insurance for your business.  Your agent can discuss those options.

You commercial agent can review other coverage’s available for commercial auto insurance.  Comprehensive coverage, under-insured motorist, medical payments and others may be available.  Design a policy and coverage with your agent that provides adequate protection and minimizes the exposure and risk for your small business.

Don’t assume you have good coverage without having a conversation and review with your commercial agent.

If I Hire Out-Of-State Employees

Thursday, October 24th, 2013

If I hire out of state employees, are they covered by my business insurance?

This issue is extremely complicated and cannot be fully answered with a definitive yes or no in this article. It’s important to have a discussion with your commercial insurance broker prior to hiring an out of state employee. We discuss a variety of topics, but talk to your broker.
Since you have employees, workers compensation insurance is a good place to start.

If your business requires out of state travel and work, it’s important to talk with your licensed agent and carrier. Some policies and carriers have reciprocal coverage. However, some states may require you to secure worker’s compensation coverage in their state. In the event your employee resides and works in that state on a regular basis, you probably need to purchase coverage for that state. Anytime you are sending an employee(s) to work in a state for the first time, we suggest contacting the regulatory agency in that state as well as your agent or broker. If that state doesn’t recognize your coverage, you may be held responsible for all claim costs and penalties.

At the time of this writing, four states do not recognize private coverage for worker’s compensation. Those states are; North Dakota, Ohio, Washington and Wyoming. In the event your sending employees to any of those states, make sure to contact the regulatory agency far in advance to insure coverage is in place.

You may have an employee working in a multiple state area. Determining the correct state of jurisdiction may not be clear or easy. Contact your agent, your carrier, and all state agencies to determine how to insure coverage. Remember, the ultimate responsibility lays with you the employer to be compliant in the worker’s compensation coverage of its employees.

Once you determine the worker’s compensation coverage, determine the liability and property coverage in your package. Make sure there are no exclusions and discuss in detail with your licensed insurance professional the scope of work outside your state. It’s possible you will need different vehicle insurance and coverage if you are providing a vehicle. Are you warehousing product or equipment at the employee’s home or commercial location? Again, your commercial insurance broker is probably licensed or affiliated with carriers in these areas. Make sure you have discussion and understand the coverage as you grow with out of state employees.

Errors and Omissions

Tuesday, September 4th, 2012

No matter your profession or industry, every business needs insurance of some kind. Whether it’s workers compensation or vehicle insurance, each business wants to have their bases covered. Errors and omissions insurance (E&O) should be a part of any business that provides a service to clients for a fee. Not investing in E&O insurance is a great financial risk for many businesses as you leave the company vulnerable to lawsuits. Errors and omissions covers you or your business in the event that a client holds you responsible for a service you provided, or failed to provide, that did not have the expected or promised results.

Do I Need Coverage?

You, or your business, need coverage if you provide business services, such as consultations, to clients for a fee. Everyone and every business make mistakes and it’s important to be covered in the event a mistake occurs. If your client experiences a loss in customers, profits, or something else they deem valuable, your company could be in harm’s way if you don’t have E&O insurance. Your liability insurance often doesn’t cover the types of losses that errors and omissions insurance will. Look into your liability policy and gage whether or not your company is at risk without the addition of E&O insurance.

When Should I Buy?

As with any form of insurance, the best time to buy is before any potential risk takes place. If your business is in the service industry, investing in an E&O policy will not only reduce the risk your business takes, but it reduces the risk for clients. Having E&O as a part of your insurance portfolio could be a selling point as clients understand they could be compensated in the event of a loss. Make sure you look to errors and omissions right away and before any potential mistakes can take place. It is better to be safe than sorry. If you’re unsure about your level of risk, consult with E&O insurance professionals to see where the risks may lie.

Where Can I Buy E&O?

Buying E&O requires time and research. You’ll need to understand exactly where you, or your company, are at risk before buying a plan. Look for an insurance provider that understands your industry, your risks and can help you develop a plan that covers potential exposures. Different information may be needed depending upon the type of exposures you, or your business, could encounter. As with any form of insurance make sure to shop around to find the best pricing and coverage available. Keep in mind that the cost of E&O insurance may vary greatly depending on the class of your business, the location, and claims experience.

Errors and omissions insurance is a necessity for a number of consulting and service professionals. Not only will you be able to handle claims from disgruntled clients better, you reduce the risk and exposures that come with running a service-based business. E&O insurance can help cover legal costs and secure the efforts of your business.

Author Bio: Erica Bell is a small business writer who focuses on topics such as small business insurance and business liability insurance. She is a web content writer for Business.com.

Do I need Professional Liability Insurance

Wednesday, September 21st, 2011

Do I really need professional liability insurance?

If you provide a professional service or give professional advice or recommendations to clients, professional liability insurance is recommended. In fact, those in many professions such as; accountants, lawyers, architects, doctors, engineers, software/computer consultants, and numerous others are required to have professional liability insurance.

At any given time, it is possible for an individual to file a lawsuit against you. It’s also important to remember that when a lawsuit is filed that anyone involved in the incident may be named in the lawsuit.

No matter if you or your business is negligent or not, it often takes many months, even years to reach a conclusion. Even if you and your business are exonerated and found not guilty, the costs to get there can be enormous. If in fact there is an award against you that also can be a staggering amount. One major lawsuit can often cripple or put you out of business. Professional liability insurance will relieve this burden and allow you to continue operating your business during a lawsuit.

No business believes it will make mistakes and not have the customer’s best interest at hand. However, mistakes do happen, and you need to remember, anyone can allege anything against you and your business. In fact, the suit may have little to do with you, but even being remotely involved opens you up to being sued. Unfortunately, sometimes in the litigious society we live in, you may be sued for something you allegedly did or didn’t do.

Professional liability insurance helps you be prepared in the event you find yourself or your business tangled up in a lawsuit. Talk to a licensed insurance professional today and review your present situation. Together, you can determine whether professional liability insurance will be a good fit as part of your business plan.

Professional Liability Insurance

Tuesday, September 13th, 2011

My business has general liability insurance, why do I need professional liability insurance?

Many business owners make the mistake of assuming professional liability insurance, or errors and omissions insurance is only for doctors and lawyers. In fact, the term professional is defined as, “someone who is an expert and trained and educated in the field in which they perform.”

People who provide a degree of skill, care and are held to a higher standard may be held accountable if they fail to adhere or perform to a standard of industry. Based on that definition, in addition to doctors and attorneys, anyone who provides professional service to the public should consider professional liability insurance. This includes but is not limited to professions such as realtors, accountants, insurance agents, chiropractors, engineers, consultants, home inspectors, and others which provide professional service or make specific recommendations.

Our society today expects a level of quality and advice and not meeting that expected level may result in the claim of error or damage. Professional liability insurance will protect against financial costs and losses from a lawsuit brought against you or the business as a result of a recommendation or service provided.

Professional liability insurance will cover the costs to defend or settle a claim brought you, your company, or in some cases, your employees. It will cover an individual claim up to a certain limit and also may include a coverage amount limit for the term of the policy.

Contact your industry association and also the department of insurance for recommendations and options. Then speak with a licensed insurance professional to determine what is needed by your particular business. Different businesses require different coverage and will be written specific to your business.

Demolition Insurance

Saturday, September 10th, 2011

Insurance companies are no longer running away from the wrecking ball.  At least not on buildings of 3 story or less.  That is due to the fact explosives are not use in these type operations therefore the risk is less.   There are main stream companies now entering this market who previously shied away from these risks.

 

Because more main stream competitors are entering the market, rates are decreasing and competition is increasing.  Traditionally, these operations are less risky as previously thought, but companies have become aware this has been a long under-served market and have developed specialty products and rates placing them under their “program markets” allowing agents to address the industry’s special needs and access a company’s expertise.  If you have questions regarding your insurance, please talk with your agent or one of ours.

 

Commercial Insurance.Net, LLC Advisor is not an attorney, accountant or certified financial planner and makes no representations or warranties to that effect.  Always check with your chosen professional as to statements made in this blog for your particular situation.

Terrorism Insurance

Friday, September 9th, 2011

As we approach the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks many reflections have surfaced.  We can all remember where we were and what we were doing then, but I have to ask myself, “Has it really made a difference in how we do business?”  The immediate answer is to those who travel, yes.  At that time, my job required me to travel by air 2-3 weeks out of a month.  I had to make many changes regarding how I packed and my arrival time at airports.  Most importantly, I made a change to my life insurance which I had not thought about in a very long time.  I do not travel anymore so now I am wondering about the rest of us who only travel from work to home, then back again only to repeat it all over the next day.  I am asking what changes have been made in how 9/11 has affected most business coverage.  For the most part, little thought to terrorism is given when selecting insurance coverage.

 

Terrorism coverage is offered by most insurance companies, if not all.  However, very few business owners have selected any amount and much less, even adequate amounts.  Most small business owners believe they are not at risk of terrorist attack.  Yet many businesses suffered a major loss even though miles from The World Trade Center.  Homeland Security consistently reminds us the threats are increasing.  Because I was in Oklahoma at the time of the 1995 bombing, I am acutely aware how vast the damage can be and how devastating months a business can not longer operate due to ordinances and property damage.  Threats of terrorism may come in many forms.  If you have questions about your insurance, please contact your agent or one of ours.

 

 Commercial Insurance.Net, LLC Advisor is not an attorney, accountant or certified financial planner and makes no representations or warranties to that effect.  Always check with your chosen professional as to statements made in this blog for your particular situation.