TUESDAY, DECEMBER 31, 2019
Your commercial property insurance policy will cover most of the hazards likely to befall your place of business, but it won't cover everything. There are some common exclusions that you will find in more policies than not. These are as follows:
There may be other exclusions that apply based on your industry, where you live, and who you're buying insurance from. Take the time to read through your policy, ask your insurer any questions you might have, and don't make the mistake of simply assuming something is covered.
- Flooding. Just as with home insurance, your basic policy isn't going to cover floods. You can invest in a commercial flood insurance policy to help cover the gap, of course.
- Earthquakes. This is similar to the scenario with flooding. Most home policies do not cover earthquakes. The same goes for most commercial property policies. Again, you can invest in an additional policy to bridge the gap.
- Commercial auto accidents. Your commercial property insurance policy may cover the store, the warehouse and the office. But it's not going to cover your autos. Insuring vehicles and insuring buildings are two completely different things. Sometimes, a company outfitted to do one might not even be equipped for the other. You might be able to buy commercial auto and property insurance as part of the same package, but they're going to be two separate policies.
- Equipment breakdown. Insurance is intended to cover things that might happen. Equipment breakdown is something that certainly will happen. So, you may find that while your insurer is more than willing to buy you a new pizza oven when yours is damaged in a fire, they're not going to pay for a new one just because the old one is getting on in years. Equipment breakdown is not a risk to be managed. Instead, it’s something that is just about guaranteed to take place over time.
TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 19, 2019
Commercial insurance protects your company from the risks associated with being in business. It's important to keep your personal and commercial risks separate. It's the general liability portion of your policy that affords the most protection for your business — and by extension your personal — assets.
Here’s more about general liability and other coverage available for your enterprise.
Who Needs Business Liability Insurance?
If you own a business, you probably need general liability insurance. Annual premiums fall between $750 to $2,000, depending on what kind of business you have and what you wish to cover. That beats the thousands or millions of dollars a single court case can cost you.
You can buy general liability insurance as a standalone product or combine it into a bundled Business Owner’s Policy, or BOP, that includes property insurance. Either way, it's important to know your liability coverage limit. If needed, consider supplementing your coverage with other commercial policies.
Types Of Commercial Insurance
Besides general liability insurance, other commercial insurance policies cover specific risks. You can protect your business assets by choosing the policies that best match your needs. This could include property damage, bodily injury, slander, libel, advertising, and medical expenses.
Here are the available types of commercial insurance to augment general liability insurance.
Along with general liability insurance, consider these and other options that your agent can help you understand.
- Product Liability: This suits businesses that wholesale, distribute, sell or manufacture products. This protects your business if a defective product injures someone.
- Commercial Property: This coverage is ideal for businesses with physical assets — such as a building and its contents. This covers your company for property damage caused by fire, hail, smoke, vandalism or civil disobedience.
- Professional Liability: This is for customer service businesses and covers negligence, errors and malpractice.
- Home-Based Business Insurance: This insurance is designed for companies run out of your home. It's beneficial if you meet clients at your house. Protection includes business equipment and liability coverage for injuries. This may be written as a rider to your homeowner's insurance.
- Business Owners Policies: Purchase this type of policy if you have a small business or home-based business owner. It bundles different types of policies to help you save money.
MONDAY, OCTOBER 14, 2019
If you already have commercial insurance to cover liability and property damage, you may think you are good to go. However, you should carefully consider whether the payout caps on your regular business insurance policy adequately cover your risks. If you cannot increase your business coverage to a satisfactory amount, commercial umbrella insurance can help you fill the gap.
What Is Commercial Umbrella Insurance?
This type of insurance gives you an extra layer of protection because it pays for expenses that go above your regular liability limits. For example, if your commercial liability limit is $100,000 but you are held responsible for $250,000 in damages, your commercial umbrella insurance can cover the difference, up to your umbrella liability limit.
Extra Layer of Protection
This insurance provides additional coverage above the limits of existing coverage types, including:
- employer’s liability policies
Typically, commercial umbrella insurance pays for legal costs and settlements over and above the amount on your underlying policy. Umbrella insurance is only available if you have regular coverage for the area you want additional coverage for. For example, if you want additional coverage on your commercial fleet, you must first have traditional commercial auto insurance.
Why It's Important
Commercial umbrella insurance safeguards your business assets with extra coverage on policies such as auto, liability and errors and omissions insurance. An umbrella policy is often more affordable than raising the underlying claim limits. In some cases, however, you might also have to carry the highest liability limits available on that policy for it to qualify for umbrella protection in the first place.
Commercial Umbrella Insurance in Action
You can customize your umbrella coverage to cater to your business or industry. The risk you experience may be unique from other businesses. For example, if you own a brewery, you might need additional liquor liability insurance. If you rent boats and jet skis, your umbrella should include additional watercraft liability coverage. Your agent can help you determine if a certain policy qualifies for umbrella coverage.
Read Your Commercial Umbrella Insurance Policy Carefully
Speak with your agent and review your commercial umbrella policy carefully. Look for exclusions that vary from your underlying policies. An umbrella policy may be written with wider exclusions that you may not notice at first glance. For example, the injury exclusion for your basic liability coverage includes an exception for the use of force to protect your property, other people or yourself. The exclusion in the coinciding umbrella policy might not cover these exceptions.
THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 19, 2019
Commercial auto insurance is one of the most valuable investments a company can make for their asset. It is generally a must-have financial tool. Yet, when you can file a claim depends on a variety of factors. If a fire occurs, the cause of that fire plays an important role in determining if you have coverage for it. Here is a look at when you have coverage.
What Caused the Fire?
Imagine a commercial vehicle catching on fire on a highway. The damage is significant. Your employee may be okay, but the vehicle is a total loss. This is a big loss for most companies. Will your commercial auto insurance help?
That depends on the cause of the fire and the type of coverage you have. Specifically, fires fall under comprehensive auto coverage. Verify that you have this type of non-collision coverage.
Commercial auto insurance never covers neglect of maintenance and upkeep. It does not cover damage brought on by normal wear and tear, either. In other cases, it can help. Here are a few examples:
The vehicle’s electrical system catches on fire. There’s no known reason for this to happen in terms of maintenance.
Lightning strikes the vehicle during a storm. It creates an instant fire and damage to the vehicle. If you have comprehensive coverage, it may cover these losses.
- A fire occurs as a result of an act of vandalism. Coverage generally applies in this situation.
What happens if the engine’s overall health was the cause of the fire? In this case, the commercial auto insurance may deny a claim. It may not cover any instance in which the cause was due to poor upkeep.
What happens if your driver is in an accident that causes a fire? In this case, several things can happen. If your driver caused the accident, your policy may help cover the losses. This is the case if you have collision insurance. There are limits here (such as the employee’s action and use of the car). If the other driver caused the accident, that driver’s liability insurance should provide financial compensation.
What to Do if an Incident Occurs
If there is such an incident, call the police. Get help immediately. Then, call your business insurance agent. Discuss what happened, why, and what claim options are available. Your agent will need information about the fire to file the claim.
TUESDAY, AUGUST 6, 2019
Workers’ compensation insurance protects your employees from financial loss due to injuries occurring at work. You know the value of having this coverage. Yet, there can be some gray areas to consider when it comes to defining who has coverage. State laws differ in some areas, so it is important to verify information with your agent. These guidelines can give you a place to start, though.
Who is Your Employee?
An employee is a person who works for your business. It seems like a straightforward question, but there are some areas that can be confusing.
Generally speaking, your state’s laws determine who an employee is. Most of the time, they will include:
• Those who work for you daily
• Leased employees
• Part-time employees
• Unpaid volunteers
• Borrowed employees
• Any type of day labor
In some situations, subcontractors may fall in this area, too. This is less common.
If you have an employee with a unique situation, be sure to talk to your workers’ compensation insurance agent about this employee, including what he or she does and how they work for you.
There Are Some Exceptions
Some states have exceptions in place for covering employees for workers’ compensation. For example, most states will state that independent contractors – those that you do not file taxes for—have no coverage under this policy.
Some states also limit some categories of workers from eligibility. This may include seasonal employees or domestic employees, for example. In some areas, agricultural workers may have less protection. This is only possible when the state’s laws allow for it. Other states only require businesses with certain numbers of employees (say five or more) to buy coverage.
Why It Is Best to Cover Them
If you have someone working for you, but you are not sure if they qualify for workers’ compensation insurance, talk to your agent about it. Discuss what your needs and concerns are. If the employee could have coverage, and has a claim to file, doing so may be a good thing. By providing your employees with access to coverage, you ensure they get the care they need. This may help you avoid a lawsuit. It can also help you reduce risks associated with losing the employee to a company with more protections.
There are limits in every situation. And, the terms of your workers’ compensation policy can play a role in this, too. It’s important to speak to your business insurance agent about any concerns you have about proper coverage for your team.