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What All Business Owners Need To Know about Insurance

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Why Do I Need Commercial Insurance?

Does your current insurance cover what you need it to cover? This can be a tough question to answer. The insurance world is complicated, not always easy to understand, and the last thing you want to happen is to lose your business because of an insurance mistake. Before we can talk about why business insurance is so important, we have to define what business insurance is and how it works.

Business insurance protects your company’s property, assets, and income. When getting a business insurance quote, the insurance company is going to look at a lot of different factors to determine which kinds of business insurance you’ll need, and how much coverage you’ll need.

  • How big is your company? Are you a startup or an established corporation?
  • What industry are you in? Do you work in something like construction or food service?
  • What do you need to protect (company vehicles, customer data, property, etc.)?

All of these things help the insurance company decide how much risk you pose, and your likelihood of filing a claim. They’ll ask you a lot of questions to determine what you want to be covered and from what. If you have company cars, you’ll need to consider commercial auto insurance. If you deal with a lot of sensitive data on computers, you’ll likely want cyber-liability insurance to protect against hacking or loss of data. These are all things a knowledgeable and experienced agency like Contractors Insurance Agency can help you with.

 

Types of Coverage to Consider

There are multiple types of coverage to consider for your business. You don’t necessarily need all of them, but it can’t hurt to look at each one individually and decide what applies to you and what doesn’t.

  • General Liability Insurance – Protects against financial loss due to property damage, personal injury, etc. caused by your company or on your business’ property.
  • Commercial Property Insurance – Covers loss of property (office, equipment, etc.) due to weather, theft, etc.
  • Cyber Liability Insurance – Protects against loss of your customers’ sensitive data through hacking or other cybersecurity flaws.
  • Employer Insurance – Covers things like worker’s compensation costs.
  • Commercial Auto Insurance – Covers company vehicles against damage or loss.

 

Don’t Skimp On Insurance to Save Money

It can be tempting to skip over insurance in order to keep costs low, especially if you are just starting out. However, this can be a dangerous decision that could come back to hurt your business tremendously. Business insurance can protect against several issues that could arise, either because of something outside of your control or a mistake you make.

Commercial property insurance can protect you against loss of your property or equipment due to either theft or unintended damage like a storm or fire. On a different note, what if a customer is injured on your property or a product or service you sold them causes them harm? They could sue and certain types of liability insurance can help protect you against the costs associated with a lawsuit.

 

Are You Legally Required to Have Insurance?

Another thing to consider is the legal requirements in your state. Many states have specific laws mandating whether your business needs certain kinds of insurance. These are requirements your insurance agent should be able to help you with. If you aren’t following the laws in your state, this could also hurt your business.

 

Saving Money On Business Insurance

So while business insurance is so important to have, it can still be a cost that you are hesitant to pay for. But there are a couple of ways you can work to save money.

  • Using an independent insurance agency like Contractors Insurance Agency can be helpful in saving money. Because we are independent, we have the capability of shopping around with several companies in order to help get you the best coverage at the most affordable rate for your business. Be sure to work closely with the agent you decide on and be transparent with them about all things relating to your business’ needs and insurance risks.
  • A bundled policy can be an additional option to explore in order to save money. A lot of times there are Business Owner Policies that include common types of standard coverages that a small or medium sized business needs. By bundling all of your coverage with one company, rather than buying individual coverage for each type of liability, you can very often save money. 

 

Contractors Insurance Agency Can Help

If you have questions about your current business insurance or are concerned about having the right coverage, Contractors Insurance Agency can help. As our name implies, we specialize in helping contractors properly insure and protect their businesses. Aiming to provide the best coverage at the best rates, we’ve got several satisfied clients. We’ve also got plenty of other content on our blog, discussing everything from workplace safety to filing an insurance claim.

Insurance for construction equipment

Insuring Your Equipment is Insuring Your Livelihood

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Insurance, insurance, insurance—I just can’t keep it straight! Do I need to have Inland Marine insurance for my business? And what exactly is it?

Do you ever feel like this when it comes to protecting your excavation or contractor business?

Let’s start at the beginning. Inland Marine Insurance (IMI) is a specialized type of property insurance that covers equipment that likely will be moved from site to site. IMI is also used for equipment that is in a class of its own when it comes to valuation, such as small tools, self-propelled equipment, and other miscellaneous equipment.

Here is a little background so you understand how this insurance came about. Long ago when companies were shipping goods overseas via freighters or the like, this special insurance was created and called Ocean Marine Insurance. As times progressed and shipments started transporting in other ways, it was renamed to Inland Marine Insurance. It’s all about protecting goods and equipment during transit while “on the move.”

Therefore, IMI coverage is used to insure specific equipment that will move from place to place or has a unique risk, such as tools, cargo, and even fine art! Though you wouldn’t think fine art would go in this category, just imagine how it is transferred from museum to museum, or gallery to gallery. There are so many types of “equipment” that move from location to location, ranging from construction equipment and cargo to even things such as musical instruments, medical equipment in mobile vans, and even movie cameras.

So, now that you understand better what it is, let’s talk about why you should have this coverage as part of your insurance protection plan.

Although IMI is a bit more of an investment than just having “regular” property coverage, it gives you extra protection from theft or damage to your equipment, during transit or off premise.  Whereas the basic property coverage applies to equipment limited to your premise only.  This is the primary difference between the two types of coverage

If you have equipment of any type that will be moved or used off-premises, we highly recommend you add this protection to your policy if you don’t already have it. Examples of contractors who need IMI would be builders, installers, construction companies, excavators, tree trimmers, etc.

So, simply put, if you have equipment or tools that are used off premises, give Contractors Insurance Agency a call and let’s discuss what your policy and investment would look like.  Most clients are surprised at the affordability of adding Inland Marine Insurance coverage.

In conclusion, if any of your equipment is used off premises, you want to be sure that it is covered properly so that no matter what happens you can have peace of mind that you are protecting your investments in the best way you can. At Contractors Insurance Agency, all of our agents are CRIS Certified (Construction Risk and Insurance Specialist).  Also, we are not your typical “jack-of-all-trades” insurance agency!  Due to our specialty focus we have access to selected programs and more competitive rates for contractor business owners like you, than the traditional agent.

Feel free to leave a comment or ask any questions! If you are ready to get a quote, just reach out to us and let’s talk. We are here to help!

Personal Protective Equipment & Liability

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Ensuring a safe job site is essential.

For the first time in many years, OSHA has made significant changes in their PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) requirements, and we urge you to take a look at this “Quick Glance Card” they have issued to make it easier to understand we have also created a checklist for a PPE audit.

When it comes to liability insurance for contractors in terms of PPE, it is vital that you have at all times a current liability policy for yourself and any and all employees.* As a contractor, you are responsible for maintaining all PPE requirements for yourself and any and all of your employees. Most people are aware of what PPE is—equipment designed to protect your head, eyes, body, extremities, and even lungs. It’s safe and smart to use, even if you’re only going to be onsite for a few minutes. The old adage “better safe than sorry” is never more true than here!

Your Certificate of Insurance should be kept with you at all times while on the job site, and should clearly state that your primary coverage is contractor liability. This certificate verifies that you hold active insurance coverage for workers’ compensation, employer (contractor) liability, general liability, and what the liability limits are. There is a lot of coverage offered, so be sure that your policy includes premises and operations, independent contractor, products, completed operations and contractual liability.

It’s important to understand that the Certificate of Coverage is simply that—a certificate stating you have coverage. It is neither indefinite nor a guarantee of coverage. Obviously, if premiums are not paid or coverage lapses, liability may then fall to the project owner. If this happens, what results is a huge legal sticky mess—and no contractor wants that! Not to mention a project owner.

So, the laws states PPE is necessary when high-risk work is being undertaken, and responsibility for supplying it is in the hands of the contractor, along with liability insurance as you are, in effect, self-employed. A freelancer. You employ yourself.

What are your obligations? In brief—please remember, this is not an all-inclusive list and we, along with OSHA’s guidelines, will help you make your way through all the jargon-filled twists and turns!

  • Performance of a complete and comprehensive survey and assessment of any and all workplace hazards
  • Identification of all required PPE and ensuring adequate quantity
  • Full training in the usage of PPE
  • Inspection and maintenance of the PPE, replacing when necessary
  • Record-keeping of any and all safety incidents
  • Remember—it is your responsibility to strictly enforce the wearing of and adherence to all PPE regulations, and to update your compliance program whenever circumstances may change

A few best practice tips for you as a contractor to achieve safety compliance and work without complications:

  • Make sure your PPE policy is in writing, and everyone can easily and quickly refer to it when necessary (a written policy is a requirement of OSHA).
  • Keep up-to-date with state and federal regulations that are specific to your industry (professional associations can help you with this, if you’re unsure about how to wade your way through all of those).
  • Enforcement, enforcement, and enforcement yet again! Hold everyone responsible, set the rules, and be ready and willing at all times to set the example. Remember, your employees (and yourself) are your responsibility.
  • Your PPE policy should follow all regulations set forth in any Material Safety Data Sheets—make sure these are at-hand and everything is in perfect sync.
  • Check you have the correct level of hard-hat protection for the job, as there are three classes of protection.
  • The proof is in the details! Check to make sure, just as with the hard-hats, that gloves and the like are adequate to the job hazard presented.
  • Record-keeping, record-keeping, and more record-keeping! Just like with enforcement, this needs to be stressed. Make sure everything is signed, every T is crossed and every I is dotted, for every inspection you perform.

So when it comes to your liability protection, PPE compliance is only one among many. Along with talking to your insurance provider, OSHA’s website is your go-to, and has some easy-to-understand information for contractors. Remember, in 2016 it was updated for the first time in nearly thirty years, so much has changed! We have also created a downloadable checklist for a PPE audit. Download it now.

We have what you need for your protection, so give us a call or send us a message!

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* This information is not to be deemed legal advice on your insurance liability responsibilities, and legal counsel should be retained if you have questions. This information is for liability insurance requirement purposes regarding Personal Protective Equipment.

workers comp mistakes that will cost you

Avoid These Mistakes to Save on Workers Comp Insurance Copy

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While most business owners know that they need to have workers compensation insurance, they don’t give much thought to it. However, there are things to avoid if you want to save on Workers Comp Insurance costs.

Here are some of the mistakes to avoid.

Not Requiring Safety Training for Your Employees

Even if you feel like your business is part of a low-risk industry, it’s important to remember that the risk of employee injury is ever-constant. It’s vital to offer your employees workplace health and safety training. Your training program should educate your staff about the risks they face, how to mitigate these risks, and what to do if an accident occurs. When your employees understand risk factors associated with your business, they are less likely to sustain injuries on the job. This, in turn, will reduce your workers compensation insurance costs.

Not Reporting Claims

When business owners fail to report employee accidents or injuries to their insurers, they are making a costly mistake. While you might think that paying for an employee’s medical treatment out-of-pocket is cheaper than the official claims process, you are leaving yourself open to a considerable amount of risk. If your employee’s injuries end up being more extensive than you thought or if they decide to sue your company, you can no longer access your workers compensation coverage at this point. This means that you will be completely responsible for all of these expenses. Rather than leaving yourself and your business’s assets vulnerable to these possibilities, it’s far better to secure coverage through official channels.

These are some of the workers compensation insurance mistakes that could end up costing you. Do you need further advice or assistance with your business’s insurance? Don’t hesitate to contact the experts at Contractors Insurance Agency. Our dedicated team is ready to help you today.

file an insurance claim

Tips for Filing an Insurance Claim

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Accidents and natural disasters can strike without warning, causing costly damage to your home, vehicles and personal belongings. When this happens, you will have to file an insurance claim in order for your policy to kick in and recoup your losses.

In order to get the most out of the claims process, consider the following tips:

  • Call John Scott Insurance Agency as soon as an incident occurs. The quicker you get the process moving, the better. After you’ve contacted us, we will get everything in place for an adjuster to come and inspect the damage.
  • Document your losses before the adjuster comes. Make a thorough list of property that has been impacted by a disaster. Provide purchase receipts, or estimate how much the belongings cost and when you bought them.
  • Take photographs of the accident scene, and don’t throw out damaged items before notifying us.

Above all, it’s important to document the claims process, noting when you speak with the team here at John Scott Insurance Agency and what the conversations entailed. This will help you track the amount of reimbursement you should receive and allow you to keep a record of insurance claims for future use.

 

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