P&C

Commercial Auto Insurance

As a business owner, you need the same kinds of insurance coverages for the business car as you do for your personal car - liability, collision and comprehensive, medical payments (known as personal injury protection in some states), and coverage for uninsured motorists. In fact, many business people use the same vehicle for both business and pleasure. If the vehicle is owned by the business, make sure the name of the business appears on the policy as the "principal insured" rather than your name. This will avoid possible confusion in the event that you need to file a claim or a claim is filed against you.

Whether you need to buy a business auto insurance policy will depend on the kind of driving you do. A good insurance agent will ask many details about how you use vehicles in your business, who will be driving them, and whether employees, if you have them, are likely to be driving their own cars for your business.

While the major coverage is the same, a business auto policy differs from a personal auto policy in many technical respects. Ask your insurance agent to explain all the differences and options.

General Liability Insurance

Unfortunately, for every business owner, the chances of getting sued have dramatically increased over the last decade. General Liability insurance can prevent a legal suit from turning into a financial disaster by providing financial protection in case your business is ever sued or held legally responsible for some injury or damage.

General Liability pays losses arising from real or alleged bodily injury, property damage, or personal injury on your business premises or arising from your operations.

Broad Range of General Liability Protection

Bodily Injury, including the cost of care, the loss of services, and the restitution for any death that results from injury.

Property Damage coverage for physical damage to property of others or the loss of use of that property.

Products -Completed Operations provides liability protection (damages and legal expenses up to your policy's limit) if an injury ever resulted from something your company made or service your company provided.

Products Liability is a more specialized product liability insurance that protects your company against lawsuits from product-related injury.

Contractual Liability extends to any liability you may assume by entering into a variety of contracts.

Other coverage includes: Reasonable Use of Force; Borrowed Equipment; Liquor Liability; Non-Owned Vehicles (such as aircraft and watercraft); Fire, Lightning or Explosion Damage; Water Damage Liability Protection; Legal Defense Costs; Medical Payments; Personal Injury; Advertising Injury; and specialized liability protection for specific business types.

Workers Compensation Insurance

Workers compensation laws were created to ensure that employees who are injured on the job are provided with fixed monetary awards. This eliminates the need for litigation and created an easier process for the employee. It also helps control the financial risks for employers since many states limit the amount an injured employee can recover from an employer.

Workers Compensation Insurance is designed to help companies pay these benefits. As a protection for employees, most states require that employers carry some form of Workers Compensation Insurance. Workers Compensation Insurance is not health insurance. Workers Compensation is designed specifically for injuries sustained on the job.

In most states, if you have employees, you are required to carry Workers Compensation coverage. Even in non-mandatory states, it can be a very good idea, particularly if you have many employees, or if they are engaged in hazardous activities.

Do I need workers compensation insurance?

Employers have a legal responsibility to their employees to make the workplace safe; however, accidents happen even when every reasonable safety measure has been taken.

To protect employers from lawsuits resulting from workplace accidents and to provide medical care and compensation for lost income to employees hurt in workplace accidents, in most states, businesses are required to buy workers compensation insurance. Workers compensation insurance covers workers injured on the job, whether they're hurt on the workplace premises or elsewhere, or in auto accidents while on business. It also covers work-related illnesses.

Workers compensation provides payments to injured workers without regard to who was at fault in the accident for time lost from work, and for medical and rehabilitation services. It also provides death benefits to surviving spouses and dependents.

Each state has different laws governing the amount and duration of lost income benefits, the provision of medical and rehabilitation services, and how the system is administered. For example, in most states there are regulations that cover whether the worker or employer can choose the doctor who treats the injuries and how disputes about benefits are resolved.

Workers compensation insurance must be bought as a separate policy. Although in-home business and business owner's policies (BOPs) are sold as package policies, they don't include coverage for workers' injuries.

Homeowners Insurance Information

Everyone's needs are not the same, so it is best to consult your agent to help assess your needs and find the homeowners insurance policy that is right for you.

What is Homeowners insurance?

Homeowners insurance provides financial protection against disasters. A standard policy insures the home itself and the things you keep in it.

Homeowners insurance is a package policy; therefore, it covers both damage to your property and your liability or legal responsibility for any injuries and property damage you or members of your family cause to other people. This includes damage caused by household pets.

Damage caused by most disasters is covered, but there are exceptions. The most significant are damage caused by floods, earthquakes, and poor maintenance. You must buy two separate policies for flood and earthquake coverage. Maintenance related problems are the homeowners responsibility.

Why do you need homeowners insurance?

It is really all about protecting yourself financially if something unexpected happens to your home or possessions. That's important because your home is one of your largest investments.

  1. If your home is destroyed by fire or damaged by a natural disaster, you would need money to repair or replace it.
  2. If a guest in your home is injured, liability protection, and medical coverage help pay expenses.
  3. If you are victim of theft and vandalism, it can reimburse you for loss or pay for repairs.
  4. If you are still paying for your home, your lender will require insurance.
  5. It is important to know that homeowners insurance is meant to cover unexpected damage, not routine maintenance. Ask your agent to talk about what is covered and be sure to review your policy so you know exactly what's included and what is not. Things to Consider and Questions to Ask Your Agent

Here are a few things to discuss with your agent that will influence your decisions.

  1. How much will it cost to rebuild my house and replace my belongings if they are damaged or destroyed? (Ask your agent to talk you through your home's features and the things you own so you can make an informed decision about coverage.)
  2. Does the insurance company have a good reputation for customer service? Is it known for paying claims fairly and promptly?
  3. What discounts are available? (Ask about multiple policy, security system and fire resistance discounts.)
  4. What's the process for filing and settling a claim? (Ask who to call and what happens after you file a claim.)

What is Auto Insurance?

Auto insurance protects you against financial loss if you have an accident. It is a contract between you and the insurance company. You agree to pay the premium and the insurance company agrees to pay your losses as defined in your policy.
Auto insurance provides property, liability and medical coverage.

  • Property coverage pays for damage to or theft of your car.
  • Liability coverage pays for your legal responsibility to others for bodily injury or property damage.
  • Medical coverage pays for the cost of treating injuries, rehabilitation and sometimes lost wages and funeral expenses.

An auto insurance policy is comprised of six different kinds of coverage. Most states require you to buy some, but not all, of these coverages. If you're financing, your lender may also have requirements.
Most auto policies are for six months or a year. Your insurance company should notify you by mail when it's time to renew the policy and to pay your premium.

Why do you need auto insurance?

It's really all about protecting yourself financially.

  • If you're in an accident or your car is stolen, it costs money to fix or replace it.
  • If you or any passengers are injured in an accident, medical costs can be extremely expensive.
  • If you or your car is responsible for damage or injury to others, you may be sued for much more than you're worth.
  • Not only is having insurance a prudent financial decision, many states require you to have at least some coverage.

Questions to ask your agent

Your Independent Agent is an advocate for finding auto insurance that meets your specific needs. Here are a few things to consider as you prepare for the discussion:

  • How much can you afford to pay if you're in an accident? (To keep premiums low you may want to have a higher deductible and be willing to pay more for repairs.)
  • What is the insurance company's level of service and ability to pay claims?
  • What discounts are available? (Ask about good driver, multiple policy, and student discounts.)
  • What's the procedure for filing and settling a claim? (Ask who to call and what happens after you file a claim.)

Boat Insurance

Although boat insurance is not required in any state, it's a smart idea to protect your investment against storms, accidents, passenger injuries, rough seas, hypothermia, etc. The next question is how much insurance and what type of insurance you need or would like to have. As with car insurance, full coverage boat insurance covers almost everything, including theft, fire, accidents, and natural disasters. If you have the financial ability to absorb unexpected costs or if you simply want to keep your insurance costs low, liability boat insurance will cover costs of damages to other people or property, NOT your own damages. (Full coverage may be required if you are still financing your boat, just like with cars.)

Consider the following:

The value of your boat, The risks you take while boating, The location where you do most of your boating, How much insurance you can afford , How much cost you can cover should you need repairs, And keep in mind the possibility that you could be sued if others suffer as a result of a boating accident.

Motorcycle Insurance

Motorcycle insurance isn't a choice - you must have a policy taken out on your bike in order to drive legally.

Much like car insurance, liability coverage is mandatory. Collision insurance, comprehensive coverage and uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage are optional coverages that you may wish to add to your policy. Below are brief descriptions of the various coverage options for your motorcycle:

Liability Insurance:
This type of insurance covers any damage or injury you may cause to property or other people in the event you are deemed to be at-fault in an accident or collision. However, it doesn't cover you or your motorcycle. Some policies may include coverage for a guest passenger as well, but this is not guaranteed.

Collision Insurance:
You can add collision insurance to your policy to cover your motorcycle if liability insurance isn't enough to help you sleep soundly at night. Collision insurance pays for damage to your motorcycle, less your deductible. Even if the damage is your fault, this coverage will still apply.

Comprehensive Coverage:
This coverage protects your bike from non-accident related perils; including fire, theft and acts of vandalism.

General Liability

A business owner's policy or BOP is a type of pre-packaged insurance designed for certain types of small-business owners. The BOP allows business owners to save on liability insurance costs by bundling multiple insurance policies together for a single affordable premium.

A Business Owners Policy is simply bundled insurance designed to provide essential coverage to certain business owners at a competitive price. Most often, the insurance coverage offered by a Business Owner's Policy includes:

Commercial General Liability Insurance coverage (protection from claims of property damage or bodily injury)

Property Insurance (to protect physical assets)

Insurance for several other types of loss, including lost income, advertising damage and more

While a BOP can help many businesses save money, it generally isn't a good fit for businesses with higher liability risks. For high-risk companies, the coverage limits offered by a standard BOP are usually insufficient. Even if a BOP is a good fit for your business, keep in a mind that not all BOPs offer uniform coverage; be sure to check with your agent whether your BOP meets your business's needs.

Personal Umbrella Insurance

Personal umbrella insurance is a form of liability insurance that will supplement your basic liability policies, such as your auto, home, or renters insurance. A personal umbrella liability policy covers a much higher limit and goes above and beyond claims directly relating to your home and auto.

The main purpose of your umbrella policy is to protect your assets from an unforeseen event, such as a tragic accident in which you are held responsible for damages or bodily injuries. If another party files a lawsuit against you, your umbrella coverage will pay for the damages you're legally responsible for up to the policy limit.

An umbrella policy provides additional coverage or "excess liability" above the limits of your basic policies. It can protect you from bodily injury liability claims and property damage liability claims. Umbrella policies also provide a broader form of coverage and can help cover legal fees, false arrest, libel, and slander.

Commercial / Business Umbrella Insurance

The main benefit of purchasing Business Umbrella Insurance, rather than opting for higher limits on your existing policies, is that Umbrella insurance tends to be more cost-effective: you can spend less each month on premium payments to enjoy significantly greater insurance protection. In addition, you can expand your coverage limits on several policies through a single Umbrella policy. For example, instead of investing in higher limits on General Liability, Auto Liability, and Employer's Liability policies, you could invest in a single Umbrella Liability policy that offers extended coverage on all three.

For a single premium, a Business Umbrella insurance policy adds another layer of protection to any of several other policies that you might carry, including General Liability, Employer's Liability, and Hired and Non-owned Auto Liability policies. For instance, if you have $1 million in General Liability coverage and a covered claim is settled for $1.5 million, your Business Umbrella Insurance policy would pick up the $500,000 not covered by your General Liability policy.