Automobile Repair Shop Business Insurance

Car dealerships, like other industries, have run into trouble in the recent economic times.  Like other professions, auto mechanics may find themselves laid off or working less than full time. Some mechanics have opted to open their own repair shops as a result.  Like any business, auto repair businesses and the mechanics that own them need to get the proper insurance in place.

For any type of business, there are several basic needs, and some specialty insurance coverage to consider.  General liability is the first piece of putting together an auto repair business insurance package.  No matter how diligent you are, everyday you are at risk of being sued.  Court costs and legal fees, damage awards, and time spent can financially ruin a business.  A general liability insurance policy will cover costs and protect the assets of the business.  Garage keepers insurance also needs to be discussed where you are keeping customers vehicles for a period of time.  Product liability insurance is another option that needs serious consideration.  If you are towing vehicles, tow truck insurance will cover liability and damage claims in transit to the repair shop as well as bodily injury and property damage.

Property insurance is the next insurance a business including auto repair shops need to consider.  Property insurance will cover the building structure and furnishings as well as some equipment.  Additional options that should be discussed include employee’s tools, debris removal and pollutant clean up, computer equipment, and equipment breakdown or boiler and machinery insurance.

A business owner’s policy can provide a good insurance package by combining the coverage discussed.  In addition, many of the options can be added as part of the business owner’s policy instead of purchasing separate policies for each.

If the auto repair business has employees, then as a rule, workers compensation is required.  This is always purchased as a separate insurance.  While every state varies in specific standards, we recommend having workers compensation in place from the first employee hire.  In addition, it may make sense to explore crime insurance and employment practices insurance as well.

Don’t assume your auto repair business is adequately insured.  Talk to a licensed insurance professional who understands the needs of your business.  Together you can design a plan to meet both risk and the budget.

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Does My Liability Insurance Cover Everything?

In order to be fully protection in your business, one of the essential policies is the general liability policy. It will reduce your business’s risk of exposure.

This type of coverage is meant to protect the business in the event that someone claims injury or property damage due to something your business fails to do or does not do enough.

Generally speaking, general liability insurance covers property damage, personal injury, bodily injury, and assorted other types of injury which include copyright infringement, defamation of character, slander, and invasion of privacy.

While it might appear that some people believe that a general liability policy is the only type of coverage needed for liability protection. That is not, however, the case.

Additional situations any business owner should consider include professional negligence and failure to perform duties which are standard in your industry. While this may not sound like something you would need, this sort of case happens with a customer says that they work which you did for them caused them pain and suffering due to mistakes or things you may have overlooked. It also covers some of the things which happen with there is a misunderstanding between the customer and provider as to what is required.

Many businesses have had to close due to lawsuits of this type.

For accountants, realtors, medical providers, and lawyers, exposure to errors and omissions pose a much larger problem than general liability risks. Professional liability insurance covers legal costs and any settlement or award up to the limit of the policy.

Meet with your licensed insurance professional in order to determine if professional liability insurance needs to be part of business insurance package. That professional can help you understand the different liability risks associated with your business and general business risks and design the right coverage to reduce those risks.

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Commercial Insurance Agents

It’s a well-known fact that business owners and entrepreneurs have a passion for what they do.  Whether you’re an accountant, a tow truck company, a delivery service, or a flower shop, something ignited within you to risk opening your own small business.  Many business owners forget to focus some of this fire into protecting the business and the assets they have in place.

Chances are pretty good that if you have been in business for any amount of time, you have some commercial insurance in place.  It’s also a pretty good chance that it’s time to focus on the coverage in place and make sure you are protecting the business and yourself properly.

Do you look at your commercial insurance as just a necessity and have to look up your agent’s name?  If so, it may be time to re-evaluate that outlook.  It’s important to make your licensed insurance professional part of your key advisory team.  No doubt you use a CPA for your taxes and attorney for your legal issues, but do you consider your commercial insurance agent in the same category?  If not, let’s examine why you should change that outlook.

You took considerable personal and financial risk in starting a business.  Why continue to expose your business and assets without proper protection.  One frivolous lawsuit can ruin a business.  Do you know if your general liability insurance would cover that type of lawsuit?  Do you know whether or not you need additional liability coverage from Professional Liability insurance?  Is your equipment and office fully covered under your present property insurance?  Do you know how the value of the claim will be determined?  Is it replacement cost or actual cash value?  Do you need loss of income or mechanical breakdown insurance now?  What natural disasters are covered?

Your commercial insurance agent needs to become a key part of your team.  Bring them up to date and spend some time with them.  Let them know what has changed in your business and where you project the future to be so are fully covered.  Make sure you have the proper coverage in place to protect the hard work and passion you bring to work every day.

Lawncare and Landscaping Business Insurance

A major issue lawncare providers face when deciding on the insurance coverage needed is that no two companies do exactly the same type of work.  Some may do snow removal in the winter. Some may do tree removal and arbor work.  Some may do hardscape or serious ground work.  No matter what your landscape business focuses on, it is important to review any types of work accepted when considering insurance risk.

That leads to the crucial point of lawncare business insurance, using a licensed insurance professional every step of the way in designing your lawncare insurance package.  Make sure to review what your business does, and what types of work you would consider taking in your business so an unforeseen incident doesn’t wreak havoc on your business.

Like most businesses, a basic combination of general liability, property insurance, and workers compensation is the starting point.  After getting the basic coverage, additional protection needs to be reviewed.

Start with your general liability insurance.  A business of any type, including a landscaping business needs to have liability insurance in place.  This liability insurance protects you and your company against many forms of negligence.

Next, your property insurance for your business is very similar to the homeowner’s coverage you carry personally.  You are protecting the building, furniture, and business equipment such as phones, computers, cabinets, and copiers.  It’s important to note that a separate commercial automobile policy also needs to be included.

Finally, workers compensation insurance is necessary if you have any employees.

Once the basics are covered, talk to your agent about other types of coverage.  Coverage like mechanical breakdown, loss of income, and maybe event some types of hazardous coverage if your business warrants its.   The key to maximizing coverage coupled with affordability is working with your licensed insurance professional every step of way in formalizing your landscaper insurance package.

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How To Determine Business Risk

We are asked from time to time how to determine business insurance needs, and we tell those who ask that in the end, that determination rests with the owner.

All too often, we hear from people after a disaster, “I thought it was covered under my business insurance.” This is exactly the kind of surprise we do not want people to experience. And it is an easy thing to get with your licensed insurance professional to make sure coverage is adequate.

All businesses need some kind of business insurance in order to be fully protected, and there are many kinds of coverage available.

Some kinds of insurance are mandatory in many states. Vehicle and workers compensation insurance are examples of mandatory insurance. But do not be fooled into thinking that those are the only kinds of coverage which are mandatory, or that those are the only kinds of coverage your business will need.

Below is a list of kinds of insurance available to businesses. For purposes of this list, we assume that property, general liability, and workers compensation are already part of your present package.

Business interruption insurance: This covers losses and expenses due to fire or other incidents.  The policy covers salaries, rent, utilities, and even lost profits.

Directors and Officers Liability: This protects the officers and board members from suits brought against the company and its officers.

Employment practices liability: This covers against lawsuits of sexual harassment and wrongful termination.

Errors and Omissions: Also known as professional liability insurance.  This insurance protects against legal claims of malpractice or failure to perform to professional standard.

Health insurance: Major medical insurance offered to employees.

Product liability insurance: This protects both sellers and manufacturers against defects and injury as a result of product use or components.

Web site insurance: This covers a variety of claims relating to the company website.  It includes copyright infringement, and data breach.

Take this list and compare it to the kinds of coverage you now have. It might be a good idea to talk to your licensed insurance professional about whether those on the list but not currently used by you are important to your business.

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Knowing What’s Covered

Many business owners believe their property insurance will cover damage from a disaster. That is a myth.

As a matter of fact, many disasters may not be covered at all.

Generally speaking, your property insurance will cover you from a loss of a common risk like an accident, vandalism, or theft.  Fire is normally covered under you property insurance. But flooding may not be.  In fact, even disaster insurance may not cover flooding.  Talk to your agent regarding damage from flooding, winding, and other natural disasters.

In the world of insurance today, there are various packages available to cover a multitude of risks.  The key is to maximize coverage without duplication.  Work with your licensed insurance professional, your commercial insurance agent to figure out specifically what coverage is needed to protect your business property.

Get together with your agent or broker and determine what coverage and risk your particular business could face.  You’ll need to compare policy coverage, premiums, risks, deductibles, and many factors in selecting your final property insurance coverage.

Like many business people, after weighing the options, you’ll want to choose the most coverage you can afford.  Obviously, get the coverage in place as most likely to least likely if affordability is an issue.  Even with disaster insurance, look at the details of the policy and coverage options.

It’s also important to remember the effect of any type of disaster.  Loss of income insurance should be discussed.  Often, we forget about the down time a disaster will bring to the business.  Loss of income insurance can cover the liabilities and owner’s income while reopening the business after a disaster.  Check with your agent about this important coverage.  Often, it is added as an option and sold as a separate policy.

Finally, you should also consider all the coverage with one insurance company.  Generally, multiple policies are afforded discounts whether personal or business insurance.  Do not hesitate to ask your licensed insurance professional if discounts are available.

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Retailers and Product Liability

We frequently hear from retailers that they are confused about whether or not they need product liability insurance.

Although it is common knowledge that manufacturers need product liability coverage, it is not intuitive that retailers may be wise to avail themselves of these policies.

Let’s say a customer buys a product from your shop, say a disposable lighter, and the customer uses it and it it malfunctions, burning your customer. Your store may be sued — along with the manufacturer — even though you had nothing to do with manufacturing it or making it unsafe, and you had no way of knowing it would malfunction.

Product liability laws in America allow lawyers to hold everyone responsible for that has anything to do with making or selling products. Large money awards due to claims of injury can ruin a business without sufficient insurance for such cases.  The legal costs alone can ruin a business before a settlement or award is ever issued.

Product liability insurance protects retail businesses against claims made from the sale of goods, products, medicines or foods sold to the public.  Such a policy covers the retail sellers liability for losses or injuries suffered as a result of purchasing a product by a buyer, user, or bystander as well as defective products or product malfunction.  In some cases, it may also protect the retailer from failure to warn.

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Initiate a discussion with your licensed insurance professional and review your needs and what is available in the area of product liability insurance.

Choosing Appropriate Coverage Amounts

Trying to choose the proper insurance and coverage amounts can be overwhelming.  Let’s look at the typical business insurance needed by almost any business as well as some additional insight to other coverage available for store owners. Understanding the language in an insurance policy is important.  Work with a licensed insurance professional along the way to help you understand the specifics of your policies.

Risk management is generally a department of a big company, but even in a small store, the business owner has to assume that role.  Your licensed insurance professional becomes your number one resource in determining the risk you and your business have and help you determine the coverage necessary to reduce that risk.  In addition, the state department of insurance and different retail associations can provide additional information key to your store.

Most stores will find three primary areas of risk which need to be addressed.  The first is property insurance.  Property insurance protects your business property and inventory against loss or damage by accident, theft, or another cause or by another party.  Often, your property insurance may be purchased in conjunction with your liability coverage.

These combined policies are often sold as Business Owners Policies or B.O.P’s.  The second is general liability insurance.  Liability insurance protects the company against claims of injury either bodily or physically.  This would protect you in the event of an accident at your business or in another location where you or your employees are conducting business.

As noted above, general liability protection is offered through a B.O.P.  In some cases, a business may also need professional liability coverage.  Discuss professional liability with your insurance professional.  Medical Malpractice Insurance is an example of professional liability insurance.

Finally, if you have employees, workers compensation is required in most states.  This insurance covers medical and loss wages to an employee injured conducting company business.  It also protects the business from being sued by the employee.

In addition to the three primary insurance needs, there are specialized policies and coverage options.  Plate glass and signage is one example.  Loss of use and mechanical breakdown coverage are others.  Crime insurance and having a commercial umbrella policy are other types.

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Work with you licensed insurance professional to assess the risk and develop a comprehensive insurance package that fits your specific needs.  Remember, your insurance agent and the companies represented are tremendous resources available for you.

Insurance for Home-Based Businesses

Although many people believe that homeowner’s insurance will cover their home-based businesses, that sort of policy usually does not cover business losses.

Homeowner’s insurance policies are written specifically to protect the personal day-to-day running of your home, and most policies specifically exclude claims which pertain to the running of a business. They will frequently go a short way toward covering items which are related to your home-based business. For example, your homeowner’s insurance policy might cover your desk which is ruined in a fire or your computer which is stolen in a burglary, but anything more would likely be denied.

Other risks involved with operating a business whether home-based or not, need to be looked at. At the very least, a home based-business owner should consider purchasing a business liability insurance policy.  Such a policy will cover claims due to accident or negligence if another party claims bodily injury or damage to their property.

Depending on the type of business, it might be wise to explore the need for professional liability or E&O insurance.  Many home-based businesses starting out, including those belonging to accountants, consultants, or computer/web hosting companies should consider professional liability insurance. Professional liability insurance covers claims of malpractice, negligence, or improper advice given to a third party and will cover legal costs and awards which could cripple or put a small company out of business.

If your business is storing inventory, developing and manufacturing products, or has high end or expensive equipment or furnishings, you should definitely consider some form of commercial property insurance.  This property insurance covers a wide variety of losses and in the event of fire or other types of damage.  This type of insurance should be reviewed carefully with your licensed insurance professional.

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As always, your licensed insurance professional will guide you in developing an insurance program for today and beyond.

Pub Insurance

Commercial restaurant insurance coverage is a necessity for restaurants, donut shops, coffee shops, delicatessens, pubs, bistros, and nightclubs.

Running a pub means juggling numerous tasks every day.  It means having all sorts of stress in your life all the time. You do not want to let your pub insurance become one of the things which cause you stress.

Putting a good insurance policy in place will reduce stress and worry down the road, and it will allow you to focus on the operation of your pub.

An appropriate insurance policy for a pub needs to provide coverage for a variety of risks.  It should cover employees, equipment, buildings, liquor liability, general liability, and loss of income.

If alcohol is served, liquor liability should be included. This insurance will protect you and your pub if a customer gets intoxicated and causes injury to themselves or others or damages to property. There are a number of coverage options with varying limits and deductibles.  Make a note to talk to your licensed insurance professional to review what you need.

Additionally, your pub insurance should cover workers compensation and perhaps insurance to cover plate glass and signage.  In this day and age, the pub insurance policy should also cover food-borne illness.

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Be sure you discuss the unique aspects of your business with your licensed insurance professional so your agent can help you determine the appropriate coverage.