Get Your Food Truck Rolling…But Don’t Leave the Insurance Behind!

Food truck owner taking orders from her customers.
Make sure your food truck business is properly insured.

A food truck can be a great business–less overhead than a restaurant, and the ability to go where the customers are–but you have to be sure your food truck insurance is in place in adequate amounts before you take off, if you want to stay in business.

It’s important to find an insurance agent who understands the particulars of food truck insurance, whether your operation is brand new, or just undergoing changes. Putting together a risk management plan that covers the basics as well as your individual needs is paramount to undergirding future success. Your budget, your goals, and your risks are all pertinent–be prepared for questions about your annual income and other specifics when you discuss food truck insurance with your agent.

Familiarizing yourself with some basic coverages can help you understand the process, and help you make choices that can protect your business…

General Liability. Also called “slip and fall” insurance, General Liability protects you in case of physical damages or injuries to third parties. Food-related injuries also fall under this coverage; if you’re sued because of food poisoning or an injury that resulted from your product, this is the policy that you would use for covering legal costs.

Commercial Auto. Not all commercial auto policies are created equal; you need a plan if your business revolves around a vehicle, and your food truck insurance needs to cover not just the actual truck, but modifications and equipment that help your business run–figuratively and literally.

Workers Compensation. If you have employees, you need to understand your state’s laws about Workers Compensation, and whether it needs to be a part of your food truck insurance policy.

Liability Umbrella. Expanding your business doesn’t just mean offering new menu items or gaining access to a new venue; it can also mean that you should consider upping your food truck insurance coverage limits with Liability Umbrella, a policy designed to cover damages when they exceed the limits of your other policies.

A food truck is a great opportunity, and the correct insurance can help make it possible for your business to enjoy a long, healthy life.

Call us today at 1-877-907-5267 to speak with one of our insurance specialists about your food truck insurance needs, or click here to start the process of a quick, free, competitive quote–great coverage is just a phone call or mouse click away.

Insurance for Your Landscaping or Lawn Care Business

landscapers working on lawn and garden
Make sure your landscaping business is properly insured.

Summer can be a great time for a landscaping or lawn care business, and that also means it’s an important season for reviewing the insurance coverage for your lawn care or landscaping business.

Whether you’re just starting a new venture, or your existing landscaping or lawn care business is kicking into high gear, understanding your risks and what the proper coverages are for protecting your assets is key in assisting your success. An important second step would be keeping your lawn care or landscaping insurance commensurate with your growth; new opportunities are exciting, and you may be tempted to think that if you have the time, tools, and manpower, you’re ready for expansion…but covering your risks before an event happens is what keeps your business functioning in case of a claim against you. Don’t let your insurance lapse or lag behind your operations.

Speaking with an experienced insurance professional who understands your business’s needs is crucial, and it’s also imperative that you answer any questions–truthfully–about what you do or don’t do in your lawn care or landscaping business, so that your insurance can truly protect you.

Having a working knowledge of some types of insurance policies that are commonly needed in landscaping or lawn care businesses might help you understand your insurance agent’s questions, and may also assist you in taking a proactive role in guiding your business’s future.

  • General Liability. This policy protects you in case of an event that could cause a third party injuries or damages. The most basic landscaping or lawn care insurance policy should contain General Liability.
  • Property Insurance. Your building (if you have one), your business equipment–these need to be protected, and included in your landscaping or lawn care insurance.
  • Inland Marine. An endorsement to your landscaping or lawn care insurance that covers the tools that make your business possible. This coverage can be crucial to keeping your business going in case they’re damaged or stolen.
  • Workers Compensation. You need to understand your obligations towards employees, even if your only worker is a friend who helps you part time. Familiarize yourself with your state’s requirements and make sure your landscaping or lawn care insurance is providing what you need in this area.

A landscaping or lawn care business can be an incredibly profitable and flexible venture…but if it isn’t properly insured, not only do you risk losing that versatile and potentially lucrative enterprise, you put your personal assets in jeopardy and run the risk of going into debt if you have a claim made against you. (Remember that claims don’t have to be valid to need defense and court costs aren’t usually cheap.)

Risk management is an art, and our business is helping you protect your business–right now, and as it grows. Call us today at 1-877-907-5267 to speak with one of our specialists about your lawn care or landscaping insurance, or click here to start the process of a quick, free, competitive quote.

Commercial Insurance 101

The success of any business depends on a vision, work ethic, and building a dream; commercial insurance makes sure that all the effort and money you have invested in your business is covered in case a natural or financial disaster strikes. Most businesses need to purchase at least the following four types of insurance:

Property Insurance covers you if the property you use in your business is lost or damaged by common perils such as fire or theft. Property insurance covers not just a building or structure, but also what insurers call business personal property, like furnishings.

Liability Insurance covers you in the event that someone claims your business caused them harm. Your liability insurance pays damages to third parties resulting from bodily injury or property damage for which your business is legally liable, up to the policy limits, as well as legal fees associated with the claim. It also covers any medical bills for any people injured by your business.

Commercial Vehicle Insurance provides coverage for autos owned by the business. This insurance pays any costs to third parties resulting from bodily injury or property damage for which your business or employees are found legally liable, up to the policy limits. Depending on what kind of coverage you buy, the insurance may pay to repair or replace your vehicle because of damage resulting from accidents, theft, flooding, and other events.

Workers Compensation Insurance or workers comp, as this coverage is commonly known, pays for medical care and replaces a portion of lost wages for an employee who is injured in the course of employment, regardless of who was at fault for the injury. It also helps protect the business from a lawsuit from the injured employee.

There is additional coverage to be considered in addition to the basics highlighted above, there are various other policies needed by some businesses, including the following:

Business Catastrophe Liability or Umbrella policies provide coverage over and above your other liability coverage limits. They are designed to protect against unusually high losses. For the typical business, the umbrella policy would provide protection over and above general liability and auto liability policies.

Professional Liability Insurance policies are designed to meet specific needs of individual businesses specialized for liability policies needed by some businesses. They include Errors and Omissions Insurance (E&O)/Professional Liability Insurance, Employment Practices Liability Insurance (EPLI) and Directors and Officers Liability Insurance (D&O).

Terrorism Insurance is offered to owners of commercial property as mandated by the Terrorism Risk Insurance Act, enacted by Congress in 2002. Insurance losses attributed to terrorist acts under these commercial policies are insured by private insurers and reinsured by the federal government.

Navigating the world of commercial insurance and determining your businesses’s needs can be tricky. Be sure that you engage a reliable insurance professional when the time comes to purchase or re-evaluate your commercial insurance policies.

You can click here to start the process of a quick, free, easy quote from one of our specialists at CommercialInsurance.net, or call us at 1-877-907-5267.

Types Of Insurance Any Business Owner Should Own

There are a few types of insurance any business owner or business should own, and the include (but are not limited to)…

Life Insurance. Life insurance protects loved ones against your death, but it can also be used to benefit your business–or save–your business. If you have life insurance, the insurer pays a certain amount of money to a beneficiary upon your death. You pay a premium in exchange for the payment of benefits to the beneficiary. This type of insurance is very important because it allows for peace of mind both personally and professionally; having life insurance allows you to know that your loved ones or company will not be burdened financially upon your death.

General Liability Insurance. Every business, even if home-based, needs to        have liability insurance.  The policy provides legal defense and settlements or awards of damages if you, your employees or your products or services cause or are alleged to have caused bodily injury or damage to a third party.

Property Insurance.  If you own your building or lease space, or if you store business property at your home including office equipment, computers, inventory or tools, you should consider purchasing a policy that will protect you in case of fire, vandalism, theft, smoke damage etc.  You may also want to consider business interruption/loss of earning insurance as part of the policy to protect your earnings if the business is unable to operate–if income is hindered, you still have to pay your obligations, and these coverages can help you do that.

Commercial Auto Insurance. Commercial auto insurance protects company owned vehicles that carry employees, company products or equipment. With commercial auto insurance you can insure your work cars, SUVs, vans and trucks from damage and collisions.  If you do not have company vehicles, but employees drive their own cars on company business you should have non-owned auto liability to protect the company in case the employee does not have insurance or has inadequate coverage.  Many times the non-owned can be added to a Business Owner’s Policy which combines general liability and property insurance.

Homeowners and Personal Auto Insurance. As your business grows, your personal assets do as well, generally speaking.  Don’t neglect your personal insurance needs; increase your coverage limits as your assets grow.

Umbrella Insurance. You may want some additional coverage, on top of insurance policies you already have. This is where an umbrella policy comes into play. This type of insurance is an extension to an already existing insurance policy and covers beyond the regular policy. This insurance can cover different kinds of claims, including homeowner’s or auto insurance. Generally, it is sold in increments of $1 million and is used only when liability on other policies has been exhausted.  Any business owner should consider this policy to protect their hard earned personal assets.

Nothing can replace speaking with a knowledgeable insurance professional about the types of commercial insurance policies, and determining what your business needs now, and in the future as it grows.

Click here to start the process of a free, quick, competitive quote for your business insurance, or call 1-877-907-5267 to speak with one of our specialists today.

Umbrella Policies

A Commercial Umbrella policy, which is often called excess liability, may afford additional coverage above and beyond the smaller policies that you have in place for your business.

Usually, those smaller policies may include any combination of your Employer’s Liability, General Liability policy, and hired and non-owned Commercial Vehicle policies; umbrella policies can provide additional coverage for all of those.

If you have, for instance, a million dollars in coverage, you may add an umbrella policy in order to maximize the protection of your business assets, in case there’s a loss that exceeds that amount.

As a practical example, let’s suppose that a covered claim someone makes against you is awarded $1,500,000. Let’s also say that you have $1,000,000 in general liability coverage. In the case of an event like this, your umbrella policy would provide the additional $500,000 to settle the claim, saving your business a lot of money and stress.

A commercial liability umbrella policy is one way to increase coverage of several policies while at the same time keeping your overall premiums down.

When considering how much coverage your business needs, several factors come into play. You’ll need to take several things into consideration as you figure out the appropriate amount of excess liability coverage. Some of those factors include the kind of business you own, the assets of the business, and the coverages your business already has in place.

Generally speaking, standard coverages will take care of most situations that are likely to occur, although in extreme situations, it’s important to protect the assets and the general well-being of your business.

You should also remember that a commercial umbrella or excess liability policy will not protect either Errors and Omissions or other risks that would fall under the auspices of a Professional Liability Policy.

A discussion with your licensed insurance professional to develop an analysis of your current business coverage and decide whether a commercial umbrella policy is necessary for your individual situation could be the key to the salvation of your company in the event of a serious claim against your business.

Click here to start the process of a quick, free quote for a variety of business insurance policies–including commercial umbrella policies–or call to speak with one of our specialists at 1-877-907-5267.

What Is Commercial Umbrella Insurance?

What is Commercial Umbrella Insurance and does my business need to carry it?

Commercial umbrella insurance, sometimes called Excess Liability Insurance, supplements the limits of an insured’s underlying policies such as General Liability, Commercial Auto, and Employer’s Liability Insurance. An umbrella policy can also protect a business from gaps in existing coverage, possibly even exclusions written into the primary liability policy. In simple terms, an umbrella policy will pay out when other insurance policy limits have been reached.

For instance, your general liability insurance policy may have a million dollar limit. In the event of an award of 1.25 million dollars, to someone who has filed a claim against you, your general liability policy will pay out the million dollars, and then your commercial umbrella policy (as long as it is in an amount sufficient to make up the difference) will pay out the $250, 000 shortfall, protecting your business assets from lien or liquidation. It is important to remember that a commercial umbrella is used to add protection for general liability, employer liability, and commercial vehicle insurance; it is not a replacement for having policies in place for these things, in the appropriate amounts for your business costs and risks.

When a loss that is eligible for umbrella coverage is either not covered or only partially covered by underlying insurance (including incidents where no other insurance exists), the umbrella insurer has the right and duty to defend any suit against the insured. It is also permitted to investigate any loss and settle any claim or suit as it chooses. In case an insurer is prevented from defending an insured, the insurer will reimburse any defense costs and expenses. However, the expenses must be incurred with the insurer’s written consent.

A commercial umbrella policy can increase the potential coverage of several policies for a substantial dollar amount for a reasonable cost versus increasing the individual policies coverage to the same threshold. This can help a business owner control costs while maximizing protection. It’s important to discuss aspects of umbrella coverage versus raising your standard policy limits and what scenarios could potentially play out in the event a large claim is brought against your business.

Take the time to determine what types of claims are made in your industry and what awards are generally given in a lawsuit. If you belong to an industry association, check with them as well. In many cases, the initial protection will cover most scenarios.

However, your research may indicate a commercial umbrella policy will manage the higher end damage awards and protect the assets and financial solvency of the business in the event of large claim and award.

Your licensed insurance professional can guide you in developing a commercial umbrella policy and how it will work in protecting your business and it’s assets.

In the event that you need help finding out what your specific needs are, you can click here to start the process of getting a competitive, free quote for several types of business insurance–including commercial umbrella policies–or you can call 1-877-907-5267 to speak with one of our specialists.

Business Insuance Claims

Restaurants, travel industries, and several other types of businesses as a whole have suffered losses in revenue over the past couple of years.  However, they are now seeing results from a slow, but steady increase in business.  Like many other companies, however, they are seeking ways to cut expenses and often look at insurance costs as an unnecessary expense. In some cases they’re not only decreasing coverage but whole policies, and this can be a business-ending mistake.

 

Umbrella policies are one of the first to go along with additional coverage such as business income and extra expense.  No one really believes they will ever suffer from catastrophic loss or large claims.  Most of the time, business owners do not really know how specific coverages affect their business and do not maintain proper business insurance to value, therefore reducing their claim settlement to less than expected.  Care, custody and control is another part of the policy where settlement is not understood.  If you have questions about how your policy relates to a cause of loss, please talk with your agent or one of ours. It’s vital to understand what you need and whether you have it–don’t wait until there’s a claim against you to look into it. It might be too late at that point. It’s also important to remember that even unfounded claims often need to be settled, so even if you pride yourself on worksmanship, or professionalism, and don’t believe that a mistake or shoddy work could cost you your company…remember that risk includes things that are out of your control.

 

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. If you need a quick, comprehensive, competitive quote, click here, or call us at 1-877-907-5267 to speak with one of our specialists. Risk management is an art, and our business is helping you protect your business. Get in touch with us today to find out if you’re adequately protected, and rectify the situation if you aren’t.

 

General Liability VS. Professional Liability Insurance

One question we are often asked is, “What is the difference between general liability and professional liability insurance? If I have one of these insurance policies, why would I need the other?”

When looking at business insurance, remember that the kinds of risks businesses face can be significant. So can the costs associated with these types of risks. Not only are you insuring the risk of your business, its property, and employees, but those who come into contact with your business and employees. Your general liability insurance policy will cover these risks. Professional liability insurance will cover these risks as well, although it will also include coverage that is more specific to certain professions and scenarios.

A general liability policy typically insures against claims of bodily or personal injury or property damage, sustained by a third party. The general liability policy will cover the legal fees and costs associated with your legal defense, settlements, and property damages.

Professional liability insurance, also known as errors and omissions or E & O insurance, covers negligence as it pertains to the professional services you provide. Generally, although not always, it is a claim involving financial damages, versus a claim of physical injury against your business. Typically, this type of coverage applies to professions where there is a professional code of conduct or standards which are used as a measure for evaluating how your services should be judged. Naturally, this is all subject to interpretation and is usually determined through the courts.

With either general or professional liability, one claim can be financially devastating to a business. Sometimes damages and injuries are real, and need to be addressed; other times, lawsuits can be baseless and frivolous. But regardless, you need to be prepared for either occurrence. Work with your licensed insurance professional to determine if a professional liability insurance policy is necessary for your business and also for any employees who may also work with clients providing services, or if a general liability insurance policy will suffice.

Click here to start the process of a free quote for either professional liability insurance or a general liability insurance policy, or call us at 1-877-907-5267 to speak with one of our specialists for further clarification about general liability insurance vs. professional liability insurance.

Risk management is an art, and our business is helping you protect your business.

Business Insurance Deductibles

Determining Business Insurance Deductibles

Understanding your business insurance deductibles can be tricky, but it’s a valuable part of managing your insurance costs, and having a solid knowledge about why those costs are what they are.  Your insurance policy will pay a covered loss in the event that there is an occurrence that results in a type of damage that your policy addresses, minus any deductible written into the policy, which it will not pay.

A business insurance deductible is a fixed amount or a percentage of an insurance claim which is to be paid by the insured. Although deductible amounts can be voluntary–with the insured choosing to pay a higher deductible to help reduce premiums–there is generally a standard deductible.

Insurance companies impose these standard deductions to avoid numerous small claims. One example: let’s say you have a claim and your damage is estimated at $7,500.00. You have a deductible of $800.00 on your policy. The check for the claim you receive from your insurance company would subtract the deductible, in this case, $800.00 and you would receive a check for $6,700.00 to settle the claim.

Generally speaking, the higher the deductible, the lower the premium is on the policy and vice versa.

When deciding on a deductible, it pays to weigh the risk and the impact of a loss as well as the premium amount against your cash flow analysis. While it may make sense based on your monthly cash flow to pick the highest deductible and lowest premium, it may be exposing your business to a serious risk.

If your business’s budget would be crippled by producing the money to cover a high deductible in the event of a loss, then it’s probably too high of a risk. This is where the savvy small business owner works with their licensed insurance professional to get the best value and coverage for their business–and their financial state.

While deciding on the deductible, another aspect to review is how you will recoup your loss. A ‘cash value’ basis is a replacement of cost, minus depreciation. A replacement cost will repair or replace the insured property at its present cost without depreciation. Naturally, replacement cost will have a higher premium than cash value.

Nothing replaces a conversation with an insurance professional about the risks and benefits of high vs. low premiums. Call us today at 1-877-907-5267 to speak with one of our specialists about your company’s needs, and your business insurance premiums.

Risk management is an art, and our business is helping you protect your business.