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.

Commercial Auto Insurance

Commercial auto insurance isn’t one size fits all; it needs to be tailored to your specific business and the vehicles you are using.

Most business owners know the risk involved with their product and service but often assume their auto coverage is sufficient.  Any vehicle owned or operated by the business may put the business at serious financial risk in the event of an accident caused by that vehicle or the operator.

Commercial auto insurance needs to be taken out any time the vehicle is titled to the business.  It doesn’t matter the size, make or even if it is used strictly for pleasure–the business name on the title brings the business into danger of a lawsuit in the event of an accident or personal injury.  Even if the car is used by the business owner’s spouse or family member exclusively, the titleholder (the business) may be sued.  It’s important to review driving records of those who are driving your vehicles or may drive them at some point in the future.

Obviously, vehicle classification, motor size, use, must all be noted and will impact both premium and coverage.   Work with your insurance professional in determining the proper coverage and policy.  It may make sense to opt for fleet insurance for your business if you have a number of vehicles to insure.

Make sure you understand the nuances around the liability limits covered by the policy.  Taking just state minimums again may expose your business to financial risk in the event of a lawsuit or judgment higher than the state minimum. We often see business owners assuming way to much risk in having minimum coverage in place. Ask your agent and perhaps your corporate attorney to review the coverage and potential for risk.

You insurance professional will review other coverages available for commercial auto insurance.  Comprehensive coverage, under insured motorist, medical payments and others may be available.  Together, design a policy and coverage that provides adequate protection and minimizes the exposure for your small business.  Don’t assume you have good coverage without having a conversation and review session with your insurance professional.  Make sure to review this insurance annually, or when any changes occur, including adding or dropping a driver.

To speak with one of our specialists, call us today at 1-877-907-5267, or click here to start the process of a quick, free quote.

Purchasing Commercial Auto Insurance

Purchasing commercial auto insurance is much different than purchasing personal auto insurance.

Many business owners are often misinformed about certain specifics involved with purchasing commercial auto insurance. It is important to review vehicle ownership and use of both business owned and personal vehicles that may be used for business.

Failure to understand how commercial auto insurance works can be costly and expensive if an accident occurs and you’re left uncovered. The definition of “business use of a personal vehicle” may vary between insurance carriers. Whether you’re an independent contractor or a sole proprietor, discuss coverage with your insurance professional, and be sure that you’re completely transparent about how your vehicle is used. Even if your auto policy offers coverage, it probably makes sense to raise your liability coverage. A knowledgeable insurance professional will be key to determining what coverage is needed.

If multiple vehicles are owned or leased by a business, it may be necessary to purchase fleet insurance. Depending on the type of company, the number of vehicles differs for qualification for a fleet insurance policy. Remember that trailers and equipment may also qualify as part of the fleet policy. Qualifying for fleet insurance generally reduces the per vehicle cost for coverage. However, there are plenty of reasonable commercial auto policies available for businesses which don’t qualify for fleet coverage.

Many variables play into the cost of commercial auto insurance. Makes, models, features, as well as purpose and driving records all factor into determining the premium. In fact, one poor driving record can increase the premium or even have coverage denied. As your business grows, it is important to screen driving records as part of the hiring process. Business location and mileage estimates will also factor in to determining the premium.

Vehicles traveling longer distances will be charged higher premiums. Care should be taken into choosing vehicles and vehicle replacement. High end cars are expensive to insure due to high cost replacement parts. Mid-size sedans often have lower premiums; often trucks and vans do, as well.

As a rule, the more specialized or equipment, the higher the premium will run. It’s important to review upcoming purchases with your insurance professional first, so you don’t get a shock down the road with a jump in insurance costs. Use your agent as a resource to help guide you through purchasing and adding vehicles without huge spikes in your insurance costs.

Need further guidance or want to price shop? Call us today at 1-877-907-5267, or click here to start the process of a quick, free, competitive quote on commercial auto insurance or other business insurance needs.

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.

Do I need Professional Liability Insurance

Do I really need professional liability insurance?

If you provide a professional service or give professional advice or recommendations to clients, professional liability insurance is recommended. In fact, those in many professions such as; accountants, lawyers, architects, doctors, engineers, software/computer consultants, and numerous others are required to have professional liability insurance.

At any given time, it is possible for an individual to file a lawsuit against you. It’s also important to remember that when a lawsuit is filed that anyone involved in the incident may be named in the lawsuit.

No matter if you or your business is negligent or not, it often takes many months, even years to reach a conclusion. Even if you and your business are exonerated and found not guilty, the costs to get there can be enormous. If in fact there is an award against you that also can be a staggering amount. One major lawsuit can often cripple or put you out of business. Professional liability insurance will relieve this burden and allow you to continue operating your business during a lawsuit.

No business believes it will make mistakes and not have the customer’s best interest at hand. However, mistakes do happen, and you need to remember, anyone can allege anything against you and your business. In fact, the suit may have little to do with you, but even being remotely involved opens you up to being sued. Unfortunately, sometimes in the litigious society we live in, you may be sued for something you allegedly did or didn’t do.

Professional liability insurance helps you be prepared in the event you find yourself or your business tangled up in a lawsuit. Talk to a licensed insurance professional today and review your present situation. Together, you can determine whether professional liability insurance will be a good fit as part of your business plan.

Professional Liability Insurance

My business has general liability insurance, why do I need professional liability insurance?

Many business owners make the mistake of assuming professional liability insurance, or errors and omissions insurance is only for doctors and lawyers. In fact, the term professional is defined as, “someone who is an expert and trained and educated in the field in which they perform.”

People who provide a degree of skill, care and are held to a higher standard may be held accountable if they fail to adhere or perform to a standard of industry. Based on that definition, in addition to doctors and attorneys, anyone who provides professional service to the public should consider professional liability insurance. This includes but is not limited to professions such as realtors, accountants, insurance agents, chiropractors, engineers, consultants, home inspectors, and others which provide professional service or make specific recommendations.

Our society today expects a level of quality and advice and not meeting that expected level may result in the claim of error or damage. Professional liability insurance will protect against financial costs and losses from a lawsuit brought against you or the business as a result of a recommendation or service provided.

Professional liability insurance will cover the costs to defend or settle a claim brought you, your company, or in some cases, your employees. It will cover an individual claim up to a certain limit and also may include a coverage amount limit for the term of the policy.

Contact your industry association and also the department of insurance for recommendations and options. Then speak with a licensed insurance professional to determine what is needed by your particular business. Different businesses require different coverage and will be written specific to your business.

Demolition Insurance

Insurance companies are no longer running away from the wrecking ball.  At least not on buildings of 3 story or less.  That is due to the fact explosives are not use in these type operations therefore the risk is less.   There are main stream companies now entering this market who previously shied away from these risks.

 

Because more main stream competitors are entering the market, rates are decreasing and competition is increasing.  Traditionally, these operations are less risky as previously thought, but companies have become aware this has been a long under-served market and have developed specialty products and rates placing them under their “program markets” allowing agents to address the industry’s special needs and access a company’s expertise.  If you have questions regarding your insurance, please talk with your agent or one of ours.

 

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.

Terrorism Insurance

As we approach the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks many reflections have surfaced.  We can all remember where we were and what we were doing then, but I have to ask myself, “Has it really made a difference in how we do business?”  The immediate answer is to those who travel, yes.  At that time, my job required me to travel by air 2-3 weeks out of a month.  I had to make many changes regarding how I packed and my arrival time at airports.  Most importantly, I made a change to my life insurance which I had not thought about in a very long time.  I do not travel anymore so now I am wondering about the rest of us who only travel from work to home, then back again only to repeat it all over the next day.  I am asking what changes have been made in how 9/11 has affected most business coverage.  For the most part, little thought to terrorism is given when selecting insurance coverage.

 

Terrorism coverage is offered by most insurance companies, if not all.  However, very few business owners have selected any amount and much less, even adequate amounts.  Most small business owners believe they are not at risk of terrorist attack.  Yet many businesses suffered a major loss even though miles from The World Trade Center.  Homeland Security consistently reminds us the threats are increasing.  Because I was in Oklahoma at the time of the 1995 bombing, I am acutely aware how vast the damage can be and how devastating months a business can not longer operate due to ordinances and property damage.  Threats of terrorism may come in many forms.  If you have questions about your insurance, please contact your agent or one of ours.

 

 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.

Certificates Of Insurance

Certificates of Insurance have long been a sort of discord for agents and companies.  Certificates used to be a quick way a company could verify a contractor in possession of a liability policy.  In short, it listed the carrier, policy number and dates.  However, as years went on and companies became more demanding of certain coverage, the naming of additional insureds, and hold harmless clauses, it became increasingly difficult for agents to supply certificates.  Some companies even delegated certificate authority to agents.  This has created an even more confusing issue regarding certificates because of lack of communication between client, agent and company.  No longer can client, agent or company rely upon a certificate to reflect insurance coverage.

 

A more accurate disclosure of coverage comes direct from the insurance company.  Only an insurance company has the power and authority to make changes within their own policy.  Agents may request a change, but does not guarantee the change.  It is my belief insurance companies will soon issue an evidence of insurance that reflects coverages an insured has purchased.  The internet and technology is in place for these to issued in a 24/7 time frame.  Because these come direct from the insurance company, these will reflect the most accurate, timely information possible.  As always, please contact your agent for questions regarding your insurance policy or one of ours.

 

 

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.

Classification of General Liability Insurance

In this economy many businesses add new products and services to their existing accounts.  Most are not thinking about their insurance when doing so.  However, it should be one of the top priorities when making changes to their existing operations.  When an agent works with a client, we are asking questions regarding the business operations.  We are looking for everything that pertains to the operation for the purpose of classifying the risk properly to determine proper premium.  When the risks change within the operations, premium needs to be determined also to cover claims which may arise out of those risks.

 

Agents and companies understand there must be changes within and operation due to economy, market and needs.  Classification is one of the necessary changes within an operation for insurance coverage to apply.  New forms of the Commercial General Liability may or may not apply to operations of which we have no knowledge.  Therefore it is imperative to keep your agent and company informed.  If you have questions regarding your policy, please talk with your agent or one of ours.

 

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