Starting a Business – What Insurance Do You Need?

Starting a Business – What Insurance Do You Need?

Taking the leap into a new business venture is ambitious and thrilling. It’s basic industry knowledge that new businesses fall into sticky situations sometimes. As you start your business, it’ll be important to cover yourself and your team for the potential risks that come with it. Keep in mind that if you don’t have insurance coverage, you’ll have to pay out-of-pocket for any damages or legal claims made against you. Checking your state’s business insurance requirements will help you narrow down the policies you need for your new start-up. 

Basic Insurance Policies Your Start-Up May Need:

  • Business Owner’s Policy
  • General Liability
  • Commercial Property Insurance
  • Worker’s Compensation
  • Commercial Auto
  • Commercial Flood
  • Commercial Umbrella
  • Professional Liability
  • Business Interruption

What Is the Total Cost of All The Policies? 

The price you end up paying for coverage will depend upon the type of business you will be running. The insurance rates for businesses vary by industry. Higher risk businesses will end up needing to pay more for their premiums. 

Once you begin to buy all of the insurance policies that you need, it’s important to be mindful of the deductibles that come with them. Your deductible is the amount that you will pay out of pocket for a claim before your insurance company will cover the rest of the expense up to the policy limits. Usually, a higher deductible can save you money on your premium, but you’ll pay more out-of-pocket if you need to make a claim.

You Only Need A Few Policies, Right?

The answer to this is, maybe. As mentioned before, the insurance needs of a new business can vary greatly based on industry. Below are listed some ways that could help you lower the cost for your start-up’s insurance:

  • Comparing Coverage Options
  • Bundling Policies
  • Driving Safely
  • Look Into Discounts

Don’t Just Enjoy Your Classic Car – Protect It

Don’t Just Enjoy Your Classic Car – Protect It

Classic, collectible or antique cars are not ordinary, everyday cars. This means that general auto insurance cannot fully protect this type of vehicle against damage or loss. There is not a book definition of a classic car. If a car’s value exceeds its original selling price, then it might be considered collectible and a candidate for specialized classic car insurance. In general, vehicles that might warrant classic car auto insurance include:

  • Antique and classic cars, usually at least 25 to 30 years old
  • Hotrods and modified vehicles
  • Exotic and luxury autos
  • Muscle cars
  • Classic trucks

How To Qualify for Coverage

The age of a car is usually not enough to qualify for specialized classic car insurance. Requirements will differ from company to company. Below is a list of requirements that most cars must meet in order to qualify for classic car insurance:

  • Limited use – The classic car in question cannot be used for everyday commuting or errands. It is possible that the policy will include mileage limitations and proof that the classic car is being properly garaged. In this case, your insurance may require you to own a personal vehicle.
  • Secure storage – When your classic car is not in use, it must be stored in a locked and enclosed private structure. This could be a residential garage or storage unit. 
  • A clean driving record – If you have serious offenses on your driving record, such as reckless driving, repeat speeding violations, or driving while intoxicated, you may not be qualified for class car insurance. 

Classic Car General Policies

Classic car policies include provisions that are found in standard auto insurance policies. Typically, these provisions are property damage and bodily injury liability coverage. There are some differences as listed below:

  • The car’s value – There is not a set “book value” for specific makes and models because every car’s condition is unique. Your initial step for your classic car coverage is to work with your insurance provider to agree on the value of the vehicle. This agreed value will be specified in your policy and your car will be covered up to that value without depreciation. 
  • Specialized repair or restoration – With classic car coverage, you should be given the flexibility to bring your classic car to a specialist—even if the rates are twice or three times the cost of a typical car repair at a traditional auto body shop.
  • Special towing and spare parts – Coverage for towing and spare parts coverage need to be aligned with the cost of the service provided. Towing with the special demands of transporting a classic car. Spare parts need to be aligned with the cost of replacing valuable and perhaps hard-to-find vehicle components, such as wheels, transmissions, and engine parts.

Keep your prized automobile well protected. Speak to your agent today about adding specialized classic car insurance.

All Items Have Value – Here’s How To Protect Them

All Items Have Value – Here’s How To Protect Them

It’s no contest that your home is considered your most valuable possession. This is also one of the most vulnerable items in your possession. From weather accidents to flooding to property mishaps, damage can be easily done. It’s not just the outside of your home that will sustain the damage; your possessions inside will also require unique coverage. Valuable items insurance was created to help protect your possessions inside your home when problems arise. 

What Does It Mean To Have Insurance On Your Valuable Items?

When it comes to insurance most home, condo, and renters’ policies automatically cover most of your personal property anywhere in the world. This coverage typically includes items like furniture, clothing, and appliances. When it comes to items that are considered high value, there are some restrictions if the items have come into unfortunate circumstances (such as theft or item loss). Valuable items are considered to be items like jewelry, furs, silverware, or firearms. The basic policy will usually only cover upwards to $1,500 theft coverage for jewelry, watches or furs, $2,500 for theft of firearms, and $2,500 for theft of silverware. As a tip: there is no need to specifically list items that are covered. As the owner, you will only need to provide documentation of ownership to make a claim for the lost, stolen, or damaged item.

Is Valuable Items Insurance Right for You?

Do you think that the items in your possession are worth more than the limits of your homeowner’s insurance policies? If so, it may be a good time to invest in valuable items insurance. When the damage has already been done, it’s too late to purchase coverage. 

What if you own a piece of jewelry that may be worth almost $10,000? If this piece is stolen, your personal property insurance may only cover fifteen hundred dollars to replace the stolen piece. If this is the case, you would be at a personal loss of $8,500! Let’s say that you have several items that are of lesser value (gold necklaces or bracelets). This insurance policy would be worth investing in. It may appear as though you have plenty of coverage, but for valuable items, you need an extra layer of protection. No matter if the valuable items are jewelry or a nice set of silverware, you’ll want to take extra precaution to ensure that you have coverage for these items if something were to happen in the future. Valuable items insurance can provide you that protection – and some valuable peace of mind, too. 

Protecting Your Furry Family Member – 5 Reasons To Get Pet Insurance

Protecting Your Furry Family Member – 5 Reasons To Get Pet Insurance

Our pets are more than companion animals – they’re our family members. They live in our homes, sleep in our beds, and some people celebrate a pet’s, and even involve them in wedding ceremonies. Pets have become irreplaceable and hold such a huge value for the modern family. So when they get sick, we will do anything to make sure they are properly cared for. Here is where the big questions come in: is pet insurance worth it? What are the major benefits of having pet insurance? 

Did you know that many pet owners don’t register for insured pet policies? As we will discuss below, pet insurance is just as necessary as any other insurance we normally get. In view of this, here are a few reasons why getting pet insurance is a wise choice:

1. Peace of Mind

Having pet insurance can give you and your family peace of mind with the reassurance that your pet will be taken care of in the case of any unfortunate event that they may encounter. This allows you to choose the best medical treatment available so you will not have to worry about your pet’s health.



2. Saving Money

With pet insurance, you can refrain from using an emergency fund or travel savings when an issue with your pet arises. This can help you save thousands of dollars on unexpected times when your pet gets sick, get an injury, or needs surgery. Did you know that pet insurance can cover various injuries such as cancer, digestive issues, and diabetes?

3. A Rise in Veterinary Costs

The average veterinary bill can cost around $500 to $3000 depending on the pet’s reason for the visit. While veterinarians claim the inflation is caused by the development of drugs and medical technologies, many pet owners are not able to afford costs like these. Unfortunately, due to the expenses of veterinary visits, many pets die of sickness or not having proper medical care. Having pet insurance will give you financial solutions from pricey veterinary bills to allow you to take good care of your furry family member. 





4. Potential to Cover Pet’s Hereditary Condition

Many pets suffer from serious health problems and congenital conditions during their lifetime. Some of these conditions are inherited or caused by severe inbreeding. Experts have recommended getting pet insurance as quickly as possible if you wish to protect your family pet. Many pet insurance providers will include age limits or restrictions that may require you to pay an extra fee.



5. Flexible Policy Packages

An upside to investing in pet insurance is the option of flexible packages that fit your needs with your budget. You could choose to get an annual maximum package, deductible, or reimbursement percentage for services such as veterinary exams, surgeries, therapies, breed-specific conditions, and general pet care.

Hospital Expense Coverage and Why You Should Have It

Hospital Expense Coverage and Why You Should Have It

Living in a world with constant hustle and bustle can lead to accidents or illnesses occurring at the most inconvenient times. This could cause you to need to visit the hospital. You may be thinking, “If I have insurance through my employer, I don’t need any additional services.” But what if we told you that wasn’t necessarily true? What would you do if there was an emergency that you needed to go to the hospital? Your insurance received from your employer is not guaranteed to cover you when you go into the hospital. This is why Hospital Expense insurance was created. Hospital Expense insurance is there to protect you and your family from expensive out-of-pocket costs of hospital stays. 

The Drastic Rise in Hospital Costs

As we mentioned earlier, the world is full of hustle, bustle, and illnesses as we maneuver throughout our daily lives. It’s important, now more than ever, to prepare for the future. Protecting you and your family’s health has been pushed to the forefront. Here are some numbers of recent studies:

In 2018, the average annual premium for family coverage rose 5% to $19,616. For single coverage, premiums rose 3% to $6,896. Covered workers contributed 29% of the premiums for family coverage and 18% for single coverage. This means, on average, average workers will spend $5,688.64 for their family insurance premiums this year, and their employer will contribute the remaining $13,927.36. As shared above, the IRS defines an HDHP as any plan with a deductible of at least $1,350 for an individual or $2,700 for a family. But these are just base numbers. The average deductible for silver plans in the Affordable Care Act exchange this year is almost $4,000. And in the fast-food industry, many employers are only offering plans with the maximum out-of-pocket allowed. Currently, that’s a $7,150 deductible for an individual and double that for a family. The average amount of workers paid toward their deductibles rose 229% between 2005 and 2015, yet wages rose just 31% during the same period.

Are You Able to Cover the Cost on Your Own?

Everyone knows that hospital visits are expensive. When it comes to medical bankruptcy, hospital bills are the largest out-of-pocket expense people face. To truly see how expensive hospital visits are, look at the statistics below:

  • Common ER procedures can cost as much as $17,797
  • The average hospital stay costs over $10,700
  • Fixing a broken leg can cost up to $7,500
  • The average cost of a hospital stay for a heart attack is $20,086

Not to mention that for those with private health insurance, the out of pocket cost for a hospital stay is more than $1,000. According to a recent report by Bankrate, just 39% of Americans can cover an unexpected $1,000 bill with funds from their savings. When you put into consideration deductibles, copays, premiums, surprise bills, and everyday living expenses, $1,000 is a conservative amount but for the average American family, it’s still a very large sum. 

Supplemental Health Insurance – What Options Are Out There?

Supplemental Health Insurance – What Options Are Out There?

When shopping around for general health insurance, you’ve probably come across the term supplemental health insurance. Most will go with the overall health coverage and be done with the search, but what if something happens that isn’t covered by your overall care? That’s why supplemental health care options are created and offered – to cover any holes left by a health insurance plan. Below, we’ve compiled a list of some different types of supplemental health insurance coverage and how they can help protect you.

Dental Insurance 

Many people wish to prevent lasting damage to their teeth and gums that are essential to your long-term health. Some general health insurance plans will include dental coverage, but because dental insurance is not one of the required benefits of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), the majority of plans will not include dental. When it comes to children, dental coverage is considered a required benefit and comes standard with all ACA-approved plans. Dental insurance works the same as health insurance with monthly premiums, copayments, coinsurance, and deductibles.

Vision Insurance 

Under the normal health insurance terms, preventive care for your eyes, and prescription eyewear are not covered. Benefits like these, even laser eye surgery, can be acquired through vision insurance. Most vision insurance plans provide services at discounted rates in exchange for a monthly premium. 

Hospital Insurance 

This kind of insurance is also known as a “Hospital Indemnity Plan” and it provides coverage for hospital stays. The national average for an inpatient, single day hospital stay is more than $2,000, so hospital insurance can prove to be a worthy investment.

Accident Insurance 

Accident insurance is enacted to pay lump-sum cash benefits if you are injured in an accident. This supplemental insurance type can help to pay medical costs and living expenses while you are healing. The types of expenses that are covered often will include surgery, emergency treatments, hospital confinement, and physical therapy.

Critical Insurance 

Also known as “Critical Care Insurance,” this type of insurance provides coverage for illnesses like cancer, major organ transplants, stroke, heart attacks, kidney failure, and more. A few types of critical illness insurance plans are very specific to one particular type of illness or disease. If one is diagnosed, they may receive cash benefits paid per procedure or per round of treatment done. Typically, there will be a minimum daily benefit and a policy maximum.

Disability Insurance 

When you are sick or injured, health insurance will help out to cover the current medical bills coming your way. Disability insurance will help to retain some of your income if you become too sick or injured to continue working. Depending on the disability plan, some may pay out benefits only for an illness, while others pay for illness and injuries. 

Do You Really Need Boating Insurance?

Do You Really Need Boating Insurance?

With Summer officially starting, many people are beginning to hit the water. Are you looking to purchase a powerboat or a sailboat to use this summer? If you are, there is a good chance that you are looking into boat insurance as well. Did you know that only two states, Arkansas and Utah, legally require some type of boat insurance coverage? Make sure that you verify your state’s regulations on boating and boating insurance before committing fully to purchasing a boat for the summer months. 

What Does Boating Insurance Cover?

Below is a list of common boat insurance coverages:

  • Property Damage Liability – covers the cost of damages to someone else’s property after an accident that is caused by you. In most cases, your property damage will pay out when you are at fault for an accident that causes damage to someone else’s boat or Personal Watercraft (PWC).
  • Collision Damage – when your boat or PWC becomes damaged in an accident, collision insurance is an optional coverage that will pay for the cost of repairing or replacing your property minus the deductible amount.
  • Bodily Injury Liability – this is the part of your insurance policy that pays for the costs associated with injuries to other people involved if you are found legally responsible for a boating accident.
  • Hull Coverage – covers any physical damages that occur to your boat and generally includes trailers, equipment, motors and accessories. Common claims for this coverage include fire and windstorm damages.
  • Fuel Spill Liability – a policy that separates out fuel spill liability and provides coverage for any fines that may occur from an accident involving a fuel spill from your property. 

How Much Boat Insurance Do I Need?

The answer to this question may come down to your individual tolerance for risk. As mentioned earlier, some states do have a minimum requirement for liability insurance coverage. It’s always important to check with your state government to verify if you are required to meet a coverage threshold. The amount of boat insurance you may need can depend on a number of factors such as the boat’s value, motor size, and age. Like other vehicles, high performance boats will likely command a higher level of coverage to compensate for the amount of potential damage they are able to inflict.

Ultimately, your independent insurance agent is your best resource when it comes to determining the level of boat insurance you need to safeguard your summer fun.

Why Do I Need Renter’s Insurance?

Why Do I Need Renter’s Insurance?

If you are planning to move out on your own for the first time or maybe you are renting a room, chances are you’re going to need to invest in renter’s insurance. Only a staggering 41% of renters actually have renter’s insurance. Some building managers require tenants to get renters insurance, but many don’t. Just because no one is requiring you to buy it doesn’t mean you should write it off.

What Does Renter’s Insurance Cover?

Renter’s insurance will generally offer two or more types of coverage: personal property protection, liability protection, increased living expenses and guest medical protection. Personal property will protect your belongings in case there is a covered loss, and liability protection can help protect you financially if someone is injured in your home and they file a lawsuit. In the case of increased living expenses, this policy helps cover the cost of staying someplace else after a covered loss renders your home uninhabitable. Guest medical protection is a coverage option that can help pay for medical expenses for someone who was injured at your home.  

What Doesn’t It Cover?

We’ve gone over what renter’s insurance covers, but what doesn’t it cover? The answer could vary based on different circumstances, but we will stick to the basics. Typically, renter’s insurance will not cover damage done by flooding, hurricanes, earthquakes, tornados, sinkholes, pests, or terrorism. When taking inventory of your personal items, it is important to check with your policy to see if a higher-ticket item will be covered in the event of a loss. If not, you may want to raise your coverage limits. Another important note to keep in mind is that if you have roommates, they will not be covered by your policy unless they are directly added onto the policy.

What If I Don’t Own Much?

In the end, you may think that your belongings aren’t worth much, but when it comes down to replacing the electronics, clothing, furniture, and even appliances, the price tag will grow very quickly. If you had a small house fire, this could still lead to thousands of dollars in repairs and replacement if it is needed. As we mentioned earlier, renter’s insurance is there to help protect you in case of the unexpected. You may believe disaster could never strike, but truly you cannot know. 

How Much Does Renter’s Insurance Cost?

As with most things, the insurance rate depends on a few factors and may be different based on those circumstances. These circumstances can be based on where you live, the type of policy you are looking to buy, and the value of the property you are insuring. In general, a basic renters insurance policy can cost between $10 and $20 a month, or $120 to $240 a year. Reach out to your agent today to get a renters insurance quote and start protecting your belongings.

It’s Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month – How Can You Be Safe On The Road?

It’s Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month – How Can You Be Safe On The Road?

May is known as Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month. Did you know that motorcyclists are much more vulnerable to crashes than other drivers? According to NHTSA, there were 5,172 motorcyclists killed in motor vehicle traffic crashes – a decrease of 3 percent from the 5,337 motorcyclists killed in 2016. Motorcycle safety is becoming a growing concern. Of the 5,172 motorcyclists killed in traffic crashes, 94 percent (4,885) were riders and 6 percent (287) were passengers, says NHTSA.

Motorcyclists – How To Stay Safe

NHTSA estimates that helmets saved the lives of 1,872 motorcyclists in 2017. If all motorcyclists had worn helmets, an additional 749 lives could have been saved. An important note is to never buy a used helmet. A used helmet could have issues that are not noticeable on the surface and this could lead to a higher risk while operating a motorcycle. Helmets should not be worn after they have been through a crash. Here are some additional tips to help keep you safe on the road:

  • Avoid riding in poor weather conditions.
  • Remember to position your motorcycle to avoid a driver’s blind spot.
  • Use turn signals for every turn or lane change.
  • Following the speed limits on the road can help lessen the likelihood of a crash occurring.
  • Do not weave in and out of lanes.

Drivers – How To Be Aware of Motorcyclists

It’s not only up to motorcyclists to be safe and aware while driving on the road. Other drivers need to be aware and cautious when driving on the same road as a motorcyclist. Taking precautions while on the road can help protect yourself and those on motorcycles from being involved in an accident. Here are a few helpful tips to help keep you and others safe:

  • Allow a greater following distance when you are driving behind a motorcyclist. 
  • Exercise extra caution at intersections. Most crashes occur when a driver fails to see a motorcyclist while turning.
  • Do not try to share a lane with a motorcycle. Give motorcyclists the full lane width.
  • Always be aware of your blind spots. Motorcyclists tend to be in the blind spots of a vehicle. 

If you would like to learn more about how you can help keep yourself and motorcyclists safe on the road, visit NHTSA. They have more tips and information on motorcycle safety while you are on the road.

6 Things to Know About Aging Out of Your Parents’ Health Insurance

6 Things to Know About Aging Out of Your Parents’ Health Insurance

The Affordable Care Act allows young adults to avoid high premiums and retain health insurance coverage as a dependent on their parents’ health insurance plans. What age you get the boot and need to insure yourself varies. The ACA states that you lose coverage from your parents’ plans at age 26. Some states, like New Jersey, allow for longer coverage if you’re unmarried and have no dependents yourself. Here’s what to know about growing up and growing into your own medical-meets-financial responsibilities:

  1. Start learning the difference between PPO, HMO, HDHP, and POS. Insurance jargon can be intimidating. Long before it’s time to find a plan of your own, become familiar with these terms so you will fully understand your options. Health maintenance organization (HMO) insurance, for example, will restrict what physicians and hospitals you can utilize but may come at a lower cost; you also won’t be looking at high deductibles. For an individual confident he or she will not need health care services within the next year, a high deductible health plan (HDHP) has lower premiums but coverage won’t kick in until you’ve paid, on average, about $1400 (as an individual) on your own. 
  2. As you get closer to age 26, know that getting a job offer will not immediately kick you off your parent’s plan. Beginning in 2014, young adults under age 26 could still choose to stay on a parent’s employer’s health insurance policy even when offered health insurance from their own employers. You also do not have to be living with your parents to fall under their family plan, nor do you have to be a student or be unmarried. 
  3. Once you become “of age,” you may have until the end of the month–or the end of the year–to get moving. Depending on the terms of your parent’s health insurance plan, you won’t necessarily lose coverage the day you turn 26. Some policies will require employers to allow you to remain a dependent until the end of the month in which you turned 26. Other plans may cover you until the end of the year. 
  4. You can choose a plan outside of Open Enrollment. Typically, enrolling in health insurance is only an option during a specific time of the year. When those weeks are over, enrolling ends, and those left uninsured have to wait until the next Open Enrollment to secure a plan. However, there’s a special enrollment period in health insurance for individuals who are experiencing a “life change” that will affect their insurance plans. This includes marriage, having a baby, or losing a former plan. This means your employer will allow you to enroll no matter what time of year it is, but you want to start the process early. If you do not have a health insurance plan available through an employer, you can choose a marketplace plan. Here, the special enrollment period lasts 120 days–60 days before your birthday and 60 days after. If you’re looking for Marketplace coverage, you may also have some paperwork to fill out to confirm you qualify, so it’s never too early to begin this conversation with your insurance broker or agent. 
  5. You don’t want a gap in coverage. If the 120 day window for special enrollment passes and you have failed to secure your own health insurance plan, it could be problematic. You’d find yourself paying in full (no co-pays) and stuck with significant, potentially crushing bills should you have a medical emergency before the next Open Enrollment period. 
  6. If you’re at risk of a gap in coverage, ask for COBRA coverage from your parent’s employer. COBRA stands for the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act and is a way to retain coverage for 36 months past your 26th birthday. However, it requires a written letter of request to your parent’s employer. If your parent works for a very small company with few employees, you may also be eligible for state-based temporary health insurance that can similarly serve as a bridge between one form of coverage and another.