Does insurance coverage vary for different businesses?

It can. Many small businesses opt for package policies that cover the major Property and Liability exposures as well as for a loss of income. A common package policy used by many small businesses is called the Business Owners Policy (BOP).

Generally, BOPs provide more complete coverage at a lower price than separate policies for each type of insurance needed. We can help you decide which policy or policies are right for your business. You can also purchase additional coverage for perils or conditions otherwise excluded (e.g., flood protection) as endorsements to a standard policy or as a separate, second policy called a Difference in Conditions (DIC) policy.

We can advise you of the best policy (or policies) to protect you and your business.

I’m just getting my business started. Do I need insurance immediately?

Yes. Your chance of suffering a loss begins with the first day of business. If you suffer a loss and have no insurance or have improper or insufficient coverage, your insurance agent can do little, if anything, to help you.

Also, many states and local jurisdictions require businesses to have insurance to begin operating. And if you rent space for your business, your landlord probably requires you to obtain adequate insurance.

Are there exclusions I should know about?

Exclusions listed and defined in your policy might include neglect, intentional loss, “earth movement,” general power failure, and even damage caused by war. If you fail to take care of your property (e.g., a leaky roof), you might not be covered. Obviously, if you intend to lose an object or damage your property, there’s no coverage.

One other exclusion that can be costly is the Ordinance or Law exclusion. Building codes established by governmental bodies that drive up the cost of rebuilding or repairing after a loss occurs might not be covered by your insurance policy. Thus, if you discover when replacing damaged property that current law demands higher grade or more expensive materials than those you’re replacing, the new materials might not be covered fully.

What exactly does a Homeowners policy cover?

“Exact” coverage is impossible to define because there are different policies and about 900 insurance companies writing Property/Casualty business in the United States. However, 80% of Homeowners policies are based on a standard form. All Homeowners policies cover two important areas: Property and Liability.

Property insurance covers your structures and possessions. Personal Liability, as its name implies, means you’re legally obligated to pay money to another person for actions caused by you, your family, or your property. That liability extends to medical payments to others for injuries caused by you or your family.

What happens when I loan my car to someone? Is that person covered by my policy? Am I still covered?

Yes. Liability and coverage for Physical Damage (i.e. Comprehensive and Collision) always follow your car. Plus, if the driver of your car is insured, his/her policy will also be available to cover the cost of damages and injuries.  Unless you have signed an Exclusion for theat driver.

The same rules apply when you borrow someone else’s vehicle; your own insurance follows you no matter whose car you’re driving. But the vehicle owner’s policy is the primary coverage in the event of an accident.

Do all states require some kind of Liability insurance?

No. Although not every state requires Auto insurance, some have “financial responsibility” laws mandating all drivers to be able to pay for any damage or injury they might cause. However, Liability insurance is still the best way for you to meet your state’s financial responsibility requirements.

By law, all states offer UM and UIM policies, including no-fault states. In fact, some states require all motorists to carry this coverage in order to gain protection from inadequate insurance coverage of other drivers.

How does where I live affect my premium?

Where you keep your car directly affects your chances of having an accident or becoming a victim of theft or vandalism. The likelihood of encountering these problems increases in larger, more densely populated cities, while such incidents remain relatively low in rural areas.

Additionally, the time and efficiency of police response and law enforcement, local road and traffic conditions, and the quality of local medical services can affect regional insurance rates. Some insurers even factor in the litigation rates in a given area (how many lawsuits are filed, go to trial, out of court settlements, and their amounts).

Why do I need to buy insurance?

  • Protects your assets against attachment as a result of a court award.
  • Provides for cost of defense when you are sued.
  • Allows you to purchase such high value items as a car or a home by insuring the collateral on behalf of the financial institution that lent you the money.
  • Provides financial security for your family in the event of your death.
  • Provides for the health care of you and your family through systematic payments.
  • Allows you to save for retirement while deferring interest payments to a time when your income is lower, thus reducing your tax payments.
  • Allows you to remain financially solvent when you’re ill and can’t work.