Author: ISU-ARMAC

11 Signs You Need General Liability Insurance

Every business needs general liability protections. This is obvious for most companies, but this type of insurance is often misunderstood and underappreciated until it’s too late. Without general liability coverage, a person could sue you if they get hurt at your place of business, without having to prove that you did anything wrong—which means they’d win by default. So what happens when you don’t have general liability coverage? Here are 10 signs that you need general liability insurance.

11 Signs You Need General Liability Insurance

1. You Don’t Have Any Now     

If you’re a business owner, it’s in your best interest to have the necessary protections. This type of insurance protects you from lawsuits if someone gets hurt while on your business site. Even if you’re not at fault, you could still be sued if someone gets injured. If you don’t have this insurance now, you could end up in a lot of trouble that could cost you serious money. That’s why it’s so important to be protected under general liability.

Here are the types of situations it can protect you against:

  • Bodily injury that occurs on your place of business
  • Property damage caused by your business
  • Reputational harm resulting from slander or privacy violation
  • Medical costs caused by someone harmed while visiting your place of business
  • Damage caused by an act of nature

2. Your Current Insurance Is Overdue or Cancelled

Although not required by law, this type of insurance is essential for any business, whether you’re just starting out or you’ve been in business for years. It protects you from so many situations and can help your business stay afloat in the case of lawsuits. If you don’t currently have general liability insurance, or if your policy is overdue or canceled, it’s time to get it. Most importantly, it can help you avoid financial disaster.

Remember, this type of insurance can assist financially with the following situations:

  • Medical expenses caused by someone harmed while visiting your place of business
  • Repair costs to a customer’s home caused by one of your employees
  • Lawsuit costs to pay for your defense
  • Lawsuit costs related to judgments and settlements

3. Your Business Has Cash Flow Issues

Many businesses struggle with cash flow. This means you’re unable to keep up with your payments. If you’re having trouble paying your bills, it may be time to protect yourself. You can be sued for not paying your bills in a timely manner or for not paying them at all. It doesn’t matter what the circumstances might be for this scenario.

As this insurance protects you primarily from 3rd party lawsuits, it can insure you against financial hardship in case you’re unable to keep up with your financial commitments. It can also help cover the costs of any legal fees and damages that you may have to pay as a result of a financial lawsuit. This can be a lifesaver for businesses that are struggling financially by providing that necessary peace of mind.

4. You Work in a Hazardous Environment

Working in a hazardous environment is dangerous and can lead to serious injury. If you’re not sure if your workplace is hazardous, here are some signals to look out for:

  • You work with dangerous chemicals
  • You work with dangerous equipment
  • You work in a high-risk industry

If your workplace meets any of these criteria, it’s important to have the necessary protections. If you’re in the construction industry, it’s especially important to have this type of insurance. Construction is a high-risk industry, and accidents can happen easily. Without general liability coverage, you could be responsible for paying for any damages that occur as a result of an accident on your job site.

5. You Operate Heavy Equipment

Operating heavy equipment can be dangerous if you’re not properly trained. And even if you are properly trained, there are still risks associated with using this type of equipment. That’s why it’s important to have liability protection for this scenario. This type of insurance will protect you from any potential lawsuits that may come up as a result of accidents incurred onsite while operating heavy equipment.

This type of insurance can also protect you from lawsuits if someone is injured on the job at your company site through some other means. Again, it doesn’t matter who is liable or the reason for the circumstance. This type of insurance is used against 3rd party lawsuits, which can come up for many reasons related to operating heavy equipment. If this is a requirement of your business, it’s time to protect yourself.

6. Safety Training is Not Provided

The safety of your employees needs to be top of mind. You must ensure your employees are properly trained in all required safety procedures. If they’re not, you could be liable for any injuries that they may sustain while on the job, regardless of who’s at fault.

It’s important to have a safety training program in place that covers all the hazards your employees may face. And your safety training program should include emergency procedures so your employees know what to do in case of an emergency. Make sure you’re providing your employees with adequate safety training. This will help keep them safe and protect you from lawsuits if they’re injured on the job.

7. You’re Not Current on the Laws of Municipality

When you’re running a business, it’s important that you’re up to date on the laws and regulations of your municipality. Municipal law is any law specific to a specific county or city (“municipality”). It also encompasses the government bodies within those cities or counties. A municipality issue could potentially include everything from run-ins with the police, zoning restrictions, and property taxes.

If you’re not current on your local laws, you could end up getting into trouble. This type of insurance can help protect you from these types of lawsuits. Make sure you’re familiar with the laws of your municipality and that your business is up to date on them. This will help ensure that you stay out of trouble and avoid any costly and unnecessary legal fees.

8. You Provide Services to the Public

If you provide services to the public, you’ll need to protect yourself against potential liability against them, regardless of whether they’re active customers of your products and services. The general public may not be aware of your normal business policies and procedures. If you don’t have this insurance and you’re sued, you could end up losing a lot of money. This can help protect you from costly lawsuits and ensure that your business remains operational no matter what.

9. Public Access Is Granted Outside Normal Business Hours

This type of insurance also protects you when the public is granted access to your place of business outside of normal business hours. This means that people who are not associated with the company are able to enter the building and/or access your resources. There are a couple of reasons why an insurance policy is necessary for these conditions. One is to ensure the company can operate in a secure environment. A second reason is to protect the company from possible lawsuits.

By having public access outside of normal business hours, your company can reduce its risk of being sued. Remember that you’re planning for unplanned situations. The general public might be exposed to potentially risky conditions such as broken staircases, uncovered holes in floors, a slippery floor under rainy conditions, and other hazards where people could get hurt. If any of these scenarios are realistic, you should purchase this kind of protection.

10. You’re About to Enter a Contractual Agreement

When you’re about to enter into a contractual agreement, it’s important to have the necessary protections in place. This provides insurance against the unknown. If something goes wrong related to the contract, this type of insurance will help to protect your business financially against the uncertain. In addition, some customers require that this insurance is in place before moving together in a partnership.

11. Concerns Have Been Raised or Someone Has Already Sued You

One of the most obvious signs that you need this insurance is if someone has already sued you. This can happen for several reasons, but usually, it’s because someone was injured on your property or as a result of your business activities.

If you don’t have this type of insurance and you’re sued, you could end up losing your financial security—and in some cases, you could even lose your business. If concerns have been raised against your business, that’s another reason to consider purchasing additional protection.

Not sure if you need general liability coverage? Keep these protections in mind as you grow your business. As general liability concerns change, this type of insurance will be there to protect you—and it’s worth every penny! Contact ISU Armac today and we’ll help you stay protected. Our goal is to create valued relationships with each of our clients for years to come. We’d love the chance to earn your business!

10 Tips for Small Businesses Looking for Commercial Liability Insurance

Small businesses are the backbone of the United States economy. According to recent studies, small businesses account for more than half of all private-sector jobs and over 60% of net new jobs since 2000. Despite their importance, many small businesses lack essential protections like commercial liability insurance, also known as “business insurance”. Keep reading to learn our top tips on how to find and secure the right business insurance for your organization!

10 Tips for Small Businesses Seeking Commercial Liability Insurance

1. Understand What This Type of Insurance Is

Commercial general liability insurance is a form of insurance that covers bodily harm, personal injury, and property damage caused by the company’s operations, goods, or injuries that take place on its premises or wherever the company’s services are performed. It’s comprehensive. It does not, however, cover all the potential risks that a company might face. This type of insurance policy is essential for small businesses, as it can help protect you from costly legal fees and damages.

Not having it could be the difference between staying in business and being forced to close your doors. Some examples when you might need this type of liability protection include: 

  1. A customer trips on damaged flooring onsite at your business and is injured
  2. Your employee accidentally leaves the water running in your customer’s home, causing damage
  3. A lawsuit is filed against your business regarding a misleading advertisement

2. Understand What Business Insurance Covers

When shopping for commercial liability insurance, it’s important to understand what is and isn’t covered by the policy. Business insurance generally provides coverage for any legal expenses that may arise due to an accident or injury that occurs in the course of your business. Business insurance provides protections that arise from:

  • Bodily injury
  • Property damage
  • False arrest
  • Copyright infringement
  • Products-completed operations hazard
  • Advertising and personal injury liability
  • Medical payments
  • Wrongful eviction

3. Understand What Business Insurance Doesn’t Cover

It may seem like business insurance is pretty comprehensive. However, several situations are excluded from its protections. Some common exclusions include damages arising from:

  • Property damage
  • Injury or illness of employees
  • Sexual harassment or discrimination
  • Libel, slander, or defamation of character
  • Oral contract promises
  • Personal auto policies
  • Representations
  • Unfair competition
  • Warranty work

4. Compare Quotes From Different Insurers

When shopping for commercial liability insurance, it’s important to compare quotes from different insurers. This will help you find the best coverage at the best price. To get started, gather quotes from several insurers and compare them side-by-side. Be sure to look at the coverage offered by each policy and the price tag.

In addition, it’s important to understand that the way a policy is put together may be different for different insurance companies. You’ll want to work closely with your insurer to ensure you’re comprehensively covered in all situations that make sense for your industry. You’ll also want to ensure you’re not paying for coverage you don’t need.

5. Make Sure You’re Fully Covered

This type of insurance can be customized to your needs, therefore, it’s possible to miss certain types of important coverages if you’re not careful. There are a few things you can do to make sure you’re getting the most out of your policy. First, review your policy regularly and update it as needed. Also, make sure you have adequate coverage for both your business property and your employees. Talk to an insurance agent about adding additional coverage, if needed.

Also, make sure your policy includes coverage for all of your business activities. And, make sure that you accurately list all entities and locations. Ask about additional endorsements that can help offset some unexpected expenses, such as auto breakdown, medical payments, false arrest/imprisonment, product recall costs, employment practices, liquor liability, and other situations. Review your claims history to ensure you are getting the best rates possible. Finally, keep in touch with your agent so to address questions as they arise.

6. Ask About Discounts

When looking for commercial liability insurance, it’s important to ask about discounts for bundling your policies with one insurer. This can save you money and make the process of obtaining insurance simpler. Bundling your policies with one insurer can also have other benefits. For example, if you have a property insurance policy as well as a liability policy, you may be able to get a discount on your property insurance.

It’s also important to ask about other discounts that may be available to you. For example, many insurers offer discounts for good credit or for being a member of a professional organization. By asking about discounts for bundling your policies and for other good behaviors, you can ensure that you’re getting the best deal possible.

7. Read the Fine Print

It’s critical to read the fine print carefully, as some policies may have specific coverages or limits that apply to different situations. Make sure you understand what exactly is being covered and what’s not. And be sure to ask your insurance agent any questions you have about the policy. Once you’ve chosen a policy, be sure to read the terms and conditions thoroughly. Ask about exclusions, deductibles, and co-insurance. These terms will vary depending on the insurer, so be thorough.

Some policies may require a specific deductible for property damage, while others don’t. Your policy may be limited to damages that arise from accidents that occur on your premises or the locations where the business conducts its operations. In addition, business insurance should have a provision for additional insureds. Additional insureds may be covered by your policy in certain circumstances – like employees and suppliers. You can add additional insureds either by endorsement or as part of a separate agreement.

8. Purchasing Business Insurance

Commercial liability insurance is available as a stand-alone policy, as part of a Business Owners Policy, or as part of a Commercial Package Policy. Talk to your insurer about the type and amount of coverage you require. If your general liability policy, Business Owners Policy, or Commerical Package Policy does not create enough coverage, consider purchasing a commercial excess (umbrella) policy to safeguard yourself against financial loss. See the next section for more information.

9. Purchase Additional Coverage If Warranted

Finally, you might want to consider taking on additional insurance coverage from other types of policies. You may also consider purchasing business liability insurance before opening, expanding, or remodeling your business. For instance, take advantage of an umbrella policy if needed to protect you from catastrophic events or financial losses.

Errors and Omissions Insurance

This type of insurance is another professional liability insurance that can help protect you from financial losses such as lawsuits related to contracts, clients, and intellectual property claims. It specifically protects against claims of negligence or inadequate work arising from a contract. This type of policy usually covers the legal costs associated with the claim, which can rack up quickly and be quite costly. Even if a baseless claim is made, this can protect your organization.

Directors and Officers Liability Insurance

Directors and officers liability insurance protect directors and executives of for-profit or not-for-profit businesses from claims resulting from alleged or actual wrongful activities they may have committed in their jobs. The policy covers any real or claimed error, misstatement, omission, misleading statement, or breach of duty, as well as some policies’ inclusion of employees.

Pollution Liability

Business, commercial, and agricultural property owners, managers, and developers may benefit from this form of coverage since it provides them with a wide selection of pollution liability protection for both gradual as well as sudden and accidental first-party and third-party environmental liabilities. It also protects assets from unanticipated environmental risks that might have a big financial impact. Furthermore, it protects against unknown pollution hazards that may result in bodily injury, property damage, or pollution cleanup expenses.

Liquor Liability

Liquor liability insurance protects your business from claims filed by customers who become intoxicated and hurt themselves or others as a result of their intoxication. If your company sells, serves, or enables the purchase or use of alcohol, it is likely to require liquor liability coverage. This coverage can be purchased as an add-on to a commercial liability policy or as a stand-alone product.

10. Choosing the Appropriate Deductible

Due to cost savings, it might be attractive to go for the lowest deductible. However, don’t fall into this trap. The lowest deductible does not necessarily offer the best cost savings strategy. Premiums will rise with lower deductibles, so the best approach is to choose the highest deductible that your organization can absorb.

Taking the time to find the right business insurance policy is well worth it in the long run. Protect your business and yourself with the right coverage. Reach out to the experts at ISU Armac today and you’ll be glad you did! We’re dedicated to our customers and believe in creating long-lasting relationships. Our staff can help create a tailored insurance plan for your budget and we’ll work with you to ensure you have all the necessary protections in place!

Why Is Umbrella Insurance Worth Getting?

Do you have general liability insurance? You might think that with your current insurance policy, you’re all set. But if you’re hit with a claim that’s more expensive than you expected, you could find yourself and your business floundering. For cases like these, you’ll want to consider having commercial umbrella insurance.

Why Is Commercial Umbrella Insurance Worth Getting?

If you own a business, it’s important to make sure that you’re keeping it and yourself safe. Having the right insurance will do that. However, not all insurance policies will cover every potential liability. You should always make sure to read through your policy and understand what you are and are not covered for.

You should also consider purchasing commercial umbrella insurance, which is a great way to keep yourself and your business safe. Umbrella insurance will cover additional potential costs that your current insurance policy may not. It can also take over any costs if your other liability coverage limits have already been fully reached.

What Is Umbrella Insurance?

This type of insurance will add another layer of coverage that you can use when your other coverage has reached its limits. While you may not expect to need to cover anything beyond these policies, the unexpected can still happen.

For example, if a client comes to your workplace and slips and falls, then you could be asked to pay a large sum of money. Your existing policy may only cover a portion of that policy. At that point, your umbrella insurance would kick in, providing coverage for the rest of the payments required.

What Does Umbrella Insurance Cover?

Umbrella insurance will cover the same types of costs that business liability insurance covers. It will also cover and medical or legal fees that you might be responsible for. When you get umbrella insurance, you’ll receive coverage for the following areas.

Product Liability

You might make a product that you’re proud of, but sometimes things go wrong. It’s important to take product liability seriously, especially since as a business you are responsible for the products you import, produce, or manufacture.

This type of insurance will cover you in case your products cause injury to a customer or damage their property. Umbrella insurance will take over the costs in case your product liability insurance coverage runs out.

Bodily Injury Liability

Even businesses that run the tightest of ships can have accidents. If there has been an accident and your business operations are what caused it, then anyone who receives a bodily injury from this accident might seek out compensation that you could be ordered to pay.

General business liability coverage will help you cover the costs of court fees and the compensation that you owe the other party. But if your current policy doesn’t provide enough to cover the full cost of damages, then you’ll be glad you got umbrella insurance.

Advertising Injury

Things like slander and libel are taken very seriously in the courts, and you could find yourself in some trouble if you’re accused of doing these things, even unwittingly. If you’re accused of false advertising, libel, or slander, then you could find yourself facing some hefty fees.

When you get general liability insurance, you will be covered for these fines. You’re also going to want to think about purchasing umbrella insurance to cover you in case you and your business run into a claim that your general liability insurance policy isn’t able to fully cover.

Tenant Liability

If your business requires that you rent out a space, then you’re responsible for making sure that that space is kept clean and in good condition. If you don’t do this, or something goes wrong that causes property damage, then you are liable for these damages and for covering any costs the damage might incur.

Again, having general liability coverage will help you ensure that these costs are covered if they ever arise. But if you’re hit with a claim that’s bigger than you expected, then an umbrella insurance policy will make sure that you’re still covered.

Who Should Get Umbrella Insurance?

Any and all businesses should consider getting umbrella insurance. While you may not believe your business can be hit with particularly heavy claims or fines, there’s always the possibility that it could happen.

With that said, there are some types of businesses that should have umbrella insurance because they are at higher risk for large claims than other businesses. If you and your business are in any of the following categories, it’s important that you consider getting umbrella insurance.

You Work on Other People’s Property

As soon as you work or perform tasks on other people’s property, you are opening yourself up to greater risk. Property damage can result in expensive claims, so it’s important to keep yourself and your business safe if they ever arise.

One example of this is if you are a construction worker and you are helping with a renovation on someone’s personal property. Mistakes and accidents happen, and if your operations cause damage to the property owner’s personal property, you could be hit with a big lawsuit. Umbrella insurance will offer you the protection you need.

Your Commercial Property Is Open to the Public

Allowing the public to enter your commercial property opens you up to the risk of someone getting hurt. And if someone gets hurt on your property and it’s ruled that you are responsible, you might find yourself facing millions of dollars in fines.

For example, you might own a store, and someone slips and falls on a patch of wet floor where there is no sign. In this case, it could be ruled that your business is responsible for covering any medical expenses or missed wages that that person experienced because of the accident. Umbrella insurance will help cover these costs.

You Are Contractually Obligated to Have Umbrella Insurance

It’s a good idea for all businesses to at the very least consider getting umbrella insurance. But there are plenty of cases where having this type of insurance will be required.

Many government contracts, for example, will require that you and your business have umbrella insurance. It’s very common for government contracts especially to have these types of requirements. However, any customer might require that you have umbrella insurance since it protects both you and them in the event that something happens.

Your Business Is at High Risk of a Lawsuit

While some businesses may be at higher risk of lawsuits than others, the reality is that all businesses carry significant risks. So, essentially, if you own a business, you should have umbrella insurance to protect yourself.

Businesses like sole proprietorships, home-based businesses, and businesses with no employees, subcontractors, or direct contact with clients may be able to get away without it. That said, it’s still something you’re going to want to consider. Even these types of businesses can get hit with massive claims that their general insurance policy might not cover.

Other Types of Insurance to Consider

Getting umbrella insurance will do a lot to protect yourself and your company in the case a large claim is thrown at you. But there may be some other types of insurance you’d like to consider purchasing as well.

Along with general liability insurance and umbrella insurance, consider adding any of these types of insurance to your policy.

Business Auto Insurance

If your business requires that you drive a vehicle, then this is one type of insurance that you are going to want to purchase. Driving any type of vehicle puts you and your business at risk. Whether you’re driving a delivery van or a small forklift in a warehouse, auto insurance is crucial for keeping yourself and your business safe.

When you get auto insurance, you’ll be covered for any damages or liability if you’ve been in an accident. This kind of insurance will cover any personal injury as well as property damage that may have been incurred.

Cyber Liability Insurance

These days, the internet is an important part of any business. But being online can pose some surprising risks. You could experience a cyber attack, which will seriously affect your business.

Getting cyber liability insurance will help cover any costs associated with data breaches that your business experiences.

Office Risk Insurance

There are all kinds of things that can happen in an office that might cause harm to another party. For instance, one of your employees could get hurt in your office, or a customer or client visiting could injure themselves.

There are also a lot of assets in your office that might be worth more than you anticipated. Getting office risk insurance will help keep you safe if these assets are damaged or if other property or people are harmed in your office.

All businesses should have insurance, but your general liability insurance might not cover you for every possibility. In these cases, you’ll want to make sure that you have commercial umbrella insurance. Get in touch with us at Armac Insurance Services to learn more. 

What Does Liability Insurance Actually Cover?

Owning and operating a business can come with unforeseen expenses, such as liability claims. Many businesses are unprepared to cover these costs, even though liability claims are unfortunately quite common and usually result from normal business operations. Having liability insurance coverage can keep your business from having to pay these costs out of pocket. Read on to find out what types of claims liability insurance can protect you from.

What Does Liability Insurance Actually Cover?

Sensible risk management strategies are a must for business owners, as it’s essential to keep your business protected from unnecessary expenses. Though there are many perils associated with business ownership, the number one way to keep your business protected is to ensure your business is properly insured. When you’re unexpectedly hit with a liability claim, insurance can be the difference between your business coming out on top or facing financial ruin.

Liability coverage is an excellent ally in keeping your business protected because its coverage extends to multiple facets of running a business. Claims related to injuries on your premises, damage to your client’s property, or even allegations of copyright infringement and false advertising are all covered under this type of insurance – and these are just a few examples! Liability is the type of insurance you need in your corner for mitigating all the risks of business ownership.

What Types of Claims are Covered by This Policy?

There are many situations in which your business could be held responsible and expected to pay for. Proper insurance coverage prevents you from paying these various costs out-of-pocket. This type of insurance includes coverage for expenses, such as legal and medical expenses, as well as compensatory and punitive damages related to the following types of claims:

Bodily Injury 

Bodily injury coverage provides protection against losses for bodily injury to others (including clients, customers, or employees) that may have been caused by your operations. Whether you’re found liable for bodily injury due to non-professional negligent acts or due to your premises or business operations, this type of insurance can cover medical expenses and legal expenses associated with this type of claim.

Bodily injury includes physical and/or mental injuries to a client, customer, or employee that may have been caused by your operations, including emotional distress. Common bodily injury lawsuits include customer slip and falls (ex: a customer slips on loose or wet flooring while visiting your business and is injured), and other tortious acts that may cause a claimant to suffer loss or harm, such as intentional infliction of emotional distress, and negligence.

Property Damage

Property damage coverage, like bodily injury coverage, provides protection against losses from the legal liability of your business for property damage occurring due either to non-professional negligent acts or arising out of the premises or business operations. In the event that your business causes property damage, including employee accidents, this insurance will cover the costs of the damage.

For example, if your employee accidentally breaks a client’s windows while working at their home, the cost of the damages will be covered by your insurance. Another example would be if your employee leaves the water running at a client’s home and causes substantial damage; without insurance, your company would be expected to pay for the costs of this damage. However, having insurance means your employee’s mistakes won’t cost you any extra coin.

Product Liability

Product liability is essential coverage for manufacturers and any businesses that sell goods. While we know customer safety is always a priority, sometimes bodily injury or property damage can occur due to an unfortunate product malfunction. Product liability will cover the costs of any claims related to bodily injury or property damage caused by a product you sell or manufacture.

Tenant Liability

Tenant liability protects your business from damage to property that you lease or occupy for business purposes. This protects you against the day-to-day risks of running a business within a rented space, including lawsuits and payments of claims related to third-party bodily injury or property damage. It’s common for landlords to require proof of insurance before renting out a space, so having proper coverage is an asset when looking for a new home for your business.

Personal Injury, Advertising Injury, and Reputational Harm

Liability coverage keeps you protected in the event of personal and/or advertising injury claims made against your business. You’d be surprised how easy it is to find yourself facing an advertising injury claim; saying something untoward about a competitor to the wrong audience, for example, could result in being hit with a defamation lawsuit. Similarly, making grandiose claims in an ad campaign could see you facing a class-action lawsuit for allegations of false advertising.

Personal and advertising injury liability protects your business against a range of offenses, such as:

  • Libel
  • False advertising
  • Slander
  • False arrest
  • Defamation
  • Malicious prosecution
  • Wrongful eviction
  • Wrongful entry
  • Invasion of privacy

Copyright Infringement

In addition to advertising injury claims, this type of insurance protects you from lawsuits alleging the unlawful use of another’s advertising idea or copyright. Copyright infringement occurs when someone else’s work is used on your product or in your business’ ads without the express permission of the copyright holder. If your business is found infringing on another’s copyright, your liability coverage will cover the cost of damages and legal fees.

Other Costs Covered by a General Liability Policy

In addition to these specific types of claims, a general liability policy will help to cover the administrative costs associated with handling all the covered claims described above. The amount of coverage for these costs will vary, as they depend on the limits of your specific policy. Additionally, this type of policy will cover smaller medical claims that do not require litigation and a variety of costs related to legal defense and the process of litigation.

Medical Payments

A general liability policy offers limited coverage for medical payments, including payments for injuries sustained by clients or customers that were caused by an accident taking place on the premises of your business or when exposed to your business operations. Medical payments coverage does not require legal action to be accessed, meaning your business is able to settle smaller medical claims promptly and without litigation.

This type of policy will cover all necessary and reasonable medical expenses accrued by a person injured or killed in an accident that takes place on your business premises or arises from your business operations. This includes surgical costs, ambulance fees, hospital fees, professional nursing expenses, and funeral expenses. Since medical payment coverage is provided on a no-fault basis, there is no defense or legal liability coverage.

Legal Defense Costs

Liability insurance will cover all legal fees, including court costs, legal defense, judgments, and settlements for the above types of claims. On your behalf, your insurance will pay all damages if you are found liable (up to the coverage limits of your policy). Your policy will also cover the costs associated with administrative work and legal secretaries.

Complementary Policies

While this type of insurance covers a wide range of expenses, there are certain additional policies you’ll need to purchase to ensure your business has complete coverage. Workers compensation, employment practices liability, liquor liability, pollution liability, and professional liability may be beneficial complementary policies for you. Talking to an experienced insurance professional can help you to determine which endorsements are right for your business.

What Type of Businesses Need General Liability Coverage?

No matter the size of your business, or your industry, you can benefit from general liability coverage. This type of insurance is especially beneficial for businesses with locations that are accessible to the general public, as well as businesses that:

  • Work directly with customers and/or clients
  • Manage client-owned property and/or assets
  • Rent or own commercial space

Independent contractors and entrepreneurs can also benefit from this type of insurance, as they can also be held liable for the same injuries and damages that general liability policies cover. Liability claims can be extra difficult for independent contractors and entrepreneurs because they’re solely responsible for their finances. Choosing not to properly insure a sole proprietorship can, unfortunately, lead to significant financial hardship and even bankruptcy.

What You Risk When You Remain Uninsured

If someone files a claim against your business, the cost of legal defense and court fees can add up quickly. With the additional costs of administrative work, legal secretaries, and any associated costs from judgments or settlements, your business can be stuck footing an extremely expensive bill. We’re talking hundreds of thousands of dollars! A general liability insurance policy is essential for helping your business cover these costs.

General liability insurance is the most important insurance coverage for your business to have. A lawsuit can have an immense negative impact on a business; without proper insurance, facing a claim of any kind can place a tremendous financial strain on your company’s bottom line. Because liability suits happen so frequently, you need a good insurance plan in your corner. Visit ISU Armac today to pair your business with the best agency for all your insurance needs.

Can You Get General Liability Insurance as an Individual?

As someone running a business, whether you have employees or you work alone as an individual, protecting yourself and your work is the most important thing to do. At ISU Armac, our insurance options, including general liability insurance, will help keep you and your business safe.

Can You Get General Liability Insurance as an Individual?

If you are looking for ways to protect yourself and your business, then general liability insurance is something that you’re going to want to consider. Businesses can benefit greatly from this type of insurance, especially if something unexpected happens in your workplace.

This type of insurance is an integral part of protecting yourself, your clients, and your business. But while it’s important to have if you run a business with employees, you might be wondering if it’s something that could be useful if you’re an individual or an independent contractor? Can it still benefit you? The answer is yes, and there are plenty of ways it can do that. Let’s get to know a little bit more about this kind of insurance, and the ways it can protect you.

What Is General Liability Insurance?

When you have your own business, whether it’s something that requires employees or something that you’re running on your own, there are lots of things that can go wrong. The good news is that many of these things you can plan for. The bad news is that sometimes life has unexpected things in store for you.

The fact of the matter is that you can’t plan for everything! Accidents happen, and these accidents could result in a serious strain on your business. General liability insurance, or GLI, is an essential way to keep your safe in the event that an accident happens.

What Does GLI Cover?

When you get GLI, you and your business will be covered for a variety of issues. These issues can also vary from state to state. Broadly speaking, there are a few issues that GLI will provide coverage for.

Product Liability.

If you sell or manufacture a product that unintentionally harms someone or causes property damage, then the person who purchased your product may demand compensation for these damages.

If something like this happens, GLI will provide you with product liability insurance. This will help you cover the costs of damages and other legal expenses if something goes wrong with your product.

Bodily Injury

Bodily injury can come in many forms and can be caused by a wide range of things. If something related to your business causes someone else bodily injury and you and your business are at fault, then the injured person can seek out compensation.

If a customer or client has been injured in this manner, then GLI will help you cover any costs associated with fixing the issue.

Tenant Liability 

Your business may require that you operate out of a facility separate from your home. In these cases, you may need to rent out space where your operating procedures can take place. While you may do your best to keep things clean and running smoothly, there are some things that you may not be able to account for.

If any part of your business results in damages to the space you’re renting out, you’ll be responsible for the damages. GLI will help you cover the cost of these damages.

Advertising Injury

This may be a surprising possibility, but injury or damages resulting from advertising are very real possibilities and something you need to protect yourself from. Some examples of injury caused by advertising include libel, slander, piracy, defamation, and violation of privacy.

If your advertising causes harm to another person or business, then that could put you at risk for some costly legal fees. If you are accused of anything libel, slander, or false advertising, then GLI can help you cover the fees needed to combat this.

How Does GLI Help Individuals?

Regardless of whether you have a multi-employee business or you are a freelancer working for yourself, running any kind of business comes with a certain level of risk. As an independent worker or contractor, you have the same level of risk that anyone else running a small business has. If something happens that results in injury or damages, then you’ll be responsible for paying out of pocket if you’re not covered by insurance. That can put a serious dent in your finances.

That said, different individuals performing different jobs will have varying levels of risk. The same is true for any business owner. For example, if you are an independent contractor that works as a carpenter, then you would have different risks than someone who works as a hairstylist. However, GLI would cover the risks of both types of work.

How Much Will GLI Cost Me As an Individual?

When it comes to getting any type of insurance, one of the biggest questions and concerns is how much it’s going to cost you. Just like any type of insurance, the amount that you pay for your GLI is going to depend on several factors. Your GLI will cost you a different amount than someone else’s.

Some of the things that will contribute to how much you pay for your insurance include the following factors:
•    The number of years you’ve been in business
•    The type of business you run
•    Your business experience
•    Your annual revenue
•    Your history or claims

What Business Should Have GLI?

It doesn’t matter whether your business requires multiple employees to run or if you work for yourself. If you run a business, regardless of its size, then you should have GLI. All businesses are at risk for accidents, and therefore at risk for significant financial and legal issues.

However, there are some types of businesses that are more at risk for certain issues than others. So, even though all businesses should have GLI, if your business falls within the following categories, you are definitely going to want GLI to protect you.

You Work with Clients or Customers

If you are spending time working one-on-one with customers and clients, then that can carry a high level of risk.

If a client or customer is injured or experiences damages related to your business, then having GLI to cover the costs of these damages and get any legal help you might need will be crucial.

Your Location Is Accessible to the General Public

The more people there are that enter your business, the more chances there are for accidents to happen, and therefore the more at risk you are for injuries and damages. The general public can be especially unpredictable, which increases the chances of something happening at your business.

If your business is accessible to the general public, then you are going to want to make sure you have GLI even if you are an independent worker.

You Manage Client-Owned Property or Assets

There are many cases where your business might be in charge of managing assets or property that are owned by your clients. When you take on these assets, you are responsible for keeping them safe.

But accidents do happen, and sometimes life has things in store that we can’t anticipate. For cases like these, GLI will help cover the costs if any of your clients’ assets or properties are damaged because of your business.

You Rent Property

If your business requires that you rent out property outside of your home, then it’s important that you are properly insured. Even if you are as careful as possible when you work, there is still the risk that something could go wrong and the property you are renting gets damaged.

If you are renting commercial space, then you’ll want GLI to protect you in case anything ever goes wrong.

Other Types of Insurance

GLI is essential if you are looking for overall protection for your business, whether you’re a small business owner or you work as an individual.

If you are an individual or independent contractor, then you may want to consider looking into these types of insurance as well:

Business Auto Insurance

If your business requires that you drive, then you might want to consider getting business auto insurance. Essentially any vehicle that your business uses can be covered under a business auto insurance plan.

These plans can cover a range of different things, including injury or personal damage that could be caused by an accident.

Cyber Liability Insurance

If your business requires the use of computers, then you could be at risk for a cyber-attack. These attacks can be devasting and expensive to fix.

Cyber liability insurance is a specialized insurance product that we offer that will help you cover the costs of expenses and damages related to this type of attack.

When it comes to any type of business, having insurance is important. Even if you’re an individual, general liability insurance is something important to consider having. Get in touch with us today at ISU Armac to learn more about how our insurance can protect you.

How Do I Get California Home Insurance in High Fire Risk Areas?

Coverage for an accidental fire is one thing, but what if you happen to own a home in a geographical area that is at higher risk of wildfire than other parts of the country? Is coverage for wildfire damage part of your insurance policy? Understandably, many people who live in California and other western states are very concerned with fire risk home insurance since wildfires are worsening due to the impact of climate change. The good news is that it’s easier than you think to have coverage for your home in case of wildfire damage.

How Do I Get California Home Insurance in High Fire Risk Areas?

Many homeowners are surprised to learn that coverage for fire damage, including damages caused by wildfires, is typically part of a standard homeowner’s insurance policy. That’s right – instead of searching for a specific policy to add to your existing insurance, your first step should be going over your current policy and inquiring about the coverage that already exists. The chances are high that your current policy already covers all fire damage.

Of course, if you need to find affordable home insurance for your homeowner’s insurance policy, then you may need to do some additional legwork. If you don’t have insurance yet, then your goal will be to find an affordable policy for your area that will offer a well-rounded policy plan that includes fire damage coverage. Some tips to find a good plan include:

Verify Company Covers Your Area

The first thing you will need to do to find affordable home insurance for your property is to narrow your search by insurance companies that cover your area. Typically, it’s a good idea to try for a local insurance company or at least a company that primarily serves your state, as the policy plans will be tailored to the needs of homeowners in your area.

If you can’t find a local insurance company that you like, you may want to branch out to national insurance companies. But be aware that smaller insurance companies typically have better rates, which might be better for your bottom line. It’s also worth noting that you may have additional steps to take if your homeowner’s insurance policy is tied into your monthly mortgage payments; in that case, you may be better off tailoring your existing policy.

Get and Compare Multiple Quotes

The best way to find an affordable plan is to gather multiple quotes and compare what your estimated monthly payments will be. In general, homeowner’s insurance policies in California are a bit pricier than insurance in other states, simply because California is a more expensive state to live in. The average homeowner pays about $1,200 annually for home insurance in California.

Of course, several factors will influence how much your home insurance policy will cost. For example, the lot size of your property, the value of your home, and even the age of your home are all factors. The most influential factors are the amount of land you own for your property and the overall value of your home since these are the base values that your insurance policy will need to cover in case of catastrophe.

Find Policy Plan That Meets Your Needs

The final tip to keep in mind is to find a policy plan that meets your specific needs. In some areas of the country, coverage for flood damage is not included in a homeowner’s insurance policy, even if the home is in a high flood-risk area. That said, most homeowners insurance policies cover all types of fire damage, including accidental damage and wildfire damage.

But you may want additional coverage, such as for earthquakes, which is also a common risk for California homeowners. In fact, the California Earthquake Authority estimates that only 10% of California homeowners have earthquake insurance despite California having a very high risk of earthquake damage. Homeowners in the Bay Area, in particular, may want to look for policies that also offer this type of coverage.

Is Fire Risk Home Insurance More Expensive in California?

Although the average monthly cost for home insurance in California is around $100, if your area has a higher risk of wildfires, then your premium may reflect this. Compared to other states, there is a steeper price for a homeowners policy in California, particularly the portion of the insurance policy dedicated to fire insurance premiums.

The reason why fire insurance premiums are steadily rising is that wildfires are becoming more common, more damaging, and harder to fight off. Naturally, because home insurance companies will need to cover that damage, the collective price for your policy rises to reflect the amount of damage your home may incur after a wildfire. The more likely your home is damaged by fire, the higher your premium will be. The same can be said for drivers who have repeated accidents.

Do All California Homeowners Need Fire Risk Home Insurance?

The cost of fire insurance included in your homeowner’s insurance policy varies greatly in different areas of California. For example, the central valley in California has the lowest risk for wildfires, so insurance policies tend to be cheaper in these areas. Areas of California that see wildfires more often, such as the dense forests in NorCal, will generally have a higher premium since wildfire risk is much greater.

That said, it’s rapidly becoming clear that larger and larger swathes of California are at elevated risk of wildfires, so even areas that do not seem likely to have a fire could be affected in the future. Such is the case for areas like Paradise, which faced extensive loss with homeowners who were underprepared for potential fire damage. In any case, it’s important to double-check that your fire damage policy explicitly states that it covers wildfires, as well as fire damage.

What Will Fire Insurance Cover?

Now that you know what fire risk home insurance may cost in the long run, it’s time to get down to the brass tacks of what this type of policy will cover. In general, fire insurance will cover any type of property damages caused by fire, as well as other financial losses associated with a fire. For example, repairing your home, replacing damaged property, and paying for hotel fees while your home is being fixed can all be covered by fire insurance.

However, just like any other insurance policy, there are some things that your policy may not cover – so if you fall under certain circumstances, you will need to talk to your insurance company about extending coverage. For example, if you have detached structures on your property, such as a garage or a shed, these structures will not usually be covered automatically by your fire insurance policy. Always ensure that every part of your property is covered by your insurance policy.

How Does the Claim Process Work?

If your home has been damaged by a wildfire, then you will first need to file a claim with your insurance company. The claim process can be started on the phone, online, or in person. The sooner you start the claims process, the sooner you can benefit from your insurance coverage, such as using your policy for temporary housing.

After you file your initial claim, evidence of your claim will be collected. This will include photos to document property damage, a claims adjuster assessing the damage in person, and the insurance company reviewing the evidence to make an estimate for your claim. Overall, this process can take several days or weeks. If you aren’t satisfied with the estimate your insurance company offers, you should contact your claims adjuster or insurance agent directly for negotiations or an explanation of the estimate.

Can You Purchase Additional Fire Insurance?

Yes. If you aren’t satisfied with the basic coverage that is bundled into your homeowner’s insurance, you can always purchase extra fire insurance coverage for additional detached structures, or even extend the type of fire damage your policy will cover. While accidental fires, electrical fires, and wildfires may be covered, your insurance plan may not cover specific types of fires, such as gas explosions.

It’s also important to understand the details of when your fire insurance policy is active. For example, your insurance will not cover damages to a home that has been vacant for more than 30 days in a row when the fire happened. If you want coverage for property that isn’t being continually lived in, such as a vacation home, then you will need additional fire insurance.

For California homeowners, it’s abundantly clear that wildfires are placing more homes at risk every year – and that means that homeowners need to be prepared with fire risk home insurance policies to cover any damage associated with wildfires. The good thing is that coverage for wildfire damage is likely already part of your homeowner’s insurance policy, so you may only need to double-check your policy. For more information about fire risk home insurance in California, please contact ARMAC Insurance Services in Victorville, CA today.

What Insurance Do I Need to Run a Garage?

Every business needs to be insured. A single mishap could spell the end of your company if you aren’t. However, insurance needs vary wildly depending on the profession involved. For example, medical professionals need malpractice insurance, something that few other jobs call for. So, what about a mechanic that runs a garage? Is there a sort of “garage insurance” that you can buy?

Insurance companies often bundle together a suite of insurance plans to cover all the needs of a specific business. Essentially, garage insurance is the perfect combination of insurance products to make sure that your garage can operate worry-free. Let’s take a closer look at each of the items that we would include in a comprehensive garage insurance plan. We’ll look at ones you absolutely must have, along with some that might be good options to add to your plan.  

Garage Insurance: What Insurance Do I Need to Run a Garage?

Liability Insurance

Liability insurance is one of the most common types of insurance sold to businesses. It’s essential if you have a physical property that customers can visit. Liability insurance covers injuries to individuals (not workers) that occur on your property. It also includes coverage for damage to someone else’s property.

If someone is injured on your property, or their property is damaged while on yours, your insurance representative will first determine if the incident was caused due to negligence or fault from your business. If so, you will need to pay a deductible and your insurance premiums may rise. If not, the damaged party will be responsible for their damages. Having liability insurance means you don’t have to worry about negotiating with anyone after an incident. Just call your insurer.

Do Garages Need Liability Insurance?

Yes, you absolutely do. Garages pose several risks to customers that other businesses don’t. For example, oily fluids can present a slip and fall risk that could lead to injury. Customers could wander into dangerous areas and be hurt by machines or simply by not watching where they are walking.

While damage to a visitor’s property is less likely, it could still happen. Imagine one of your workers moves a car out of the garage only to strike a parked car in your lot. Incidents like these do occur.

3rd Party Vehicle Insurance

Third-party vehicle insurance is an extension of your usual comprehensive vehicle coverage. It’s called third-party insurance because its coverage is specifically designed to protect cars when being driven by someone who isn’t the vehicle’s owner. Most car insurance plans include this kind of coverage. It’s what allows you to let your friend drive you home or borrow your car.

But in the context of a business, you may need to purchase it separately. If you have employees who will be behind the wheel of other people’s cars, don’t assume that the car owner’s insurance will cover damages caused by your employees. Likewise, your employee’s car insurance may not extend to on-the-job activities. Ultimately, your business will be held liable if one of your employees damages a customer’s car while driving it. Third-party insurance protects you in those cases.
 

Do Garages Need 3rd Party Vehicle Insurance?

Since it’s very likely that your staff will need to drive other people’s cars, even if only for short distances on your property, it’s a good idea to have third-party vehicle insurance. It protects your customers and your business, and your other forms of insurance may not cover these scenarios.

Property Insurance

Property insurance protects the physical structure you operate from. Just as you might have homeowners’ insurance to protect your house, you should have insurance to protect your workplace. Natural disasters can happen nearly everywhere. Civil unrest could lead to vandalism or other damage to your property. There’s always the risk of a fire or other accident that could damage your place of business.

Property insurance goes beyond brick and mortar. Your equipment is also covered, provided it is properly itemized and declared when you sign your policy. If someone breaks into your garage at night and steals valuable tools, you’ll be able to file a claim and get back to work. Property insurance is vital to ensure continuous operations. The last thing you want after an incident is to be unable to work for days until the problem is solved.

Do Garages Need Property Insurance?

This is as important as liability insurance and may even be legally required in your local area. If you have any sort of outstanding loan on your property, your bank will certainly require you to have property insurance. Besides, you likely have lots of expensive equipment that you want to protect. Consider property insurance a must for any garage.

Workers’ Compensation Insurance

Workers’ compensation insurance covers claims made by workers who are injured while on the job. Many employers mistakenly believe this is covered by their state. However, while the government does provide disability benefits for people who suffer long-term damage, these programs provide no coverage for civil claims against your company. An injured worker could sue for their economic damages in addition to pain and suffering. Without this insurance, you’ll be stuck paying the whole bill.

Workers’ compensation only covers injuries that occur while performing job-related tasks and while on the clock. Your workers cannot file a claim against it if, for example, they are injured while driving to work or while returning home. However, if you send someone out to pick up some parts, and they are injured while doing so, they could file a claim against you. This is why it’s so important to have workers’ compensation coverage.

Do Garages Need Workers’ Compensation Insurance?

The answer depends on how your garage operates. Do you have regular W-2 employees? In that case, you absolutely must have workers’ compensation insurance. Most states mandate it, and it would be foolish not to have it.

However, if your mechanics are all independent contractors, also known as 1099 workers, then you are not usually required to carry workers’ compensation insurance. Likewise, if your garage is small and you’re the sole operator, you wouldn’t need to have this coverage for yourself alone. In general, consider workers’ compensation mandatory. If you want to grow your business, you’re going to need it eventually.

Commercial Auto Insurance

Commercial auto insurance is very similar to the car insurance you have for your own vehicle. The main difference is that instead of insuring a specific individual, it insures anyone driving for the company. In addition, insurers can tailor your commercial auto insurance plan to account for more types of vehicles, which might be used in situations that a typical car insurance plan wouldn’t cover.

It works much the same way as your car insurance does. If your company vehicles get into an accident, the driver is protected by your insurance plan, as are damages to your vehicle. Whether or not you will be held liable depends to an extent on your state’s rules regarding auto accidents. California is not a no-fault state, meaning that if your driver was responsible for the collision, your company can be sued. This insurance protects you in that event.

Do Garages Need Commercial Auto Insurance?

It depends on whether your garage has company-owned vehicles. If you do, then you really should have this coverage. If you have any loans out on any vehicles, the bank will require you to have it. Commercial auto insurance can cover a tow truck, loaner vehicles for customers, or company cars for staff. Those vehicles can greatly increase the quality of the services you provide. Consider getting commercial auto insurance so you can provide even better service.  

Key Man Insurance

You may not have heard of “key man” insurance before, but it is quickly growing in popularity. The basic concept works like this. Some people in your organization are “key people”, people who, if they were to die or be unable to work, would make doing business extremely difficult. Typically, these are people in management positions who understand all the inner workings of the business. These are people who are impossible to replace overnight.  

When you have key man insurance, if something happens to one of the designated “key people”, you can receive payment for as long as they are unable to work or a specified amount in the event of their death. Do note that this insurance doesn’t pay out if the employee simply resigns, although you can transfer coverage to their replacement with no hassle.

Do Garages Need Key Man Insurance?

Key man insurance might be a good idea for the business owner or lead manager. If you have a master mechanic that you cannot live without, that could also be a good person to insure.

Get Comprehensive Garage Insurance Today

Rather than piece together each one of these components separately, get all of the insurance plans you need to keep your garage running smoothly. Contact ISU Armac Insurance Services to learn more about our garage insurance plans and how they can protect your garage.

What Is the Difference Between Garage Insurance and General Liability?

All businesses need liability insurance, but some specific industries may require specific insurance policies. While many small businesses can benefit from a general liability insurance policy, car garages, mechanics, and other businesses in the auto industry may benefit more from garage insurance. But what’s the difference between garage liability and general liability?

What Is the Difference Between Garage Insurance and General Liability?

General liability is a multipurpose policy that protects small businesses from a variety of common risk areas. Most business owners take out a general liability insurance policy to protect the business from lawsuits related to injuries, damage to client property, and accusations of false advertising. In general, having general liability insurance is a standard requirement for most businesses.

Garage liability is different. For garage insurance, the components of the policy are specific to the automotive industry. Garage liability insurance provides coverage for claims related to injuries and property damage to vehicles related to garage operations or services. With this insurance, garage owners will have coverage for any unexpected costs that may arise as a result of their business operations.

Keys of General Liability

General liability insurance will cover four types of liability risks. Product liability is the physical or property damage that may be caused by a product or service, bodily injury refers to a third-party injury sustained as a result of business operations, tenant liability is any damage to the property occupied by your business, and advertising injury related to false advertising or defamation claims.

With general liability, coverage in these four risk areas will save you from expensive legal fees and help your business recover more quickly if any claims are made against you. Without general liability insurance, it’s very difficult for a small business to recover from these types of claims.

Keys of Garage Liability

Although many of the features of garage liability may appear similar to general liability, the nuance of the policy details is where you will find the key differences between these two policies. Garage liability also covers four specific areas, including:

Third-Party Injuries

Third-party injuries refer to people who are injured as a result of your business operations. This does not include your employees, who should be covered by a different type of insurance policy. If a customer or other person not related to your business is injured at your garage, then you will need insurance to cover any fees related to their treatment.

For example, if a customer slips on oil or is otherwise injured while in your garage, then you are responsible for ensuring they have proper treatment for their injury. Failure to pay for hospital fees, surgery fees, or physical therapy rehabilitation fees could make you legally liable. Your insurance policy will cover the cost so you can avoid financial pitfalls.

Third-Party Property Damage

Garages tend to deal exclusively with third-party property – any time an automobile is brought into a garage, the small business becomes responsible for the treatment of the property. If a car is damaged because of employee negligence or as part of business operations, then the garage is responsible for paying for that damage.

The most common example of third-party property damage at a garage is scratching or dinging a vehicle, either while moving the vehicle to another area of the garage or as a result of tools harming the vehicle during repairs. If a client’s car is damaged while in the care of a garage, then the client has grounds to claim damages. This part of garage liability will cover the cost of any necessary repairs.

Product Liability

The items sold at a garage are typically repairs items for vehicles, which means all products sold by your business must be in good quality. Selling products that are not of good quality can potentially hurt the normal operation of a vehicle, particularly if the part is known to be faulty.

Selling defective automobile parts (even unintentionally) or using parts for repairs that are not appropriate for a specific car can create costly damages. This insurance will help you cover the costs of any repairs and protect you from legal fees from a lawsuit or other claim.

Liability Claims

Just like any other business, your garage is also vulnerable to liability claims. Liability claims in this policy may also be related to employees. Sometimes, liability claims include accusations from clients who claim they have been treated unfairly, such as with discrimination or dishonesty about the cost of repairs. Protection from liability claims will help you settle any damages if your business is found liable.

What Businesses Require Garage Liability?

Garage liability is a tailored insurance, which means it’s most appropriate for businesses in the automotive industry. While repair garages are likely the most common business to use this type of insurance, there are other automotive businesses that would also benefit from using this type of policy. Some examples include:

  • Dealerships
  • Auto body customization and paint shops
  • Detailing and car cleaning
  • Auto glass installers
  • Electronic repair
  • Emission test shops
  • Impound lots
  • Restoration shops
  • Parking garages and lots
  • Tow truck operators
  • Tire shops
  • Service stations
  • Valet services

Essentially, any time a business or employee will handle the third-party automotive property of a client, this specific insurance policy is good to have for overall coverage. Even if any employee will only be handling a vehicle for a short time, this coverage is necessary since car repairs can be very expensive.

What Is Garage Keepers Insurance?

Although garage insurance and garage keepers insurance seem like similar policies, it’s important to understand the distinction between these two policies. Garage keepers insurance is a policy specifically for businesses that take temporary custody or care of a vehicle, which is not something all automotive-related businesses will do.

With garage keepers insurance policies, the details of the policy specifically cover property damage related to accidental collision damage, fire, extreme weather, vandalism, or theft. If a client leaves their vehicle in the custody of your business, then you are responsible for ensuring that vehicle is returned to them in good order. Without this insurance, you may be on the hook for paying the full cost for replacement and repairs.

Do You Need Both Garage Liability and Garage Keepers Insurance?

This depends entirely on your business operations. Some businesses may not need to have this type of insurance, such as service stations, dealerships, or certain repair shops. But other businesses may have an overlap in business operations that will require the business to have temporary custody of a vehicle to complete certain repairs.

For example, if a repair will take several days, then when the owner of a vehicle hands over their keys, your business takes temporary custody of the vehicle until the repair is complete. If any damage is sustained to the vehicle not related to normal business operations, then you will need garage keepers insurance to cover the damages. An insurance expert will be able to advise whether or not you need both policies.

Do You Need Both Garage Liability and General Liability?

In some cases, you may only need garage liability to cover your business operations. However, there are some automotive businesses with enough crossover that it may be necessary to have both types of insurance policies. For example, car dealerships that have on-site service centers may benefit from having both insurances since garage liability would not necessarily cover claims made on the car-selling portion of the business. Again, an insurance expert can advise the ideal insurance policy or combination of policies that are best for your business.

What Does Garage Insurance Not Cover?

Generally speaking, while garage liability insurance covers third-party claims against your business, it will not provide the same protection for your business or your employees. For example, garage liability does not cover damages related to your business building, tools used for business operations, other business property, employee injury, or other personal damages.

To cover these types of damages, you will need additional insurance policies. Some common policies include employment practice or professional liability coverage, worker’s compensation, and other business owner’s insurance. The insurance policies you choose should be selected based on your specific business needs.

Why Do You Need Insurance for Your Business?

The most obvious reason to secure a good insurance policy for your business is to avoid expensive financial compensation for any claims made against your business or your employees. Recovering from third-party personal or property damage can be expensive, particularly for small businesses. But in addition to this, you may need the correct insurance for your business to comply with local state or federal regulations to run your business.

Businesses in the automotive industry generally require different types of coverage than other businesses. Because automotive businesses handle third-party property to complete automotive repairs, it’s necessary to have a comprehensive garage insurance policy to provide coverage for any liability claims. Some automotive businesses may even require a combination of different insurance policies. For more information about garage insurance for your business, contact ISU Armac Insurance Services.

What Happens If a Wildfire Burns Down Your Home?

Wildfires have become more common in the last decade, and they are likely to keep increasing in both frequency and strength due to high levels of climate change. While people around the world have seen the damage these natural disasters do on the news, not everyone is aware of the financial impact such an event has on the residents. If you’re concerned, taking out a high fire risk insurance policy could set your mind at rest.

A high level of insurance can help you to find a new place to live while your home is uninhabitable, keep covering your mortgage payments and repair your property, and replace the personal items that you’ve lost as a result of the fire. While it has been difficult to find great policies in the past, this is changing, and some insurance companies are offering plans specifically aimed at people like you. Let’s have a closer look at insurance and wildfire risk.

What Happens If a Wildfire Burns Down Your Home?

Watching your home burn down because of a wildfire is a traumatic experience. No matter if there is simply some cosmetic damage or the whole property is destroyed, you’ll undoubtedly lose many valuable objects, and you’ll need to look for a different place to live while your home is being re-built. This can be a real problem if you’re not insured, especially as you’ll most likely have to continue paying down your mortgage.

Fortunately, most people have some kind of insurance that can cover the expenses of living in a different place, paying the interest on their mortgage, and replacing the personal property that was destroyed. Policies vary, which is why it’s crucial that you read yours closely and find out exactly which expenses will be covered and which ones you’ll need to pay on your own.

If You Have No Insurance

The vast majority of homeowners have some kind of insurance policy, particularly those who have a mortgage. However, once you’ve paid it off, there’s no requirement to keep your insurance, and some people decide to cancel it. Similarly, there are some people with a mortgage who don’t have a reliable and effective policy. If your house burns down and you aren’t covered, you’ll have to come up for all the costs on your own.

This includes paying off the rest of your mortgage if you still have one. Stopping payments could cause foreclosure and the loss of your home. What’s more, when a natural disaster occurs, your lender will find out that you have no insurance and might therefore choose one for you, often at a higher premium than you would otherwise get. For this reason, being proactive and getting your own policy is always better. 

 

Loss of Use or Additional Living Expense Policy 

Any good insurance company will offer homeowners a loss of use or additional living expense policy, which covers the place you will stay while your own home is uninhabitable. Usually, you will be able to maintain the same standard of living you had previously, so if you lived in a very large home, you should be able to rent a dwelling of a similar size.

Additionally, your policy will also cover additional costs you will incur, such as meals and laundry service. Make sure you keep all your bills and proof of expenses, so you can claim the money back from your insurance.

Dwelling Coverage Policy 

In addition to the immediate need for shelter and necessities, you will also need to continue paying down your mortgage. When you first took out insurance, your property was valued, and you will be able to get this money back. Before making any decisions, remember that the bank will get paid first to prevent foreclosure or other negative consequences. Whatever is left can then be spent on rebuilding your home or purchasing a new one.

Carefully read through your policy to see how exactly dwelling coverage works in your case. Sometimes, it might include some money for closing costs on a new place or a monthly amount that can cover an increase in your mortgage rate. However, dwelling coverage policies are quite individual, so you’ll need to figure out what applies to your situation.

Personal Property Coverage 

The other big consequence of a house fire is that you lose a large part of your personal property, such as furniture, valuables, and day-to-day items. Many policies calculate this as a percentage of your property’s value. For example, if your home is worth $500,000 and your property coverage is 50%, you will receive $250,000 to replace all of your personal items.

Alternatively, the policy might be based on replacement cost or cash value. Replacement cost means that you’ll receive the same amount that you paid for your items when they were new. If you purchased a table for $2,000 twenty years ago, you’ll get $2,000 today to replace it. However, if your policy operates on cash value, you’ll only receive what the table would be worth today if it were sold. This is usually much lower.

Other Avenues for Help 

Whether you have insurance or not, there might be other people you can turn to for help. Family, friends, and unaffected neighbors are often happy to help, and there are certain charities that assist people like you who have suffered because of a wildfire. As an example, the Red Cross often helps people who have been hit by a natural disaster, particularly in an area where this kind of incident is common.

You may also receive some government assistance and benefits, but this will depend on your individual situation. All of these additional safety nets are vital, but they are not as extensive and guaranteed as your insurance. That’s why it’s always important to have a good policy as the first line of defense.

Finding Insurance and Protecting Your Home in a High-Risk Area 

As climate change heats up our environment, the risk of wildfires increases in certain areas of the country, particularly in California. Unfortunately, this means that many homeowners are having trouble finding a good, affordable home insurance policy because the companies are worried about the level of risk they are taking on. They may charge you more, place a cap on the payout, increase your deductible, or simply refuse to cover you.

If you have experienced this problem, you shouldn’t give up just yet. Although there are Fair Access to Insurance Requirements (FAIR) plans for people who can’t otherwise get insurance, they are usually expensive and don’t cover you as well as other options. Instead of using this service, you should look for high fire risk insurance, which is a plan specifically designed for situations like yours.

Choose High Fire Risk Insurance 

Every policy designed for people living in high fire risk areas will include living expenses, dwelling coverage, and personal property coverage. However, your insurance might also encompass some other benefits, depending on what your home is like and which structures you choose to get insured. For example, you might have other buildings aside from your main house, such as a shed, fence, or a detached garage.

Many policies will cover these structures, as well, and some will even help you to replace your vegetation. Trees, shrubs, your lawn, and plants can be included as a percentage of the value of your home, so you won’t have to worry about purchasing everything from scratch. In these ways, insurance specifically for high fire risk areas is tailored to your needs and can help you to get back on your feet much quicker.

Minimizing Your Damage 

No matter how good your insurance policy is, you should always look to minimize your damage and protect your property as much as you can. There are certain strategies you can employ to make sure a wildfire won’t destroy everything you own. Most importantly, you should clear all the vegetation at the edges of your property because this can double the likelihood of your home surviving a fire without much damage.

Try to remove all the flammable objects at the perimeter of your yard, cut down branches overhanging your roof as they could transmit the fire to your building, and clear all your structures of vegetation. You could also join a local group that aims to minimize wildfire damage, as they will have a lot of ideas about how you can best save your property.

Protect Your Home

Living in an area with a high risk of wildfires can be dangerous and challenging, but many people don’t want to leave the home they have lived in for many years. A high fire risk insurance policy can go a long way to alleviating your fears and making sure that you won’t face hardship, even if your home is affected by fires. If you also take precautions such as removing vegetation at the perimeter of your building, you will be very well protected.

In the past, it has been difficult to find a great insurance policy in California, but fortunately, you have options now. Get in touch with us today at Armac Insurance to find out more about the various plans we offer for people in high-risk areas. Our agents will be happy to speak to you about your needs and help you put together the best policy for your home.