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You Can’t Start a Home Business Without This

02/05/2015 | No Comments

Across America, millions of people are enjoying the earning potential that can come from having a home-based business. For some, this form of income is ideal because it provides the flexibility to work part-time around family needs and schedules. For others, a home-based business is a full-time venture. Whatever your type of business, you may benefit from having a home-based business insurance policy to protect it.


Home-Based Business Quick Facts

  • Americans currently run approximately 38 million home-based businesses
  • Statistically speaking, a new in-home business starts up every 12 seconds in this country
  • About 70% of all home-based businesses are still operating 3 years after inception
  • U.S. home-based businesses generate more than $425 billion each year
  • Approximately 20% of all home-based businesses earn more than $100,000 a year

What Are My Options for Home Business Insurance Coverage?

business insurance policy can protect you from potential liability claims and from loss or damage to your merchandise and equipment. There are a wide variety of different kinds of home-based businesses as well as different ways of attaining this coverage. Your main options include:

  • Your homeowners or renters insurance policy: For some smaller home-businesses, simply purchasing an addendum to your home or renters insurance policy will meet your coverage needs. This is ideal for home businesses that do not have a lot of expensive merchandise or equipment to insure. For less than $10 a month, you can receive about $2,500 worth of additional personal property coverage for your business equipment. This sort of coverage does not protect you from liability, however, so if your business faces the potential of a liability lawsuit, you may want to see out one of the options below.
  • A home business policy: These policies are ideal for medium-sized businesses that have assets between $2,500 and $10,000 as well as those that face the potential for a lawsuit due to injuries, property damage or poor work quality. This type of policy generally costs about $20 to $30 month, can provide up to $10,000 in property coverage and $1 million in liability coverage.
  • commercial insurance policy: This sort of policy is meant for larger home-based businesses that have many assets and require a vast amount of coverage. Policies will generally offer several types of liability coverage, including malpractice and negligence in provision insurance. Commercial insurance can provide millions of dollars in property coverage. You can expect a policy of this type for a home business to cost between $50 and $100 a month.

Most home-based businesses can be fully covered with one of these coverage options.

Why Would I Need Home Business Insurance Coverage?

There are a number of circumstances where a home-business insurance policy can save you from financial loss. Risks vary by industry, but consider the following scenarios:

  • If you keep a large amount of inventory in your home and it is damaged in a fire or stolen during a burglary, you may lose thousands of dollars.
  • If work you do has errors that lead to financial losses or embarrassment for a client, you may find yourself on the wrong end of an “errors and omissions” liability claim.
  • If you do product demonstrations and someone becomes ill or injured as a result of using the product you are showcasing, you may be sued for medical costs.
  • If you travel to your clients’ property to do your work, such as with a lawn care or home-organization business, and you inadvertently damage something of great value to your client, you may be sued for property damage.

There are a number of instances where those who run a home-based business may find themselves in need of a suitable homebusiness insurance policy.

What Does In-Home Business Insurance Cover?

An insurance policy for your home-based business can provide the following:

  • Liability coverage: This provides insurance to shield you from losses due to liability claims. A home-business insurance policy will allow you to purchase between $300,000 and $1 million in liability coverage.
  • Property coverage: This provides insurance to shield you from loss or damage to your business assets, including computers and other equipment, merchandise, materials and inventory. You can purchase up to $10,000 in property coverage with a home business insurance plan.
  • Lost income coverage: If you are forced to temporarily cease business operations due to damage caused by a covered event, this insurance will enable you to continue receiving the income necessary to pay employees and bills for up to one year.

Depending on the insurance provider you choose, you may have other coverage options available to you. Some policies will even allow you to include your coverage for up to three employees.


Ice & Snow – Remove It Before You Go

01/22/2015 | No Comments

Remember to remove all ice and snow from your vehicle before driving, especially from the hood, windows and roof. It’s the law in New Jersey! Motorists who fail to do so face fines of $25 to $75 for each offense, regardless of whether the ice and snow is dislodged from the vehicle. If flying ice or snow causes property damage or injury to others, motorists face fines of $200 to $1,000 for each offense. There are approximately 500 fatalities in the United States per year due to icy road conditions.
Winter Driving Tips

  • Drive slow (at or below the posted speed limit) and adjust your speed for the changing road conditions.
  • Turn on your headlights, using low beams when traveling in snow.
  • Increase your following distance. In winter weather, travel at least eight to 10 seconds behind the car in front of you.
  • Give snowplows plenty of room to work. Don’t tailgate and try not to pass. If you must pass, take extreme caution in doing so. Remember, a snowplow operator’s field of vision is restricted. You may see him, but they don’t always see you.
  • If you skid, don’t brake or accelerate. Remove your foot from the gas, and gently steer your car in the direction of the skid (the direction the rear of your vehicle is sliding.) When your car starts heading in the desired direction, carefully straighten the wheel.
  • Slow down before exiting the highway. Exit ramps often have icy patches, sharp curves and stalled or stopped vehicles.
  • Have a personal safety kit easily accessible in your vehicle that includes: an ice scraper/brush; shovel; jumper cables or battery starter; blanket; sand, salt or kitty litter for traction; lock de-icer; flashlight and new batteries; extra windshield wiper fluid; safety flares/warning device; cell phone with spare battery; water and non-perishable food (i.e., granola or protein bars); and paper towels or a cloth.
  • If your vehicle does become disabled, pull off the road as far as possible and turn on your emergency flashers. Remain with your vehicle until help arrives. If you can’t get your vehicle off the road and are uncertain about your safety, do not stay in your vehicle or stand behind it. Proceed carefully to a safe location away from traffic.

Looking for Affordable Business Insurance?

12/19/2014 | No Comments

How to Trim Costs and Find Deals

Business owners are always looking for ways to improve their bottom line. In a tough economy, especially, belt tightening measures can be the difference between survival and failure of a business. If you are eyeing your insurance coverage for places to trim expenses, you will find some opportunities; it just takes a bit of hunting.

Every commercial operation, from large corporate entities to very small shops, needs commercial coverage. The best way to find deals and get the best possible rates on your business insurance is to work with an independent agent in the Trusted Choice®network.  Our agents have access to multiple companies and can find the most affordable business insurance plan for you, and these carrier partnerships allow independent agents to serve all of your business insurance needs, from property and casualty insurance to directors and officers coverage to workers comp.  Contact Tri County Agency today to get started.


Top 6 Ways to Get the Most Affordable Business Insurance

  1. Work with an independent agent who can compare rates from several sources for you.
  2. Increase your deductibles; you take on a bit more financial risk in the event of a claim, but pay lower premiums.
  3. Don’t buy more than you need.
  4. Request discounts based on safety measures you have implemented.
  5. Bundle your insurance plans together under one insurance company whenever possible.
  6. Pay annually instead of monthly or quarterly.

Cut Back on Costs, Not Commercial Insurance Coverage

The best ways to keep your business insurance costs low are to know exactly what you need, and get the amount that is appropriate for your company. For example, if you never drive a vehicle in the course of doing business, then you most likely do not need commercial vehicle insurance. However, if you do need commercial auto, find every possible savings opportunity within that plan. Be sure to hire experienced drivers with excellent driving records, for example. You can also require them to take a driver safety course. And finally, bundle your auto policies together for multi-policy discounts.

There are definitely ways to find affordable business insurance plans, and one of the most effective ways to get cheaper insurance and trim the fat from your expenses is to cut out excess coverage that you do not actually need. Just make sure you don’t reduce costs by eliminating business policies or important coverage you do need.

Here are a few ideas for ways to save on your business insurance costs:

  • Affordable Commercial Property Insurance: If your commercial property insurance provides more coverage than the value of the property, you can cut back. For example, if you are covering a $200,000 building with $500,000 in coverage, you’re paying too much. You can also typically bundle your general liability insurance into a business owners policy, or BOP, to save costs.
  • Affordable Business Liability Insurance: Your insurance costs will depend on the size of your business and the risks you face. If you are a sole proprietor or have a small retail store, a $5 million policy may be more than you will ever need. Ask your agent whether a $1 or $2 million poliyc would be adequate based on the nature of your business. As with your commercial property coverage, your general liability insurance can typically be bundled into a business owner policy.
  • Affordable Commercial Auto Insurance: If you or your employees drive in the course of doing business, you don’t want to get cheap auto insurance that compromises the quality of your coverage. However, you can often save money by bundling your business vehicle insurance with your other plans, such as your liability coverage or business owner policy. Another way to cut costs on your commercial auto insurance is to raise your deductible. Consider requiring your drivers to take a safety training course, which may result both in fewer claims and lower cost insurance.
  • Loss of Income Insurance: This coverage will help replace your business income and pay your regular costs, such as payroll and rent or mortgage, if for any reason you are temporarily unable to conduct business. You don’t want to scrimp too much on this coverage or you could end up paying your business mortgage after a fire or other devastating event, without the business income to pay for it. One of the best ways to save costs on this coverage is to bundle it into a business owner policy.

Digging Deeper to Find More Business Insurance Discounts

As a business owner, you have a range of opportunities to reduce costs through proactive efforts on your part. One of the most critical steps you can take is to work closely with an independent agent who will devote the time to fully understand your business needs and risks. The process is similar to working with an accountant who knows where to find deductions you wouldn’t necessarily think of on your own.

Tri County Agency of Brick will fully get to know your business and perhaps visit your facility, if appropriate, to learn how you operate. Your agent may identify several additional ways to cut corners on your insurance bill while still getting the highest quality coverage and maintaining an optimal risk management program.

For example, you may be able to get discounts by improving your company’s overall safety and security and remaining claims-free. Some of the ways you can do so include the following:

  • Develop a worker safety training program
  • Install security cameras and a building security system
  • Install a fire sprinkler system and make sure you have accessible, functioning fire extinguishers
  • Strengthen your company firewall against cyber-crime
  • Reduce risk in your daily operations through safety inspections
  • Improve fraud awareness; hire a forensic accountant to train your senior staff on what to watch for
  • Reduce your business liability through safe materials handling, a driver safety program and other safety measures that reduce the likelihood of claims

Some of the measures you take to reduce your commercial insurance costs may require an investment in the short term that will yield discounts and savings in the long run. Your agent can help you to assess which safety and security measures make the most sense for your organization and will yield the best outcomes.

To get the most affordable business insurance for your company, contact Tri County Agency of Brick today. Because our agents work with multiple insurance companies, you will have several options and can choose the best coverage for your company at the rate that fits your budget. Your agent will also be able to combine all of your business coverage in one package, so you have one contact for all of your commercial insurance needs.


How Do Auto Insurance Claims Work?

12/11/2014 | No Comments

Most drivers have to file an auto insurance claim at one time or another. The millions of claims processed each year in this country range from the mundane to the catastrophic. You may have experienced anything from a fender-bender to a serious accident. Filing auto insurance claims involves reporting the incident to your insurance agent or insurance carrier so that you can receive compensation for your loss.

How to File Car Accident Insurance Claims

If you are wondering whether your collision claims process will be more difficult to bear than the accident itself, the good news is that filing a claim is usually fairly simple. By following a systematic approach and carefully recording what has happened, you can gather all of the information you need. The following guidelines will help you ensure the process goes smoothly.

1. Check the Accident Scene and Get Emergency Help
Before you and the other driver contact your insurance providers to file automobile insurance claims, get your vehicle to a safe place and make sure everyone is okay.

If anyone is injured, call 911. The most important thing to do is ensure that any medical emergencies are taken care of immediately.

Next, contact the police to report the accident. They will be able to file a report and take down necessary information for your insurance agent.

2. Document Everything
There are many factors that go into a collision, some of which may not have been avoidable. Never admit you caused an accident. Do not blame the other driver either. Often it takes a police officer and/or an insurance adjuster to determine what happened and who is at fault.

The best approach is to document the accident. If possible:

  • Take photos of the damage to all vehicles involved.
  • Photograph the accident scene and any property damage.
  • Take photos of identifiers, such as intersections and addresses.
  • Gather accurate information from other people involved.
  • Take clear pictures of insurance cards, license plates and other identifying information.
  • By documenting the accident, you will be able to help prevent false claims from the other driver or others involved.

 

3. Contact Your Agent
When an accident or theft occurs, it is important to file an auto insurance claim as soon as possible. Have your vehicle information ready, as well as details about what happened.

When you file an accident insurance claim, your agent will ask some basic questions that will ultimately pertain to your auto accident insurance settlement. For example:

  • Was anyone injured?
  • Where is your vehicle?
  • Does it need to be towed?
  • What happened?

Describe what happened as clearly as possible. Provide the police report numbers and insurance information you gathered from anyone else involved. If your car has been taken in for repairs, include the contact information for the repair shop.

In Case of Theft

If you are filing a stolen vehicle claim, describe where and when the theft took place to the best of your ability. Include information on any police investigation, along with the police report number.

In Case of Vandalism

If your car is vandalized, describe the visible damage. Take photos of the vandalism and the crime scene. If you have reported the crime to the police, include the report number.

4. Follow up on Your Claim
When filing auto insurance claims, it is important to follow up. Your agent will work with you to provide details, help complete the claims process and make sure you receive your auto accident insurance settlement if your claim is covered.

Depending on the type of coverage you have, an insurance adjuster will offer a settlement based on the cost of repairs. If your car is considered a total loss, your agent will offer a settlement based on the value of the vehicle before the crash.

Auto accident insurance settlements may take weeks or months to be finalized, in the event of a particularly complicated auto accident. Your agent will go over the entire process and the expected timeline with you. While the settlement is being processed, stay in contact with your agent.

What Does an Insurance Claims Adjuster Do?

A claims adjuster is an employee of the insurance company who investigates accidents and determines what occurred. If the other party is filing a suit against you, the plaintiff’s attorney will also gather the facts in the attempt to make a case.

If an accident does not involve the legal system, the claims adjuster will simply inspect your vehicle, determine the extent of the damage, and report the cost of repairs to your insurance agent. If the car can be repaired, your agent will review your insurance plan to determine what fixes are covered by your policy. If the costs exceed the value of the vehicle, your agent will deem the car a total loss.

Why Good Auto Insurance Matters

There are many different scenarios for how and why auto-related incidents happen. Working with an insurance agent who fully understands the risks you face and helps you to get the right coverage at the right price can bring you peace of mind. Insurance agents can often help to simplify the claims process.

Here are some examples where a helpful agent and the right insurance can make a difference.

  • Collision coverage claims: When it’s not clear who is responsible for an accident, your agent will file a claim with the other driver’s insurance company. It may take time for both providers to settle the claim, but your agent will be able to walk you through each step. You can speed up the recovery process by carrying collision coverage, which provides funds for repairs regardless of who caused the accident.
  • Uninsured and underinsured coverage claims: If the other driver is at fault but is not insured, your agent will explain what you need to do. Be prepared in advance with uninsured/underinsured coverage. If an accident is caused by a driver without insurance, this coverage will pay for all or most of the costs.
  • Comprehensive coverage claims: If you hit a deer on the highway, a branch falls on your car during a thunderstorm, or your vehicle is vandalized, you’ll need comprehensive coverage. Also called “other than collision,” comprehensive pays for damage to your property that is not caused by another driver. If the value of your vehicle is quite low, you may not want to carry this coverage. Be sure to talk with your agent.
  • GAP insurance claims: For new cars or leased vehicles, it is important to have protection with GAP insurance. The moment you buy or lease a vehicle, the value of the car quickly depreciates. If your new car is totaled or stolen, your insurance coverage will only pay for the value of the car at the time of the incident. The remaining difference – what you owe on your loan or lease agreement – must be paid. If you have GAP insurance, your policy will cover the difference.
  • Personal injury insurance claims: Personal injury protection (PIP) provides coverage for your own injuries and lost wages following an accident, up to a limit. The policy, also known as MedPay in some states, typically does not take into consideration whether you are at fault for an accident. Several states require PIP, so it is important to check with your local Trusted Choice member agent to ask about your state’s requirements. When you file a personal injury claim, keep in mind the limitations in your policy. Like all other coverage types, PIP has several exclusions and restrictions. It is important to discuss with your agent how the policy works and what it covers.
  • Fraudulent claims: A fraudulent claim may involve exaggerated damages, falsified losses or staging an accident or theft. When you are in an accident with another driver, it is important to be thorough in documenting any damage. This will deter the other driver from filing a fraudulent claim against you. If you believe a claim against you is fraudulent, find out how to report fraud with your agent. You can also contact your state insurance board to report fraud.
  • Claim denial: Was your claim denied? Claim denial can occur for a number of reasons. The most common reason is insufficient coverage. Before you buy a policy, it is vital to review the extent of coverage with your agent. If your claim is denied, discuss what the next steps are with your agent. There is often a denied claims appeal process.

 

If you are unhappy with your insurance provider, it may be time to switch to Tri County Agency of Brick. Not only will you find dedicated service from an agent who knows you by name, but your agent will review your policies carefully to make sure your coverage truly matches your needs.


Preventing Holiday Theft

12/04/2014 | No Comments

 Your Home:

  • Break down all boxes into small pieces and discard them in non-clear trash bags.
  • Keep gifts hidden from view at outside windows.
  • Lock all doors and windows even when leaving the home for a short period of time.
  • Leave spare keys with a neighbor rather than hiding them outside. Burglars are not fooled by your hiding places.
  • Indoor and outdoor lights on an automatic timer should be used whenever possible.
  • When away from your home for an extended period of time, have a neighbor or friend watch your house and pick up your newspapers and mail.
  • Beware of strangers at your door: criminals can pose as couriers delivering gifts or be soliciting donations for fake charitable causes. Ask for identification or information about a charity.

Your Car:

  • Lock all doors and roll up all windows even when leaving the car for a short period of time.
  • Bring gifts into homes with you overnight rather than leaving them in your car.
  • When shopping, keep gifts in the trunk or hidden from view in the interior of the car.
  • Put all of your packages in the trunk before departing one parking lot and driving to another. Waiting until your next shopping destination allows others to see packages go into the trunk of your car and then you departing into the mall or store.
  • Avoid parking next to vans and large trucks that block your space from general vision of others.
  • Make a mental note or write down exactly where you park your car to avoid wandering around longer than necessary.
  • During the day, park away from buildings to reduce the chance of dings from car doors or shopping carts and the likelihood of vandalism.
  • At night, avoid secluded areas and park directly under lights whenever possible.
  • Look underneath your car before you reach it when returning from shopping; criminals have been known to lie underneath in wait.

While Shopping:

  • Use a credit card in order to avoid thefts of large amounts of cash that cannot be replaced.
  • Shopping with a single credit card is preferable—it is easier to cancel one rather than several if your wallet or purse is stolen.
  • Keep purses zipped and in your possession close to your body rather than leaving it in your shopping cart where it is more susceptible to theft.
  • Be sure to keep a reference list of phone and account numbers for all your credit cards in a safe place at home.
  • Try to carry keys, cash and credit cards separate from each other.
  • For freedom of motion and clear visibility, do not overload yourself with packages when leaving a store and returning to your car. You cannot defend yourself with your arms too full of bundles.
  • Use ATMs in well-populated, well-lighted locations. Do not throw ATM receipts away at the ATM location.
  • Remember there is increased safety in numbers. Avoid walking alone and leave malls and stores well before closing time to assure a more active parking lot.

Fry the Turkey, Not the House!

11/20/2014 | No Comments

Thanksgiving is near and visions of fried turkeys already are dancing in more than a few heads.

Yet even as you are salivating, your Trusted Choice® independent insurance agent hastens to caution you. The old joke that men love cooking only if it involves flames and danger is not so funny after an accident. Every year too many folks are harmed and homes are burned due to the combination of large pots of hot oil and big turkeys. Your homeowners insurance may respond for the fire damages and your health insurance for the emergency room visit, but is that really the new Thanksgiving tradition you had in mind?

Fried turkey can be a great alternative to traditional oven-roasted fare, but be certain to take into account the much higher risk factors. Use a fryer designed specifically for turkeys, rather than jury-rigging other cooking equipment. Once you have the proper fryer, follow a few tips from the experts that can make the difference between taste sensation and flaming disaster:

  1. Turkey deep fryers should always be placed outdoors, on a flat, preferably concrete surface located a safe distance away from anything combustible. Never use a turkey fryer in the garage, on a wooden deck, or anywhere near the house.
  2. Never leave the fryer unattended. Even after you are finished cooking, do not let pets or children near the unit. The oil in the fryer remains extremely hot for hours after cooking.
  3. Keep a fire extinguisher handy. The best is a Class K wet chemical fire extinguisher. If fire erupts, do not throw water on it. Water cannot extinguish a grease fire and will cause the oil to spatter violently. Use common sense. If the fire is small, use the extinguisher, but dial 911 for emergency assistance before the blaze becomes unmanageable.
  4. Use oil with a high smoke point, such as peanut or canola.
  5. Do not overfill the turkey fryer. If oil spills over?because the turkey is too large or the oil level is too high?flames can engulf the unit and endanger bystanders. Before frying, conduct this test: Put the unseasoned turkey into an empty fryer. Then fill the fryer with water until the turkey is fully submerged. If the turkey fits comfortably, mark the water level. When preparing to cook, dry the fryer thoroughly. Then fill it with oil to an inch shy of your level mark to allow for expansion of the oil as it heats.
  6. Thaw the turkey completely and dry it with paper towels. Injected marinades are fine, but season the turkey skin with a dry rub. Excess water in a partially frozen or wet turkey will cause the pot to bubble over, resulting in a fire hazard. The National Turkey Federation recommends 24 hours of thawing for every five pounds of bird before cooking in a turkey fryer.
  7. Most turkey fryers do not come with a thermostat, and if left unattended may overheat, resulting in combustion. Turkey fryer thermometers and other accessories are available.
  8. Use heavy oven mitts or well-insulated potholders. The lid, handles, and sides of the cooking pot become very hot, posing a severe burn threat. Protective eyewear is also recommended.

 

Your Trusted Choice agent always stands ready to offer advice and a comprehensive review of your current insurance coverage and needs. But when it comes to safety, remember: The best claim is the one you never have to make. Whether you’re tending a deep fryer or waiting on the timer to go off on your oven, be safe this Thanksgiving and holiday season.


Avoid Frozen Pipes this Winter!!!

11/13/2014 | No Comments

Along with maintaining the temperature in your living space, it is important to have sufficient insulation to the areas surrounding water pipes. Insulation helps protect your pipes by blocking the flow of cold air. In attics, you can often find piping close to the ceiling with insulation placed over them. Verify that this insulation is still intact and doing its job. Insulating tape (not electrical tape) can be used to wrap pipes that are lacking insulation in these unheated areas.

The extraordinary cold weather can leave many buildings unable to provide a sufficient amount of heat to the areas surrounding their fire sprinkler systems, which can result in the systems freezing. Ice in sprinkler pipes not only prevents the system from operating correctly in the event of a fire, but it may also cause the pipes to burst and create substantial property damage.


The coverage you want. The savings you need.

11/06/2014 | No Comments

Every day, professionals in a wide range of industries face liability risks, including financial and legal professionals, architects and designers and even health and wellness practitioners. Even so, professional service providers may not recognize the risk of a lawsuit until a client or patient suffers a loss or personal injury. The best way to prepare is by taking preventive action. Investing in professional liability insurance makes sense when you work with clients who pay you for your expertise, knowledge, advice and care.

Tri County Agency of Brick is your local independent agent in the Trusted Choice® network and can compare professional liability insurance quotes from a variety of insurance companies, and ensure you get the right coverage at a competitive rate. Our agents are dedicated to top-quality customer service, which means that we will be there to help you, from your initial inquiry to ongoing assistance. To review coverages and get the help you need to choose the right coverage, contact us today.  tri-countyinsurance.com/generalprofessionalliability 

 


Professional Lawsuit Statistics

  • From 1986 to 2011, the FDIC (Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation) collected $6.46 billion from professional liability claims.
  • The FDIC spent $1.77 billion funding professional liability insurance claims and investigations.
  • Since August 8, 2013, the FDIC has approved lawsuits against 122 institutions on behalf of 987 individuals.
  • 52 other lawsuits have been approved involving anything from attorney malpractice to fidelity bond malpractice.
  • In 2012, there were 369 authorized director and officer defendants.

What Is Professional Liability Insurance?

If you are looking for a professional liability insurance definition, you will find that it is slightly different depending upon your profession. For example, a private practice physician’s professional liability coverage will be geared toward the risks of the medical profession, whereas a realtor’s concerns are related to buying and selling homes. However, it is essentially defined as legal protection from “errors and omissions” that may occur as a result of performing professional services. This means it will cover you for mistakes you make as well as your negligence – things you fail to do – that result in a client’s loss.

In practice, it means that if a client claims that your services, advice, or expertise have caused a personal or professional loss, you have insurance that will cover your legal defense and the costs associated with resolving a lawsuit. Litigation can be a drawn-out process that can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Professional liability insurance is a reliable way to protect your business assets. If you’re sued, professional liability insurance coverage helps pay for defense costs as well as any settlements or judgments that you must pay.


Who Needs Professional Liability Insurance?

This form of business insurance appears under a variety of names because of the many different types of professions that need this type of coverage. Anyone from a home remodeler to a heart surgeon should consider purchasing professional liability insurance coverage.

A few specific types of this insurance are:

  • Malpractice insurance: This is specifically designed to assist medical professionals accused of negligent behavior or mistakes. Everyone working in the healthcare and medical fields should evaluate whether this is a necessary coverage or not. Even if you are a health professional who is employed within a clinic or hospital that has its own malpractice insurance, it is a good idea to evaluate personal malpractice coverage for your own protection.
  • Errors and omissions liability insurance: Professionals who buy errors and omissions insurance include consultants, lawyers, brokers, financial advisers, real estate agents, architects, designers and even insurance agents. These professions are based on knowledge and advice; those who act on that advice are at risk in one way or another and may deem that the services you provided resulted in injury, damage or loss.
  • Directors’ and officers’ liability insurance: This type of coverage specifically deals with any negligent behavior or errors committed by top ranking company employees.

Others that may want to consider professional liability coverage include engineers, dentists, not for profit organizations, contractors and transportation businesses.


Why Do I Need Professional Liability Insurance?

The most important reason to have the protection of professional liability insurance is unforeseen claims against you. If for any reason a client or patient feels wronged or harmed by your services, you can be at risk of a lawsuit. If you are covered by a reliable professional liability insurance company, and have set a coverage amount that is adequate for the risks you face, your personal assets are protected.

Another important reason why you may need individual professional liability insurance is if you are concerned that your company may not support you during the legal process. For example, if for any reason there is a conflict of interest, your company’s insurance policy won’t provide coverage. The costs of legal defense and possible settlement or judgment may then be taken from your personal financial assets.

If you maintain a standard of excellence within your business operations, you may feel that the extra cost for professional liability insurance isn’t worth the expense. However, service providers are often blindsided by lawsuits can bankrupt them or their company. A member agent in the Trusted Choice network can certainly help you to assess your needs and risks.


Examples of Professional Liability Insurance Claims

Professional liability claims range from simple errors to major snafus. For example:

  • A commercial client hires a design firm to design an office building to specification, including space for specialty equipment and existing office furniture. When the project is complete, the client company discovers that the existing furniture and equipment will not fit into the space, and they must pay an additional $30,000 to retrofit the space. The result is a claim against the design firm.
  • A firm hires a marketing company to produce an ad campaign, and is sued by another corporation for copyright infringement. The client firm, in turn, sues the marketing company for the cost involved in the legal process as well as for damages to their reputation.
  • A real estate agent fails to disclose a known problem or defect in a property, such as a problem with mold or radon. The home buyer learns of the problem after the sale is complete, and sues the agent for not disclosing the problem and for the additional costs involved in remediation.
  • A surgeon removes the wrong kidney; or, the surgeon recommends a surgery which the patient later learns is not beneficial and can even be life threatening.

Find Affordable Professional Liability Insurance

The cost of professional liability coverage will vary widely depending on your profession and your risks. A sole proprietor who installs cabinetry may not face as large of a potential risk as a brain surgeon, but both professions need coverage. Other factors include the frequency of claims in your industry, the size of your company, and whether you’ve had liability claims in the past. Professional liability insurance costs can vary from $500 to $15,000 per year, depending on the type of work you do.

To get an accurate professional liability insurance quote, contact an independent agent in the Trusted Choice network. These agents have access to many insurance companies and can help you compare options and rates to find the best coverage for your needs and budget. Find a member agent today to protect yourself from professional liability claims.


The 2014 Halloween Survival Guide for Parents

10/30/2014 | No Comments

It’s that time of year again. Little ghouls and goblins will be running around the streets soon enough, and you’ll follow behind diligently watching to make sure that they stay safe. It’s usually considered a chore, but this year you can take advantage of a few ideas that will make trick or treating just as much fun for you.

Be the Official Treat Bag Holder

You know you’ll do a little pilfering, anyway. Grab a pillowcase and let your little ones empty their goods as they go. You’ll be doing enough walking to justify a candy bar or two. Besides, you’re basically saving your children from eating far too much junk.

Get a Closer Look at Your Neighbors

Don’t pretend you aren’t curious. Last year they were driving a minivan and now a Porsche sits in the driveway. Get all up in there when you walk your child to the door. Is that new leather furniture on top of that bearskin rug?

Relive the Glory Days

Did you peak in high school? I hope not. Choose a decade when you think you were at your best, then pick a character who meant something to you and relive the glory by dressing up. Are you a Knight Rider kind of guy or was Gilligan more your speed? Did you idolize Farrah Fawcett or was Daisy Duke your choice? Don’t let the kids have all the costume fun.

Commiserate

Find and team up with other parents in your community who will also be schlepping behind their children as they crisscross the neighborhood on the hunt for the house that hands out cans of soda. Together you might be able to use your time productively and plan a block party where kids are not invited.

Steal Landscaping Ideas

Ideas! Not the fall mums that adorn the doorsteps of every house but yours. Check out the yards of people who seem to have all the time in the world. Just because their houses look perfect and their yards coordinate with their house trim doesn’t mean you should help yourself to one of their plants. (But it makes it awfully hard not to.) Ideas, however, are free.

Pranks

Think back to when Halloween was fun and pranks were an important part of a successful Halloween. Did you toilet paper a few trees, smash a few pumpkins? Surely, there is someone in the neighborhood with a good enough sense of humor to get a kick out of this. Otherwise, that perfectly coordinated house might be a good bet.

Follow a few, or all, of these tips and you might find yourself looking forward to Halloween this year. Maybe some of these ideas will soon become traditions for you and your neighbors, and when your kids are grown, you’ll actually be pretty disappointed that there is no reason to go out. I guess there is always the promise of grandkids, right?


National Teen Driver Safety Week is October 19th-25th

10/24/2014 | No Comments

Here are some tips to keep not only teens, but all drivers safe!!

Set essential controls before you back out of your parking spot. (play lists, climate controls, destinations in the GPS)

Manage your time.  Rushing leads to distractions, road rage and taking unnecessary risks.  Leave a few minutes early and arrive to your destination stress-free.

Don’t drive when angry or upset. Pull over to the side of the road if you are too upset to drive.

Never text while driving.  That text or phone call can wait until you pull over.  Always use hands free devices when using your phone in the car.


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