There is no denying the fact that success of a business depends on the hard work of the team but one disaster can wipe out your efforts and bring down the profits to dust. So, to avoid such an instance, you need to insure your business, whether it is a small enterprise or a large corporation.
There are insurance companies, which have policies that combine protection for all major property and liability risks in one package. You can also opt for separate coverage. Such a policy is called a business owners’ policy (BOP). Larger companies may purchase a commercial package policy.
BOPs include property insurance for buildings and equipments owned by the company. If there is any loss of income due to disruption of operation and business because of accidents like fire, it can be covered under the Business Interruption Insurance.
There are liabilities, which cover the company’s legal responsibility for the harm it may cause to others. It is the result of your company’s failure to do the business operations. It can also be the bodily injury or property damage caused due to defective products, faulty installations and errors in services provided.
However, BOPs don’t cover professional liability, auto insurance, worker’s compensation or health and disability insurance. Separate policies are needed for professional services, vehicles and employees. Generally, floods, earthquakes and terrorist attacks are not covered in the business insurance.
Protection Against Flood Damage
If your office is in the flood zone area, you must definitely go for a policy, which provide coverage against flood. Try to find out whether the place had been hit by flood in the past. Make sure you do something in advance to make up for the loss. Otherwise you may face trouble.
Protection Against Earthquake Damage
Earthquake is also not included in most property insurance policies such as homeowners and business owners’ package policies. Special Earthquake Insurance Policy or Commercial Property Earthquake Endorsement can cover you if you live in an earthquake-prone area. However, earthquake policies have different deductibles.
Business Interruption Insurance, which reimburses you for the lost income during a shutdown, applies only to the damage covered under your business property insurance policy. There won’t be reimbursement for the loss caused due to the closure of business because of the earthquake. For it, you must have an earthquake coverage policy.
Protection Against Terrorist Attack Losses
In the US, loss due to any terrorism is covered only for those businesses that have optional terrorism coverage. It comes under the Terrorism Risk Insurance Act 2002. Still, there are exceptions in workers’ compensation, which include injuries and deaths due to acts of terrorism.
Each year when our renewal notices come through the post for our home contents insurance and/or home buildings insurance, most of us automatically sign the form and send it back to the insurance company – after all, we already know how much the premiums are going to be. Big financial mistake, and here are 4 reasons why:
Did You Buy Anything New In The Last Year?
If you bought anything new in the last year, say a new television or video recorder, then the value of this new purchase will not be included in the renewal notice you just sent off to the insurance company. Likewise, if you sold anything of value over the last year, and have not informed the insurance company, then you are paying home contents insurance for something you no longer own. Either way, your not paying the right amount of insurance premiums.
Did The Costs Stay Static?
If you have home contents insurance then you are insuring your personal property for the replacement cost of buying the same thing new. On the other hand, part of your home buildings insurance should cover the cost of labour and materials. Now ask yourself, would the cost of replacing the picture hanging in your living room be the same today as it was last year? If the answer is that it would cost you more, tough luck, you’ll only get paid out what you said the cost of replacing it would be! The same can be said of your friendly builder, would he charge you the same for an hour of his time and for his materials today as he would have done last year? If the answer here is no, then you should be expecting to pay him the difference.
Did The Value Of Your Home Stay The Same?
Similar to the above, with your home buildings insurance you need to be asking yourself whether or not the value of your home stayed the same this year as it was last year? You need to be asking yourself this question even if you didn’t do any work to the house – such as building an extension – that would naturally automatically add value to your home.
Is Your House Any Safer Today?
Here the question is, have you done anything to your house over the last year that would mean your home would be considered safer today than last year? For example, did you add any deadlocks to your doors or windows? If so, then there’s a very good chance your home contents insurance premium would be reduced, as the security in your house is a major consideration in assessing your premium (along with the crime rate in your neighbourhood, so you may also want to check and see if this has gone up or down also).
Keep in mind that time stands still for no man. As such, you need to read your home contents insurance and/or home buildings insurance renewal notices very carefully to make sure that they reflect, as accurately as possible, your life today and not your life of yester-year.
What do you know about business insurance? What you should know about business insurance are two things that are important when you are out to get business insurance for yourself. There are many factors that you will need to take into consideration. But the most important of them are:
1. Price: You need to know you are getting the best quote available. The only ways to ensure that is by getting quotes from at least five different insurance companies and compare them. When you do that, check all the pros and cons so you get the complete picture. Some insurance agencies charge a very small fee upfront but has a lot of other fees such as processing fees, inspection fees, documentation fees, etc which will take the price through the roof. Better still run a search through the Internet and get savvy about the running rate. Another good way to find a good quote is to ask around from friends and relatives. There is nothing better than a tried and trusted hand.
2. Stability: professional companies such as Standard & Poor’s Insurance Rating Services, AM Best, Weiss Research, etc rate all insurance companies’ performances. Make it a point to get sufficient information about the company you choose for your business. Be warned that there are millions of scams out there and unless you are very careful, you will end up in many more woes than without insurance. Be careful when you make the decision – a wrong decision can be the road to bankruptcy.
3. Service: Everyone in this world who buys something looks forward to have the best value for their money. When it comes to insurance the best value is synonymous with service. You can decide how good is your company through the way they answer to your queries and their patience in explaining the nitty-gritty of the insurance policy and its alternatives. You can also gauge the quality of their service from their references. You make it a point to ask for references and follow up on them. Make enquiries and decide only after you are thoroughly satisfied. Once you sign with the insurance company, you cannot do much if you find it giving you horrible service. Be sure before hand.
4. Be informed: All insurance companies need to be registered with the National Insurance Producer Registry. You should not look at insurance companies with a rating of less than B+ as they might be spelling trouble. You want to make sure there is no major black spot on your company; you need to check it out here whether the insurance company has any complaints against it. The Registry will also confirm the validity of the complaints and you can get a pretty accurate picture about the said insurance company from here.
Insurance agent: You can get your business insured through an insurance agent as well. They work on commission basis with the major insurance companies and if you get a good agent he will be able to guide you that can be the best policy and scheme for you. However, keep in mind that he works for commission and he will definitely be interested to earn the highest amount. Hence he will be more likely to promote the company that pays him the highest commission more aggressively. You accept his advice, and run your check on the company as well. When buying an insurance policy through an agent, you will have to ensure two things, i.e. (i) that the agent is a good worker and has a good reputation and (ii) that the company he is representing is above reproach. Ask references from the agent, ask for names of at 5-10 clients and check up on them. If the agent refuses to cooperate, change him/her immediately.
Home insurance is a basic term for two different types of insurance policy. Buildings insurance to cover the construction of your property and home contents insurance to protect your valuables and other household objects.
The problem is that not all home insurance policies are created equal making it difficult to compare like with like. The areas and level of cover provided vary from policy to policy along with the premiums. So having a definite idea of what you need to insure and for how much will help minimise the overall time and money spent buying it.
TIP 1: Cut the risk, cut the cost
All insurance policies protect against the risk of financial loss. So to cut the cost, cut the risk to the insurer and you’ll get a lower premium. To give you an idea, here’s a quick summary of the most effective tactics…
• Contact your home insurance company or local neighbourhood watch scheme and they will send you a list of steps to make your house more secure and less likely to be targeted by thieves.
• Fit locks to all windows and level 5 (BS3621) mortise deadlocks locks to the doors. Most insurance companies will give you up to 10% off your home contents insurance if you have these kind of locks fitted around your house.
• Having a good alarm fitted by a recognised alarm fitter, which your insurance company can recommend, can give you up to 10% off your policy. Bear in mind that these are expensive alarms which require an annual check up.
• Higher policy excess. You will usually have to pay the first £50 of any insurance claim, but if you’re willing to pay more then, your premium will fall now.
• Neighbourhood watch schemes. Some home insurers offer discounts if you live in a neighbourhood watch area; however this is less common.
• No claims bonus. As with your car insurance; a record of no previous claims will reduce your premium. If you need to make a claim, consider whether it may be cheaper to pay for the loss yourself and avoid an increase in premiums.
• Your age. Statistically, the older you are, the less likely you are to make a house insurance claim. So if you’re a lower risk this will be reflected in your premiums. Some companies offer extra benefits to those over 50 such as Saga.
• Extra security. Declare any special safety precautions you’ve made for your valuables such as a home safe.
• Your lifestyle. If you have a dog, are teetotal and don’t smoke, be sure to declare this as such factors are used by some insurers to reduce premiums.
• Occasionally applying to your existing insurer as a new customer can reduce your premiums. Many insurers offer discounts to new customers which won’t be repeated when you come to renew.
• If you can apply online you will normally get a discount of around 5%.
Before you carry out any security improvements to your home, always check with your home insurance company first. They will confirm which improvements will have the biggest cost cutting impact.
TIP 2: Know what home insurance you need
Working out an accurate figure for the buildings and contents insurance value can be awkward, which is why a lot of homeowners are either under insured or paying for levels of cover they don’t really need.
Buildings insurance covers the re-build cost of your property not its market value. The re-build value of your home is the cost of re-building it in the event that it is destroyed by fire or subsidence for example. The re-build value of your home can usually be found on your mortgage agreement, or property deeds. The Building Cost Information Service (BCIS) of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) produces a range of detailed information on the cost of rebuilding houses and flats together with a re-building cost calculator.
Alternatively, you can opt for a policy that has an unlimited or high standard buildings sum insured so you don’t have to worry about insuring the right amount.
Then there is the home contents insurance which covers almost everything else you would take with you if you moved house. Make a list of the rooms in your house and write down all the items contained in each with there value. Then, total the individual amounts to see what contents insurance protection you need. Remember to value items such as music CD’s, videos and clothing as their total cost is often missed or under insured. Whether your wardrobe is full of jeans or designer labels, make sure you include the cost of replacing them.
TIP 3: Look at separate buildings & contents insurance
If you need both buildings and contents insurance, get quotes for separate policies for maximum potential savings. Most insurers do provide them as separate policies and just because one is cheap for buildings cover doesn’t mean they are equally competitive to insure the contents. Find the cheapest providers for each component and consider buying each from different insurers.
TIP 4: Shop around for home insurance
Shopping around will yield the biggest savings on home insurance.
Firstly, don’t simply opt for the home insurance supplied by your mortgage lender. They can be convenient when your busy sorting your mortgage but they’re often over priced and chances are they won’t have been compared against other policies on the market.
When shopping for insurance you basically have three options; go direct to the insurer, browse the web or use a broker. If you have the time and commitment you can do all three, but the fastest and most effective route is to log on and use the reach of the internet.
The best insurance websites compare dozens of brokers and home insurance companies in minutes. You only have to fill in one form to get a list of premiums displayed on your screen from major insurers and brokers. However, if you have unusual or very specific requirements the final premium may increase when confirmed direct with your chosen insurer.
TIP 5: Ask for a bargain
Home insurance has a margin of profit built into it which can be negotiated down if you’re armed with the right information. Not all insurers will buckle and concede an additional discount but if you don’t ask you won’t know.
• First, find the cheapest quote after using internet comparison sites and phoning a few brokers.
• Select the cheapest quote and contact your existing insurer first asking them to beat it. If they won’t budge contact the second cheapest insurer and do the same.
• If after your best efforts, the insurer won’t budge, ask them to throw in some extra cover to sweeten the deal or move on to the next home insurance company and repeat the same steps.
Insurance laws may vary widely from state to state, different kinds of property require specialized coverage, and collections of art, antique cars,
Getting the right property and casualty insurance coverage may not rank high on your list of financial priorities. Compared with investment decisions and estate planning issues, questions about the language in your homeowners policy, say, may seem hardly worth considering. Yet the more successful you become, the more complicated your asset-protection needs are likely to be—and the more you have to lose. Suppose, for example, that in addition to your primary residence—a historic home—you also own a house at the beach and a condo in the city. The properties are in three different states. The value of your collection of Abstract Expressionist paintings has grown rapidly. And you just volunteered to serve on the board of directors of a charitable organization.
Almost every aspect of this situation could cost you dearly. Insurance laws may vary widely from state to state, different kinds of property require specialized coverage, and collections of art, antique cars, and other unique items may be difficult to protect fully. Meanwhile, serving on a nonprofit’s board could subject you to additional personal liability.
Safeguarding yourself and your family may mean buying additional coverage, but more insurance isn’t necessarily the solution. Rather, it’s important to review all of your needs, consider specialized policies or policy options, and coordinate your coverage with other aspects of your financial situation. Here are 6 different shortcomings that could prove costly.
1. Leaving gaps in homeowners coverage. Any homeowner needs to review coverage regularly to keep up with rising replacement costs. But insuring different kinds of homes in different locales poses extra challenges. If you buy insurance from more than one carrier, you may face contrasting rules, limitations, and policy renewal dates. For example, the liability limit on the policy for a second home might fall below the minimum on an excess liability policy designed to complement the insurance on your primary home. You could wind up responsible for the difference.
2. Ignoring properties unique characteristics. One perk of affluence is the means to own exceptional homes; one drawback is that they may be difficult to insure adequately. Standard homeowners coverage won’t pay for the materials and craftsmanship needed to rebuild that 19th century showplace you’ve painstakingly restored. Coastal homes may face hurricane damage, while a place in the California mountains could be subject to earthquakes or wildfires. Meanwhile, city co-ops or condos may need policies tailored to their buildings or associations coverage.
3. Under insuring art and collectibles. Standard homeowners policies limit coverage for the losses of antiques, furs, and other valuables. And while you could schedule additional coverage, insuring the real value of a collection of contemporary art or vintage muscle cars likely will require a specialized policy addressing several critical issues. How is the value of the collection determined? (You’ll need a professional appraisal when the policy is designed, with frequent updates as items appreciate.) Will a damaged or destroyed item be paid for with cash, or will you be required to have it replaced or restored? Will additions to your collection automatically be covered?
4. Forgetting to insure household employees. When someone works for you or your family, as a nanny, landscaper, personal assistant, or in another role, you could be liable for medical expenses and lost wages if the worker is hurt on the job. Several states require household employers to pay into a workers compensation fund, while in other states it’s optional, but providing such insurance may be mandatory for ensuring your financial well being. If an employee drives your car, also make sure he or she is included on your policy.
5. Neglecting your liability as a board member. Excess liability coverage could help protect you if you’re sued as a director of a nonprofit’s board. Or for more comprehensive protection, you may want to consider special directors and officers liability insurance.
6. Failing to get frequent policy reviews and updates. Your financial life isn’t static, and neither are your insurance needs. The value of a collection may increase; extensive home renovations could mean a sharp rise in the value of your property; and the re titling of assets as part of your estate plan—or because of divorce, a death in the family, or the birth of a child—could necessitate policy changes. Even lacking major events, you probably need a comprehensive review of all your insurance coverage at least every two years.
Home insurance is a necessary expense for most of us, but that doesn’t mean we have to pay over the odds. Try these eight simple tips to see how you could reduce your premiums.
No one likes paying for home insurance, but it’s a necessary evil for most of us. This doesn’t mean you have to pay through the nose for it though – try these 8 easy tips for cheaper home insurance and see how much you could reduce your premiums by.- Shop Around
By comparing prices from several insurance companies, you’ll probably be able to reduce your premiums by a substantial amount. This may seem obvious, but research has shown that a surprisingly large proportion of people either just renew their current policy, or get only one or two quotes. Many insurance web sites will automatically compare dozens of policies for you, making this one of the easiest ways to reduce your insurance bill.
– Buy online
If you buy your policy online you can often get a discount of up to 20% on normal prices, because there are less administration costs involved and the savings can be passed on to you.
– Combine your buildings and contents policies
Many insurers will give you a discount if you take out both types of home insurance with them, and this usually works out cheaper than getting the two kinds of policies from different companies.
– Pay upfront
Although most insurers let you pay your premium in monthly instalments, many will charge interest for this. If you can afford to pay a full year’s premium in advance, then this will work out cheaper in the long run.
– Don’t claim for small amounts
Making many small claims can increase your insurance costs, as your insurer may see you as a greater risk and increase your premiums. You will also lose any no claims discount your policy has. Of course, you’re entitled to claim for anything your policy covers, but ask yourself if making a small claim is really worth the hassle and possible future costs.
– Voluntary excess
This is related to the last point. Insurance policies feature something known as ‘excess’, which basically means that the policy won’t pay out on claims below a certain value. On some policies, if you choose to raise your excess to a higher level, then your premiums will be lower.
– Increase your home security
Beefing up your home security with better door locks, window locks, outdoor lighting, and alarm systems can all result in lower premiums. Ask your insurer what you could do to get extra discounts.
– Reduce your cover
Many policies feature benefits that you might not need, such as cover for personal possessions while travelling, or ‘free’ legal advice. Look through your policy and see what parts of it you really need – by cutting your cover down to size you may be able to reduce your premium.