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Protecting Your Small Home Business

You may be like the growing number of people who have left their job to start a home business. When you start a small home business, you need equipment such as a computer, printer or printers, or specialized equipment.  All of those items are probably covered by your homeowner’s or renter’s insurance, but there is more cost to consider.  Having your computer damaged or destroyed costs time and most likely will result in lost revenue and data; homeowner’s or renter’s insurance does not cover lost profits or intellectual property.  There is good news if you own a small home business, you can protect it; let’s take a more in-depth look.

Options to Protect Your Small Home Business

In-home Business Policy

An in-home business policy gives more comprehensive coverage for business equipment and liability than a homeowner’s policy. An in-home business policy can give coverage for lost income. In some policies coverage provided covers losses or damage not only from business activities at the insured’s home or rental residence but also off-site at a different place. This added benefit means the business property is covered while a business owner is in transit and gives liability coverage when at business-related activities at a trade show or a customer’s home. These policies, are also known as in-home business endorsements, can differ greatly depending on the insurer.

Increased Business Property Limits on Homeowners Insurance

Another option that small home business owners have available is to increase coverage limits on their homeowner’s insurance.  A homeowner’s policy could cover as much as $1,500 worth of personal property. Things like vitamin samples, tools, and office furniture may be included. The coverage basically protects the business merchandise or equipment you keep at home. It may also offer additional coverage for your business property while in your car or at a customer’s home. If this is not enough coverage, you may have the option to increase coverage with what is known as a homeowner’s policy endorsement.  It would be a wise choice if your small home business meets the following criteria:

  • You will have less than $4,999 worth of business property in your home.
  • You meet with customers exclusively at their homes or a neutral location such as a coffee shop.
  • You don’t have more than $750 worth of personal property intended for use in business away from your home.

A Business Insurance Policy

Some home-based businesses are not eligible for additional business property or in-home business coverage due to the kind of business or its annual Income. In cases such as these, a business insurance policy is the best choice. This fact is especially true if you have clientele visit your home.  If a client is injured while involved in a business-related transaction or activity homeowner’s insurance or renter’s insurance may not cover the injury. Here are some additional things to consider when deciding if you need a business insurance policy:

  • If you execute business transactions with customers at your home, such as bookkeeping or tutoring, which may require additional specialized liability coverage
  • If you are planning to keep at least $5,000 worth of business property in your home.
  • If you are dependent on income from your small home business in order to support your family.

There are a few other things to consider when deciding on what insurance options to choose for your small home business.  Factors such as being zoned for business, licenses and permits, vehicles used for your business, and taxes all need to be investigated. Your agent can help you to wade through all of the regulations and help you to determine what is the best way to protect your small home business.

Should you have any questions about protecting your small home business, contact us via email here or call us at (863) 646-LOCK.

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Preventing Slip and Fall Incidents at Your Home or Business

We may not get much ice in Central Florida, but many other potential hazards can cause someone to slip and fall at your house or your office. In Central Florida we also have a large elderly population who are all potential fall victims, steps must be taken to keep them from falling. Prevention is the key to eliminating slip and fall hazards and preventing serious injury from occurring due to negligence. Here are a few ways that you can make both your home or business safe from slip hazards:

Tips for Preventing Slip and Fall Accidents

  • If a slippery substance such as oil, grease, or a household cleaner spills at your home or business, it should be cleaned up right away. As you undertake cleanup, be sure that adequate signage is used to alert customers, employees, or family that a slip hazard is in the area. 
  • Regular inspections and cleaning of high traffic areas or work areas where oil and grease are used should be made.
  • Make sure there is sufficient lighting around your home, in parking lots, on sidewalks, walkways, and in stairwells to ensure they are visible. LED lights are best for commercial settings because they light a wider area and act as a deterrent for crime.
  • Bunched carpet, loose tiles, and uneven flooring can all cause someone to trip and should be repaired.
  • Potholes that are not filled present a hazard where someone could twist or break an ankle, or they could fall and break a bone.
  • Water that runs into a parking area can quickly become slippery, and the source of the runoff should be dealt with to prevent any slipping.

Stairs and Ramps

  • Handrails are an effective way to prevent the disabled and elderly from falling.  Installed securely in stairways, ramps, halls, and bathrooms they can help people to have a sense of independence while at the same time eliminating the potential for a fall.
  • Broken or loose steps in a stairwell is a recipe for a lawsuit if someone falls due disrepair.
  • Make sure that stairwells are lit well and have something that will increase friction such as carpet or non-slip treads.

Lawn Areas

  • Make sure lawn areas are kept mowed to 7 inches or less so that hidden items such as a sprinkler or tree roots are visible.
  • Don’t leave old toys, tools, or portable sprinkles on the lawn, so they do not become trip hazards.
  • Make sure to keep lawn areas and the exterior of homes free of stinging insects like wasps so that customers or family members are not stung.

Walkways

  • Clear your walkways of ladders, tools, or anything else that could be a potential trip hazard.
  • Make sure walkways are even and have no large cracks. Repairs should be made if either one of these conditions exists.

What to do if a Slip and Fall Happens on Your Property

  • Seek medical attention for the injured party if needed.
  • Gather critical information such as the name of the injured party, the time of the day the slip or fall incident occurred. The location of the incident. What was going on at the time of the accident (was it the injured party’s fault?) Take pictures of the scene and if possible, of the injuries sustained by the person who fell.
  • If you or the person who experienced the accident need to file a claim, contact your insurance company promptly. Follow the insurance company’s instructions to document the claim correctly.
  • If a severe injury occurs as a result of a slip or trip, contacting an attorney may be in your best interest.

All that is needed to stop slip and fall accidents is to care enough to prevent them. Should you have any questions about Liability Insurance, contact us via email here or call us at (863) 646-LOCK.

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Professional Liability Insurance

ThreePeople952x357Whatever your profession, protecting yourself with professional liability insurance is not just a smart thing to do, but a necessity in today’s litigious society. You have worked hard and put in years of education and work to get where you are in your career. Without the right coverage for potential negligence suits, you could lose everything you have worked so hard to achieve.

What It Covers

General liability insurance can protect you from a wide variety of claims against you and your business, but will not protect you from the type of lawsuit that can result from the simple errors we are all capable of making. Nor will it protect you from claims made against you that are unfounded. Remember that even if there is no truth to the accusations against you, you can still find yourself in court defending yourself and your professional reputation against them at a very high cost to you.

Those who provide a service or advice, or in any other way use their knowledge and experience to help others are in need of professional liability insurance. This includes things like errors and omissions insurance and malpractice insurance, both of which are types of professional liability. The similarity is that the types of lawsuits brought against professionals are usually based on actions, advice, or services that may not have caused property damage or direct injury but nonetheless can in some way be shown to be a result of the negligence of the professional.

Don’t Take Chances

You do your best to provide good advice, to make sure that everything you do and offer to your clients is as accurate and helpful as possible, but everyone makes mistakes. And even when you didn’t make a mistake, all it takes is someone who is unhappy with the outcome to turn on you and put the blame at your feet. These lawsuits can cost professionals incredible amounts of money, even if you win. Having to pay out on such a lawsuit can easily bankrupt even the most well off professional.

Professional liability insurance provides you with the means to defend your good name in court against accusations as well as to pay out on settlements when you are found to be negligent. Without it, you could find yourself not only out a lot of money, but your reputation could be on the line because you are unable to fight an unfounded lawsuit. Don’t take chances; protect everything you have worked so hard for with the right professional liability policy for your industry.

Your insurance agent can help you to ensure you have the coverage you need to have complete peace of mind.

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Product Liability Insurance, Do You Have Enough Coverage?

You know that if you manufacture any sort of product you need to carry a special type of liability insurancerisk called product liability. This is designed to protect you from any claims made against your company based on injuries or damage that your product might cause to the public. Every company owner has seen the type of lawsuit that product liability protects against, but most believe it is unlikely to happen to them. This could be true, but if it does happen to you, wouldn’t you rather be prepared instead?

Don’t Take A Chance

Do you believe your product is safe; of course you do, you have gone through all the necessary procedures to make sure it is. So while you acknowledge that you should have product liability, you probably think a minimal amount of coverage should be just fine. This line of thinking is especially common in products that are not really seen as potentially dangerous. After all, you don’t make chain saws, you make stuffed toys!

While it is true that the type of product you make can determine how likely it is that you will one day be facing a lawsuit, this shouldn’t be the deciding factor in how much coverage to carry. When you take out a lower policy based on your belief that you are not in a high risk category, you are taking a chance that really is not worth taking.

How Much Coverage Do You Need?

The answer to this is very simple. As with any liability policy, the best course of action is to take out as much as you possibly can. If you make a product that isn’t seen as a high risk, your premiums should be quite affordable. And if you make a product with potential dangers, you need to pay that premium no matter how high, because a lawsuit will cost much more.

Liability insurance is one of those coverage options where the people who claim they can’t afford it are the ones who need it most. Paying for the insurance now is much better than paying out on a settlement later. Sit down with your insurance agent and find out how much coverage you have for product liability, as well as how high you can go.

Product liability is an area of insurance that is growing all the time as recalls are more and more common and lawsuits even more expensive. No matter what your product is, this is not an area of your insurance in which you should not cut back on.

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Workers Comp Insurance Do I Need It For My Business?

What ever industry you are in, injuries at work can happen. If one of your employees is hurt on the job, youworkcomp can be held responsible for the medical bills. Workers comp insurance provides a safety net for both you and your employees, ensuring that if an injury should occur neither of you will have to bear the financial burden.

How it works

Workers’ comp insurance is designed to provide financial assistance to employees who are injured in the course of their work. Every business should have it, even though you may believe your employees are not at a high risk of injury. The injury doesn’t have to be the kind of workplace mishap we commonly think of, such as being injured by manufacturing machinery or in the course of dangerous jobs. If there is a wet spot on the floor of your office break room and one of your employees slips on it, that too can be a workers’ comp claim. Any injury that happens at your place of business during business hours, no matter what that injury is or how it happened, is a matter for workers’ comp.

Carrying workers’ comp insurance protects you from having to personally pay out for medical bills and lost wages when an employee is injured on your premises. Whether or not you feel the injury is your fault or that your company is responsible, the fact is that if it happened to an employee who is there to work for you, you can be the responsible party. Failure to carry workers’ comp means that you could face a lawsuit and wind up paying out of pocket on the claim.

Protect Yourself, Protect Your Employees

Carrying workers’ comp not only protects you, it also protects your employees. They will not have to deal with the financial burden of having to miss work and pay medical bills due to an injury. And they will feel confident working for you, knowing that if something happens they will be taken care of.

In many cases, carrying workers’ comp is not merely a good idea, it is the law. Make sure that you are carrying a policy in compliance with all of the laws for your state and industry. You could face a serious lawsuit if you do not. Smart businesses know that taking care of their employees just makes good sense. Protect yourself and protect the people who work for you with workers’ comp!

 

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Employment Practices Liability Coverage

It is so common today all business are at risk that is why Employment Practice Liability Coverage is so ManWomen314x210 (1)important.  You have probably either experienced firsthand or heard about a situation where an employee has filed a lawsuit against a company for unfair employment practices.

The laws to protect employees are in place for a reason; so too is employment practices liability. This policy can protect you from a major expense should you become the target of a lawsuit for discrimination, wrongful termination, sexual harassment, or a variety of other employment related issues.

Many employers believe they do not need this sort of coverage because they always treat employees fairly, never discriminate, and avoid any and all inappropriate actions in the workplace. Unfortunately, this does not protect you from a lawsuit. No matter how hard you try to keep your company a fair place where employees feel that they are treated right, mistakes can be made. All it takes is a misunderstanding to put your company at risk. Worse, although none of us like to think about it, the fact is that sometimes unhappy people file completely unfounded lawsuits against their employers.

Whether or not you feel a lawsuit is founded, you will have to defend yourself if it occurs. And the odds that it will happen at some point are not in your favor. No matter how hard you work to avoid it, people cannot be controlled, and if you do face a lawsuit, you will be glad to have financial protection for yourself and your company.

An employment practices liability policy is designed to cover you when a lawsuit related to employment occurs. Anyone who has employees-no matter how many employees-needs such a policy. Without it, you leave yourself and your company vulnerable to an expensive lawsuit that could serious hurt you even if you win in court.

Choosing not to carry this important coverage is a little like saying you don’t need auto insurance because you don’t plan to be in a car accident. No one expects to be in a car accident, just as no one expects to be sued. But if and when that day does come, having the right insurance can make all the difference. You can help your company to defend against an unfounded suit or to deal with the fallout of a mistake that leads to a loss in court.

It is the reality of running a business that you take on some risk in hiring employees. Insurance is there to protect you from the many situations you can’t predict, and employment practices insurance is a must contact us today for more information.

 

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Workers Comp and the legalities of not having it.

Carrying a good workers comp policy is a smart choice for your business. An injury to an employee on yourLakeland Commercial Auto Insurance premises can hurt both of you financially if you fail to carry the right coverage. Your employee will miss work and struggle to pay medical bills. You will be on the hook for those bills and could face a lawsuit from the employee. But that’s not the only legal trouble you could be facing.

Worker’s Comp And The Law

In many cases, it is not just recommended that you carry a workers’ comp policy; it is actually required by law. In order to protect employees from the life altering possibility of an injury on the job, many states require that businesses carry a certain level of workers’ comp coverage. Should you fail to comply with this requirement, you may find yourself in a wide variety of legal troubles.

First of all, if workers’ comp is a legal requirement, you will probably be required to present proof of your policy to your state licensing board for your license to do business. Failure to do so can result in the revocation or non-renewal of your license.

Lawsuits From Injured Employees

If you fail to carry workers’ comp and an employee is injured on your premises, you will very likely find yourself in court facing a lawsuit. You could be forced to cover all of the medical bills and missed wages for that employee out of your own pocket. Furthermore, the judge will not look kindly on you for failing to follow the law regarding your workers’ comp policy. You could face penalties that are far more expensive than simply paying for the policy in the first place.

Workers’ comp is one of those insurance policies that are simply a must for any responsible business. The fact that it is required by law is only one side of the coin; you are responsible for what happens to your employees when they are in your place of business and on the clock. Providing an insurance policy for potential injuries protects them, and it also protects you. Be certain that you are meeting all of the legal requirements to do business in your state by discussing your workers’ comp coverage with your insurance agent and checking regularly to ensure everything is up to date.

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Do You Need A Commercial Auto Insurance Policy?

commerical autoIf you run a business that requires the use of vehicles for company activities, you need a commercial auto insurance policy. Commercial insurance policies are designed to protect you against the wide variety of liability issues you face when you have employees on the road using your vehicles.

 

What Happens Without a Commercial Auto Policy?

 

Without a commercial auto policy, if an accident were to occur, you and your company will be held accountable for property damage and injuries. Only a commercial policy can protect you and your business from financial disaster.

 

How Many Cars/Trucks Do You Need For a Commercial Auto Policy?

 

Whether your company has one car or a hundred delivery vans, there is a commercial policy that will suit your needs. You can obtain individual commercial policies for each vehicle used by the company, or choose a fleet policy if you have more than a few cars.

 

You have other insurance policies in place to protect your company from liability, fire, theft, and other potentially ruinous events. Commercial auto is the policy that will protect your company when you or your employees are on the road.

 

Don Westerfeld 11/13/2014 2:47:00 PM

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Is Your Business Property Covered?

business propertyTake a minute right now to look around your office. What do you see? Most likely you see furniture, a computer, a printer and other electronics, and all kinds of office equipment-all items that cost quite a bit. Now think about the rest of your business property outside your office door.

 

All of the furniture and equipment that is used by your employees, whether in an office or a manufacturing setting-how much is it all worth? Add it all up to get a rough estimate of what it might cost to replace it, and you will have an idea of how important property insurance is for your business.

 

Do You Have Enough Coverage?

 

You might think that you have enough coverage; some might even be included with another commercial policy you hold. But is it enough? Remember that if you lost everything, you would have to replace it all at today’s prices. And you will have to replace it all at once; if you want to get back to business quickly, you can’t take the same amount of time that you did when you were building your company from the ground up. Your customers have expectations, and you can’t risk losing them while you try to figure out how to buy all that equipment you need.

A good business property policy will provide you with more than enough coverage to ensure you can get right back to business in as little time as possible after a loss. It will also pay the replacement value of everything your business needs, and not a depreciated value. Don’t forget this important detail when purchasing this coverage!

 

The More, The Better

 

A good rule of thumb when choosing coverage is always to carry more than you think you need. The reality is that you never really know how much is required until you have to use it; many people discover too late that they didn’t have the coverage they needed. Once a loss has occurred there is nothing you can do. Plan ahead by adding extra coverage; the more coverage you have, the better off you are.

It is easy to forget about the many small things you use every day as a part of your business, and that add up quickly when you have to replace them. Underestimating what it would take to replace everything is a common pitfall; don’t risk it. By carrying more coverage than you think you need, you can get back on your feet more quickly after a loss and get right back to business.

Don 10/20/2014 11:44:00 AM

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