Cannabis Laws and Commercial Drivers
Federal vs. State Law
Despite a change in state laws, Marijuana is still a Schedule I Controlled Substance under the Federal Controlled Substances Act of 1970. According to the United States Department of Transportation, state laws have no impact on the testing regulations and requirements for obtaining or maintaining a CDL.
The use of Marijuana by a commercial driver utilizing a CDL is therefore prohibited, regardless of whether the drug was taken for recreational or medical purposes, or whether or not marijuana use was legal in the applicable state. Read More
Why Do Contractors Need Insurance?
Contractors need insurance to protect their business assets from unexpected injuries and unintended damages. When comparing the cost of insurance against the potential for time-consuming and costly litigation, an insurance policy will always be the more affordable and secure option.
What Kind of Risks Do Contractors Face?
No matter the size of the operation, contractors face liability exposures and legal obligations to other parties, such as general contractors, project owners, or individual homeowners. Due to those obligations, one of those third parties can potentially sue or hold a contractor liable for bodily injury or property damage.
Other potentials risks to a contractor’s business include:
What Kind of Insurance Do Contractors Need?
While each contractor faces unique risks, the most frequently asked questions are about what is covered under a contractor policy. The most common coverages include: Read More
There are few things more frightening than seeing smoke start to come out of the corners of your engine compartment. According to the National Fire Prevention Association, there are close to 200,000 vehicle fires reported annually, accounting for about 15% of all fires in the United States. What causes a car to catch fire, and how can you prevent a vehicle fire from happening?
“Preventing mobile equipment and vehicle fires begins with regular and complete maintenance,” says Craig Stevens, Property Safety Manager at Selective Insurance, “Currently, with an increase in usage, maintenance may be overlooked and could be leading to a rise in fire losses.”
With the average vehicle fire claim costing nearly $15,000, it is important to take the appropriate preventative measures in addition to having the right insurance coverage. You can reduce your risk of fire in both your personal vehicle and business fleet vehicles and mobile equipment with a few steps on a regular basis. Read More
If history is any guide, thousands of business owners stand to be impacted by flooding every year. Beyond the physical damage a flood can do to a building, a flood can also ruin inventory, contents and important documents located in the building during the time of a loss.
Experiencing a flood doesn’t have to mean the end of your business ─ being well-prepared and understanding your flood risk can help lessen the impact.
“We see it all the time, business owners that understand their exposure to flooding and purchase flood insurance are better prepared if a flood were to happen. If a business should experience a flood loss, we find that those with flood insurance are able to recover quicker and open their doors once again,” commented Cassie Masone, Vice President of Flood Operations at Selective.
FEMA Zip Code Tool
The Federal Emergency Management Agency has a web-based tool that allows business owners to determine their risk for flooding. These results can help business owners determine the proper amount of coverage to purchase. Read More
Winter weather can be a risk to the continuity of business operations. Small business owners should be ensuring that their assets and operations are protected against the elements of the winter and flood season.
A strong handle on risk management can help to maintain stability:
1. Deter threats to the physical workspace
The biggest risks typically are frozen pipes and flooding during winter months.
Make sure pipes are insulated and carefully monitored, and that your building is protected against floods. As always, a flood insurance policy is critical to ensuring your business is covered should a major event take place this winter.
2. Mind the building’s exterior
Another major risk ─especially for smaller retailers ─ is the prospect of icy sidewalks and parking lots that cause slips and injuries to your employees or customers. If someone falls due to hazardous conditions on the sidewalks and parking lots around your business, you can be held liable for taking care of their medical bills.
The New York Times explained that some cities will penalize companies even if no one does fall. In New York City, the newspaper points out, the sanitation department handed out 10,000 tickets last winter to those who did not clear up sidewalks in front of their buildings, with fines ranging between $100 and $350. Make sure these pathways are clear and safe at all times. Read More
When creating an emergency survival kit for the home, consider the supplies you might need to last you and your family for a minimum of three to seven days. In case of emergencies that may require that you leave your home quickly, such as a wildfire, prepare your kit well in advance, and keep it in an easily accessible location so you can take essential items with you if you must evacuate with little notice.
For other emergencies that might require staying in place at home for several days, such as a blizzard, you might want to gather supplies when a storm is first forecast and closely monitor the storm, to ensure that you have everything you need on hand.
Whether you are hunkering down to weather a storm at home, scrambling to evacuate to get to safety, or facing the possibility of being stranded in your vehicle during stormy weather, one thing is sure: having the proper provisions can help make a difficult scenario safer for you.
The following are some of the key considerations for a survival kit to fit these potential emergency situations. Consider how each of them could suit these scenarios and arm yourself appropriately.
If you’re working on your home or putting on a new roof, consider renovating to FORTIFIED standards. Developed by the Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety (IBHS), FORTIFIED Home™ construction practices are designed to help homeowners and communities better weather future storms, including hurricanes, high winds, hail and severe thunderstorms. Building codes set a minimum standard for construction techniques and materials. Building FORTIFIED means exceeding those requirements.
The goal of building FORTIFIED is to take action today to make homes and communities more resilient to natural disasters tomorrow. Using data from more than 20 years of storm damage, IBHS created a set of standards for new and existing construction that can be affordable and can be incorporated into your home’s building design.
You’ve decided it’s time to replace your outdoor deck and you’re ready to take it on as a DIY project, or you’ve decided to work with a licensed and bonded contractor for the heavy lifting. Before you start on such a critical project, it’s important to know that decking options have grown over the last several years, bringing new choices in composite plastic and wood products from which to construct your deck.
While they often cost more than wood, composite materials offer the promise of greater durability and less maintenance. Wood is still the most common choice for deck material,1 but it doesn’t last forever. Composites may be more durable, but they might lack the natural look and color you are looking for.
In June 2016, CBS News reported that while wood products still have a command on the market, composites are growing in popularity. Synthetic wood commands about 16 percent of the $7 billion-per-year deck market and appear to be gaining some traction.2
From cost to maintenance and durability to look, there are many things to think about as you decide between composite or wood for your next deck. Here are some pros and cons to consider before you decide which product to buy. Full Article
As you plan your next home renovation project, choosing the right contractor for the job is a critical first step in your planning process. You want to make sure you vet the quality of their work in advance, spell out in writing what work you want performed and agree upon the scope of the project, and inquire whether the contractor is properly licensed and insured in case something goes wrong.
This checklist compiles the top 10 tips to consider when selecting a contractor:
1. Get Multiple Estimates
Talk to several contractors and get written estimates from at least three. Make sure you’re comparing apples to apples when you get multiple estimates. Look at building materials, work methods, timelines and other factors that may vary by contractor. Be cautious of estimates that are too high or too low.
2. Hire Local, Licensed Contractors Whenever Possible
Local contractors are easier to contact if problems develop with the work in the future, and they are more likely to be familiar with building codes in your area. Ask the contractor for their local, physical address. Be suspicious of anyone who goes door-to-door or refuses to leave a contract overnight.
3. Check Their Past Work
How has their worked turned out in the past? Do they specialize in the kind of work you want done? Check references about the quality of their products, their workmanship and their customer service. Inquire about their professional reputation and years in business with the Better Business Bureau. A contractor with more than five years of experience is preferable.
4. Take Your Time Making a Sound Decision
Get multiple bids before making a decision. Don’t be pressured into making an immediate decision, particularly with regard to signing a contract. Be cautious when asked to pay a large deposit up front. Make sure to read the fine print on all estimates and contracts. If you’re having emergency repairs done and don’t have time to thoroughly research a contractor, ask neighbors, family or friends to see if they have had a good experience with an emergency services contractor. Read Full Article
Moving into a newly purchased home can be one of the most stressful and challenging life moments for any homeowner. An important part of the process of purchasing a home, aside from the financial considerations, is the required home inspection. Once you make an offer on a home, it is critical to have a licensed home inspector go over it with a fine-toothed comb before you finalize the purchase. As the home buyer, it is your responsibility to choose an inspector wisely and stay involved through the entire process.
You might consider checking to see if there are any professional memberships or associations in your area that can recommend a licensed inspector. A helpful tool like the one available from the American Society of Home Inspectors might be a good place to start your search for a licensed home inspector in your area.
Finding a qualified, licensed and experienced home inspection professional is the first step. How and when the inspection and inspection report will be done is another important factor in choosing the right inspector for your needs and timeline. Here are some questions to ask potential candidates: