The Basics of Business Insurance for Small Business Owners
Risk comes with the territory when you run a small business. Negative cash flow, personnel issues, accidents on your premises, fire or flood — these are just a few of the risks that can disrupt the stability of your business. One lawsuit or catastrophic event can be enough to set your business back and may even force you to close your doors.
You may not be able to protect against all the risks your business faces, but you can manage some of them with business insurance. This is what a business owner’s policy, or BOP, is designed to help you do.
A BOP is a policy designed specifically for the needs and budget of small business owners, and the risks they commonly face. BOPs bundle two types of protection in a single policy — commercial property and general liability insurance — which allows providers to sell them for less than two policies sold separately.
BOPs are also customizable. You can add on coverages to tailor a policy to the specialized needs of your business or industry.
A BOP may be right for you if your business has fewer than 100 employees, meets certain maximum income requirements and is a low-risk operation. Businesses that are larger, highly specialized or have high-risk operations may need more coverage than a BOP can provide.
Here’s a closer look at the coverages that are included with a BOP.
The property portion of a BOP covers damage to your business caused by fire, explosion, windstorms, theft, vandalism and any other perils specifically listed in the policy. The types of property that are covered by a BOP include: Read Full Articlehttps://sba.thehartford.com/managing-risk/the-basics-of-business-insurance-for-small-business-owners/
Have you ever wondered how deductibles work when it comes to homeowners and auto insurance? Many people do – this is why we’ve put together this guide to help you understand the basics of deductibles and how to choose the best one for you and your situation.
A deductible is the portion of the costs that you pay in a claim when you need to get your car repaired after an accident or your home repaired after a loss. The deductible amount will be paid by you specific to your property that’s damaged, whether it’s your car or your home, so you should always choose a deductible that you’ll be comfortable paying.
The way deductibles work varies, based on whether you’re talking about auto policies or home policies.
If you’re involved in a car accident and your vehicle can be repaired, your insurance company will pay the auto body shop for the damages, minus your deductible. You’ll then pay the auto body shop your deductible amount, when your vehicle is completely repaired.
If you’re involved in an accident where your vehicle is totaled — that is, your insurer believes that the cost to repair your vehicle would be more than the value of the vehicle itself — your insurance provider will pay you the current value of your vehicle, minus your deductible.
For example, say you’re involved in a car accident and the damages are estimated to be $2,000 and you carry a $500 deductible. Your insurance company will pay the body shop $1,500, that it, the total damages minus your deductible, to repair your car. Once it’s fully repaired, you’ll then pay the body shop the $500 deductible to pick up your car.
Your insurance company will pay you directly for the damages of your loss, minus your deductible, which you will then use to pay a contractor to repair your home. For example, say that you have experienced a kitchen fire, resulting in a $50,000 loss and you carry a $1,000 deductible. Your insurance company will pay you $49,000, the total damages minus your deductible. When the $50,000 in damages are repaired, you’ll pay for them using the $49,000 from the insurance company plus $1,000 of your own funds, which represents the deductible amount. Read Full Article
You live in a multi-story home. Some or all of the bedrooms are located on the upper floor. If a fire erupts, your homeowner’s insurance will certainly prove valuable. But let’s consider a more important question — your family’s safety. Specifically, if the fire blocks the normal exits such as stairways, how will those on the upper floors — especially small children — escape the flames?
Unless your home’s structure includes built-in fire escape systems, one item on your personal home escape plan — every homeowner’s key to home fire safety — needs to be the procurement of home escape ladders. Whether you decide to purchase yours from a safety supply store, hardware store, home improvement warehouse or the Internet, there are a couple of key considerations to keep in mind:
Keith Meenan, President of Glascock & Meenan Insurance Agency (right), presents a $5000.00 check to Bill Freesland, Chairman of the Calvert County Fire and Rescue Association. The check is earmarked for their Memorial Fund. At the August 13th association meeting hosted by Prince Frederick VFD, Meenan thanked the members of the Association for their outstanding service and dedication to the community.
The donation is to be used for the families of fallen first responders. There is an inscribed Memorial Monument located on Broomes Island Road in Calvert County, to recognize and honor the services of deceased fire and rescue personnel and their dedicated efforts in protecting and serving the citizens of Calvert County. The Calvert County Volunteer Fire & Rescue Association Chaplain conducts an annual service at the Memorial site to commemorate those who have passed during the year.
The Calvert County Volunteer Fire & Rescue Association prides itself on being an all-volunteer fire and rescue organization. Donations to the Memorial Fund can be made by contacting Calvert County Volunteer Fire & Rescue Association President, Bill Freesland at North Beach VFD at 410-257-6564.
Over the past two years, Glascock & Meenan Insurance Agency has donated $10,000 to the Memorial Fund. Celebrating their 51st year in business, they are located at 45 West Dares Beach Road in Prince Frederick.
There’s a truth behind the phrase, “sleep on it.” As a small business owner, every decision you make impacts your business, and it can mean the difference between positive profits or a torpedo headed for your bottom line. New studies over the past few years have narrowed the timing around decision-making to an exact science, so now you can arm yourself with the tools you need to make smart decisions for your business.
Do you want to make critical money moves when you’re in constant overdrive and headed toward the midday slump, or when your mind is clear and focused? Whether you’re an early riser or you get in your groove after everyone else is fast asleep, the data doesn’t lie — the best time to make a decision is in the morning, according to Daniel Pink’s 2018 book, When: The Scientific Secrets of Perfect Timing. Most people are the most productive within the first two hours of waking up because our brains are wired to make optimal analytical and reason-based decisions at this point in the day.
However, exceptions exist based on your biological clock or “circadian rhythm.” Think of your circadian rhythm as being a 24-hour internal clock in your brain that cycles between when you’re drowsy and alert. It’s the reason you fall asleep around the same time every night and it can account for that feeling of being run over by a truck when you fly across time zones.
To figure out your optimal flow, imagine a day when you have nothing to do. This could be a weekend or your day off. When do you fall asleep? When do you wake up? More importantly, what’s the midpoint between those two times? For example, if you fall asleep at 10 p.m. and wake at 6 a.m. your midpoint is 2 a.m. — which makes you an early bird.
According to chronobiology (translation: internal clock) professor Till Roenneberg’s research, if your midpoint lies between 12 a.m. and 3 a.m., you’re an early bird, or lark; if your midpoint occurs between 6 a.m. and 12 p.m., you’re a night owl. If your midpoint lies between 3:30 a.m. and 6 a.m. — where most people reside — you’re in between. Larks and the middle group that Pink calls “third birds” make their best decisions in the morning. Night owls (averaging 5% to 20% of the U.S. population, depending on the studies consulted) find their stride in the late afternoon and early evening.
Timing isn’t everything, but everything comes down to timing. For most of us, we start the day strong — we’re ethical, focused, and energized. Between 2 and 4 p.m., we slide into the midday productivity slump, and then we get a second wind come dinnertime. READ FULL ARTICLE
Hurricanes can leave you vulnerable to major losses, as most home and business insurance policies will not cover flooding from certain storm circumstances. Hurricanes typically stretch 300 miles, so the spread of damage can be drastic. Storm preparation starts with making sure you have a flood insurance policy to ensure your home or business is protected properly. In addition, there are other steps you can take to increase your safety and decrease your losses.
Here are some key tips to keep in mind before, during, and after a storm.
Before a Hurricane:
During a Hurricane:
When searching for a rental property – whether it is for vacation or your home – you can’t help but be excited to find a home listing online where the price is right and the location is perfect. But before you inquire, did you consider the possibility that the listing might be a scam?
You name the industry and fraudsters have probably touched it. According to the Federal Trade Commission, in 2011 approximately 25 million Americans were impacted by scams every year, pursued by crooks whose intentions are to bilk hard-working individuals out of their hard-earned money.
If you’re in the home rental market, the following are a few indicators that should raise red flags, along with some tips on how to confirm if a listing is legit:
Requests sending money via transfer
We’ve all heard “try it before you buy it,” but scammers would much rather have you buy it before you try it. If the listing or the person you speak with references wiring money through a service like PayPal or Western Union – and you haven’t even seen the place in person yet – don’t walk, run in the other direction.
Listing is teeming with typos
Not only are fraudsters short on scruples, some also lack smarts. Case in point: if the listing has several typos and/or grammar irregularities. If you find improper verbiage and misspellings throughout, you may have a scam on your hands.
Asking price too good to be true
As the old saying goes, if it seems to good to be true, it probably is. Rental prices have risen consistently over the last several years. So if a property listing has a price that seems awfully low, tread lightly.
Unleash the power of Google
Where would we be without Google? The search engine has become a go-to resource to answer virtually any question or uncover questionable information. If you suspect a listing is fraudulent, enter the phone number or email address into the search bar. It may bring up threads from individuals who’ve had dealings with the advertiser that may cause you to pause.
Verify, verify, verify
A property listing should have lots of accompanying information detailing the ins and outs of the dwelling or unit, including pictures, room dimensions, furnishings (if included), flooring, architectural style and the year in which the place was built, among others. If it is lacking any of these basics, simply move on. Read Full Article
The thought of all your belongings literally going up in flames is a frightening one indeed, but every year, that’s exactly what happens to hundreds of thousands of Americans. In 2016, there were more than 350,000 house fires, according to the National Fire Protection Association.
An official investigation always occurs after a residential fire to determine how the blaze occurred, why it happened, and what can be learned from it to reduce the risk of similar tragedies.
The following are frequent causes of home fires in the United States and how to reduce your risk. In addition to the tips below, ensure your smoke detectors have batteries and are working properly.
The most trafficked room in the typical house is the kitchen, which also happens to be the place where fire danger is most likely to be. According to the NFPA’s estimates, two out of every five home fires take place in the kitchen.
If you are using a Crock-Pot, air fryer, or any other countertop cooking appliance, make sure to check the hardware and electrical connection. If any of the cord is broken or frayed, or if any of the hardware isn’t secure, do not use it until it is repaired.
While the kitchen may typically be the room of the house that sees the most people, it’s when they’re not there that accidents happen. Fire officials recommend always having someone in the vicinity when food is cooking.
When the temperatures turn cold, it’s time to dial up the heat in the house. But these warming features can occasionally lead to accidents, usually due to improper maintenance. Failure to clean creosote buildup in chimneys is one of the leading causes of heating equipment fires. Creosote is a black, tar-like substance that attaches to the interior of chimneys over time, especially when homeowners use their fireplaces to heat their home. Homeowners are strongly advised to have their chimneys serviced on an annual basis, where professionals will do what it takes to clean creosote buildup, which is highly flammable. It’s also important to keep items that can catch fire away from heaters, be them portable or fixed.
3. Cigarette smoking
Kicking the habit once and for all not only dramatically improves the average smoker’s life, but it also reduces the risk of residential fires, as smoking materials are the third-most common cause of blazes that happen at home. In 2014, 17,200 home structure fires in the U.S. stemmed from cigarettes, resulting in an estimated $426 million in homeowners insurance losses and property damage.
Many Americans today have “no smoking zones” in their house, to shield other members from the health effects of secondhand smoke, but keeping the interior smoke-free can also yield safety benefits. At the very least, fire officials suggest making certain rooms of the house off limits to smoking, like the bedroom or other areas where smoldering ashes can cause furnishings to catch fire.
More than 50% of all electrical fires involve lighting equipment, resulting in more than 45,000 home fires per year. When using appliances, make sure that outlets appear normal and avoid plugging in cords that are damaged, whether they’re frayed, loose or bare. Also, avoid using more than one receptacle for electricity usage to prevent overloading the circuit.
There’s nothing like the “welcome home” smell of a scented candle, so inviting that it can often leave homeowners to forget that one is lit. Nationwide, 24 home candle fires are reported to fire officials on average per day. From 2011-2015, candles caused an average of 82 deaths and $295 million in direct property damage. Read Full Article
By performing routine maintenance on your vehicle, you can decrease your chances of getting into an accident, which in turn will help keep your insurance premiums and auto repair costs low. It’s common knowledge that it’s important to change your car’s oil regularly, rotate your tires, and keep your gas tank above empty. While those are all important ways to keep your car running smoothly and safely, you might be surprised at these less common maintenance practices.
One of the most basic maintenance procedures is making sure your windshield wipers are still in good shape. On average, windshield wipers should be replaced every six months to one year. You can tell it’s time when your wipers stop pushing rain or snow off your windshield, causing streaking instead of clearing the glass. Replacing windshield wipers is easy — you can do it yourself — but failing to replace them will affect your visibility and can cause you to crash.
Another basic check that you should perform on your vehicle on a weekly basis is a light check. Turn your lights on and walk around your vehicle to ensure that they all work. Be sure to take a look at your brake lights, hazards, and blinkers as well. All of the lights on your vehicle are important for visibility — both for yourself and for other drivers. If you avoid driving with a bad bulb, you can avoid an accident.
Tire safety is another important issue. To reduce your chances of a collision, check your tire pressure and make sure that the reading on your gauge matches the threshold provided in your vehicle’s manual. Most vehicle manufacturers also post the recommended tire pressure for front and rear tires on a sticker commonly located in the door jamb of the driver’s door, or on the edge of the door itself. Just as important as tire pressure is the amount of wear and tear on your tires; you can check the condition of your tire tread using a penny. Read Full Article