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Fairfax, VA 22030

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Reducing the High Risks of Operating Lawn and Garden Machinery

Darren Kincaid - Thursday, March 22, 2018
TriState Business Insurance - Home Security Systems Lower Home Insurance Premiums

For many of us here at TriState Insurance (serving Maryland, Virginia, and DC), spring is all about getting back out into the yard. Early spring is when most yard equipment injuries occur because (and no offense here) neither we nor our equipment are in as good shape as when we we quit yard work last year.   Each year about 400,000 people are treated for injuries from lawn and garden tools, according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC). Don't let your landscaping efforts land you in the hospital! Follow these handy safety tips from the CPSC:

  • Dress appropriately. To protect yourself from debris when using lawn tools, wear eye protection, long pants, long-sleeved shirts, close-fitting clothes and no jewelry. Sturdy shoes are recommended, and ear plugs may be appropriate depending on how loud the device is.
  • Before starting, remove objects from your work area that could cause injury or damage, such as sticks, glass or stones.
  • Keep children indoors and supervised at all times when any outdoor power equipment is being used. Never let a child ride or operate a garden tractor or riding mower, even if the child is supervised. And never assume children will remain where you last saw them.
  • Use extreme caution when backing up or approaching corners, shrubs and trees.
  • Teenagers using power equipment should always be supervised by an adult.
  • Handle gasoline carefully. Never fill tanks while machinery is on or when equipment is still hot. Of course, you should never smoke or use any type of flame around gasoline or any gasoline-powered equipment.
  • Do not work with electric power tools in wet or damp conditions. For protection against electrocution, use a ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI).
  • Be sure that extension cords are in good condition, are rated for outdoor use, and are the proper gauge for the electrical current capacity of the tool.

Some of our best times are out on the property working and teaching our children how to safely accomplish tasks and how to safely operate machinery and tools.  Maybe you're lucky enough to have your children (sometimes with the help of their friends) to team to take care of the property.  Congratulations if that is indeed the case for you.  But remember, when disaster strikes and someone is severely injured (recall previously that 400,000 annual injures occur) your home owners insurance may or may not be sufficient to cover the cost of the injured non-family member.  We know for a fact that many of those 400,000 homeowners who suffered fatal (or near fatal) accidents we're very fortunate to have umbrella insurance to cover the legal judgments levied against them.  

Call us to discuss any and all of your insurance concerns and needs.  

Home Security Monitoring Systems Reduce Cost of Home Insurance

Darren Kincaid - Wednesday, March 21, 2018
TriState Business Insurance - Home Security Systems Lower Home Insurance Premiums

As your friends, neighbors, and your independent insurance consultants, here at TriState do our best to educate not only our active clients but the community at large about smart financial strategies to improve quality of live.  Today's blog post is about home monitoring security systems and how they not only can keep you and your loved ones safe and secure but also position you to save money on your Virginia, Maryland, or DC home insurance policy

We think that purchasing a home monitoring system can help give you peace of mind when you’re at home or away. Of course, there are a number of precautions you can take yourself to increase safety and make your home uninviting to burglars. But if you’re considering hiring a company, here are some tips, including guidance from the Electronic Security Association (ESA), a nonprofit trade association for the industry:

  • Get advice. You wouldn’t buy a car without asking your family, friends or neighbors for input. So why would you shop for a security system without their help? You also can look to the Better Business Bureau or online for reviews of the companies you’re considering — but keep in mind that you’ll want to check several different sites to make sure you’re getting a fair cross-section. Some reviews could be fake, especially if they’re overwhelmingly positive or negative.
  • Check credentials. The ESA has a certification program through its National Training School, which provides extensive training in electronic security. In addition, ESA member companies must adhere to a code of ethics and standards of conduct.
  • Ask about licensing. Some states require security system installers to be licensed, so ask companies if it’s a requirement in your state. If it is, the company should provide proof that its licenses are in good standing.
  • Meet with several companies. Narrow your search, and then speak with representatives of two or three companies. They should inspect your home (always ask for identification before letting them in) and provide recommendations. Be sure to get any quotes in writing.
  • Read your contract before signing! Don’t let a company representative pressure you into signing a contract you haven’t read or don’t understand. In fact, if you are receiving any pressure at all, proceed very cautiously with that particular company.

Having an alarm system can help you sleep easier at night — but only if you choose the system and company that’s right for you. So take your time, ask plenty of questions, and don’t be afraid to say no!

Once again, getting a home security system could make you eligible for a discount on your Virginia, Maryland, or DC home insurance policies. Give us a call today to find out how we can save you money.

Good Credit Scores Save You Money on Auto Insurance

Darren Kincaid - Thursday, March 15, 2018
TriState Business Insurance - Auto Insurance Claims

Has it been a while since you’ve reviewed your auto policy with your agent? Has your credit score improved since you had that last policy review? If yes, then you are most likely in a strong position to decrease the total cost of your auto insurance coverage!

Your credit history is a factor that insurance carriers consider when compiling your policy quote. It is well known that insurance carriers accept several studies that show a direct correlation between high credit ratings and low claims histories. According to one Consumer Reports study, drivers with very good credit scores paid significantly less for auto insurance. In some cases those with the very best credit scores saved over $500 per year on their auto insurance as compared to those with average credit scores. In Virginia, Consumer Reports found that a poor credit score can cost a driver $1,513 more in annual premiums. So our guess is you never thought your good credit rating might serve as leverage to reduce your auto insurance cost.

It’s our job as your independent insurance agent to research and leverage this (and other factors) working in your favor to reduce your auto insurance premiums. Let us go to work for you today.

New Job or New Address Might Reduce Auto Insurance Cost

Darren Kincaid - Thursday, March 08, 2018
TriState Business Insurance - New Jobs Might Reduce Your Insurance Cost

Have you changed jobs recently.  Did you realize that some types of employment qualify you for reduced personal insurance and/or auto insurance rates when compared to your former employment.  It might never cross your mind to check, but is is certainly something to think about.  Here are seven occupations that score car insurance discounts:

  1. Educators

    College professors and school teachers qualify for discounts with many companies. Some  insurance companies offer up to a 10% discount for full-time K-12 teachers. Others offer special benefits for teachers in some states, including a zero deductible if a vehicle is vandalized on school property or during school events or in a collision while driving it on school business. It also provides up to $2,500 in coverage for personal teaching material or school-owned property that's stolen or damaged while in the car.

  2. First responders

    Police officers, firefighters and emergency medical technicians are on the roads serving and protecting us all day -- but not in their personal vehicles. They tend to live in the same communities where they work, so they don't commute long distances. And, because they don't necessarily work 9-to-5, they usually aren't commuting during rush hour. This is combined with fewer miles driven and less time on the road during peak hours when accidents are likely to occur.

  3. Medical professionals

    All those years in school can add up to good deals on car insurance. Doctors and nurses qualify for discounts with a variety of companies.

  4. Scientists and Engineers

    If you've got the wits and temperament to get through college with a math, engineering or science degree, then there's a better-than-average chance you have what it takes to avoid accidents, at least according to insurance risk studies. A variety of insurers offer discounts if you have at least a bachelor's degree in science or math.

  5. Military members

    For military members and their families, some insurance companies cater to the special needs of active and retired servicemen and women. In most states the company offers 15% discounts on comprehensive coverage for vehicles garaged on base and up to 90% discounts for stored vehicles that are not driven.

    Others offer discounts to service men and women who are on active duty, retired from the military or are members of the National Guard or Reserves, and the company offers discounts to members of several military-related professional associations.

If your occupation or degree doesn't qualify you for a rate cut, you might get a discount through membership in a professional association, fraternity or sorority, university alumni group or even your employer.

For more information on if you or your business qualifies for discounted car insurance rates, contact TriState Business Insurance.

Source: Fox Business

Business Insurance - One Part of Your Disaster Preparedness Plan

Darren Kincaid - Thursday, March 01, 2018
TriState Business Insurance - Virginia, Maryland, and DC

This blog post discusses the need for every business owner to actively strategize, document, and even practice their disaster recovery plans.   Your disaster recovery plan should address not only the disaster that results from the risk of litigation, but also the many ways mother nature and life itself can throw a wrench in your ability to sustain business operations.  So, here's some things to consider. 

In these litigious times, every business and every business owner is at risk. In addition to those who would rather sue you for the slightest of missteps, business owners also must deal with the ever-present threat of fires, floods, snowstorms, theft, data loss, and a laundry list of other threats.  Every business, large or small, needs the right business insurance so they are protected against loss. Small businesses are at risk for the very reason that they are small. But, like any other aspect of running a business, the key to survival is preparation.

Here are some considerations when drafting your business disaster recovery and continuity of operations plan:

  • Assess your risks. Before you can begin creating a plan to deal with disasters, you need to come up with a list of external events that can hurt your company. Think through all the threats that could cause damage to your business, and determine how they might affect you. These can be natural events, such as a tornado or flood, or man-made ones, like robbery or fire.
  • Prioritize business functions. Decide the order in which certain business operations will be and should be restored in the event of an interruption. Functions that bring in more business and generate more sales should be your first priorities. Having the proper business insurance coverage for those operations can help you recoup your losses and get the most critical functions of your business rolling again.
  • Develop prevention and mitigation strategies. Once you've determined your business's most important functions, the next step is to come up with strategies around them to prevent and mitigate the various types of disasters you may encounter. For example, if electrical power is a crucial operations item, your recovery strategy should include ways to quickly correct a power failure.
  • Test and maintain your plan. You don't want your first test to be the real event. When your plans are developed, test them out: Have your team walk through the steps of your disaster-recovery plan. If you can't do what needs to be done, figure out how to modify the plan so your recovery goals can be achieved.

For more information on business insurance and business disaster planning, contact your team of independent insurance consultants here at TriState Business Insurance.