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How Restaurant Owners Benefit from Workers' Comp Insurance

Darren Kincaid - Thursday, April 26, 2018
TriState Business Insurance - Restaurant Bar Workers Comp Insurance VA MD DC

Most of you know that one of our core service offerings is to insure VA, MD, and DC restaurants, bars, and taverns. Although it is just one of many business industries that we support, we've come to know, respect, and serve a large volume of the region's restaurateurs as our valued clients. Today we'll discuss the value of worker's compensation insurance plans for the owners of DC, VA, and MD restaurants, bars, and taverns.

Worker's Compensation Insurance benefits restaurants, bars, and tavern owners by covering:

  • Legal fees for defending your food service business should an employee sue you for work-related injuries.
  • Medical expenses associated with your employees' job-related injuries.
  • Wages your employee would have earned during their recovery from a covered on-the-job injury.

Also known as "workman's comp" or "workers' liability insurance," most Workers' Compensation policies also include Employers' Practices Liability Insurance as a safeguard against the lawsuits that tend to accompany job-related accidents. This policy can help pay for legal costs if your employee files a lawsuit against you. Even if the lawsuit is without merit, your business can be covered for the court costs and attorney fees associated with defending yourself against the claim. Without proper coverage, the attorney's fees alone can be enough to bankrupt a small business.

We'll Help You Understand Your State's Workers' Comp Laws for Food Businesses.

As a rule, if your business has employees, your state probably requires some kind of Workers' Compensation coverage. Before you settle on a policy, it's important to know how much coverage your state requires. Most restaurant, bar, and tavern owners neither have the time nor interest to research complex laws regarding this subject. We are experts on the subject of VA, MD, and DC workers compensation law, know exactly where the very best value in workers comp insurance can be sourced for you. Let the independent insurance agents at TriState go to work for you today!

Call Us!

Insuring Your VA MD DC Vacant or Unoccupied Home

Darren Kincaid - Thursday, April 19, 2018
TriState Business Insurance - Vacant and Unoccupied Home Insurance Considerations VA MD DC

Last week we discussed getting the best value on rental property insurance.  But what if you are exiting a property and have no intention of renting it out or have a prolonged difficult time placing renters into your recently vacated property?  In that case you likely need some form of vacant home or vacant property insurance.  First, you need to know the difference between an "unoccupied home" and an "vacant home" because it makes a difference from the insurance company's perspective. You might be overpaying to insure the property, or much worse, be under-insured or possibly not insured at all. That's a bad situation. This blog post defines the two categories of property discussed above and offers you insurance considerations for both situations.

Unoccupied Home

  • If the home is immediately suitable for occupation, it's considered unoccupied.
  • The owner's personal property remains inside, the utilities are on and appliances are functioning.
  • If a home renovation is limited enough that the furniture and other personal property can be left behind, the home is unoccupied.
  • If you're on vacation or in the hospital, your property is also unoccupied.

Vacant Home

  • If a home is vacant, the owners have removed their personal property.
  • The utilities may be shut off. This is more common when the property is on the market or being rented.
  • Vacant homes pose significantly higher risk to insurers, and the price and coverage of vacant home insurance reflects this.

    Insuring an unoccupied home

    Home insurance companies typically require you to contact them and request an endorsement or a special permit for a home that will be unoccupied for 30-to 60 consecutive days. The time limit should be stated in your policy's vacancy clause. In some cases, you may be charged for a permit or endorsement, but unoccupied home insurance coverage is much less expensive than vacant home coverage. If you routinely divide your time between a primary and a vacation home, you may choose to purchase a package covering both properties when you are and are not in residence.

    Vacant home insurance

    A vacant home is harder and more expensive to insure. A vacant home will require either an endorsement or a separate policy, depending on the insurance company. Some insurance companies will not insure vacant homes at all. Coverage for a vacant home will be more restricted than regular home insurance, covering standard perils such as fire and wind, but not perils, such as water damage due to frozen pipes, glass breakage or vandalism.

    Cost to insure an empty home

    Coverage limits and premium costs for unoccupied and vacant homes vary, based on how long the dwelling will be empty, its vacant or unoccupied status, and the steps you take to protect your property. For example, an unoccupied home may be covered with the addition of a permit or endorsement, and this typically costs less than $100. Without it, damage that occurs while you're away is unlikely to be covered. Vacant home insurance, on the other hand, is considerably costlier--between 1.5 and three times as much as standard insurance for occupied properties. However, the higher rate is an annual one. Most property doesn't stay vacant year after year, and many vacant property insurers recognize this, allowing you to prorate the annual cost and only pay for the time you need.

    Be honest about your empty home

    Don't try to pretend that your empty home is occupied. Never lie to your insurance company when you are buying homeowners insurance; it could provide grounds for denying a claim and may result in the cancellation of your policy. It's not difficult for an insurer to tell if the damage you're claiming happened because no one was there--how else would vandals have been able to shack up in your living room, or a small water leak turn your basement into a swimming pool? If you fail to inform your insurer that the property is vacant, and your company cancels or declines to renew your policy, your new policy is likely to be even more expensive-- our-to-five times the cost of a standard policy.

    How to save on empty home insurance

    Asking a house sitter to watch over an empty home may help reduce your insurance cost. Individual insurance companies vary in the way they view house sitters. Having a house sitter or neighbor check on your property may not make a difference to your insurance company, since the property is not occupied by the owner. 

    Will your home insurance cover your home if you set it up as an Airbnb?

    If you're thinking about renting out your empty home as a way to make some income, don't assume you'll be covered. Instead, check with your independent insurance provider. Many home insurance companies that offer coverage for short-term stays limit them to four weeks or less. Review your homeowner's policy carefully before signing up to share your home. Some home polices that cover short-term rentals require advance notification. Discuss renting out your home with Airbnb (or a similar company) with YOUR agent here at TriState Insurance so there are no surprises if a claim needs to be made.

    Contact us today!


    Getting The Best Value on Rental Property Insurance

    Darren Kincaid - Thursday, April 12, 2018
    TriState Business Insurance - How to Get Best Value for Rental Home Insurance

    It's moving season once again.  This is the time of year when the military moves the majority of their people, people change jobs, people retire to their dream homes, or move for a host of other reasons.  Many will retain their present home as a rental as they move off to another place. This puts many homeowners in their first-ever role as landlords which of course introduces new and unique home insurance considerations and decisions.  Your friends here at TriState Insurance (serving VA, MD, and DC) offer this blog post who either currently owns rental property or soon will own rental property and will benefit from our professional advice regarding how to get the best value for rental property insurance throughout VA, MD, and DC.  

    Insurance for a rental property is different than insurance for a single family primary or secondary home, primarily because a rental is exposed to inherently different risks than a primary residence. For starters, the owner does not reside on the property so does not have an eye on the home on a day-to-day basis. Slip & falls, vandalism and theft are far more likely to occur at a non-owner occupied location versus those where the homeowner is regularly present.

    Exposure to frivolous lawsuits is infinitely higher for a rental property versus a primary property. Think of a 3-unit rental property owned by the same landlord for 30 years. If the average tenant stays in a unit for three years, the landlord will have had 30 different tenants pass through his or her property. Compare this headcount to a single family homeowner who occupies one primary location for that same 30 years and you can do the math on the potential for claims. Here are some of the factors that play a role in obtaining insurance for a rental property, and the pricing for that coverage from the insurance carrier's standpoint:

    • Year Built & Updates - newer houses will be most favorable, obviously. Older homes with full system updates (roof, electrical, plumbing and heating) completed in the last 20 years are also favorable. Older homes with little to no updates, or incomplete update information, are less attractive.
    • Claims History - properties with little to no claims in the past six years will be more favorable. Properties and/or owners with frequent or large claims within the past six years will face limited options. The owner's personal claims history on ALL owned properties will be considered in the underwriting process.
    • Location - the rental property's city and neighborhood play a factor in pricing. Certain areas of towns, cities and regions have higher crime rates than others, and you can believe that insurance companies do indeed factor in that crime data.

    If a rental property checks all the right boxes with respect to those items above, there should be multiple carriers competing to write the insurance. This will results in better coverage and better pricing. If the rental property fails to check all the right boxes there may be a limited number of carriers offering policies, thus the potential for limited coverage at a higher cost.

    It is important to work with an independent insurance agent who understands how the rating factors work, as well as the weight each insurance company places on said factors. Call us, you independent insurance professionals here at TriState Insurance to discuss any and all of your insurance concerns and needs.