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Insurance 101 for New Business Winners

Joseph Coupal - Thursday, May 31, 2018
TriState Business Insurance - Virginia, Maryland, and DC

If you’re thinking about starting a small business, you know a thing or two about taking risks. Your entrepreneurial spirit is not only commendable, it’s critical to keeping our economy going. But at the same time, it’s smart business to limit your risks however and wherever you can. That’s where business insurance—and solid advice from your independent agent—come into play. 

Is business insurance necessary?

The short answer is absolutely. Especially if you have employees, in which case some types of insurance, including workers’ compensation and disability insurance, may be required by law. You may also be required to have commercial auto insurance. if you have a company car. In other instances, insurance coverage can be a stipulation of getting a business loan, lease, supplier or customer contract or a state or local business license. In many cases, though, there are no laws, rules or regulations that mandate business owners make smart choices about protecting their business. As a result, around 40% of small businesses don’t have insurance1.

Tips for protecting your business

If you don’t want all the hard work that goes into starting a business to be in vain, make sure your business is covered. Keeping these tips in mind can help you secure the right insurance for your company:

  1. Make the right call. Trying to understand your insurance needs and which coverages are the right fit can be overwhelming, if not downright impossible, to do on your own. So don’t go it alone. Call us here at TriState Business Insurance, your independent insurance agents supporting VA, MD, and DC. Independent insurance agents are not only well-versed in the types of risks businesses face, they also know the types of insurance products available to protect businesses, and they represent multiple insurance companies, which means they have access to a wide range of products to choose from.. An independent agent can help you carefully consider and identify potential risks to the business and fully explore your insurance options, so that coverage can be matched to your unique needs. Essentially, working with an agent ensures you get the expert help and advice you need to make sure your business is covered, no matter what happens.
  2. Plan on it. Create a detailed business plan that outlines what the business will do and how it will do it. A solid business plan is a crucial tool when it comes to securing insurance as well as funding for a new business. A plan demonstrates to insurance underwriters and potential investors that you’ve done your due diligence to consider the risks you may encounter and how to protect your business as it grows. Your independent agent can help you create a good plan and pitch it to insurance underwriters.
  3. Know your risks. There are many, many types of commercial insurance products on the market, ranging from general liability insurance, to property coverage, to commercial automobile coverage, to data breach and e-commerce coverage. Knowing what protection you need starts with understanding the unique risks your business faces. For example, if you’re starting a contracting business or a manufacturing company, equipment breakdown or electrical failure could seriously jeopardize your livelihood. On the other hand, if you’re launching an e-commerce site, protection against data compromise is probably a must. An independent agent can help you identify your potential liabilities and risks via a professional risk assessment so you know what types of coverage you need.
  4. Consider a package deal. If your business requires a number of different types of coverage—such as property coverage, vehicle coverage, protection from business interruptions or loss of equipment and liability coverage—you may want to consider a Business Owner’s Policy (BOP). A BOP bundles different types of coverage together and can save you money versus buying separate policies for your various insurance needs.
  5. Make it personal. Your business is unique, and that means your insurance coverage should be too. Even if a BOP makes sense for you, you should talk to your independent agent about customizing the coverage so you have added protection where you need it most. Your agent can help you look at adding endorsements or other options to your coverage based on your business’s specific needs and risks. Keep in mind that independent agents typically have access to a multiple carriers, so they’re very well equipped to deliver the customized insurance options you need.
  6. Make no mistake. Owners of home-based and small businesses frequently make two common insurance mistakes. First, home-based business owners often assume their homeowner’s policy covers business assets. But in most cases, you need a separate commercial policy to safeguard business property and protect your business from liability. Second, owners who have incorporated or formed an LLC may think their business structure protects them. While a formal business structure may protect your personal assets, it won’t cover business losses.
  7. Don’t overdo it. While protecting your business with insurance is no doubt a smart investment, no owner wants to pay for coverage he or she doesn’t need. Working closely with your independent agent and ensuring he or she truly understands your business can help prevent buying unnecessary coverage. You can also save money by choosing a higher deductible and following your insurer’s recommendations for avoiding loss.
  8. Take a second look. As your business evolves, so will your risks. It’s a good idea to review your insurance policies with your independent agent at least two times each year to identify new risks and ensure you have the coverage you need to protect your company and your livelihood for the long term.

Questions? Call us! Again, we are your independent insurance professionals serving all of Virginia, Maryland, and DC.

Business Insurance for the Trades

Joseph Coupal - Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Every owner has unique business insurance needs. But, if your business employs trades people, than you are in need of a particular complement of insurance policies.

At TriState Business Insurance, we deal with insurance that is specifically related to your industry every day, allowing us to stay on top of the constantly changing insurance market.
 
As an employer of trades people you will need a business insurance policy that includes General Liability, Workers Compensation, Pollution Coverage if you work with any hazardous materials such as Freon, Business Interruption insurance and most likely Fleet auto insurance if your employees use company vehicles.

With employees working at hazardous job sites, you certainly do not want to find out the hard way that you are under insured. Whether it be residential or commercial HVAC installation, construction or electricity work, we can create a business insurance policy that meets all of your needs. you with an A-1 rated insurance company best suited to meet your HVAC insurance needs.

Don't risk everything you worked for. Contact us, we can create a business insurance policy that is both comprehensive and affordable.

Vacant Home Insurance Policies -- Reduce Your Homeowner’s Insurance Expense – Alexandria, VA

Joseph Coupal - Tuesday, May 15, 2018

It is common these days to own homes void of household goods. Moving for temporary employment for a year or two, extensive travel, or holding onto property for future family members to occupy. Whatever the reason, many homeowners make the mistake of continuing their full homeowner's insurance policy when money can be saved converting to a vacant homeowner’s insurance policy. At that point, you may need vacant home insurance to cover your liability risks.

The vacant home and property insurance policies that we independently research and write throughout VA, MD, DC can cut your insurance expense in half. These vacant property policies protect homeowners from a wide range of risks that include (but is not limited to) theft, vandalism, fire, insect infestation, frozen or broken pipes, and many other risks. There are some companies that may offer insurance for vacant homes as a supplement to an existing homeowner’s policy. However, there are also some companies that are hesitant to provide coverage to vacant homes due to the many different risks they face, so you may need to shop around for specialty coverage.

It is best to customize and plan a vacant home insurance with an independent agent in Alexandria, VA because this is a kind of insurance that is hard to find. It is available for houses that will be unoccupied for an extended period of time. Aside from vacant homes under renovation, it can also cover houses that will be vacant for a minimum of 3 months and up to 36 months, unoccupied homes on the market, or even homes in foreclosure.

To find out more about vacant home insurance policies, contact TriState Business Insurance.

Insurance Considerations for Restaurant and Bar Owners in VA, DC, MD

Joseph Coupal - Tuesday, May 08, 2018

If you own a restaurant or bar and have not recently reviewed your business insurance policy, now is a good time to do so. You could be the victim of a poorly written restaurant business insurance policy in Virginia, Maryland, or DC that does not insure the most valuable parts of your restaurant business.

For instance, does your current restaurant business insurance policy cover you for spoilage? How about loss of revenue due to business shut-down due to the building owner’s violation of building codes? What if you valet service decides to drive off with a customer’s Maserati? These are the type of things that have happened in the past to restaurant owners and will happen again. Don’t let it happen to you.

One of the best things you might ever do to preserve your piece of mind (and potentially save your business) is to review your current restaurant insurance policy with an independent business insurance agent such as your friends and neighbors at TriState Business Insurance. If your business is located in Virginia, Maryland, or DC, we will review your current policy free of charge and give you a personal consult on the quality of your coverage.

Unlike insurance agents who work directly for big-name insurance carriers, we are not motivated to sell you insurance. Agents work for big name carriers do that….they work for the big name carrier, not you. Their success depends on how much money those insurance sales agents brig to the big name company. We are interested in researching and securing for you the best quality and best value available from all the major carriers. We have allegiance to any single insurance carrier and thus we have no conflict of interest like those insurance agents who work directly for their insurance carriers. And the fact is that no single insurance carrier provides high value business insurance across the board. Once big name insurer might provide quality restaurant insurance yet offer very poor workers compensation business insurance coverage. However, the restaurant owner requires both types of insurance coverage..

The big takeaway here is this. Only an independent insurance agent can work for you, totally, and without a single conflict of interest. All insurance agents who work directly for a insurance carrier have conflicts of interest that will impact the overall value you get for your insurance dollar.

Contact us to learn how to really save money and secure greater protection for your insurance dollar.

Insurance Considerations for VA MD DC HVAC Contractors

Darren Kincaid - Tuesday, May 01, 2018
TriState Business Insurance - HVAC Contractor Business Insurance VA MD DC

As the owner of a Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning business, your life is busy. Your company may service residential customers, commercial customers, government buildings and more. It is stressful enough to keep track of installation and maintenance schedules for employees and customers. The last thing your business needs is to worry about potential legal issues, accidents, injuries and natural disasters. Commercial HVAC business insurance policies from TriState are tailored to fit your HVAC business’s exact needs. 

GENERAL LIABILITY FOR HVAC CONTRACTORS

General liability insurance protects your company from legal claims that might arise from accidents, as well as damages that can occur to your business assets. For example, if a customer receives a bodily injury while selecting a new heat pump inside your store, your company could be legally obligated to pay the subsequent medical bills and expenses. With general liability coverage, the insurance policy takes care of those claims instead. It can also protect you from financial loss and ruin caused by natural disasters and other calamities such as water damage from a burst pipe or smoke and fire damage.

BUSINESS OWNERS POLICY (BOP)

A business owners insurance policy (BOP) provides you with tangible and intangible property protection as well as general liability. A BOP can be customized to fit the way you operate your specific HVAC business:

  • Equipment Breakdown – If your air conditioning repair or installation equipment breaks down it can be expensive to repair or replace. A BOP protects your company from having to absorb those costs.
  • Buildings and Contents – Whether you have public shop and retail space or you simply store your supplies in a warehouse and operate a mobile HVAC business, a BOP can protect you from the loss or damage of physical structures. Physical structures include the buildings themselves, offsite equipment, and physical content inside of your business structures as well.
  • Business Income and Extra Expense – If a business structure is damaged or destroyed, a BOP can protect you from the loss of income that comes when you have to suspend business operations until the building is replaced or repaired. It can also cover extra expenses that come up when you have to rent temporary work space or equipment.
  • Products and Completed Operations (Included In General Liability) – If you sell your customers a heating, ventilation or air conditioning product that is later found to be defective, a business owners policy can protect you from the potential liability and cover damages.
  • Electronic Data – Important electronic data that you keep for your business is protected from expensive losses due to power outages, viruses or other damaging effects.
  • Employee Dishonesty Coverage – When your company’s employees are entrusted with handling expensive heating and cooling equipment, there is always a risk that they will decide to keep some of the materials for themselves. Or they may conduct fraudulent activities such as providing goods and services to friends or family for a kickback. Your BOP can protect you from these types of losses with employee dishonesty coverage.

COMMERCIAL AUTO INSURANCE FOR HVAC CONTRACTORS

Traveling to your customer’s jobsite to perform repairs and services, or install new heating and air conditioning equipment puts your company at risk of having auto accidents. A commercial auto insurance policy from TriState protects you from losses, damages and medical bills that may arise.

So lots of things for the HVAC business owner to be concerned about. Let us take that worry off your shoulders.  We'll conduct a detailed analysis of your business with you at our side.  Then we'll shop over a dozen A-1 rated insurance carriers to insure you get the very best value for you insurance dollar.  Call us today!