What is the Best Business Insurance?

It depends! Finding the best business insurance for many small businesses can be a challenge. Most small business owners in Kentucky will see that they have multiple options. Generally, competition leads to lower prices for canny consumers. With that said, commercial insurance is not a commodity and finding the best value may take a little effor.

Prices paid for Kentucky business owners insurance may range widely. Chances are, the more unique your business is, the tougher it will be to find a great deal on commercial insurance. Ferreting through the long list of products makes it difficult. 

Insurance Options

To find the best commercial insurance for you, start by reviewing your options. Not all insurance companies write businesses in Kentucky and some small businesses will find that they don’t have a lot of options.  Auto dealerships, certain trucking classes, and roofers are good examples. Regardless, it is important to continue your search.  

TruePoint Business insights and solutions.  Business consultants

Price

Commercial insurance premiums can be a cause of friction.   Would you buy a commercial auto policy if it only provided coverage on Saturday and Sunday?

If you could buy it at 10% of the competitor’s price would you do it?

Of course, you wouldn’t! This ridicules and silly example is used to get a point across. Price is significant! But only after you have determined that the policy is suitable for your business. 

insurance policy, we are discussing best business insurance Kentucky and this image represent that

Coverage

There are many insurance agents, broke, s and carriers that sell on price alone.  Each of them would love for you to believe that insurance is a commodity. Business owners beware. As the business owner or manager, it is your responsibility to make sure any business insurance policy being considered has the coverages that you need.  When comparing multiple policies, make sure that they are on par with each other.  It is the agents job to provide a quote that is comparable to your current coverages.  However, it is your business that will bear the brunt .

Great insurance agents don’t sell, they inform and advise. First, they take the steps to understand the prospective business.  And hopefully, an understanding of the risk aversion of the prospect. After generating quotes and putting together a proposal.  The question of price can now be considered.  By interacting with the insured, risk management decisions can be made incorporating both coverage and price information.

Great insurance quotes don’t use deceptive practices to alter the relative value. The following are just a few ways that we’ve seen this attempted in the past:

Commercial insurance for roof blown off, business insurance deductibles in % beware

• Deductible changing a deductible from $500 to $1,000 without consulting the client isn’t a smart thing to do. Watching your deductible and other varabiles that make up your commercial insurance policy is wise.

By committing to review your insurance policy when quoting and at renewal time you will also avoid some more adverse outcomes. While the dollar-based deductible change is concerning, beware of any deductible expressed as a percentage. Anymore it’s not uncommon to see 1% or 2% deductibles, especially for the wind/hail deductibles. If the deductible were 1% of the loss, there would be no issue. But it’s not; a 1% deductible is based on the policy limit. So if you have an office with a $600,000 value or limit, the deductible is $6,000 at 1%/ $12,000 at 2%.

Assume you have a 2% wind/hail deductible. A windstorm hits that result in $8,000 in damages. At first blush, a 2% deductible on an $8,000 claim is $160??

WRONG!

Your deductible $12, 0000. You pay for all the repairs.

• Read your application.  There are a lot of questions, people make mistakes, and even worse sometimes they assume. By signing the application, you are attesting to the accuracy of the information that is being provided.  Down the road, supplying the insurance company with bad information may muddy things up.

• What does your General Liability say about you? Your Commercial General Liability premium is a result of what and how much you do. You should review both for accuracy. Consider the following. 

You have the opportunity to be an insurance company. Today you can write a General Liability insurance to one businesses only.  Regardless of your choice, you will receive a premium of $500.  

Tree Removal insurance kentucky

The first company you can insure is in the Tree Removal Business.  They also do lawn-care, snowplowing, and building demolition.  There current policy indicates that they are in the lawn-care business.  The owner argues that this is correct as 50% of their revenues come from mowing lawns.

insurance for lawn care business in Kentucky

The second company is a Lawn Care Business? The mow lawns.  Period!

Pick one.  Remember, the premium will be the same regardless of your choice.

The point is you need to know what type of business your insurance policy says you are.  What if you’re the first business? 

Do you think he will be covered if a tree falls on a house?

How much?  How much business you do is also important.   Premiums for Commercial General Liability are primarily a function of what you do.  What you do has multiple meanings. For example, the type of work you do, how often you do it, how many people help you, how long you’ve done it and how many losses you’ve had.

What will happen If your application states that you have a payroll of $34,000.  When the truth is you have a payroll of $95,000?

Houston we have a problem!

Rocket launch pad, experiencing problems similar things can happen to your commercial insurance

After your policy has been in force for a full year, your insurance company will perform an audit. At this point, they will discover that your payroll is almost three times higher.  What happens? They will send you a bill to offset the difference. Hold on. Things are about to get worse. After plugging your true payroll into their system, you will start receiving significantly higher bills.  One last carpet bomb; you know have a policy that is costing $2,000 more per year than advertised. In hindsight, you now have to question your decision. What appeared to be a $400 savings appears to have cost much more than the policy with all the bells and whistles. Wow!

But this is not the end of the process; it is ongoing.

Great insurance is a two way street between the agent and the business owner. Constant communication aimed at awareness and identification of ever-changing exposures. Feedback to this should come in the manner of risk transfer options.  This should include their cost and some form of analysis.  The end result gives the business owner the ability to make an educated decision.

Business Insurance, we are insuring businesses in kentucky

There is an answer to what is the best business insurance. Unfortunately, it isn’t as simple as the insurance company or that insurance agent. It is a function of where you live, what you do, and what you need in regards to insurance. The formula should be extended to what insurance companies you can access.  The final factor maybe the easiest place to get off track.  It is critical that you find and agent or broker that is knowledge and transparency.

In short, you are the key to determining what the best business insurance for your business is.

How Having an Electric Vehicle Affects Insurance Rates

Did you know that your auto insurance rates can be different if you own an electric vehicle? In fact, in most instances, your insurance will be higher for an electric vehicle. Let’s take a look at some of the reasons why this is the case from TruePoint Insurance in Fisherville, KY.

Higher Costs of the Vehicle

On average, electric vehicles cost a great deal more than the more conventional automobiles. They can cost around 70 percent more on average, according to studies conducted by Nerd Wallet. The higher price tag means that the insurance company has to pay more if the vehicle is stolen or damaged.

High Repair Costs

It tends to cost more to conduct repairs on an electric automobile. This is because they have expensive battery systems and you have to bring the vehicle to a specially trained mechanic. Though these vehicles usually don’t need repairs as often, this definitely has an effect on how much its insurance is going to cost. 

Size of the Car

Electric vehicles typically are smaller than other automobiles. Since smaller cars often don’t offer as much protection in the event of a collision, they are sometimes deemed as higher risk vehicles. This can increase the amount you’ll be asked to pay for your car’s insurance coverage.

Even with the fact that you’ll almost certainly have to pay more for insurance, there are many benefits that come along with owning an electric vehicle. Your car may qualify for a federal tax credit of around $7,500, a big plus as it will offset what you pay for insurance. 

Be sure to ask plenty of questions to understand insurance for your electric vehicle. The team at TruePoint Insurance, serving the greater Lawrence and Fisherville, KY area, can answer your questions to make signing up for auto insurance less of a stressful experience.

 

Signal Your Intent


Accidents associated with failure to use a turn signal are over twice
Each year 2 million accidents are due to the failure to use turn signals

Auto risk mitigation organization “SafetyFirst,” noticed some important statistics from its database of calls into its hotline. They discovered that a significant percentage of its calls involved drivers who did not use their turn signals. That issue was significant, especially since nearly half of their complaints involved:

  • Improper Lane Change;
  • Failure to Use Signals
  • Failing to Yield Right of Way
  • Weaving in Traffic
  • Failure to Stay in Lane;
  • and Improper Passing

A common trait in all of these behaviors is that they significantly increase the likelihood of an accident.

There are several trends that are occurring simultaneously on U.S. Roads. One, we’re driving faster, two there are more vehicles, we’re driving more frequently and a significant portion of drivers (Baby Boomers) are becoming senior operators with age-related, diminished driving skills.

In light of these trends, does it make sense that many drivers either forget to or refuse to use turn signals?

Drivers do themselves and others a tremendous favor by signaling their intent. Much of our driving activity depends on being able to rely upon and anticipate what is being done by other drivers. Signaling consistently and appropriately allows others to adjust their actions in order to reduce the chance of accidents and to maintain traffic flow.

Help yourself, help others. Whenever you are about to do something that can be indicated by a turn signal……signal your intent!


COPYRIGHT: Insurance Publishing Plus, Inc. 2015

All rights reserved. Production or distribution, whether in whole or in part, in any form of media or language; and no matter what country, state or territory, is expressly forbidden without the written consent of Insurance Publishing Plus, Inc.

Attractive Nuisances


Trampolines can clutter your yard, and that's the nicest thing we have to say.
Trampolines; Kids love them, insurers don’t!

What Is An Attractive Nuisance?

This is a term originated by a judge to describe a property that attracts youngsters and, because of its dangerous nature, creates a special obligation to property owners. Examples are:

  • swimming pools
  • trampolines
  • empty buildings
  • appliances kept outside
  • excavations
  • construction materials
  • zip lines

All of these can lure children onto property and they all have the potential to cause serious injury.

Why Do Attractive Nuisances Create A Special Obligation?

A special obligation exists because of such property’s child endangering nature. Children do not have the reasoning ability of adults. When an opportunity to have fun pops up, it’s a rare child who thinks about the chance of being injured. A property owner with an attractive nuisance on his property cannot escape liability because of a trespassing child. When an attractive nuisance is involved, adults have to make a special effort to protect children from their blind sense of adventure or face the consequences.

How Do You Handle Attractive Nuisances?

Pools increase liability exposures for homeowners.  Controling access to the will likely have a positive impact on your homeowners insurance premiums.
Pool Safety starts with controlling access.

The answer is…doing whatever it takes to prevent a child’s access to the nuisance. Therefore, in order of their effectiveness:

1. Eliminate the nuisance

  • have old appliances hauled to a junkyard
  • tow old, non-running vehicles away
  • get rid of construction materials immediately after a building project is complete

2. Secure the nuisance

  • take off doors or covers from large appliances awaiting garbage pickup
  • keep sharp tools, especially power tools and equipment, locked away
  • store construction materials in a garage or shed

3. Reduce the chance for injury from a nuisance

  • install a pool cover and have a locked fence to prevent access to the pool
  • do not allow younger children to use equipment such as trampolines
  • make sure there’s adult supervision of children using play equipment

If you’re not certain about whether you have an attractive nuisance situation, discuss the situation with an insurance professional.


COPYRIGHT: Insurance Publishing Plus, Inc. 2016

All rights reserved. Production or distribution, whether in whole or in part, in any form of media or language; and no matter what country, state or territory, is expressly forbidden without the written consent of Insurance Publishing Plus, Inc.

Trick or Treat

Special Property, Special Coverage


Special property items such as cash, guns, jewelry and other items will only be covered up to the special limit set by the policy
Special Property Insurance Limits

A standard homeowner’s policy offers a limit equal to half of the amount reserved for the residence to protect against loss to a given residence’s personal Property (ex. Your home is covered for $150,000, so your contents and furnishings are covered for $75,000). While this is generous coverage, it doesn’t extend to all types of the property nor for all causes of loss. Certain types of property, because of its high value and liquidity, is far more vulnerable to loss…either easily destroyed, easily stolen or both. So, to compensate for this difference, insurers use coverage restrictions.

Causes of loss can also trigger lower limits.  Covered property of any type will be subject to reduced limits when theft is the cause of loss
Property claims due to theft are subject to lower limits

Theft Coverage Limitations

When property is lost due to theft, coverage under a standard homeowner policy is severely limited (generally $1,000 – $2,500) for the following types of property:

  • jewelry, watches, furs, and gemstones
  • dinnerware, serving sets, trophies and similar property made of or plated with silver, gold, platinum or pewter
  • for firearms, accessories and related property

Other Coverage Limitations

Several categories of property are subject to very modest limits ($200 – $2,500) of coverage, regardless of the cause of loss (theft, fire, accidental breakage, etc.). Specifically:

  • money, banknotes, coins, medals, gold, silver, and platinum (other than jewelry or dinnerware)
  • securities, accounts, deeds, tickets, stamps, manuscripts, passports and similar property
  • watercraft and related property including their trailers
  • trailers not used with watercraft
  • business property located in your residence
  • business property located away from your residence
  • certain types of electronic property which are lost or damaged while in a car or is located away from your home and used for business.

Handling the Limited Coverage Situation

Insurance companies are happy to provide more coverage if they are paid for their trouble. Specifically, limited coverage can be handled using the following methods:

Increased Coverage C Endorsement – this form is only appropriate for property saddled with limited coverage for theft losses. This form is attached to a basic policy and it increases the theft insurance limit (i.e. for jewelry from $1,500 to $5,000).

Scheduled Personal Property Endorsement – this form is used for increasing coverage for property that has protection reduced for all sources of loss. The property is removed from the basic policy’s limits and is covered exclusively by the endorsement. This form takes more work since each item of property has to be listed and assigned a particular insurance limit.

Inland Marine Property Floater – this method works like the personal property endorsement, except that it is a separate policy. This alternative is more appropriate for persons owning substantial amounts of high-valued property. The coverage must often be purchased from specialized insurers and comes at a high cost. In order to qualify for such coverage, you may need to meet special circumstances such as having a residential alarm system or make use of vault storage.

Another Advantage of Special Handling

In order to arrange coverage under a schedule or an inland marine policy, the property must be properly valued. This often involves appraising the property. It’s very helpful to have an expert source to establish the current value of jewelry, furs or other valuable possessions. In fact, such property should be appraised every two or three years since their values often increase over time.

Do you still have questions about property that needs special handling? Talk to an insurance professional about your needs and make sure that you have proper protection.


COPYRIGHT: Insurance Publishing Plus, Inc. 2017

All rights reserved. Production or distribution, whether in whole or in part, in any form of media or language; and no matter what country, state or territory, is expressly forbidden without written consent of Insurance Publishing Plus, Inc.

Internet Liability

Libel and slander have been around for almost as long as there have been attorneys and Judges.  The internet is just another medium were they can occur.
Libel and Slander can also occur online

Each day more people decide to create their own Websites, blogs or otherwise participate in social media activities. The reasons for having a Website or blog vary or other activities range from frivolity to earnestness. Personal Websites and blogs commonly describe the host, his or her family, and interests such as a particular hobby, sports, profession, humor, etc. Whatever the reason for creating a Website or blog, they, along with social network activity can represent an additional source of loss that may require additional insurance. The loss potential is directly related to the purpose and content found on the Website.

New Opportunity For Old Losses

Website liability is an extension of the age-old accountability for what you say or write. Such responsibility extends to household members; so it’s important to be aware of what a family’s little E-wizard may be doing. The types of losses that may be created by a Website, blog, or social media activity include:

  • Libel – knowingly publishing false information that harms a person’s reputation.
  • Invasion of Privacy – disclosing information that interferes with another party’s peace of mind.
  • Infringement – violating or interfering with another’s property rights or the right to pursue business

Oops, You May Not Be Covered

There are a couple of quick places to  confirm whether you have coverage for liable and slander.  Check your homeowners and even more likely, your umbrella.
Are you insured for libel and slander? Most aren’t!

Most homeowner policies protect against liability for tangible injury to another person or for actual damage to another party’s property. Liability created by publishing or broadcasting content typically involves a personal (or non-physical) injury that is not covered by a typical homeowner policy. While individuals may be able to add protection (such as add-ons to a homeowner policy or umbrella coverage), certain losses may still be uncovered because they involve intended acts or business activity.

Can You Protect Yourself?

The good news is you can take steps to eliminate or, at least, minimize the possibility of facing electronic publishing-related loss. The first step is to identify areas of concern. The key to understanding and addressing any possible Website liability is to focus upon:

  • the nature of the Website or activity
  • the Website or account’s contents
  • who may be harmed by the site or activity
  • how a party may be harmed

It is important that you think hard about these issues and approach the job objectively. Your building a site, blogging or using social media just for “fun” could end with you explaining the punch line in court. Two people can interpret information in radically different ways. Use a method of examining your Website that helps you view it through “fresh” eyes that won’t gloss over important facts. Asking the help of others could be a big plus.

Considerations For Your Web Site, Blog or Social Networking

If you or someone in your household operates or is building a Website, or is active with social media, you need to be aware that the site (or activity) could open you to legal situations. Here are some questions you should consider:

Who created the site or page?

Key consideration: depending upon the circumstances, a private party that created the site for you may share (or even own) the responsibility for damages caused by the site.

What is the purpose of your site or activity?

Key consideration: Is there ANY business activity or purpose? If so, you may have an immediate need to secure appropriate protection.

What content is found at your site or page?

Key consideration: Not only do you have to think about YOUR message, but you must think of other parties that appear at your site such as friends, companion businesses or even miscellaneous links.

Who do you intend to attract to the site and how do visitors use your page?

Key consideration: There’s a big difference in the type of people you’re targeting, such as inviting:

  • relatives to see baby pictures or family newsletters
  • customers to request product/service information or to place orders
  • hobbyists to distribute or solicit stories or advice
  • strangers to a forum for discussing sports, political or other topics

Is there anyone you would not want to see the site or page? Why?

Key consideration: Answering this question honestly is critical. It can identify prime sources for possible legal action against you. It may also suggest what precautions you may take, including the easiest action such as eliminating the reference to a person, group or organization.

Does Your Site or Activity Create An Insurance Need?

After examining the key concerns about your Website, you should be prepared to take precautions which may include:

  • adding security features to your Website
  • changing the content
  • adding waivers or disclaimers about links or certain pages that appear on your site
  • adding user agreements to your site
  • creating guidelines on maintaining current and future content at the site
  • changing your homeowner coverage
  • buying additional or special personal or business liability insurance
  • adding or eliminating a guest book (if you have a guest book, pay close attention to what visitors say)
  • eliminating the Website

Once you’ve carefully examined your situation, a discussion with an insurance professional could be an excellent step to identify coverage needs which may include having to buy commercial coverage. The instant and widespread access represented by the Internet creates new perils for individuals. Don’t hesitate to seek the help of an insurance professional or even competent legal advice.


COPYRIGHT: Insurance Publishing Plus, Inc. 2016

All rights reserved. Production or distribution, whether in whole or in part, in any form of media or language; and no matter what country, state or territory, is expressly forbidden without the written consent of Insurance Publishing Plus, Inc.

Handyman Insurance, Covering the Jack of all Trades

How much does Handyman insurance cost?  It may cost more than you think.
How much does handyman insurance cost?

Handyman Services
Insurance costs for Contractors can vary widely. Insurance companies view roofers as a high risk. In fact, most standard carriers will not even write coverage for roofers. Why? Because they are one of the ten riskiest jobs. On the other end of the scale are jobs like grading of land.


The Jack of all Trades
Tinker, Handyman, or Jack of all Trades, regardless of the name you use, the risk is the same. A handyman is an individual that can perform a wide range of jobs. At first blush, it would seem that insurance for a handyman would be considered low risk. That is bad thinking.
Insuring a Handyman poses one major problem for insurance companies. What does a handyman do? Work performed is a primary factor in calculating premiums. We know what Roofers do. They install and repair roofs on homes and commercial buildings. A risky endeavor that warrants a higher insurance premium. Occupations that are less risky warrant lower insurance premiums. Such is the case for lawn care providers.
Handyman insurance premiums are significantly lower than roofers. They should be, the work they perform is not that risky. Or is it?

What do handymen do?  They are knows a Jack of all Trades, so the list can be very long.
Handyman jobs


What does a handyman do?
Minor repair, light domestic work, or mechanical jobs are likely responses. Handyman insurance might cost more than one would think because no one knows what they are going to do. In the insurance industry, uncertainly almost always corresponds to higher premiums.


A Handyman might perform low and straightforward risk functions such as:

  • Changing a light bulb
  • Window cleaning, or
  • Cleaning

But it’s more likely that they are performing higher risk jobs:

  • Carpentry
  • Gutter Cleaning or Repair
  • Window installation

But what happens when the handyperson starts playing jobs that require a license? A handyman can quickly alter their risk profile. By performing the following, then we are no longer dealing with a low-risk contractor:

  • Heat, AC or plumbing installation or repairs
  • Handicapped or Senior Living Modifications
  • Electrical work
  • Home Security Installation or Repair
  • Foundation repair and installation
  • Chimney sweep or Fireplace Repair

Some Jack of all Trades will, regularly, perform high-risk jobs. Can a handyman repair a roof?

What happens if, frequently, they start to replace entire roofs?


Could happen?


NO. IT DOES HAPPEN!

Two of the most famous Jacks of all Trades:  Bob the Builder and friend Hanny Manny
Bob The Builder


Bob the Builder or Tim “The Tool Man” Taylor
Over the years, Hollywood has created several iconic Handymen and women. But it is the contrast between Bob the Builder and Tim “The Tool Man” Taylor that gets my attention. The performance of these two a generation ago are perfect examples. Both portraying handymen, they demonstrate the dilemma that confronts insurance companies.


Looking for someone with a toolbox full of tools that can fix anything? The animated character, Bob the Builder is your man. For an insurance company, Bob is a great risk. His attitude and skills allow him to complete any job. Doing things the right way means that the risk associated with Bob’s work as a handyman is limited. As a result, he should warrant a low insurance premium.


But there is more to this discussion. The term, Jack of all Trades, is synonyms with Handyman. The original phrase was, “A jack of all trades is a master of none, but often better than a master of one.” The expression is intended as a compliment. The original quote placed value on generalist, those with a broad set of skills.

Jack of all Trades and handymen, so praise their broad skills while others worry that because they are generalist they don't have sufficient skills
Jake of all Trades


Over time we have modified the phrase to “a Jack of all Trades, and a Master of none. In these instances, the Jack of all Trades is portrayed as someone skilled in many areas. However, their skill levels are most likely to be inferior. Some of you will remember “Home Improvement,” a 90’s sitcom, starring Tim Allen. Tim portrayed another iconic Handyman; Tim “The Tool Man” Taylor. Every week, Tim Taylor brought humor to American homes. We watched as he managed to once again foul-up another home improvement project.


Risk Management for a Handyman
The agents at TruePoint Insurance work with handymen. Our process provides insight into your business. With this information, we can find the appropriate coverages for your Handyman business. We will work with you to craft insurance coverage that addresses your risks.
Insurance is just one component of risk management. We will also work to help you to better understand all the risks. We could just sell you an insurance policy. But our goal is to protect your business in the most effective way we can.


The option is yours, the number is ours. Call now and get started.


(502) 410-5089

TruePoint Insurance we are insuring Kentucky dot com
TruePoint Insurance we are insuringky.com

Dealers Blanket


Kentucky Auto Dealers protect the cars in their inventory with a Dealers Blanket
Franchise Car Dealer

Dealers Blanket Insurance provides physical damage coverage for Auto Dealers. This coverage is often referred to as Dealers Open Lot Insurance. The policy can provide protection for collision and comprehensive losses.

The purpose of the dealer blanket is, in many ways, similar to an individual auto policy. While there are many similarities, there are also some significant differences.


The most critical difference is that Personal Auto policies provide liability coverages. The Dealer Blanket does not. Liability protection for auto dealers is covered via a Garage Liability Policy.


Insurance companies require individuals to provide a VIN or vehicle identification number. They may even go as far as to require a photo of your car on the policy effective date.

Inaccurately declaring your inventory can resulting in out of pocket repairs to the dealership
WARNING: Accurate Inventory Critical


Why are Dealers Different? Why do they need Dealer Blankets?
Car Dealerships are continually turning over their inventory. The average US Car Dealer will have an inventory turnover more than 13 times. What a massive problem! Let’s give the insurance companies some credit. It would be negative for everyone if real-time vehicle information was required. How do Insurance companies keep track of Auto Dealer risk?
Calculating the premium for the dealer open lot insurance is done in one of two ways:

  • Non-Reporting – typically lots with inventories of $100,000 or less use this approach. At the beginning of each policy period, the dealer must declare a coverage amount. CAUTION REQUIRED! If a claim is submitted and the dealer’s inventory is higher than the declared amount WE HAVE A PROBLEM. This will trigger the coinsurance clause. As a result, the dealer will be required to pay their fair share of the loss.
  • Monthly Reporting Form – this requires the dealer to regularly update the carrier. In most cases, this will require a monthly update. This creates added work for the dealer. But it is cost-effective, and it eliminates concerns associated with paying coinsurance.

There are additional coverages that Dealerships should consider. Workers Comp, EPLI, Business Income, Cyber Liability, and other coverages that apply to most businesses. Another coverage that is specific to the Auto Industry is Garage Keepers. This coverage protects vehicles of customers that have been left in your care. Dealers that also offer repair work will most likely need to add this coverage too.

Hobby or Business

What happens when pleasure becomes work.  It's probably a good idea to speak with an insurance agent if this happens.
The Corner of Work and Pleasure

Your hobby may significantly affect your insurance needs. Hobbies often require a large investment intangible property and may even create some legal responsibility to other persons or their property.

Hobbyists: Collectors or Enthusiasts

Hobbies typically involve either collectors or enthusiasts. A collector acquires property that especially attracts him or her. Examples include people who collect stamps, art, coins, autos, antiques, comic books, baskets, dishes, glassware, sports memorabilia, etc. An enthusiast also collects a certain type of property. However, the enthusiast acquires property in order to pursue a given, physical (particularly sporting or artistic) activity. Examples are hunters, musicians, painters, sculptors, cyclists, and enthusiasts of many types, such as fans of model or radio control planes, helicopters, etc.

With collectors, the focus should be placed on the nature of the property being acquired. With enthusiasts, besides attention to property exposure, there should be equal emphasis on the liability exposure that is inherent in their activity.

Property Coverage Needs To be Created By Your Hobby

For the best value and protection it may be wise to consider a specialty insurance provider.  A good independent insurance agent should be able to point you in the right direction.
Consider Specialty Insurance for your Hobby or Collectables

Your special property should be properly insured. Most homeowner policies provide minimal protection for the collectible property. Why? Items such as coins, stamps, antiques, guns, etc., are often fragile. Also, such property is very valuable in relation to its size. The value of collectibles kept in one room may be more valuable than all of the rest of your home’s contents. Regular homeowner coverage is not designed to handle high-valued property that is easily destroyed, lost or is vulnerable to theft.

Even when a collectible property is eligible for a policy’s full coverage, this may not be enough. You may want your special property to be covered from more causes of loss than your family room couch. It may be worthwhile to buy an endorsement to add additional coverage for your collectibles to your homeowner policy. Depending upon the type and value of your collectibles, you may even have to consider specialty coverage which typically makes consideration for replacement cost and for the property that appreciates in value.

Liability Coverage Needs To be Created By Your Hobby

If your hobby is more hands-on, then be sure you’re protected against any legal liability related to your activity. Ask yourself the following:

  • Are there any dangers associated with the hobby?
  • Does the hobby involve frequent travel to sites or meets?
  • Does the activity attract frequent visitors to your home?
  • Do you publish hobbyist newsletters or give advice to others?
  • Do you actively sell or trade property on or away from your home?
  • Does your activity involve equipment that’s inherently dangerous to others?

Get Serious About Protecting Your Hobby

Fortunately, many aspects of a hobby, especially legal liability, are covered by a homeowners policy. However, your activity may need special or even business coverage (see part 2 of this series). The way you spend your leisure time should be a happy diversion. Don’t let your enjoyment be interrupted by inadequate protection. Discuss your special interest with an insurance professional who has a special interest in meeting your coverage needs.

It’s likely that you depend on your homeowner or residential insurance policy to handle losses connected to your hobby or activities. A homeowner (HO) policy usually includes a definition of “business.” A given policy may use a definition so broad that nearly any activity qualifies as a business. In such instances, a hobbyist or enthusiast should consider whether business insurance is necessary.

Let’s say you love photography and you take pictures at weddings and other events to finance this passion. While you consider this to be a hobby, your insurer may define your activities as a business. If your camera equipment is stolen or damaged, there may be as little as $250 protection under your HO policy. HO coverage for business property differs depending on whether it is located at or away from your residence.

Imagine the photography situation again. This time, you’re at a wedding job and have just set-up a perfect shot of the bridal party. As you are snapping a few shots, a large boom stands with hot lighting equipment tips over, injuring the maid of honor and the flower girl. A homeowner policy may exclude coverage if the injured women sue you since the injury is part of business activity.

There are numerous types of sales and service jobs. These include cosmetics, clothing, kitchen supplies, home decorator items, computer repair, web site design, photography, music lessons, auto repair, and many contractors. Each job involves some type of business property that is excluded or severely limited under the homeowner policy. Therefore, each situation may need to be covered by business insurance.

Although independent consultants are in business, too often they think their HO policy will provide coverage because they don’t have special equipment or leave their home office to run their business. Office furnishings such as laptops, iPads, desks, chairs, and file cabinets are subject to HO policy limitations. Without adjustments to the homeowner policy, there may be little or no coverage for property used in a business.

The legal form of the business may create a need for business insurance. If a limited liability company, corporation or partnership is formed, the related activity is a business and needs business coverage. Also, most HO policies will not provide coverage for employees or for any professional liability.

What can you do? First, determine if your activities qualify as a business. Then talk to an insurance professional to determine what coverage is provided by the policies you currently have and what options are available to fill in any gaps in protection.



COPYRIGHT: Insurance Publishing Plus, Inc. 2015

All rights reserved. Production or distribution, whether in whole or in part, in any form of media or language; and no matter what country, state or territory, is expressly forbidden without the written consent of Insurance Publishing Plus, Inc.

Chimney Safety

Ignore chimney safety and it won't be Santa on your roof.  Poor Chimney safety may lead to a visit from the fire department.
Damaged Chimneys Significantly Increase the Risk of Home Fires

Chimneys often enhance a home’s roofline as well as add a decorative interior feature (fireplace) to a home’s interior. However, it is the chimney’s function that deserves the most attention. They are intended to safely disperse the heat and smoke that result from the use of a fireplace. Fireplace fires reach very high temperatures that take their toll on chimneys. It is risky to regularly use fireplaces without making sure that the chimney is in a safe condition.

An April 2015 report from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission reveals that, on average, more than 20,000 fires occur annually across the U.S. that are directly related to chimneys and chimney connections (found with wood-burning stoves and fireplace inserts).

One particular danger when buying an existing home that has a fireplace is that the chimney may have experienced a previous fire. There are certain signs to look for that are red flags, such as the following:

Chimney problems may go unnoticed by most.  Missing chimney flues., creosote on the ground, bubbled creosote, warped dampers, dark cracks, and  damaged shingles or rain caps.  These are all great indications of potential chimney problems.
Unsafe Chimneys: Know the Signs
  • Chimney flue tiles are missing or damaged
  • Creosote (tar colored) flakes appear on roof or ground adjacent to the chimney
  • Creosote that looks puffed or bubbled
  • Chimney damper appears warped
  • Exterior masonry has smoke-darkened cracks
  • Rain cap appears darkened from smoke and/or has a distorted shape
  • Roofing near chimney appears heat or smoke damaged

Chimney fires can be hidden, intense and even explosive, typically causing very serious levels of damage, often life-threatening. If you make use of a fireplace, wood-burning stove or an insert, it is very important to get them regularly and professionally inspected.


COPYRIGHT: Insurance Publishing Plus, Inc. 2016

All rights reserved. Production or distribution, whether in whole or in part, in any form of media or language; and no matter what country, state or territory, is expressly forbidden without written consent of Insurance Publishing Plus, Inc.