“Do I need Flood Insurance?” South Carolina and Georgia residents should start here.

 

How much do you know about Flood Insurance?  Learn more here.
Learn about flood insurance before the waters start to rise.

Who needs flood insurance? Many residents of Georgia and South Carolina are exposed to flood risk. Those living in coastal areas are like to be more at risk. Consider the following:

  • River Road – It seems wise that anyone living on River Road should check in to flood insurance.
  • Coastal Highway – Another great clue that suggests there is a heightened risk for flooding.
  • Lowcountry Since floods occur in low lying area, it’s probably wise to consider flood insurance if you live in a region known as the Lowcountry.

Anyone with Lender Requirement

Understanding mortgage requirements for flood insurance Flood Zone, Flood Zone C, Flood Zone A, Flood Zone X, Flood Insurance. Georgia Flood insurance, South Carolina Flood insurance
Does your home mortgage require flood insurance?

Your homeowner’s policy does not protect against flooding. For anyone needing protection from rising waters, a separate Flood Insurance policy is required. This policy will provide specific coverage if your home is damaged by a local flood.

Residents in Coastal Georgia and South Carolina may find that they are required to purchase flood insurance. This requirement is most likely come for a lender. Mortgage lenders know the potential impact of floods as well as which homes are at greatest risk. Due to this risk, borrowers with homes located in a FEMA identified flood zone will likely be required to maintain flood insurance.

Needs to Cover Against Risk

Where can i buy flood insurance, ky flood insurance, commercial flood insurance in Georgia or South Carolina or business flood insurance
Flood Loss versus Cost. You do the math!

FEMA flood zones are divided into one of many categories. These categories or buckets identified the flood risk as very risky or a Special Flood Hazard Area (SFHA). Somewhat lower-risk areas are considered Moderate Flood Hazards. There are two moderate flood hazard groups; Zone B and Zone X (Shaded). Finally, the areas that are exposed to potential flooding yet have the least risk are identified as minimal flood hazards. This grouping also has twp categories; Zone C and Zone X (Unshaded)

Even if the risk is small, you should still consider getting flood insurance. Everyone should consider buying flood insurance. This includes those without a mortgage, and those not required to have flood insurance.

When you are looking to learn more about flood insurance in Georgia or South Carolina, you should speak with the team at TruePoint Insurance. They will make work hard to make sure that your decision is as simple as possible.

Home Generator Considerations

Not sure when, but there is a storm coming.  Are you ready for the next Georgia Hurricane?  You can beat the storm , but it takes a little advance planning.  Storm Preparedness.
There’s a storm coming! Are you prepared?

One issue that may arise because of storms, extreme heat or natural catastrophe is the loss of electrical power. While power outages are often, merely a nuisance, extended power interruptions can cause problems ranging from loss of perishables (particularly frozen and refrigerated foods), damage to property that is vulnerable to temperature extremes, and personal endangerment caused by overheating or freezing.

In Indiana and Kentucky tornado safety and  storm planning is a must.  Storm preparedness is a must.
Even if your home isn’t hit,
you could go days without electricity.

Many homeowners who, for various reasons, are prone to suffering power loss, use an option to protect themselves; home generators. Such generators are capable of temporarily supplying electrical power to run household appliances and utilities. Home generators come in two basic forms:

Portable Generators.   Even if your home isn't hit directly, you still may find yourself with power for days, maybe weeks.  A key step to storm safety, generators.
Having a portable generator a key step in becoming storm ready!
  • Portable Generators – lower-powered units that operate externally from a home’s wiring system.
  • Standby Generators – high-power units that are attached directly to a home’s wiring system and which takes over automatically when utility power is interrupted

Regardless the type, it is critical to take proper precautions to make sure that no harm or injury results from their use.

With standby generators, installation should be performed by a licensed electrician and installations should be inspected by authorized persons before initial use. Installations should include a proper transfer switch and local utilities should be notified that an installation has occurred. Transfer switches insure that electrical power is properly and safely switched from the generator to a utility supply when power is restored.

Portable generators have a host of procedures that should be adhered to, such as the following:

  • generators should be located outside the home, in an area that provides proper ventilation and which shields the unit from moisture
  • generators should NOT be located near window or doors since carbon monoxide exhaust could seep into a home
  • care must be taken to prevent burns due to contact with hot generator parts
  • generators should never be plugged into house outlets. This can cause back feeds which results in damaging wiring and endangering utility company personnel (backed power can be transmitted through power lines at fatal power levels)
  • proper, exterior-rated cords should be the only kinds used with generators
  • generator power should be matched with essential power needs (core appliances, heating/cooling) and not overloaded (which could damage the generator and powered appliances, etc.)
  • fuel for generators should be stored properly and refueling should take place ONLY after the generator has cooled after being turned off

Generators can be a tremendous method to compensate for temporary power outages but care must be taken to be sure they don’t generate more problems than solutions.


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.

Telecommuters and Insurance

Sunburns!  One of the many dangers associated with working from home.
New Remote Workers are still working out the kinks

If you work from your home for part of your workweek and if the situation is an ongoing arrangement with your employer…that’s telecommuting! That is also an opportunity to make special insurance considerations. Consider the following:

Property Considerations

You may have gaps in coverage because of your work arrangement. You may not have the insurance protection you need for your employer’s business property that is kept in your home or your own property that is used to perform your job. This is because residential insurance policies severely restrict or exclude coverage for business property. A further complication is that business property usually consists of high-valued items that are vulnerable to damage and/or to theft. Such property includes fax machines, copiers, computers, pads, smart phones, computer peripherals, GPS, etc.

Liability Considerations

Personal insurance policies that include liability protection typically exclude business-related losses. Further, different policies can be quite broad in interpreting how a loss is connected to “business.” Liability Policies A and B would routinely respond to handling an insured who spilled hot coffee on a guest in his home. What if, instead of being a social guest, the visitor was your employer’s client? Policy A may still offer coverage because it considers the coffee spill to be a common home hazard. Policy B, however, may flat-out exclude the loss because the injured person was in the home for a business reason.

Vehicle Liability

Instead of using your personal vehicle for going to and from work, more of your vehicle use may be related to your job, such as making deliveries, calling on clients or visiting jobsites. Many instances of job related use might be excluded from your personal auto coverage.

Home Accidents

Simple events may be complicated when they occur in the course of performing your job at home. Coverage for injuries suffered while going up the stairs or experiencing a prolonged illness may cause coverage questions for your employer. Individual company or state-mandated coverage for employees may not apply to work-related accidents that occur at home.

Working remotely drives the need for changes from employers and employees.
Issues with working remotely

Document What You Do

In order to determine your coverage needs, you must clearly identify your exposure to business losses. Document the following:

  • What routine job duties do you perform in your home?
  • Are any tasks hazardous?
  • Who visits your home because of your job (clients, vendors, repair personnel, suppliers, others)? Be Specific.
  • How often do such persons visit?
  • Is a certain part of your home dedicated as a work area/office?
  • What equipment is used in your job? (Is the equipment used only for your job? Who owns each piece of equipment?)

Once you have a good idea of the loss exposures from performing your job at home, you need to discuss your situation with an insurance professional. An insurance pro can help you find additional coverage options as well as help to identify what coverage gaps must be addressed by your employer. While it can be liberating to telecommute, you must make sure that you haven’t given up important protection along with your cubicle or office.


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 written consent of Insurance Publishing Plus, Inc.

Tornado Shelters

Tornado season is in full swing. Are you ready?

Homes may be built with solid craftsmanship and with the use of the best materials, but most residences offer little to no protection against a common hazard…..tornadoes. Recently, homeowners have begun to embrace the use of tornado shelters. Before discussing this protection method, here is some background information.

In the U.S., tornadoes most often occur in the Midwest, Plains and Southern states. Tornadoes are created by thunderstorm fronts where moist, warm air meets moving cool fronts. Winds first form a horizontal rotation that is lifted upwards by warm air. When the rotating column is tilted high enough, it becomes a tornado.

Tornadoes can occur anywhere and at any time, but the peak season is in late spring through the summer. Wind speeds range from less than 100 to +250 mph. The stronger the storm, the longer its lifespan (generally 10-15 minutes). The damage path of a hurricane is usually narrow and short, but they can be as large as a mile in width and travel tens of miles. Tornado damage can be substantial as the winds and wind-carried debris are powerful enough to demolish buildings.

When a tornado threatens a home, the safest response is to get to the lowest and innermost space; away from all doors and windows. Basements and cellars are ideal, but these features are not found in most homes. In the past, it was common to equip homes with storm cellars, located adjacent to home, to protect against severe storm winds. Today, in response to the need for more protection, there has been a revival in the use of tornado shelters.

Tornado shelters offer the best protection .  Buried, reinforced safe rooms that  can be designed to fit your needs.
Christie England stands in the storm shelter in front of the remains of her home May 27, 2013, in Moore, Okla. England’s home was destroyed in the May 20, 2013, EF-5 tornado that ripped through Moore. The storm killed 24, injured hundreds and damaged thousands of homes. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Bradley C. Church)

Tornado shelter are, essentially, reinforced safe rooms, ranging from regular room size, down to small enclosures that are fitted within closets or garages. They may even, like storm cellars of old, be buried in the ground. They are constructed of reinforced metal walls that are, ideally, bolted to a cement floor. Such structures are capable of staying intact even when the surrounding structure is obliterated by tornado winds. Shelters are designed to accommodate a typical family and may cost several thousand dollars.

While shelters do little to protect a residence, they do respond to the most important issue, increasing the chance that residents can survive a tornado and rebuild.


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 written consent of Insurance Publishing Plus, Inc.

Home Businesses (Landlords)

A variety of businesses are routinely operated in homes. This article discusses aspects of particular operations. Refer to Home Businesses – Basics for background information on coverage as well as our other articles discussing different in-home businesses.

Unlike the landlords associated with the popular game, today's landlords don't have a monopoly and are almost always held responsible for their actions.
Today’s Landlords are held responsible for their actions

Landlord

The homeowners policy is designed to cover landlord-occupied residential buildings, landlord-owned personal property, and loss of rents (after a fire or other covered cause of loss), premises liability and medical payments. Note that the maximum occupancy that may be covered under an HO policy is a four-family dwelling. A dwelling policy may be used for 1-4 family structures that are not also occupied by the landlord.

For landlords with residential property containing from five to sixty units, a Businessowners policy (BOP) is usually appropriate. It insures buildings, landlord personal property, loss of rents (after a fire or other covered cause of loss), premises liability and medical payments.

Most Bed and Breakfasts do not qualify for coverage either in the homeowners or dwelling insurance program. Bed and Breakfasts will require a combination of tenants coverage for the resident owner/manager, and a BOP to cover buildings, landlord owned personal property in boarders’ rooms, loss of business income (rents and fees) and the extra expense to operate (after a fire or other covered cause of loss), premises liability and medical payments.

Understanding the law for Landlord and tenant relations is critical for all parties.
Contracts often drive rental insurance policies

For landlords who have office or retail tenants, the BOP provides broad coverages for buildings, landlord personal property, loss of rents (after a fire or other covered cause of loss), premises liability and medical payments.

Worker compensation is necessary for any employee. Talk with your agent. Most states require workers compensation for resident managers even if you provide only free lodging as payment. Make sure you have certificates of insurance for any subcontractors (painters, plumbers, etc.) you hire to do work for you. If the subcontractor has no insurance, you may be responsible for the subcontractor’s work-related injuries.


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.

Home Business Basics

Homeowner (HO) policies aren’t meant to insure businesses that are run out of a home. Premiums paid for homeowner’s coverage are for handling losses related to the ownership and use of a residence and related structures. Therefore no liability coverage is available for business activities such as customers who slip and fall on your premises, damage to business property (owned or in your control), injury caused by things you make (product liability), or damage due to services that you promote or provide. It is also unlikely that an insurer would provide a legal defense against business-related claims.

How much does it cost to call your insurance agent.  I am guessing that it's much cheaper than the cost of an uncovered loss due to running a business from your home!
Be sure to speak with your insurance agent before opening a business in your home.

Generally, an HO policy does not provide workers compensation coverage for any employee. Medical expense and liability coverage may be available for workers who are ineligible for worker’s compensation, such as maids, butlers, or nannies, but such coverage only applies if an injury occurs while performing residential tasks.

Example: You send your nanny to deliver copies of your business proposal and, on the way to the client, she is seriously injured in a fall. Your policy won’t provide any medical expense coverage for your nanny because she was performing a business-related chore.

There is no coverage for detached garages, barns, or similar structures on your residence premises if they are used in whole or part for the business.

Example: You store $3,000 worth of equipment and supplies that you use in your job in your garage and the garage burns down. The fire loss to the garage becomes ineligible because of its partial business use.

A basic HO policy may protect certain property. However, the coverage may be limited to as little as a few hundred dollars. Items qualifying for limited coverage include business personal property kept in or around your home, business personal property kept at a location other than in or around your home or landlord’s furnishings. One way to improve your coverage is to add policy options that do the following:

  • increase the coverage limits for business personal property
  • cover garages and other buildings that are rented to others
  • protect electronic business equipment which is usually used in a vehicle while such equipment is located outside of a vehicle
  • provide theft coverage for the landlord’s property
  • acquire limited business personal property and liability coverage for an in-home daycare
  • cover a condo unit owners’ liability for damage caused by renters
  • provide premises liability coverage (i.e. a customer slips and falls)

A variety of businesses are routinely operated in homes. This article discusses aspects of particular operations. Refer to part one for background information on coverage basics as well as our other parts discussing different businesses.

Sales Office

In most case, a homeowners policy will not much if any protection for a business.

Usually, an HO policy does not offer much protection for business property. In fact, available coverage may be up to only $2,500 for personal property used for business and kept on the residence premises. Further, no coverage applies to a business property such as inventory, product samples, or items being held for delivery. Finally, even optional coverage excludes property related to a business conducted on the premises. For example, you are a cosmetic sales rep who also holds make-up parties in your home. For customer convenience, you keep an inventory of cosmetics at home. The HO policy will not cover this property.

If you are a salesperson operating out of your home and have limited inventory, some companies will cover you with a Businessowners Policy (BOP). A BOP provides broad coverages for buildings, personal property, loss of business income and extra expense incurred to remain in business (after a fire or other covered cause of loss), premises liability and medical payments. If you have more than $1,000 of goods off-premises in transit, you will need to add additional coverage. Goods stored at other locations must be added to the policy.

If you cannot qualify for a BOP and a home business endorsement or separate policy fails to meet your needs, your agent will probably have to build a special commercial package policy to handle your business. Commercial lines agents have both the expertise to design the appropriate coverage and access to the markets that offer policies for your sales business.

In part one of this article, we discussed what coverage issues must be considered when running a sales office out of a home. Besides the protection previously mentioned, you will need workers compensation coverage for any employees, even part-timers, and, if you deliver anything or if your vehicle is larger than a car, van or small pickup, you may need commercial automobile insurance. Another reason for buying a commercial auto policy is if any auto is corporately owned.

Professional Offices

Regarding doctors, attorneys, architects or similar occupations, whether your home office is your only office or simply a satellite office, you will need to work with an insurance agent who is familiar with the coverages that are appropriate for professionals.

BOPs are suitable for most professional offices and can cover buildings, personal property, loss of business income, extra expenses incurred to operate the business (after a fire or other covered cause of loss), premises liability and medical payments.

Consult with your agent or your professional association(s) for professional liability and errors and omissions coverage.


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.

Get a Grip on Zip(lines)

While accidents have been relatively low, the magnitude for zip line insurance claims has been quiet high.
Insuring Zip Lines

Ziplines are a newer and wildly popular attraction. They are known by various names such as:

  • zip wires
  • rope slides
  • aerial runways
  • flying fox
  • death slides

They consist of a steel cable (or, increasingly rarely, rope), mounted at an incline between two points. They are traversed by a person attached to the line by a harness and pulley.

Ziplines are quite old, originally developed as a way to more easily access remote areas, such as mountain terrain, forests or as a way to cross rivers and as an aspect of climber training. They are more recently used for entertainment such at adventure camps, hiking areas in parks, amusement parks, festivals, fundraisers, in team-building exercises and, in current development, at private residences.

Using the proper equipment and development of operating procedures focused on safety is essential.  Without these in place it will be hard to insure zip lines regardless of ownership or location.
Safety is Critical

Ziplines are now so popular; they are sold in kit form for private use. A standard kit consists of a cable, pulley, installation kits (bolts, eyebolts, swivels, cable tensioners, turnbuckles, cable clamps, braking device, cable slings etc), handlebars, lanyards or harnesses, and other accessories. Some kits include tools such as cable grabs and cutters.

While accidents involving zip lines are low, in comparison to their use, the consequences of accidents are very high, so safe operation is incredibly important. Much of the safety has to do with ziplines being installed professionally and operated by trained personnel. The residential use of ziplines is likely to result in more accidents because of the absence of those two, critical factors.

It is important that ziplines have safety features that match the installation and use. Residential ziplines are likely to consist of short runs and be close to the ground, still it is important to make sure that there is control over the speed, that the equipment is regularly checked, that the use is properly supervised, that there is proper clearance so that hands, clothing or hair don’t become entangled and that the launch and stopping points are properly supported. Items that help make zipline use safer is the use of a shock-absorbing landing zone, backup lanyards or harnesses, goggles, thick leather gloves (for emergency braking), helmets, masks, and knee pads.

Of course, it is supremely important that the zipline use the right type of cable, have a proper incline, be properly tensioned and that the right attachment and anchor points are used and that the space for the installation is adequate. The installation site must be absolutely free of obstacles, so site preparation is often necessary. Maintenance is very important, particularly with regard to line wear and tension and zipline owners must inspect their installation and gear carefully and regularly. Safe procedures and supervision is also critical.

You may also find it helpful to see our article titled, “Who Cares about Attractive Nuisances” for related information.


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 written consent of Insurance Publishing Plus, Inc.

What is Contractors Errors & Omissions Insurance

Are you an artisan contractor that doesn't have Contractors E&O insurance?  You may have gaps in your coverage.
How bad are the gaps in your insurance?

The Commercial General Liability policy leaves several liability exposures for contractors.  The General Liability policy doesn’t cover faulty work due to negligence, or to damages to the work of the contractor.   

Contractors E&O has been already, but until recently, only limited options existed.  Contractors now have access to reasonably priced insurance that closes some very significant gaps.

Snapshot: Insurance for Plumbers

We repair what your husband fixed! #Plumbers Lives Matter

Insurance is a critical part of any small business.  It protects customers, employees and your business when things go awry.  Plumbers and other Artisan Contractors use insurance.  There are multiple forms of Liability insurance.  They can protect employees, clients or others that come in contact with your efforts.   Contractors that own buildings or business personal property can utilize Commercial Property Insurance.   Several construction-related trades, including plumbers, are subject to state licensing requirements.  Part of the licensing process is to provide proof of insurance.

Commercial Insurance Snapshot:

Plumbing Contractors

Most contractors, including plumbers, have Commercial General Liability policies. The policy which is often referred to as CGL or GL protects when your actions cause bodily injury or property damage to another.  These claims are normally settled by financial restitution to the damaged party.  However, when necessary the insurance company may provide legal defense.

In order to be licensed as a plumber in Kentucky you will need to provide proof of insurance.
Plumbers need insurance.

Property insurance is another common form of coverage. This would be a recommended coverage for plumbers that own a commercial building.   The Commercial Property Policy will also provide protection for business personal property. Covered items

Include office furniture, equipment, machinery, inventories, and more.

Business Income insurance protects you and your business.  Following an insured property loss, the coverage provides financial restitution to your business.  A portion of  the  lost income will be covered during the term defined by the policy. 

The policies above may come as standalone policies.  But most small businesses can package the coverages with significant savings. The packaged policy is referred to as a Business Owners Policy or BOP.

Do you have Plumbers Errors and Omission Insurance?  We highly suggest that you take a few minutes to consider it!
Plumbers need Contractors E&O Insurance

Other coverages used by plumbers include:

• Commercial auto insurance: Business Vehicles

• Inland marine insurance: Property that moves from one job site to next

• Installation floater insurance: Installed, Fabricated or Erected

• Workers compensation: Covers employees’ medical costs and lost wages

Contractors E&O, it’s now more available, but still underused

Construction trades need to consider Contractors E&O.  It fills a lot of gaps with the largest being insurance for negligence of the insured.
Are you insured for Negligence?

Contractors Errors & Omissions insurance (Contractors E&O) is a form of liability coverage. The coverages can be crucial to many contractors, including plumbers. It is designed to protect from potential liability exposures arising from alleged negligence.

It covers the work of the insured, yours, which is something that would not be covered by the CGL policy, is now covered.

Why haven’t I heard of Contractor’s E&O before now?

Errors and omission coverage has been around for a long time. However, they have focused on the service sector and health care businesses.  Real estate agents, and insurance agencies are examples of professional liability insurance users.

Another example that most have heard of is Medical Malpractice.

What is contractors E&O?  It is somewhat akin to Medical Malpractice.  It covers negligence and work of the insured..
Medical Malpractice Insurance

 It is professional liability insurance for Doctors, Hospital, and other medical sectors.

Professional liability insurance has been around awhile.   it has not been widely available to small contractors. That’s due to the relatively low number of insurance companies willing to write the exposures. 

Contractors E&O insurance has major gaps. The same is true regards General Liability. Put the two together and watch the gaps disappear.

With a mature market, there is no longer an excuse for retaining negligence related risk.   Quality coverage at affordable premiums makes transferring the risk a relatively simple decision. Now plumbers, electricians, and several other specialty contractors can better manager their Liability exposures.

Why do small contractors need Errors & Omissions coverage?

What will you do if your insurance agent suggests Contractors Errors & Omissions coverage?  I would suggest that you listen. Before looking for excuses and justifications for not buying, listen!  If you do, there is a very good chance that you will be thanking your agent when you’re done.

Adding Contractors E&O fills a large number of gaps in your General Liability policy.  This alone makes the E&O attractive.  But don’t forget, we live in a litigious world.  We are all one bad day from having your world turned upside by a customer lawsuit.

Liquor Liability Insurance

Insurance for bars and restaurants must include a form of coverage known as liquor liability insurance, also known as dram shop liability insurance.
If you serve alcohol, you need liquor liability insurance

Today we measure the amount of alcohol used in drinks by the shot.  But in colonial America gin and other alcoholic drinks were measured in unit shared by apothecaries.   This measurement was known as a Drachma or Dram.   

Dram Shop Liability Insurance, more commonly knowns as Liquor Liability Insurance is the insurance vehicle used to transfer liquor-related liability that is a part of serving or selling alcoholic beverages.  This coverage provides protection against serving intoxicated individuals or minors. 

Who is required to have a Liquor Liability policy?  If you own a bar or any other venture that sells or serves alcohol, most states will require it.
Protect yourself from intoxicated guests.

When individuals drink too much they not only pose a risk to themselves, they are also a threat to others.  As an owner of a restaurant and bar, you have potential financial exposure if you allow intoxicated patrons to drive. 

Alcohol at weddings: Step 1, hire a qualified bartender.

But bars and restaurants aren’t the only places that you will find liability associated with alcohol.  Liquor Liability can show up at casinos, sporting venues, and even the office Christmas party.  Individuals are not exempt for this exposure.  Graduate parties, reunions, and even your wedding could be marred by the actions of an over-served guest. 

Liquor liability insurance will help you reduce your exposure should an unfortunate event occur. But your first and best way to reduce your personal exposure is to hire a professional bartender. Pouring drinks is the easy part of bartending, not pouring one to the wrong person is the real job.