Do I need Commercial Auto Insurance

We all know the difference between a truck and a car. Right? 

Car, truck or other.  The Volkswagon Thing test our standards.
The Thing; Car, Truck or ??

For most of my life, that was a straight forward question. Along comes the SUV and, more recently, the crossover, the once black and white responses it a lot grayer.

Here’s the good news. 

Has your insurance agent ever asked if you needed, car or truck insurance? Probably not. 

Since Cars, Trucks, and SUV’s are all insured by the same policy, there is no need to ask. However, You will be asked to provide your vehicles VIN. This will give the insurance company the information they need.

Delivery Trucks are considered commercial vehicles.  Some can be difficult to insure.
Delivery Trucks considered Commercial

Who needs a Commercial Insurance Policy?

Business Autos cannot be adequately protected with a Personal Auto Policy. A commercial policy of some form must cover these vehicles.

Who decides whether my vehicle needs commercial auto coverage?  

Theoretically, any vehicle can be used for a business purpose. This requires extra effort from insurance carriers and agents as the work to provide adequate coverage.

I like to tackle that question from the other side. Who decides that a Personal Policy does NOT cover my vehicle?

Accurately communicating how you utilize your vehicle is critical. It allows your agent to confirm or deny that coverage exists for your situation.  

Business Auto Insurance also Covers Personal Use

The Commercial Auto Policy is more flexible than Personal Coverage. While protecting your car at work, it can also safeguard automobiles during personal use. While Personal Auto covers only personal use of your auto.  

If you use your vehicle in your business or profession, you may need Business Auto Insurance. In many cases, the need for Commercial Auto Insurance is obvious. Taxis, Tow Trucks, Delivery Vehicles, Cable Installers, Lawn Care providers are just a few examples.  

What you say may be more important than what you drive. 

How important is it for you to have your Company’s name, a business logo, or your phone number on your vehicle? I want my brand information anywhere and everywhere that I can afford to have it. While that may be great for business, it is also the first place I go to assist individuals regarding the need for commercial insurance. When vehicles have advertisements, there is little doubt. The question of commercial insurance or personal insurance is almost always resolved. If you’re driving a car with a business name or logo on it, you will almost always need a Commercial Auto Policy.

I occasionally drive my personal vehicle in work-related activities for my employer. Do I need Commercial Auto Insurance?

Remember, Business Auto Insurance is more flexible because it covers both commercial and personal use of your auto. Personal Auto Insurance covers your vehicle only when it is being used for personal activities. 

Check with your agent before using your car or truck for any use other than personal.

Performing job-related duties while driving your car does not mean you need to run out and buy a Commercial Auto Policy. Your employer may have a more cost-effective solution. If you are asked to use your personal vehicle for work-related activities, you should first determine if the business has Hired & Non-Owned Auto Coverage in place. This coverage picks up what your personal auto policy coverage excludes. If you would like additional information on Commercial Insurance Policies or want to learn more about Hired & Non-Owned coverage, contact a TruePoint Commercial Specialist at (912) 330-1265.

“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.

Homeowners Hurricane Tips

Coastal Homeowner, are you prepared for the next hurricane?
Hurricane Warning! Are you ready?

Homeowners that live near coastlines face possible loss by a hurricane. Hopefully, any affected person will own a homeowners insurance policy to help deal with the crisis. However, they must be aware of their responsibilities under the insurance policy in order to take full advantage of any available coverage.

The main priority for a homeowner is to be sure that the amount of coverage is adequate in the event that the home has to be totally replaced. Also, the homeowner should keep their deductible in mind, seeking options to make sure that it is affordable. Insurers who operate in areas that experience hurricanes typically require deductibles at a high, flat amount (such as $2,000) or at a percentage of the policy’s insurance limit (anywhere from 2% to 5%).

By planning beforehand, you can take active steps that can reduce your potential property loss as well as  enhance your personal safety.
Minimize Loss, Maximizing Safety

Naturally, a homeowner should consider ways to minimize their possible loss and maximize their personal safety by:

  • Making advance evacuation plans (including determining evacuation route, fueling car, preparing supplies, etc.)
  • Being aware of the nearest, safe shelter
  • Bring outdoor property inside the home (lawn equipment, toys, tools, etc.)
  • Installing or building a proper “safe room”
  • Cover/Secure all windows and doors
  • Have a portable radio and stay turned to accurate source of weather broadcasts.
  • Turn off (unplug) small appliances and turn refrigerators/freezers to their highest settings.
  • If applicable, turn off fuel/oil tanks.
  • Fill sinks and bathtubs with water.

Returning to a damaged/destroyed site is not when a hurricane victim will be at his or her best, but that is the time that certain obligations have to be met in order to make the most out of any insurance recovery. It is important to do the following:

  • At the earliest possible chance, contact your insurer with details about your loss
  • If possible, be sure you have a way to visually record the loss details (camera, digital camera, even a smartphone camera.)
  • Take reasonable action to keep intact property protected from additional damage or loss
  • Keep an accurate record of all expenses that are related to protecting your property as well as items related to temporary housing and meals

Though post-catastrophe times are chaotic and spirit-sapping, it is important to keep in contact with your agent and/or insurer. Take the time to be meticulous about filling out reports, documenting the value of your loss and cooperating with claims personnel.


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 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 (Wholesale)

Home based business are not exempt form risk.  Take some time
Are your protecting your home based business?

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.

Homeowners insurance seldom covers a business

Wholesale – As a wholesaler, here are some coverage options for your consideration:

Businessowners Policy – If you are a manufacturer’s representative with limited inventory, some insurance companies will cover your business with a BOP. A BOP provides broad coverage for buildings, personal property, loss of business income, 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. Coverage for goods stored at other locations must be added to the policy.

Commercial Package Policy – If you cannot qualify for a BOP, your agent will probably have to build a special commercial package policy to meet your needs. You will need a competent commercial lines agent to help you. Commercial lines agents have both the expertise to design the appropriate coverage and the markets for your wholesale business.

Workers Compensation – You will need workers compensation coverage for any employee – even part-timers.

Commercial Auto Policy – You may need commercial automobile insurance if you deliver anything or if your vehicle is larger than a car, van or small pickup, or if the vehicle is owned by a corporation.


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 Businesses (Retail)

Form some Americans, working from home is a considered godsend, home based businesses can also create hurdles.  Home-owners and business insurance are good examples.
Home -Based Retail Operations

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.

Retail – Persons with in-home retail operations must look beyond an HO policy for coverage.

Running a home-based business isn't right for everyone.  But if your one of those  suited to such endeavors you should review your homeowners insurance policy for gaps in coverage.
Home-Based Retail Business owner prepare packages

The Businessowners Policy (BOP) provides broad coverages for buildings, personal property, loss of business income and extra expenses 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 in transit, you will need to add additional coverage. Goods stored at other locations must be added to the policy, normally as an additional location.

You will need workers compensation coverage for any employee, even part-timers. You may need commercial automobile insurance if you deliver anything or if your vehicle is larger than a car, van or small pickup or if the vehicle is owned by a corporation.

Note: some insurance companies can offer amendments to your homeowners policy that can cover certain, in-home businesses.


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 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.

The Businessowners Policy


Do you shop with uninsured Merchants?

If you own and/or run a smaller business, your insurance needs may be properly handled by a business owners policy (BOP). A BOP is a single form that offers both property and liability protection. Retailers, wholesalers, small contractors, artisan contractors, dry cleaners, restaurants, offices and convenience stores (including those with gas pumps) are eligible for BOP coverage. All such operations may be insured by a BOP as long as they do not exceed the square foot or annual sales limits established for the program. Cooking operations, due to the higher fire and other accident exposures, have significantly more restrictive guidelines.

Property Coverage – BOPs protect buildings as well as the following:

The policy’s protection for business personal property (such as office equipment, copiers, desks, etc.) applies whether the property is located inside or immediately outside the covered buildings. The category also includes property you own, lease or control (i.e., borrow or control) as long as the property is used by the business.

One item of importance, the BOP does NOT provide coverage for loss of use of damaged or destroyed property, nor for loss created by an actual or perceived loss in value of goods after a loss takes place.

Liability Coverage – A BOP’s liability coverage provides comprehensive protection for claims or suits made by other parties. Specifically, it covers losses involving injury to other persons or damage to property that belongs to others. It also provides limited protection against personal injury (slander or libel), advertising injury and losses involving an operation’s products or services.

Naturally, there are certain situations that are not covered by a BOP. For instance, there is no coverage for losses involving most vehicles, money, and securities; illegal property (contraband), land, water, growing crops or lawns; or watercraft.

building additions (completed or being built) indoor and outdoor fixtures Clothes Dryers machinery and equipment landlord furnishings,
mowers, ladder, snowblowers, and similar maintenance property outdoor furniture floor coverings Refrigerating appliances ventilating appliances
Cooking appliances Dishwashing/Drying appliances Clothes washers materials, equipment, and supplies temporary structures located near the insured premises

Enhancing Coverage – A BOP may be supplemented to provide additional protection. Property coverage options include adding insurance for accounts receivable, valuable papers and records, earthquake, spoilage, etc. Liability coverage can be expanded to handle additional business interests, limited vehicle liability, losses related to personnel situations, liquor liability and injuries to leased employees.

A BOP may be the answer to your company’s coverage needs and it may be worthwhile to get more information on the BOP from the nearest insurance professional.

The BOP provides other coverage than the protection mentioned in part 1. The following protection can be selected under the BOP.

Optional Coverages

Outdoor Signs–Payment is available for direct physical loss or damage to outdoor signs at the described premises. Eligible signs may be owned by the named insured or owned by others but be in the named insured’s care, custody, or control.

Money and Securities–Coverage applies to loss of only the named insured’s money and securities used in its business while that property is at banks or savings institutions, inside the named insured’s living quarters, inside the living quarters of a partner or employee, at the described premises or while in transit between the places referenced.

Employee Dishonesty–The policy pays for direct loss of business personal property and money and securities due to dishonest acts its employees commit, whether they act alone or collude with others to do so.

Equipment Breakdown Protection Coverage–Coverage is available for loss or damage directly caused by or that results from electrical failure or mechanical breakdown to covered property. Covered property is electrical, mechanical, or pressure machinery and equipment

Liability Coverage – A BOP’s liability coverage provides comprehensive protection for claims or suits made by other parties. Specifically, it covers losses involving injury to other persons or damage to property that belongs to others. It also provides limited protection against personal injury (slander or libel), advertising injury and losses involving an operation’s products or services.

Naturally, there are certain situations that are not covered by a BOP. For instance, there is no coverage for losses involving most vehicles, money, and securities; illegal property (contraband), land, water, growing crops or lawns; or watercraft.

Enhancing Coverage – A BOP may be supplemented to provide additional protection. Property coverage options include adding insurance for accounts receivable, valuable papers and records, earthquake, spoilage, etc. Liability coverage can be expanded to handle additional business interests, limited vehicle liability, losses related to personnel situations, liquor liability and injuries to leased employees.

A BOP may be the answer to your company’s coverage needs and it may be worthwhile to get more information on the BOP from the nearest insurance professional.


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 the written consent of Insurance Publishing Plus, Inc.