Colorado State University’s Department of Atmospheric Science forecasts five hurricanes and 12 named storms for the 2018 Atlantic hurricane season. Natural disasters like hurricanes can wreak havoc on your company. Update your business insurance as you prepare for natural disasters.
Prepare for Wind and Hail Storms
Heavy storms that feature high winds or hail can damage your property or disrupt operations. Verify that your business insurance includes adequate commercial property and business interruption coverage.
You may also wish to check if your policy includes a separate property deductible that applies solely to wind or hail claims. Some insurance companies add a flat rate or percentage deductible to these policies, especially in areas that are susceptible to wind and hail storms.
Rising water can damage your buildings and property and affect business operations. While your mortgage lender or building manager may require you to purchase commercial flood insurance if your business operates in a flood zone, flood insurance is also important if you operate in a location that doesn’t traditionally flood. That’s because you still could experience high water due to heavy rains, storm surges, melting snow, or broken levees.
Talk to your insurance agent about purchasing flood insurance coverage through the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). Because this valuable coverage includes a 30-day waiting period, be sure to purchase flood insurance before you need it.
Purchase Adequate Coverage
If you purchased your business insurance longer than a year ago, schedule a checkup. Your company’s needs may change over time, and you want to update your business insurance coverage, too. For example, if you added expensive equipment to your operation or moved to a different location, verify that your current policy covers these changes.
Check the property value coverage on your policy also. When you purchased your business insurance policy, you may have chosen the cheaper actual cash value option that pays to replace covered property minus depreciation and wear and tear. However, replacement cost pays current market value rates and offers better protection, so consider this more expensive option now.
Finally, review your policy limits. Ensure you have enough coverage for your property, building contents, inventory, and business interruption needs.
Review your Policy Carefully
Insurance policies often include dry, boring language, but take time to review every word. You must know exactly what natural disasters your commercial policy covers. Also, be sure you understand details about the deductible and how to file a claim. Your insurance agent can answer any questions you have and help you purchase enough coverage for your specific needs.
Your business insurance gives your company valuable protection. Update your coverage today as you prepare for future natural disasters.
If you’ve ever shopped around for insurance, you’ve likely been asked if you want to bundle your policies—in other words, combine your home or renters, auto and life insurance policies with the same carrier. Although you have the option to shop around individually for each policy, it almost always makes sense to have the same carrier cover as many of your policies as possible.
Benefits of Bundling
- The discount—Most policyholders bundle their policies because of the promise of a discount. The amount varies by provider but can generally range between 5-25 percent.
- The option of a single deductible—With bundled policies, your deductible may be cheaper in the event of a claim that affects multiple policies. For example, if your home and auto policies are with two separate carriers, and a hailstorm damages your home and your car, you’re responsible for paying both your home and auto deductibles before receiving payment. But if you bundle your policies, your provider may offer you the option to pay only the higher of the two deductibles.
- Less chance of being dropped—If you’ve made claims or gotten tickets, having your policies bundled with one provider can decrease the chance of them dropping you.
When it Doesn’t Pay to Bundle
It isn’t always better to bundle your policies with one insurance carrier. Here’s when it may be better to split them up:
- If you have tickets or past claims that make your auto insurance expensive—In this case, it may be cheaper overall to buy each policy from separate providers.
- When premiums increase—Bundling discourages people from price shopping, which makes it easier for providers to increase their rates. Most assume that you won’t go through the effort of shopping around when your policies renew.
- If policies aren’t technically bundled—Some carriers may insure you with an affiliated company. Although you may get a discount with that company, you’ll lose the convenience of paying your premium with one familiar provider.
A Few Tips to Consider
Although discounts are the main reason people bundle their insurance policies, never assume that bundling is the cheapest option. Your needs and circumstances will dictate whether you should combine your policies with one carrier. Consider the following tips:
- Shop for new coverage when your policies renew, and ask for the price of the individual premiums as well as the price of the bundled premium so you can decide whether it is worth it. Just make sure you compare the same coverage when shopping for quotes from each carrier.
- Ask if the provider uses a third-party insurance company. Remember that you may save money but lose the convenience of dealing with one provider and a combined bill.
- Ask an independent insurance agent to get prices from multiple companies so you don’t have to do the legwork. An agent that is loyal to a particular carrier may be able to offer discounts that you can’t get alone.
With multiple factors contributing to the price of your insurance premiums, it is important to shop around in order to get the best rate for your insurance needs. Feel free to contact Scurich Insurance to determine if bundling is right for you and help you take advantage of all available discounts.
There are a number of hazards that could affect your home while you’re away, including lightning, theft and flooding. In order to keep your property safe while you’re on vacation, consider the following:
- Unplug small appliances and electronic devices.
- Stop the newspaper and mail. To do this online, visit the U.S. Postal Service’s website.
- Lock all windows and doors.
- Arrange to have your lawn mowed or snow shoveled while you’re away.
- Have a neighbor keep an eye on your home throughout your trip.
- Remove any house keys you keep outside your home, even if you think they’re in a safe place.
- Set timers on inside lights. Install a motion-activated sensor on outdoor floodlights.
- Consider turning off your home’s water.
- Avoid posting photos of your trip on social media until after you return home.
- Raise the temperature on your thermostat or turn the system off completely. This ensures that you aren’t paying to cool your home while you’re away.
Taking the proper precautions before you go on vacation can make all the difference when it comes to preventing damage to your home. However, accidents can still occur, and it’s important to ensure you have adequate insurance coverage. Contact Scurich Insurance to learn more.
Ticks and Lyme Disease
Lyme disease is a bacterium that’s often carried by mice and other small rodents. The disease can be transmitted to humans if they’re bitten by a tick that previously fed off an infected animal.
Different types of ticks live in the United States and while some can transmit diseases, others are only a nuisance. In general, infected blacklegged ticks can transmit the bacterium that causes Lyme disease.
Symptoms of Lyme disease typically develop within two weeks of a tick bite and can include fevers, chills, swollen lymph nodes, neck stiffness, fatigue, headaches, and joint or muscle aches.
To avoid contracting Lyme disease, do the following:
- Wear light-colored clothing, including long-sleeved shirts and pants when in wooded areas. Tuck pant legs into socks or boots and keep long hair tied back.
- Wash your body and clothing after all outdoor activities.
- Look periodically for ticks if you’ve been outdoors, especially if you’ve been in wooded areas or gardens.
- Remove ticks within 24 hours to greatly reduce the risk of contracting Lyme disease.
- Check your pet’s coat if it’s been in an area known for ticks.
Remember to consult your health care provider as soon as you experience Lyme disease symptoms. If possible, send any ticks that you’ve removed to a public health laboratory in your area. Click here to learn more.
Keeping Mold Out of the Home
A mold problem in the home can cause serious health effects, especially for young children, the elderly, those who suffer from allergies or asthma, and those with prior respiratory conditions. Mold can cause eye irritation, nasal stuffiness, shortness of breath, wheezing and infections in the lungs.
Though most molds grow outdoors, they can get inside a home through open windows and doors, air conditioning systems, pets, clothing and shoes. Try these prevention tips to keep mold out of your home:
- Clean up any water damage or flooding thoroughly and immediately.
- Use a dehumidifier and a wet-dry vacuum to remove water quickly.
- Remove carpeting that can’t be dried out within 48 hours. If your carpet was contaminated by sewer water or a flood, it needs to be replaced.
- Repair basement cracks so that moisture can’t seep in.
- Use a dehumidifier or air conditioner to reduce indoor moisture, especially during humid months. Empty the drip pans in your air conditioner, refrigerator and dehumidifier on a regular basis to prevent water buildup.
- Fix plumbing leaks immediately. Mold will begin to grow within 24 to 48 hours after a leak forms.
Protecting Your Vehicle from Hail
Hail can strike anywhere and at any time, causing major damage to your vehicle. When a hailstorm occurs, take the following precautions to keep you and your vehicle safe:
- Don’t get out of your vehicle if you’re driving during a hailstorm. If you can pull over to the side of the road, do so safely.
- Park your car on an angle so that the hail hits the front of your car. This protects your side and rear windows, which aren’t made of reinforced glass.
- Find covered parking to protect your car, like a parking garage or awning. If you live in a hailstorm-prone area, it may be a good idea to purchase or build a covered parking solution for your home, like a metal canopy or garage.
- Use blankets or a hail car cover. These items can be very effective in protecting vehicles from damage, especially if you’re far away from shelter.
- Locate a body shop that you trust to make any necessary repairs. Discuss the extent of the damage with the body shop and your insurance broker.
Hotel Safety Tips
Hotels provide a home away from home whenever you travel. However, hotels aren’t always safe, and vacationers are at risk of things like break-ins, fires and natural disasters.
The following are some general hotel safety tips to keep in mind to protect yourself from a variety of risks:
- Check reviews for security concerns. Guest reviews can provide information on the area’s crime level and steps the hotel takes to protect guests.
- Use hotels that restrict access to guest floors.
- Check your room lock to confirm it’s working properly. Make sure that the door has a deadbolt and keep it locked whenever you’re in the room.
- Lock away valuable items you won’t be carrying with you in the room’s safe. This can include things like money, jewelry, laptops or other electronics.
- Be wary of people that come to the door claiming to be hotel staff.
Your commercial insurance policies protect your business, making your insurance agent an essential resource for your company. While you may not have your agent on speed dial, you will want to contact him or her in several circumstances.
Verify Coverage Details
You can purchase a variety of different policies for your business, and need to understand your exact coverage. Contact your insurance agent to verify which types of coverage you have and your policy limits.
Update Your Policy
When you add a vehicle to your commercial fleet, sell a piece of equipment, move to a new location, or make other changes to your business operations, call your insurance agent. These updates could affect your insurance needs, policy and premium.
File A Claim
If you need to file an insurance claim, contact your agent immediately. You may call the agent’s office, send an email or text, or fill out an online claim form on the company’s website. Remember to submit pictures, too, as you get your claim process started.
Ask Questions About a Claim
After you file an insurance claim, you may have questions about the adjuster’s findings or the settlement timeline. Feel free to contact your agent and ask any questions you may have.
Discuss Your Bill
Whether you pay your insurance bill annually, semi-annually or quarterly, you may inspect your bill and realize that you have questions about one of the charges or fees. Most insurance agents remain transparent about billing, and they can explain anything you don’t understand about your insurance charges, fees or payment date.
Pay Your Bill
If you experience any issues when you pay your insurance bill, call your agent. You may also ask for a change in the policy due date or a change in payment frequency.
Initiate an Annual Review
You should receive a notice a few weeks before your commercial insurance policy’s renewal date. Ask your agent for a meeting to renew your coverage. During this meeting, discuss details about your business and the types of insurance you need, including coverage limits and cost, as you verify that you have the right insurance for your needs.
Request a New Quote
Based on your insurance policies you purchase and your loyalty to your commercial insurance company, you may qualify for discounts or a more competitive rate. Your agent can rework your coverage limits, check for discounts and give you a new quote that meets your budget.
Throughout the year, you may wish to contact your commercial insurance agent for several reasons. Always feel free to reach out and discuss your needs as you purchase the right coverage for your business.
As a homeowner, one of your top priorities is keeping your property and family safe from intruders. With the advent of smart homes and new technology, home security is easier and more affordable than ever.
The following are some new technologies that can protect you and your loved ones from criminals:
Doorbell cameras — Doorbell cameras are a great way to see who is at the door before you open it. This is especially useful if you have children who are frequently home alone.
Smart door locks — Smart door locks allow you to lock or unlock your doors remotely. This can be helpful if you forget to lock your doors before you leave the house.
Motion sensors — Homeowners can attach motion sensors to doors and windows. Even the slightest movement can trigger these devices and alert you to intruders.
Above all, it’s important to have a strong security system in place. These systems should include Wi-Fi-enabled cameras, smart smoke detectors and an alarm system that notifies the authorities in an emergency.