Many entrepreneurs and small business owners use their personal vehicles for business—but this practice can be risky. In the event of an accident, your personal auto insurance policy might not cover you for business use, while your business owner’s policy (BOP) isn’t likely to help unless you’ve purchased a commercial auto add-on.
Not sure if you need to upgrade your insurance policy? Ask yourself these seven questions.
1. Are any of your vehicles registered to a business?
This applies if your vehicle is registered to a business, partnership, or doing business as (DBA) entity.
2. dO YOU USE YOUR VEHICLE TO TRANSPORT GOODS or CONDUCT SERVICES?
Whether it’s construction materials or traveling between client offices, it counts.
3. Do you earn money by transporting people and/or property?
4. Is your vehicle built for working or hauling?
A vehicle with a gross weight of more than 10,000 pounds or one that is equipped with special features — like a snowplow — falls into this category.
5. Are you driving the vehicle regularly for business use?
Think of regularly as more than three times a month — not including commuting, of course.
6. Do Employees Routinely drive your vehicle?
This applies if the driving is part of their job responsibilities
7. Does your business use non-owned or hired vehicles?
In this case, employees may be using their personal vehicles to conduct business or you may routinely drive rental cars for business purposes.
Article and tips provided by Travelers Insurance
Hurricane Season is upon us. In fact, currently the entire state of North Carolina is the anticipation of Hurricane Florence is estimated to land in merely 48 hours. It is important for all NC residents to prepare for this storm, and all storms in Hurricane season appropriately. This includes ensuring that emergency supplies and equipment are on hand, cash is available for post-hurricane needs such as buying food and
supplies, and/or paying contractors to remove trees, limbs, etc. for post hurricane clean up if needed. Below, Snotherly Insurance list the top items an precautions that one may put into action when preparing for a Hurricane.
Your level of preparation before a hurricane can determine how well you weather the storm and how quickly you recover from it. You should start preparing your home, inside and out, long before a storm is in the forecast. In the end, you can never be too prepared when it comes to protecting your loved ones and your property from extreme weather events such as hurricanes.
Know the forecast
You may hear the terms "hurricane watch" and "hurricane warning" in your local forecast. Understanding the difference between them is essential to helping you prepare for a hurricane. As soon as a hurricane watch or warning is forecast for your area, it is important, depending on the type of alert, to immediately begin or complete your preparations.
A watch means hurricane conditions are possible within 48 hours. You should begin to stock up on emergency supplies in the event a warning is issued. If you live in a coastal area, you also should be prepared to evacuate.
A warning is more serious. Hurricane-force winds (74 mph or higher) are expected to hit your area within 36 hours. You should seek shelter or evacuate, if notified to do so.
General Hurricane preparation tips
Tips to prepare your home for a hurricane
1. Help Avoid Water Damage
Heavy rains have the potential to cause significant water damage. These tips can help you prepare your home.
In a powerful windstorm, trees can be a hazard. Broken limbs or fallen trees — even uprooted shrubbery — could damage your home and fences, or your neighbor's property.
Routinely maintain the trees around your home:
It is important to keep wall openings, such as doors, windows and skylights protected. The roof, doors and windows of your house are especially vulnerable to wind damage. When houses are exposed to hurricane force winds, roofs are most susceptible to damage, followed by walls and openings such as skylights.
Strengthen doors and windows by:
If you live in an area that experiences high winds, outdoor items around your property that are not properly anchored can become airborne and cause damage.
During a windstorm, wind forces are carried from the roof down to the exterior walls and then to the foundation. Homes can be damaged when wind and wind-driven water gets under the building’s exterior walls if proper controls are not in place.
Strengthen exteriors by employing a contractor to:
Full article for Hurricane Preparedness can be accessed by clicking here
Ever had a bad day? What about a really, really bad day? Standard insurance coverage will most likely be able to handle your average bad day, but when you get into “really, really” territory, the consequences and claims could go well beyond the limits of your policy.
Adding extra padding to your current policy could be a financial life-saver and worth the cost. Our independent insurance agents will walk you through your top (PUP) personal umbrella policy options to make sure you have the proper coverage to tackle those hard-hitting claims.
What is Umbrella Insurance
Simply put, a personal umbrella policy or a PUP is an extension of your liability insurance. It helps broaden and increase your protection. This can include significantly upping your coverage limit to relieve the financial strain of medical bills and legal fees in the event of an extremely costly accident.
What does Umbrella insurance cover
Umbrella insurance protects you in liability situations where your home, auto or boat policies come up short. The extra coverage protects you in two ways—and here they are:
Why should i buy umbrella insurance
Umbrella insurance is surprisingly inexpensive, especially considering everything it can do. It would be a shame to get stuck with massive bills if the unexpected strikes, when it could have all been covered at a fraction of the cost. Liability incidents come in all shapes and sizes, so being ready for everything from the itty to the not so bitty is key for your financial future.
This article was originally published by Trusted Choice. Access to full article can be found here
Save Money on Umbrella Insurance by clicking here
Speak to a Snotherly Insurance agent today for more details!
More than half of all U.S. businesses – 52% – are based in the home, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. A recent study commissioned by the Independent Insurance Agents & Brokers of America found that nearly 60% of home-based businesses do not have insurance coverage.
“When asked about the lack of insurance, nearly 40% of home-based business owners say they thought they were protected by some other type of coverage, while almost 30% say their businesses are too small to insure,” the IIABA said. “Notably, nearly 20% could not give a reason for not having insurance.”
Homeowners insurance covers incidents such as loss or theft of personal property. But if a delivery person slips and falls on your property or your business equipment is destroyed in a fire, homeowners insurance won’t protect you. Without coverage specifically designed for your home business, you put your livelihood, and possibly that of your employees, at risk. That’s why home-based business insurance is a good idea.
Choosing the Right policy:
No matter how small your home-based business, make sure you’re protected with the right coverage. There are three main property and liability options for home-based business insurance:
Whichever policy you consider best for the size and type of your business, be aware that you may need additional coverage not included in a standard plan. Here are some additional coverage options you may want to discuss with your insurance agent, if the plan you’re considering doesn’t include them:
As you can see, in-home business insurance isn’t a one-size-fits-all consideration. Talk to a Snotherly Insurance agent about the best coverage for your home based business.
Choices, choices, choices. With the increase of residential apartments in the Raleigh area recently, it is no secret that renters have a multitude of choices when it come's to choosing an apartment to call home. However, alongside options such as locations, demographics, and the array of amenities that renter's may receive, we as an agency tend to pose the question “should purchasing renter's insurance be an option”? The answer in our opinion would be simply “No”. Habitually, it seems that property managers and even apartment owners will leave this decision completely up to their tenants. After all, it's their belongings, so it's their problem if an accident occurs, right? In actuality, yet again this answer is “No”. A Renter's Insurance policy can be jointly beneficial for not just the tenant, but also the apartment company and even property manager. Below we list 3 important features concerning a renter's policy that every property manager should not only know but consider when contemplating if tenants in an apartment community are required to carry renter's insurance.
1. It reduces the threat of lawsuits
In the event that a catastrophic loss or claim were to occur the possibility of a tenant losing all personal belongings could be at stake. It is not uncommon for tenants, whom have failed to purchase renters insurance, to potentially sue their fellow apartment complex or even property manager in an attempt to recoup their lost assets, as well as the incurred expenses that may accumulate while the unit is being repaired. Ensuring that every resident carries an active renters policy may eliminate the possibility of a threat of a lawsuit over a matter such as this from occurring.
2. It doesn't just cover the tenants stuff
Like a Homeowners Insurance policy a renters policy does provide liability protection for the policy owner, which can ultimately eliminate the risk of a tenant attempting to hold a property manager or their complex liable for an accident. Consider the following scenario: A tenant invites guests into his/her apartment home. While present in the home, one of the guests is injured as a wall attached shelf unexpectedly falls and ultimately collapses on the guests head The guests appears to be ok, however, a broken nose and possible stitches will be required. The liability coverage found in most renters policies can provide coverage for the hospital expense as well as legal proceedings from the injury. It is important for property managers to understand that in the event that the unit owner is not appropriately insured, an injured party could attempt to file a claim and even law charges against the apartment company.
3. Your Time, attention & efforts may be freed
Making renters insurance mandatory in an apartment or condominium community may not only protect the property manager and apartment complex, it ultimately can provide a sense of ease in simply knowing that every tenant is appropriately covered and protected therefore less involvement, time and attention will most likely be required from the apartment staff to address the issue. All paperwork, timely phone calls, meetings with claim adjusters and restoration companies and overall stress that result from a loss may be lessened as the majority of these responsibilities can either be shared or handled by the renters insurance policy.
In a recent Nationwide Insurance study, it was estimated that nearly 50% of all renters ages 23-29 do not carry renters insurance. The absence of a renters policy results in not only renter's being unprotected, but property managers as well. It is for this reason, that it may not be enough to simply recommend renters insurance to residents of a community, but make it a mandatory requirement. To ensure that residents are cooperating with this requirement, it would be good practice for property managers and apartment company staff to perform a residential policy review on their tenants on a quarterly basis.
For more information concerning Renters Insurance or a quote for Renters Insurance contact us directly at firstname.lastname@example.org or simply complete the contact form by clicking here
Location is one of the first decisions every caterer must face. Specifically, where will the prep work be done? Where will the cooking take place? Where will the preparations and cooking be finished, if they aren't completed at the original location? Where will the food be served?
The answers to each of those questions will dictate further considerations. For example, how will finished food, condiments and garnishments prepared at one location be kept properly hot or cold while being transported to the serving location, and while being served? And what health regulations and requirements must be met at each step?
Clearly each location used in the catering process has its own specific needs for equipment, procedures and staff. Each also creates risks of loss if the procedures, equipment or staff fail to meet required standards for health, food safety and successful contract fulfillment. Turn to a Trusted Choice Independent Insurance Agency such as Snotherly Insurance when it comes to risks of loss for your catering business.
Snotherly Insurance Agency is trained and experienced to help you uncover, estimate, analyze, and minimize or eliminate your exposure to loss. And while proud to provide those services for any client, we know that your catering business has unique needs for protection that go beyond those of other businesses and will recommend and obtain protection for those unique risks. A few examples:
Special equipment and proper vehicles are required to protect your food while in route to widely varying locations—destination weddings, backyard receptions, beachside cookouts. Depending upon the type of vehicle and planned usage, the auto insurance requirements can vary. And coverage for the food itself and equipment carried in the vehicle typically requires a separate policy from that covering.
2. Food Safety:
Your catering business needs contamination and spoilage insurance. The specific risks of contamination or spoilage can vary greatly between a caterer who largely prepares and serves food onsite, as opposed to one who prepares the majority or all food in a commercial kitchen, then transports and serves at off-site client locations.
While any business needs liability protection, the nature of catering can create additional exposures. These would include protection against liability arising at the prep and cooking location, created end route by your method of transportation, and arising from the characteristics of the final serving location. Serving alcoholic beverages creates a potentially major additional set of risks.
4. Loss of Business Income:
This is another risk faced by any business, but you need to be sure your coverage properly addresses the unique cash flow of your catering business. For example, consider the effects of event cancellations due to weather, a key supplier’s failure to deliver, losses due to a traffic accident or fire loss at the supplier location: Under what circumstances, if any, may your coverage apply to your financial loss?
While that may seem a weighty list, the great news is protection and risk management is exactly where your we stand ready to help. Schedule a complete review of your catering protection needs today, so you can focus completely on building your successful business tomorrow.
Considering owning a Food Truck? Congratulations! That is a wonderful idea! For many, who desire to own their own restaurant business, a Food Truck can serve as an essential first step in understanding the ins and outs of the restaurant industry. By owning a Food Truck, an entrepreneur has the opportunity to reach customers in various different areas meanwhile spreading their brand name and for many, a Food Truck will serve as the first step in them owning a restaurant business before acquiring a brick and mortar location. Conversely, there are fellow existing restaurant owners that may wish to expand their businesses by offering Food Truck services as well. Whether you're considering purchasing your first Food Truck or are an existing brick and mortar restaurant owner that is considering venturing into the Food Truck market, understanding Mobile Food Truck Insurance for your businesses will prove to be essential to your success in these specific operations. Below, Snotherly Insurance list 5 critical elements that all Food Truck Owners should be aware of when purchasing Food Truck Insurance and Food Trailer Insurance.
1. Automotive insurance IS NOT ENOUGH!
Yes, you may own a moving automobile and in the state of North Carolina you are legally required to carry automotive insurance on this product. However, many companies may claim to offer Food Truck Insurance and by this term they only offer a standard Commercial Auto Insurance policy for your Food Truck. Although, this specific type of insurance is essential (and legally required) for your Food Truck business, it performs the exact purpose as the Car Insurance policy you most likely have been carrying since you were the age of 16. It provides protection for the Mobile Food Automobile while being driven and offers the option of purchasing Comprehensive and Collision coverage to protect the physical truck as well. Food Truck Business Owners should also strive to purchase large limits of this Automobile Liability Insurance as the standard limits that can be found on most personal car insurance policies may not be sufficient protection for this operation. Snotherly Insurance recommends our customers carry limits of at least $500,000 to $1,000,000 of Food Truck Liability Insurance including the same Uninsured and Underinsured limits as well.
2. Proofs of insurance
Once a Food Truck Business is in operation, a proof of insurance from your local insurance agency or insurance company can often serve as the golden ticket required for your Food Truck operation to serve in well populated places. Food Truck Rodeos, college campuses, museums, outdoor festivals, local breweries and an array of other opportunities will most likely always require a Proof of Insurance from your Food Truck Business before you may be considered to operate on their premise. With that being said, it is ideal for any Food Truck operator to have an insurance agent or local agency that he/she can rely on to produce this specific document swiftly and appropriately to ensure that your operation does not miss out on selling and serving opportunities due to the failure to provide accurate documentation.
3. business Insurance is a must!
As stated above. A simple Commercial Auto policy is not sufficient enough to protect all risks that come with owning and operating a Food Truck operation. In fact, all Food Truck Business Owners should have a General Liability Policy or Business Owners policy that protects their business from serving...well..you guessed it, FOOD! A Food Truck Liability policy can protect your business from not only the serving of food, but will provide protection from a variety of dangers that restaurants encounter such as injuring a patron, serving uncooked or unintended items in foods, coverage from fire, etc. Food Truck Liability Insurance can be purchased as a separate policy alongside a Commercial Auto Policy or many insurance companies may provide this coverage with the auto protection as a package. It is important to understand the differences between these two lines of insurance and confirm that your Food Truck operation has both in place.
4. Property Insurance-
Did you know many standard auto policies exclude property coverage for Food Trucks over a specific low limit. We actually learned this matter first hand, as one of our clients spent nearly $70,000 for kitchen equipment inside his Food Truck only to learn that his current Food Truck Insurance policy provided a maximum limit of only $10,000! In addition to kitchen equipment, this specific client had purchased many cosmetic extras including large speakers, an amplifier, and lights. Our clients situation is a fine example that illustrates an owners need for appropriate property insurance. The equipment, contents, and personal property for the restaurant should all be protected, and many policies also provide coverage for equipment breakdown and even loss of business income in the event that you're equipment malfunctions or fails to work properly.
5. Workers Compensation -
The last and final matter of insurance that ALL business owners (not just restaurant or Food Truck owners) should be mindful of involves protection for your employees. Even though, this specific type of insurance may not apply to start up operations, if your Food Truck desires involve expanding to a second truck or even a brick and mortar location, insurance coverage for the employees that you hire will be a necessity. Food Truck Workers Compensation Insurance can be extremely affordable and may not only protect your employees, but protect your business in the event that an employee is injured and requires medical attention and/or legal action.
All of the above listed Food Trailer Insurance topics can be frequently offered by many standard business insurance companies. Once, Food Truck Liability Insurance, Commercial Auto Liability Insurance, Food Truck Property Insurance, Workers Compensation Insurance and matters of Proofs of Insurance are in place, you can essentially check matters of “Insurance” off of your list for the time being and focus on making your Food Truck Business a success. Further recommendations regarding NonOwned Automobile coverage, Commercial Umbrella coverage, Employee Dishonesty and other ancillary coverage's can be recommended and purchased, however the above mentioned 5 factors should be addressed initially in the start up of any Food Truck operation. Snotherly Insurance offers Food Truck Liability Insurance for businesses throughout the state of North Carolina. For more information email us at email@example.com or click here
Cancelling your car insurance? Did you know you could receive a hefty fine from the North Carolina DMV if you neglect to send in your license plate tags after cancelling your liability insurance? This amendment is rarely mentioned by the DMV however, every car driver in North Carolina is at stake!
According to the DMV “state law requires continuous liability insurance on all registered vehicles, a vehicle owner should cancel their insurance only after they have turned in their North Carolina license plate to the N.C. Division of Motor Vehicles. Canceling insurance before turning in the license plate will result in a fine for failure to maintain continuous insurance coverage.
THE DMV WEBSITE STATES: Vehicle Storage: An owner storing a vehicle for an extended period should also return the vehicle's license plate before canceling liability insurance coverage.”
At Snotherly Insurance we do our BEST to remind all of our customers this information, however, it is also the responsibility of every driver to not only be aware, but put this advice to take action. When selling, disposing or simply deciding to halt usage of a vehicle, please remember to send your license plate tags to NCDMV alongside cancelling your North Carolina Car Insurance policy.
For further information a link to the North Carolina DMV's law can be accessed by clicking here.
As originally posted in a blog by Builders Mutual
The Ultimate Gamble: Failing to ask for your Sub Contractor's Insurance
Not long ago, general contractors (GCs) would have been hard-pressed to build a house if they required their subcontractors to use fall protection. Subs would simply work for a less stringent GC. Fall protection, although practical, was anything but popular. Nowadays, the unpopular has become the norm. If you stop by a job-site, you will find workers protecting themselves with harnesses, Safety Boot® Guardrail Systems, WallWalkers® and other types of safety equipment.
What is seemingly unpopular these days on the job-site? Requiring subs to have insurance, specifying minimums for limits, and requiring that they periodically provide proof of such coverage. Many GCs have concerns about losing subs if they mandate insurance requirements. Nevertheless, GCs who fail to require their subs to carry adequate insurance open their businesses to great financial risk.
The Dangers of turning a blind eye
What if water damage ruins the recently laid hardwood floors because of the plumber’s mistake? What if the electrician accidentally burns down the nearly completed house? Their limits of insurance will suggest whether the claim will be paid in full or in part, if covered at all. Who pays the difference? “Typically, the GC will be responsible for paying either the difference or covering the loss completely if the sub has no insurance coverage,” states claims expert Ken Bunn. These types of unnecessary risks can be avoided by GCs who clearly specify and enforce insurance requirements for their sub contractors.
At a minimum, subs should have policies for workers’ compensation, general liability, and auto (if they have owned, hired, or non-owned vehicles). More specifically, GCs should ensure that their subs are carrying appropriate minimum limits. Typically, limits of $1 million per occurrence and $2 million aggregate are adequate for general liability.
As a GC, you should work with your agent to determine if your requirements should be higher. Think about the price range of the homes you are building and ask yourself, “How much damage can my subs do?” If you build $2 million homes, then you definitely need your subs to carry higher limits. In your subcontractor agreement, you should require that your company is named as an additional insured on the subs’ general liability policies. For answers to all of your coverage questions, contact your insurance agent in addition to discussing with legal counsel as needed.
Proper Certificate review
How can general contractors be certain their subs carry the recommended insurance? Certificates of Insurance(COIs) offer this peace of mind. If you refuse to pay subs until they provide a COI, you leave your company at considerable risk. Do not let a sub start a job without a COI! Your superintendent should call you or your office to verify that you have a COI on file for all subs before any project begins.
For subs with whom you have long, established relationships, update your records once per year with a new COI 30 days prior to the policy expiration. Make sure you obtain a certificate of insurance for each “project.” This may protect you in case of cancellation of insurance during the project.
For new subs with whom you have just begun working, require a COI before the sub begins. It is best to ask for the COI directly from the agent. Then, every 30-45 days, call the agent of record to verify coverage and request a new COI. Pay close attention to any late notices and notices of policy cancellation you may receive. Follow up immediately to confirm the status of the policy.
When you have the COI in hand, look for a binder or policy number. If you see “TBD” in that field, call the agent (also listed on the COI) to request the actual policy number. Check for the policy expiration date, and be prepared to request another COI prior to expiration. Remember to check for coverage on auto, general liability, and workers’ compensation and be sure the proper limits of coverage are in force. While this might seem overwhelming, there are a variety of vendors available that specialize in helping you manage all of your subcontractor certificates.
Bottomline: don't gamble on insurance
Before long, your subs will not think twice about carrying the insurance you require. Until then, you may be a bit unpopular for specifying insurance requirements, but you will sleep well knowing you have mitigated your company’s financial risks and confirmed coverage is being provided for all who are on the job-site.
Snotherly Insurance offers Contractors Liability Insurance & Workers Compensation for General Contractors as well as their Sub Contractors.
This original article posted by Builders Mutual can be found by clicking here
The small business owner also known as the Facilitator, Leader, Decision Maker, Risk Taker, invoice payer, shall the list of titles continue?
As a business owner one must embrace numerous responsibilities and be prepared to take on roles and tasks which may be essential to running your business. These specific duties will most likely be in addition to and outside of your standard business operations; however, the role of insuring your small business should not be a task that an entrepreneur should forego alone. In fact, failing to choose the most accurate insurance for a small business could result in financial ruins in the event of a loss or claim. Hence, in this post we review 5 advantages small business owners receive by choosing a local insurance agency for their commercial business insurance needs.
1. Expertise & knowledge
Commercial insurance can be extremely intricate and technical. Furthermore, it is likely that most small business owners are only slightly educated concerning this field. The assistance, knowledge and advice of a local commercial business insurance agent can be an essential resource to any small business. Not only may a local insurance agent educate and suggest to a business owner the necessary protection required for their venture, the agent may also identify risk hazards and address questions and concerns an entrepreneur may have regarding their business
2. Local agents are accessible
Everyone just loves automated voice answering systems don't they? Especially when an insurance dilemma such as a possible audit, inspection, claim or accident occurs. The advantage of having a local insurance agency for your small business to contact for assistance when these difficulties arise are beneficial for every small business owner. Additional services that a local insurance agency can and may provide for a commercial business policy includes servicing (such as issuing certificates of insurance for vendors, land lords, banks, DMV) monitoring billing and payment activity, and even consulting when changes such as additions or decreases to the policy are needed.
3. Save your business time & are more convenient
4. An agent is someone an owner will know & Trust
A business requires a tremendous amount of work, time, stress and focus to run successfully. Any small business owner could risk losing everything by neglecting to purchase the accurate and necessary insurance coverage's. Simply purchasing a policy online directly from an insurance company can be compared to steering a boat into an uncharted waters. It is critical to have an insurance professional available that is responsible as well as reliable in understanding your small business. Additionally, when questions, claims or problems that are insurance related emanate in your small business, entrepreneur's tend to prefer an assigned and approved individual (aka an agent) to resolve the task at hand instead of a random customer service representative (whom may be unfamiliar with the business as well as the business owner) that a direct policy purchase will provide.
5. Local Agencies can support you and your small business
Alongside the service, recommending the accurate protection, and potentially saving your business time and money, most local insurance agencies desire to see their insurance customers thrive. Not only do we as an agency desire for fellow small business owners to grow and be successful in their business ventures, we also strive to support our local business customers when possible. It is not uncommon to find Snotherly Insurance agents dining at our insurance customers restaurants, shopping at their retail stores and even recommending our contracting customers to fellow friends, neighbors and family members whenever possible.
Consider this: Behind the majority of successes can be found a team of professionals available to aid when necessary. Michael Jordan had Phil Jackson, Michael Phelps is coached by Bob Bowman, even Batman had Alfred and Robin. As a business owner it is essential to have a team of trustful and knowledgeable professionals available when needed to aid you in your small business. A local insurance agent whom specializes in commercial business insurance can be a vital key to any business team. Furthermore, the above 5 factors easily illustrate why every commercial business owner should consider purchasing their insurance policy through a local and trusting insurance agency.
So, what next? Before purchasing a policy through a direct carrier, asses these advantages and contact a local insurance agency for your small business insurance needs today.
Snotherly Insurance Agency specializes in Commercial Business Insurance throughout North Carolina including office insurance, restaurant insurance, contractors liability insurance, professional liability insurance and workers compensation.
Snotherly Insurance can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org for further questions or tips.
Immediate commercial insurance, liability insurance and business insurance quotes can be derived by completing "Contact Us" form here
Here we will be publishing articles, tips and information regarding insurance on a regular basis. Make sure to tune back to this page often has we post a new blog every month!