Commercial Insurance – A Business Guide

In searching for the right insurance, a business owner may contact any number of companies, either in person, over the phone, or online. Or, they can contact a commercial insurance broker. Commercial insurance brokers not only find the policy that best fits the particular business and its risks, but they will also find the best priced policy. Brokers, unlike agents, do not have a contract with the insurance company to sell that company’s insurance. Instead, they work for the client, or business owner.

One of the quickest and easiest ways to find the best commercial coverage is over the internet. Commercial insurance companies have created some of the most all-encompassing websites on the entire web. When it comes to the amount of information and the ease with which potential customers can resource that information, it is truly amazing. By visiting the websites of some of the larger companies, even if they don’t purchase their policy from them, business owners can get a more comprehensive view of the types of commercial coverage that is available for their particular business. By checking on several different websites, anyone who is seeking commercial insurance quotes will find that they can swiftly and readily locate the best and most competitively priced commercial insurance quote. They should always keep in mind that cheap commercial insurance is not always the best insurance, but using the web certainly makes it easier to find.

There are many kinds of commercial coverage available to many different kinds of businesses. Insurance for commercial operations is separated into two categories: property and casualty. Property insurance will cover possessions that are stolen, damaged, or destroyed by any covered cause listed in the policy. Casualty insurance covers the business’ liability if it is responsible for property damage or bodily injury to a third party as a result of negligence or omission.

Most businesses will not need every kind of coverage that is out there. Perhaps one business has several cars, vans, or trucks that are used each day in its operation. In that case, they would need car commercial insurance. On the other hand, a business might be conducted out of the home and all the work is done on a computer and sent out by way of the internet. A vehicle is not used at all for this business so the car coverage is unnecessary as far as the business is concerned. Even though not all coverage is needed, it is a good idea for the business owner to learn about the different types of coverage that are at hand. In this way, it is possible for them to make wise choices as to what coverage is needed. Also, the business owner can make any changes in coverage that may become necessary as his business flourishes.

Selecting a Life Insurance Plan

When shopping for life insurance, it seems that most people just look at getting the lowest possible rates for the most amount of coverage. There is nothing wrong with that. But why do some companies charge more or much more for what seems the same plan? And if rates are not the same for the same plans with all companies, why do some people want to pay more for the “same” coverage? Are they just not interested in saving money on their life insurance? Do they know something you do not know? Here are some possible reason.

Convertibility

If you are considering a term life insurance plan, then you should also consider the convertibility option. This option simply allows you to convert you term plan to a permanent life insurance without having to go through more medical underwriting. This is important as even though you may feel that term is all you need or can afford today, in 10 years or more, as your health or needs may change, convertibility may be the most important aspect of your policy. If your policy is not convertible, you may lose your coverage when you need it the most. In addition, the ability to convert your policy is not the only important part of this option. What can your policy be converted to? You need to make sure that your term life plan is convertible to a high quality permanent insurance plan. Many companies offer great whole life and universal life options to convert to. Unless, you are absolutely certain that you will only need your plan for a term period (as with some business loans) make sure to request more information on convertibility.

Term Guarantee Period

With term life insurance, you must make check that your rates are guaranteed for the full period. In other words, a ten year terms may be cheaper with company A than company B but company A may have the option to raise rates at some point before the 10 year is over while company B will guarantee rates for the full 10 years. What may have started as the cheapest rate may end up the most expensive.

Customer Service from the Insurance Company and the Agent

We feel that customer service is of prime importance. You need a company that will keep in touch with you regularly and inform you of new programs that may benefit you. They also need to inform you about your policy. Most people get a life insurance plan and file it away and if you would later ask them about the plan they have they either would say that they have no idea or worst, they think they know but are incorrect. A good company will be easily reachable and answer your questions in a simple manner and tell you about your present plan and possible options available.

Riders

You may not need them today but who knows what your needs will be tomorrow. Riders can be important from the start or at some point in the future. Make sure that you are ware of which riders are available and whether or not they can be added later. Some may include:

  • Guarantee Insurability Rider (allows you to add insurance later with no or limited underwriting)
  • Waiver of Premiums Rider (pays your premiums in case of disability – read definition carefully)
  • Inflation Rider (adjusts or allows you to adjust your policy face amount based on a percentage you pre-select)
  • Disability Income Rider (pays you a disability benefit in case of a covered disability – read definition carefully)
  • Spouse Rider (allows you to add a spouse to your policy – this may be an inexpensive way to cover a spouse)
  • Child Rider (allows you to add a child to your policy – maximum age is usually 21 to 25)
  • Return of Premiums Rider (returns some or all of the premiums you paid to the insurance company)
  • Accident Rider (pays a benefit in case of accidental death)

Value Added Benefits

Value added benefits that are often free can give your extra protection, discount on products you are already using or even such things as scholarships for children and grandchildren. If you are already paying for some of these benefits with other companies then you can save money as your new life insurance will give them to you for free. When buying certain products or using certain services, with some life insurance policies, these products or services can be greatly discounted. In the end, look at the added benefits some companies are just giving you and see if this “more” expensive insurance plan is actually cheaper for you to have.

Other things to consider

  • Cost to have a policy mailed
  • Cost to get a loan on your policy (if you have a cash value policy)
  • Interest rate charged on loan
  • Effect of loans or withdrawal on the death benefit
  • Cash value growth
  • Agent availability
  • Customer service agent availability
  • Company financial rating
  • What other plans besides life insurance do they or they agent offer? – This may be helpful later when you need other coverage and do not want to have to deal with a whole new set of people.

We hope this article has helped you understand why price really is not everything. Sometimes when you think you are saving on premiums, you are actually postponing much higher costs in time and money later. We are always happy to hear from you. Your suggestions and questions are most welcome. Be well!

Commercial Insurance Helps Pay For The Catastrophe Clean Up

Commercial insurance policies provide cover for buildings and property against all kinds of perils, but it is important to consider what it would cost to get your buildings reinstated following a total loss catastrophe such as a fire or major flood, and to ensure that your business insurance policy contains provisions to cover all the costs of reinstatement expenses.

If you under-estimate the total rebuilding costs of your commercial premises when initially applying for cover, then following any future claim, any payouts agreed will be subject to reductions by what is called ‘average’.

Average will reduce the claim payout proportionally by the amount of under-insurance of the declared value from the actual current rebuilding costs. For example if your premises costs 150,000 to rebuild and you have declared the sum insured at 120,000, your claim will be reduced by a fifth.

If allowances are not made for all the costs of rebuilding, including those that may not at first be apparent, when applying for a commercial property insurance quote, then it is more than likely that the premises will be under-insured.

Commercial buildings cover may or may not include cover for fees for architects, surveyors or consultant engineers that may be required before rebuilding work can be commenced. These will usually work alongside any loss adjusters appointed by the insurer to minimise costs and agree any rebuilding proposals. Insurance companies will not pay rates for fees above those set by the governing professional trade bodies.

It is important to establish whether professional fees are included in the policy cover and if not, add an amount to cover these to the declared sum insured. When doing so be aware that these professions usually charge a very high hourly rate, and inflation should be allowed for.

Another area that can often cause disagreement between an insured and an insurance company following total loss of the premises, is that of debris removal and clearance of the site in preparation to rebuild.

Most commercial policies will include a section outlining the insurance companies responsibility as regards the insured premises site clearance and debris removal. This typically includes cover for dismantling and demolishing buildings, shoring and propping up dangerous or adjacent buildings and site clearance. More often than not the amount for this is included in the sum insured, in which case this should be calculated and also added in to the rebuilding cost at proposal.

Debris clearance can be extremely expensive, especially if for example hazardous building materials such as asbestos have to be removed, or if the site was storing chemicals or dangerous machinery that have to be treated and removed by specialist clean-up teams.

Cheap Commercial Insurance Can Be Costly

Saving money by obtaining cheap commercial insurance for your business may actually end up, in the long run, costing your business money. Unfortunately, many business owners do not think of insurance as one of their most basic operational expenses such as inventory, shipping and payroll. Rather, they think of it as something that is necessary, and, of course, some of it such as commercial liability insurance is required by statute, but to most beginning business people, just a basic bottom-rung general commercial insurance package is all they will budget for.

We can all understand this line of thinking as our today’s business economic environment demands that every business examine every category of its expenses, and one of the major expenses to any business is commercial insurance. While it is understandable to think about saving money by purchasing low cost or cheap commercial insurance, it probably is not the prudent choice to make.

The first thing you must consider, as a business owner or would-be business owner, is how much coverage do you actually need to protect all your assets against possible claims? While you can sometimes buy commercial insurance that will meet the coverages required by law for less money, will those coverages actually protect you adequately should some unforeseen event occur. For example, your commercial liability pays claims up to one million dollars, but you are liable for a million and a half.

Your business would have to cover the difference between what your liability policy covered and what was actually awarded by the court. Would you have this additional five hundred thousand, or would it ruin your business?

Admittedly, getting commercial insurance quotes can be a daunting task, but considerations that will help you avoid falling into the trap of buying cheap commercial insurance just for the sake of saving money are:

1. Remember that insurance companies like all other businesses are in business first and foremost to make money. While the commercial insurance agents representing these companies portray themselves as individuals concerned only with your welfare, they have to make a living just like anyone else, and sometimes they will sell you a policy that does not really afford you the coverage you actually need.

2. Sit down and take the time to add up all your assets. How much commercial insurance do you need to replace those assets if something unexpected were to happen? Also, consider how much you would need to pay your expenses if your business operations were interrupted for a period of time. For example, lets say your building partially burned, how would you pay your expenses until you were fully operational again?

3. Interview several different licensed insurance brokers, and carefully compare coverages and rates. Remember, that different commercial insurers describe their various coverages differently. If you don’t understand the confusing and sometimes tricky lingo, ask the brokers what it means.

While the whole idea of pouring over insurance terminology and all the various available commercial coverages can make you want to bang your head on your desk, as a responsible business person, it is, in the end, up to you to educate yourself regarding commercial insurance.