Types of businesses we love to insure: Landscaping, Plumbers, Commercial Real Estate, Electricians, Apartments Rentals, Handyman, Financial Offices, Carpenter, Power Washing, Painters, Roofing / Siding / Window Installers, Amish Hauling, Dirt / Sand / Gravel Hauling, Snowplow, Pizza Delivery, Laundromat, Restaurants, Equipment Mechanics, Excavators, Home Health Care Aids, Residential / Commercial Cleaning, Contractors, and Farms.
Business Insurance ranges drastically in coverage and policy type depending on your type of business and needs. As your business grows we look to be your point person to help you understand your changing insurance needs as well. We can help you quickly adjust to this ever-changing market and take the necessary steps. This will allow you to venture into new fields, cover new equipment, and bring on new employees. It's important to be flexible in today's world and adapt as a small business. We have an understanding and appreciation for this since we have been a small family-owned business for over 40 years in Wooster, Ohio. There have been so many changes we make from our process, employees, equipment, and building changes. It seems like everyday insurance companies are changing as well with their contracts, policies, requirements, exclusions, and how they interact with customers and agents. We do our best to stay on top of those changes and help you through them as well.
We also frequently talk with our commercial customers about return on investment and associated insurance costs of equipment. We love to help make opportunities possible for our business insureds even if it takes some extra work figuring out the complex insurance repercussions. There are however times that we use our experiences with businesses to warn entrepreneurs of potential pitfalls and risks.
Part of the business insurance world is handling certificates of insurance (COI) and sending them to the right areas with the correct information. In our litigious world, the requirements on these COIs are becoming much more complex and have more requirements. We take the time to work with our insureds to understand the premium and coverage impact on their policy. This can help them adjust coverage or bid the job in a more accurate manner.
Since business insurance incorporates so many different policies and situations we look beyond our own experience for more education. We rely heavily upon the National Alliance and specifically their Certified Insurance Counselor Program. This keeps us current on changes in policies, new issues, and market best practices. The courses are top notch and to hold the designations requires a yearly update vs Ohio's biannual requirement.
Six types of business coverages we commonly talk about with our insureds
This policy is typically the first step for a business owner when they surpass the eligibility for a personal auto policy. If the business is only using a vehicle to deliver products like pizza or gravel then this may be the only policy they need. Sometimes businesses can operate without a commercial auto under a business classification on a personal auto policy. Typically this business use classification is for people that run errands with their vehicle for work but don't do any delivery or hauling for the business using a private passenger type of vehicle.
Commercial General Liability:
This is another policy that many times starts by the business owner's customers asking for proof of insurance. The business owner wants to know if they do something wrong and hurt someone or their property the insurance policy will pay on their behalf. This is reassuring to the business owner and their customer. Sometimes if they are being subcontracted for an ongoing relationship or even a one-time job the contractor will ask for a "Certificate Of Insurance" or COI. This is actually a requirement of the contactor's insurance company so they know they aren't on the hook for paying the subcontracted work that is being done. The COI is a snapshot of the insured's coverage on the date it is issued from the insured's agent to the contractor. These can also have many additional requirements to show specific endorsements on the insured's policy. This is when you really have to lean on your insurance agent to understand what coverages to add and the ramifications to your policy if there is a loss.
If you own or rent a building for your business this is the policy you would use to insure it. Also if you use a building for business on your personal property and it's excluded under your home policy then you can insure it under this policy as well. If you rent the building for your business many times you are responsible to insure their "improvements and betterments". This is a very versatile policy that can be utilized to provide affordable coverage typically cheaper than scheduling property on an inland marine policy.
Scheduled Property (Inland Marine):
If a business has any expensive equipment that isn't stationary it's likely insured here. The items can be covered under a blanket amount like hand tools for $1000 or specifically scheduled like a Graco FinshPro Airless Paint Sprayer for $3,000. Many ask why not blanket all your equipment and the simple answer is cost. In general, it's less expensive to schedule the higher value items that you will be keeping for a longer time.
Another way we use this in our office is for those businesses that rent equipment. Typically when equipment is rented you are responsible for any damage or if it's stolen. Rented equipment is mainly only rented if it is expensive and cost-prohibitive to buy. So an easy solution is to add blanket coverage for all non-owned equipment up to a certain dollar limit you select.
Time Element Coverages:
When a business owner is looking for insurance this is the last type of coverage they think about. It can however be the most catastrophic loss to a business. When your business experiences a loss getting back to work can take extra capital and time. This coverage provides for additional expenses and loss of income. It's common for this to actually exceed the physical loss of the building or property. This is a highly customizable policy to your business whether it's seasonal business or high fixed expenses. We can talk with you to help you determine the right mix of coverage for your business.
Business Owners Policy:
The Business Owners Policy is designed to provide small businesses like plumbers, painters, offices, restaurants, carpenters, and landscapers with a general package of coverages to fit those types of businesses. This gives small businesses an affordable option that is easy to select for a wide range of their needs. It also is much easier to purchase and maintain that policy with reduced reporting on the business owner's part.