3 Tips for Lowering Your Property Insurance Costs

Owning commercial property is the gift that keeps on giving. You think you’re finished when you close on the purchase, but that’s only the beginning: maintenance, repairs, upgrades, property taxes and unexpected expenses keep the costs coming. But solid property insurance can help keep some of the other costs at bay. And a number of factors, some of which apply when you purchase a property, can affect the cost of your commercial property insurance. Here are three to consider.

How old is the building you’re insuring? 

You may recall a 1986 movie called The Money Pit, in which Tom Hanks and Shelley Long starred as a couple who must come to terms with the costs of an old building they purchased. This concept shouldn’t come as a surprise: older buildings are more susceptible to damage than newer buildings, from issues such as old wiring or worn structural components. And any renovations can be costly, as they usually involve bringing the building up to code. This can translate into costly repairs, which drive up the insurance premium. You can generally make an assumption: the older the building, the higher the insurance costs.

What is the purpose of the building?

What your building does is just as important as how old it is, because what it does determines two things: where it is located and what is in it.

First, let’s look at location. Buildings in low-crime areas are generally cheaper to insure than those in high-crime neighborhoods, buildings in rural areas are generally cheaper to insure than those in city centers, and buildings in relatively mild climates are generally cheaper to insure than those in areas prone to natural disasters. Choosing the location of your commercial property carefully will save on premiums.

Next, let’s look at what your business does. Are you a manufacturer of heavy equipment, or are you storing diamonds? That may seem like a silly question, but it matters. So too does the type of equipment. If your building is home to older equipment that is harder to maintain and repair than newer equipment, this will increase your insurance costs. The type of equipment is also a factor, since heavy industrial machinery is typically more expensive to insure than office equipment. However, it may be cheaper to keep older equipment and pay higher premiums than to buy new equipment; everything is a balancing act.

What kind of coverage do you want?

Too often, property owners overlook the distinction between replacement value and cash value coverage. Replacement value pays what you need to replace damaged goods with brand-new items; cash value pays what your depreciated property is worth. Replacement value coverage costs more, so it comes with higher premiums. But you may be able to save money with a business owner’s policy (BOP), which combines your property insurance coverage with other types of business insurance coverage.

We’d be happy to review your specific property insurance needs and determine if the costs are appropriate. Contact us today to get your property insurance checkup going!

Is Your Commercial Property Ready for the Fall?

Any change of season is a good time to review your commercial property to ensure it’s in tip-top shape, and fall is no exception. Here are five things to check before the weather cools.

Is your roof ready? Spring and summer storms often cause roof damage, and even minor damage can become a large problem over the winter. Inspect your roof and take care of any problems now.

Is your HVAC system in shape? Regardless of your climate, fall is a good time to check your HVAC system, heat and air conditioning to ensure your system is strong as you enter fall.

Are your trees trimmed? No one wants a tree on (or through) the roof, which is a risk in all climates. Be sure to properly prune your trees to remove dead or drooping limbs.

Are you prepared for floods? While most heavy rains come in the spring and summer, it’s a good idea to keep on top of potential flood problems year-round.

Are you susceptible to a critter infestation? As the weather cools, mice and other critters seek shelter from the cold. If they have a way in, they’ll get in. That creates safety hazards (think chewed wires) and health hazards (think disease). Check for and repair access points.

While getting your property ready for the fall may seem cumbersome, it’s important to plan ahead for your success. Give us a call today to see how we can support you on your journey!

Does Your Home Have More Risk than Your Neighbor’s?

It’s always hard to know what goes on behind closed doors. Two homes could look identical from the outside, have the same square footage, and even be on the same road and still have very different insurance costs.

Why is that? One reason is that cost premiums are based on the risk factors of homes. Even if you and your neighbors’ homes are built in the same way, they could have a multitude of different features that affect the cost. But what are they? We’ve listed a few of the top ones below.

Safety: If your home has features that make it safer, that will help bring the insurance costs down. Think fire-resistant surfaces, burglar alarms and state-of-the-art locks.

Construction: Older homes cost more to insure because they will likely need more upkeep. Newer builds and refurbs cause less to worry about in this regard. Also, antique features such as ornate fireplaces and crown molding are more expensive to replace, so remember this before looking at your insurance bill.

Amenities: Having a pool is a great way to add enjoyment to your home, but it also increases the cost of insuring it. Wood-burning stoves can also be seen as a fire risk. Talk to us if you’re concerned about the cost of adding any of these to your home.

Upgrades: Remodeling or adding an extension may require additional insurance, so make sure you check this before signing the papers agreeing to that extra room.

Pets: We love our four-legged friends, but pets can be a bit of a liability to a home and therefore increase the insurance premiums. Dogs flagged as dangerous breeds could also lead to a higher cost for home insurance.

If you’re wondering how to get the best insurance deal for your property, call or email us today.

What Determines How Much Home Insurance I Need?

It’s not always easy to know how much homeowners insurance you need. Say you have a $100,000 home: your homeowners insurance coverage should also be $100,000, right?

Not quite. There are actually many more factors at play than just the market’s current price on your home, from structure to contents.

The cost to rebuild your home

Nobody has a crystal ball, so it’s best to factor that into your insurance. To calculate this figure, multiply your square footage by the per-square-foot building costs in your area. You should also factor in any additions you have made since initial construction and the specific style of your home.

The cost of adhering to new codes

Depending on when your home was built, you might have to adhere to new codes during a rebuild, which may add to the expense. Adding an endorsement to the policy could help you plan for this.

The cost to replace what’s inside the home

While you can’t cover sentimental value, you can insure the physical contents of your home. Take an inventory of your belongings so that you can plan for the cost of replacement if you ever need to make a claim.

The cost of liabilities

Liability insurance is what will protect you if you ever find yourself in a lawsuit because of your home, whether that’s a broken window or a dodgy porch leading to an accident.

Sound confusing? We can help. Call or email us to figure out the best insurance plan for you.

Frequently Asked Questions about In-Network Providers

Are you someone who spends time finding the right healthcare providers who fit your individual or family needs? What can it mean when your healthcare provider tells you they are no longer in-network? Let us review what this change will mean to you and your pocketbook.

What does being in-network mean? When in-network providers contract with insurance companies, they agree to provide healthcare services at a set rate. This rate is normally lower than they would typically charge. These providers can also be referred to as preferred or participating providers.

Should I try to stay with in-network providers? Whenever possible, using in-network providers can cost you less out of pocket. These in-network providers have agreed to accept the insurance carrier’s reimbursement as payment in full, leaving you responsible for the smaller copay or coinsurance cost specific to your plan.

What happens when I use out-of-network providers? Some plans do not cover out-of-network providers or they pay a very small portion. If your plan does allow you to use out-of-network providers, expect your copays and coinsurance to be higher. Remember, when staying with in-network providers, they have agreed to accept a set contracted rate, which leaves you paying less out of pocket.

It is important to get the most out of your healthcare by using in-network providers whenever possible. If you would like help determining which providers are in-network with your health plan, we are just a phone call away.

Here Are the Basics of Employee Assistance Programs

According to the Society for Human Resource Management, an employee assistance program (EAP) helps to identify and help employees when personal issues interrupt their job performance. EAPs offer a variety of counseling services, from marital counseling to financial guidance to counseling for depression and substance abuse. The employer pays for the EAP. However, employees and their families can utilize the EAP’s free services. Because many employees have significant health insurance co-pays, they may not reach out for counseling or other mental health services. The EAP can eliminate employee costs, making employees more willing to utilize services.

Organizations with EAPs face reduced challenges in these areas.

Workplace conflicts may decrease as employees learn tools to deal with workplace harassment or perceptions of unfair treatment.

Substance abuse can affect employees, whether they are using or their partners or children are. EAP services can help the whole family deal more effectively with drug and alcohol problems.

Family troubles can reduce employees’ work efficiency. A divorce or step-parenting issue can polarize even strongly committed partners. EAP services can help families adapt to challenges.

Sandwich generation caregivers may experience many work absences. EAPs can help find elder care and provide unbiased advice on many childcare and elder care issues.

Legal advice can be expensive. Finding the right advice can be time-consuming. EAPs can refer for legal issues such as child support, custody and bankruptcy.

Financial counseling is important, since so many employees enter the workplace without money management skills. EAPs can point to employee resources such as credit counseling or courses that teach workers how to better manage their incomes and save for retirement.

With the stressors of modern society, today’s workers need EAP programs. History shows employees underutilize EAPs, so it’s up to the employer to educate employees on these important services. Call us for more information on EAP programs.

Here’s How to Avoid Losing Your Life Insurance

How secure is your life insurance? Given how important it is to an individual’s financial plan, it seems like something that would be guaranteed. But that is not always the case.

Do you remember when retail giant Sears announced that it would end life insurance benefits for almost 100,000 of its retirees, all of whom had expected that coverage to be maintained? The company sent notifications to people in their 80s who had maintained life insurance coverage for a significant period of time and relied on it. Given their age, those retirees who were affected had limited options. Some had to pay several thousand dollars a year to maintain their coverage with another insurance company.

That, of course, is a rare event, but it can happen, and no one wants to end up without life insurance. Thus, regardless of how you obtain your life insurance, you may want to explore how secure it is. You can research a life insurance company’s financial strength through independent rating firms, including AM Best, Fitch, Moody’s or Standard & Poor’s. Ratings can generally be viewed for free on the firms’ websites, although you might have to register first. Each of these firms has its own rating system, so it may not be easy to compare apples to apples.

It is critical to choose a financially strong life insurance company because you want the company to be around to pay the death benefit to your beneficiary, whether you die in five years or 50.

These are guidelines, of course. A single article can’t replace the knowledge of your individual financial circumstances that a personal financial planner possesses.

Let us help you navigate what’s best for you. Please call or email us if you want to better understand your life insurance stability and options.

What Exactly Is Inland Marine Insurance and What Does It Cover?

Your business property is only covered by commercial property insurance at the location on the policy. If your business property, such as tools, equipment and products, goes for a ride over land or is stored at a location that is off-site, you may want to consider inland marine insurance.

Your business property insurance covers your tangible assets when they are stored at your main location and for a distance of about 1,000 feet away. It doesn’t cover those assets outside of that distance, and it doesn’t cover them in transit. Although the term may be confusing, inland marine insurance protects your business property specifically while in transit over land or if it is stored at a site other than your main location. It does not cover property shipped by sea or air. Inland marine insurance can also cover specialized high-value assets typically not covered by property insurance.

What does inland marine insurance cover? It covers property in transit over land (such as construction equipment), property that is part of the infrastructure (bridges and communication towers), property stored at an off-site facility (such as a vending machine at a customer’s site) and property stored in a moving vehicle (such as the kitchen in a food truck). It also covers high-value assets stored at the location of your fixed business (such as an artist’s work displayed at your café).

If you ship property by land, move property between sites or store property at third-party-owned locations, inland marine insurance can help ensure you rest easy at night knowing that your property is covered. Contact us to see if it’s right for your business and if we can bundle your policies to save you some money in the process.

Who Qualifies as a Dependent for My Health Insurance Plan?

Is your current employer considering offering group health insurance? If so, who will qualify as a dependent? Let us look at a few scenarios.

Is my spouse considered a dependent? Typically, a legal spouse can be added to your group health insurance. Some employers may even offer to subsidize the cost. When offering benefits to domestic partners, this coverage must be the same as the coverage offered to legal spouses. Offering benefits, however, to domestic partners may vary based on state regulations and may require proof you are in a committed relationship.

If my kids rely on me financially, are they considered dependents? Generally speaking, children under 26 will be provided coverage, and some employers may offer to subsidize the cost. These dependents must be legally related to you as your biological, adopted, step, or foster child or a legal ward in your care.

When can I make changes to my dependent coverage? Annually, your group health plan is renewed. This is the window when employees can make changes to their existing coverage or add dependents. Another window is a change that would reasonably be expected to impact your health insurance needs. This 60-day special enrollment period is considered a qualified life event and occurs with a new marriage or when having or adopting a child.

A good rule of thumb is if you claim someone as a dependent for tax purposes, you can generally claim that person as a dependent. It may be important to discuss your unique situation, so we are here to help and just a phone call away.

Recent Survey Finds 1/3 of U.S. Seniors Lack Medicare Knowledge

Whether you are turning 65 or have been a Medicare recipient for years, many seniors find Medicare benefits confusing. According to a recent article from the RISE Association network for healthcare professionals, one in three U.S. seniors lacks knowledge of their Medicare benefits. This lack of information may cost you money.

You may hear the words “Medicare Advantage” (MA) and “Medigap” used interchangeably. Both provide supplemental benefits beyond original Medicare, but they are not the same. Each plan can impact which physicians you visit, your copays and other supplemental offerings. Scheduling time with a licensed health insurance agent can inform you of the advantages and disadvantages of both approaches to coverage because the differences are many.

Original Medicare consists of hospital and medical insurance, known as Part A and Part B. Private health insurers offer plans called Part C, also called Medicare Advantage plans. These MA plans offer parts A, B and D for prescription drug charges. In an MA plan, you’ll work within the provider network created by your insurance company. Medigap plans pay after Medicare pays, while MA plans pay instead of Medicare. Medigap is a supplemental plan that covers much of your deductibles and copays. Medigap and MA plan costs vary by state. Since many supplements are “community rated,” states with higher living costs can mean higher Medigap costs.

If you plan to travel internationally, consider this: some supplemental plans cover many of the costs arising from sickness or injury while traveling internationally, while some do not. If you plan to travel overseas, be sure to call us to determine if a travel policy is right for you.

Medicare can be bewildering. Even if you have been on the same plan for years, call us to discuss your plan. We can help you find out which coverage approach is best for you and make sure you are in the know.

5 Types of People Who May Need Life Insurance

Life insurance, as you know, is designed to protect the people who depend on you for financial support should you die prematurely. But there is much debate about exactly who needs life insurance. Here are some tips that may help you decide if life insurance is the right choice for you.

Do you have a child? Life insurance: no. Children typically do not need life insurance since no one relies on income from them.

Are you a young single adult? Life insurance: maybe. If you’ve just become an adult and entered the workforce, the only reason you would typically need life insurance is to help support an elderly parent or to pay for your own end-of-life expenses (e.g., funeral costs).

Are you an adult with a spouse but no children? Life insurance: maybe. If both you and your spouse are earning income that could support either of you without the other spouse, life insurance may only be necessary if you want to cover your funeral costs. You should, however, seriously consider life insurance if you are thinking about starting a family. Your rates will likely be cheaper now than when you get older.

Are you an adult with an established family? Life insurance: yes. If you have a family that depends on you, whether it’s a spouse or children, you need life insurance now. Don’t limit it to the partner working outside the home, either. The cost of replacing someone to handle domestic chores and child care can cause significant financial problems.

Are you retired or elderly? Life insurance: maybe. Life insurance at this stage in life may only be necessary if you have people depending on your income for support or if you cannot cover funeral expenses.

These are guidelines, but remember, an article can’t replace the knowledge of your individual financial circumstances that a personal financial planner possesses. Let us help you navigate what’s best for you.

Is Identity Theft Covered by Your Insurance?

Victims of identity theft can deal with the disaster left in the wake of an identity thief for years. Avoid the possibility of this devastating experience by educating yourself about this crime, and make sure you have the right coverage in place to protect yourself in case it does happen to you.

Let’s look at some ways identity thieves can get their hands on your secure information. They can obtain information online via email scams and hacking, for example, or scammers posing as legitimate professionals can obtain information via phone calls. They can also steal physical documents (from your wallet, credit card bills or bank statements) or physical hardware (such as laptops, tablets, phones and thumb drives).

To ensure you are protecting yourself from these methods, secure all your documents, and never give out your personal information to sources that are not verified. Prevent online breaches with appropriate security software.

Unfortunately, you may still fall prey to a determined identity thief even with the proper precautions in place. It is vital to have the proper coverage in place should disaster strike. Some limited protection for loss of credit cards or cash is often included in homeowners or renters insurance policies. Some liability relief is provided by many credit card companies. But if your identity is stolen, this is not sufficient coverage.

Financial loss, credit issues and reputational consequences can result from identity theft, and there are insurance products that cover these costs. It is worth it to look into these policies. They vary and cover everything from minor assistance to major restorative services. Reimbursement of attorney’s fees, assistance with hearings and charges related to fraud, a consumer fraud specialist or case manager, replacement of government-issued identifications and assistance with credit restoration can be provided by your coverage.

These restoration services can be life-changing should you fall victim to identity theft. Contact us to discuss your current policies and review what specific coverage is best for you so we can help you plan for the unexpected.

I Didn’t File a Claim but My Home Insurance Went Up. Why?

A number of factors contribute to determining your insurance premium. It is possible for your home insurance to go up even if you didn’t file a claim. Here are some reasons.

Home changes. If you have upgraded or renovated your home, it is worth more, so in the event of a disaster, more insurance is needed to cover it. Other additions, such as a pool, can increase risk, which will increase your premium.

Area changes. If there are changes in your area when it comes to natural disasters, claims and the cost of living, this can impact your coverage costs. An increase in the rate of thefts, vandalism, natural disasters and claims related to these means there will be an increase in your premium.

Safety changes. Your insurance is affected by changes in safety. If risk is lowered or safety is increased (say, for example, by the addition of a fire station in your area), your insurance rates are lowered. If risk is raised, your insurance rate is raised. You can lower your risk and your rate by making your home safer with burglar alarms and other safety measures.

Not making changes. Your home ages, and if you don’t keep it updated, this can mean a hike in your premium. Homes that are not updated become more and more dangerous to insure, which translates to them costing more to insure. Ignoring necessary upgrades raises your risk and raises your premiums.

We are always here to help you understand what goes into determining your home insurance rate. Call or email us today with your questions, and let’s take a look at how you may be able to lower your premium.

The Ins and Outs of Boat Insurance

Welcome aboard! The summer season is here; it’s time to take a fresh look at your boat insurance policy. While your standard homeowners policy may cover some things related to your boat, it isn’t sufficient to keep you covered during your summer adventures. Without watercraft insurance, you could be on the hook for costly repairs and damages to your boat and passengers.

It’s important to protect yourself both in and out of the water. Here are the basics of boat insurance.

Property coverage. Once your boat is out of the water, insurance coverage can change should something happen. Property coverage manages any physical damage that happens to your boat and equipment, radar systems and sporting equipment like water skis. This also involves transport of your vehicle. One example is if an automobile collides with your trailer on the way to your festivities.

Personal liability. This coverage is useful in the case that there’s any bodily injury or damage to another’s property. Additionally, medical payments coverage takes care of medical expenses incurred from any accident involving your covered boat.

Uninsured boaters. This insurance is also important, as it helps to cover expenses should you be involved in an accident with an under- or uninsured boater in the busy summer season.

Exemptions. Losses and damages involving racing or stunts, failure to properly maintain your boat or damage that occurs from improper storage or animals like birds and rodents are typically not covered under a standard policy.

Questions to ask. It’s important to discuss all the aspects of your policy with us, including how your boat will be valued should a claim occur, how repairs and claims are managed, how your policy deals with salvage coverage and towing reimbursement, and much more.

We can guide you through these questions and determine what’s best for you. From land to open water, we can also help you save on your premiums by bundling your boat policy with your homeowners insurance.

Why a Home Inventory Is Essential and How to Do It

Whether you rent or own, keeping a current home inventory is critical to getting on the road to recovery faster in the unfortunate event that disaster strikes. Documenting items in your home may feel like an overwhelming task. Here’s what you need to know to guide you through the process.

Document. Take detailed pictures and video of every room in your home as well as a record of each individual item. Items such as antiques should be discussed with your insurance agent to itemize them on your policy. If you already have a home inventory list, make sure to keep your list updated with any new significant purchases along the way.

Proof of value. Keep receipts, contracts and appraisals to understand what level of coverage you’d need. Things to take note of: item description, make/model/serial number and estimated replacement costs.

Don’t forget the storage unit. Personal items that are kept in a self-storage facility are covered under homeowners insurance.

Keep it safe. Store your documentation in a fireproof box or safe deposit box or keep a file on hand with your insurance agent. You can also back up the files on an external hard drive or to the cloud (such as Google Drive or Apple’s iCloud) as an additional measure.

Kick-start. To kick-start your inventory task, check out these home inventory apps to help you with the process.

After taking your home inventory, give us a call to check your current policy to ensure that you’ll be covered or set you up with a new policy today!

5 Steps to Ensuring Rock-Solid Life Insurance Plans

Life insurance may not seem very complicated, but a few key steps can help you avoid potential pitfalls.

First, have a conversation. Discussing life insurance with your loved ones can be difficult because you are referring to the possibility of your own death. But if you have loved ones who rely on your income, it is an important conversation to have.

Second, understand the role of your will. Many people believe a will can be used to dictate where life insurance proceeds will go, but that is not the case. Your life insurance policy is a contract with an insurance company, so you will need to specify your beneficiary on the policy.

Third, regardless of the policy you choose, you will need to select a beneficiary, who will receive the proceeds of your life insurance policy when you die. That, too, can be an uncomfortable discussion. Typically, your beneficiary will be your spouse, then your children. But at times it can be more complicated. For example, you may not want to leave minors large sums, in which case you may want to set up a trust.

Fourth, understand the exceptions. For example, in community property states, any property acquired during a marriage is owned by both spouses. In those states, if you want your life insurance beneficiary to be someone other than your spouse, both of you will likely need to acknowledge that in writing.

Fifth, think about taxes. While life insurance proceeds are free from federal income taxes, they can be counted as part of your estate. This means they may be subject to estate tax. If you have a large policy, you may want to consider a trust to keep the proceeds out of your estate.

We can help you understand the components of life insurance. Call or email us to discuss your policy needs.

Delayed Medical Care Can Have Serious Consequences

Have COVID-19 concerns delayed your medical care? According to many medical experts, nationwide delays in receiving routine and emergency medical care have impacted many Americans. In a recent survey conducted by the Kaiser Family Foundation, 30 percent of adults surveyed reported pandemic-related medical delays.

Delayed medical and dental care can have dire consequences. A gap in treating chronic conditions such as diabetes or hypertension can lead to heart attacks and strokes, according to the American Academy of Family Physicians. Delaying routine medical care and failing to keep routine lab appointments can cause a number of problems for your health.

Here are some tips if you’re having problems obtaining medical treatment.

Call the physician’s office and explain your symptoms or your testing needs. Don’t take no for an answer. If your provider can’t accommodate you, consider asking a family member to advocate for you. Some people are better at dealing with medical providers. If they’re willing, let them help.

If you accept an appointment far into the future, ask the provider to place you on a cancellation list in case an appointment becomes available.

Don’t skip routine tests. Mammograms, colon cancer tests and prostate exams are critical screenings. Delays can mean major health problems if serious conditions go undetected.

If you can’t get an appointment with your regular doctor, consider calling your insurance company’s helpline for a referral to a new physician. Or ask your neighbors or friends if they can recommend a physician or medical provider with more availability.

If you hesitate to visit your doctor due to concerns about exposure to others who may be sick, consider a virtual visit. Your doctor can phone you or initiate an online session. Postponing medical care can have dire consequences. Don’t wait any longer. Schedule any delayed visits to protect your health.

Here’s How to Help Your Loved One with Medicare

Most Americans become eligible to enroll in Medicare upon turning 65. If you plan to assist your loved ones in this process, educating yourself is the first step. What are some key pointers you need to know?

How much will Original Medicare cost? Premium-free Part A (hospital) is for those who have paid into Medicare taxes while working for at least 10 years. The standard Part B (medical) cost for 2021 is $148.50. When your modified adjusted gross income is above a certain amount, you may pay an extra charge.

When do they enroll in Medicare? Individuals can sign up for Part A or Part A and Part B during the seven-month window that begins three months before the month they turn 65. The soonest the coverage will begin is the first day of their birthday month. When a birthday is on the first day of the month, the coverage will start the first day of the prior month. When your loved one is still working, they have additional options and decisions.

What are their Medicare plan options? Once your loved one enrolls in Medicare, they have a decision to make. Their options are to remain with Original Medicare, select a Medigap supplemental plan to work with Original Medicare or select a Medicare Advantage plan. Making the right Medicare plan decision can make a major difference in the cost of care and their provider choices.

Your loved ones are our priority. Call or email us today, and we can walk you through all the steps and details of Medicare.

3 Reasons to Look Forward to an Audit

Audits are common with general liability, workers’ compensation, liquor liability, commercial and other business insurance policies. This is because when your commercial insurance policy is drafted, it’s based on an estimated risk exposure based on sales volume, number of employees and contractors, locations and common industrial risks. In most cases, the premium for your insurance isn’t a final number and fluctuates based on year-end actual numbers. The audit is an important process that determines the final premium.

Most cringe at the thought of an audit, but did you know there are several ways that an audit benefits you and your business? Let’s take a look at why you can look forward to your audit.

Changed mindset. Audits aren’t always spurred by something negative. They don’t have to mean that a business has done anything wrong or that the IRS is asking to dig through your finances. In fact, this is a positive thing in the insurance world! A general liability insurance audit is completed to thoroughly examine your business’s payroll and risk exposure and to check for any changes over the year in how much risk was actually incurred. An audit may also be required for your workers’ compensation and commercial property insurance coverage.

Ensures proper coverage. During the first policy term or at the end of the coverage period, the insurer will request an audit to adjust your premium based on the most accurate sales numbers and earnings. With how much a business can change year to year, this helps to ensure that you have the right amount of coverage as you grow and change. It can also spot gaps in coverage or new exposures that appeared during the year that weren’t seen before, helping to make sure you are covered should the unexpected arise.

It can save you money. The initial insurance premium estimate can be off; remember, the purpose of insurance premium audits is to use your actual sales and operating data to determine the true picture of risk. The audit can save you money, as your premiums can decrease if sales volumes, staffing or other adjustments to predicted exposure change and less coverage is needed. You may also be entitled to a refund or a credit on the overquoted premium at the start of the year.

Best practices already involve accurate record keeping in your operations; this is exactly what will help your insurance audit go smoothly and painlessly. Documentation you’ll need to provide includes payroll and cash summaries, federal and state employment reports, subcontractor and 1099 forms, relevant tax documents and any other items that will help an auditor have a clear understanding of your business state and revenues.

We can walk you through the process and answer any questions you may have. Call or email us today, and let’s discuss your premium basis and risk exposure and what that could mean for an upcoming audit. Let’s help you prepare so that your audit can feel more like a walk in the park.

Make Sure Your Insurance Keeps Up with Your Growth

Your insurance coverage should grow and change alongside your business. Here are some key indicators that you may want to look at and make adjustments for in your coverage.

New locations. Whether it’s the first ribbon cutting or the opening of additional locations, opening up your doors comes with extra risks. General liability insurance keeps you protected against the most common claims: slips and falls, damage to another’s property, libel and slander lawsuits and more.

New equipment. While your warehouse or shop may have had some empty space at first, over time, all the crevices begin to be filled in as business begins to pick up. Between uniforms and safety and industry-based equipment, it’s important to protect your investment with proper commercial property insurance.

New hires. Workers’ compensation insurance keeps you covered in the event of workplace accidents and employee injuries. It also helps to cover any associated medical costs and lost wages and reduces your risk of encountering a costly lawsuit. Many states require carrying this policy even if you just have one employee.

New contracts. When it comes to big contracts, software and IT professionals, accountants and similar white-collar professionals require professional liability insurance. This protects you against damages potentially incurred with higher-risk professions with larger contracts. Clients may even require this coverage to do business with you so if a mistake is made, they can rest assured that remedies are paid for.

While your growth may just be beginning, it’s important to plan ahead for your success. Give us a call today to see how we can support you on your journey!