Commercial Drones: How to Protect Your Tech

Drone technology is sweeping today’s business world. In businesses from real estate companies to construction firms to agricultural organizations, drones are used to capture aerial views for a variety of surveying and marketing efforts. As prices drop and the technology becomes increasingly accessible, more and more businesses are turning to drones to do what humans can’t.

This new technology provides new business opportunities, but it also comes with new insurance needs. Commercial drones can cost anywhere from $1,000 to $100,000. They also add liability risk, with the potential to cause damage to property or personal injury if the drone malfunctions. Insurance is needed.

Coverage options

With these costs in mind, business owners employing drones must consider what insurance coverage to obtain. Several options are available: you can add unmanned air vehicle coverage to your liability and property insurance, take out a separate drone insurance policy to cover liability in case of an accident, or take out a separate drone insurance policy to cover both the drone and liability.

A solid policy protects you against damage done by or to your drone. It covers a wide range of circumstances including liability coverage for ground crew and independent contractors, manufacturers’ liability, medical payments, personal injury, and damage to your own property and contents.

Which option is best will depend on the activities the drone will undertake and its cost.

Companies using fairly inexpensive drones may not find it cost-effective to obtain damage coverage. However, liability coverage is wise and, in fact, may be required under certain circumstances.

More benefits of drone insurance

It’s about more than just the law. Obtaining insurance for a single drone or a fleet can provide additional advantages for your business. Many clients these days are likely to be interested in using your drone capabilities. And because some of your clients might not want to work with someone who isn’t fully insured, a drone policy will attract business by proving that your company is professional, reputable, and worthy of their business.

How to get coverage

Obtaining drone coverage is similar to obtaining auto insurance. If you demonstrate you are safe and prepared, you are more likely to get better rates. Most insurance companies want to see maintenance logs, operating manuals, and a record of enhancements made to the drone. You should also ensure all pilots (operators) are well-trained and provide proof of this training for your insurance company. These items lower the risk to your drone and the risk it poses to others. This, in turn, lowers insurance company costs.

Costs for drone insurance

Costs for drone insurance varies, depending on these risk factors as well as the value of the drone and its use. Typically, coverage can be obtained for as little as $900 a year. Considering the potential cost that could result from just one incident, this expense is well worth it.

If your business currently uses drones (or could benefit from using them), discuss the various options for commercial drone insurance with your agent.

Company Events: Prepare Ahead for Potential Risks

Will you be hosting a company picnic this summer? Perhaps you’re renting out a facility for a fun afternoon for employees and their families. Or holding a fall fair? These events can be great for morale and team building, but they also involve risk. Be sure to cover all your company liabilities with the proper insurance. Consider special event insurance.

What does it cover?

Special event insurance protects you from third-party claims in case of bodily injury or property damage. For example, if an employee’s child breaks an arm on the obstacle course, or an employee’s date sprains an ankle on the dance floor, you’re covered in much the same way that you would be under general liability insurance.

What should you add?

In addition to third-party claims, your coverage can be tailored to include other needs. You can add property insurance to protect company equipment or the space used for the event, and cancellation insurance to cover costs for postponing or canceling due to weather or other issues. It’s also wise to have employers’ liability insurance in case an employee (not considered a third party under special event insurance) were to sue for an injury or illness that happened at the event.

Are you a party animal?

If you will be hosting more than one event this summer, you may want to create a policy that covers several months and includes coverage for multiple events. Policies can be written for one day or up to one year. Your agent can suggest the best option for your company.

Lack of Sleep Can Have Dire Consequences

“Lack of sleep never killed anyone,” right? This adage has been around for years, but let’s face it, we don’t believe it. In fact, one in three Americans suffer from chronic sleep deprivation, with many of the following consequences:

Higher risk of accidents – The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates 1,550 people die each year in the United States from fatigue; experts believe fatigue is a factor in 30% to 40% of all heavy truck crashes.

Higher risk of serious illness – This includes diabetes, stroke, and heart disease; according to one study, people who slept five hours or less per night doubled their risk of death from heart disease.

Risk of obesity – Individuals who sleep less than seven hours a night have higher rates of obesity, which produces other health issues. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that those who sleep only four hours per night consumed 300 more calories daily than their well-rested peers.

Brain fog – Making decisions becomes more difficult.

Depression – Untreated, chronic sleep loss can lead to depression or anxiety.

Impaired judgment – Sleep deprivation can mean we make poor choices.

Here are a few tips that may help you sleep more soundly:

  • Reduce caffeinated beverage consumption 12 hours before bedtime.
  • Eat at least three hours before bedtime, and avoid heavy meals at night.
  • Avoid daytime naps, even brief ones.
  • Banish devices from the bedroom.
  • Increase exercise.
  • If you can’t sleep, go into another room and relax before returning to bed.

Of course, most people suffer occasional sleep disruption, but when is it so disruptive you should seek medical attention?

If you regularly experience difficulty sleeping, if you’re still tired after seven hours of sleep, or if your sleeplessness impairs your cognitive abilities or limits your daytime activities, visit your primary care physician.

Save for That Medical Rainy Day and Reduce Taxes

With healthcare costs and premiums on the rise, higher deductibles are one option to help control costs. And did you know that if you have a high-deductible medical plan, you can open a health savings account (HSA) that provides a tax deduction each time you fund the account? Deposits into an HSA are pretax and can reduce your taxable income.

Your employer may offer an HSA. However, if you are self-employed or can’t access an employer plan, your insurance agent can help you determine the best HSA for you.

HSA described

An HSA reimburses you for medical costs such as copays, deductibles, dental expenses, or other costs your healthcare plan doesn’t cover. You or your employer funds the HSA, either through an employer benefit plan or through an account you open with a bank or with an insurer. Your money remains in the account until you incur an eligible medical expense. Then, when you use your debit card or check, or send the receipt to your account institution, your HSA will reimburse you for that expense from your account.

There are various types of HSAs to fit a variety of situations, including the flexible spending account and the health reimbursement arrangement, both of which are employer sponsored, and include various features and eligibility requirements.

If you’re going it alone, your insurance agent can describe various options and help you select the HSA that fits your goals.

An HSA is a great way to save for that rainy medical day and lower your tax obligations, as well.

5 Qs to Ask Yourself about Term Life Insurance

Unlike permanent life insurance, which provides protection for life, term life insurance provides protection for a set number of years. If you die during that period, the policy pays your beneficiary; if you live beyond that period, the policy pays nothing, and you’ll need a new policy if you want to continue coverage.

Do you think term life insurance is right for you? Here are five questions to answer before deciding:

Is a term policy appropriate in my situation? Term life insurance works when the need for protection is temporary or if premiums on a permanent life insurance policy are too high.

Which type of term policy do I want? In level term insurance, the death benefit stays the same for the life of the policy; in decreasing term insurance it decreases over the life of the policy and is useful if you have financial obligations that decline over time, such as a mortgage; in annual renewable term insurance, the death benefit stays the same for the term period, but premiums increase.

How long a term is best? This depends on what the policy is designed to protect against. If you want it to pay for your child’s college education should you die before he or she graduates, you would want the term to continue until he or she is out of school.

Do I want a renewable term policy? Renewable term life insurance policies can be converted for another term period without your having to prove you’re healthy.

Do I want a convertible term policy? Convertible term life insurance allows you to convert to a permanent life insurance policy during a specified period of time without having to show that you’re healthy.

Once you have the answers to these questions, discuss the options with your insurance professional. He or she knows your situation and can steer you to the best solution for you and your family.

Summer Rental Insurance: Yours, Theirs or Both?

It’s summer! Some families spend their summer holidays at a luxury resort, while others stake a tent in the woods. And then there’s the increasingly popular option of renting a vacation home. This home-away-from-home getaway can provide a great setting for creating family memories – as long as you ensure you have the insurance coverage you need, because this responsibility rests with both the renter and the homeowner.

Proper insurance for you: As the traveler, you should be covered by your homeowners insurance policy in two ways:

  • Liability: If you accidentally damage someone else’s property, your policy will help pay for the damage. So if the kids’ indoor soccer game gets out of hand, you’re covered.
  • Personal property: Your homeowners policy will protect your personal belongings, even away from home. However, coverage limits may be lower in this case. Additionally, recreational equipment such as boats usually requires a separate policy. Consult with your agent to ensure you have the coverage you need.

Proper insurance for them: The owner of the rental property should have proper coverage for the home. Be sure to verify that the owner has a homeowners policy with appropriate liability coverage, in case anyone is injured on the property as a result of owner negligence. The owner’s homeowners policy should also cover any damage to the home that occurs from natural disasters.

Don’t Get Soaked Forgoing Pool Insurance

If you want to make a splash this summer, you’re not alone. Some 7.4 million homes, yards, and patios across the nation currently sport swimming pools. Are you considering adding a pool for your recreational pleasure? If you are, the following steps will help ensure your pool is protected, making swim time safe and secure.

Check local laws – Laws vary by town and county, so check to see if what you are adding requires any permits or must adhere to any codes. And note: a fence, and possibly a deck, may be required for all pools in your area.

Contact your insurance agent – A pool increases your liability risk. You should make your insurance company aware of your addition and discuss proper coverage. If your homeowners insurance policy includes the minimum of liability protection, you may want to increase this amount. Also consider replacement coverage in the event your pool and other outdoor items are damaged by a storm.

Practice pool safety – Taking a few precautions can help prevent that liability claim. Try the following tips:

  • Install a fence. Even if your area doesn’t require a fence, add one to keep small children from conducting dangerous unsupervised explorations of your pool. Over 3,400 drownings occur across the country each year. You don’t want one of these to happen in your backyard.
  • Clear hazards. Glass bottles, toys, and other items can be dangerous if not properly stored. Radios and electrical devices are also potential dangers. Keep these items clear of the pool area or safely tucked away when not in use.
  • Be prepared. Keep a first aid kit and ring buoy at the ready. Learn water rescue techniques and CPR. Ensure all guests know how to swim before entering your pool.
  • Use nonslip surfaces, especially on the deck directly around the pool and on the diving board. And mark depths in a prominent way.