Do You Need a BOP in Your Insurance Tool Kit?

What are the essentials needed to operate a successful business? Qualities like entrepreneurship, creativity, leadership, organization and a strong work ethic probably come to mind. And these are all important traits.

But business owners may want to look beyond these traits to something that is often overlooked: Proper insurance coverage. This is one of the most important instruments in a business owner’s tool kit. Why? Because without appropriate insurance coverage, a business may not be able to weather a disaster. And it could mean the loss of everything he or she has worked so hard to achieve. For many, a Business Owner Policy (BOP) will provide that much-needed sense of security at a reasonable cost.

What is a BOP?

BOP stands for business owner policy. A BOP is an insurance package available for business owners that combines basic coverages into one bundle.

What does a BOP cover?

BOP policies typically cover three major areas of business protection. A standard BOP includes property insurance for the company’s buildings and contents; liability protection for harm caused by employees, defective products, faulty installations, and service errors; and business interruption insurance, which covers loss of income due to a disaster.

What does a BOP not cover?

While a BOP covers many of the basics, it’s not comprehensive. Business owners still may need more-specific policies, depending on the type of company and products or services provided. A BOP also doesn’t cover workers’ compensation, health and disability insurance, professional liability, or auto insurance.

Who is eligible for a BOP?

BOPs are designed for small to medium-sized businesses. Typically, a company must meet the requirements set forth by the insurance carrier to qualify for a BOP. These parameters usually include the number of employees, type of business, and yearly revenue. Larger businesses qualify for different types of policies that are more appropriate for their needs.

Who needs a BOP?

Some industries may also need special insurance in order to operate. For example, a minimum amount of liability insurance may be required to perform contractor services.

While you don’t have to choose this bundle option, it is an easy solution for many small and medium-sized businesses.

What are the advantages of a BOP?

Choosing a BOP typically saves money. By bundling several services in one policy, business owners pay less than the total cost of individual coverages. This option keeps costs down while providing coverage for the business’s basic needs.

How much does a BOP cost?

The yearly premium for a BOP depends on many variables. One business may need higher liability coverage, while another may need greater property protection. The pricing for each BOP is determined by these needs and the risk factor of the company. Typical premiums range from $500 to $3,500 per year.

How do I get a BOP?

Contact your insurance agent to discuss the BOP options available for your business. He or she will discuss how you can bundle the specific coverage you need into an appropriate and affordable BOP that’s just right for your company.

This 3-Step Process Could Save You Money in 2018

Have you listed your upcoming New Year’s resolutions? Here’s one suggestion that business owners may want to add to their resolution list – review your business insurance policies.

It may help boost your bottom line in 2018.

The end of the year is a good time to review your policies in light of the events of the previous year. A quick evaluation of your coverage could help you save next year. And who doesn’t want that? Here are the steps to take:

Step 1. Review your business: What changes have you made this year, if any? Has your business grown? Have you altered any policies that could affect your insurance? Did you add or remove vehicles, employees, or facilities?

Step 2. Make a list: Make a list of any changes that will affect your business going forward. Note any new procedures you put into effect this year, as well as any you will be enacting in 2018. Write down any questions you have about your coverage.

Step 3. Contact your Agent: With your list in hand, contact your insurance agent. He or she will help you review your current policies to determine if they are still the best options for your business. For example, you may have made changes that will reduce your premiums, or you may be eligible for new discounts.

This easy process will ensure you have the appropriate coverage and could help you save significantly on your 2018 business insurance. And saving money is one of the best resolutions you can make.

Throwing a Holiday Party? Check Your Insurance

You’re planning a holiday bash. You have a checklist that covers every detail from decorations to desserts.

You feel ready for the big event, but did you remember to look into insurance for the party? Do you have proper coverage for your festivities?

It’s something many party hosts overlook. When you’re putting on an event, it’s important to consider your own liability and ensure the proper policies are in place. Your homeowners’ policy may have limitations that mean it could be inadequate for what you’re planning. Depending on the size of your event, you may want to consider taking out an umbrella policy or special event insurance.

Your options

Your home insurance policy typically includes liability coverage. If someone is injured at your party, this coverage will kick in to pay for the associated expenses. However, if several people are injured, it may not provide sufficient coverage. Your options are to increase the limits on your home insurance policy or add an umbrella policy to expand the coverage. Often, it’s more cost-effective to add the umbrella than to increase your limits. Consult with your insurance agent to determine your best option.

A third possibility is to obtain event insurance. This can help protect you against accidents and provide cancellation coverage. If someone is injured at your party, event insurance liability coverage will help pay for expenses, and if you have to cancel caterers, entertainment, or photographers, it can help with this as well.

As you review your options with your insurance professional, consider the location of the event, the number of attendees, the activities taking place at the party, and your current coverage. These details will help you determine if your current homeowners’ policy is sufficient or if you need to make changes.

And with this item checked off your list, you’ll be better prepared to sit back and enjoy the party yourself.

How to Enjoy a Claim-Free Holiday Season

No one puts “insurance claim” on their holiday wish list. Most would rate this item right below a lump of coal. Yet, due to a lack of safety measures, this is what many people get.

Accidents and fires related to decorations are fairly common during the holiday season, but they are avoidable with the proper precautions. Avoid holiday hazards and enjoy a claim-free season with these tips:

Trim the tree with care: Will you be using a real tree? Keep it stable and hydrated with a large, non-tipping tree stand that holds water. Place the tree away from heating ducts, doorways, and busy areas. Well-placed and well-watered, your tree will stay fire- and accident-free for the season.

Keep your cords nice, not naughty: Exercise caution when working with electricity. Don’t overload your outlets. Use extension cords sparingly. Check flickering lights. Immediately replace those with loose connections or corroded sockets.

Be cautious with candles: Candles add ambiance and appeal to your space, but they can also cause devastation. Keep them away from flammable materials. Never leave them burning unattended. If you don’t want to worry about extinguishing candles before leaving or going to bed, consider using the flameless ones this year.

Don’t fall for outdoor lighting: Yes, your roofline may look great with perfectly strung lights, but don’t risk your life to get them up there. Use proper safety measures and products designed for outdoor use.

Take the time to do décor right. Be happy, healthy, and, most of all, wise this holiday season.

Buy LTC Insurance before You Need It … And Save Money

What you don’t know about long-term care (LTC) insurance could hurt you for years to come.

According to a 2017 fact sheet issued by AARP, some 52% of individuals over 65 will require long-term care support and services. The Family Caregiver Alliance notes that the number of people using paid long-term care services is likely to exceed 27 million by 2050.

The American College of Healthcare Executives defines LTC as a “continuum of medical and social services designed to support the needs of people living with chronic health problems that affect their ability to perform everyday activities.”

Benefits of purchasing LTC now

Unfortunately, these are costly services, and are becoming more so. LTC insurance can provide the coverage we require, but even those who are diligent about other forms of insurance forget about long-term care insurance until later in life, when it costs more. And if you wait until an injury or illness strikes, you may not be able to obtain LTC insurance at all.

Why LTC insurance is important

Individuals believe they can rely on Social Security (also called Old Age, Survivors, and Disability Insurance) to cover the costs of long-term care. However, the amount received typically falls short, and it can take up to three months before you receive a check.

If you can’t count on Social Security, then LTC insurance is a must. As noted above, you’ll get the best rates by purchasing LTC insurance while you’re young and healthy. So talk to your agent about LTC insurance now … before you need it.

Prevent Health Problems Later with Dental Care Now

Do you have dental insurance? As the Mayo Clinic points out, not caring for your teeth and mouth can lead to other serious health problems, including endocarditis, diabetes, and even, for pregnant women, premature births and low-birth-weight infants.

According to a 2016 report by the American Dental Association Health Policy Institute, the average annual spending by each American on routine dental care in 2013 was $685, and this rose to $1,755 with specialist visits.

Many Americans have dental insurance through their employer, but others either don’t carry it or limit dental visits to serious problems. Unfortunately, some people skimp on regular cleaning and avoid annual dental x-rays, skipping the important preventive care that may reduce future health difficulties. A variety of dental plans are available to those without employer-provided dental coverage; basic plans require copays and generally cover two cleanings per year. Fillings and bridges are subject to a deductible, and plans usually cap coverage at a preset annual limit. Here is some information on other types of plans:

  • HMO and PPO plans require copays and may limit you to a specific list of dentists. Most PPO plans encourage you to visit provider dentists and reduce coverage for non-network dentist visits.
  • Dental discount plans that allow you to visit selected dentists at discounted rates are an alternative to dental insurance.
  • Dental indemnity (traditional) plans allow you to visit any dentist and typically cover 50% to 80% of the cost. You pay for services, and the insurer reimburses you directly. These plans also are more likely to offer orthodontic coverage.
  • Medicare doesn’t cover most dental procedures, unless you receive certain dental services while hospitalized. If you’re over 65, seriously consider obtaining a quote for a dental plan.

Not sure what you need? Contact your insurance agent. He or she can provide a no-obligation quote and explain the pros and cons of various dental plans. Your overall health will thank you.

Life Insurance Shopping? Here’s What to Look For

A life insurance policy can play an important role in your big-picture financial plan. So what should you consider when shopping for one?

Your first question should be: do I need life insurance? Many don’t consider life insurance, but once they realize what life insurance is intended to do, they decide they need it.

Younger people, for example, often overlook life insurance because they feel they don’t need it at their age. However, if the breadwinner or breadwinners die early – and sadly, it does happen – that loss of income will severely impact their family members’ lives.

Others believe they have sufficient coverage through work. But while many employer plans provide coverage that equates to several times compensation, many people need more to meet their beneficiaries’ needs.

Interestingly, life insurance may not be as expensive as many people believe. According to industry group LIMRA, 80% of people overestimate the cost of insurance, and many overestimate significantly.

Buying insurance

In purchasing life insurance, you will need to consider how much and what kind of coverage you’ll need. Consider why you’re buying a policy and what you expect a payout to accomplish. Research different types of coverage; for example, a basic life insurance policy can help replace income, but do you need additional enhancements?

It’s important to select a life insurance company with a strong track record of paying claims. Here you may want to research a number of providers. This may sound like a long and complicated process, but you don’t need to do it alone.

While the internet is a good way to identify your options, a licensed life insurance professional can explain these options to you. He or she is trained to assess your individual financial circumstances and will determine the appropriate type and level of coverage that’s tailored to your needs.

Your family’s security may depend on it.