The Ins and Outs of Errors and Omissions Insurance

Errors and omissions (E&O) insurance is a type of professional liability insurance. With an E&O policy, your business is protected against claims of mistakes and negligence. Do you need E&O insurance?

What is E&O insurance?

E&O insurance protects your company if someone alleges that you made a critical mistake. It may cover errors or oversights in your work, failure to deliver a service or meet a deadline, failure to meet a certain standard of care, or breach of contract.

What does E&O insurance cover?

If someone files a lawsuit against your business, E&O insurance will cover attorney fees (whether or not you are deemed at fault), settlements or judgments owed if you are found at fault, and expenses. Some E&O policies only cover work done in the United States; some cover work done internationally.

What doesn’t E&O insurance cover?

E&O insurance may not cover purposeful wrongdoing and illegal acts. It also doesn’t cover things that are covered by other types of insurance, such as bodily injury (which general liability insurance typically covers), data leaks (which cyber liability insurance typically covers), employee injuries (which workers’ compensation insurance typically covers), and employee discrimination and harassment (which employment practices liability insurance typically covers).

What else do I need to know about E&O coverage?

E&O policies are generally “claims-made policies.” That means coverage must be in place at the time a claim is made in order for the insurer to cover it. So, if your coverage lapses, you will no longer be protected. However, you can ask that E&O policies be retroactive to a specific date defined in the policy, meaning they will cover claims dating back to that point but not before.

Who needs E&O insurance?

Some professionals are required to carry E&O insurance by law or licensing boards. Clients may also decline to work with you if you don’t provide a certificate of E&O insurance. Regardless, if you provide professional services for a fee, you should have E&O insurance. For example, you might need this kind of insurance if you work in architecture, accounting, financial services, insurance, IT, marketing communications, consulting or real estate.

How can you get E&O insurance?

E&O insurance is a common type of coverage. All major commercial insurers offer it. Some insurers will allow you to add E&O insurance to a business owner’s policy, which includes general liability and commercial property insurance. This can help you save money. However, if you operate a home-based business, don’t expect to get E&O insurance under your homeowners’ coverage; you will need a separate policy.

How much does E&O insurance cost?

The cost of E&O insurance varies depending on several things, including whether you’re in a high-risk industry, whether you have a history of liability claims being made against your business, where you do business, how many employees you have and how much coverage you need.

Obtaining E&O insurance can be confusing, so call or email us today and we can help you better understand E&O insurance terms and coverage.

Coverage Add-Ons to Consider for Your Property Insurance Policy

Commercial property insurance is a type of broad coverage that reimburses you for losses and damages to business property (such as fire or flood damage to your office). If it doesn’t meet your unique needs, however, you can purchase additional coverage. Here are a few policies you might want to consider.

Glass insurance may sound overly specific, but it covers a common threat: broken windows. Windows are expensive, and if they’re broken in a robbery or accident, it’s likely your responsibility to foot the bill.

Debris removal insurance is another category that may sound overly specific, but if a fire burns your office building down, you’ll have to remove the remains of the old building before rebuilding. Your property insurance policy will likely only cover rebuilding, not removing the remnants.

Mechanical or equipment breakdown insurance covers the cost of accidental breakdowns of machinery, such as boiler malfunctions or fire damage to computers.

Business interruption insurance covers the expenses incurred (including lost income) when closing your business after an accident of some sort. If a flood (more of a concern with climate change) forces you to stop working for a month, for example, this kind of coverage would reimburse you for salaries, rents and such.

Ordinance insurance covers the costs associated with having to rebuild to code when your building has been partially destroyed. Property insurance will usually cover only the replacement value of the existing building but not the upgrade, even if it’s legally required.

There are many other commercial policy add-ons. Call or email us today and we can go through the options.

Tips for Maximizing Your Health Care Benefits

There is no better time than now to look at your healthcare benefits and see how you can better utilize your plan. If this is your year to focus on healthy habits, here are four key areas to review to make the most of your plan.

Review your summary of benefits. Each health insurance policy has a summary of the benefits, which is an overview of your benefits. Make sure you obtain a copy so you are aware of any deductibles, copays or coinsurance responsibilities when using your plan.

Use in-network providers. Whenever possible, use providers who are in network and accept your policy. This will reduce your cost of services. If your policy is an HMO, the network of providers is based on the primary care doctor you selected.

Keep current with preventive care. Every policy has preventive care. These no-cost benefits include routine vaccinations, well-care visits, and many other screenings. Be sure to schedule these critical appointments annually.

Elective procedures. Many of us put elective procedures on the back burner. If this is your year to get that nagging knee surgery done, be sure to review your policy. Does your plan have a deductible before your coinsurance responsibility? Every plan’s out-of-pocket maximum resets at the beginning of the year, so this information may assist you in determining the time frame you select when scheduling this procedure.

When assistance is needed to help you with those healthy habits, call or email us so we can help you get the most out of your healthcare benefits.

When Is the Best Time to Buy Term Life Insurance?

Life insurance doesn’t have to last for life. Some policies last for a shorter period, and they can be very useful for individuals whose needs are not lifelong.

Life insurance that lasts for life is called whole life insurance. Whole life policies stay in effect for as long as you pay the premiums.

Term life insurance policies, on the other hand, stay in effect for a limited period (called a term). For example, if you select a 10-year term, the insurance company will pay a death benefit if you die anytime during the next 10 years.

Why choose term life insurance over whole life insurance? The primary reason is cost. Because a specified term is less risky to an insurer than a lifetime, term life insurance is usually cheaper than whole life insurance.

You might consider term life insurance instead of whole life insurance if you are certain your dependents will not rely on you financially for the remainder of your life. Let’s say you have coverage for your children who will graduate from college and get jobs in five years. In that case, a five-year term policy might make sense (perhaps 10 if you want a cushion to allow your children to get a solid footing in the workforce).

One warning: Term life insurance may present reinsurability problems. Say you have a heart attack during the term of your policy. When the term expires, if you want to continue holding life insurance, you’ll have to reapply for a new policy. Your health condition may make that difficult and expensive (although some policies offer a feature called guaranteed reinsurability to address this problem, so always look into that when purchasing term life insurance).

Call or email us, and we can help you determine what the right fit for you is.

Have You Done Your Homeowners Insurance Annual Checkup?

It’s spring, which means it’s time for your annual checkup. We’re talking homeowners insurance checkups, something to be completed once a year that could leave your policy healthier and you much happier. Homeowners insurance is a necessity. It protects your home and its contents from more than just a potential accident but a liability as well. Checkups are essential, as they assess whether your policy is working for you and that your premium isn’t costing more than it should. So how do you do one?

Make sure you know what coverage you have

Replacement cost is the most common form of contents insurance, which covers what it would take to rebuild and restore should something happen to your home. You can also extend this to give your replacement cost an added boost, most likely up to 20% extra, based on your losses. This covers unexpected expenses or a rise in cost for replacement.

Make sure you know what coverage you need

Once you’re clear on what policy you have, you need to figure out what you’d require. If your house value has increased and it would cost you more to rebuild it, you need to factor this into your policy. Don’t scrimp on your insurance.

Lowering your premiums

The higher your deductible, the amount you pay before coverage kicks in, the lower your premium. Insurance claims are for big problems, not minor inconveniences. Most homeowners will be able to fix a broken window, for example. A high deductible sounds tempting, but if you’re a first-time buyer without a stable income, it’s not worth it. Start low and build.

If the idea of a checkup is making your head spin, call or email us. We can review your policies and help determine what is best for you and your circumstances.

3 Tips for Preventing a Home Burglary

No matter how secure your insurance policy is, a home burglary is something we all hope we never have to go through. Even the idea of strangers rummaging through priceless possessions is enough to send a shiver down the spine. Here are a few tips you can use to prevent a break-in.

Hide your trash

Especially after birthdays or the holidays, don’t leave your expensive boxes, bags or even receipts out in plain sight. That’s basically an advertisement for would-be opportunists to pinpoint your home as a place with items of value. Keep your trash in a secure place until pickup day.

Get steel exterior doors

While wooden doors are much more charming, steel doors are much harder to kick in, especially if the owner isn’t in. Add deadbolts, too, for extra security. The perfect investment for peace of mind.

Don’t post on social media when on vacation

Sometimes we forget that our social media isn’t just visible to our friends or family. Some burglars are trained to scour the web for homeowners on trips who may have just left all their stuff completely unguarded. Set your profile to private or limit the amount you post. You never know who could be watching.

Even with all the precautions, you can’t always stop the worst from happening. Make sure your contents insurance policy is up to date and covers a break-in. If you’re not sure, call or email us. We are always here to help.