General Insurance Articles

Halloween Safety Checklist

Halloween is around the corner, are you ready for the holiday? Costumes and candy are what the holiday is all about, but you may want to keep a few things in mind to keep the ghoulish festivities from turning into a real nightmare.

  1. Watch out for trick-or-treaters while you are driving tonight. Swerving to avoid all the people running around on the streets and neighborhoods is a real concern. Make sure that you slow down and be prepared to slam on the brakes if someone jumps into the road.
  2. Kids and their parents will be running around all night, but you could be held liable if someone hurts themselves on your property. Your home policy includes coverage for people hurt on your property under the liability section, but keeping pathways well lit can avoid these type of claims.
  3. Treats are a big part of Halloween, and so are tricks. If you are the victim of some holiday pranks, then rely on your home and car policies to clean up the vandalism.
  4. Everyone loves spooky candles and lighting for decorations, but these can pose serious fire hazards. Be careful around lit decorations and keep a fire extinguisher close at hand in the event that something catches fire.
  5. Some decorations can be expensive and, therefore, a target for thieves. All the commotion around the holiday can be an invitation to burglars, so make sure your belongings are adequately covered from theft.

Here is our holiday checklist to keep you safe this October 31st: (more…)

Break the Insurance Mold, Go Independent!

An independent insurance agency is more than just another cookie-cutter coverage provider. They offer a unique set of opportunities to their customers that could be missed out on if you choose to work with agents representing only one company. These captive insurance agents can have competitive rates for personal, business, and life insurance, independent insurance agents provide their clients with policy package flexibility, more personalized customer service, and the ability to shop your insurance for you. This ensures that you get the best coverage for the best price.

Many single-company insurance providers have their own exclusive agents that sell for only that insurance company and their primary responsibility is to their employer, not necessarily to the client. This can create a conflict of interests that adversely affects the customer in the event of a dispute.

Multi-company independent agents are licensed professionals who must understand all of the offerings of the insurance carriers that they represent.  This means that they will be able to find a specific policy that fits your insurance needs best.  They do not work for the company, they work for you which keeps your best interest and their best interest aligned.

What does this policy personalization get you? (more…)

Everything You Need to Know About Your Insurance Audit

What Is An Insurance Audit?

Insurance audits are typically performed on commercial insurance policies providing auto, general liability, garage liability, umbrella, and workers compensation coverages. When these policies are issued, you are asked to pay an estimated premium. Estimated premiums are based on the nature of your business and your estimate of exposures (i.e. payroll, sales, etc.) for the policy period.

Once your policy expires, an audit is conducted by the insuring company to collect information on actual exposures and operations and then a final premium is determined. The difference in the estimate and the final premium will be either refunded or billed to you. This allows your insurance to accurately reflect your business’s fluctuations in payroll and business growth or downsizing.

When And How Will The Audit Be Done?

An audit will be performed shortly after your policy expires, usually within 30 days of the expiration date. Smaller, less complex businesses may only require that you assemble and send the necessary information to the insurer or have the information available when a telephone auditor calls. Larger and more complicated policies are handled by a field auditor, who will schedule an appointment and visit your business. If you must change or cancel a scheduled appointment, please advise the auditor as far in advance as possible.

Insurance for Everything Else: Excess and Surplus

Insurance is one of the most readily available financial services in the market place.  Nearly everyone needs it in some form or fashion, but what if your insurance shopping has come up empty so far.  This may happen for several reasons; lack of prior coverage, the coverage you need is unique and hard to find, you have had several losses in the past and do not qualify for most insurance carriers, or any number of other reasons.  If you or your business falls into one of these categories, then fear not!  Specialty insurance companies offer what is called Excess & Surplus lines to cover everything that does not qualify under normal insurance guidelines.

Excess & Surplus Insurance can be divided into 3 major market segments; each with an issue that keeps the insurance from being written by a standard company: (more…)

10 Easy Insurance Discounts that You Should be Getting

Discount is a word all people love to hear, especially if it involves a required expense.  Insurance is no different; it is something that you either should have or are required to buy. But if you look into the different savings options that are available, you can save a huge amount on your policies.  Here is a list of our Top 10 ways to save money on your personal and business insurance.

  1. Home and Auto Multi-Policy: Most companies will provide a multitude of discounts on your personal insurance for bundling your home, auto, life, and umbrella insurance. Some companies are very vocal about offering these cost-saving options, but most companies will offer 3% to 5% off of your total premium for each additional policy you buy with their company, possibly saving you hundreds.
  2. Business & Life: Buying a life insurance policy can give you a discount on your home and auto insurance, as stated above, but it can also save you money on your business’s insurance. Company executives who buy a life policy through the same company that they use for business insurance can get a significant percent off of their business package policies. For large companies, or those with large coverage amounts, this could be a huge money-saving opportunity.
  3. (more…)

Hurricane Season is Here. Are You Covered?


July 1st marks the beginning of hurricane season. If you live on or near the coast, be sure to check your homeowner’s policy to be sure you are covered for the full replacement cost of your house and its contents.  Storm surges can wipe out homes close to the shore, so take time to check that your jewelry, art, family heirlooms, and any other valuables are adequately covered by the policy limits or additional property riders (see our post on high value items for more information on insuring your valuables). (more…)

Reducing the Pains of Filing Claims

Unfortunately accidents can happen, and always more than we would like them to.  When something goes wrong, it is the job of your insurance company to make sure that you are made whole financially after a covered incident occurs.  Knowing what to do and how to best let the insurance company serve you is key to getting any insurance claim you file paid quickly and completely.  Here are the basic steps to the process and some helpful tips to expedite the process: (more…)

Cyber Security: Insurance for the Future


Technology is changing more rapidly today than ever before in human history.  The advancements in connectivity between people and businesses have led to an unprecedented global interconnectedness. With any new system there will be those who try to exploit loopholes, break and bend laws, and illegally profit from others.  In recent years, the highly publicized information leaks and system hacking of several major companies have been all over the headlines.  The risks of cyber attacks on businesses were made most clear after electronic giant Sony’s PlayStation network was hacked, resulting in the theft of many of its customers’ billing information. (more…)