Six Main Types Of Commercial Insurance

Six Main Types Of Commercial Insurance

The moment you start a business you are exposing yourself to several different types of risk.  Though embarking on your new business venture is an exciting time for any entrepreneur, it’s vital to realize that one lawsuit can end a small business before it even begins.  Thankfully, there is insurance coverage available for every imaginable risk your business can face.  Here’s an explanation of six of the main types of business insurance:

General Liability:

Every small business owner needs to purchase general liability insurance to protect themselves in the event of any physical injury or property damage resulting from the business’ operations.

Product Liability:

If your business manufactures a product this type of coverage is essential.  No matter how carefully businesses monitor their business processes, it’s still possible to find defective and unsafe products.  Product liability insurance will protect your business against claims of personal injury or property caused by products supplied or sold by your business.

Note: This type of coverage doesn’t cover product recalls.

Professional Liability:

Also known as errors and omissions insurance, professional liability insurance is imperative for business that provide professional services or advice to individuals or other businesses.   Professional liability insurance protects against claims related to inaccurate advice, negligence, misrepresentation, and more.   Examples of professionals that benefit from this type of insurance are:

  • Accountants
  • Lawyers
  • Business consultants
  • Real estate agents
  • Investment advisors

Workers’ Compensation:

Workers’ compensation is required in nearly every state and covers medical expenses for employees who are injured or become ill while performing the duties of the job.  It also provides compensation for the loss of income of the injured or ill employees and works to protect against lawsuits by the employees.

Commercial Property Liability:

As the name states, commercial property insurance covers damage to the land and capital equipment that is utilized by your business as a result of fire, theft, and other perils.  Different insurance companies will protect against different types of perils so it’s important to speak with your agent to find out if you need to purchase any specialized forms of insurance to be adequately covered.

Commercial Auto Insurance:

Since personal auto policies are not meant for commercial purposes, businesses that utilize vehicles must purchase commercial vehicle insurance to cover the cars, vans, and trucks used for their business.  Commercial vehicle insurance provides protection against property damage and liability claims resulting from using a vehicle for business purposes that would otherwise not be covered under a personal auto policy.

Having the right insurance in place can help ensure that your business will avoid major losses resulting from lawsuits.  Always be sure to speak with your agent about the different forms of commercial insurance so that you are adequately protected.

Call us if you have any other questions!

(480) 535-5709

AZInsuranceTeam.com

600 E Baseline Rd. Ste B-3, Tempe, AZ 85283

Four Tips For First-Time Renters

Four Tips For First-Time Renters

 

Renting your first apartment or home can be an exciting, liberating, and stressful experience all at once.  While your aspirations of independence may be finally coming true, there are several things to consider before you make the leap and “leave the nest”.  Here are four tips to get you off on the right foot.

1. Know your budget:

A typical rule of thumb is that your rent payment shouldn’t exceed more than 30% of your monthly income, and less doesn’t hurt.  The amount you will need to pay for utilities every month needs to be considered as well, whether it’s a flat-rate or usage-based.  It’s also all-important to keep in mind all the upfront expenses that come with moving into a new home or apartment, such as the security deposit, application fee, parking permit fee, deposits for utilities, furniture, and/or anything else that you may need to pay for.

2. Read and understand the lease:

Do yourself a favor and never skim the lease agreement.  Don’t ever feel rushed and be sure to read through it thoroughly, making notes of anything that concerns you so that you can ask the landlord about it.  This is a binding agreement between you and the landlord and once you sign it you will have to stick to it for the length of the agreement.  Be sure to look into things such as potential rent increases, subletting guidelines, and guidelines regarding pets.

 3. Set up utilities in advance:

Be sure to know exactly which utilities you are going to be responsible for as well as which ones your landlord is going to be responsible for, if any.  Let’s say you’re responsible for water and electricity, you should call at least a week in advance to make sure that these will be ready by your move-in date.  Otherwise, you may move into an apartment without electricity or start off on the wrong foot with your landlord as he/she will still be footing the bill.

4. Get renters’ insurance:

Many places will require you to purchase renters’ insurance before you move in.  Even if they don’t, it’s still a must.  Your landlord’s insurance will not cover any of your personal belongings, so renters’ insurance is your only option for protection in the event of fire or theft.  Fortunately, the average cost of renters’ insurance is roughly $12 a month for $30,000 of property coverage.  It’s important to keep in mind that if you have roommates you may need to get separate policies.

Five Ways To Save Water Around Your Home

Five Ways To Save Water Around Your Home

The average American uses 80-100 gallons of water a day, with toilets accounting for around 27% of that daily water use.  This number is alarming on its own and we need to be treating water like the beloved resource that it is.  There’s hundreds of ways to conserve water in and around your home; you’ve probably been told a thousand times to turn the water off when brushing your teeth, take shorter showers, etc.  We will not be mentioning any of those.  Instead, here’s five less-obvious ways to save water and money at home.

1. Choose efficient fixtures:

Replacing your toilet, shower heads, faucets, and/or washing machine with low-flow and water efficient fixtures/appliances is a great way to start saving water instantly.  Look for the WaterSense label on products, as they have been independently certified to perform well and save water, energy, and money.  While a new washing machine may not be on the top of everyone’s list due to the price tag, WaterSense labeled shower heads, faucets, and toilets can all be very inexpensive.

2. If your bill goes up, check for leaks:

If you feel that you have an unwarranted spike in your water bill, be sure to check for leaks around your home.  There are two easy ways you can do this yourself:

  • Check for leaks in your toilet. This is done by putting a small amount of food coloring in the tank of your toilet.  Check back in an hour and be sure to not flush the toilet, if the color starts to appear in the bowl, you have a leak.
  • Check your water meter. Read the meter and don’t use any water afterwards for a couple hours.  If the meter doesn’t read exactly the same, there’s a leak somewhere.

In either case or if you’re still not sure, contacting a professional to inspect and fix the problem will result in massive savings in the future.

3. The Bucket Trick:

While waiting for the water in your sink or shower to get warm, use a bucket to collect the cold water that you can use later.  Conserving water this way will eliminate any waste and allow you to use the water some time in the future for gardening, cleaning, etc.

4. Water your garden efficiently:

Water your plants and lawn early in the morning as cooler morning temperatures mean that you’ll be losing less water due to evaporation.  What’s even more effective is watering your plants with a watering can rather than sprinklers or hose, especially when incorporating the bucket trick!

5. The Water Bottle Trick:

The water bottle trick is an efficient and effective way to save water every time you flush your toilet without having to purchase a new WaterSense labeled toilet.  Get a half-gallon jug or two smaller water bottles and put some sand or gravel at the bottom to weigh them down.  Fill the rest with water and put the lid(s) back on and place them in the toilet tank. The presence of a half-gallon jug will save half a gallon of water every single time you flush.

Save water and the planet by incorporating some of these tips in your home.  No one’s expecting you to get that new washing machine immediately after reading this, but the water bottle and bucket tricks are great ways to conserve water and save money immediately.

Nine Things To Look For In A Neighborhood

Nine Things To Look For In A Neighborhood

 

When you’re in the market for buying a new home or renting a new apartment, it’s essential to consider the fact that the neighborhood it’s in is going to become your extended family.  The location that you will be living in will undoubtedly have an effect on your life every single day, so it’s necessary to do your research and find the neighborhood that’s right for you.  Here’s nine components that every great neighborhood has:

1. Good Schools:

If you have children, this is surely already at the top of your list.  Using a resource such as Greatschools.org will give you insight about the schools in the neighborhood you’re prospecting.  Even if you do not have children, neighborhoods with great schools are more valuable which helps to keep property values high.

2. Low Crime Rate:

Living in a neighborhood with a low crime rate gives homeowners and renters alike a feeling of safety and security.  Using a resource like http://communitycrimemap.com/ will allow you to see how much and what type of crimes are happening in a neighborhood.

3. Lifestyle Match:

Regardless of whether you have a family of five or are a recent college graduate, picking a neighborhood that matches your current lifestyle makes all the difference when considering your overall comfort and quality of life.    Home buyers and renters have a tendency of drifting towards areas with similar demographics.

4. Nearby Medical Care:

Being close enough to a hospital or doctor’s office can be key for many people, especially if you have young children or are in your senior years.

5. Public Transportation:

Living near a good public transportation system is extremely convenient in the event that your car breaks down or if you’re looking to save money on gas.  Regardless of your lifestyle, a public transportation system is a solid component of any neighborhood.

6. Entertainment and Amenities:

Whether you like to go to a public park during your free time or enjoy a game of golf every once in a while, it’s important to consider how close and convenient these activities would be for you to enjoy.

7. Shopping and Restaurants:

Being in close proximity to corner stores, grocery stores, and shopping centers should always be considered for the sake of convenience.  Making sure the you live near the places you’ll need to visit on a daily or weekly basis will save time and money.

8. Low Commute Time:

If you drive to work, living far away from your workplace will result in a more expensive and time-consuming commute.

9. Aesthetics:

Visit the neighborhood and take a look around.  Is there a lot of trees is it a mostly bare neighborhood?  Living near trees is important for health and happiness.  Does it look like the neighborhood is well-maintained or on the verge of becoming run-down?  Visiting the neighborhood can give you a lot of visual cues about what life there is really like.

No neighborhood is perfect, but doing your research and taking a visit is an all-important part of the prospecting and buying process.    Good luck on finding your hidden gem as the neighborhood you live in will shape your life for years to come.

Seven Energy Saving Tips For Your Home

Seven Energy Saving Tips For Your Home

 

1. Insulation/sealing:

Preventing cool/warm air from escaping your home is one of the most cost-effective steps you can take in creating an energy-efficient household.  Leaks are commonly found around windows and doors, around light fixtures, HVAC units, mail slots, and much more.  Ensuring your home is fully weather-stripped and sealed will both lower your energy bills and increase comfort.

2. Windows:

Windows can serve as a huge factor in your energy bill.  Windows with certain tints and glazing can lower your energy bills, such as heat-absorbing tints, insulated window glazing (windows with two or more planes of glass), and reflective coatings.

As an alternative to purchasing new energy efficient windows, installing interior storm windows is less expensive and will reduce the amount of air infiltration and save energy costs.

3. LED’s and CFL’s:

Lighting your home can account for a quarter of your energy bill, and the fact of the matter is that homeowners are still using incandescent bulbs in their home.  Replacing incandescent bulbs with the significantly more efficient and longer-lasting light-emitting diodes (LED’s) or compact fluorescent lights (CFL’s )  can save you more than just pocket change.  They also only cost only a dollar more per bulb on average and save significantly more in return.

4. Ceiling Fans:

Using your ceiling fans more often or installing more is an important step in cutting utility costs. Though ceiling fans still use energy,  using them as an alternative to air conditioning will save plenty of energy and money.

5. Landscaping:

Planting trees and shrubs can be a great long term investment as doing so efficiently can cut both your cooling and heating costs significantly.  Shading your home with trees can reduce the amount of the solar heat that enters your home in the summer and act as a windbreak during the winter time.

6. Geothermal Systems:

Geothermal heat pumps (GHP’s) heat and cool a home by using the Earth’s constant ground temperature.   Geothermal systems use a ground source heat pump to take heat from the ground during the winter or to reject heat into the ground in the summer time.  Though they can be expensive to install, they are extremely efficient and will save you money in the long run.

7. Tankless Water Heaters:

Tankless water heaters (demand-type water heaters) provide hot water only when it is needed as there is no storage tank.  Tankless water heaters are typically more expensive than storage water heaters, but they are more energy efficient and usually last longer.

AZ Insurance Team

(480) 535-5709

AZInsuranceTeam.com

Seven Auto Insurance Myths: Debunked

Seven Auto Insurance Myths: Debunked

Insurance is a confusing topic on its own, and unfortunately, there are several common misconceptions regarding auto insurance.  There are a lot of myths floating around and we’re going to debunk seven of them today:

1. The color of my car is a factor when determining my rates:

Contrary to popular belief, red cars do not cost more to insure.  You won’t even be asked about the color of your car when you’re being quoted.  However, your car’s make and model, year, and engine size are among some of the factors that can have an effect on your rates.

2. If someone else drives my car and they get into an accident, they will be held responsible:

Typically, the insurance policy covering the vehicle is considered the primary insurance.  This means that regardless of who is driving the vehicle, the owner’s insurance company will be responsible for paying for any damages.

3. My personal auto insurance will cover me when I use my car for business purposes:

Even if you’re self-employed, chances are you are not protected while driving your car for work-related reasons.  If you drive your car for work-related reasons it’s important to speak with your agent about whether or not you need more coverage before you get turned down for a claim.

4. When I turn 25 my rates will automatically go down:

Statistically speaking, drivers under the age of 25 are considered more likely to get into accident.  That being said, your rates do not automatically go down just because you’ve turned 25 years old.  There are other factors considered, such as your driving record, which ultimately decide if you’ll be paying any less.

5. My auto insurance will cover personal property stolen from my vehicle:

Your renters or homeowners policy is what covers loss of personal property, whether it’s in your home or inside your vehicle.  An important note is that your homeowners or renters insurance will only cover 10% of your limit when you’re in transit.  For example, if you have a $50,000 worth of coverage, you will be protected for up to $5,000 worth of personal property stolen from your vehicle.

6. Full coverage covers everything:

Even more grossly misnamed than comprehensive coverage, “full coverage” typically refers to the combination of having liability, collision, and comprehensive coverage.  In reality full coverage auto insurance doesn’t exist.  While this is a solid level of protection, it doesn’t include coverages such as uninsured/underinsurance motorist coverage and rental reimbursement.

7. Small cars are always cheaper to insurance:

While size of your vehicle is a factor in determining your rates, small and mid-size vans and SUVs are typically the cheapest to insure.  The reason for this is that smaller cars will usually receive more damage in the event of an accident and the drivers are at a higher risk of filing an injury claim as a result of the accident.

 

The bottom line is that speaking with your agent and review your policy is the best way to eliminate surprises and make sure you’re getting the best coverage for your situation.  Never make assumptions as they can result more money coming out your pocket than necessary.

AZ Insurance Team

www.azinsuranceteam.com

(480) 535-5709

Six Ways To Save Money On Your Homeowners Insurance

Six Ways To Save Money On Your Homeowners Insurance

 

Over the course of the past decade, the cost of homeowners insurance nationwide has increased by an average of 50%.   According to ValuePenguin, the average Arizona homeowner will pay around $700 for their homeowners insurance this year.  All things considered, this rate is pennies on the dollar compared to the amount that it would cost to replace your home.   As hard-working citizens we’re all very fond of saving money every chance we get, and fortunately for us, there’s plenty of ways to save money on homeowner’s insurance.

1. Increase/maintain a good credit score:

Most insurance carriers will take your credit score into account when determining the amount you will pay for your premiums.  Maintaining a good credit score is valuable for many other aspects of life, and it can also reduce the amount you pay for insurance.    Read this guide by Bankrate to learn about 7 ways you can improve your credit score.

2. Bundle your insurance policies:

Many companies will offer you a discount from buying multiple policies from them, such as having your home and auto under the same company.  This can range from 5 to 15 percent off your premium.  Talk to your agent and see if this would be a good option for you.

3. Increase your deductible:

Your deductible is the amount of money you have to pay toward a loss before your insurance kicks in.  Having a higher deductible will result in you paying less in premiums and can allow you to keep a significant amount of money in your pocket, even compared to the amount you save by bundling.

4. Improve the security of your home:

The more likely you are to file a claim on your homeowners insurance, the more you’re going to pay.  Improving the security of your home, such as setting up burglar alarms and deadbolt locks, can qualify you for a discount.  Check out our previous blog post detailing how to improve the security of your home.

Prior to buying a home it can be beneficial to consider factors such as the neighborhood crime rate, as that can also affect your rates.

5. Make your home more resistant to fire and natural disasters:

Same as above, decreasing the likelihood that you will file a claim will help you save money on your premiums.  Updating your electrical systems and installing storm shutters are two steps to take to decrease the odds of you filing a claim.

storm shutters.jpg
Storm shutters

Similar to improving the security of your home, purchasing a home that’s in a flood plain or in an area where natural disasters are common can result in higher rates, while living near a fire station can decrease them.

6. Ask about other discounts:

Talk with your agent about any other discounts you are eligible for or could be eligible for.  These can include:

  • Not smoking
  • Installing sensors that detect gas or water leaks
  • Having a claim-free history
  • Living in a gated community

And many more!