8 Steps to Choose the Right Small Business Insurance

We all know how important it is to make sure you’re properly insured. Having vehicle, homeowners, life, and health insurance will help protect you from the financial devastation that can arise from unexpected situations.

However, when it comes to selecting the right small business insurance, things can get a bit more confusing.

Whether you’re just starting a small business, or you want to make sure your established business is fully protected, understanding the basics of buying commercial insurance will help you choose the right coverage.

The following ten tips will help you get started.

1. Review the Types of Small Business Insurance

The first step to picking business insurance is understanding your options. Some of the most important types of insurance business owners need include:

  • Business interruption – helps you pay operating expenses and recover lost income if you’re shut down because of a disaster like a building collapse, flood, fire, or theft
  • Management liability - this covers various types of liability including fiduciary, directors and officers (D&O), and employment practices liability
  • Errors and omissions (E&O) – also called “professional liability insurance,” this covers claims that your services caused a customer “financial distress”
  • Worker’s compensation – this covers expenses associated with an employee’s work-related injury
  • Product liability – covers injuries or damage caused by your products
  • Auto insurance – this is necessary if your employees use vehicles for business purposes
  • Cyber insurance – this coverage will protect your from damages that could result if you’re hacked, have a data leak, or another business-related cyber-security issue

A Business Owner’s Policy is comprehensive coverage that usually combined general liability and property insurance.

This means it would cover property damage, personal injuries, bodily injuries, and advertising injuries as well as product-related injuries and damages. Sometimes, you can also add an employment practices liability policy (ELPI) to your policy.

2. Consider Your Assets and Responsibilities

Once you’re familiar with the types of insurance available to you, it’s time to evaluate your legal responsibilities and your business assets. First, which types of insurance are you required to have?

If you have employees, there’s a good chance that you’ll have to carry worker’s compensation insurance. The same goes for auto insurance if you have a company fleet.

Other types of insurance are optional and may or may not be appropriate for your business. When deciding what you need, it’s also a good idea to consider your business assets and operations.

For example, if you own a jewelry store, you’ll want to make sure you’re insured against theft.

If you own a manufacturing plant, you’ll want to make sure your employees are protected against injuries. Professional advisors, like accountants and financial consultants, are prime candidates for carrying E&O insurance.

3. Evaluate Your Risks

When choosing your insurance coverage, you’ll also want to analyze your risk.

For example, a company that stores customer data on their server or in the cloud faces the risk of it getting into the wrong hands. For this reason, cyber liability insurance is a great idea.

On the other hand, a single-person law practice probably has no need for worker’s compensation.

Choosing the correct business insurance coverage means finding the balance between covering likely risks and avoiding wasting money on insurance for incidents that are extremely unlikely to occur.

4. Estimate Your Costs

While it would make you feel good to have millions of dollars in coverage for every possible scenario, this is usually cost-prohibitive.

Once you’ve evaluated your responsibilities and risks, you need to weigh this against the cost of purchasing comprehensive insurance coverage.

The ultimate goal is to ensure you have enough coverage to protect yourself without overpaying for coverage you don’t need.

5. Work with a Professional

If all of this is making you feel anxious, you’re not alone. That’s why many people choose to work with a professional who will help you analyze all of these factors and choose the perfect coverage.

You can choose to work with a professional insurance broker, financial advisor, or another professional business advisor with financial experience.

Having a second opinion will help you feel more comfortable and ensure you haven’t missed any important considerations.

6. Choose a Great Provider

Not all insurance providers are the same. Before you commit to a policy, take some time to research the company. Check the company’s reviews and whether they have a history of paying claims without the hassle.

Obviously, you’ll want to make sure the company is licensed to serve customers in your state.

Also take the time to research the company’s ratings by third-party agencies like A.M. Best, Moody’s, and Fitch. This will help you evaluate the financial stability of the company.

A company can only pay out your claim if they’re still in business and financially viable, so this is critical.

7. Read Your Policy

After you receive your insurance policies, make sure you take the time to read through them.

This will help ensure that it actually covers everything you think it does and that you’re aware of any “fine print.”

While it’s not the most exciting thing you’ll ever do, reading your policy will help you avoid unexpected (and unpleasant!) surprises.

8. Plan an Annual Review

Lastly, you’ll want to review your insurance coverage once a year.

This way, if there have been any significant changes in your business needs, you can proactively make adjustments.

Doing an annual review will also help you make sure you’re not overpaying for your policies.

Get Help with Your Small Business Insurance Today

It’s not always easy to choose the right combination of small business insurance coverage. That’s why you want to turn to the pros!

The experts at Harrah & Associates will evaluate your business needs and make sure you’re covered! Contact us today to schedule a consultation.

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Business Insurance: 5 Benefits of General Liability Coverage

75 percent of all businesses in the United States are underinsured.

It’s a shocking statistic, given the potential devastation the unexpected can have for ill-prepared companies. 40 percent of U.S. business businesses hit by a disaster never reopen.

As the owner of a small business, one of your biggest responsibilities is to protect your enterprise from hazards and potential catastrophes.

One way to do so is by ensuring you have business insurance. In particular, you need general liability business insurance.

But what exactly is general liability commercial insurance? What and who does it cover? Why should you get it?

These are some issues we highlight in today’s comprehensive post. Read on to learn more.

What is General Liability Business Insurance?

General liability insurance refers to an insurance policy that provides liability coverage for general business risks.

It’s one of the different types of insurance that a company needs for protection against potential business risks.

What Does General Liability Commercial Insurance Cover?

General liability insurance for small business enterprises covers a wide variety of issues. These include:

Bodily Injury

When a third party suffers bodily harm as a result of your business activities, they may file a claim against you. Your general liability coverage can help take care of that.

Property Damage

You or your workers might accidentally damage the property of a third party during your business activities. These damages are included in your general liability coverage.

Personal and Advertising Injury

Sometimes, a company’s advertising efforts lead to the financial loss of a third party. This type of harm is considered a personal and advertising injury.

You are liable for this type of injury if you are found to have committed libel, slander, invasion of privacy, or copyright infringement.

Your general liability policy can help cover the costs associated with this injury.

Medical Payments

When a third party at your business location suffers injuries, you may have to pay for their treatment.

The same applies when third parties suffer injuries at other locations where your workers are involved in business activities. Your general liability policy can take care of these issues.

Defense Costs

When facing a lawsuit, one of the biggest expenses you can face is paying for your legal defense. Your general liability coverage can assign and pay for your legal counsel.

Who is Covered?

General liability insurance covers your business and your employees against claims when your business operations cause damages of injury.

This insurance can also cover manufacturers and wholesalers if the products they deal with have the potential to hurt third parties.

General liability insurance also provides coverage for vendors who sell your products in case they face potential lawsuits related to the products.

Benefits of General Liability Insurance

Now that we’ve seen what general liability insurance is and what it covers, it’s time to look at some of the top reasons to invest in the policy. Here are five top benefits of general liability coverage.

1. It Demonstrates Responsibility

When you get small business insurance, you're communicating to your clients you're ready to assume responsibility in case liable for accidents that occur in your business locations.

It shows that besides doing your best to protect your company, you have your clients’ best interests in mind.

2. It Shows You're Established

Having commercial general liability business coverage demonstrates that you’re serious about protecting your livelihood for the long-term.

It tells your prospects, customers, and other stakeholders that you don’t want to risk claims that might threaten the future of your business.

As a result, you reinforce that trust that your clients have in you. If clients trust you and love your products or services, they’re most likely to give you repeat business and refer others to you.

3. It Could Increase Client Contracts

Many clients insist on working with businesses that have general liability insurance. Why? Because no client wants to be liable for your mistakes.

Not having this type of policy could also make clients think you want to avoid claims. On the other hand, having general liability coverage can significantly boost trust and lead to new and bigger business opportunities.

4. It Keeps You Afloat During Troubling Times

While no one wants to imagine that something bad will happen to your business, sometimes the unexpected happens.

In case of a disaster, your general liability insurance can help cover the cost of repair and replacement.

The policy helps make sure that your normal operations don’t stall in the event of these theft, damage, or fire incidents.

5. It May Protect Your Company Against Cybercrime

Cybercrime is a very real threat today, affecting millions of businesses every year.

A single cybercrime incident can devastate your business, both financially and in terms of your reputation. That’s why you need to stay prepared for cyberattacks at all times.

One way to do so is to have the right coverage against cybercrime.

A general liability insurance policy with data breach coverage can help you get your business on track quickly in case you become the victim of cybercrime.

The policy pays for legal costs, remediation expenses, and other costs associated with data breaches.

Tips for Buying General Liability Business Insurance

So, how do you go about purchasing the right general liability insurance coverage?

The first thing you need to do is to identify your risks. Thoroughly analyze your operations and identify all potential risks so you can cover the appropriate coverage.

Be sure to choose a competent, independent insurance agency to guide you through the process of choosing and applying for the ideal policy for you.

Don't forget to compare offers from several business insurance companies, so you get the best deal for you. Your insurance agent should be able to suggest the best insurance providers for you.

Protect Your Business by Getting the Right Insurance Coverage

Every small business needs to prepare for potential crises. No one knows when disaster will strike.

By having general liability business insurance, you can get your business back on track in case of anything.

Are you interested in getting general liability coverage for your business? Please contact us today.

Transporting freighting service lorry trucks

The Essential Guide to Buying Commercial Auto Insurance

Roughly 75 percent of businesses around the world are underinsured. It’s a shocking statistic given the many business risks that companies face today.

For businesses that operate vehicles, commercial insurance is especially important. The road can be a dangerous place, and auto businesses have unique risks that most other businesses don’t.

That’s why having commercial auto insurance is so vital.

While on the road, your vehicles and drivers are always at the mercy of foul weather, poor road conditions, careless road users, and heavy traffic. Add these risks to vandalism, uninsured drivers, and America’s litigious culture, and the potential costs escalate.

With the best commercial auto insurance, however, you can reduce the financial impact of any interruptions, damages, or losses that occur because of the unexpected.

But what exactly is commercial auto insurance? What does it cover? How can you identify and purchase the ideal insurance policy for your auto company?

These are some issues we cover in this comprehensive guide. Read on to learn more.

What Is Commercial Auto Insurance?

Commercial auto insurance refers to insurance that covers businesses that operate vehicles. This insurance helps businesses cover expenses associated with repairing or replacing company vehicles.

All companies that use vehicles for business purposes need commercial auto insurance coverage. A commercial auto insurance policy provides a higher level of coverage than a personal car insurance policy.

This insurance coverage also boosts your risk mitigation strategy. How? Well, it gives you better chances of keeping your operations running, even when one or more of your vehicles have been involved in an accident.

Commercial auto insurance is available for all types of vehicles. These include cars, vans, semi-trucks, trucks, and specialist vehicles.

What Business Auto Insurance Covers

Commercial auto insurance carriers provide coverage for expenses associated with an accident. These costs include:

  • Physical damage or theft
  • Medical payments and expenses
  • Car accident liability
  • An accident with an uninsured driver

Study the fine print to find out any policy exclusions, coverage eligibility, and so on when applying for this type of insurance.

Purchasing Commercial Auto Insurance

The best commercial auto insurance is the one that fits your company's needs perfectly. Here are a few smart tips for purchasing coverage that you won't regret.

Understand Your Needs

How often do you use vehicles for business tasks? If you only use one vehicle occasionally for business purposes, then you may want to consider expanding your personal car coverage.

Do you only use rental vehicles in your business? Then you’ll want to go for hired auto insurance. If some of your employees regularly use their personal vehicle, then you want to get non-owned auto coverage.

Know Your Unique Business Risks

Every type of business has its unique risks. Carefully examine your company and take stock of your operations, how heavy your vehicle use is, and the different risk scenarios in your business.

Depending on whether you transport clients, deliver food, haul construction equipment, or are in the moving business, your business will have specific hazards. By identifying these unique risks, you can decide which types of auto coverage you should look at.

Purchase the Highest Amount of Coverage You Can

There are minimum auto coverage requirements in every state. However, your business may require more, depending on the nature and scope of your operations.

Always go for as much coverage as your business can afford. This way, you are more insulated in case one of your employees gets involved in an accident.

Understand the Difference Between Commercial and Personal Auto Insurance

A personal auto insurance policy generally doesn't cover accidents that occur when driving your personal car for business purposes.

It's why you need business auto insurance to cover any damages to your vehicle or other vehicles involved in an accident during business operations.

As we pointed out earlier, commercial auto insurance can also cover other costs related to the accident, including medical expenses and legal fees, should the other driver sue your business.

Find Out What’s Covered in the Policy

Not all commercial auto insurance policies are the same. Most policies cover auto liability, uninsured and underinsured motorists, medical expenses, physical damage, collision, rental assistance, and vehicle rental reimbursement.

Contents of the vehicle are usually not covered by these policies.

Look for Ways to Proactively Cut Costs

You want to keep your insurance premiums low. One way to do so is by taking appropriate actions to minimize the likelihood of accidents and other unpleasant occurrences.

Invest in safety devices for your vehicles. For instance, consider installing anti-lock brakes, automatic seat belts, side airbags, and daytime running lights. You could also go for anti-theft devices such as GPS and alarm systems.

Don’t forget to do your research when hiring your drivers. Check employee driving records before entrusting them with company vehicles. Hiring employees who have stellar driving records helps keep your insurance premiums low.

Choose the Right Auto Insurance Provider

Once you start shopping for commercial auto insurance, the first thing you'll realize is that there are countless agencies offering this service.

Given that not all business auto insurance carriers are created equal, you need to be careful when choosing the right one for you. Keep in mind that the kind of insurance provider you choose will determine what experience you have with them.

Start by getting recommendations from people you can trust. Next, look at whether the company is properly certified to operate in your state.

Other factors like the company’s history and reputation, ease of doing business, rates, and special offers should also come into play.

Get the Right Commercial Auto Coverage for You

A huge part of being a responsible business owner is planning ahead for potential risks. This includes getting a suitable commercial auto insurance policy if vehicles play a role in your business operations.

Are you interested in a business insurance policy that’s tailored for your needs? Please contact us today.

a person holding a ball accompanied by cyber security terms

10 Tips to Help Reduce the Likelihood of a Cyber Attack

What is cyber liability insurance and why is it important?

It covers you for liability that you may endure because of somebody hacking into your system also covers you for first-party issues. That's your stuff.

If somebody infiltrates a virus in your system and enables it to operate, or if somebody hacks in and transfers money from your bank account erroneously, those are the things that cyber liability covers.

We know many times clients of ours may not be able to allocate additional funds to insurance. As we all know, insurance can be costly.

We wanted to give you some tips that might insulate yourself from an attack, so here are 10 tips to help you reduce the likelihood of sustaining a cyber attack.

1. Train Your Staff

First and foremost, train your employees on the importance of cybersecurity and what could happen to your business if you sustained a cyber attack, data breach or hack.

2. Install Security Software

Next, make sure you have antiviral and anti-spyware software on your system and make sure it's updated regularly.

We'd also caution you here in this environment to make sure your employees have that as well on their laptops or their connections when they're working remotely.

It's critical right now during the pandemic that we all take the extra step to make sure that our security that we have in our businesses is extended to all these home offices that we all now have that we didn't have in the past.

3. Have a Firewall

The same applies to a firewall. It's critical to make sure you have a firewall that covers all of your computers and again, your remote employees need to have a firewall as well.

4. Back Up Your Data Regularly

Backing up data is extremely important. It sounds simple, but so many people forget to do it. So, that should be done regularly.

5. Update Your Software

Software updates on your operating systems should be done regularly as well. Most times the updates contain enhanced security.

6. Control Physical Access

Controlling physical access to your computers is also very important. You want to do what you can to prevent strangers or unwanted people from getting into your building and possibly turning on your computers

7. Make Your WiFi Network Secure

Having access to a secure Wi-Fi network is also critical. We know it sounds kind of like common sense, but sometimes you'd be surprised at how many people don't have that.

Or again, more importantly, your employees, when they're working remotely for you, make sure they know they have to work on a secure network.

8. Provide Employees With Their Own Logins

Each individual employee should have their own login and password to all the sites they access on your behalf. If everyone shares a login, it increases the likelihood of a damaging cyber attack.

9. Limit Who Can Install New Software

You also need to limit the people that have the ability to install software. This should be limited to the business owners and maybe the operational manager.

10. Change Passwords Regularly

And last but not least, this is an easy one. You want to make sure that you and your employees regularly change passwords.

Taking these steps will definitely help make your business more secure. However, in no means do we think having these steps can replace the importance of a cyber liability policy.

We would strongly suggest you reach out to your broker and talk to them about it, or reach out to us.

We'd love to talk to you and give you further detail about this coverage. It protects you tremendously and the coverage is less expensive than you'd think. Don't be frightened by another policy...

a male and female business professional working together

What Is Professional Liability Insurance & Why Is It Important?

You started a business, and you want it to be covered, so naturally, you look into insurance. You come across professional liability insurance and wonder what it is.

Well, you're in the right place. In premise, PLI is insurance that protects professionals (lawyers, physicians, accountants, etc) against negligence initiated by clients.

In this article, we will cover in-depth what is professional liability insurance so you can make an educated decision about it.

What Is Professional Liability Insurance?

As mentioned earlier, professional liability insurance protects professionals (physicians, accountants, lawyers, etc) against negligence and similar claims from their clients.

Professionals who have expertise in any area require this insurance because general liability does not offer the protection against claims that come from the business or professional practice, such as misrepresentation, negligence, and malpractice.

What Does It Cover?

Professional liability insurance covers many things, some which are but not limited to:

  • Misrepresentation
  • Negligence
  • Malpractice
  • Inaccurate advice

Even if you are not in the wrong, your client still has the option to sue the business if they feel you've made a mistake. Without this coverage, you will be responsible for paying the legal costs out of your own pocket.

However, PLI does not cover everything. For instance, it will not help your business against claims like this:

  • Any claim of property damage or bodily harm. For this, you need general liability insurance.
  • Any claim of illness or work-related injury. If your employee gets sick or hurts on the job, you need workers comp to help them recover and return.
  • Any claim of a data breach. In this case, you need cyber insurance to cover business loss of sensitive information.
  • ...And many more

Who Is Professional Liability Insurance for?

Professional liability insurance is perfect for a variety of businesses, and some states actually require this insurance to be active.

In other states, business owners choose this coverage in fear of a customer or client suing them.

Typically, you want PLI if you:

  • Offer professional services to your clients directly
  • Provide specialized advice to your clients regularly
  • Have to sign contracts that require you to have this type of coverage

However, there are a myriad of other reasons someone would want PLI, so keep that in mind. Whatever reason you need PLI for, make sure you find a specialized and experienced provider who is there for you, and not just themselves.

How Does PLI Work?

Depending on the field of expertise, professional liability insurance might have a different identifying name, such as errors & omissions for real estate, medical malpractice for medicine, so on and so forth.

PLI is specialty coverage that is not provided under the in-home business policy, homeowners endorsement, business-owner policy. It only corresponds to claims made within the active policy period.

PLI policies are developed on a claims-informed basis, which means the insurance is only good for the claims within a certain timeframe.

PLI will indemnify the insured against loss arising from these claims by reasons of all covered errors, negligent acts, or omissions that are committed in the regular conduct of the professional business throughout the policy period.

Incidents occurring before the policy are most likely not applicable to coverage, however, some policies might possess a retroactive date.

For instance, the retroactive date references that you are covered for incidents that occur on or after the specified data.

Whereas, the extended reporting period assists coverage for claims that have been filed within a period of time after policy expiration. This is generally two months of time, but the timeframe can be extended for a year or more at the expense of additional costs.

Your insurance provider will only cover claims made against the business during the period or within the extended reporting timeframe.

The claim must be from an omission or error that occurred after the retroactive date. That's professional liability insurance.

PLI Policy Wording

Some policies are worded in a very specific way than others (more restrictive than others).

While the majority of the policy wording is developed to satisfy the minimum approved wording, which makes it easier to compare to other policies. Some policies differ tremendously in the type of coverage provided.

For instance, breach of duty can be included if the incident has happened, and was reported by the policy owner to the provider within the policy period.

Wordings with extensive legal variations can be quite confusing to non-lawyers.

For example, coverage for error, omission, or negligent act can indemnify the policyholder against circumstances or loss that has occurred only because of any of the three (negligent modifier does not apply to all three categories, though a non-legal reader might assume so).

Furthermore, a negligent act, negligent omission or negligent error is significantly more restructure, which would most definitely deny coverage for a lawsuit that has alleged non-negligent omission or error.

And that's why the importance of a lawyer is so stressed by individuals in the community. The policy provider might not care for you to have legal representation, but without it, you might inflict unfavorable terms upon the security of your business.

PLI for You

Now that you know what is professional liability insurance, you are well on your way to determine whether or not it's the right option for you.

However, for some individuals, it's not really a choice, but more of a consideration upon which provider is the best for them.

If you're interested in learning more about PLI or want to check out our policies, get in touch with us and we will happily accommodate your professional needs.

Builders and contractor talking on a construction site

What is Contractor Insurance & Do I Need Coverage?

Today, many skilled professionals are striking out on their own and starting a contracting business.

However, if you’re not careful, you could end up owing more than you’ll ever earn as a contractor. Accordingly, it’s important to have the right contractor insurance for your business.

Construction work is very aggressive–and dangerous. Because of the nature of the field, it’s not unheard of for construction contractors to damage property – or worse – hurt themselves.

Liability insurance protects contractors who are on the job. If something should go wrong during a job, it will also protect your assets.

A good contractor liability coverage policy will protect you financially should an accident, injury or property damage incident take place on the job.

To learn more about how contractor insurance can protect you and your business, read on.

Who Needs Contractor Insurance?

Contractors perform skilled services for people and businesses. Contractor insurance is a good idea for nearly anyone who performs professional services for other people.

Contractors work in nearly all industries. However, people most often mean construction professionals when they use the word contractor.

If you work in construction, insurance is more than something that’s nice to have. In some instances, the law requires it.

In some states, you cannot ply your trade without contractor insurance. In New Jersey, for instance, you must have a minimum of $500,000 of general liability insurance.

Also, you must have workers comp insurance if you employ workers. New Jersey law also requires painters to obtain a special license if they work with lead paint.

You may also want insurance for your equipment. For example, you can purchase insurance to cover miscellaneous tools such as wrenches or hammers. You can also buy contractor insurance coverage for heavy equipment, such as trailers and forklifts.

What Does Contractor Insurance Cover?

On work sites, you could find yourself in one of many dilemmas. For instance, you may need your insurance to cover injuries.

Injury insurance may cover unforeseen costs, such as court awards, funerals, or medical expenses. It’s essential not to confuse this kind of insurance with Workmen’s Compensation coverage. That’s a different type of insurance for employees.

Contractor insurance may also cover you for damage claims. If you accidentally damage someone’s property, for example, insurance may keep you from having to pay the cost of repairing it out of pocket. Contractor insurance may also cover the cost of interrupting someone’s business due to an accident.

In some instances, you may find yourself liable for things out of your control. For example, the court can award someone a reward for an injury that occurred because of a defect in a product you installed on their property. Contracting insurance can help you mitigate your losses.

Insurance can cover contractors and other ways. For instance, you may design products. If you create something similar to someone else’s product, insurance can protect you if that individual sues your company.

How Much Does Contractor Insurance Cost?

The cost of contracting insurance varies. Insurers calculate premium rates by assessing the risks associated with your business.

For instance, you may frequently do low-risk work. In this case, a business owner’s policy may serve your needs well, as opposed to contractor liability insurance.

Alternatively, you may work in a high-risk industry. For example, you may repair and replace roofs.

Working on roofs presents an inherent risk. If you work in this field, you’ll naturally have to pay higher insurance premiums.

Insurance can protect you from significant losses. Insurance policies are relatively inexpensive compared to what you’d pay out-of-pocket if something goes wrong. Coverage usually lasts from six months to a year.

When considering a policy for your business, it’s important to think about the work that you regularly perform. Also, for large projects, it’s a good idea to purchase a policy that’s above two to three times the estimated cost of the work that you’ll perform.

Depending on your trade, general liability insurance can cost you about $700 to $9,500 per year. Professional liability insurance can cost you from $550 to $2,000 yearly. Meanwhile, builder’s risk insurance may cost you from 1% to 4% of construction costs.

Saying Yes to Insurance: The Smart Move for Contractors

Very few business owners have enough capital to pay for accidents out of pocket–even if they’re well-established. It’s important to buy the right insurance to protect your business and your source of income.

Basic coverage–such as unemployment, workers’ compensation and property insurance–are a good place to start. However, by purchasing independent contractor's insurance, you can make sure you’re covered completely.

There’s no way to predict when an accident will occur. You don’t want something to go wrong and then find out that your current insurance doesn’t cover you for all possibilities.

If you wait until something happens, it’s too late to buy insurance. Now is the time to protect your business and your livelihood–before the unimaginable happens.

An Insurer That’s Got You Covered

Harrah & Associates has served consumers and businesses since 1955. We understand the distinctive needs of your business. We have the experience and skill to craft a contractor insurance program to protect your business from nearly all unforeseen circumstances.

Contact a Harrah & Associates representative today to find out how easy it is to access comprehensive business insurance. Our experts are standing by and waiting to help you fulfill your insurance needs.

business people in suits walking through a city

7 Questions to Ask Before Buying Commercial Insurance

75% of businesses are underinsured across the board. That means when they run into issues, they aren't covered and have to come up with the costs on their own.

Most companies don't have a ton of extra money lying around to handle these unexpected (often expensive) expenses, and that's why commercial insurance is so important.

Finding the right policy for your business is important, so we've put together seven questions you should ask before getting a commercial insurance policy.

1. Do I Need Commercial Insurance?

There are many types of business insurance, and some are required by law. Those typically include unemployment insurance, workers' compensation insurance, property insurance, and disability insurance.

Those business insurances are a good start and might get you through some issues, but having a commercial umbrella policy will guarantee you are covered.

Unforeseen and unpredictable events can occur at any time. It would be terrible to have a disaster happen only to find out the damage won't be covered through your current policy. The time to get coverage is when things are going well.

Beyond bringing confidence to you about your company's ability to pull through hard times, having a good insurance policy is also a good sign to others. Investors, lenders, and potential clients often look to see if their investments will be safe with a company through their insurance policy as well.

2. How Much Will Commercial Insurance Cost?

One of the most important questions you need to ask before signing up for a commercial insurance policy is how much it will cost. A business's budget is crucial for their survival.

The cost will vary depending on the insuring company you're using and the specifics of the policy.

Generally, using the same company for all insurance types will get you a discounted rate. There are several payment options available that can help make it as affordable as possible.

The coverage is often worth the cost, but it's important to make sure it's realistic before signing up.

3. What Is Actually Covered By My Insurance?

All the different types of insurance you can have for your business can be overwhelming and confusing. So it's important to make sure you understand fully what will be covered by a commercial policy and what won't be.

Commercial insurance will generally cover a wide range of issues as a kind of catch-all behind your original policies.

That coverage extends to property damage, theft, lawsuits, liabilities, issues with employees, and other business expenses. The specifics may differ based on actual policies.

Owning a business is a big risk with many potential issues, so a commercial insurance policy often eases worries about many of those.

4. How Do I Submit A Claim?

Every insurance company works differently with their customers when sorting through claims. Understanding your specific company's procedures and policies before signing up can save you a lot of headaches in a crisis.

If an issue arises where you will need to cash in on your policies to fund relief or repairs, you need to move as quickly as possible.

When you already know how to get in contact with your agent and submit a claim, you can move much faster. It's also helpful to have a realistic view of the timeline for getting those funds.

A little foresight can help tremendously in a crisis.

5. Will There Be Any Gaps In My Coverage?

Surveys show that most businesses choose to go without any insurance. This leaves them open to many potential issues and financial strain.

Even when a business has some insurance, they may leave themselves vulnerable through gaps in that coverage. It's hard for the average person to see those gaps in their coverage. So having a professional insurance agent look over your policies can unveil any potential gaps.

The best part about commercial insurance is that it normally covers any gaps left by your standard business insurance policy.

Often the commercial insurance will kick in after you've exhausted your other policies' coverage. Meaning that it will cover whatever the others' don't, which is a huge relief.

6. Will My Rates Ever Change?

Since a business' budget is so important, you'll want to make sure that your policy rates won't just change on you unexpectedly.

Insurance companies reevaluate their customers' policies regularly. This allows them to gauge their investment and level of risk. From this evaluation, there is often a slight change in the price for coverage (up or down).

While this is normal practice, you'll want to know when it happens and how often so you can prepare.

You'll also want to know what factors could influence a change and what you could expect after certain events. All of these things will just help you have a clear picture of what will likely happen and reduce any surprises.

7. How Do I Get Insurance Coverage?

Getting insurance coverage is normally a pretty straightforward process for most businesses, but occasionally, there are a few things that have to be completed beforehand.

If you're shopping around for the right policy for your business, it's helpful to know what's required so when you make a decision, you can act quickly to get covered.

It's also very helpful to know if you can change your policy and coverage at any time. A business is always evolving and changing, so you may need to switch up your insurance with those changes. Understanding if that's possible, what it might cost, and how to do that is a good place to start.

Be Prepared To Get Commercial Insurance

Having the right commercial insurance policy in place for your company will bring you peace of mind and confidence moving forward.

There's nothing better than knowing if something devastating comes up, you'll be able to weather the storm and come out on top. Commercial insurance provides you with the resources to do that.

If you're ready to get started looking at policies and getting coverage, contact us today!

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Why You Need Self Employed Business Insurance

Ever-increasing numbers of people are making the move into self-employment, and we don’t blame them.

To be self-employed is to take back control. You work for yourself instead of the man, earning money on your own terms. You enjoy newfound freedom, autonomy, and pride in running your own operation.

It’s no surprise that around 16 million Americans choose to work for themselves.

But self-employment isn’t all smooth sailing! There’s risk involved too. After all, to fend for yourself is to be in the firing line when accidents and issues arise.

That’s why you need self employed business insurance. It’s an essential way to protect yourself from unexpected legal and financial challenges.

New to self-employment and looking for further incentives to get insured? Read on to discover why small business insurance is so important.

To Protect Against Accidents

One moment you’re riding high on cloud nine. Business is booming, clients are happy, and the future looks bright. Then disaster strikes.

A customer falls over and injures themselves in your store. An employee gets injured at work. You make a mistake that harms a client’s physical or financial wellbeing. You accidentally damage a client’s property.

There’s no end to the number of potential accidents that can occur. But, whatever happens, you’re liable for damages. You can face costly legal battles that could cripple your fledgling business.

That's one reason why you need self-employed business insurance

To Offset Losses from Sickness and Absence

The associated risks of self-employment don’t all come from external sources.

Imagine having an accident or falling sick. There’s no sick-leave or income-protection from employers to fall back on. As the captain of your ship, any enforced absence has a direct impact on your ability to generate revenue.

That’s a significant problem for serious ailments that can make work impossible for extended lengths of time. As a result, you can face huge financial losses and stressful periods of income uncertainty.

Business insurance can help offset the monetary trouble of these unfortunate situations. Protected against such an eventuality, you can focus on getting better, safe knowing that you’ll have money coming in.

To Cover the Costs of Broken Equipment

Most self-employed people rely upon vital pieces of equipment to earn their living.

Examples might include expensive computers, printers, cameras, tablets, mobile phones, and so on. Such equipment plays a central role in the ability to conduct business.

Think about the particular gear that you use every day as part of your operation. Now imagine it breaking, being stolen, or getting lost. You can lose thousands of dollars worth of equipment and your ability to generate income!

Insurance helps you avoid such a calamitous situation. It can cover the cost of replacing your gear and gets your business back up and running in record time.

To Protect Against Angry Clients

Business can feel uncertain sometimes, but one thing’s almost guaranteed:

Eventually, you’ll have a difficult client/customer that, fairly or unfairly, expresses dissatisfaction with your product/service. In worst-case scenarios, they’ll even threaten you with legal action/claims of negligence.

For example, a consultant’s advice might lead to negative outcomes for the client. Feeling aggrieved, they seek compensation as remuneration.

These situations can feel overwhelming for self-employed people. Everything from their hard-earned reputation to finances gets put on the line. Having indemnity insurance eases the strain by covering any costs involved.

To Ensure Business Longevity

You’ve worked hard from day one to turn your self-employed business into a success.

Imagine it being placed in jeopardy because of one mistake, accident, or unhappy customer.

The financial implications of a lawsuit can do exactly that. You might have to pay exorbitant sums of money that’d bankrupt your operation. All the time, effort, and money that you’ve invested in the business would go down the pan.

Covering yourself with self-employed small business insurance prevents that eventuality.

As we’ve seen, you’re protected against issues that could otherwise threaten your enterprise. With less chance of suffering an untimely demise, you help guarantee its ongoing growth and prosperity.

To Enjoy Peace of Mind

Operating without business insurance is a recipe for stress and concern.

After all, something cataclysmic could happen at any moment- and you’re unprotected!

Aside from the emotional strain involved, there can be business implications too. The prevailing worry about experiencing potential problems, for example, might make it harder to take risks. You’re more likely to play safe and miss out on potential rewards in the process.

Having insurance delivers peace of mind. The financial protection liberates you from the concern that one wrong move might spell disaster.

To Restore Focus to Business

Accidents and issues that arise can be an almighty distraction from work.

They demand attention and you have no choice but to address them. Throw in the worry and concern involved and it can be impossible to focus on business as usual.

Having the appropriate insurance can help relieve the strain. There’s no worrying about where the money will come from or scrambling to get the resources together. Suddenly, it’s only a matter of making a claim.

You resolve the matter with less hassle and get back to your primary responsibilities far sooner.

Exactly Why You Need Self Employed Business Insurance

Self-employment holds an irresistible allure to millions of people around the country.

But it isn’t always a bed of roses! The nature of taking on your own business means it’s your neck on the line when issues occur. There’s no employer to take the fall, no company to take to court, and less financial security with which to weather the storm.

That’s where having small business insurance becomes so valuable. Have you been wondering why you need self employed business insurance? We hope this article has proved useful in explaining why it's so important.

Interested in accessing business insurance? Contact us today to see how we can be of service.

Essential Considerations for Returning to Work - Video & PDF

Webinar Summary:

Recently, Governor Murphy sketched out the benchmarks New Jersey will have to reach before the COVID-19 lockdown can be lifted. The stay at home order will remain in place until further notice, but the Governor said he expects the timeline for reopening to be measured in weeks, not months.

Returning to work will bring new legal and practical challenges for employers in all industries. The New Jersey Agents Alliance and its Member Agencies are pleased to invite you to a complimentary webinar by Clark Hill and HR/Advantage Advisory Services and hope that you will join us for an engaging discussion on the following topics:

  • Safely returning your employees to the workforce
  • Relevant federal and state guidance
  • Best practices for dealing with vulnerable workers, refusal/reluctance to work, and employee anxiety
  • COVID-19 positive workers and claims of workplace exposure
  • Why it’s important to formulate your workplace policies now
  • How we can help

Please share any questions that you may have about your returning workforce when you register.

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How Much Does Business Insurance Cost? A Helpful Guide

You can protect your livelihood from liability claims by understanding a few facts about small business insurance.

Whether you’ve been in business for a decade or you’re a startup, your business needs insurance. You may think insurance is costly.

However, that’s not always the case. Read on for the answer to the question, “How much does business insurance cost?”

Does My Business Need Insurance?

An insurance provider will determine your company’s business insurance cost by evaluating several factors, such as the location and size of your business.

Insurers use historical information and analytical tools to correlate risks to the characteristics of your business. These kinds of factors have an associated cost that’s directly associated with risk.

They'll begin the process of figuring out your small business insurance cost by evaluating all the risk factors tied to your business. They'll then add up those risk factors and assess your company’s profit margin.

Now, they’ve completed the formula that determines the cost of your insurance. As your business changes, the cost of your insurance may change.

Business insurance is a contract between you and an insurer. The agreement states that you'll pay your monthly premium.

It also states that the insurance company will help you repair, replace, or recover lost assets. It will protect your business if your property gets lost, stolen or damaged.

Most people don’t think they need insurance. That is until they do.

It’s vital that you protect your business from any number of things that may go wrong. It’s more important to ask, “What events could cause my business to shutter?” rather than “How much is business insurance?”

Some things are out of your control. For instance, someone could break into your storefront and steal equipment. Also, you could find yourself entangled in a lawsuit that originated because of the defect in a product made by another company.

Owning a business is rewarding. However, it’s also risky. Insurance protects you from those risks.

Different Types of Small Business Insurance

There are several different types of small business insurance. For instance, property insurance protects your building and anything inside of it.

Property insurance will protect you whether damage occurs because of a mistake, such as a fire, or a natural disaster such as a hurricane.

Liability insurance protects your company if someone sues you. A single accident could result in significant medical bills and legal fees.

Meanwhile, worker’s compensation covers your business in case one of your employees gets hurt. If you have employees, you must buy workers comp insurance to comply with the law.

Worker’s compensation will also protect your business if you find that you have to pay medical bills for employees. Without coverage, these kinds of expenses can hurt your finances and may even put you out of business.

The type of insurance that you purchase also depends on the structure of your business. For instance, a sole proprietor would need a different insurance policy compared to a corporation.

The type of services or products that you offer will also affect your choice of an insurance policy. Additionally, you need more or less coverage depending on the number of workers you employ.

Also, different businesses have different financial responsibilities. These varying responsibilities will also affect the cost and coverage of your insurance policy.

How Much Does Business Insurance Cost?

Ultimately, the cost of your insurance policy varies depending on what your business sells or provides. It also varies based on your volume of business.

Remember, insurance prevents you from paying losses out-of-pocket. Therefore, the salaries you pay will also affect the cost of your coverage.

Depending on your operation, you may need several different types of insurance. For instance, if you use delivery trucks, you’ll need commercial vehicle insurance.

Imagine that you own a small retail storefront in the small business district. More than likely, you’ll need a combination of property and liability insurance. This type of policy may cost over one thousand dollars annually.

Alternatively, a large utility company that owns wells and trucks may pay millions each year for coverage. At the same time, a consulting firm may pay several thousand dollars per year for an insurance policy.

Meanwhile, the average cost of business insurance for sole proprietors is typically a few hundred dollars a year for general liability insurance.

A landscaper – who conducts business on other peoples’ properties – may pay several thousand dollars per year for an insurance policy. They must protect themselves if they cause harm to someone else’s property.

Finding the Right Insurance Provider

Now, you understand that there is no clear-cut answer to the question, “How much does business insurance cost?” As you can see, many different factors can affect the cost of your insurance policy.

Before you approach an insurance provider, make sure you have a clear understanding of your type of business, your location and your employees.

These characteristics are an excellent starting point for assessing the type of insurance that you need for your business. The policy you choose will directly correlate to the size of your enterprise.

Many small businesses purchase a Business Owner’s Policy (BOP). This kind of policy is suitable for companies with fewer than 100 employees and revenues of less than $5 million a year.

Still, you can purchase customized insurance to cover your unique business. However, many insurers offer standardized policies for small companies that are affordable but protect your company from risks.

Stay Safe, Stay in Charge

Many successful businesses start in a garage or a spare room. These small startup firms typically only have one employee and little revenue.

Nevertheless, it’s still essential that even small businesses protect themselves against risks. A mistake during this early stage can end a business before it begins.

Whether you want to protect yourself from hackers, fire, or natural disasters, there’s a policy that’s right for your organization. Harrah & Associates can protect your business from any potential liability.

Connect with us today for a quote and take the first step towards achieving peace of mind. Our experts are standing by to answer the question, “How much does business insurance cost?” for you.