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3 Essential Steps to Protecting Your Business from Extreme Weather

Posted by on Jul 24, 2017 in Business Insurance | 0 comments

3 Essential Steps to Protecting Your Business from Extreme Weather

In June, severe weather cost the U.S. economy over $3 billion. Insurance companies covered at least $2 billion of that damage. To help compensate for the costs of increasingly extreme weather, many insurance providers have begun raising their premiums and deductibles, making it more difficult for business owners in areas prone to harsh weather conditions to obtain the severe weather coverage they need. In fact, 40% of businesses never reopen after sustaining severe damage from a natural disaster. Here are the three most important steps to protecting your business — and your wallet — against severe weather damage: Find the right policy for your business. It is bad enough to get trapped in a severe storm — and even worse, also getting trapped in an ill-fitting insurance policy. Not all policies offer the same coverage. A typical commercial property policy will not cover damage from floods, hurricanes, or earthquakes. You may need request additional “rider” policies to get the coverage you need. While this added coverage could increase overall insurance plan costs, you can help keep your premium low by bundling multiple policies with one provider and taking steps to prevent storm-related damage to your property. Protect your property to keep your premium low. Insurance companies often reward clients for taking measures to protect their properties against storm damage. For example, when property owners remove vegetation and other kindling, some insurers offer discounts for adding these buffers against fire around properties. If you live in an area with frequent high wind storms, wind resistant doors and storm proofed windows could help protect your business while also decreasing your premium. Another good reason to take steps to protect your property: Not all insurance policies cover what is inside your business. Check with your provider to ensure your policy covers the building frame and your property inside. Understand your policy’s replacement cost vs actual cash value coverage. Most commercial property insurance plans will provide replacement cost coverage or cash value coverage. While both of these features are designed to reimburse you for damage to your business and belongings housed there, they do not offer the same coverage level.Replacement cost coverage compensates you for the cost to repair or rebuild your property based on construction costs. Since replacement cost is not based on the market value of your property, it will not account for the value of your land.Actual cash value coverage will also pay to help you repair or rebuild your property, but under this type of coverage, insurers deduct the depreciation cost from the value you receive. If the depreciation level is high and you only have actual cash value coverage, it may cost more to rebuild your business than what your insurer is willing to pay.Talk with your insurance agent about whether your policy provides replacement cost coverage or actual cash coverage to determine which is more appropriate for your business. Protect yourself today from whatever tomorrow may bring The trick to protecting your business from severe weather is to take steps before a storm hits. Act now because you cannot purchase insurance after your property has already been damaged. Contact a Concklin Insurance expert today to better understand your policies. We’ll help you ensure you have the insurance coverage you need so you can hope for the best and be well-prepared for the...

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How Is Legal Marijuana Impacting the Insurance Industry?

Posted by on Jul 20, 2017 in Business Insurance | 0 comments

How Is Legal Marijuana Impacting the Insurance Industry?

Marijuana laws are rapidly changing how cannabis is regulated, and one in five Americans now lives in an area where recreational smoking is legal. This change is making new medical treatments easier to access and transforming how people perceive cannabis and its users. It is also impacting those in the insurance industry, as creating marijuana-related policies is uncharted territory for many. Cannabis industry professionals need insurance The cannabis industry is rapidly growing, and those in the field need insurance adapted to the specific needs of growers, retailers, and lab researchers. These issues include an increased risk of theft and vandalism as well as the danger of electrical fires caused by growing bulbs. Business owners need to look for insurance providers whose policies specifically address marijuana cultivation or distribution and who are familiar with the specific needs of those in the industry. Legal marijuana-based businesses should prepare for the possibility that some companies may refuse to cover them or that their current insurance providers may suddenly drop them. Cannabis use on business premises Because cannabis is illegal under federal law but legal in several states, users can easily find themselves in gray areas. Obviously, using cannabis in a state where this drug is illegal can void some insurance claims, considering some policies have clauses excluding illegal activities. Owners of establishments where patrons can consume cannabis should also take heed. Because most business liability insurance policies do not explicitly mention marijuana use on business premises, it’s important cafe, bar, and other business owners review and upgrade their policies if need be to ensure proper coverage. Is legal marijuana making auto insurance more expensive? In Colorado, Oregon, and Washington, vehicle collision incidents have increased 3% more than states where legal recreational marijuana use is illegal. Still, there is no formal evidence linking the two, and it is difficult to prove whether cannabis was involved in a collision since a user can test positive for use long after smoking. Drivers should be concerned about their personal rates going up after getting into crashes or being caught driving while high, which can lead to DUI charges. Even though cannabis is legal in several states, many auto insurance providers consider driving after consuming marijuana to be an unsafe habit and, as such, they may cancel offenders’ policies. The legal cannabis industry is worth $7.2 billion and is likely to grow at an annual rate of 17%. Until the insurance industry catches up with the unique needs this industry and its changing regulations, business owners might find it difficult to purchase insurance. Contact Concklin Insurance experts today to make sure your business is properly insured, whether you are in the cannabis industry or own a business where patrons are legally allowed to...

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Protect Yourself: Renter’s Insurance Could Save You from Potential Disaster

Posted by on Jun 27, 2017 in Personal Insurance | 0 comments

Protect Yourself: Renter’s Insurance Could Save You from Potential Disaster

Imagine the horror of coming home to find your belongings destroyed or stolen. Then you find out your landlord’s insurance won’t cover your losses. Most people know the legal requirements relating to car, health, and homeowner’s insurance but often do not consider optional coverage, such as renter’s insurance. Did you know 95% of homeowners insure their dwellings, but only 41% of renters carry similar coverage? Renters may assume their landlords’ insurance covers their belongings, might not know renter’s coverage is available, or think the odds of something happening to them are low. Renter’s insurance works a lot like homeowner’s insurance except it’s typically less expensive to purchase. While carrying rental insurance is not required by law, many property owners, landlords, and property management companies require renters to purchase liability coverage. “It’ll never happen to me.” People often tend to think catastrophes won’t happen to them, but this mindset can lead to potentially devastating effects. While landlords are responsible for maintaining buildings, they aren’t responsible for tenants’ possessions. For instance, if a fire, storm, theft, or vandalism were to occur, your landlord would be accountable for any damage or loss to your building — but you wouldn’t be reimbursed for your possessions. Renter’s insurance protects you While some can get by only owning a futon and a microwave, most people possess electronics, clothing, furniture, and other valuables that are expensive to replace. Even if you don’t own much, renter’s insurance can protect you if: Your dwelling is declared uninhabitable due to damage and you need help covering living expenses. Someone is injured in your home due to your negligence. Your dog bites an invited or uninvited visitor. You accidentally leave the water in your bathtub running and flood surrounding apartments. Keep in mind, aside from actual replacement costs, you could also be responsible for medical bills or be named as a defendant in a lawsuit should the worst happen in your rental property. What to look for in a policy Even on top of rent, utilities, and other necessities, most people find renter’s insurance to be affordable. On average, renter’s coverage costs about $12-$30 a month. When shopping for insurance, you’ll want to: Compare lower premiums with higher deductibles to higher premiums with lower deductibles. Understand the actual cash value (ACV) of your belongings versus their replacement cost value (RCV). Look at any additional property you might want to cover in your policy, such as jewelry, furs, or fine art. Consider adding coverage not included in standard policies, such as flood or earthquake insurance. Bundle your renter’s insurance with your car, franchise, or other insurance policies as many agencies offer multi-policy discounts. When considering whether renter’s insurance is right for you, the big question you’ll want to ask yourself is, “Can I afford big losses or legal expenses?” Most people can’t. Contact a Concklin Insurance expert today to learn more about renter’s insurance and see how you can find the coverage you need at a price you can...

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My Premium Is Increasing Again? Understand Rising Auto Insurance Rates

Posted by on Jun 14, 2017 in Personal Insurance | 0 comments

My Premium Is Increasing Again? Understand Rising Auto Insurance Rates

If you own a vehicle and insure it, you know auto insurance rates are rising. Even if you have a clean driving record, you’ve likely seen your rates inch higher over the past few years. The average premium has risen by 16% since 2011. The reasons for this are manifold. One cause of rising rates is the expanding economy. More drivers on the road — commuting to work or heading off on vacation — means more accidents are likely to occur. Additionally, health care costs are only increasing with time, which means higher claims for insurance companies. Between 2005 and 2013, insurance companies faced a 32% increase in the average cost per bodily injury. Another cause of rising claims is the fact that cars are now costlier to repair. Replacing a bumper alone can cost an insurance company almost $1,000. If there is damage to a car’s frame, that cost could rise to $10,000. Technology is also adding to the number of distracted driving incidents. More drivers driving with more distractions in more expensive cars mean higher claims for insurance companies. Higher claims for insurance companies mean higher premiums for drivers. Vehicle owners: Lower your insurance premiums Vehicle owners don’t have to blindly accept increasing premiums as a fact of life. There are steps drivers can take to help keep premiums from increasing unnecessarily. Review before you renew. Before agreeing to renew an existing policy, check it closely for any issues or errors. Ask your insurance agent if he or she has applied all possible deductions. Ask why. If your rate has increased, simply asking why this has occurred can help illuminate the problem. It’s possible your credit report has errors that triggered the rate increase. Bundle up. Bundling your car insurance and homeowner’s or renter’s policy under one insurer may help reduce your overall rate. Restaurant owners can bundle their auto, home, and franchise insurance for additional savings. Change your payment option. Most insurance companies allow monthly payments or bi-annual payment plans that offer discounts for amounts paid in full. Changing your payment plan can be as easy as setting up autopay. Shop around. It is likely that if rates have increased with your current insurer, they have also increased with other companies as rate increases tend to be industry shifts. That being said, it never hurts to check. Before renewing, shop around with other insurance providers to see if you can find a better rate. Adjust your premium and deductibles. If, after all of the above, your rate is still too high, you may want to consider adjusting your premium and deductibles. This is a risky move, however, and you should proceed with caution. Any time you reduce your coverage to save on your premium, you put yourself at risk of having to pay more out of pocket in the event of an accident. Dangers of reducing coverage to lower insurance rates As you consider ways to lower your premium, keep in mind the importance of adequate coverage. Auto insurance is there to protect not just you, your vehicle, and your passengers but also all the other vehicles, drivers, and passengers on the road around you. You may be driving safely, but that doesn’t mean the person in the car behind you is doing the same. Reducing your coverage means reducing your protection. Remember that health care and repair costs are only increasing with time. It is up to you to pay for any costs your insurance policy doesn’t cover. If you are dissatisfied with your current auto insurance premium, the best place to start is by...

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Weather the Summer with the Right Insurance

Posted by on May 31, 2017 in Personal Insurance | 0 comments

Weather the Summer with the Right Insurance

It’s hard to imagine anything could be as damaging to your home as winter storms, but the truth is spring and summer — with their inclement weather and sudden, severe storms — can be even more dangerous than winter. Once a storm hits, there isn’t much you can do but weather it. Therefore, it’s important to prepare yourself and your home in advance. But those aren’t the only things you need to protect. Homeowners and drivers can take steps to prepare their property against weather damage in the months ahead. Prepare your home for severe, unpredictable weather Home is where the heart is, but it’s also where you keep your most prized possessions. In addition to insuring your home, if you’ve saved for years for a vacation home, you’ve got to protect that investment as well. Here are the most important steps you can take to protect your properties: Document everything. Document the state of your home before weather turns extreme. Start by taking an inventory of all your belongings, then create video or photographic documentation of your property, including the interior and exterior of your home. This will help serve as evidence if you need to file an insurance claim later. Review your homeowner’s insurance policy coverage and deductibles. Even if you think you know exactly what your policy covers, review it again. It’s important to ensure your policy and deductibles are still appropriate for your area and needs.For instance, floods aren’t covered in most homeowner’s insurance policies. Does your policy include a provision for “loss of use” coverage in the event you need temporary housing after a storm or fire? What is the maximum you can expect to pay out of pocket? Considering these factors and more in advance can help you set appropriate deductibles while ensuring proper coverage. Maintain an emergency supply kit in the safest part of your home. Every member of your family should know where to head during a storm. This could be the basement or an outdoor shelter. Ensure your safe room is stocked with enough emergency supplies to last at least five days. Your emergency kit should include non-perishable food and water as well as first-aid supplies, blankets, medications, extra clothes, battery- or generator-powered lights, and hand tools. Protect your vehicle during summer Summer months can be the worst for driving, and the reasons are manifold: Summer means busier roads as well as teenagers, motorcyclists, bicyclists, and vacationers coming out in droves. The drier weather also allows road construction and maintenance crews to make much-needed repairs after winter storms. Here are a few ways to protect your car — and yourself — during the hazardous summer months ahead: Regularly check your tire pressure and tread. High heat causes the air inside your tires to expand, which increases the chance of a blowout. Tires that are wearing thin are particularly prone to blowouts. To prevent this from happening, ensure your tire pressure meets your vehicle manufacturer’s recommendations. Drive cautiously. This is probably the easiest and yet most overlooked means of preventing road accidents. Being aware and cautious is a driver’s best protection. Keep an eye out for motorcyclists and bicyclists who may try to weave in and out of summer traffic. If you notice a driver swerving or not paying attention, stay back and notify authorities when appropriate. Also, stay alert and watch for children playing in and near streets this time of year. Review your auto insurance policy. As with your homeowner’s policy, check that your auto insurance policy is up to date and adequate to meet your needs. Confirm the...

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