All Specialty Vehicles and Businesses Have Specialty Commercial Insurance Plans

There is an absolutely massive range of specialty vehicles on the road today for different commercial applications. These different cars, vans, trucks and buses all look different and are used in different ways. They may have special features, usages and restrictions, along with unique risks that come with those different designs and applications. This means … Continue reading “All Specialty Vehicles and Businesses Have Specialty Commercial Insurance Plans”

There is an absolutely massive range of specialty vehicles on the road today for different commercial applications. These different cars, vans, trucks and buses all look different and are used in different ways. They may have special features, usages and restrictions, along with unique risks that come with those different designs and applications.

This means that each type of specialty vehicle must be protected with its own specialty type of commercial insurance. There’s no such thing as one size fits all insurance, at least not when it’s provided to the consumer in the correct fashion.

There are two problems with this. One, the business owner pays for coverage they don’t need and which in no way could actually apply to them. There are all types of bells and whistles which simply amount to unnecessary cost, because they’ll never be used.

Two, the business owner is paying for coverage and assumes protection for their business, only to find out the hard way when they need it the most, that they weren’t fully or accurately covered at all. That generic plan must have had my specialty vehicle and type of business included, right? Maybe not, as many business owners go on to find out the hard way.

Simply look at two of the fastest growing types of commercial vehicles on the road today. There are food trucks, which everyone seems to love more and more. These are mobile kitchens with deep fryers and ovens, serving, storing and preparing food as they drive around. Clearly, those are unique risks and factors and a very specific insurance plan needs to be developed.

From there, look at ridesharing drivers, and the companies which have sprouted up over the past year. From Uber to Lyft, Sidecar, Wingz, and all the rest, these are personal cars used part of the time for commercial applications. There’s also a lot of gray area between those two different halves.So how are they supposed to be properly protected?

Then you have the full spectrum of specialty trucks. A refrigerated truck delivering food regionally clearly has different needs than a hazmat or waste truck, or a log hauler, or a long distance mover, or a tow truck. These are all very different in how they’re designed, what they do, the risks they face, and the coverage needed.

Don’t settle for a one size fits all or generic solution. Find a commercial vehicle insurance plan which has been carefully put together based around your needs, your business, the type of vehicle you’re using, and all the rest.

Flood Insurance – Protecting Your Home From Flash Floods

7 Quick Facts About Flood Damage and How to Better Protect Your Home and Business.

The massive flood damage around the Birmingham metro area on April 7th, 2014 caught many residence by surprise. Based on the national Weather Service, more than 7 inches of rain was measured in Vestavia Hills, while other locations in the area reported 5 – 6 inches of rain.

The National Flood Insurance Plane (NFIP) was created by the U.S Government to help with the high cost of flood related losses of both buildings and property.

Seven Important Facts About Flood Insurance:

1. No one is safe. – People outside of high-risk areas file nearly 25% of National Flood Insurance claims. In high-risk areas, there is at least a 1 in 4 chance of flooding during a 30-year mortgage. Poor drainage systems, rapid accumulation of rainfall, and broken water mains can all result in flood. Properties on a hillside can be damaged by mudflow, a covered peril under the Standard Flood Insurance Policy.

2. I have Homeowner’s/Renters Insurance policy. – Flood damage is not typically a covered peril by most homeowners/Renters insurance policies sold in the U.S.

3. Can I purchase Flood Policy in Birmingham? – If you live in a community that participates in the NFIP, you can get flood Insurance. Birmingham, Hoover, Vestavia, Homewood, Mountain Brook, Alabaster, Chelsea and many more municipalities are participating in the NFIP.

4. How much coverage is allowed by the NFIP? – Residential homes structure limit is $250,000, and content is limited to $100,000. Business Structure limit is $500,000 and $500,000 limit for business content. Renters Contents limit is $100,000.

5. Does flood insurance cover flood damage caused by storms, rivers, or tidal waters?

Yes, provided that, if confined to your property, the flood water covers at least two acres. A general condition of flood also exists if two properties are affected, one of which is yours.

6. What are Flood Zones? – Flood zones are land areas identified by the FEMA. Each flood zone describes that land area in terms of its risk of flooding. Everyone lives in a flood zone-it’s just a question of whether you live in a low, moderate, or high risk area.

7. What is covered in my basement? – Flood insurance covers your home’s foundation elements and equipment that’s necessary to support the structure (i.e. HVAC, Water Heater, Etc.). Flood Policy does not cover basement improvements, such as finished walls, floors, ceilings or personal belongings that may be kept in a basement.

Should Your Insurance Company Offer Cyber Protection?

Cyber security has become a growing concern for U.S. companies over the past couple of years, and for good reason. Information breaches have not only become increasingly common, but also much larger. Nothing illustrates the state of modern web security quite as well as the most recent breach, which saw hackers target the IRS by exploiting faulty security to compromise over 100,000 taxpayer records.

Similar breaches have also affected much smaller companies, and it’s common to see a forward-thinking insurance company racing to adapt. Here is what you need to know to determine if, first, you’re actually in need of cyber insurance and, second, what you should look for in a policy.

Are You At Risk?

If you work with customer information of any kind, then the answer is likely yes. The term to look out for here is Personally Identifiable Information, or PII. It’s not a technical term, but rather a legal term that carries some teeth if you have to deal with it.

At its root, PII is any piece of collected information that could potentially allow a third party to identify a business’s individual clients. Given how good the Internet is at leveraging even tiny hints to track down a person, that definition is awfully broad. Full names, email addresses, site nicknames, and (sometimes) even web cookies can all qualify as PII.

If you’re storing anything that falls under the PII umbrella, you’re at risk of a breach. Breaches are enormously costly, both for affected customers and for the company responsible for the loss. Companies in the healthcare and retail industries are obviously at an increased risk, but when it comes down to it, any business that makes a habit of collecting information should ask their insurance company about cyber policies.

What Your Cyber Policy Needs

You’ll need to look for a few things in any cyber insurance policy. As you may expect, a good policy should cover the financial damages directly caused by a breach. However, cyber attacks can cause financial damage in a wide variety of ways. In particular, make sure that your company is protected against:

– Losses caused by lost time and productivity. A major hack can cause company gears to grind to a halt. Find an insurance company that guarantees coverage for the revenue lost during this period.
– Indemnification caused by a third party. Few modern companies handle their data on their own. Outsourced IT support or other companies can fall victim to a breach that affects your customers.
– Loss of Reputation. Breached companies, even those that have done their due diligence, almost always take a PR hit in the wake of an attack. A good policy offers some cushioning against the customer losses that generally ensue.

Finally, also try your best to work with an insurance company that has an educational component. Some plans will also come with training to avoid a breach. As nice as protection is, it’s safe to say that it’s best left unused. Installing a set of best practices can help keep you from having to rely on a safety net in the first place.

10 Steps To Reduce Your Debt: Do-It-Yourself Debt Reduction

Getting into debt is easy and worrying about it won’t do much in relieving you from your debt. The best you can do when you have already run into debt is to start working towards reducing or clearing the debt and staying out of debt in every possible way. You can find your own strategy to deal with the debt, but there are several DIY debt reduction strategies and tips you can use to get over your financial woes.

1. Evaluate the debts. Start by collecting all financial documents and printing credit reports so you know exactly where you are with the debts. Most times people get scared just thinking of how hefty the debts are but you will never know until you take the courage to evaluate the debt so you can start somewhere with the recovery. Include all personal loans, auto loans, credit cards and payday loans in this evaluation.

2. Check your current earnings and budget. With the clear debt information, you then must start working towards debt reduction. Calculate the monthly income you get after taxes and basics like mortgage or rent, groceries, utilities and insurance. This way, you will get to find out how much you can spare for paying off the debt.

3. Find ways to increase pay off amounts. Sometimes when you subtract all basics from your income, you might find that you have very little amount left you can use on the debts. If the amount is too small, try and come up with ways through which you can reduce spending. Carpooling is one of the temporary methods you can use to cutback the expenses.

4. Create a plan. Now that you have some money to use on the debts, create a plan of how you are going to handle the debts and pay off. Will you start with one debt or pay a little every month for every debt you have? You might find it helpful to start with debts with highest interest rates or highest balance.

5. Negotiate repayment with your lenders and creditors. Agreeing to negotiate terms will be a plus to your credibility and your lenders or creditors will be more than willing to strike a deal with you.

6. Keep up with the debt reduction plan. Commitment is your only ticket out of debt so keep up with the plan.

7. As you continue with the repayment plan, avoid adding any more debts on top of what you already have.

8. Find better ways to deal with your financial issues besides getting loans. You can for instance, avoid making purchases for those that are not urgent.

9. Leave your credit card at home when going out unless you are going shopping. It will keep impulse buying at bay. In case you are going to shop, make a list of everything you need and stick by it no matter how tempting things in the store appear.

10. In case you take up a loan again, be consistent with your repayment and avoid piling loans. Try and have one loan at a time.

4 Pillars of Protection – Products To Consider In Your 4 Pillars of Protection Insurance Portfolio

With a wide range of insurance products available today it is important to understand the differences and benefits to you and your specific situation. A basic portfolio for any person but more specifically for a self-employed person should encompass the 4 following aspects.

Disability

By far one of the most important products for anyone, specifically self-employed people is disability insurance. We all work to handle our weekly and monthly expenses in addition to providing the “little extras” if we have anything left over. Employees of a company for the most part will have benefits provided to them however, being self-employed our livelihood depends on our ability to go to work and earn an income. In the event your ability to work is suddenly removed, disability insurance could be the key to your survival. Your income is the fuel for everything. Remove that and over time all else will fall apart.

Life Insurance

Life insurance has so many uses that it could essentially apply to everyone. However, the general consensus of life insurance is that it is suitable only for people with a family. This couldn’t be further from the truth. Life insurance can be used to protect a debt over a period of time, provide for your survivors after final expenses, or give to a charity upon your death. For people who would like the idea of having a benefit as well as a savings or investment vehicle, life insurance could also be an option for you. Life insurance must be carefully evaluated to ensure that it is structured properly based on your specific situation.

Critical Illness

In my experience I have seen this product misunderstood the most. The important thing to understand about CI is that it will pay a lump sum benefit in the event you’re diagnosed with a “specific” covered illness. Most CI products will protect against heart attack, cancer, and stroke however, each policy will differ between companies for other covered illnesses beyond these. Do not make the mistake like most do in thinking that this operates like disability insurance. Yes, they are both living benefits but they provide protection in varying ways.

Investments

Within financial circles it is encouraged to have a minimum of 6 months of disposable “liquid” income saved. For most people this is a tremendous feat and some people often throw their hands up in the air and forfeit the idea that they too can have investments. Life insurance can be designed in such a way that not only do you have protection but also an accumulating asset. Outside of life insurance there are many ways to protect and grow your money. The concern for most people is having a large sum of money lying around to be able to invest.

If having a large starting capital is a concern of yours like it was for me, then I welcome you to consider an alternative to the “traditional investments and savings plan”.