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Protect Your Home While Using a Grill with Homeowner’s Insurance

Summer is the perfect time to open up that grill and start cooking some burgers. But did you know that a grill can actually be considered a hazard to your home? A flame that gets out of control, hot coals or even simple smoke damage can all be reasons to file an insurance claim. Yet if you don’t have a quality homeowner’s insurance policy, you might not be covered, leaving you with lots of expensive bills to pay. This is an obvious cause for concern.

How can you protect yourself if your grill does cause damage? And what can you do to prevent any damage from occurring? Well, read on to learn about some basics of grill safety, along with some tips about homeowner’s insurance.

Grill Safety Basics

The first thing you should be aware of when it comes to your gas or charcoal grill is the structural soundness of the grill. Check your grill for cracks or brittleness. If there are any structural issues, you may need to repair or replace it. If there are blockages, use a pipe cleaner to clean those out. Blockages can cause a dangerous buildup of flammable materials, so you want to check for this regularly.

When you’re actually grilling, keep the grill away from your house or garage. Operate it on a level surface, so everything’s even. Don’t let children or pets near your grill. Also, to protect yourself from burns, use oven mitts that reach high on your forearms. Finally, do not store or put your grill away until it has completely cooled down. If you store it beforehand, it may cause a fire.

If There’s an Issue

If in fact you do encounter an out-of-control fire or too much smoke while grilling, be careful. Keep a fire extinguisher close at hand for any events like these. Don’t automatically throw water on a flaming grill, as that could produce more smoke, causing breathing issues, as well as make the fire worse. And of course, call 911 if there is a true emergency.

How Homeowner’s Insurance Can Help

If you only have minor damage to your home, you may not need to file a claim. It could potentially not be worth it if you have a large deductible. In the case of major damage, homeowner’s insurance usually covers damage to the house and personal possessions, as well as damage to insured properties like an unattached garage and injuries to any guests.

Interested in learning more about how homeowner’s insurance can help you enjoy peace of mind while grilling outdoors? Contact an ABCO agent today.

ABCO Insurance - Renters Insurance

Avoid Traps When Renting Your First Apartment

Getting your first apartment can be exciting, but it can also quickly turn into a nightmare of hidden costs and financial pitfalls. For those who have rented before, it becomes far easier to avoid costs and to know what to look for in a new place, but where do you start when it’s your first time?

Understanding the snares that trap first time renters can help avoid costs, extra time and loss of your peace-of-mind.

Read the Lease

While it may seem like a good idea in the moment, it’s not a good idea to simply skim your lease agreement. This is the first and biggest mistake most first time renters make. When talking to a potential landlord, they will often word agreements verbally in a way that seems agreeable, but they are working in service of their own profits most times.

Take a Good Look at the Place

In the excitement of your very own place, you may just skim the area. It is important to look at more than how much space you have. Instead, check for damage and have it indicated on a legal document that the damage occurred before your move-in.

Also, check the security and if the doors and locks work well. It is also important to check water pressure that the bigger appliances work, and that the burners of the stove come on.

Put Everything in Writing

Don’t leave important agreements up to hoping your landlord is a good person.

This is especially important when you own a pet. A lot of first time renters assume if a lease doesn’t say they can’t have a pet, they are fine to move their furry family members in. Having it in writing protects you from having a huge issue down the line and will help clarify the contingencies of your pet agreement, such as how much extra you pay and how many pets are allowed. Other financial agreements should also be clearly written out on a formal document to ensure your agreement holds up.

Buy the Right Renters Insurance

Renter’s insurance can be difficult to figure out, and not all insurance brokers are on your side. If a water pipe breaks, you could lose out on all the new furniture you just spent your savings on. However, be sure to look over every word of the insurance agreement. Be sure to understand what type of insurance you have and under what circumstances, and not just how much value for which you are covered under the policy.

If the ink is still wet on your first apartment’s lease, contact your ABCO agent to make sure you have the renters insurance you need to protect yourself and your assets. Contact us today!

ABCO Insurance - Restaurant Insurance

A Beginner’s Guide to Restaurant Insurance Basics

Opening a new restaurant can be daunting. From fire regulations to finding the best equipment at the lowest cost, it’s easy to overlook important insurance information in your policy. When it comes to insurance for restaurants, the lower price is often not better, and may wind up costing you more eventually.

How do you avoid these unnecessary costs? The first step is understanding what each part of your insurance does to protect your business.

Common Restaurant Insurance Types

  • Property insurance. This type of insurance covers exactly what it says: your property. However, many property insurance policies leave out natural disasters such as flooding, and may have limitations in fire coverage. Be sure to understand how much this insurance covers for the price you pay.
  • General liability. In general liability, your restaurant has an umbrella coverage for things like slip and fall accidents and patrons becoming ill, regardless of fault.
  • Liquor liability. If you have a liquor license, your general liability won’t cover everything. This specific insurance gives you the right protection against patrons drinking and driving from your establishment, along with other liquor-related protections.
  • Auto liability. Planning to offer a delivery service? Be sure to check if your general liability covers your vehicles. If it doesn’t, this insurance can help cover accidents and other damage you may not foresee.
  • Workers’ Compensation. Accidents happen. Even the most seasoned staff members can be injured at work. This coverage will save your business costly bills in the event your workers are injured.
  • Unemployment insurance. This type of insurance covers employees after they no longer work for your establishment. There are many laws and regulations that govern what type of insurance your business is required to offer.
  • Life insurance. One of the more overlooked types of insurance, this type of policy can help satisfy a lender helping with your mortgage and financing. It is also good sense to have this type of policy in general to ensure your family isn’t left with bills they can’t afford should anything happen to you.
  • Fire insurance. Your property insurance will cover fires, but it may not be enough. Be sure to understand how much coverage you have in the event of a kitchen mishap.

ABCO Insurance will help you find just the right amount of restaurant insurance your business needs to protect employees, guests and your assets from accidents. Call us today at 888-400-2226!

Commercial Insurance 101: What Coverage Comes with General Liability Insurance?

Liability Insurance

Small business insurance is critical.

Even if you do not have employees, you have liabilities as a business owner; therefore, you need adequate coverage.

The most basic form of commercial insurance, and one that every business should have is general liability insurance.

The coverage for general liability is typically the same for most insurers, but it is important that you review your existing policy and make sure you have adequate coverage and getting the most out of your coverage.

Items Covered by Your General Liability Commercial Insurance

  1. Lawsuits and Settlements

Your general liability insurance covers you in the event your business is sued and a judgment is awarded. It also covers medical expenses in case of a bodily injury lawsuit.

  1. Injury Damages

If there is a claim against your small business for bodily injury or property damage, you should have coverage through general liability to cover these losses.

  1. Advertising Injuries

Your general liability insurance should protect you in the event your advertising violates a copyright for someone’s advertising or branding.

  1. Electronic Data Liability

Your general liability should have some coverage for electronic data. This includes breaches or data that is lost during a hacking or natural disaster, computer malfunction and more.

Items Not Covered by General Liability Commercial Insurance

  1. Employee Injuries

Employee injuries do not fall under general liability; instead, you would need workers’ compensation coverage to help employees if they are injured while performing job duties.

  1. Professional Errors

If you offer a professional service to customers, you may not have adequate coverage with just general liability. Professional mistakes are not covered under general liability policies; therefore, you need professional liability coverage. This is especially true if you are at risk for a lawsuit for your solutions, services or opinions shared with customers.

  1. Punitive Damages

While lawsuit costs are covered through general liability insurance, punitive damages are not. Punitive damages are those designed to punish a defendant in a civil liability case. So, they would require gross negligence or malicious acts. Rarely would general liability cover these types of damages.

  1. Warranty of Work

General liability does not include your company’s warranty on your work. It is known as the workmanship exclusion, and most general liability insurance policies will have clauses that explicitly state the warranty is not covered by the plan itself.

  1. Auto Coverage

You need a business auto insurance policy if you have company vehicles or have employees that drive company-owned vehicles. Your general liability insurance will not cover any auto-related accidents or damage.

Speak with an Insurance Agent About Adequate Commercial Insurance

Every business is unique, and every business has a different set of commercial insurance requirements. Depending on your net worth, company operations and the number of employees, you may need more coverage or less coverage. So, it is best to speak with an insurance broker that can perform a risk assessment and help you find the right mixture of policies to protect your assets.

Why $1 Million in Umbrella Insurance Coverage is Not Enough for Many Businesses

Umbrella Insurance

As a business owner, you know the importance of insurance coverage to protect your assets.

You have general liability, and you might even have an umbrella policy. However, the amounts of your coverage could significantly impact how your company recovers. Homeowners are encouraged to have a minimum of $1 million in umbrella insurance, but this may not be enough for a small-business owner.

When your company lacks proper insurance coverage, you may be forced to pay the judgment from business assets and possibly future earnings. In this case, it is unlikely your company would survive the storm.

Why Umbrella Insurance is Necessary for Every Company

Even if you have general liability coverage, you may face a settlement or repair that exceeds your liability coverage limits. Without umbrella coverage, also known as excess liability insurance, you would have to pay the expenses out-of-pocket.

For a small premium, you can protect your company, employees and business assets. Your umbrella insurance policy adds a layer of protection along with the numerous other policies you could hold, such as employer’s liability, general liability and more.

Also, the SBA recommends getting umbrella insurance, as most contracts will require a company to have general liability as well as umbrella insurance before doing work on their behalf.

Personal Injury Settlements Exceed Most Policy Limits

Forbes points out that 13 percent of personal injury liability lawsuits and settlements exceed $1 million. Also, this does not account for the lawyer’s fees that you would have on your end to defend your company, costs of repair inside your building, or having to shut down and miss sales opportunities during a lawsuit or investigation.

With a higher umbrella policy, you could cover these costs as well as the chance of a higher settlement.

Forbes also recommends having coverage that is equal to your small business net worth as a minimum. If you have limited coverage, you could be forced to liquidate your company to pay for the judgment, so having coverage that equates to your present value of income is also important.

Umbrella Insurance Coverage is Not as Expensive as You Think

Considering the protections and coverage that comes with umbrella insurance, the cost is more than reasonable.

An umbrella policy averages $150 to $300 per year for a $1 million limit, says the Insurance Information Institute. The more you add to your policy, the higher the policy costs increase. For example, the next million you add to a $1 million policy will most likely cost about $75 per year in extra premiums, while each million after that is just $50 per year.

When deciding how much umbrella insurance your small business needs, consider your existing policy limits, and risks your business carries. Then, speak with an insurance agent to have your business insurance needs assessed based on your net worth, company assets and potential liabilities.

To Grab the Best Deal: For Auto Insurance, Always Shop Around

Vehicle Insurance Accident Damage Protection Concept

These days, the most common way to get car insurance is to use an easy and convenient method, such as a direct quote online, or with a price comparison tool. Rarely do people go through an agent anymore – this might be because, with all the tools available to consumers, it simply isn’t necessary any more.

That said, when shopping online for auto insurance, there are a few things you should keep in mind in order to get the best deal. The main point to remember, however, is to do your due diligence to get the best price.

Car Insurance: Reasons Why Shopping Around is the Best Plan

It Saves You Money

When insurance companies need to compete for your business, you save. When their prices are stacked up against each other, the best deal will shine like a newly polished gem. Companies will want to edge each other out to look the best for the customer – you!

Put simply, shopping around reinforces the competition in the market. It also reassures you that you’re getting the best deal, because you’ll be aware of price changes and competitor rates.

It Gives You an Understanding of the Insurance Marketplace

Even if you’re new to shopping for car insurance, the act of shopping around will quickly give you a quick course on the ins and outs of the process.

Among other things, you’ll learn about types of insurance, deductibles, premiums, pricing, policy options and limits. You’ll get comfortable with these terms and the lingo, so that the next time you shop, you’ll be even more savvy about scoring the best deal with the coverage you need.

It Lets You Move Through the Process at Your Own Pace

Shopping around for insurance online is perhaps the most low-stress way to find the best, most affordable coverage.

Firstly, no one is trying to sell you anything directly, which means you won’t face pressure and the stress of quick decision-making. Secondly, you get to go at your own pace. You can look through your policy options as carefully as you want, and even put the process on hold and come back to it later.

All of these things might mean you’ll make a wiser, more well-informed decision. Plus, if you do find that you need help, you can still call up an agent.

Tips for Shopping Around for Auto Insurance

Keep Your Personal Information Handy

You may know some information off the top of your head, such as the make and model of your vehicle, your address, date of birth or your Social Security number, but you will need additional information when shopping for car insurance that you will want to keep at hand.

Examples include your auto insurance history, the year of your vehicle, your license status, and the personal information of any other drivers you want to be included on the insurance policy. Keeping this information readily available will speed up the process, especially when you need to enter it into a price comparison tool.

Understand the Different Types of Coverage

If you don’t understand the type of auto insurance coverage you’re getting, you may be spending more money than necessary. Read up on the various types of coverage and decide which are essential and which are not.

Basic types of car insurance coverage include the following:

  • Comprehensive coverage: This type covers you in any situation unrelated to a traffic accident. Weather, natural disasters, vandalism and more all qualify.
  • Collision coverage: Get collision insurance in order to cover your own damages in a car accident.
  • Uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage: In an accident situation where the other driver doesn’t have adequate car insurance (or any motor insurance at all), this type of coverage protects you.
  • Personal injury protection (PIP): Regardless of who’s at fault in a traffic accident, PIP pays for lost wages, medical expenses, and other costs associated with the incident.

Don’t Settle

You should never settle for the first quote you get when it comes to car insurance. This is because the industry is competitive – providers don’t keep their prices at the same rate from year to year in order to stay relevant in the market.

This means you need to look around at different prices and quotes and compare and contrast what they offer. The best deal for you may require a bit of digging in order to find it.

Keep Credit in Check

When shopping around for insurance, don’t forget to look at your credit and check the state of your score. Make sure there are no errors in reporting, and give yourself plenty of time to get errors corrected in case you do find some – it can take as long as two months for these to be investigated and fixed.

Also – and this may be a no-brainer – it helps if your credit is at least in the “good” range. Anything less, and you will not get the best deal.

Use an Auto Insurance Price Comparison Tool

Shopping for insurance can be a lot easier if you use a comparison tool. These tools let you enter your basic information and then present a variety of auto insurance quotes from different companies, side-by-side. This lets you quickly see who’s offering the best prices without having to click through a maze of websites.

A comparison tool also lets you test how adding various policy options changes your quote. You can play with your options and the price to your heart’s content without having to commit to anything. This is incredibly useful for finding the best balance between price and options.

A great place to get quote comparisons and find the best deal for your insurance is at ABCO Insurance. With us, you get a comparison of 25 different insurance companies, so you’re sure to find the best quote that fits your needs at the right price. When it comes to car insurance, we give you options, not to mention the power of choice.

Umbrella Insurance Allows Extra Protection

An umbrella policy provides additional insurance for liability coverage usually ranging from one or two million that is most likely related through automobile accidents, however, can be for accidents that occur at your home as well. Some examples where having umbrella insurance is beneficial is when someone falls down your stairs and sues you or someones child is jumping on your trampoline, breaks an arm and then the parent wants to sue you. In times like these you will have enough coverage so that you don’t end up loosing your assets.

Many people don’t have an umbrella policy because they assume that if they don’t have $1 million in the bank then there’s no need for it. However, most people have more to loose then just money. Your retirement funds, college savings for your kids, investments, future earnings and more are all at risk if you find yourself being sued. If you have any of these types of investments, then an umbrella policy of at least $1 million should be part of your financial plan.

It’s important to keep in mind that auto and home insurance policies need to have a specific level of liability coverage in order for you to have an umbrella policy. Read more about what these requirements are here. You can also set up your payment schedule for your policy. “The average cost for a $1 million policy is $200 annually– which you might find a relatively low price for the peace of mind and security it offers” -Michelle Lerner. Umbrella insurance protects you during those times when your regular policies are exhausted and you are faced with a lawsuit. If you are thinking about getting umbrella insurance or want more information about it, contact an agency today to learn more.