A Car Emergency Kit Is a Must

Be Prepared for Winter Driving

You need to be sure your vehicle is prepared for winter. The hazards on the road often become even more dangerous in the winter with ice and snow and mud. Here are a few of the things you need to do to get your vehicle ready for the winter and make sure you stay safe this season.

Tires

First, you need to check that your tires can handle the weather. Check the tread and the air pressure in your tires. You’ll want maximum traction in winter driving conditions. If you live in an area with particularly severe winters, you may want to invest in tires made specifically for winter driving. These tires usually have a chunkier tread, made to grip better to the road.

Technique

Next, make sure that you understand how to drive in bad winter conditions. You’ll want to increase following distance, slow down, and accelerate and decelerate more slowly. If you find yourself needing to brake hard, make sure you understand the way your brakes work. Antilock brakes should be applied with steady, even pressure. Non-antilock brakes need to be pumped for the same effect as antilock brakes.

Also, make sure you don’t panic if you find yourself in a skid. Any rash or quick actions can lead to a total loss of control, so gently ease of the accelerator and do not hit the accelerator or brakes until you have traction again. Guide the car with gentle movements until you regain control.

Insurance Coverage

The most important thing you need to be prepared for winter driving is the right auto insurance. If you don’t have auto insurance, it’s important you look for a plan immediately. First off, it’s illegal in all fifty states to drive without insurance. It also makes you liable to pay heavily in the event of an accident, which is a much greater risk on slick, winter roads. If you live in an area where winters are particularly harsh you may want to opt for more coverage. The right insurance plan can make a problematic winter accident a little less troublesome.

If you need auto insurance or want to discuss your current insurance plan and rates, contact our team now and make sure you don’t have to worry this winter season!

Umbrella Insurance

Insurance Considerations for Retirement

Almost everyone plans to retire. Save some money, invest wisely, get the kids out of the house, and enjoy your golden year in peace and prosperity. But we all know that things might not be as peaceful or prosperous as we hope. So, if you’re planning to retire soon or in the future, here are some questions you should consider as you begin to plan your retirement.

Business, Home and Real Estate

One of the first things to ask yourself as you prepare for retirement is whether your investments are secure. This includes your financial investments like stocks and bonds, but you should also consider the other things you’ve invested in, such as your house, business, real estate holdings. Your nest egg may be tied directly to income you get from a business you invested in or real estate you’re leasing. Maybe you’re planning on selling your home and moving to a smaller, cozy spot with your partner. Either way, you’ll want to make sure that these ventures are secure. That means you won’t have to worry if something goes wrong. Make sure you can plan for the future by investing in insurance.

Renting

If you are planning on selling your home when you retire, you might want to consider renting an apartment, condo or home, leaving any repairs or upkeep to a landlord. Renter’s insurance can protect you and your possessions if you’re planning on renting.

Life Insurance

Another thing to consider as you get to retirement age is life insurance. If you don’t already have a policy, it’s not impossible to find one. Depending on what you’ve already set aside, a life insurance policy can help keep a spouse on their feet after your passing. It can also help absorb the cost of funeral expenses and taxes that may be incurred. Maybe you’re realizing that your retirement savings just aren’t enough to provide for your loved ones after your death. A life insurance policy will ensure that the savings you have will not be drained by your death.

Contact

If you have questions, ABCO has answers. If you’re planning to retire and are curious about what insurance coverage may help protect your golden years, contact our team today!

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Effective Ways to Save Big on Car Insurance

Saving on car insurance sounds like a scam considering the increasing premiums on good coverage, but simple tips can lead to saving big on your insurance policy and it doesn’t require switching to a red flag raising small insurance company. While it may seem like a piece of paper that is required to spend more money on your commute, car insurance serves an important role in car ownership and maintenance. However, with some easy tips, you can get similar coverage with less money out of your wallet.

Deductibles Adjustment

Many who buy an insurance policy don’t look far enough into their deductibles. When you don’t have a car accident, you don’t often worry about your deductible. However, when the time comes, the amount you have to pay out of pocket comes down to the deductible you chose. Some insurance companies offer a diminishing deductible. This means the longer you go without having a claim, the lower your deductible becomes. If you are a safe driver, it’s worth talking to your adjuster about the option.

Choose the Right Car

Grandmom’s old sedan may not have been the most attractive car on the road but it had a much lower insurance premium compared to the CEO’s sports car you found yourself ogling. Insurance rates are based on a lot of factors such as driving record, the location you will be driving and your age. However, the type of car you insure also has bearing on your premium. Some cars are cheaper to insure because they are either deemed safer or the repairs would not be as costly. Driving a Mercedes Benz compared to a Honda is much more expensive for this reason.

Check Your Rate

Just as your physical body and your vehicle need checkups, as do your insurance policies. There may be ways you could be saving now that you are a more experienced driver or now that your marital status has changed. Further, if you now attend a university and have gotten on the dean’s list, there could be a major potential for discounts. Be sure to regularly check your rate to ensure you aren’t missing a big opportunity.

Contact an ABCO agent today if you are considering a new policy. Whether you are a brand new driver or have just purchased a home and are considering bundling your insurance, we can help find a policy to fit your needs.

technology insurance

What Insurance Does a Technology Company Need?

environmental loss coverage

Mistakes Policyholders Make in Environmental Loss Coverage

environmental loss coverage

Those buying commercial insurance are looking for the best deal, but often what seems like a great deal can lead to bigger costs down the line. Specifically, coverage for pollution and contamination risk are often severely underestimated, leaving a duration of environmental loss exposure that could have been avoided. Further, there has historically been an underestimation of the effects pollution and contamination exclusions have on property and liability policies.

There is also an overestimate, in most cases, of the amount and reliability of coverage that is attributed to exceptions related to pollution exclusions with the added issue of a lack of adjustment in insurance specifications in procuring contracts. If adjusted properly, such policies could reflect gaps that have accrued over years due to pollution and contamination exclusions. It is estimated that 95% of commercial insurance policyholders are uninsured or severely underinsured in relation to pollution and contamination over the past decades despite an oversupply of environmental insurance.

Ensuring Proper Coverage

While agents are here to help policyholders get the right coverage, there are some steps a policyholder can take to ensure they are getting the best policy for their needs.

  • Liability coverage should be adequate and consistent with the limits in your other liability coverages.
  • Assess your exposure to flood and earthquake incidents and consider which coverage will best benefit your policy. For instance, those with flood exposure can save a lot in the long run by having adequate coverage limits that will be high enough for interior structural insurance obligation.
  • Sewer backup coverage can be a valuable coverage addition as it helps cover damage to the units along with pump failure and other general losses that quickly add up.
  • Special perils can also be added to a policy for better coverage. This includes things such as roof leaks and paint spills. Depending on your business, specific coverage can help with risk exposure.
  • Get an accurate estimate of the cost to replace all structural items and give the list of total values to your insurance agent. They can better help with your coverage needs when they have a fuller picture of what you need covered.

If you are unsure of what insurance you need for your business, contact an ABCO agent today.

What Small Business Owners Should Know About Contractor Liability Insurance

contractor liability insurance

As a small business, there is a large array of different employment types you will come across. From full-time employees to contractors and vendors, it can be difficult to navigate to whom you owe certain liabilities. In fact, for many small businesses, independent contractors are a necessary and important piece of getting off the ground. First-time owners are likely unaware of what insurance they need to have and what insurance they should expect their contractors to have on their own.

Insurance to Require for Independent Contractors

When an independent contractor makes a mistake, it could cost the business owner a lot of money. This is particularly true for technology-based technology as a third-party installer could make vital mistakes in networking that your company could be liable for. Insured contractors have the opportunity to recover some of the damages through a lawsuit. However, uninsured contractors leave little room to do so. Two important coverages for this purpose include:

  • Professional Liability Insurance. Also known as Errors and Omissions Insurance, this coverage includes mistakes and oversights that could be made by a contractor when they are performing a professional service, such as the networking example.
  • General Liability Insurance. Accidents, especially those involving property damage, are covered by this general insurance. This would also cover one of your own employees sustaining a physical injury caused by the contractor or their work. Often, this will also include Product Liability for physical products created or installed by the contractor that inflicts bodily harm.

Checking Contractors’ Insurance Policies

Like any small business, a contract is likely to have their own insurance to cover when things go wrong. Because of this, those hiring a contractor shouldn’t feel awkward asking for proof of the insurance. Even further, they are likely used to such a request. Simply tell the contractor your insurance requires proof and they can send a Certificate of Liability, which is easily downloaded as a PDF file. For the extra cautious, the insurance carrier can be called to confirm the insurance policy using the policy number on the certificate.

Should I Cover Contractors in my own Small Business Insurance?

Contractors should have their own insurance, but it can pay to be prudent. Your own insurance will give the ability to add subcontractors or additional insureds. If you are hiring extra helpers for a service you are providing, it is both smart and potentially required for you to do so.

Need help figuring out your insurance policy, or looking for a better small business insurance policy to cover contractor liability? Contact us today to talk to an ABCO agent.

The Importance of Flood Insurance and Why People Don’t Buy It

importance of flood insurance

After Hurricane Katrina, homes with flood insurance were 37 percent more likely to be rebuilt, yet many homeowners still don’t have flood insurance. It has been proven that flood damage has been increasing, likely due more homes being built in climates more susceptible to the increased downpours, stronger hurricanes and rising seas associated with the rising climate temperatures.

In spite of this, flood insurance policies are actually dropping off. According to the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), which is the main source of flood coverage nationally, flood coverage has been steadily dropping since 2011. This could be due to the pricing of policies, but is leaving many without necessary coverage that could lead to lessened financial burden in the event of a flood. In fact, early on for NFIP, Congress made flood insurance mandatory for homes located in flood-prone areas as mapped out by FEMA. This was to better protect homes that were likely to flood and cause less strain on national resources.

The fact of the matter is, most people underestimate the risk of natural disasters happening to them personally. This paired with a lack of requirement for the insurance, many feel the expense is not worth it or they will never use it, not realizing its application for the long-term savings and considerations for themselves and their families.

Having flood insurance is vital for homeowners, but there are three considerations prior to purchasing the important disaster coverage.

Policies Take 30 Days to go into Effect

It is important to purchase flood insurance as soon as possible. This is because it takes 30 full days to go into effect, meaning purchasing around flood season could be too late. Of course, buying any insurance sooner is better than later, but most policies go into immediate effect making flood insurance an important consideration.

Floods are Common and Costly

On average, flood insurance only costs around $700 each year. However, the average claim is around $30,000 due to the sheer cost of flood damages. This is not only a consideration for those in FEMA designated flood zones, as around 20 percent of claims come from outside the map.

Typical Homeowners Insurance Doesn’t Cover Flood Damages

Unless you specifically ask for it, it’s unlikely your homeowners insurance policy covers flooding. This is due to the amount of damages that come with floods. Be sure to always review these types of insurance policies to discern what you have or don’t have in terms of coverage.

Looking for a quote? Contact us today to discuss the coverage you need with one of our agents.

construction insurance workers

Construction Insurance 101: Beginner’s Tips

construction insurance workersIf you’re a contractor, construction insurance is an absolute must. However, not all insurance is equal and for most contractors, insurance policies are something you only think about when renewal comes around each year. At that time, many contractors will simply stick with what they have. While a policy may have worked for one year, the needs for insurance may change as a business grows and shifts. Without a prudent insurance broker, you may be missing out on important insurance that could save a ton of money by limiting your exposure.

Of course, contractors are not in the business of insurance. This leads to a lot of confusion that could be saved with a few simple tips that keep proper insurance as a lessened burden.

Get the Right Broker

Having the right insurance broker on your side can lead to much better deals. By working with the right person, you can stay up to date on the latest coverages and get the best deal for the size of your business without exhaustive research. When you don’t have the right broker, you risk losing out on better coverage, getting policies for a worse price, or not getting a new coverage that could have protected you before an incident occurred. The right broker can also help you fill out paperwork properly and help to lower your costs at each stage of your business.

Pay Per Worker

Workers’ Compensation insurance is calculated by classification of worker. Unless each of your employees makes the same amount of money and works the same hours, you could be losing a lot of money by bundling them into the same classification. For instance, a worker that makes $30 an hour should cost less to insure than workers that make $25 an hour. In fact, if a worker makes $25, it would cost less to pay them more each hour than the extra cost of insurance. Most employers would rather give their workers more money than spending it on a bad insurance policy.

Safety Training

Having the right safety training can help lower your insurance premiums. Contractors are legally required to have safety meetings every 10 working days. By showing you have properly given instruction for each potential hazard, such as how to use a harness, you’ll be better positioned to prove the employee had the right training prior to the incident. This can help against being sued by discontented employees.

At ABCO, we understand the insurance a contractor needs and can give many options in the right coverage. Contact us today to find out how we can help your business succeed.

Do College Students Need Renters Insurance?

renters insurance for college students

It’s an exciting time of year–it’s almost time for college students to head back to campus. While many students still live on-campus, if you are a college student that is going to be in your own apartment this year, congratulations! This is one of the many steps you’ll take towards independence.

Although you may be focused on getting the perfect furniture and cool decorations for your new place, you should also be prepared in case something goes wrong. Now, you probably don’t want to think about it, but there are a lot of things that can happen at your apartment, and no, that doesn’t include any fun parties you might be throwing.

What do you do if someone breaks something in your place? Or your friend hurts themselves while dancing around your living room and decides to sue you? These accidents, while scary to think about, do in fact happen, and you should be ready just in case. Renters’ insurance is a great way to be prepared for the worst while hoping for the best. It will protect your belongings, protect you from any liability and also cover any living expenses if your apartment becomes unlivable for a time. Let’s look at these three aspects of renters’ insurance.

Property Replacement Basics

If you own an expensive laptop, a high-quality flat screen TV or any nice furniture, you might want to take care of it. One way you can do this is by protecting your valuables with renters’ insurance. How does this work? Well, you can insure each of your important belongings in your apartment, so that if thieves come and steal your things or there’s fire or water damage that occurs, you can call your agent, fill out any paperwork, and get the monetary value of each item back. This way, you’ll be able to replace anything that’s been stolen, damaged or destroyed.

The Essentials of Liability Protection

Let’s say you’re throwing an amazing party, and someone happens to slip and fall on a rug that you have in the living room of your apartment. They sprain their ankle or break their arm, and all of a sudden, that friend of yours is suing you. While it was obviously an accident, you still are responsible. With renters’ insurance, you don’t have to worry about footing an expensive medical bill. It will cover the cost of repairs for any damage that occurred, as well as the medical expenses for your friend’s injury.

What About Living Expense Coverage?

While your landlord should have insurance that covers any cost of repairs in case of a natural disaster, like a hurricane or fire, what it won’t cover is the cost of you having to live somewhere else while the building is being repaired. Renters’ insurance, however, will cover these costs, also referred to as living expenses. Even if you only spend a few nights at a hotel, you can still run up a hefty tab. That’s where your renters’ insurance will step in, so you don’t have to worry about a thing.

So, Where Can You Get a Good Renters’ Insurance Policy?

We know you’ve got a lot on your plate, from physics to frat parties. So, let the experts at ABCO Insurance Agency, Inc help you find the perfect renters’ insurance policy for you. Contact us today to get started.

The Essentials of Technology Insurance

technology insurance

If you are a company that sells computer hardware or software to another company, you would probably greatly benefit from investing in a good technology insurance policy. You will save yourself a lot of time and money if you do so, even if the initial cost of the policy seems expensive upfront. Whether you’re a startup or a larger, more established corporation, signing up for tech E & O, or technology errors and omissions insurance, is a wise idea. Let’s look at the basics of technology insurance, and specifically tech E & O insurance.

What Is Technology Insurance, Anyway?

Technology insurance is like any other form of insurance, except specifically for technology providers and technology companies. What does this mean, exactly? Well, let’s say you manufacture and sell computer parts to a computer manufacturer that creates laptops, netbooks and desktop computers. These parts are installed in the computer, and are supposed to work in order for the computer itself to work. If they don’t, then you have a problem. Technology insurance will cover you as the computer part manufacturer and protect you from having to pay any costs for anything related to damages or malfunctions.

What About Tech E & O Insurance?

This is a more specific and granular form of technology insurance. Let’s say you’ve developed a software program that processes data for analysis, and that you sell it to a computer manufacturer to include as part of their complete computer “package”, so to speak. However, when the software is used, it either doesn’t work or doesn’t draw any analytical conclusions from the data. This makes it pretty useless, doesn’t it? Tech E & O would cover you as the software company from having to pay damages related to the errors and omissions that occurred.

Do You Really Need This Type of Insurance?

The short answer is: yes! Most commercial general liability insurance won’t cover the issues that occur with technology, while adding a tech E & O policy or a more general technology insurance policy will greatly benefit you. It is always a good idea to be insured for things that you may suspect will never happen, but could. There’s always that “if”, so it’s wise to be prepared.

But What About Commercial General Liability Insurance?

While these policies are usually great at having a wide range of coverage, they will not cover anything related to errors and omissions.  This may be considered by some to be a form of property damage, but it’s not, at least not in the more traditional CGL insurance sense. An error or omission usually just renders property less useful or useless. It’s not really outright damage to the property, so it doesn’t really fall under the scope of a CGL policy.

Get Technology Insurance Today

If you work in the vast field of technology and create products or services that are used by other technology companies or manufacturers, a good technology insurance policy is an excellent idea. ABCO Insurance Agency, Inc. can help you find the policy that’s right for you. Contact us today to see what we can do for you.