Why Business Insurance is Important

If you own a business, the thought of a lawsuit threatening your company or an accident destroying your property will most likely fill you with a sense of dread. If you are not insured in the event of a business calamity, this sense of dread is warranted. Most people who are not insured find it difficult to conceptualize a future where their livelihood is at stake, since the threat feels so distant, so improbable. However, if your business is in danger of a liability claim, impeded by a natural disaster, or losing income after an unexpected setback, having the right insurance can be the difference between remaining unscathed and financially secure or closing your doors for good.

Here are some things you should keep in mind when choosing your insurance policy and protecting yourself from an unpredictable world.

Getting Started.

Keeping your business afloat can be difficult enough as it is, and just one unexpected financial crisis can be all it takes to bring you down. Insuring your business should be one of your top priorities. The first thing you should consider are the types of policies your specific business might need. For example:

    • If you own a landscaping business, look into attaining an extended business income provision policy. If your equipment fails or you lose workers and need a certain amount of time to get everything back in order, this policy will cover the income you will have lost while your work was halted. Also, since landscapers often use herbicides and pesticides, there is a chance that something may go wrong when using these chemicals. Herbicide and pesticide insurance will cover you for any costs that may arise, like property damage or pollution.
    • Real estate businesses may need commercial auto insurance if an employee has an accident while driving for work. Also, employment practices liability and employee benefits liability insurance will be helpful. This will protect you in case an employee makes a wrongful termination claim against your company, or your employee claims that he or she was not given the agreed-upon benefits.
  • Restaurants should get liquor liability insurance and temperature change insurance. If a customer causes an incident after consuming alcohol served by your restaurant, liquor liability insurance will cover any costs if a claim is made against your company. Furthermore, temperature change coverage will reimburse you for any lost supplies if your refrigerator malfunctions.

Remember to assess your needs and find the policy that will suit you and your business.  

What it Will do for Your Business.

Every business needs insurance. Not only will it protect you from lawsuits and ‘acts of God,’ but it will also help the day-to-day operations of your business function more easily. Having the right insurance will help you in ways you might not have expected.

    • Having insurance for your business will make your business look more professional and trustworthy. If your clients see that you’re insured, it means that they are insured, as well. If anything goes wrong with a good or service they purchase from you, they know they can be compensated. Stating that your business is insured is a great way to let potential clients know that you are serious about the work you do.
    • Having insurance is not only important, it’s actually mandatory. The law demands that businesses have certain insurance policies to protect workers. If your business has employees, you need to have workers comp, unemployment, and disability, otherwise you could be fined, charged with a crime, or have your business shut down.
    • Your business is more attractive for employees if you offer insurance benefit policies, like healthcare and disability. Finding and holding onto good employees is a major problem for business owners. Offering benefit programs that will protect them and their families in case of an emergency is a great way to encourage them to come and work for you.
  • Throughout the course of your career, your business will most likely need to sign a contract. This will probably happen more than a few times. If you’re not insured, you might not be able to actually sign the contract, especially if your business leases or rents your business resources, tries to obtain a loan to build new buildings or equipment or even gains a new client.

Insurance is not merely for the few occasions when something goes wrong, but insurance is necessary to help things go right. Having insurance will provide peace of mind so that if something does go wrong, you will know you are properly protected.  Contact us at Bieritz Insurance to learn more about a business insurance policy.  We can help guide you in obtaining the insurance you need at a cost that works for your business.  

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Insuring Your Vacation Rental Property

In our little corner of the world, the vacation rental business is booming.  While year-round lodging opportunities (hotels, motels, bed and breakfasts, inns, etc.) continue to exist as a mainstay of accommodation  options in our area – there are many properties that now cater mostly to the thirteen week summer season – primarily targeted to the baseball camp family audience for weekly rentals.  Some of these properties contract with local managers to list and rent their homes as summer vacation rentals and others (more each day) list with one or more of the national rental chains like HomeAway, VRBO (Vacation Rental By Owner)  or AirB&B.

 

A home that is used as a rental property is considered a business.  As a business, a typical homeowner’s insurance policy does not necessarily provide insurance coverage for your property (liability and damages, etc.) in the same way.   In some cases, if your property is used for short-term (less than 30 days) rentals, you might qualify for an endorsement on your existing policy. NOTE: You can check with our offices to see what your options are to make sure that you and your property are protected.   In most cases, you will need separate business insurance to cover you for liability (in case someone gets injured while staying at your property), building and contents (for replacement from catastrophic damage) and building income (to protect your business earnings).  If you offer extras like the use of bicycles or canoes/kayaks, or if you have a pool that guests will be able to use, you will want to make sure that your liability coverage extends to cover these items and their use by a renter.

 

Although some of the national rental chains (above) may offer their owners (and guests) the option to add insurance for their rentals, their policies might not provide the coverage that you need to be fully protected.  In some cases these policies do not allow for claims for extra guest fees, violations to the rental agreement, extra fees for cleaning or from pets, or loss of the ability to rent while repairs are being done. If you list your property through a national agency, Bieritz Insurance can review the details of that coverage for you so that we can advise how you can minimize your exposure to risks that might not be covered.  

 

Even with an insurance policy, some property owners continue to request a security deposit from their guests.  Although security deposits are time consuming to manage and are often points of contention between the owner and their guest, they do allow for the owner to provide documentation of damages and fees incurred to make repairs without going through the claims process (which often requires cooperation from the renter).  Security deposits may also provide a better incentive for renters to leave the property in good condition.

 

To protect yourself in a vacation rental business, your rental agreement with your vacationing guests should clearly stipulate the process for damages and claims.  You should also have a screening process in place so that you can make sure that your property and rules are a good fit for your prospective renter. A little bit of work in advance can alleviate headaches afterwards.  Our team at Bieritz Insurance in Cooperstown and Morris can help answer your questions and can find coverage to best meet your needs.  Contact us in Cooperstown at (607) 547-2951 and in Morris at (607) 263-5170. We are here to help you for all of your insurance needs!

 

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Entrepreneurship and Your Business Insurance

From the Insurance Information Institute:

The i’s on Insurance: [Not So Risky] Business

Being an entrepreneur makes you the boss! But along with getting to choose your own hours, location, and business plan, it also means that you’re responsible for a lot of other things, like commercial business insurance. There’s a lot more to business insurance than getting the lowest business insurance quotes. It means understanding your business’s unique needs and the potential hazards that can threaten its success.

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Snow Removal Safety

snow removal bieritzWe have been very fortunate in our region this year to have not had any significant snowfall so far this winter.  But, as we all know – those days are coming!  Our favorite snow-shoveling days are the ones where each morning, there is only a tiny layer of new snow – light and powdery enough that all you need is a once over with a broom to sweep it clear.  If we are lucky, we will have more than a few of those kinds of snowfalls this winter.  Inevitably though, as part of the winter mix, we will end up with some accumulations of wetter snow that will require actual shoveling. Keep in mind some of the following safety tips for when this occurs.  

First, make sure you are able to safely shovel – if you have back problems or a heart condition, you might want to check with your doctor first, or consider finding someone to hire for the task.  Some landscaping companies will contract with you for snow clearing services through the winter months or if you know any local youths, they might be interested in an extra few dollars in their pockets.   

If you are able to shovel, before you go out make sure you are dressed properly – with layers of clothing, warm socks, hat, gloves and shoes that offer traction on slippery surfaces.  Take a few moments to limber up as well to warm your muscles for the task. Remember to take breaks frequently and stay well-hydrated.  If you experience any pain while shoveling, you should stop immediately.  

Choosing the right tool for the job is likely one of the most important things you can do to prevent injury and strain.  A plastic small-bladed shovel with a curved handle is best.  The curved handle helps you to keep your back straighter while shoveling and the small blade assures that you won’t be lifting too much snow at a time.  It is better to push snow rather than lift it when possible which is why it is recommended to shovel more frequently to clear new snow than to wait until the storm ends and clear it all at once.  One large shovelful of snow can weigh 25 pounds! 

You can increase your leverage while shoveling by keeping your hands at least a foot apart on the shovel.  If you need to lift snow, remember to remove it in smaller shovelfuls and use your legs to lift and move  – try to avoid twisting.

Our team at Bieritz Insurance wishes you a wonderful and safe winter season, free from injuries and with only the amount of snow you can handle!  

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Celebrating Small Businesses

July is National Independent Retailers Month.  At Bieritz Agency, we are always celebrating our small business partners and the Shop Local message for keeping our dollars within our community.  Please support your local businesses!

 

Every business is unique and has different needs when it comes to insurance.  Whether your company is large or small, we can find the right product to meet your needs and your budget.  We work with all industries – restaurants, retailers, service and financial businesses as well as lodging and accommodation properties and we offer a number of insurance products for businesses and business owners.   Our staff in Cooperstown and Morris would be happy to answer any questions or provide a quote that could save you money each year.

 

Our business products include the following:

  • Business Owners Packages
  • Commercial Liability
  • General Liability
  • Commercial Auto
  • Commercial Umbrellas
  • Payroll Deduction Programs
  • Business Retirement Plans
  • Business Life Insurance
  • Church and Non-profit Products
  • Civic Organization Liability
  • Workman’s Compensation
  • Disability Insurance

 

Call us today at 607-547-2951 in Cooperstown or in Morris at 607-263-5170.

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Why Shop Around for Insurance?

A client-contributed article from Susan O’Handley

I have been working with the Bieritz Agency over the last few years as a consultant for website and marketing support services. On occasion, I would receive a gentle reminder from Steve to consider switching to Bieritz, or at the very least letting them provide a quote for us.  Although I had meant to do this (I believe in supporting local businesses and my clients whenever possible), insurance is one of those things that’s easy to push off to a later date, and when our policies came up for renewal, we just renewed them and forgot all about switching.

moneyUntil recently.  On the heels of another gentle reminder (never a high pressure push), I decided to just go ahead and send our current policies over for a comparable quote.  I am very glad I did!  To begin with, we ended up saving close to $250 on our auto insurance policy with the same coverage – so we are already ahead.

Information that came back to us on our homeowners policy came as a bit of a surprise.  After reviewing our policy, we learned that we were underinsured for the replacement value for our home and were also paying extra money for a low deductible option.  Beth Spence, the Bieritz Agency Manager,  provided us with several options, all of which gave us better coverage and terms for literally a few extra dollars.

When we purchased our home as first-time buyers over 10 years ago, we never gave the insurance a second thought.  I don’t recall shopping around for quotes at that time (closing on your first home is what I consider a whirlwind experience), and since it is tied into our mortgage payment, it was something that just automatically renewed each year – never really needing attention.  I assumed that the coverage was complete and that it continued to meet our needs.

Thankfully, we have never had a claim on either policy (knock on wood), but I am glad that we found out about our home policy now instead of being surprised in a time of need by having too little coverage.  I encourage friends and neighbors to review your insurance policies and send them over to Bieritz for review!  Even if you don’t wish to switch companies/brokers, take the time to review your policy with your family and agent. Like us, you might find yourself in for a surprise.

The Bieritz team lives up to their reputation of first-class customer service, with responsive and helpful interactions – they are indeed ‘Your Hometown Insurance Specialists’! Give them a call today and see if they can assist you with your policies.

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