May 2017

Is There Insurance Specifically for Landscape Contractors?

Is there insurance in Ohio that can be tailored to the unique needs of your small landscaping business? The answer is yes.

You're busy--you're a business owner in the middle of your high season, and the jobs are stacking up. Let us give you some peace of mind by making sure you're covered to take each of those jobs, allowing you to focus on providing your clients with the best service.

Landscapers Insurance: Why Now?

Earlier in 2017, Ohio legislature made changes to a few key laws that resulted in more stringent requirements on insurance that must be held by landscaping companies. These new laws require landscape businesses to have policies more comprehensive policy than ever before. There are only a few insurers in the state that currently offer the kind of coverage these laws require. An independent insurance agent can help you find coverage gaps and cover them appropriately in accordance with this new law.

What Insurance Does my Landscaping Company Need?

It is valuable to consider a number of different kinds of insurance policies when picking the best combination of coverage for your landscaping insurance business. Each type of policy has some specialized coverage that will be useful in a particular situation. The three main types of landscaping insurance are:

  • Commercial General Liability Insurance
  • Commercial Auto Insurance
  • Contractors Equipment Insurance

The coverage provided by these three types of insurance are valuable to consider if you are a landscaper, arborist, lawn irrigation contractor, landscape designer, landscape architect, or landscape general contractor.

Commercial General Liability Insurance

This is the key type of landscape contractors insurance that every landscaper must have. It protects you against potential lawsuits that have the potential of shutting your business down.

General liability claims come up more often than you would expect. For example, from a real-life situation, an employee of a local contracting firm was mowing a client’s property and accidentally sprayed a shower of gravel into the parking lot, hitting and damaging multiple cars. Liability insurance covered the cost of damages.

Whether or not lawsuits filed against you are warranted, they can take time, money, and reputation away from you. By getting a landscape liability policy before an incident like this happens to your business, you can rest easy knowing you will be covered.

Commercial Auto Insurance

If you have a vehicle that you use for your business, it should be covered under a commercial auto insurance plan. So should any trailers or trucks used to transport equipment or employees.  A variety of different commercial auto insurance plans are available in Ohio, but policies can generally include at-fault accident insurance, vandalization coverage, physical damage coverage for an accident that was not your fault, bodily injury coverage for your employees or yourself if anyone is involved in a crash, and/or coverage for a stolen automobile.

Contractors Equipment Insurance

When you store your equipment at your facility, it is covered by your commercial property insurance policy. However, realistically, your facilities are not where your equipment will spend all--or even most--of its time.

In order to protect your equipment when it is away from its storage facility, contractors equipment insurance is a must. Let's say you left a mower at a client's property overnight, and return the next morning to find it stolen. If you had a contractors equipment insurance policy, you would be covered. If you were planning on relying on your commercial property insurance policy, you would be out of luck.

There's no reason to let a lawsuit, stolen equipment, or accident put your business in jeopardy. Give yourself peace of mind and get the right kind of contractors insurance today.

April 2017

Why do I need Landscaping Insurance in Ohio?

The Ohio landscaping industry laws have changed the kind of landscape insurance you must carry if you're a pesticide business servicing in Ohio. These changes have been introduced by the Ohio Department of Agriculture. This could make your current business insurance not comply with the new laws. If you're a landscaper or if you have a pesticide license, you may need to change your policy.

Your policy must now include coverage of “the properties under the care, custody, and control of the pesticide application business as it relates to the application of pesticides, including but not limited to the damage to the actual properties the pesticide business is treating or working on…” To learn more about this please see the article below:

» Ohio Landscapers: how new ODA guidelines have a major impact on your insurance

Who Needs Landscaping Insurance? 

Landscaping insurance  may include general liability insurancecommercial auto insurancecontractors equipment insurance, and/or employer's liability coverage. You must protect yourself from potential lawsuits caused by accidents that cause property damage or personal injury. The types of businesses that need this kind of insurance include:

  • Landscape designers
  • Arborists
  • Tree trimmers
  • Lawn irrigation contractors
  • General landscapers
  • Landscape architects

Currently, only a handful of insurance companies in Ohio offer this kind of coverage. The required amount of liability coverage you need for property in your care, custody, or control is $300,000.

Who can cover my business under the new laws?

The new Ohio landscape insurance laws starts to become complex with the general liability policies that will no longer cover you properly. It is not easy to get coverage that will allow you to make claims on damage done to the properties you are working on. You need coverage that is basically a warranty on your work. It would need to cover you if you make a mistake on a client’s property or project.

Only a handful of insurance companies in Ohio offer this kind of coverage. The required amount of liability coverage you need for property in your care, custody, or control is $300,000. To figure out how you can change your current coverage to ensure you comply, we recommend you speak with an independent insurance agent who will guide you through the process to get you the right coverage.

Consequences of not having landscape insurance

What could happen if I don't follow the new guidelines? Here are the three things that could happen:

  1. If you’re found to be non-compliant with the new liability guidelines, your license is immediately suspended.
  2.  If you find yourself needing to make a claim, only to find out that you didn’t have the coverage you needed, your license is immediately suspended.
  3. If your insurance agent provided you with a Certificate of Insurance showing that you had the coverage, when you didn’t, your license would still be suspended.

This could be a challenging new situation for many small businesses in Ohio. Our goal is to make it easy for you to get the proper coverage. But we also realize that each landscaping company needs different direction to fall into compliance. To get started on your customized solution, contact one of our licensed, independent advisors, or request a proposal for landscape insurance below and we will get to work for you!

 March 2017

Data Breach Insurance: 9 Questions to Ask Your Ohio Insurance Agency

As we've recognized in other blogs; data breach insurance is important coverage to look at if you own a business. There are many cyber threats to your data, and your customers’ data in the world.

We've put together nine questions that you can take to your insurance agent to get the coverage you need. An independent agent will be able to help you through the complex cyber insurance landscape. They can also ensure that you only get the insurance you really need with no unnecessary extras. Below are the nine most essential questions to get answered:

1.   Does the insurer understand my industry and its regulations?

A good place to start is to ask about the various insurance companies they offer. How much they know about your industry. Ask how many other businesses they cover in your field. Knowing you're with an insurer that knows your specific risks can be a big comfort as you move forward. 

2.   What all is covered by this policy? 

Since data breach insurance can cover a wide assortment of cyber attacks, you need to know what your policy covers. Find out in detail what that is and what you will be reimbursed for. If anything is unclear, make sure to have your agent explain it in depth. 

3.   What are the reporting requirements? 

Often cyber liability insurance policies require you to report an incident within a specific amount of time to get your claim approved. It can take time to discover the extent of a cyber breach. Therefore you need to report incidents as soon as you are made aware of them. Make sure your policy has a reasonable window of time in which you must make the claim. 

4.   What compliance obligations are required?

Many policies will require ongoing audits to maintain your current coverage. This can be complex, so be sure you understand and maintain your obligations to ensure there are no questions when a claim is audited. Also, make sure your insurance agent helps you determine what obligations are reasonable within a policy.

5.   How will a breach impact my premium?

 Just like car insurance, premium rates for cyber insurance can go up once you've filed a claim. Talk to your agent about this and know whether it's worth making a claim on a small breach if it will increase your premiums. Determining where this line is early on will make you more confident in what to do when certain breaches occur.

6.   Does this policy cover full “third-party” damages?

 These are the costs acquired by your customers due to a breach that they hold you accountable for. Examine what your policy offers with your agent to help you determine what kind of third-party coverage is best for you.

7.   Does this policy have coverage for fines and penalties? 

Sometimes fines and penalties are occurred by the government when a data breach happens. Understand what circumstances this falls under and see if you need special coverage if your business is at risk.

8.   Will this policy cover data breaches on unencrypted devices? 

If your business uses unencrypted devices, it's important to find out if the policy covers cyber attacks on them. Some policies can exclude breaches on them. Often there may be some rule in place that will require you to prove whether or not a device was encrypted at the time of the breach. 

9.   Is there anything else I need to know?

Ask if there is anything else you need to know before you sign yourself on to a policy. It's the job of your agent to make sure you have all of the information.

Are you ready to set up an appointment with one of our knowledgeable independent insurance advisors? Contact us today. You can also download our free Cyber Insurance ebook to get more information.

February 2017

Am I Overpaying my Ohio Life Insurance Company?

The best way to insure that most important people in your life is by makeusre that you are protected with life insurance. Life insurance is a smart choice for most individuals who have dependents or loved ones that would be financially-impacted if you passed away unexpectedly. If you have children it can ensure that their college expenses are paid for, or your partner has income to live on for a year while they put their life back together. In other words, it's hard to deny the benefits of life insurance coverage.  

Even with bering covered, we have found people are still asking themselves, "How much life insurance should I get?", “Am I overpaying?” or “What can you do to lower your premiums?”

3 Tips to Avoid Overpaying Life Insurance in Ohio

We have compiled a few practical basics that affect your rates and that's worth looking at to see if what you're paying is reasonable.

Maintain a good driving record              

Yes, your driving record does affect not only your car insurance rates but also your life insurance premiums. Life insurance companies focus on calculating risk. Rememeber that anything in your life that raises your risk will raise your premium. Like most, if you're planning ahead to get the most affordable life insurance, you must be smart about your lifestyle choices. Not only is your driving record a factor, your credit history is also considered when life insurance companies work up your cost of coverage. Take a look at your overall risk profile and see if there are any areas in which you can improve.  

Maintain good health and healthy habits

Similar to health insurance, life insurance risk factors include the level of health you maintain. Insurers spend a lot of time trying to get this risk factor right. You will have to get a medical exam as part of getting life insurance, and this exam looks for a variety of factors such as obesity, mental health, high cholesterol, your family’s health history etc. Of course, many of these health risks are out of your hands, but there are some that you do have control over. One example is smoking. If you're a smoker, one of the main ways in which you can lower your premiums for life insurance is by quitting your smoking habit.

Avoid unnecessary or out of date riders

If you aren’t sure, a rider is something you add on to your policy to provide additional benefits. One example of this is a disability rider that allows you to collect regular income from the insurance company if you become totally disabled and cannot work. Certain riders are very good to have, but others may not be necessary and are worth looking over again. Some riders may also be out of date or no longer necessary because of changes to the basic policy, or to your life circumstances. 

To see where you are with your life insurance expwnses, check in with your life insurance advisor to go over your current policy, and to be sure you stay updated on any changes. It's always good to make it a habit to have these periodical meetings and you will feel more reassured.

Choosing the right insurance company is very important. Brand/Neer/Frantz/Stallsmith Insurance is dedicated to putting our clients first and this starts by providing you with the information that's meaningful for you. We have put together a useful guide that tells you what you need to know about life insurance. Download the comprehensive free ebook about Life Insurance below. If you have any questions, please contact us directly!



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