business insurance Archives - Harrington Insurance Agency

Deciding How Much Business Insurance Is Needed

By | Business Insurance

What is the Proper Amount of Business Insurance?

The desire to minimize the costs of insurance premiums is perfectly understandable. Your business might be having a rough year, or perhaps you’re trying to pay for a major expansion. It makes sense. What you don’t realize is that you’re potentially leaving yourself on the hook for thousands of dollars in out of pocket losses. The reason why is something called a co-insurance clause.

Say you cover your building and the equipment it contains for a total insured value of $700,000. But you’ve purchased a great deal of expensive equipment over the years, or the building has been improved, so its current value is actually higher. One day, a fire breaks out, and damages are estimated to be $500,000.

This is when the co-insurance clause comes into play. Commercial insurance policies typically mandate that a business must be insured for a given percentage of the current total monetary value. This figure is usually between 80 or 90 percent, but can be as high as 100%. The business in the above example is insured for $700,000, but after the fire is assessed to have been worth $1,000,000. In this case, the policy mandated at least 80% coverage of the total value of the company, but it was only insured for 70% of the current value. This is in violation of the co-insurance clause, and so the policy owner will only receive 70% of their insurance claim—in this case, $500,000 x 70%, or $350,000.

If the policy owner had covered the business for $800,000, then they would meet the 80% coverage requirement of the policy, and thus would receive 100% (not 80%) of their claim, or $500,000.

Hopefully, this example illustrates how important it is to maintain proper coverage of your business, and how devastating failing to do so can be to your livelihood. Scrimping on your insurance coverage to save money is a hazardous cost-reduction measure. Have a discussion with your insurance agent, and assure that your business is adequately covered.

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Insurance for Tenants and Who Covers What

By | Business Insurance

What Type Of Insurance is Needed as A Tenant?

The relationship between tenant and landlord can be, at times, difficult to understand, and the murky circumstances of insuring a tenant’s improvements on a leased business property is a prime example of this. A lessor may choose to keep things simple by dictating that they will insure the structure and property, while the lessee insures the removable property that they store and install within the business—but it’s the improvements that cannot be removed—wiring, cabinetry, plumbing—that can potentially cause a headache.

Who is Responsible for What?

If the respective party’s responsibilities are not carefully delineated in the rental agreement, and catastrophic damage to the property occurs, it can be difficult after the fact to assess who is responsible for replacing what. While the landlord may have insured the basic structure, all the improvements within it may not be covered under the landlord’s policy. Additionally, disagreements about whether the lessee or lessor owned the improvements within the building only further confound the issue. In the meantime, without the contents of the business that were destroyed, it may be difficult or impossible for the business owner to secure the funds necessary to restore the interior to the condition necessary for the business to operate.

Read Your State Laws

A great deal of case law has been devoted to this issue, as many disasters similar to the one described above have occurred. The currently established legal precedents vary widely from state to state, and so it is impossible to give a generalized answer as to who is responsible for what. The simplest resolution is simply this: Within the rental contract, the responsibilities of the two parties should be outlined explicitly. It should be indicated what improvements are owned by each party, and what obligations each party has in maintaining insurance policies on the property and its contents. A lessor may specify that they will insure the structural shell, while the lessee is responsible for everything therein, or the lessee may be required to only insure removable contents within the structure, with the lessor covering everything else. Or one party or the other may take sole responsibility.

The main issue is that insurance responsibilities should be negotiated and clarified before a catastrophe occurs, rather than having to rely on the ruling of a court after the fact. With over 40 years’ experience in this type of insurance, Harrington Insurance can help you navigate these waters at the best price. Give us a call today and we’ll be happy to help!

Getting the Best Rates with Your Insurance Policy

By | Personal Insurance

How to know if you are getting good insurance rates

There are plenty of insurance policy discounts out there if you just know where to look. You may already be getting the best rate you possibly can, but there may be a few things you didn’t think to mention when applying for your insurance.

Few things that may help you qualify for a discount:

  • Living in a gated community. Insurance carriers like to know when people are being proactive against possible neighborhood crime. Living in a gated community shows your insurance carrier that you are taking a stand against possible break-ins and other types of criminal acts.
  • Being a non-smoker. Smoking not only hurts your health, but increases your insurance premiums in almost all your policies. Health related insurance like healthcare and life policies have lower rates for non-smokers because the probability of health related claims is greatly decreased. Homeowner’s insurance carriers offer lower rates to non-smokers because the risk of fire is greatly reduced.
  • Having an impact-resistant roof. You probably didn’t think to notify your homeowner’s carrier when you had your roof redone, huh? If you recently installed an impact-resistant roof you might get a discount. Any time you make any changes to your home, let your insurance agent know. Even just updating the wiring in your home might warrant a discount.
  • Being a good student. You may have heard that taking a driver safety course could reduce your premium. But did you know that if you are a good student in school you might be entitled to a lower rate as well? It’s definitely worth asking your insurance agent.

Of course every insurance company is different. Not every one offers the same discounts or rate reductions. Contact us to see if you qualify for any of the above policy credits.

What You Need to Know About Life Insurance and Accelerated Death Benefits

By | Life Insurance, Life Insurance

How does Life Insurance & Accelerated Death Benefits Work?

Life insurance policyholders may have the option of adding ‘riders’ to their policies to cover particular circumstances. One of these riders known as an ‘accelerated death benefit’ may be useful in cases of a serious and life-threatening disease.

With the addition of this rider, the policyholder may be able to draw on the death benefit in advance to pay for medical care. It’s important to note that this only applies in cases of severe illnesses such as terminal cancer, or another disease requiring extensive medical intervention.

When the death benefit is drawn on in advance in this manner, it’s important to be aware that the amount due to beneficiaries upon death will be reduced. In cases where the policyholder recovers from the illness, he or she is not generally required to pay back the benefit. However the value of the benefit will have decreased by the amount previously drawn on it.

In some cases of an accelerated death benefit riders, insurance providers only charge extra for it if it is actually utilized. In other cases, insurers may charge extra for the rider. This is something that should be checked with the life insurance agent when taking out the policy, or when taking the option of adding a rider to an existing policy.

Contact Harrington Insurance Agency in San Jose, CA today if you any insurance needs that need to be met.

Quality Insurance is a Good Investment for your Quality Staff

By | Business Insurance

Protecting Your Business with Insurance is Good Investment

Property insurance coverage protects your investment in the physical assets of your business. If disaster strikes, insurance compensation can help make sure that business capital that has been earmarked for business development does not have to be spent to repair buildings and replace inventory that has been damaged or lost.

Making Sure Your Most Important Assets Are Protected: Your Staff

The people who work in your business are another vital asset. Are you investing in this important resource? Offering your workers benefits, such as health insurance, can reduce the number of sick days, and allow staff to address any health issues. Offering things like discount gym memberships can help retain the best employees, and keep them motivated.

It’s far more cost-effective to retain good staff than to have to hire and train new staff. A business that provides a supportive working environment, offers employees a career path and rewards workers for their contribution to business success is able to retain a team of motivated, productive workers.

Using financial tools like business insurance to protect your company’s investment in physical assets helps to ensure that your business can continue, despite setbacks like fires and other mishaps. Investing in your company’s human assets is another valuable way of ensuring business continuity.

Contact Harrington Insurance today so we can set up your staff with quality benefit packages.

Fraud and Workers’ Compensation Insurance

By | Workers' Compensation

What you need to know about fraud with Workers’ Compensation Insurance

Most businesses in California are required by law to have workers’ compensation. Despite this mandate, some businesses try to avoid paying for the proper coverage. There are three basic types of workers’ comp fraud.

Three Basics of Workers’ Compensation Fraud

Some businesses commit fraud by improperly classifying their workers. Just because an individual provides a service for your business, does not mean he or she is an employee. Independent contractors are one instance of this – people under this title do not have to be provided insurance. Before you label a worker as such, however, it is vital you ensure the term correctly describes his or her relationship with your business.

Another way a business might attempt to minimize the cost of workers’ comp premiums is deducting the amount from their staff members’ paychecks. This is illegal in the state of California. Doing so can get you fined, and even open the way for a legal suit by your employees.

Other businesses simply fail to obtain coverage altogether, which could result in serious financial burden. Should an accident occur on the premises and it is discovered that you do not have the proper insurance; your business could be held responsible for paying medical benefits and lost wages to the affected worker. The labor board may even close your business until the right insurance is obtained.

Do not risk the financial future of your business. Contact our agency today to ensure you are adequately insured.

The Rules of Workers’ Compensation Insurance

By | Business Insurance, Workers' Compensation

Employees or Independent Contractors?

In California, all employees must have workers’ compensation provided to them by their employers, according to the Department of Industrial Relations. Just because an individual completes a job for your business, however, does not mean he or she is always an employee. Depending on the details of your professional relationship, he or she could be labeled an independent contractor.

To determine how to classify your workers, consider the following:

  • Do you control the work that is done by the individual?
  • Do you determine how the work is done?
  • Is the service the individual provides related to your business’s primary purpose?
  • Do you provide the equipment or work area?
  • Does the job performed by the individual require a high level of expertise?
  • Do you pay the individual by the hour?
  • Is the position the individual holds a permanent role in your business?

While there is no legal definition for independent contractor, answering “no” to more than one of the above questions may mean the worker is a contractor. It is of course, important to clarify the situation – getting it wrong could be costly.

As the Department of Labor Standards Enforcement automatically categorizes all workers as employees unless evidence proves to the contrary, it is vital you ensure you are classifying your workers correctly. One of our agents would be glad to assist you in obtaining coverage for your eligible workers.

Helping Your Employees with Workers’ Compensation Insurance

By | Business Insurance, Workers' Compensation

Having Workers’ Compensation Insurance will Benefit Your Employees Greatly

The Golden State has one of the highest populations in the United States. As such, it also boasts a large workforce. As a business owner, you know a great percentage of the cost of doing business comes from employee salaries. Workplace accidents could also lead to an increase in costs. Insurance is available to help businesses provide compensation to injured workers. But as well as having workers’ compensation insurance in place, you might also want to create policies to help staff members return to the office more quickly after being injured, saving you time and money on hiring a temporary replacement.

  • You could adjust the job duties to make allowances for the employee’s health.
  • Modifying work procedures could also help.
  • You may want to consider allowing employees that were previously full-time to take on a part-time schedule.
  • Changing the workstation could make completing their previous job easier.

Incentives for Businesses with Workers’ Compensation Insurance

California encourages businesses to make adjustments that allow injured workers to return to their jobs sooner. For businesses with at least 50 employees, a 15 percent discount may be available on weekly permanent disability benefits to employers who work with employees after accident on getting back to work. How much importance do you place on minimizing an employee’s time off after an accident?

Contact Harrington Insurance Agency in San Jose, CA for your personalized workers’ compensation insurance policy for your business!

Health Insurance and Being Prepared for Illnesses

By | Health Insurance, Personal Insurance

Being Prepared for the Unexpected with Health Insurance

Why do you need California health insurance? Serious illness can strike at any time, and you would not want to be struggling financially while trying to recover from a disease such as cancer. Even if you have never smoked or abused alcohol, there may be a number of possible cancer-causing substances around your home.

The American Cancer Society lists the following as possible carcinogens that are commonly found in residences:

  • There have been many studies on the possible link between hair dye and the development of tumors.
  • Radon is a type of radioactive gas that is thought to cause lung cancer after extensive exposure. Common sources of radon include building materials, soil, and certain water supplies.
  • While not thoroughly tested, some people have started to voice concerns over the possible side effects of cosmetics.
  • Perfluorooctanoic acid is used in the creation of Teflon, a commonly used coating for nonstick pans. It has been connected to tumor growth in animals, but any effect on humans is not yet clear.
  • Depending on how old your home is, it could contain asbestos. These fibers are considered very dangerous when disturbed, which makes it vital to call in a professional should you suspect your home was built with materials containing asbestos.

While all the above items have been thought to be linked to cancer, it is important to remember that the cause of cellular mutation remains a mystery to medical experts. Your best bet to prevent and treat cancer is to have regular checkups with your physician. Having California health insurance could help ensure such precautions do not break the bank.

Workers’ Compensation Insurance and Preventing Workplace Accidents

By | Business Insurance, Workers' Compensation

Workers’ Compensation Insurance is Important for Workplace Accidents

One reason California workers compensation may be important for your business is in covering employees who may fall while on the job. A major concern for all business owners is the prevention of falls. According to Injury Facts 2012, which is compiled by the National Safety Council, over eight million ER visits follow accidental falls per year. With June being National Safety Month, the NSC has set aside the week beginning June 17 to concentrate on educating the public on the danger of falls.

Did you know that there is a difference between slipping, tripping, and falling?

  • A slip occurs when the level of traction between a foot and a surface falls below a certain point.
  • An imbalance in momentum, often caused by stepping on an unseen object, causes a person to trip.
  • Typically, falls occur as an individual is moving to a surface that is a different height than his or her current position.
  • To help prevent slipping, tripping, and falling accidents, the NSC has suggested the following tips.
  • Floors and stairwells should be kept clutter-free.
  • Both the interior and exterior of a building should be well lit.
  • Spills should be cleaned up right away.
  • Electrical cords should not be draped across walkways.
  • Consider adjusting your dress code to address the need for proper footwear.

It’s all in the numbers

How many California workers compensation claims for falls were filed by your business in the past year? What is your business doing to help workers avoid such injuries? By making the reduction of fall hazards a priority, you may be able to diminish the instances of such claims.

Harrington Insurance Agency today!