Eight Tips For The Road Ahead Be Safe, Be Smart On A Long-Distance Road Trip

 

Whether you’re traveling alone, with a buddy or with your spouse and a car full of kids, there are few things more “American” than the long-distance road trip. Countless vacation travelers will drive the highways looking for fun and making memories with every mile. If traveling down the “holiday road” is in your plans, take the time to prepare for your trip. You’ll have a more enjoyable vacation if you plan carefully. Here are a few driving tips:

1) Maintain your car. Make sure your vehicle is up to date on its maintenance schedule, and be sure to check the battery and tires.

2) Plan your trip and know where you’re going. Call ahead for proper and safe directions to get you to your destination safely and have maps of the area on hand to help you navigate once you are off the main road. You’re more likely to make good decisions, even in dangerous situations, if you’re clearheaded and know where you’re going.

3) Be alert. Seems obvious, but driver inattention is surely the cause of a lot of accidents. If you stay focused behind the wheel and plan carefully, you will have a wonderful summer road trip.

4) Take precaution with a cell phone. Cell phones can be a lifesaver when you need immediate access to emergency services after an accident. Keep your phone within easy reach and get to know its features. However, use it prudently. Reports suggest that driving while talking on the phone increases accident rates.

5) Wear your seat belt. Whether or not it’s required by law in the state through which you’re driving, always wear your seat belt as a safety precaution.

6) Protect your car against theft. Help deter criminals from taking your car with steering wheel locks, switches that disable fuel or ignition systems, and electronic tracking devices.

7) If you’re in an accident. Taking immediate steps if you’ve been in an accident can protect your family and your car from further damage. Stop immediately and make sure your car is not blocking traffic. Turn off your car to keep it from overheating or catching fire. Warn oncoming cars using road flares or orange triangle reflectors. After you have protected yourself and your family, call your insurance company immediately.

8) Make sure your auto insurance is up to date. Before you even leave the driveway, you want to be sure you’re protected when you’re on the road and far from home. An independent insurance agent or broker can provide the personal service and advice you need to travel in confidence.

Thanks for reading and please share this information with your friends and family.

 Sanviti Insurance is a local Trusted Choice® agency that represents multiple insurance companies, so it offers you a variety of personal and business coverage choices and can customize an insurance plan to meet your personal or business needs. You can visit Sanviti Insurance online at www.SanvitiAgency.com or call us at 617-389-2020.

Insurance Considerations – Home Based Businesses

With the advancement of technology, there has been an unprecedented expansion in the number of home based businesses.  From app development to selling on eBay, consulting and more, you may not realize that you need a specific policy to protect your growing business.

The standard homeowners policy generally provides only $2500 worth of coverage, while companies have different endorsements to increase this amount, it still may not provide enough coverage.  The amount covered reduces drastically once the business property leaves the home, down to as little as $500.

While your homeowners policy may cover a small amount of business equipment, it will definitely not cover lost data, lost income or liability.

What if my office is located above my detached garage?  With the homeowners policy – there is an exclusion to coverage for “other structures” from which business is conducted.  In other words – if you use your detached garage as an office, the ENTIRE garage will not be covered under your policy.  And this is just related to business property, this doesn’t even take into consideration liability issues.

Do you have a home based business where you received packages via UPS or Fed Ex?  Do your clients or customers come to your home office for meetings?  Did you know that if the delivery person comes to your door with a business package in his hand and slips and hurts himself, there is no coverage for that injury in their homeowner’s policy.  Same holds true for any clients or customers who might come over for a meeting.

From the policy forms – Section II – Liability excludes coverage for bodily injury or property damage arising out of or in connection with a business conducted from the insured location or engaged in by an insured, whether or not the insured owns or operates the business or is employed by the business.

Oh, oh – does that mean that if you are working remotely, for someone else or a larger corporation, and a customer comes to your home, there is no liability coverage?  Yes.

In addition to having little to no coverage for your business, should you file a claim related to this “undisclosed” business your claim could be denied and your policy could be canceled for misrepresentation.

Signs You May Need Coverage

First, you should read your current homeowners insurance policy to determine what is covered and what isn’t. Consider the following questions:

  • Does your homeowners policy limit coverage of business equipment? Most homeowners policies restrict coverage in this area, and some even consider operating a home-based business a violation of the policy terms.  If you make as little as $2000 you could be considered as running a business.
  • Do you have an office but work from home regularly? In this situation, you may need additional coverage to help protect yourself from work-related incidents that occur in your home.
  • Do business contacts or employees visit your home, or do you do business in their homes? Many home-based business owners are surprised to learn that their homeowners policies often don’t cover third-party injury claims related to their work.
  • Do you keep business data at home? Whether printed out or on a computer, security breaches and technology failures leave companies vulnerable to lost income and client lawsuits. Insurers offer policy options that can help protect home-based businesses from these threats.

Don’t be alarmed, depending on your specific business and situation, there are several options available.  If you are more of a consultant – you could look into Home Business Insurance – this policy is a toned down version of a full BOP (Business Owners Policy) but it will provide you with coverage for all of your business personal property, general liability, medical expense and business income / interruption protection.

As always, it is best to speak with a local agent to discuss your specific needs.

Thanks for reading and please share this information with your friends and family.

 Sanviti Insurance is a local Trusted Choice® agency that represents multiple insurance companies, so it offers you a variety of personal and business coverage choices and can customize an insurance plan to meet your personal or business needs. You can visit Sanviti Insurance online at www.SanvitiAgency.com or call us at 617-389-2020.

 

The Meaning of Memorial Day & Grilling Safety tips

Believe it or not, Memorial Day weekend is here.  I want to start off with a reminder that Memorial Day is more than just the ceremonial start to summer and outdoor cooking.  We must remember that this day was originally created,and became an official federal holiday in 1971, to honor the men and women who died while serving in the U.S. military.  So with that I say Thank You to those that have served.

While some of this may seem like common sense here are a few things to consider before grilling this weekend, or whenever you use a grill.
Now that we have remembered the purpose of the day, we can look at some grilling safety tips.

  • Do you use one of those grill rushed with the wire bristles? Make sure – Before you light the grill, to wipe with a damp cloth to remove any potential bristles that were left behind.
  • Have you ever sprayed on non-stick cooking spray after the grill is already lit? If you have I’m sure you quickly realized that there is a blowtorch like effect.  Please do not let curiosity get you with this one. Those non-stick cooking sprays should be sprayed on before lighting.  Also – If you are spraying on sunscreen or bug spray while outdoors, make sure you’re standing at least 10 feet away from the grill.
  • Remember to keep the grill a safe distance from the house and other flammable items – 10 feet is the general rule of thumb

Here is a link to some important tips from the National Fire Protections Association to keep in mind when using a propane or charcoal grill: http://www.nfpa.org/safety-information/for-consumers/outdoors/grilling/grilling-safety-tips

Thanks for reading and please share this information with your friends and family.

 Sanviti Insurance is a local Trusted Choice® agency that represents multiple insurance companies, so it offers you a variety of personal and business coverage choices and can customize an insurance plan to meet your personal or business needs. You can visit Sanviti Insurance online at www.SanvitiAgency.com or call us at 617-389-2020.

Special Event Insurance –Graduations, Weddings and More!

Well the calendar says May and that means we are full into Graduations, Weddings and parties.  These special events are fantastic and are welcomed reminders that the winter in New England is over and we can finally get back outside again.

These celebrations also come with costs, some financial and some in regards to opening yourself up to risk and the need for insurance.

Ok – Your wedding may seem like a strange thing to insure. But the average wedding can now cost around $31,000, that’s a pretty good sized investment not to protect.

Wedding and Special Event policies are designed to be flexible, and can be modified to meet the needs of even the most unique wedding or event.

Here are the popular wedding specific coverages offered:

  • Event Cancellation insures your deposits, cake, flowers, rental cars and more if you have to cancel or postpone your event because of unforeseen circumstances
  • Special Coverage insures your wedding rings, dress, tuxedos, gifts, photographs and more
  • Event Liability Insurance comes standard and covers damages to the venue or injuries to guests (this is the type of insurance that venues often require).
  • Are you serving alcohol or hiring a bartender? You should consider some form of  Liquor liability

When considering a special event policy here are a few quick terms and definitions to assist you in determining what coverages would be best for your event:

What is the basic purpose of a liability policy?  This is designed to protect the Insured Event Holder, Concessionaire or Vendor against lawsuits arising by third parties for bodily injury or property damage.

Collapse of a Temporary Structure – This is an optional coverage (not always) available, but worth investigating if you are renting a tent.  Keep in mind that damage to vehicles would not be covered.

Damage to Premises – Do you have friends that when you mix can get a bit “rowdy”?  Let your imagination run with this one. 

Hired and Non-Owned Automobile Liability – This protects you (the insured) against third-party lawsuits arising from the use of automobiles which are not owned or are rented, chartered or hired by you, like a limo or party bus.

These Next Two are IMPORTANT!

Host Liquor Liability – Host Liquor Liability provides protection for the event holder against bodily injury or property damage suits brought by parties whose injuries arise from actions of an intoxicated event guest. This coverage applies only if there is no transfer of money for alcohol or service/product packages that include alcohol. If there is any money changing hands and alcohol is served, Host Liquor Liability coverage does not apply.

Liquor Liability – Like Host Liquor – but guests are charged for alcohol. If there is any money changing hands and alcohol is served, Liquor Liability coverage provides the proper protection. It also provides coverage if the event holder violates any statute, ordinance or regulation relating to the sale, gift, distribution or use of alcoholic beverages.

Medical Payments – This coverage pays the cost of an injured person’s medical expenses up to the limit chosen, without consideration of who is at fault. This coverage often helps to avoid lawsuits by providing you with an easy way to appease a potentially litigious injured person.

Third Party Property Damage Liability (Care, Custody, Control Liability) – You will need to read carefully – most liability policies have exclusions for physical damage or loss to property while it is in the care, custody or control of the insured (your possession).

Waiver of Subrogation – This is an optional endorsement available and is generally only needed if a rental agreement requires such an endorsement. When a Waiver of Subrogation Endorsement is added, the insurance carrier cannot seek restitution from a third party. Without a Waiver of Subrogation, your insurance carrier may choose to sue a third party to recover the amount of a claim paid if the loss was caused by that third party — this is called subrogation. Some facility rental agreements, such as the one in the case above, require you to waive your right of subrogation – and therefore your insurance company’s rights – against the facility owner in the event of a claim.

Hopefully all this talk of injuries, damages and litigation have not put a damper on your event planning.  These polices can often be obtained quickly so if you are holding an event this spring it is not too late to have this talk and contact an agent.

The best advise we can give is to speak with your agent regarding these risks and take the time to evaluate your exposure.

Thanks for reading and please share this information with your friends and family.

 Sanviti Insurance is a local Trusted Choice® agency that represents multiple insurance companies, so it offers you a variety of personal and business coverage choices and can customize an insurance plan to meet your personal or business needs. You can visit Sanviti Insurance online at www.SanvitiAgency.com or call it at 617-389-2020.

 

Cyber Lability – Not Just for Technology Companies:

Ok – so you own a pizza / sandwich shop.  Do you accept credit cards?  Then you need to consider cyber liability coverage in addition to the insurance you already have for the business and perishable food products.

Are you an artisan contractor?  Do you do painting or carpentry or even landscaping?  If you have a computer with records containing customer information and cancelled checks?  You need to consider cyber liability.

In today’s connected world it seems as if the more we have access to information, the more the bad guys have the same access.

According to NAIC – “Cybersecurity risks have become more significant as critical consumer financial and health information is increasingly stored in electronic form. As people become more reliant on electronic communication, and as businesses collect and maintain ever more granular pieces of information on their customers, the opportunity for bad actors to cause difficulties for businesses and the public is exploding. Recent high-profile data breaches have led regulators to work toward strengthening insurer defenses against attacks” http://www.naic.org/cipr_topics/topic_cyber_risk.htm

The cost of a data breach and the reputational damage to your business after a breach occurs can be devastating.   A cyber liability policy is an insurance policy specifically designed to provide the protection you need.  It can also provide breach management expertise to ensure the breach is managed properly and in accordance with regulatory requirements.  Federal and State laws require forensic, legal and credit monitoring services are in place after a breach to protect customers from the misuse of their personal information.  These costs can escalate very quickly.

A cyber liability policy covers a business’ liability for a data breach in which the customers’ personal information, such as  a credit card number, or cancelled check, is exposed or stolen by a hacker or other criminal who has gained access. The policies cover a variety of expenses associated with data breaches, including: notification costs, credit monitoring, costs to defend claims by state regulators, fines and penalties, and loss resulting from identity theft.

In addition, the policies have the options (endorsements) to cover liability arising from website media content, as well as property exposures from: business interruption, data loss/destruction, computer fraud, funds transfer loss and cyber extortion.

The best advise we can give is to speak with your agent regarding these risks and take the time to evaluate your exposure.

Thanks for reading and please share this information with your friends and family.

 Sanviti Insurance is a local Trusted Choice® agency that represents multiple insurance companies, so it offers you a variety of personal and business coverage choices and can customize an insurance plan to meet your personal or business needs. You can visit Sanviti Insurance online at www.SanvitiAgency.com or call it at 617-389-2020.

 

 

 

 

Is your Home Based Business Insured Correctly?

According to the National Bureau of Labor Statistics, 3 out of 10 homeowners operate a business out of their homes. More than 66% of the estimated 20.7 million people who work at home are self-employed and run a home-based business. It’s estimated that more than half of home-based business owners are under-insured and the Independent Insurance Agents of America (IIAA) say nearly 40% of those they surveyed are uninsured primarily because they thought their homeowner’s policy covered their business.

In order to avoid this worst case scenario, here are some general insurance terms and types of policies to consider:

General Liability Insurance

This form of a policy is designed to cover legal issues that may arise from an accident, injuries and claims of negligence. These policies protect against payments as the result of bodily injury, property damage, medical expenses, libel, slander, the cost of defending lawsuits, and settlement bonds or judgments.

** Every business, even if home-based, needs to have liability insurance.  The policy provides both defense and damages if you, your employees or your products or services cause or are alleged to have caused Bodily Injury or Property Damage to a third party.

Product Liability Insurance

Product liability insurance protects against financial loss as a result of a defective product that causes injury or bodily harm.   This is important for businesses that manufacture, wholesale, distribute, and retail a product may be liable for its safety.

Professional Liability Insurance

If you provide services (Accounting, legal etc.) should consider having professional liability insurance (also known as errors and omissions insurance). This coverage protects your business against malpractice, errors, and negligence in provision of services to your customers

** Your general liability policy does not provide this protection, so it is important to understand the difference.   Professional liability insurance is applicable for any professional firm including lawyers, accountants, consultants, notaries, real estate agents, insurance agents, hair salons and technology providers to name a few.

Commercial Property Insurance

Property insurance covers everything related to the loss and damage of company property due to a wide-variety of events such as fire, smoke, wind and hail storms, civil disobedience and vandalism. The definition of “property” is broad, and includes lost income, business interruption, buildings, computers, company papers and money.

Property insurance policies come in two basic forms: (1) all-risk policies covering a wide-range of incidents and perils except those noted in the policy; (2) peril-specific policies that cover losses from only those perils listed in the policy. Examples of peril-specific policies include fire, flood, crime and business interruption insurance. In general, most of our small business customers find that the all-risk policies fit their needs best.

** If you own your building or have business personal property, including office equipment, computers, inventory or tools you should consider purchasing a policy that will protect you if you have a fire, vandalism, theft, smoke damage etc.  You may also want to consider business interruption/loss of earning insurance as part of the policy to protect your earnings if the business is unable to operate.

In addition to the liability policies listed above – there is package policy – commonly referred to as a BOP

BOP (Business owner’s policy (BOP)

Since this is a package it is a great way to pull together all the coverage a small business could need. A typical BOP includes business interruption insurance, property insurance, vehicle coverage, liability insurance, and crime insurance. Typically, a business owner will save money by choosing a BOP because the bundle of services often costs less than the total cost of all the individual coverage’s.
Just a couple of more polices to consider and be aware of:

Commercial Auto Insurance:

Regardless of whether you have a company vehicle, or if your employees use their own cars for deliveries or other business related tasks, this is an important policy to consider. Commercial auto insurance protects not only the vehicles, but also the items or employees the vehicles are transporting.

If you do not have company vehicles, but employees drive their own cars on company business you should have non-owned auto liability to protect the company in case the employee does not have insurance or has inadequate coverage.  For these cases, it is often best to add what is called non-owned auto coverage to the BOP policy.

Worker’s Compensation:

This is required in Massachusetts! Worker’s compensation provides wage replacement and medical benefits to those who are injured while working. In exchange for these benefits, the employee gives up his rights to sue his employer for the incident. As a business owner, it is very important to have worker’s compensation insurance because it protects yourself and your company from legal complications. State laws will vary, but all require you to have workers compensation if you have W2 employees.  Penalties for non-compliance can be very stiff.

Thanks for reading and please share this information with your friends and family.

 Sanviti Insurance is a local Trusted Choice® agency that represents multiple insurance companies, so it offers you a variety of personal and business coverage choices and can customize an insurance plan to meet your personal or business needs. You can visit Sanviti Insurance online at www.SanvitiAgency.com or call it at 617-389-2020.

Are you using your Windshield Wipers? Better Turn on Your Headlights!

Have You Heard!  There was a new law passed on January 7th of this year that takes effect on April 7th.  This new law requires that drivers turn on their headlights WHENEVER the weather conditions require the use of windshield wipers.

The new law includes what is called a minimal fine, but the trick is the state Safe Driver Insurance Plan has now added this new law to their list of violations.  What that means is this citation not only requires you to pay a small fine, but it also goes on your driving record, which changes your SDIP merit rating and goes on your driving record, leading to….

AN INCREASE of your auto insurance rate!

Here is a copy of the new law:

“Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Court assembled, and by the authority of the same as follows:

Section 15 of chapter 85 of the General Laws, as appearing in the 2012 Official Edition, is hereby amended by striking out the first sentence and inserting in place thereof the following sentence:—  A vehicle, whether stationary or in motion, on a public way, shall have attached to it headlights and taillights which shall be turned on by the vehicle operator and so displayed as to be visible from the front and rear during the period of 1/2 hour after sunset to 1/2 hour before sunrise; provided, however, that such headlights and taillights shall be turned on by the vehicle operator at all other times when, due to insufficient light or unfavorable atmospheric conditions, visibility is reduced such that persons or vehicles on the roadway are not clearly discernible at a distance of 500 feet or when the vehicle’s windshield wipers are needed; provided further, that this section shall not apply to a vehicle which is designed to be propelled by hand; and provided further, that a vehicle carrying hay or straw for the purpose of transporting persons on a hayride shall display only electrically operated lights which shall be 2 flashing amber lights to the front and 2 flashing red lights to the rear, each of which shall be at least 6 inches in diameter and mounted 6 feet from the ground.

         Approved, January 7, 2015.”

Now – for those of you with daytime running lights, as you can see that is not enough, because the law specifically states that both the headlights AND taillights need to be turned on.

Remember –  Windshield Wipers = Headlights.  Be Sure to turn them on.

Thanks for reading and please share this information with your friends and family.

 Sanviti Insurance is a local Trusted Choice® agency that represents multiple insurance companies, so it offers you a variety of personal and business coverage choices and can customize an insurance plan to meet your personal or business needs. You can visit Sanviti Insurance online at www.SanvitiAgency.com or call it at 617-389-2020.