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News

Summer Motorcycle Safety

Protecting Your Noggin

Helmet and gloves hanging from handle bars

I remember getting the opportunity to ride on the back of my grandpa’s motorcycle for the first time as a child. Traveling quickly and close to the ground without any walls or doors was such an exhilarating experience! I also remember the helmet that squished my cheeks right into my nose and eyes. At the time, I just giggled because I felt like a chipmunk, but now I understand better. That helmet was not suitable for the size of my head (which has always been pretty large) and wouldn’t have protected me as well in an accident.

Motorcycle helmets come in many different shapes and sizes because everyone has a unique noggin. Whether you like to hit the road with a sport bike or cruiser, scooter or moped; taking care of the most delicate part of your body is an essential part of preparation. Here’s a list of four things to consider when purchasing a DOT approved helmet:

But wait, what’s a DOT approved helmet?

I’m so glad you asked! According to Leather Up, the Department of Transportation (DOT) assesses each helmet by placing it on a head form that’s equipped with sensors. The helmeted head form is then dropped from a specific height onto a steel anvil, and the severity of the impact is recorded. These standards are important because they outline the minimum requirements all motorcycle helmets must meet, which has already saved countless lives. However, if you would like to get a helmet that has been tested impartially and will provide more protection, SNELL has you covered.

 

    1. Type of bike

      Adventure touring? Cruiser? Sport bike? Generally, adventure bikers prefer using modular helmets which allow you to raise the face shield, while cruiser riders enjoy a half-shell helmet and sport bike riders like a full face helmet that will provide great all-around protection.

According to the CDC, more than 41% of operator and passenger fatalities could have been prevented with proper helmet usage.

  1. Size/Shape of head

    There’s more to a properly-fitted helmet than just one that can slide onto your head! Check out this article from Helmet Check for an in-depth description on how to determine your head shape, size, and preference.

  2. Helmet features

    It’s important to find a properly-fitted helmet so the three to four pounds of weight are distributed evenly around your head and shoulders to reduce neck strain. Consider also whether you would like additional features like integrated sunshade, wind reduction, and communication technology.

  3. Price

    How much are you willing to pay? Generally speaking, price does not necessarily reflect quality or safety, but rather the materials used and the number of features. Good helmets can range anywhere between $40 and $900, so make sure you budget accordingly.

No matter what helmet you decide to wear, make sure you are wearing one, because your safety is number one!

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News

Questions You Should Ask Before Signing A Lease

Questions You Should Ask Before Signing a Lease

A For Rent sign outside home

Moving into a new rental property is such an exciting process! Sure, it’s also super time-consuming and can be pretty demanding, but finally settling in can bring so much joy. I recently made the move from my college house into a full-on adult apartment and I was giddy with anticipation! Anything that came my way from the apartment complex was immediately completed and returned, all the T’s crossed and I’s dotted – including the lease. It didn’t dawn on me until after I had sent it back that I probably should have read it more thoroughly. Luckily, my lease outlined understandable guidelines and didn’t have any weird rules or vague statements releasing the complex from responsibility.

Before signing a lease, make sure you know what you’re getting yourself into. Your lease is more than just a piece of paper with boring writing on it – it’s a legally binding contract! Most leases are pretty straightforward, but once you sign it, you’re locked in for the near future.

Here are nine important questions to ask your landlord or leasing office before signing the rental agreement.

  1. How long is the lease term?

    Most leases are a year long, but the timeline will occasionally change depending on the best rate or what’s convenient for both you and the property owner. You may also want to consider asking what the penalties are for terminating a lease early. You probably aren’t planning on breaking the agreement, but if you’re offered a job in a different state or extenuating circumstances arise, it’ll be handy information to remember.

  2. Are utilities included?

    Clarify which utilities you are responsible for and which are included in your rental agreement. The utilities included vary greatly depending on the owner and can dramatically alter your monthly rental fee if you’re not prepared. Ask about utilities like water, electric, gas, internet, cable, and trash pickup before signing a lease.

  3. Do you allow pets?

    If you already have a pet or plan to get one soon, this will be an important question to ask. Most rental facilities offer some kind of accommodation for pets but may still require an extra monthly fee to protect against potential damages. Some apartment complexes will also have a specific list of pets that are allowed, detailing what kinds of dogs they do and don’t allow on their premises.

    Service animals, however, are a different story. You may be entitled to special accommodation for your service animal; consult your legal representative to know your rights prior to initiating a discussion with your potential landlord.

  4. Where do I park my car?

    Some facilities offer free parking in a garage or car port and some require a fee to access the parking amenities. Be sure to clarify where you can park your car, if it’s free, and how many cars are allowed per tenant on the property.

  5. When is rent due and how can I pay it?

    Rent is generally due on the first of the month, but you might want to clarify with the property owner to be sure. And is that rent taken in check form? Can you electronically transfer it? Ask before you move in to avoid any confusion or late fees in the future.

  6. Is the security deposit refundable?

    Couple looking at white wall with paint supplies around themThe treatment of security deposits is typically regulated by law, but in general, security deposits are refundable as long as the property is in good condition when you move out. Your landlord may, however, be entitled to withhold part of your deposit for damages that were incurred during your stay or if you break the lease. As long as you keep the rented space in good condition, you should have nothing to worry about!
  7. What kind of maintenance services are available?

    Depending on whether or not you live in an apartment complex, you may have on-site property management that will fix any issues you may have. On-site management quickly swooped in and resolved an issue my sister had with her dryer after she realized that she had never emptied the lint tray. Of course, I would suggest that you regularly empty the tray (since it’s a fire hazard), but property management will be there for those types of mishaps.

    If you’re looking to rent somewhere without on-site management, it may be more difficult to get someone on the premises to fix issues that may arise. In this case, you may consider renting elsewhere. Try not to end up with an overflowing tub at two in the morning and no one to help!

  8. What kinds of amenities are provided? Are these complimentary?

    Amenities like a community center, pool, fitness center, washer and dryer, and storage space can add that extra bit of value to your rental property. Which are the most important to you? Some properties have laundry facilities in each specific apartment, while others can be accessed through the basement of the building. Make sure to clarify if these amenities are included with the rental fee or if there’s an additional charge to access the spaces.

  9. In what ways can I personalize the property?

    If you plan on painting the walls or installing curtain rods or a wall TV mount, you may want to first discuss what kinds of customizations are acceptable and which are not allowed. My experience is that as long as you leave the property in the same condition as when you first entered, you should be good to go.

No matter what your landlord or leasing consultant says, make sure you read the entire lease. Yes, it will be time consuming, and no, it will not be particularly interesting, but it will make you well aware of the expectations the owner has for you as well as the things you can expect from your property owner.

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Auto Insurance Commercial Auto Insurance Insurance Insurance Agent News

Fun Auto Purchase Ideas…What is a bug worth?

It’s so easy to love a bug. Check out our new value guide

Last July we told you about a new way we’re engaging with members over our shared love of cars: a resource we call the Hagerty Make/Model Price Guide. Our newest guide is all about the VW Beetle. At a time when cars were being built for power and pride, the Beetle made a huge statement by being small and driving slow. And that’s where the fun began.

Our valuebug-value guides were made using the Hagerty Valuation Tools®. It’s easy for you and members to use these tools to help when quoting Nationwide/Hagerty insurance and to keep track of how values change over time. Use it to engage and retain classic-owning members.

See the VW Beetle guide » 17_oct_hpg_beetle

Ready to discuss auto insurance options for you or your business? Contact our team today at our Denver office at 303–388-7216 or our Castle Rock office at 303–688-1251. You can also send us a message any time and we’ll get back to you as soon as possible.

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Auto Insurance Commercial Auto Insurance Insurance

Auto Insurance Tips for the Collector Car Market

Take advantage of the collector car market that’s killing it

In the midst of the fall season, the “upper middle” market (cars valued between $250,000 and a million) continues its long slowdown. This year, only six of the 10 upper-middle vehicles Hagerty® inspected at public auctions sold, down from eight out of 10 in 2015. At this year’s Amelia Island’s Concours d’Elegance, 60% of vehicles were auctioned for less than current Hagerty Price Guide values.

But there’s another market that’s killing it right now: entry-level collector vehicles (valued at $50,000 or less). Nearly 85% of entry-level vehicles Hagerty inspected at public auctions sold this year, up from 75% two years ago, while only 20% of these vehicles sold for less than current Hagerty Price Guide values.

This translates to a huge opportunity for agents. Many members own “fun” cars (including cars from the ’80s, ’90s and 2000s) in addition to their daily drivers, most of which are insured on a standard auto policy. Protect the cars they love properly by placing them where they belong – on a collector car policy – and you’ll build loyalty and retention.

Ready to discuss auto insurance options for you or your business? Contact our team today at our Denver office at 303–388-7216 or our Castle Rock office at 303–688-1251. You can also send us a message any time and we’ll get back to you as soon as possible.

See a sampling of “fun” cars we protect »green-car

Categories
Auto Insurance Commercial Auto Insurance Insurance

Auto Insurance Frightful Facts from Christine

10 things that won’t kill you to know about Christine

Stephen King tachristineught us some important lessons as he ascended the throne and took his rightful place as America’s most prolific author of horror and supernatural fiction. You know, things like: don’t play any pranks on Carrie, never stay at The Shining’s Overlook Hotel (“Here’s Johnny!”), and for goodness’ sake, tread lightly when dealing with a 1958 Plymouth Fury named Christine.

King takes the classic tale of boy meets girl to frightening heights when a geeky teenager named Arnie falls head over heels in love with a red Plymouth Fury with a sketchy past. Christine falls hard for Arnie, too, which would be roses if it weren’t for one tiny detail: the car is a killing machine with a long memory and a short fuse. Moral of the story: Never underestimate the fury of a Fury that just… won’t… die.

As we hand out Halloween candy to all the miniature ghosts and goblins out there, here’s a little something for the big kids – 10 things you may not know about the original Christine movie.

Click to see and share the full list »

Categories
Commercial Insurance

Paying For A Business Insurance Policy — How Much is Too Much?

As with most types of insurance, rates for a business insurance policy vary greatly depending on your business and coverage needs.

While you don’t want to cut yourself short, you also don’t need the highest priced policy to ensure coverage. The key is finding the right insurance that fits your budget while still protecting you.

Before you buy business insurance, consider what you need. If you’re buying far more coverage than necessary, you’re paying too much.

business-insurance-policy

Consider Your Coverage Needs

Anytime you buy a business insurance policy for your Colorado based business, you have to consider what amount you’d need to take care of liability issues and damage to your business and property. For instance, if the value of your entire business is $100,000, you wouldn’t need a $500,000 policy to cover you in the event of property damage.

On average, rates for general liability insurance range from $500 to $2,000 per year for small businesses. This gives you a good idea of how much rates vary based on your industry.

Bundle When Possible

Depending on your needs, you may be able to bundle multiple types of business insurance policies into one business owner’s policy. In most cases, the rate is lower than purchasing each policy individually. This can help you avoid paying too much and having a more budget friendly option.

It’s important to look at what policies are available with a BOP. Sometimes you may still need additional coverage and policies based on your type of business. Talk to your local insurance agent about any possible differences.

Reassess Annually

As your business changes, so do your business insurance policy needs. For instance, if you’re a service provider, such as an electrician, you may need additional coverage if you’re taking on larger jobs, such as going from electrical repairs for homeowners to large businesses.

A policy right now might be too much because it offers more than you need. A year from now, your business may have grown and you’ll need that larger policy.

Think About Your Business’s Future

If you have a tight budget, every policy might seem like you’re paying too much. However, think carefully about what would happen if you didn’t have coverage. When your business is just getting started, it may be impossible to recover if there’s a natural disaster, break-in or liability case.

Before you think you’re paying too much, look at the peace of mind you’re getting from knowing that your business will survive if the something does happen.

Compare Rates

You’re not required to buy a business insurance policy at the first insurance agency you speak with. Talk to multiple companies and compare rates. You should be able to see an average policy rate. You’ll likely find a few that are much higher or lower than the rest. In most cases, it’s best to stick to the average quote to avoid paying too much for the same type of coverage.

When you talk to an agent, you’ll need to provide extensive information about your business in order to get an accurate quote. The more details you have, the more likely you are to get a quote that’s perfect for your exact business. Leaving out anything could result in you paying more than you should.

Ready to discuss insurance options for your business? Contact our team today at our Denver office at 303–388-7216 or our Castle Rock office at 303–688-1251. You can also send us a message any time and we’ll get back to you as soon as possible.

Categories
Insurance

Why You Need Liability insurance For Your Business

Why You Need Liability Insurance For Your Business

itc-liability-insurance

One of the most important things you can buy for your business is liability insurance. Hopefully, it’s something you’ll never need to use, but you’ll be glad to have it if you need it.

No business is perfect and when something does go wrong, you want to know you have some form of protection on your side. This is why you need liability insurance for your business.

From property damage to bodily injury, anything could happen. No business, big or small, is immune from liability issues and it’s always best to be prepared.

What Is Liability Insurance

Liability insurance is also referred to as general liability and commercial general liability insurance. It’s designed to provide coverage for legal defense, damages and other expenses related to liability suits. These policies typically cover damages to property if you rent, injuries related to advertising, physical and bodily injury and slander or personal injury.

People Love To Sue

People love to sue businesses and each other. If someone was to slip inside your place of business, they could sue you for medical expenses, lost wages if they couldn’t work and general pain and suffering. If your advertising could be misinterpreted and someone is injured as a result, you could face a lawsuit. The lesson is no matter how small your business might be or how hard you try to keep everyone happy, people love to find reasons to sue and it could easily happen to your business.

Things Do Go Wrong

Having liability insurance for your business means you have protection when things go wrong. Perhaps an employee didn’t secure a shelf properly and it fell on someone when they walked by. Even though it was an accident, you’re still responsible for your employee’s negligence.

What happens if someone’s microwaving something on a break and the microwave catches fire and burns down part of the building you’re renting? Liability insurance can help cover the damage and prevent costly out of pocket repairs. Trying to predict what might happen is like trying to predict the weather – it’s not a perfect science. It’s better to be repaired than wish you were after the fact.

You Can’t Afford A Lawsuit

Think about the cost of medical expenses. A simple broken leg can cost thousands. Add legal fees to this and you’re looking at an expensive lawsuit. It’s not uncommon for a lawsuit to cost well over $100,000. Legal fees, medical expenses, settlements and more all add up quickly. Could your business honestly afford to pay out of pocket for all of this?

Most liability insurance policies for small businesses are under a few thousand dollars a year. Obviously, that increases for higher coverage limits for larger businesses. However, annual premiums just a fraction of the cost of a lawsuit. Paying a little now helps ensure that you can afford a lawsuit if it does happen to you.

Protect Your Business’s Future

Sadly, many businesses look at the cost of premiums and feel like it’s an unnecessary expense. Instead of seeing it as an expense, look at liability insurance for your business as an investment in your business’s future. You already invest in maintaining a nice business, hiring great employees, marketing products and services, securing your business and more.

Why not invest in protecting your business’s future too? A single lawsuit could bankrupt your business if you’re not prepared. Even if you could handle a single suit, what happens if multiple incidents happen at once? Consider this – if annual premiums seem expensive, imagine how you would pay for a lawsuit? Hundreds of thousands of dollars could spell the end of your business. With liability insurance, lawsuits still aren’t fun, but they won’t mean your business is done and over with.

Want to learn more about liability insurance for your Colorado business? Contact the friendly team at Insurance Town & Country today to discuss your coverage needs. You can also call us directly at our Denver office at 303–388-7216 or our Castle Rock office at 303–688-1251.

Categories
Commercial Insurance

What Limit of Professional Indemnity Insurance Do I Need?

Professional indemnity insurance, also known as professional liability insurance, covers you in the event of a negligence claim.

For any businesses providing advice or services, this type of insurance is necessary to protect against the high costs associated with a civil lawsuit. The hard part is determining what limit is best for your needs.

While many other types of insurance have standard limits to choose from, professional indemnity insurance has a range of options to suit all types of business professionals. Choosing the right limit is important for ensuring your covered without going overboard.

Talk With Clients

When working with clients, professional indemnity insurance may be a requirement. The client may specify a minimum limit to ensure if something does go wrong, they will be paid accordingly. This is one of the easiest ways to figure out what you need. You should always have at least the minimum required, but going slightly higher won’t hurt.

Consider Lawsuit Costs

While it’s something you never want to think about with your business, a lawsuit is a possibility. For instance, the wrong advice could cause a personal emotional distress, leading to them losing a job and/or relationship. Good intentions aren’t enough and you could end up in court.

Over 100 million cases are filed yearly in US courts. If you do have to deal with a lawsuit, you’re looking at legal counsel, court filing fees and more and this is even if you win. On average, a court case will cost you around $54,000, though higher amounts are common.

You’ll then have to consider the cost of damages if you do lose. The average cost on contract cases alone averages out at approximately $35,000, but usually isn’t more than the contract itself. Other negligence suits could cost you much more. Once you add up all the potential costs, you’ll have a better idea of what limit of professional indemnity insurance you need for your Colorado based business.

Look At Industry Requirements

Some industries require you to be certified and be a member of a professional organization in order to practice. If this is the case, check any membership agreements to see if you have to have a minimum limit to be a member. You can also talk with organizational leaders if you have any questions. They’ll be able to advise you as to what the average limit is for others in your industry.

Talk To Similar Professionals

You shouldn’t hesitate to talk to other professionals in your industry. While they might be competitors, they don’t want you to have to deal with a lawsuit and close your business as a result. See what their limits are and why they chose that amount. This gives you valuable insight into how others are buying professional indemnity insurance. It’s even better if you can talk to someone who’s been through a lawsuit themselves. They’ll be able to tell you if their coverage was adequate or not.

Consider The Cost Of Repairing The Damage

In some cases, a client may be willing to allow you to pay for someone else to repair any damages without having to go to court. Depending on the damages, this could be costly. Think about how much it would take for you to hire someone else to fix the problem and satisfy the client. It’ll likely be cheaper than a lawsuit, but it’ll still be a large expense that could ruin your business if you’re not covered.

Talk To Your Insurance Agent

You don’t have to decide what’s best for your business all on your own. If you have questions, talk to your insurance agent about coverage. They’ll ask you questions to help you decide the best limit of professional indemnity insurance to keep your business going, even if something does go wrong with a client.

Do you have questions about professional indemnity insurance limits for your business? Don’t hesitate to contact Insurance Town & Country today at our Denver office at 303–388-7216 or our Castle Rock office at 303–688-1251. You can also send us a message.

Categories
Commercial Insurance Insurance Liability Insurance News

11 POINT CONSUMER RE-ROOFING CHECKLIST

Spring in the Rocky Mountains

That means …crazy weather.

The power of nature can be beautiful, but it can also be destructive.  Many of these storms are chased by good and bad roofing companies. Some are great and exactly what you need, and some are to be avoided. How do you know where to start?

Here’s a checklist to help:

  1. Only accept bids from local contractors you have called.
  2. Only accept bids with price, scope of work and materials written on them.
  3. Homeowners have a 72-hour rescission/cancellation period.
  4. Never sign anything that has a cancellation fee!
  5. Request five (5) local references that the Estimator personally worked with over 1 year ago.
  6. Ask for copies of the roofers Workmen’s Comp. and General Liability Insurance.
  7. Make sure the name on the insurance certificate matches the name of the roofer.
  8. Make sure the roofer pulls a building permit and has the new roof inspected.
  9. Do not pay for material in advance.
  10. It is illegal for a contractor to offer to pay, waive or rebate your deductible.
  11. Never turn over insurance checks or pay any money until the job is complete.

 

Reminder: Homeowners have up to one year to complete roof repairs.

Be patient.

…wait until the rush is over …

you will not regret waiting.

Categories
Insurance

Common Small Business Insurance Claims And How To Prevent Them

When thinking about the type of insurance your small business needs, it’s important to understand the most common small business insurance claims. What’s even more important is learning how to prevent them. Even with insurance, it’s still time consuming to deal with business damage or lawsuits. Overall, there are five types of claims that happen the most often. While you hope they never happen to your business, it’s always better to be prepared.

1. Burglary

Burglaries account for 20% of all small business insurance claims. It’s disheartening to drive up to your business and see a busted window or broken lock. It’s even worse seeing the damage inside and missing products and money. A few things you can do to prevent this costly type of claim include:

  • Installing a security system
  • Using remote monitoring during off-hours
  • Use pull-down metal screens over doors and windows after closing
  • Keep the area well-lit at all hours

While there isn’t a fool-proof way to prevent theft, taking precautions does reduce the risk.

2. Equipment Failure

All it takes is one piece of vital equipment to render your small business helpless. Whether it’s an equipment malfunction, normal wear and tear or vandalism, your business can’t afford to be without the equipment it needs. These small business claims are usually preventable by doing regular maintenance on the equipment. Ensuring the equipment is stored and used properly helps it last longer and keeps your business up and running.

3. Environmental Damage

Natural disasters are one of the worst things that can happen to a small business. After all, it’s difficult to safeguard your business from a tornado or flash flooding. In 2016, insured losses due to natural disasters topped $23.8 billion and that’s just in the United States. Severe thunderstorms and floods caused the most damage, with winter storms and wildfires coming in a close second.

A few things you can do to help at least reduce damage include:

  • Using strong surge protectors to prevent electrical damage during thunderstorms
  • Storing equipment higher if you’re in flood prone areas
  • Move out as much equipment, furniture and files as possible if your business is threatened by wildfires in the area

Natural disasters aren’t exactly predictable. They’re also a strong reason to always make sure you have small business insurance that covers you fully in the case of the unpredictable.

4. Property Damage

Both accidental and malicious property damage are common small business insurance claims. For instance, an irate customer could come back after hours and break windows or spray graffiti on the front of your store. Of course, an employee could just as easily back a forklift into a wall, causing structural damage. You honestly never know what might happen. You may not always have control, especially when it comes to malicious damage, but a few prevention methods include:

  • Actively maintaining the property
  • Placing clear warning signs in dangerous areas
  • Ensuring all employees are properly trained

Having security cameras in place with signs that state the premises is being monitored may also prevent some malicious incidents.

5. Liability

The final most common small business insurance claim is liability claims. These can also be some of the most costly claims and without insurance, they could cripple or destroy all you’ve worked hard for. All it takes is wet spot in the floor to cause a customer to fall and suddenly you’re left paying thousands in medical bills. An employee could trip over an extension cord that wasn’t tucked out of the way and get seriously injured.

The truth is, you never know what might happen or when. eHealthInsurance provides a detailed list of ways to prevent common liability claims, such as:

  • Ensuring walkways are clear
  • Providing bright lighting
  • Cleaning up messes immediately
  • Securing stairs, such as adding handrails and non-slip components
  • Ensuring any carpeting or rugs aren’t rolling up

Working to make sure your business is a safer place to work and shop helps prevent time consuming claims and allows you to focus on growing your business.

While you hope to never have to use your small business insurance, it’s always best to be prepared. Take precautions whenever possible, but if the worst does happen, you’ll be covered.

Ready to protect your small Colorado business? Contact us today with questions you might have at our Castle Rock office at 303–688-1251 or our Denver office at 303–388-7216. You can also send us a message and we’ll get back to you quickly.