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Top 7 Insurance Policies for Home-Based Businesses


home office with men on their computersHome based businesses are becoming more and more popular in today’s world and it’s a great accomplishment to successfully run one. While you may be great at running your business there are still things that can occur that are out of your control, which is why having the right business insurance policies in place is necessary in order to add a layer of protection to all your hard work.


A business insurance policy can help protect you against many of the common threats at-home business owners face. What happens if a client is trips and injures themselves on your property? Or if a someone breaks in and steals your computer? These are questions you need to know the answers to as an owner of a home-based business.


Here are 7 types of coverage for your home-based business:

  1. Business property coverage: This protects items such as computers, signs, merchandise and other business-related property against certain instances of loss.
  2. General liability coverage: This protects you in case someone files a lawsuit against your business due to an accident, an injury or a claim of negligence.
  3. Data compromise coverage: Hackers are beginning to target small businesses on a regular basis and such an attacks can result in customers’ or employees’ data being stolen from your computers. This type of coverage can help you recover from such a situation.
  4. Employment practices liability coverage: If you hire an employee, this type of coverage protects you if you ever face allegations of wrongful termination or other employment risks.
  5. Business interruption coverage: This provides business income in the event your home-based business is interrupted by a “covered loss,” such as a fire or a tornado.
  6. Rider to a homeowners or renters insurance policy: This low-cost option typically provides limited additional coverage. It may offer protection for a small amount of business equipment and liability coverage if a third-party, such as a delivery person, is injured in your home. This may be a good fit for a one-person operation with limited liability exposure, a small amount of business equipment and no business deliveries or visitors coming to your home.
  7. Business owner’s policy (BOP): This type of policy provides the most comprehensive coverage for home-based companies. It protects against unexpected business interruption, damage to business equipment or data, and malpractice or professional liability claims. Businesses that manufacture or stock products, conduct business inside and outside the home or cat a high risk for professional liability may want to consider a business owner’s policy.

Protect Your Hard Work

Check with your insurance agent to see what policies make the most sense for your business. Running your own business takes on a lot of risk, which is why it’s important to make sure you have the right insurance policies in place to avoid any setbacks to your success. If you have more questions, you can dial us at (844) 272-3424.





Protect Your Speedboat on the Water


boat on the lakeSummer is almost here and that means it’s time to take your speedboat out on the water and have some fun. Water-skiing, tubing and just cruising the lake are some of the best ways to spend the summer.


It’s a LOT of fun, but can also be a dangerous past time. Make sure you, your loved ones and your boat are protected with the right speedboat insurance.


Here are 4 types of speed boat insurance you need before hitting the water this summer:

  1. Property Damage Liability Coverage: No matter much experience you have with operating a speedboat, there is always a chance you could have an accident and collide with another boat, dock or other structure. Property damage liability insurance covers you in case that actually happens.
  2. Bodily Injury Liability Coverage: Bodily injury liability coverage protects you in case you injure another person while operating your speed boat. You are covered whether that person is a passenger on your boat, on someone else’s boat, or on land. Power boat liability insurance will cover legal costs in the event that an injured party files a lawsuit.
  3. Collision Coverage: Collision insurance covers your boat and trailer if an accident damages your boat. For example, if you collide with a submerged rock, you may have a large expense on your hands to in order to get your boat back in working order.
  4. Comprehensive Coverage: Comprehensive coverage protects your boat when damages from accidents other than “collision” affect your speed boat. For example if your boat is a target of vandalism, is damaged in a fire or a severe storm.


There are many types of boating insurance policies out there, check with your agent to make sure you are purchasing the policies that make sense for you and your boating needs.


Owning and operating a speedboat is a great, exhilarating experience and creates a lot of great memories, but speed boats come with a great risk of damages and accidents – prepare yourself by practicing safe boating techniques and having the right coverage.




This Summer Plan on Canceling Your Vacation


zorbing ball going down a field of grassy hill“Cancel” and “vacation” are two words that nobody ever likes to use in the same sentence, but sometimes this happens. If for some reason you have to cancel a major vacation, or adjust to sudden shifts in your travel plans, it may haunt your bank account for the following year.


For those who are dedicated travelers, nothing will stop you from making that trip! Not even if the CDC reports a terrible outbreak of some sort of an unknown virus in your place of destination!  But for others, canceling a trip may be worth more than any risk.  Or perhaps you missed your connecting flight to Tahiti and your bags were lost as a result.  Or maybe (heaven forbid) you fracture your ankle while zorbing in New Zealand.


Well, prepare and protect yourself from cancellation fees, changes of date fees, lost luggage and injury while on vacation.


Here are some tips to get the best travel insurance for your trip:

  1. How much will this vacation cost? When booking your trip, take note of how much cancellation fees or date change fees will cost. For a weekend getaway, this may not be much, for a two week getaway, cancellations and changes in plan make dig a big hole in your pocket.
  2. What coverage does your current homeowner’s or renter’s policy provide? Talk to your insurance agent to see if your personal policies provide coverage for lost or stolen luggage, personal belongings and rental cars.
  3. Will your credit card provide any protection? Check with your credit card company to see if they offer protection based on the type of cardholder you are. Some companies may provide rental car coverage, coverage for lost or stolen baggage, or even coverage for if your travel provider discontinues service.
  4. What’s your activity level going to be? If your vacation plans include relaxing on the beach with a margarita in hand, the chances of you being injured on your vacation are slim to none. BUT if you vacation includes some physical activities like biking, rock climbing, surfing or scuba diving, you should consider a travel insurance policy.


Buying travel insurance is about buying a piece of mind. Don’t let canceling a vacation be a financial burden.  Check into the different types of insurance that can offer protection and coverage when things don’t go as planned.





Homeowners: Protect Your Prized Possessions with These 2 Coverage Options


eames tableAs a homeowner, you want to feel comfortable that all of your belongings in your home are protected should anything happen because one day, you come home from work to find the antique Eames coffee table (that your mother gave you) completely flattened.


Apparently, your 15 year-old thought it was a good idea to use the table as a step-up stool to grab something off the top shelf in the kitchen, and the table buckled under his athletic size. What now? You’re deductible is $500, but the table is only valued at $450. You are left with the cost to repair or, sadly, replace the table. This doesn’t have to be the case though!


This is where insurance plans come into play. But what if your insurance plan doesn’t cover everything you thought it did? What if something is damaged or stolen and it turns out to not be covered by your homeowners insurance plan? Not only are you in for a rude awakening with bad news about your damaged or stolen property, but you most likely will have to pay the full cost to replace or repair it.


Here are two coverage options available that make sure your prized possessions will be covered should they be stolen or damaged:


Replacement Cost Coverage:

With this coverage, your insurance will pay the cost to repair or replace your damaged coffee table without factoring in any deduction for depreciation. The amount of money you receive will not be any more than the replacement cost or the cost of full repair at the time of the loss.


Agreed Value Coverage:

This is coverage that you would set up with your agent, designating a specific amount for a specific possession. In this case, if you had purchased this coverage for your table, you would receive the full $450 amount if this was what was noted in the agreed upon coverage. Let’s say you had a $10,000 ring, if you scheduled this specific amount for your ring, that is the amount you would receive. With scheduling specific items, you will have broader coverage without a deductible.


Here are some examples of other items that can be scheduled specifically:

  • cameras
  • collectibles
  • coins
  • fine art

Be sure to talk to your agent to determine the best coverage for you and your belongings. If you have something of value…protect it!




Restaurant Owners: Do You Have Dependent Property Coverage?

6 flavors of icream in a sugar cone.Imagine this:

Every day, you depend on Joe’s Dairy to provide your ice cream parlor with fresh, locally sourced dairy products.


Without Joe’s Dairy, your recipes are off and the ice cream just doesn’t taste the same. Plus, the local supermarket in your area isn’t able to provide you with the right amount of organic dairy products that your business depends on everyday.


Today however, Joe’s Dairy can’t make their usual delivery. You’re out of your top selling flavors and you have a large business coming in for a celebratory ice cream date. What now?


This is where dependent property coverage comes into play.


What can dependent property coverage provide?


Dependent property coverage provides insurance coverage if:

  • Your suppliers are unable to produce goods or services that your business depends on
  • Your customers aren’t able to receive your company’s goods or services
  • Companies that manufacture products for direct delivery to your customers can no longer fulfill orders
  • A company which is responsible for attracting customers to you goes out of business or can no longer attract business
  • There is a disruption in basic utility services that prevents your business from operating, resulting in a loss of income.


Don’t let your restaurant go out of business because of something that is out of your control.  This is especially true for restaurants who feature very specific ingredients.  Don’t let your ice cream shop run out of ice cream!


Reach out to Patriot Insurance and Risk Management today and we can figure out what coverage is best for you and your budget.




Surprise! Why You Might Be Paying More in Taxes This Year


image courtesy of:

image courtesy of:

The Affordable Care Act (ACA) finally went into effect in 2014 and if you’re not one of the lucky ones to have health insurance provided by an employers, you more than likely signed up through the ACA Marketplace.


Or you threw caution to the wind and decided you’d rather avoid buying health insurance altogether and pay the penalties instead.


Unfortunately, whether you signed up for health care or not, if you chose your plan through the Marketplace, you might receive an unwelcome surprise on your taxes this year.


Why might I pay more in taxes this year?


A lot of you probably aren’t too familiar with the advance premium tax credit that the U.S. government doled out to many Americans this year to help offset the cost of monthly coverage.  In fact, you might not have known about it all even though you went through the proper application steps.


However, if you received any advanced financial assistance from the U.S. government, you may be required to pay back some of the money.


Why would I owe the government money?


If you bought health insurance through the Marketplace then you were required to estimate your yearly household income. If you ended up underestimating how much money you made in 2014 then you could owe the difference between what you were actually paid in assistance against your actual eligibility.


What’s the likelihood I’ll have to pay back some of my advance premium tax credit?


H&R Block, a leading tax advisory, estimates that as many as 3.5 million Americans will owe money.


However, they aren’t the only ones who will end up paying the government. Tax penalties are now being implemented against those of you that decided to balk at the new mandatory health care law and don’t qualify for automatic exemptions (or just failed to sign up for some).


In your mind you probably are willing to take your chances you won’t need health care and think paying the penalty is cheaper than monthly payments for insurance you deem not cost-effective.


Do you know what the penalties are for failing to purchase health insurance?


Penalties range from $47 for a child, $96 for an adult and up to $285 per household, or 1 percent of household income. If you’re uninsured, you’ll be made to pay the larger sum of the two penalties.


The penalties are expected to increase every year. This means potentially paying quite a bit of money, especially if you unexpectedly find yourself needing to pay for costly medical treatment after all.


So what can I do to avoid paying?


If you owe money for the tax credit you are likely out of luck and need to pay your difference.


And why you can’t get out of paying a penalty for your lack of health coverage on your 2014 taxes, you can avoid penalties outright by obtaining insurance through the Individual Open Enrollment Period, which still open through February 15.

Talk to us today and we can walk you through your options for a brighter and safer future.




The Construction Industry: The Young vs. Old Debate

New York Construction Workers Lunching on a CrossbeamThe construction industry has suffered through hard knocks since the market crashed in 2007-2008. Now, even as the economy slowly recovers and certain industries bounce back, the construction sector now faces personnel problems.


What issues are occurring in the construction industry?

While construction activity has increased as the economy has improved (and that demand is expected to continue in 2015), the sector is now dealing with a labor shortage, especially qualified new workers. Another big concern? The current labor force is aging.


What does a labor shortage mean for the industry?

Inexperienced workers are more likely to suffer from work-related accidents than skilled veterans. Additionally, injuries for inexperienced workers tend to be more severe than for seasoned employees.


In fact, Rick Keegan, president of the Construction Business Unit at Travelers, indicates that in certain industry segments, 40 percent of construction worker injuries occur during the first six months of employment. This can drive up contractor insurance claims and also hurt a business’s bottom line.[i]


Why does an aging workforce hurt the construction business?

In contrast, while older workers are less likely to get injured on a job, those that do often cost contractors more in the long run.


There are several factors for this including:

  • Injuries often take longer to heal
  • Age-related medical complications
  • Higher salaries mean contractors pay more in lost wages

Also, older workers that suffer severe injuries are more likely not to return to the workforce, contributing to the workforce shortage.


How do injuries immediately impact business owners?

Accidents on the job can result in an extended disability period for the injured party and can leave a contractor with high medical and workers’ compensation costs.


What is the long-term impact?

While medical costs and workers compensation expenses are an immediate concern for business owners, there are also longer-term consequences that impact the construction industry as a whole. The lack of qualified workers is the biggest challenge.


Aging workers, injuries, lack of newly skilled workers and the economic downturn, which drove away many skilled workers from the sector, have all left dents in the workforce.


Now there is oftentimes not enough workers to get the work done. This trend applies to both blue-collar jobs and professional positions within the industry, such as project managers and safety professionals.


How do I learn more about injuries and insurance?


If you are involved in the construction business; whether as a worker, owner or insurance professional, it is important to monitor all aspects of the industry.


One of those aspects is medical costs and workers compensation. Check with your independent insurance agent to learn more about these topics, no matter what side of the business you work on.






How to Choose Your Insurance

Insurance is a complicated, but mandatory confusion. Health and auto insurance are required and many additional forms of insurance are encouraged, or considered a necessity.


It is hard wading through all the competition, red tape, and legal mess that can confuse the average consumer. Luckily, an independent insurance agent can help you navigate the waters more easily.


What is an independent insurance agent?

There are two types of insurance agents; captive insurers and independent insurers.  Captive insurers typically represent and work exclusively for one insurance company, providing a specific portfolio of insurance products. They’re often limited to only that company’s products, services, and coverages.


An independent insurance agent can offer consumers choices. It’s not a one-size-fits-all proposition with an independent agency. You can develop a life-long relationship with your independent agent.


What does this mean for me?

Choice is the biggest difference between a captive insurer and your independent agent. Both are qualified to deliver excellent choices and coverage, but a captive insurer is limited by the company. While those products and services are probably of high standard (confirmed by insurance ratings, etc.), they are limited in their scope.


Many carriers don’t bend and flex their policies, prices and coverages based on need. It is a “blanket coverage” based on what their representative company provides.


Independent insurance agents have the freedom to explore from a variety of options available and still provide you with affordable and quality coverage and service.


What are additional benefits to choosing an independent provider?

Relationship building is key to any partnership. While you can build a connection with a captive carrier, it isn’t as direct or intimate as with your independent insurance agent.


A captive insurer must worry about turnover, politics or the hassle of dealing with a team rather than maintaining a one-on-one relationship with a person who has earned your trust and established a friendship.


Trust is key. Personal relationships are much more reassuring in business transactions than outsiders that don’t customize to their clients.


With a carrier, if something goes wrong and the company decides to non-renew your account, you have to find a new agent. Should that happen with an independent agent, your agent can find a new insurance carrier for you and you still maintain your trusted relationship.


What is the key difference?

While captive insurers are certainly qualified to insure your needs, remember that many of them work for the carrier. Independent agents work directly with customers to make sure they get what they really need.


Convenience can also be a big selling point. Since independent agents can offer more choices and savings, a consumer doesn’t have to spend hours gathering quotes from other agencies.


Choices can be overwhelming at times. However, we (name of insurance agency) can make the transition seamless and ensure the choice you make is the correct one.


Would you like to see the difference?
Connect with us and we’ll help you get through the complicated stuff.




Homeowners Insurance to the Rescue and It’s Not What You Think . . .

words identity theft

Just this past summer a client had their identity stolen while on an eight-day vacation in the Caribbean. It happened on their second day away, and if hadn’t been for their homeowners insurance, their vacation would have been devastated, to say the least.  The insurance company handled 99% of the legwork to get their credit restored and by the fourth day their credit was restored and the rest of their Caribbean vacation continued without a hitch.

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