Celebrating 123 Years of Service

Call us at (508) 653-3131

Main Content

Blog

Blog

The Insurance Industry has several large national companies but having a local, trusted advisor who understands your specific needs has great value to it.
 
There are several advantages of having and knowing your local insurance agent in your area, some of which include:
  • Setting up your insurance policy in person with a local agent will help give you balance of coverage while at the same time give you pricing based upon your individual situation and status.
  • Getting advice on your territory rating that only someone who lives and works in your area would know about.
  • Learn how to save money by getting multiple policy discounts that are available for your situation.
  • Having someone who knows the risks and possible coverages you need specific to your area that should be thought of when obtaining a policy. For example, areas highly affected by flood, theft, etc.
  • Get answers when you need them when events happen – For example, your house has a tree fall on it from lightning and you need to talk to a local agent who can see what the damage looks like right away.
  • Being able to talk to the same person each time you call with a question or need to change something to your insurance policy
  • Supporting your community by supporting a local small business.

Running a small business involves a significant investment. Business insurance protects your investment by minimizing financial risks associated with unexpected events such as a death of a partner, an injured employee, a lawsuit, or a natural disaster. Unless you are an employer, business insurance is generally not required by law, however, it is common practice to purchase enough insurance to cover your assets. If your business is an LLC or a corporation, your personal assets are protected from business liabilities; however, neither business structure is a substitute for liability insurance, which covers your business from losses.
Your state government determines insurance requirements for businesses. Most states require businesses with employees to pay for workers’ compensation insurance, unemployment insurance, and state disability insurance.  Specifically, every Massachusetts employer is required to provide workers’ compensation insurance coverage for their employees. Refer to M.G.L. Chapter 152, Section 25A. An employer may be an individual, partnership, joint venture, corporation, limited liability company, association, or a fiduciary such as a trustee, receiver or executor, or other legal entity. Your state may require insurance of specific business activities. For example, if you own a car or truck and use it for business purposes, you may be required to purchase commercial auto insurance. Finally, your financial lender or investors may require you to maintain life, business interruption, fire, flood or other types of insurance to protect their investments.

Tips for Buying Business Insurance

Assess Your Risks

Insurance companies determine the level of risk they’ll accept when issuing policies. This process is called underwriting. The insurance company reviews your application and determines whether it will provide all or a portion of the coverage being requested. Each underwritten policy carries a premium and a deductible. A premium is the price you pay for insurance.
Premiums vary widely among insurance companies, and depend on a number risk factors, including your business location, building type, local fire protection services, and the amount of insurance you purchase. A deductible is the amount of money you agree when making a claim. Generally, the higher deductible you agree to pay, the lower your premium will be. However, when you agree to take on a high deductible you are taking on some financial risk. So, it’s important to assess your own risks before you go shopping.
The National Federation of Independent Businesses provides information for choosing insurance to help you assess your risks and to make sure you’ve insured every aspect of your business.

Consider a Business Owners’ Policy

Insurance can be purchased separately or in a package called a business owners’ policy (BOP). Purchasing separate policies from different insurers can result in higher total premiums. A BOP combines typical coverages into a standard package, and offered at a premium that is less than if each type of coverage was purchases separately. Typically, BOPs consist of cover property, general liability, vehicles, business interruption and other types of coverage common to most types of businesses. BOPs simplify the insurance buying process and can save you money. However, make sure you understand the extent of coverage in any BOP you are considering. Not every type of insurance is included in a BOP. If your business has unique risks, you may require additional coverage.

Find a Reputable, Licensed Agent

Commercial insurance brokers can help you find policies that match your business needs. Brokers receive commissions from insurance companies when they sell policies, so it’s important you find a broker that is reputable and is interested in your needs as much as his own. Make sure your broker understands all the risks associated with your business.
Finding a good insurance agent is as important as finding a good lawyer or accountant. You should always look for one that has a license. State governments regulate the insurance industry and license insurance brokers.

ASSESS YOUR INSURANCE COVERAGE ON AN ANNUAL BASIS

As your business grows, so do your liabilities. You don’t want to be caught underinsured should disaster strike. If you have purchased or replaced equipment or expanded operations, you should contact your insurance broker to discuss change in your business and how they affect your coverage.

You can save money on homeowners insurance if you know how.  Discounts from your insurance company are available for a variety of reasons, ranging from the type of building material used to build your home to how close you live to a fire station.  Here are several ways you can save money on your homeowners policy:
Raise your deductible. The deductible is the amount of money you have to pay toward a loss before your insurance kicks in. Typically, deductibles start at $250. Increase your deductible to:
  • $500 and save up to 12% on your premiums.
  • $1,000 and save up to 24%.
  • $2,500 and save up to 30%.
  • $5,000 and save up to 37%.
Just make sure you can afford to pay the higher deductible if something should happen.
Buy your home and auto policies from the same company. Many companies will give a discount if you buy both homeowners and auto coverage from them.
Consider insurance consequences when buying a home. If you’re looking at buying a home, think about the cost of insuring the home. A newer home’s electrical, heating and plumbing systems, and overall structure are likely to be in better condition than those of an older home. This can lead to a discount on your premiums.
Insure your home, not the land. Although your home and its contents are at risk from fire, theft, windstorms and other perils, the land your house sits on is not. Don’t include the value of the land in deciding how much homeowners insurance you need to buy.
Improve security and safety. Items such as deadbolt locks, burglar alarms and smoke detectors often bring discounts of 5% each, depending on the company. Your insurance company may also offer a significant discount of 15% or 20% if you install a sophisticated home-security system. If you’re thinking about buying such a system, check with your insurer to see which systems they recommend and which will earn you a discount.
Stop smoking. Smoking accidents account for more than 23,000 residential fires every year. Some insurers offer to reduce premiums if no one in the home smokes.
Try senior discounts. Insurance companies have found that retired people stay at home more and spot fires sooner than working people. Older people also have more time for maintaining their homes. If you’re at least 55 years old and retired, you might qualify for a discount of as much as 10%.
Stay with an insurer. If you’ve kept your coverage with a company for several years, you may receive special consideration. Several insurers will reduce their premiums by 5% after you’ve been with them for three to five years, and some companies will discount you as much as 10% after six years.
Check your policy annually. You want your policy to reflect the value of your home and belongings. If you review your policy every year, you will be able to make the necessary adjustments. If, for example, you just sold a valuable painting, you won’t need the same amount of coverage. But if you added a garage, you’ll need to increase your coverage.
Look for private insurance first. If you live in a high-risk area (one that is especially vulnerable to coastal storms, fires or crime) and think you’ll be forced to buy homeowners coverage from your state’s high-risk insurance pool, check first with an insurance agent. You may find that you can still buy insurance at a lower price in the private insurance market than from the insurer of last resort.
Make payments electronically. Many companies now charge up to $5 for mailed payments, so have your payments automatically deducted to shave that cost. Sometimes the deductions can come from your credit card, so you don’t have to worry if the money is in your bank account when payment time comes.
Get replacement-cost coverage. Actual-cash-value coverage reimburses you for the cost of your property at the time of the claim, minus the deductible. This can result in a lower claim payout than you expect. If your TV is worth $50, for example, that’s all you’d get to buy a new one. Replacement-cost coverage will reimburse the full value of an item based on the cost of purchasing a new one. The upfront cost is greater, but you are more likely to receive accurate compensation for your possessions.