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Your New Business

When you first announce that you are starting your own business, often the congratulatory well-wishes are quickly followed by unsolicited advice and opinions about…well, about everything.  From the name to logo to location to EVERYTHING – there will be someone there to tell you what you must have or need to do.   Guess what?  We are going to tell you what you need as well – at least in terms of insurance.  Having the right AND the right amount of insurance is crucial, critical, and mandatory for all new businesses.  Navigating the waters of insurance can sometimes be a rough and confusing experience.  That is where Susman Insurance Agency comes in and relieves you of confusion and provides answers to all your questions.

The insurance every start-up needs:

No matter what type of business you have, you need General Liability Insurance.  We speak about and you hear about liability insurance more often than you are aware of.  Not only does it protect against small calamities, but also cover any bodily injury or property damaged caused by you, your employees, or your product.  Nobody will do business with your new business without this type of insurance.  There is usually a standard amount for any new start-up, but the amount of liability insurance you need will be specific to your business.

What if one of your employees injured themselves on the job or develops a disability that prevents them from continuing working all together? Your start-up needs Worker’s Compensation Insurance. Not only does it provide protection from any potential legal complications, but it is also required by every state.  Yes, you must have it.  It provides benefits to employees injured while working.  Once they choose to utilize the benefits, they will be unable to pursue legal action against you or the business.

If you own anything (yes, anything) that is part of your new business, you need Property Insurance.  Office equipment, personal property, tools, company cars, computers, buildings, etc.… If the loss of any of those would prevent you from continuing ‘business as usual,’ you need to protect every one of those items and more.  Along similar lines as property insurance, there is also Commercial Auto Insurance.  This insurance protects vehicles that are used for any/all business purposes and covers any damages caused by car accidents, theft, vandalism, and more.

Professional Liability Insurance is something your start-up cannot go without.  Also known as Errors and Omissions Insurance, it provides defense and damages for any of your products or services that cause financial loss.  You might be thinking that it sounds a lot like General Liability Insurance – and it does – however, the level and type of protection are very different.  That is why you need Susman Insurance Agency to clarify such details and make sur e your new business has proper coverage.

Worried about what might happen if one of your partners or board members makes a major mistake that causes financial damages to the business?  You need Directors and Officers Insurance to protect you and the business against their bad decisions and help cover any damages or legal fees.  While we are talking about the VIPs within the hierarchy of your business, you should also consider getting Key Person Insurance.  If one of these people should die, this policy pays put a lump sum to the business and allows you to continue running the business without financial burden associated with the loss of the key person.

Transitioning from having a policy that covers the death of a key person, you also need a policy that covers your own demise.  Life Insurance will pay your beneficiary an amount based upon the premiums you paid and relieve them from financial burden that happens after a loved one dies.  You should already have Life Insurance and if you don’t, GET IT!  You pay a premium in exchange for the payment of benefits to the beneficiary. This type of insurance is very important because it allows for peace of mind.

Plan on utilizing any type of technology for your start-up?  You need protection! For starters, consider a Data Breach policy.  Storing any type of personal information on your computer network puts you at major risk for hacking and cyber-attacks.  Data Breach protects your business against the loss of information.  Additional policies for more severe cyber-attacks are also available – and yes, we believe you need them!

Let’s pretend you already have all the insurance needed for your start-up, but then you worry that you don’t have enough.  You can get additional coverage on all polices with Personal Umbrella Insurance.  This options allows you to extend the level of coverage on your current polices.  Once your original policies have been used, personal umbrella insurance will cover the rest (based upon the amount you purchased).

An option to bundle numerous insurance policies for your start-up comes in the form a Business Owner’s Policy.  This tidy package often includes business interruption insurance, property insurance, vehicle coverage, liability insurance, and crime insurance.  Your business needs are evaluated so the best bundle can be created for your specific needs.

If you don’t think you need any of these insurance policies, you are wrong.  If you think you can get by with only one or two policies, you are wrong – again.  Your start-up is the newest member of your family.  You protect your family with such insurance as health, auto, home, and life.  Why wouldn’t you choose to protect your newest an investment just the same?

 

 

 

 

Increase Productivity

We have all heard the saying “Work Smarter, Not Harder.”

Yeah.  Easier said than done.

We all want to be more productive and more successful, but how do we do that without working a million ours a week and forfeiting a huge chunk (if not all) of our social life?

Maybe these tips will help:

 

Once you have all the information you need, make small decisions in less than 60 seconds

Check email in the afternoon so you protect the peak energy hours of your mornings for your best work.

Set clear, well-defined deadlines for your projects.

Stop waiting for perfect conditions to launch a great project.

Mess creates stress.  Clean out the clutter in your office to get more done.

Say goodbye to the energy vampires in your life (the negative souls who steal your enthusiasm).

Win the battle of the bed- put mind over mattress.

Turn off the TV.

Knock your worst task out first thing, and clear it from your stack of work

Don’t do so many meetings.

Don’t say yes to every request.

Get into your absolute best physical condition – it creates explosive energy and focus

Drink more water.

Delegate.

Stop working overtime.

Use your commute time – listen to books on audio, podcasts and learning programs.

Get things right the first time.

If it’s not absolutely necessary, take it off of your to-do list.

Get lost – don’t be so available to everyone.

At the end of the day, laser in on one final task, finish it, then call it quits.

Review your progress each day and find ways to improve.

Sleep.

 

Productive

Sources:

www.robinsharma.com

www.inc.com

 

 

Brandon Talks Critical Illness

From Brandon:

Twelve years ago, I finally opened the business of my dreams.  After decades stuck inside an office, I was able to leave it all behind for a now thriving coffee house.

From day one, it was perfect.  Sure there were some struggles here and there, but nothing that killed my spirit or deterred my motivation.  The location was perfect and my business quickly became crowded with ‘regulars’ every day.  A dream come true!

Unfortunately, only three years into my new business, my health wasn’t doing as well as my business. I had a stroke before leaving my home one morning.  Thankfully my wife noticed me acting different prior to the onset of the stroke, so when it happened, emergency responders were already on the way and the aftermath wasn’t as bad as it could have been.  However, I still had astronomical medical expenses for the incident itself, as well as financial burden for aftercare and further treatment.

Anyone else I know would have been extremely worried about this situation.  Dealing with the medical issue is bad enough, but how do you cope with the financial stress and stay healthy at the same time?

You do it by having Critical Illness Insurance part of your policy plan. 

Prior to opening my coffee house, I met with my insurance agent to discuss the exact coverage and policies I needed to protect my family and protect my business.  He suggested I add Critical Illness along with Disability and Life Insurance.  Had I ignored that suggestion, my situation would have been much worse.  Because I took his advice and had Critical Illness Insurance, I received a cash payment that allowed me to cover all of the remaining medical expenses, lost wages, and keep the coffee house form sinking until I could get back to work. My wife and I carefully planned and budgeted and were able to make it through my extended medical treatment plan with only a small amount of out-of-pocket expense.

I still have the coffee house.  I still have Critical Illness Insurance. 

I wouldn’t choose to live without either of them.

Critical dollar

 

 

 

Getting the Best Deal on Auto Insurance

Shop around and do it yearly. Don’t just keep paying the invoice over and over without comparison shopping. Below are a few suggestions to help you get the best deal available on your automobile insurance policy.

Insurance agents really have a lot of leeway. They can price match and they can offer many discounts. There are also many decisions you can make about your policy that will save you a bundle. For example, if you change your deductible on your collision from a $50 deductible to a $1000 deductible, you’re inline for a huge premium savings. If you don’t think you could come up with $1000 out of pocket, then change it to a $500 deductible; you’ll still save a sizable amount on your annual premium payment.

You can also get more of a savings if you change your comprehensive deductible. Many people needlessly carry full coverage on their older vehicle. They originally purchased the vehicle new, paid for full coverage and to this day, continue to pay the same high rate. Their ten year old vehicle may be worth $1000 or less, yet they continue to pay $250-$450 every six months (total $500 to $900 dollars a year) to keep full coverage on their old vehicle.

However, if they have an accident and totaled their vehicle, the insurance company will only pay them the wholesale value of the vehicle. The amount they would receive could be $1000 or less. A vehicle that old just needs the insurance that protects the other person in case of an accident.

Another method to save more on your insurance is by combining your vehicles and other insurance together to get you additional savings. All insurance companies offer a multi-car discount (if yours doesn’t, it’s time to switch companies). Further, many will discount more if you have your homeowners or renters policy with them.

There are a few other discounts that you may not be taking advantage of. It seems obvious, but make sure you are getting the correct rate for your age. There are discounts for various ages than can save you lots of money. Check with your agent on this one. Also alarm systems on your vehicle are usually good for a discount. Additionally, anti-lock brakes and air bags can also help lower your premiums.

Don’t just keep paying the invoice when it comes in. Your insurance bill should be an automatic trigger for you to make a few phone calls to see if you can save even more money on your auto insurance premiums.

Flooding – Keeping thoses gutters and drains clear

Insurance claims from damage from flooding, cold and stormy conditions during the summer months have soared. 60% of current home insurance claims are related to bad weather conditions. Home owners are being warned that not only do they need to prepare their home by checking trees, gutters, drains and roofs, but they must make sure they are in a position to cover any damages by being adequately insured.

The overwhelming majority of household policies provide cover in respect of flood, however, it is necessary to check your policy to make sure this is so. Simple steps can be taken to prepare a property for the worst that the weather can bring. Built up leaves, seeds, dirt and other debris that has run down your roof and into your gutter can lead to a blockage in the system which in turn can lead to major problems. The good news is most of these blockages can be easily cleared, but it must be done often, ideally at the beginning of winter to clear leaves that have fallen during autumn and summer since high rainfall appears to be on the increase in most parts of the UK.

No matter what type of guttering you have, the troughs will need clearing. It is not a particularly difficult job, but it is essential if you wish to avoid problems further down the line such as water damage and serious outbreaks of dry rot.

Computer Insurance

Investing in a personal computer is not less an amount. It is next only to investing in a house or a car. So, it’s not unwise an idea to insure your computer and its allied accessories like peripherals and software. However, how much coverage you get for what accessory depends on individual market offer. There are several threats your computer might face. Such as virus attack, data corruption, system crashing down, peripheral malfunctioning and many more. Thus, it is important for you to protect your investment by proper insurance coverage. There are certain aspects of computer insurance you must know.

Coverage under homeowner or renter’s policy

In most of the cases if you have homeowner or renter’s policy your home accessories and assets are also covered in that and so is your computer. It is covered against all the threats and disasters listed in the policy. Thus, if your computer gets stolen or gutted in fire you can claim for the damages. However, your computer gets covered only for the amount listed in your policy.

Replacement cost and actual cash value

Though replacement cost is 10 percent more expensive as compared to Actual cash value, keeping in mind that things depreciate fast, this is a very wise move. The reimbursement you get on replacement cost is the same as the current cost of your computer and not the petty depreciated cost you would get with actual cash value policy.

Coverage for Laptop and portable computer

Laptop and portable computers are considered personal possessions away from home under the homeowners or renter’s policy. Thus, they are also covered under this policy. However, there is a dollar limit on personal possession that are stolen or damaged away from home.

Computers don’t only get covered under the homeowners or renter’s policy. A number of insurance companies offer individual insurance policies for computers as well. It is important to remember that when you buy a computer insurance policy you must retain the receipt of the policy as well as that of the computer and its peripherals very carefully.

Computer insurance is vital for students, business professionals, small business owners, schools, home users with heavy usage and many more people who use computers for their critical applications. Computer insurance does not cover certain items such as maintenance costs, electrical or mechanical breakdown, wear and tear, fraud and dishonesty, consequential loss, and loss or damage caused by sonic bangs. However, they are well covered under the warranty/extended warranty of the equipment.

Cheap Insurance Life

Permanent life insurance provides lifetime insurance protection (does not expire), but the premiums must be paid on time. Most permanent policies offer a savings or investment component combined with the insurance coverage. This component, in turn, causes premiums to be higher than those of term insurance. The investment may offer a fixed interest rate or may be in the form of money market securities, bonds or mutual funds. This savings portion of the policy allows the policy owner to build a cash value within the policy which can be borrowed or distributed at some time in the future.

The characteristics of Permanent Life Insurance are: permanent insurance protection, it is more expensive to own; it builds cash value, loans are permitted against the policy; it has favorable tax treatment of policy earnings and it has
level premiums.

There are three basic types of permanent insurance: whole life, variable life and universal life. The two most common are whole life and universal life. Whole life insurance provides lifetime protection, for which you pay a predetermined premium. Cash values usually have a minimum guaranteed rate of interest and the death benefit is a fixed amount. Whole life insurance is the most expensive life-insurance product available. “Universal life insurance separates the investment and the death benefit portions. The investment choices available usually include some type of equity investments, which may make your cash value accumulate quicker. As the you can usually change your premiums and death benefits to suit your current budget”.

Final Tips

• Consider buying a “break point” level of insurance coverage – better premium rates are given at coverage levels of $100,000, $250,000, $500,000 and $1,000,000.

• Make sure you obtain an illustration for the policy that you have chosen. If the insurer will not provide you with one, look for another insurance company.

• Always shop for a level-premium policy. Nobody likes a surprise increase in their premium payments! So, before you buy term or permanent insurance make sure your illustration shows that your premium payment is guaranteed not to increase over the duration of your coverage.

• Don’t be sold on permanent insurance for the investment or cash-value feature. For the first two to 10 years, your premiums are paying the agent’s commission anyways. Most policies don’t start to build respectable cash value until their 12th year, so ask yourself if the feature is really worth it.

• Determine your desired duration of coverage so that you purchase the correct type of policy and keep your premium payments affordable. If you only need insurance for 10 years, then buy term. Also, check out multiple-quality insurance companies for their rates.

• Don’t be taken with riders. A very few number of policies ever pay under these riders, so avoid things like the accidental death and waiver of premium riders since they will only jack up your premiums.

• For 24 hours before your medical exam, keep sugar and caffeine out of your system. It’s best to schedule your exam early in the morning, and don’t consume anything but water for at least eight hours beforehand.

• If your premiums are much too high due to medical reasons or you are denied coverage, check if a group plan is available through your company. These group plans require no medical exam or physical.

When seeking insurance, don’t rush into buying expensive permanent life insurance before considering if term life insurance sufficiently meets your needs. Unfortunately, in many cases the fees charged for policies with investment features far outweigh the benefits. When you purchase life insurance, you’re betting that you’ll live, but also securing peace of mind in case you’re wrong. Don’t leave your family unprotected in the sudden event of your death – after all, they are your most important assets.

Car Insurance: Types of Insurance You Need to Understand Word Count:

With all this traveling in and out, back and forth around the maze that is the United States infrastructure, its easy to understand why auto insurance is required in order to own an operate a car. For car buyers, an effort needs to be made on the part of insurance companies to provide information on the different types of auto insurance available. These include bodily injury and liability, collision, comprehensive, full glace, liability, medical coverage, personal injury protection, and underinsured or uninsured motorist.

Liability insurance coverage is imperative to have as a driver. This insurance covers any injuries or damages to property that may occur during an accident. Two types of liability include bodily injury liability insurance and property damage liability insurance.

Medical insurance is different in that it focuses on the driver and passengers of the car. This will cover any medical treatment for the driver and the passengers. In addition, the medical insurance may or may not offer disability insurance and pain and suffering compensation.

Uninsured or under-insured drivers insurance will pay any costs that you or your passengers may experience if an accident should occur with a driver who is uninsured or underinsured.

Collision insurance deals with the cost of damage caused by a collision to your car that may affect the book value. Comprehensive deals more with damage caused by vandalism, natural disasters, theft or other kinds of damage.

There are several other types of car insurance. These include glass replacement insurance, towing insurance etc. These types of insurance are often not required and are not popular as they are often costly.

Now that you know what types of car insurance are out there, the next step is to find a credible insurance agent. The first place to investigate this is through family and friends. Referrals will help you sort those agents that you want to investigate further. You will want to speak with several different agents before you make your final decisions. Ask any and all questions you may have. That is what the agent is there for.

Auto Insurance, Policy Assets, and Customer Assistance

One morning a friend of mine was running late for class at school. His wife was throwing together some kind of breakfast while he gathered his laptop, notebook, and picked out the books he was going to need for school that day. He zipped up his pack and ran outside to warm the car up. Except, there was no car. It had been stolen. My friend ran into one disappointment after another that week as he first found the insurance company wouldn’t pay for a rental, then that the damage the thief did to the car would only be covered up to the deductible and that somehow he was going to have to come up with the 500 dollars before the car could be fixed.

He had supposed he had done due diligence by going to one of those car insurance quotes sites and finding the lowest priced quote. He had thought by getting cheap car insurance he had beat the system somehow. In reality, his cheap car insurance turned out to be crappy car insurance. His problem stemmed from a lack of information about his car insurance.

Before you buy your next auto insurance policy be sure you know all of the facts about the company’s service policies. Cheap car insurance is only cheap if the product is as good as the more expensive car insurance. A good place to start is with a free car insurance quote, however obtaining an auto insurance quote is not going to be enough unless you know what kind of service you expect and whether or not the company quoted will provide it. The two A’s will keep you straight. They are, Assets and Assistance.

Assets

You want to make certain that your car insurance quote includes every asset you could want or need in an emergency. When you are high and dry without a car, will your insurance cover your transportation needs? Check to make certain that the company you are buying car insurance from will provide you with an auto rental if something goes wrong. If your car is stolen–as my friend’s was– undrivable, or in the car repair shop for a few days you want to make certain that a car will be available to you. If not, you will be forced to call your in-laws and give them one more reason why you aren’t good enough for their daughter. Check that you have road-side assistance, some variation on lock-out service, and towing service provided by some insurance company. Remember the car insurance quote is only low if the car insurance product is good.

Assistance

Find out what the auto insurance company’s customer service is like before you buy from them. How do you find out something like that? First, there is no way to know for certain what type of people you will end up dealing with, but there are ways to know the probability of having a good experience. First, there is the low tech way of asking your family and friends what their experiences have been. The lemon auto insurance companies will immediately pop up in a network search of that kind, but let’s say that you are a hermit and have no family or friends, or like one friend of mine, your family is all from the catskill mountains without cars or running water. If that is the case then you will need to try the high tech method: use the internet. One way is to make use of the Better Business Bureau’s search engine. At www.betterbusinessbureau.org you can find if any complaints have been registered against the auto insurance company in question and whether or not the company has resolved those complaints. I have checked the auto insurance companies that have treated my family poorly and they all seem to have a complaint–not made by me–against their name.

Another way to check the customer service of a company is to find a claims telephone number on their website and call it up. If their claims people are nice to you, the likelihood of the customer service being a positive team has just raised. After you have assessed the courtesy level of the auto insurance company’s service department, then politely thank them for their time and hang up. No explanation necessary, they will just move on to their next call without giving you another thought. This technique is based on the theory that there are two kinds of companies: the ones who stock their sales teams with friendly people and put all the low-paid mean folks in their claims departments and the ones who stock both with friendly, professionals. Usually, this simple test will tell you the type of company with which you are dealing.

If the quoted auto insurance policy has both the assets you desire and a high quality of customer service, then the quote is a true quote. Remember if you think you might end up actually using the car insurance–which we should all assume we will–then check these two things before running after the apparently low premiums.

All Auto Insurance Is Not Created Equal!

Well the first thing you may want to do is visit the all auto insurance center which is a resource center that explains auto insurance in detail. You can also search the net and visit plenty of other good sites to better understand your coverage.

There are many things that affect your insurance rates. Your driving record, how many tickets you’ve had in the past, where you live, how much you drive, what type of car you have, what type of coverage you buy, and where you buy your insurance company.

Many people have reported saving up to 40% by purchasing auto insurance online. The most important thing to remember when shopping online is to purchase your insurance from a reputable insurance company. You can always check the rating of the insurance company you are planning to deal with.

You should always get at least 5 or 6 quotes so you can compare thoroughly. When comparing make sure you are comparing same policies. If not it would rather be like comparing Victoria Secrets lingerie to Walmart lingerie. Not a fair comparison!

You will need to be able to provide the company you are asking for a quote from with information relating to your driving record. There is no point in fibbing. Because the auto insurance company will validate all information you provide. If you lie your rates will go up or the insurance company may cancel your policy.

All auto insurance is not created equal for many reasons. Companies use a formula to determine rates. We won’t get into the details of the formula but basically they calculate out the number of drivers they cover, the costs for the previous year including operating, accident, and liability claims, then they do some math and come out with their rates. Much is determined by the amount of payouts they’ve had.

We mentioned earlier about purchasing from an insurance company that is rated well. If you save a bundle of money but the insurance company you purchased your policy from has a tendency not to honor and pay out on claims but rather weasels their way out. Then the savings aren’t worth anything. Or if the insurance company is a fly by night operation here today and gone tomorrow, they’ll be gone with your money and you won’t have insurance. No savings in that scenario! So make sure to check! Unless of course you recognize the insurance company.

Companies like Geico, Allstate, Hartford, State Farm, Progressive, and of course several other big companies can be found online.

Most companies offer online quotes which is very handy. No more sitting on the telephone waiting to speak to an agent. No more driving half way across the city to get rates then driving half way around the city to get another rate then…. Okay I’m sure you get the picture! It’s tiring just thinking about it. It’s so much easier just to pull up a chair and put your mouse to work.

Hopefully we’ve brought to your attention that all auto insurance is not created equal. We thought we’d mention it again just incase ? So shop around and save money!