How to Find The Right Insurance Agency

Whatever life may throw at us, you have to be prepared, fires, car accidents, natural disasters or even death. In order to cover and protect you and your family financially from these adverse life events, you will have to purchase insurance from the right agency. However, the journey may be a daunting one, especially to those who are not experienced with the process. To make sure that you make the best-informed decision when you are choosing your insurance agency, here are a few tips to help you get started.

  1. Coverage

First and foremost, the most important feature that the right insurance agency must have is to deliver the best coverage for your needs. It is the goal of an insurance agency to serve you to the best of their ability and to do this, they must provide the insurance that will address your concerns. Therefore, before becoming a customer of an insurance agency make sure that they provide a wide range of services that will meet all of your needs.

  1. Price

Even though it is great to have a set budget, make sure that you are not too focused on saving money on your insurance. Many insurance agencies that offer low fees are usually less experienced or don’t provide adequate insurance coverage so you lose more money when a loss occurs. Therefore, what you should opt for is a sit-down conversation with the agent and make sure that you are gaining the right services for your money.

  1. The insurance agency’s reputation

A lot can be said by the reputation of a company, and it is important that their values align with yours. To find out more about the company you want to purchase insurance from, a quick internet search is all that is required. Their websites are a great place to start since it will tell you their mission and values, history, company leadership, types of products available, the number of cities they cover, financial strength and so much more. If what you find is not to your liking, then you can easily research their competition to see if they are a better alternative.

  1. Convenience

Since we live in a fast-paced world and are all busy people, we like to receive our services quickly and efficiently. The internet is a great place to do this and many insurance agencies take advantage of this so that they are able to expand their reach and better serve their customers. Some of these amenities are 24/7 customer service, online billing and reporting and social media reach.

  1. Discounts

Many insurance agencies offer discounts to their customers that cover many insurance types. It is now your job to take advantage of these discounts so that you can save some extra bucks. However, please remember that these discounts offered should not cloud your judgement and should be a bonus when the other attributes listed above are present.

Insurance agencies play a vital role in providing protection against any accidents, trauma or death that you may face. There is a myriad of insurance agencies to choose from, and it is now your responsibility to choose the best reputable option that will suit your needs at the optimal price. If you take this approach, you will be able to make the process of choosing the best insurance agency for you, a much smoother one.

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Choosing the Right Insurance Agency for the New Year

A new year’s rolling around, folks. New hopes, new opportunities, and new challenges. You deserve a smooth transition into the new year, free of needless stresses and anxieties.

And we’re betting that, no matter who you might happen to be, one of your major stress sources is relate to insurance.

It’s always there, hovering somewhere in the recesses of your mind. Sure, you’ve got an insurance plan in place; but is it enough? Does it really cover all the potential risks? Are you really investing enough in it? What if, God forbid, you find yourself in the position of having to file a claim; is it really going to be enough to salvage your finances?

Well, new year’s resolutions are supposed to be the means by which we turn our lives around for the new year. So why not ring in 2019 with a resolution to change your insurance agency to one that’ll alleviate those anxieties?\

And just to help you put your best foot forward in doing so, here’s a few basic pointers for picking a new insurance agency.

Reputation

This probably applies to any scenario involving picking a new company to do business with; but it’s especially relevant when we’re talking about one that’s handling your finances in a time of crisis.

Thankfully, there’s tons of ways to verify an agency’s reputation in the age of the internet. Find a review site and read feedback from other, ordinary clients like yourself. For expert opinions, check out their rating among the likes of Moody’s, AM Best, and the like.

And don’t be afraid to do your own research, too. Investigate the company – how long it’s been in business, their stated missions and visions, the types of products they sell, and the like. Used properly, the internet can put together a comprehensive picture of whether an agency is worth your time and money.

Coverage 

And speaking of research, you’ll want to make sure that you look into this one thoroughly.

One of the major sources of stress when it comes to insurance is not having sufficient coverage. If that turns out to be the case, it’ll hardly help that you’re a client of one of the best names in the business. For instance, fail to do proper coverage research, and you could find yourself seeking coverage for your entire family in an agency that specialises in coverage for singles. Being covered by a high-rated agency won’t do you much good if those glowing reviews turn out to have come from clients with drastically different needs to yours.

Basically, before you even consider becoming a client of an insurance agent, you’ll really want to take the time to consider your coverage needs, and then ensure that the agency has the sort of policies that’ll cover it sufficiently.

Locality

This might sound like a minor one; but it can be a major factor in alleviating those familiar stressors.

First, obviously, you’ll need to be sure that the agency offers its services within your state, county, or the like. And if they do, it might fare you well to make sure they’ve got an office somewhere within reasonable distance. Really, think about it – when you’re in the stressful situation of having to make a claim or inquiry with your insurance, do you really want the added stress of having to drive for an hour just to sort it all out?

Why Your Cannabis Dispensary Needs Insurance

Like any other business, your dispensary needs insurance. The marijuana business actually has a lot of unique risks that owners and operators should be aware of to help avoid any financial loss.

Here is a list of insurance considerations and why you should have them.

General Liability Insurance.

This is a must have insurance for all businesses. It’s often required if leasing business space for your new dispensary. The specific policy provisions vary but generally it provides protection up to 5 million dollars. Some of the protection it offers is:

Occupiers’ Liability. This protects your dispensary if or when an accident happens. For example, this coverage will cover medical bills if a customer gets hurt on your property during a fall or other incident.

Completed operations. This protects you in the event that a customer sues you for damages or harm that they say was the result of services you’ve provided. Completed operations insurance will often pay for litigation expenses such as damages, settlements or other claim related rewards.

Product Liability Insurance is another important coverage you need for your dispensary. This coverage is important because products that your dispensary sells can be dangerous to the people who use them. Here are some examples to consider when you’re thinking about getting this insurance.

Product Malfunctions.

Vaping pens and other smoking devices have been known to malfunction. Often due to defects, that have been put under pressure, under certain circumstances. One defect could lead to major injuries and if they bought the device from you, they may hold you responsible.

Over Consuming.

Edibles and concentrates are incredibly easy to inadvertently overconsume which can lead to a claim. Consumable marijuana is the main concern of most dispensaries. It is a newer product that can be easily misused or even abused. If a customer is harmed by one of these products (ie, having anxiety attacks or experiencing physical pain) they may decide to sue your business.

Product Poisoning.

No matter how many precautions you take, marijuana can still be dangerous. Refined and raw flower products all bring the risk of poisoning from pesticides or heavy metals. If one of your customers is harmed by your products then your liability insurance will cover legal and medical costs that are associated with the claim.  While this is sometimes included under the umbrella of general insurance, it can also be bought as a stand alone insurance.

Property Insurance.

This is one of the most common forms of coverage for any business. This insurance can protect items related to your operation such as computers, dispensary equipment, office furniture, damage to your building and theft.

The perils this insurance covers can vary, generally, it includes things like fire, explosions, acts of nature, riots and vandalism. For a dispensary, the most important coverage is for theft. The reason for that is that traditionally the dispensary business tends to rely more heavily on cash sales and that makes it more susceptible to theft.

Property coverage is an important insurance for all parts of the marijuana industry including, cultivators, wholesalers, retailers, harvesters, manufacturers and distributors. This coverage can be targeted to protect everything from plants and seeds to the finished stock that is ready for sales.

These were just a few of the very important types of insurance you should get for your dispensary. Of course, it’s important to shop around too and make sure you’re getting the very best coverage for your hard earned dollars.  

Cybersecurity Insurance FAQ

In the digital age, data is worth more than gold. News of a breach in security and the leaking of customers’ private and confidential information can bring down the value of stocks (just think of what happened to Facebook!). Companies can also lose valuable business information, while e-commerce companies will have to shut down websites and lose their profit until the security breach is resolved.

That’s why cybersecurity insurance (sometimes called data-breach liability insurance) has become so critical to businesses today. It’s one of the newest types of insurance coverage, so a lot of people struggle to understand what it does and the kind of protection it offers. This simple guide to cybersecurity insurance can help.

What Is Cybersecurity Insurance?

This insurance policy provides coverage for instances when companies lose data because of a security lapse, cyber attack, or a problem with the network. Since these problems can impact revenue, and cost money to resolve, cybersecurity insurance coverage can help mitigate the financial loss.  

How do I know my company needs Cybersecurity Insurance?

While big commerce companies like Amazon or corporate giants like Facebook or Citibank obviously have cybersecurity insurance, even small or medium-sized companies can benefit from it. In fact, studies show that 7 out of 10 cyber attacks are actually directed at smaller organizations, which don’t have very high-tech security systems or internal IT departments that can resolve the issue quickly.

Smaller companies are not only more vulnerable to attacks but are more likely to be financially affected. The cost of investigating and fixing a cyber issue, or shutting down business until it’s resolved, has a huge impact on businesses that already have modest revenue margins. Cybersecurity insurance is a much-needed safety net.

What are the kinds of Cybersecurity insurance?

Insurance companies usually offer a combination of first party and third party cybersecurity insurance. First party coverage includes any data or software that was damaged or has even become irretrievable and any revenues that may have been lost because of the cyber attack. Third party coverage addresses the impact on employees, customers, and public relations.  

However,  it is difficult to put a concrete monetary value on “loss of reputation, brand equity or business opportunity”. That’s why it’s often not included in cybersecurity insurance, or must be quantified with several insurance riders. Most providers will have a list of scenarios that will be covered, and leave out gray areas like stolen product designs. After all, who would be able to know how valuable a yet-to-be-executed idea or strategy is?   

How do I get cybersecurity insurance?  

Many large insurance companies already offer this, so just ask your existing provider about the available plans. However, include your corporate lawyer and the person in charge of your digital assets to join you in the meeting and identify what level of cybersecurity insurance you need.  

It’s also important to compare quotes from different insurance providers since the cost of cybersecurity insurance varies wildly. Since it’s a new type of coverage, there’s no typical industry rate, and even the kinds of protection they offer can be quite different. Shop around to find the policy that best suits the needs of your business.

All the things Homeowner’s Insurance Doesn’t Cover

You might be under the misconception that the insurance policy you took for your home will cover every single accident or mishap that comes your way. Keep on dreaming! The unfortunate truth is that no single homeowner insurance policy covers all of the mishaps and accidents that might occur at your home. Reading through the fine print for your insurance policy will confirm this. Remember, like snowflakes, no two insurance policies are exactly the same. There are subtle differences between insurance policies that will make a whole world of difference to what’s covered and what’s not.

So if you are looking to know whether your insurance will cover the damage caused by your cat when it had an emotional meltdown last week, read on. The worst thing that can happen to you is to get caught off guard when an uncovered home emergency takes place, and you don’t have the cash to get it fixed.

  1. Home renovation

Listen. If you are doing a major renovation to your house, most policies will require that you take out a separate, specific policy to cover the renovation, even though your builder might have an active risk policy.

This doesn’t apply if you are merely doing a few cosmetic upgrades to your house. But if you are looking to structurally alter portions of your home, a standard homeowner’s insurance policy will not cover the renovations. Getting a separate renovation policy for your home renovation project will also cover your liability in case people wander onto your property and get hurt.

  1. Prolonged and slow leaks

Insurance companies can deny you insurance coverage if they can prove that water damage occurred to your home because of a “slow and prolonged leakage”. Standard Homeowner insurance policies only cover water damage that occurs due to a “fast and sudden flow”.

To understand this better, an example might help. A contractor, while building a house managed to damage a pipe, that was running to a rarely used guest bathroom in the house. No one noticed the leak for a few years, and when it came time to let the house out to a tenant, the water damage had become significant and had spoilt the floorboards in the bedroom. The damage caused was in the thousands of dollars, but the claim was refused by the insurance companies. So, beware. Read the fine print!

  1. Earthquakes

Contrary to popular assumptions, damage caused to homes because of earthquakes are not covered under a standard homeowner’s insurance policy. If you reside near a known fault line that is extremely earthquake prone, then it would be wise for you to get a separate earthquake damage coverage policy that will cover any damage caused to your house and the things inside your house, in the event of an earthquake.

If you don’t have this policy and an earthquake strikes your town, destroying your house, you’ll have to pay for all of the repairs from your own pocket, which is not a great thing to have to deal with, especially in such a tragic event.

The Consequences of Not Properly Classifying Your Employees: The Differences Between 1099 and W-2 Classifications

There’s no denying the fact that some companies classify their employees incorrectly, often by listing them as freelance workers rather than regular full-time employees (meaning that they receive a 1099 rather than the W-2 form that most people are accustomed to receiving).

There are quite a few consequences to misclassifying employees, and some of them can be quite serious (both for you and your employees) so in order to better help you understand the ramifications of classifying your employees we’re going to discuss the differences between these two classifications and then go over some of the consequences for improper classifications.

Regular Employees versus Independent Contractors: What’s the difference?

Most improper classifications occur when ordinary employees (who work either full-time or part-time for a company) are classified as independent contractors rather than regular employees.

The primary difference between these two classifications comes down to payroll taxes. When you’re an ordinary employee, your payroll taxes are calculated and deducted automatically out of your regular paycheck (and this amount will later be shown on the W-2 you receive from your employer). When you’re an independent contractor, however, you receive a 1099 and are responsible for calculating your own payroll taxes and then keeping your state government apprised as to the specific amount.

In regards to determining who is an employee and who is an independent contractor, the primary question to ask is “who is this person working for?”.

If they are employed directly by your company (for example, if they report directly to someone for assignments, have a set schedule, tools for the work are provided by the company, and so on), then they are probably an employee. Alternatively, if they are someone the company has hired from the outside, such as a freelancer (who has other clients, works according to their own timetable and using their own methods, could turn down assignments or walk away entirely if they felt like it, and has no real boss other than themselves) then they are likely an independent contractor.

In any case, employee misclassification occurs when regular employees are classified are independent contractors or vice versa.

This is sometimes done accidentally, but also sometimes deliberately (generally in an attempt to save money on the company’s part but also for certain tax reasons). Either way, there can be serious consequences for both employee and employer when workers are not properly classified; we have some of these potential consequences listed up next.

Consequences of Not Classifying Employees Properly

There are quite a few serious consequences that can come from misclassifying employees, regardless of whether it happens accidentally or is done deliberately. Some of these potential consequences are as follows:

Your employee has not been paid correctly. Often, an employee who has been incorrectly classified does not receive the pay that they are due (a lack of compensation for overtime, in particular, is a common problem).

Taxes have not been reported correctly. When an employee is misclassified, it causes problems for the employee’s taxes (as well as for your company’s taxes where that employee is concerned).

Appropriate benefits have not been given to the employee. If an employee is misclassified as a contractor, they might miss out on retirement and health insurance benefits that they are entitled to. They might also end up exempt from OSHA safety measures that they should be protected by.

You will have to pay fee and fines for incorrect classifications. The government has very steep fines when it comes to incorrect employee classifications. In fact, according to various sources (including the IRS), an employer can end up paying over forty percent of a worker’s wages in the form of back taxes if they are misclassified. Furthermore, if this improper classification was done deliberately, the company may even face criminal charges.

Ultimately, it’s far preferable to take the time to classify your employees correctly from the start; this will save both your and the employee in question a lot of time and stress.   

Saving money is a vital concern for nearly everyone in these difficult times. Because of this, it is important that you find the best possible rate for your auto and homeowners insurance policy. Luckily, it is much easier to find a great rate for insurance now than ever before. Give Enloe & Associates Insurance Agency a call today (405-261-1010).

Comprehensive Coverage v Collision Coverage

When you are choosing auto insurance, it is important for you to learn about the different insurance options that you have available to you. One of the most confusing things about these options are deciding between comprehensive coverage and collision coverage. This will take a closer look at these two auto insurance options so that you can determine which one is the best fit for you.

Comprehensive Coverage

Comprehensive insurance covers your car when it doesn’t collide with an object or another vehicle. What this means is that comprehensive coverage protects you if your car was damaged due to natural disaster, vandalism, theft, or a fire. These are just a few of the cases where comprehensive coverage protects you.

Collision Coverage

Collision insurance covers drivers if they hit another car, object, or if you drive over an obstacle like a pothole and damage your car. It is important to know that this doesn’t cover the damage to the other person’s car, just yours. Liability insurance will cover those costs.

Similarities

There are a few similarities between both of these types of insurance. Both types will cover damage that occurs to your own vehicle, with the coverage limit being the cash value of your car. When you do file a claim, there is a deductible that you need to pay. You can choose a higher or lower deductible, which will impact your monthly costs but you should be aware that the lower the monthly payment the more you are likely to pay out if you need to file a claim. Sometimes these can both be packaged together in an insurance plan, but you could also buy them separately.

Differences

The biggest difference between these two types of insurance is the type of damage that they cover. Collision coverage only applies if you collide with an object or another car. Comprehensive insurance coverage anything that can be deemed outside of the control of the driver. Collision insurance is also often more expensive than comprehensive.

How to Decide

State laws may not say that you must have either of these types of insurance, but if you finance your car you will likely be required to have either or both types of insurance. Which one do you choose? Or should you have both? There are some things to consider that will help answer this. If your car is new or higher in value, it can be an excellent idea to have both. This may be expensive, but you will ultimately save money in the long run if something happens and you need to repair or replace your car. Think about where you live. Is there a high chance of threats like theft or weather disasters destroying your car? If so, comprehensive coverage is a must. How much do you drive your car? Do you frequently commute long distances? These are all questions that will help you answer which type of insurance is the best choice for you.

The safest thing that you can do is to choose both types of coverage for your car, however this may not always be the affordable option for drivers. Consider these differences to decide which option is the best for you.