Seven Commercial Vehicle Insurance Myths Debunked

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By Ryan Furmick, business auto product manager, Progressive Commercial

Your vehicles are the backbone that keeps your business up and running. But when it comes to the insurance for those vehicles, there may be some misconceptions floating around out there. For example, you might have been told that it’s okay to cancel your vehicle insurance in the off-season, or that all of your drivers are automatically covered by your policy.

To help you get to the facts about commercial auto insurance, we’ve collected some of the more widely-held misconceptions and uncovered the truth about them–along with some tips on how to make sure you have the right coverages for your business.

Myth: It’s cheaper to cancel your insurance if you have a seasonal business.

Fact: Not necessarily. If you cancel your insurance policy, your stored vehicles won’t be protected. A Comprehensive-only policy provides coverage for a business that doesn’t need liability coverage during certain months, but needs basic protection against incidents, such as vandalism, theft, falling tree branches, hail, etc. This is ideal for vehicles that sit for long periods during off-season.

Plus, a Comprehensive-only policy provides continuous insurance which may save you money in the long-run. If you drop your insurance completely, you may pay significantly more to purchase a new policy when your peak season rolls around because most insurance companies ask for proof of continuous coverage to get you the best rate.

Myth: All commercial vehicle insurance companies use their own claims adjusters.

Fact: Most companies use part-time or contract adjusters to handle commercial vehicle claims, which can slow down the time it takes to get your vehicle back on the road and in business. Progressive handles 100 percent of its commercial vehicle insurance claims with its own staff of in-house commercial insurance experts, making sure claims are processed faster than other insurers that outsource this work.

Myth:  You must pay your insurance premium in full up-front.

Fact:  This isn’t always the case.  Some insurance companies offer payment plans that allow your insurance premium to be paid in installments, with very little initial payment.  Keep in mind that you might qualify for a discount if you pay your policy premium in full up-front; however, your carrier or agent may also have other bill plan options available to help you manage your cash flow. Progressive, for example, offers several bill plans, including low initial payments and no interest financing

Myth:  Your employees are covered when they drive your business vehicles.

Fact: Some vehicle insurance companies will only extend coverage to drivers who are specifically named on the policy.  Make sure your insurer allows “permissive use,” which means that all of your drivers are covered as long as they have your permission to operate the vehicle.

Myth: It’s cheaper to buy all of your business insurance products from the same company.

Fact: You need a wide range of coverages to protect your business, from commercial vehicle insurance and general liability to workers’ compensation. While it might be easier to buy all of these products from the same company, you could save big bucks by buying your policies from separate providers. Shop around to find the best deal, or ask one of our agents for quotes from several different companies.

Myth: All insurance companies offer 24/7 service.

Fact: Many insurance companies are only available during regular office hours, which can make filing a claim, adding a vehicle to your policy, and paying bills inconvenient. Before you buy, check with your insurance company to make sure they’re available when you need them.

Myth or Fact

Wonder if one of your perceptions about vehicle insurance is myth or fact? Talk to one of our experienced agents at West Town Insurance Agency.  We can provide answers and help you determine which coverages are right for your business.

 

Ryan Furmick is a business auto product manager for Progressive Commercial.  Progressive, in business since 1937, is a market leader in commercial auto insurance.  For more information on Progressive’s coverages or to find a local independent agent, go to http://www.progressivecommercial.com.

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Flood Insurance: How it works

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The National Flood Insurance Program

Historically, flooding has brought damage and destruction to communities across the United States. In order to help alleviate the financial devastation caused by flooding, Congress created the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) in 1968. The NFIP, overseen by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), enables homeowners, business owners, and renters in participating communities to purchase federally backed flood insurance. This insurance is designed to provide an alternative to disaster assistance to meet the escalating costs of repairing flood damage to buildings and their contents. You can get flood insurance:
• If you live or own a business in a high-risk area (or Special Flood Hazard Area, known
as an SFHA).
• If you live or own a business in a moderate to low-risk area—and possibly at a lower
cost.
• If your home or business has been flooded before.
• If your mortgage company doesn’t require it.

Flood Insurance Basics

All properties are at some risk for flooding. The NFIP is dedicated to making property owners and renters aware of the need for flood insurance—not only among those who live and work in high-risk areas, but those in moderate- to low-risk areas, too. Properties
located outside of the mapped high-risk areas are not exempt from flooding. Their risk, while reduced, is not removed.

Consumers need to know that most homeowners policies do not cover flooding. Only a flood insurance policy will financially protect you from flood damage costs. Flood insurance is available to homeowners, business owners, and renters for both a building and its contents.

Homeowners can insure a home for up to $250,000 and its contents for up to $100,000. Renters can cover their belongings for up to $100,000. Non-residential property owners can insure a building and its contents for up to $500,000 each. The average premium for a
yearly flood insurance policy is about $700 per year.

Flood Insurance Requirements

Residents and business owners who live or work in an SFHA are required to purchase flood insurance if they have acquired a loan from a federally regulated and insured lender, and they must carry the insurance for the life of the loan. Those outside of mapped SFHAs can also purchase flood insurance, and they may be eligible for a lower-cost policy (called a Preferred Risk Policy). The NFIP encourages all residents to learn about their flood risk and to protect themselves with flood insurance.

How to Purchase Flood Insurance

Flood insurance is sold and serviced by insurance agents in more than 22,000 communities nationwide. To purchase a policy, call us at 252-368-4017.

Waiting Period

• There typically is a 30-day waiting period when purchasing a new policy. There are exceptions to the waiting period.  Talk to your agent to see if any of those exceptions apply to your situation.

What’s Insured under Building Property Coverage*

• The insured building and its foundation
• The electrical and plumbing systems
• Central air-conditioning equipment, furnaces, and water heaters
• Refrigerators, cooking stoves, and built-in appliances such as dishwashers
• Permanently installed carpeting over an unfinished floor
• Permanently installed paneling, wallboard, bookcases, and cabinets
• Window blinds
• Detached garages (up to 10 percent of building property coverage); detached buildings (other than garages) require a
separate building property policy
• Debris removal

What’s Insured under Personal Property (Contents Coverage)*

• Personal belongings such as clothing, furniture, and electronic equipment
• Curtains
• Portable and window air-conditioners
• Portable microwave ovens and portable dishwashers
• Carpets not included in building property coverage (see above)
• Clothes washers and dryers (even in a basement)
• Food freezers and the food in them (even in a basement)
• Certain valuable items, such as original artwork and furs (up to $2,500)

What’s Not Insured Either by Building Property or Personal Property Coverage*

• Damage caused by moisture, mildew, or mold that could have been avoided by the property owner
• Currency, precious metals, and valuable papers such as stock certificates
• Property and belongings outside of a building, such as trees, plants, wells, septic systems, walks, decks, patios, fences,
seawalls, hot tubs, and swimming pools
• Living expenses such as temporary housing
• Financial losses caused by business interruption or loss of use of insured property
• Most self-propelled vehicles such as cars, including their parts (see Section IV.5 in your policy)

* This is a partial list of coverage. Refer to the Standard Flood Insurance Policy (SFIP) for a description and full list of coverage and exclusions.

 

*Source: National Flood Insurance Program – March 2015  www.FloodSmart.gov

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