Risk Considerations for the Professional Home Handyman: Insuring Your Tools, Equipment & Supplies

There may have been a time when the home handyman’s tool chest contained no more than a hammer, screwdriver (maybe two), a few random nails and screws, pliers and duct tape. But those days have passed. To stay competitive, today’s handyman must offer services that go beyond those of previous generations, and the tools, equipment and supplies needed for these services — which may include landscaping, washing, electrical/plumbing work or even a full-room remodel — can be specialized.

As the type of work (and the stuff needed to perform it) continues to evolve, one principle remains unchanged: Without access to functional tools, equipment and supplies, you won’t get the job done, and if you don’t get the job done, you don’t get paid. Here are questions to think about:

1) Have you considered the effect a loss to your tools, equipment and/or supplies would have on your income? For example, would delays in completion adversely affect how much you get paid for the job? What costs would you incur — such as renting replacement equipment — to avoid a delay?

2) What would it cost to replace everything you need? For example, if someone steals your circular saw and drill from your garage, the financial consequences may not be severe. However, a single vehicle accident could easily destroy your power tools, ladder, pressure washer, lawn equipment and  anything else you may need to fulfill your obligations to your customers.

If such a loss does occur, could the blow to your bottom line be lessened by purchasing insurance?

Is Your Loss Insurable?

Some reasons why a tool becomes unusable — such as wear and tear, rust or obsolescence — are not insurable. Preventative loss measures such as proper storage and maintenance can prolong the use of such items and help to prevent a loss from effecting your bottom line.

Other reasons for loss — such as theft, fire, or vehicle accident — may be insurable, and possessing adequate insurance will help to lessen the effect on your bottom line.

What Insurance Do You Need?

The answer to this important question begins with a call to your Trusted Choice® Independent Insurance Agent. Your agent will help you identify what insurance products are available to help you avoid the potentially high-cost of replacing your damaged tools, equipment or supplies out-of-pocket. For example, your agent can help you with the following questions:

I already have personal insurance, and my business is small. Do I really need business insurance for my stuff?

It’s true that some homeowners and renters insurance policies offer limited coverage for business property when damaged or stolen. However, such limitations can be severe, and relying on a personal insurance policy to sufficiently cover business-related losses is dangerous.

Can insurance for my business property be added to my personal insurance?

Depending on the insurance company, it may be possible to add some coverage for your business property to your homeowners or renters insurance policy. However, your Trusted Choice® Independent Insurance Agent will likely recommend that you secure a separate insurance policy for your business property that may also include other essential insurance coverage like business liability.

Will my insurance automatically cover items I’ve recently purchased?

Depending on the insurance policy, there may be enough coverage already included to cover damage to newly acquired tools, equipment and supplies without needing to make specific changes to your policy. However, other types of insurance may not automatically include coverage for non-specified items. To be safe, notify your Trusted Choice® Independent Insurance Agent when you make a new purchase.

What should I do if I suffer a loss?

You’ve done everything possible to avoid a loss, but sometimes, bad things still happen. Perhaps a wind or hailstorm damaged the garage where your business property is stored, or perhaps someone broke into your trailer and stole your equipment. To expedite getting your claim paid, be prepared to provide your insurance company with as much information as possible as soon as possible. For example, don’t wait for a loss to occur to take inventory, which includes pictures, video, receipts, serial numbers and any other information that can help establish a value for your stuff. Should a loss occur, collect as much information about the cause — such as photo or video evidence of building damage or trailer break-in — and call your Trusted Choice® Independent Insurance Agent for assistance.

Insure & Be Confident

Every successful handyman takes pride in being able to perform a variety of tasks at a high level of professionalism. But when it comes to insurance, only a Trusted Choice® Independent Insurance Agent can deliver the service you expect. Call West Town Insurance Agency today at 252-368-4017!

Source: TrustedChoice.com

Home Based Businesses

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Own a Home-Based Business? Think ‘Presidentially’ When Considering Risks
No, we are not implying you fancy yourself the next Washington or Lincoln. But are you the proud owner or founder of one of the estimated 59% of established businesses in the United States that operate from a home? Then, even if your face doesn’t appear on Mount Rushmore, for your business you are still the top dog, head cheese, or grand high poobah. So welcome to your month, Ms. or Mr. President!

But just as you realize that there are similarities to all businesses, wherever located, you also know there are often concerns, considerations and risks unique to a home-based environment. And as your Trusted Choice® independent insurance agents, we want to remind you that designing proper protection encompassing both those common and unique risks requires ongoing communication and review of your current insurance and risk management programs.

Yet studies show that of the 11 million-plus home-based businesses, nearly 60% do not have insurance specifically recognizing and providing coverage for these unique risks. When asked about the reasons for this lack of additional insurance, business owners responded:

• They thought they were already properly covered by their personal insurance: 40%.
• They thought their business was too small to insure: 30%.
• They could give no specific reason: 20%.

The first assumption is demonstrably false. Standard homeowners policies are designed for personal exposures, not business. While there may be small areas or limits of coverage available for certain types of home-based businesses, the vast majority will find coverage severely limited or specifically excluded for business losses related to such common risks as theft, vehicle usage, employee injuries, or life/health/disability. The largest potential gap in proper coverage arises from the lack of liability protection for claims arising out of business activities, whether the claim occurs in the home or elsewhere.

The second assumption above is also wrong, and the third response, at a minimum, shows a dangerous lack of knowledge.

Starting a home-based business may be the first step on your road to successful
entrepreneurship. Whether your business ultimately remains in your home or grows into the need for outside facilities or a relocation, as your Trusted Choice® independent agents, we stand ready to be your ongoing valued partner. Schedule a time today to review your current or future business plans, and let us help you establish a comprehensive insurance and risk management program to protect what we both hope will be your most valuable growing asset.

You’re Not Home Alone in Business

The stereotype of a home-based business being about networking, consulting or holding sales parties has long been out-of-date. Today, the term can encompass everything from a one-person operation turning a hobby into an income to a major enterprise with dozens of employees. Here are a few facts from recent studies:

• Most home-based businesses — 67% — fall outside the traditional categories such as
freelancing, independent contracting, consulting and virtual assistance.
• Of all new businesses, 69% are started in a home.
• Three and a half years later, 59% of those new businesses are still operating from a
• Home-based businesses that have employees: 75%.
• Women-owned businesses: 72% operate from home.
• Founders come from all age groups. Those planning to start a business include:
▪ 30.5% of young entrepreneurs.
▪ 25% of retirees.

Give one of our agents at West Town Insurance Agency a call at 252-368-4017 to see if you and your home based business are properly insured.

Trusted Choice®

Is your business protected?

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You have decided to make your dreams come alive by opening or expanding your small business. It’s an exciting time, but you should also be thinking about the disasters that can affect you as a business owner.

Each business faces unique risks. Working with a Trusted Choice® independent insurance agent like West Town Insurance Agency can provide your business with not only the protection it needs, but also the level of confidence every business owner should have in a worst-case scenario. Here are some of the most common issues business owners face when it comes to protecting their businesses.

Property Damage

You have found the ideal location for your new business. Now what? Talk to your insurance agent about your intentions before investing, and ask an inspector to examine electrical, structural and exterior elements of your new building. Beyond this, your insurance policy will reflect protections against damage from fire, storms and other accidents. If you are concerned about any other additional liabilities, don’t be shy—speak up and talk to your agent about your concerns.


If you sell products or offer professional services, you may be aware of product or malpractice liability when it comes to insurance. While most business owners would not purposely sabotage their business or reputation, mistakes happen—and it’s always better to be safe than sorry. Most small business owners have to rely on other people in order for their businesses to fully operate, and your Trusted Choice independent agent can help to protect you from third-party fault as well.

Fraud and Cyber Crime

It is more common now than ever to do business over the Internet. Email, e-commerce and electronic databases are integral pieces of most business practices. That’s why it’s important to evaluate your business risk factors and make sure you have adequate coverage should anything happen. You may be careful and trustworthy with your customer’s personal information, but in some cases, employees, contractors and your customers themselves may not be as cautious.

Sharing is Caring

Your Trusted Choice agent will ask you questions like “How do you serve your customers?” and “Tell me about the security of your data and intellectual property.” Don’t be alarmed—it’s an insurance agent’s job to get into your “business.” In order to offer you the best insurance policy, your agent needs to know the inner workings of your work. When evaluating your insurance needs, you may forget to think about certain exposures—or you might not even know they exist to begin with! Or maybe you assume certain liabilities are covered under a standard policy—your agent can confirm whether or not that’s true. To end up with the best policy possible, invite your agent to your business location or to come see you in action. Let your agent take care of the heavy insurance lifting so you can focus on serving your own customers.

Contact one of our experienced agents at West Town Insurance Agency at 252-368-4017 to start the process of finding comprehensive coverage for your business.

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