Category Archives: Business Insurance

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Using your personal vehicle for business?

Not all auto insurance is the same. A personal auto insurance policy generally won’t cover damage to your car if you’re using it for business purposes.

Even if your personal policy has “business-use” coverage, you may find yourself at a loss when an accident happens, especially if your liability limits are not high enough to cover the damage. Make sure you’re protected.

Call your insurance company or independent agent and ask these questions:

  • How do you define “commercial use?” Some insurers may simply define it as transporting goods for compensation or a fee. That could include services like:
    • pizza and newspaper delivery;
    • catering;
    • door-to-door consulting services;
    • landscaping or snowplowing services; or
    • day care/church van services.

Even real estate agents may qualify. Fall in to one of these categories? Consider a commercial vehicle policy.

Here are some questions to ask to determine if commercial auto insurance is right for you.

  • What are my liability limits? In general,a commercial auto policy can offer higher liability limits. Larger vehicles, like delivery vans, can cause more damage than passenger cars.
  • Does my personal policy cover me for issues specific to my business? For example, if you have a trailer that damages another vehicle while on a job, a personal liability policy may not cover the repairs. A commercial policy will.
  • Do I have employees who drive my vehicles? In general, if other people drive your vehicles for work, you need a commercial auto policy.

You also a need commercial auto policy if your vehicle hauls tools or equipment weighing more than 500 pounds, makes deliveries, or requires filings for interstate for for-hire trucking businesses.

We can help you better understand business needs and put together a package that meets your needs.  Call Us!

Truck Insurance Myths Debunked

By Mike Miller, product marketing director, Progressive

Your truck is the backbone that keeps your business up and running. But when it comes to insuring your truck, it can be difficult to distinguish insurance facts from myths. And buying insurance without knowing the facts might cost you big bucks in damages or downtime.

We’ve compiled a number of truck insurance myths and facts. Use them to make sure you have the right insurance coverages for your truck.

Myth: If you’re on a motor carrier policy, you’re covered.

Fact: Motor carrier policies often provide only liability coverage to owner-operator vehicles on lease, so you need to have your own physical damage coverage.  Plus, the motor carrier policy only covers you when you’re driving for work or are under dispatch. So if you have a claim when you’re on a non-business or personal errand, it likely won’t be covered. A non-trucking liability and physical damage policy can protect you and your truck.

Myth: You should have a separate cargo insurance policy.

Fact: Consider adding your cargo insurance as an endorsement on your vehicle policy instead of carrying cargo coverage with a different carrier. If you’re in an accident that damages both your truck and cargo, you won’t need to waste time waiting dealing with two separate companies for your claims. Plus, a cargo endorsement can be less expensive than carrying a separate policy, and one policy means paying just one bill instead of two.

Myth: Downtime following a truck accident is annoying, but won’t significantly affect your bottom line.

Fact: If your truck is out of commission for 30 days, your business could only have a 50 percent chance of survival. Make sure that your insurance company will provide a rental vehicle or downtime payments to help you get back on the road quickly following a claim.

Myth: It’s cheaper to cancel your insurance for stored vehicles 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 businesses that don’t need liability coverage during certain months, but want basic protection against incidents like vandalism, fire, theft, falling tree branches, and hail. This is ideal for vehicles that sit for long periods during the off-season.

Plus, a Comprehensive-only policy provides continuous insurance. If you drop your insurance completely, you may pay significantly more to get a new policy when your peak season rolls around because most insurance companies want to see proof of continuous coverage prior to offering their best rate.

Myth: All commercial insurance companies provide help with state and federal filings.

Fact: Some insurers won’t cover vehicles that require filings, while others simply don’t have the capability to help you get the filings your business needs. Progressive can leverage its truck insurance expertise to provide its customers with filings assistance.

 

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, obtaining a Certificate of Insurance, and paying bills inconvenient. Before you buy, check with your insurance company to make sure they’re available when you need them.

Wonder if one of your perceptions about truck insurance is myth or fact? Talk to a local independent agent. He or she can answer those questions and help you determine which coverages are right for you.

Mike Miller is a product marketing director for Progressive.  Progressive, in business since 1937, is a market leader in commercial auto insurance and the #1 truck insurer in the U.S. 

Seven tips to keep truckers safe and protected during the winter season

A carpet of fresh snow can be heartwarming when viewed from indoors in front of a roaring fireplace. But for a trucker, that beautiful landscape can mean treacherous roadways.

To prepare for brutal winter weather, here are a few tips from Bill Kampf, Progressive Commercial Auto general manager, to help protect against harm to you or your truck this season:

1.  Pull together a winter survival kit for yourself… – Make sure your truck is fully stocked with everything you might need so a stall-out or breakdown doesn’t leave you stranded.  Key items to include: a shovel, battery booster cables, ice scraper/snow brush, flashlight with extra batteries, and a space blanket to help prevent heat loss from a person’s body.  Additional items might include extra pairs of dry socks and gloves, energy bars or other non-perishable food, bottled water and spare fully-charged cell phone batteries.

2.  …AND your truck – Before the cold weather hits, equip your truck with new winter windshield wiper blades as well as winterized washer fluid and fuel. Also make sure that your tires, headlights, cooling system and battery are all in good shape. With all of these precautions, both you and your vehicle will be ready for any snow, hail, black ice or below freezing temperature that you might face out on the open road.

3. Slow down – Give yourself more time to react if something occurs in the road ahead. Compensate for poor traction by driving slower and making all changes slowly and gently.

4. Give yourself extra space in front and behind – To stay out of harm’s way in a sudden emergency, increase the distance between you and other vehicles and avoid driving in packs. Normal following distances should be increased to 8-10 seconds when driving on icy, slippery surfaces.

Look further ahead in traffic than normal to get a split-second extra to react safely. Awareness of other drivers can go a long way this time of year.

5.  Keep an eye on the temperature – Be alert to potentially dangerous road conditions. Touch the front of your outside mirror to see if ice is forming. If it’s forming on your mirrors, it’s forming on the road too. Be especially cautious when crossing bridges and overpasses where ice often forms first.

6. Check your favorite station – Listen to the weather forecast before you leave town. If travel seems hazardous, postpone your run.

7.  Be ready for the unexpected – No matter how cautious you are, you still need a safety net on the road. Specialized insurance coverages and services designed specifically for truck owners and operators are offered by commercial insurers like Progressive.

Check with your insurance company to see what they offer.  Make sure your policy has tailored solutions that meet the unique needs of you and your business, including:

  • Cargo Coverage to protect against damage or loss due to theft, fire, collision and hitting or running over cargo. Progressive’s Cargo Coverage includes no co-insurance penalty, no exclusion of coverage if a vehicle is left unattended, and no reduction in coverage limits for items such as electronic equipment.
  • Roadside Assistance that provides 24/7 towing, battery jump-starts, tire changes, emergency fuel delivery, locksmith service and on-scene labor.
  • Rental Reimbursement to pay for a replacement vehicle following a covered claim.

Bottom line: make sure you and your vehicle are safe and covered, even during the coldest and most treacherous winter months.

Progressive, in business since 1937, is a market leader in commercial auto insurance.

Shedding Light On Car Insurance Savings

It can be easier than you think to put the brakes on high auto insurance rates – as an independent agency, can help! We can review your policy and possibly help you find a variety of illuminating ways to save money. Here are some things you may want to consider:

• Ask us to check several companies’ rates. This is the single most important thing you can do to get the best possible rate—and we can do it for you quickly and easily. The difference between the highest and lowest rate available to you from different companies could vary by hundreds of dollars.

• Reduce or drop physical damage coverage on an older car. Depending on your car’s age and where you live, comprehensive and collision coverage may not be worth keeping. We can give you advice on whether it makes sense to reduce or drop this coverage altogether.

• Raise your deductible. According to the Insurance Information Institute, raising your deductible from $200 to $500 could reduce your collision and comprehensive cost by 15 to 30 percent. In addition, because the average driver files a collision claim only once every ten years, odds are that over the lifetime of your car, a higher deductible will save you money. We can show you how raising your deductible will lower your premium.

• Look for discounts. Many insurance companies reduce premiums for certain driver traits or car features. For example: being a homeowner for more than three years, nonsmoker, nondrinker, students with good grades, senior citizens who have taken an approved defensive driving course, people who only drive for pleasure, cars kept in garages, antilock brakes, antitheft devices, air bags, etc. Ask us to check.

• Don’t assume having your car and home insured by the same company is the best option. Because auto insurance rates vary so much from company to company, it may make sense for you to have your car and home insured by separate companies. Let’s talk about it.

To learn more about all an independent agency can offer you, call Lockridge Agency.

Posted in Auto, Car, Insurance | Leave a comment
Time is money: Save both
Saving 5 cents a gallon on gas is great. But, if you have to drive 20 minutes to get to the station, is it really a savings? If a deal costs you valuable time, it’s not a deal at all. The same holds true with auto insurance.

Bargain-basement policies can gobble up your time if you have to file a claim. You can spend up to four days calling repair shops, getting estimates and arranging for a rental car.

Remember, insurance isn’t just about price. It’s about service, too. The concierge level of claims service offered by Progressive can cut the claims/repair process from four days to only 15 minutes.

“You may think the most stressful part of being involved in an accident is the crash itself. But, that’s just the beginning,” said Craig Moore with Progressive. “We’ve come up with an easy, time-saving way to manage repairs.”

Simply drop off the damaged vehicle at a service center and a claims representative handles the entire claims/repair process for you. Repairs are guaranteed for as long as you own or lease your vehicle.

Here’s how the concierge level of claims service works:

• Report the claim. Call or go online to report the claim. A claims rep will schedule a time to bring your vehicle to the service center.

• Drop off and go. In about 15 minutes, you can be on your way in a rental car. Your rep prepares an estimate and then contacts a repair shop. When the work is finished, the vehicle is returned to the service center.

• Pick up your vehicle. You’re contacted when the vehicle is ready. You inspect the repairs and leave with a written guarantee on the work.

Think about all aspects of insurance before you buy, especially the time you’ll spend if you have a claim.

Posted in Business Insurance, Insurance | Leave a comment
Seven Shopping Strategies For New Car Buyers
New car shopping can be a lot of fun, especially if you’re a car enthusiast. But others can find the experience stressful and tedious. Either way, there’s a lot to think about. According to a survey of car shoppers, overall purchase price is the most important factor when shopping for a new car (46 percent), followed by make and model (31 percent).

Safety and performance come in a distant third, tied at seven percent. But whether you’re turned on or turned off by the dizzying array of car choices, trim options, “expert” reviews, incentives and other deals, it definitely pays to approach car buying strategically.

So if you’re in the market for a new vehicle and you find yourself having trouble keeping a clear head, just keep these strategies, courtesy of Lockridge Agency, in mind:

1. Decide how much money you can spend and what type of vehicle best suits your needs. Just looking for the basic transport capability of a small or medium sedan? Or do you need the hauling capacity of a van or SUV? Something practical? Something sporty? Something in between?

2. Research crash tests and accident data available from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

3. Shop around for financing. If you can, apply for and get approval for a loan from a bank, credit union or other financier before you even visit the dealership. Being a “cash buyer” gives you an advantage when you do finally meet with the dealership’s financing person.

4. Test drive the car. Try to drive in conditions that will be similar to those under which you’ll drive every day.

5. Check pricing for your desired make and model at two or three dealerships and use that information to help you negotiate the best deal.

6. Get a firm quote, in writing. This should include not only the cost of the car, but any fees and the sales tax.

7. Inspect your new car carefully before driving off the lot. Make sure all the options you’ve ordered are included and that the body and paint are free of scratches or dents.

Finally, it’s important to consider the cost of auto insurance, although it seems that few people realize that what they pay for insurance can add significantly to the vehicle’s total cost.

Wise car buyers know to shop around for insurance and find out how costs compare. They also know to visit an independent insurance agency – like Lockridge Agency. We can check with several companies to find the best combination of coverage and price.

Time is money: Save both

Saving 5 cents a gallon on gas is great. But, if you have to drive 20 minutes to get to the station, is it really a savings? If a deal costs you valuable time, it’s not a deal at all. The same holds true with auto insurance.

Bargain-basement policies can gobble up your time if you have to file a claim. You can spend up to four days calling repair shops, getting estimates and arranging for a rental car.

Remember, insurance isn’t just about price. It’s about service, too. The concierge level of claims service offered by Progressive can cut the claims/repair process from four days to only 15 minutes.

“You may think the most stressful part of being involved in an accident is the crash itself. But, that’s just the beginning,” said Craig Moore with Progressive. “We’ve come up with an easy, time-saving way to manage repairs.”

Simply drop off the damaged vehicle at a service center and a claims representative handles the entire claims/repair process for you. Repairs are guaranteed for as long as you own or lease your vehicle.

Here’s how the concierge level of claims service works:

Report the claim. Call or go online to report the claim. A claims rep will schedule a time to bring your vehicle to the service center.

Drop off and go. In about 15 minutes, you can be on your way in a rental car. Your rep prepares an estimate and then contacts a repair shop. When the work is finished, the vehicle is returned to the service center.

Pick up your vehicle. You’re contacted when the vehicle is ready. You inspect the repairs and leave with a written guarantee on the work.

Think about all aspects of insurance before you buy, especially the time you’ll spend if you have a claim.

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