By Jeff Zander, CEO of Zander Insurance
September is recognized as National Preparedness Month by FEMA and the Department of Homeland Security. It’s a time to ensure plans and processes are in place for emergencies and natural disasters. Being prepared goes beyond changing the batteries in your fire alarm or reviewing what to do in a tornado or flood. It’s also about careful consideration of your insurance policies and putting your mind at ease against worst-case scenarios.
Preparing Your Home
When we think about being prepared, one of the easiest ways we can do this is by obtaining a home insurance policy. Home insurance will cover a variety of potential disasters, including fire or lightning damage, tornado damage, busted pipe damage, damage from a tree falling and more.
There can be some confusion about when it’s necessary to have a specific “niche” insurance, such as flood insurance or insurance for higher value personal property items. The best way to determine your needs is by working with a reputable insurance agent or agency that is not only price conscious but also coverage conscious. Come prepared with questions and be willing to disclose items of a unique or higher value that may need protection.
Overall, home insurance policies cover a lot, but there are some essential coverages to consider when shopping for a policy.
• Adding Guaranteed or Extended Replacement Cost coverage ensures that the full cost of repairs are covered if something happens to your home.
• Know your deductibles for all peril. Some companies increase them for wind/hail damage. It’s also important to review for changes every renewal.
• If you have any detached structures to the home, make sure the Other Structures limit is adequate.
• Check on the Roof Replacement Cost Coverage. Some companies no longer offer this anymore and may only pay actual cash value.
Preparing Your Business
When it comes to evaluating your business insurance protections, it’s important to prepare against not only a natural disaster but also a company-related crisis such as a breach or identity theft.
As winter is approaching in a few months, now is the time to start preparing by contracting with a company for ice removal on your commercial property; ensuring you have contacts for emergency repairs; having a plan to notify employees in case of an emergency; and more.
When it comes to shopping for or reevaluating your business insurance policy, it’s important to choose an independent agent/agency with proven experience in the industry who will shop your coverage with multiple carriers. Make sure the agent/agency will have the capability to provide the level of service you expect and will review your plan with you annually. They should understand the inherent exposures of your business.
Insurance needs for small businesses vary by the industry in which they operate, but General Liability is the most important since it protects the business owner against costs related to injury and property damage—liabilities that arise through the conduct of your business operations.
Property coverage and Workers Compensation would be two other types of coverage worth strong consideration.?Property coverage protects the business for the property that they own and could include not only contents of an office but also the equipment and vehicles used off premise while working at a client location or other facilities.
Finally, most people don’t know that ID theft is the fastest growing crime in the nation, and few business owners realize how crucial it is to protect their business’ identity in addition to their customer data. 60% of small and mid-size businesses that are hacked go out of business within 6 months. Make sure your response strategy includes protections for those clients affected by your breach; this is your only chance to preserve that individual or company as a client. A few points to keep in mind for Cyber Insurance and Breach Readiness:
• Per your state law, breach notifications must be sent to customers.
• Implement a response plan with the help of your insurance carrier and/or IT resources.
• Make sure your cyber protection policy provides monitoring services and includes the cost to retain public relations consulting and restoration of reputation.
• Remember, your business is as much a target of ID theft as your clients’ information so make sure to protect both.
I’ve only briefly touched on several ways to do a check-up on your preparedness. When in doubt, consider taking inventory of your home or business. One easy way to do this is to take a video of each room in your home or business. This will help you determine items that may be damaged or lost if disaster strikes.
Another great resource is Ready.gov, where you can download the Ready 2019 National Seasonal Preparedness Messaging Calendar. There are several toolkits available to assist with different types of safety and preparedness actions you can take.
At the end of the day, find an insurance agency/agent that you trust. To learn more about all of the different ways to be prepared, visit https://www.zanderins.com.