It seems like everywhere we go we have a chance to hear the sound of a UAV, also known as a drone, commonly sounding like a disturbed hornets’ nest. Drones are fun to fly for both kids and adults. They are seemingly harmless besides the risk of it becoming non-responsive due to other remote signals, the battery dying and falling out of the sky, or the control operator simply being inexperienced and crashing the drone into a parked vehicle. Many, if not most, drone operators have experienced a drone crash or close call while learning how to pilot the fun UAV. While our first concern is typically, “is my drone okay?” we should be asking ourselves the question of “What happens if I crash this into someone’s house or vehicle?”

The good news is that if you’re using your drone purely for recreational purposes and your drone is a hobby-grade drone, your home, condo or renters insurance policy likely covers you for liability from most drone usage. Now, if you’re using your drone for commercial purposes, you will absolutely need a separate insurance policy to cover you for liability for your drone. Additionally, commercial drone operators now need to pass a certification process to operate and be a commercial drone pilot.

If you’re using your drone for commercial purposes, ask your agent about a commercial general liability (CGL) insurance policy that includes drone usage.

If you’re a recreational drone pilot, talk to your local insurance agent to verify coverage before you have a claim. The best way to avoid a claim is simply prevention. Follow these tips to avoid a drone insurance claim:

  • Always fly your drone in an open space away from trees, power lines and other obstructions.
  • Be sure to follow FAA requirements and register your drone for flying.
  • Do not take your drone to restricted areas such as national parks
  • Do not harass wildlife or attempt to view wildlife up-close with your drone
  • Read your manual to ensure you’re familiar with the sounds and features that your drone has.

We want you to have fun with your drone, but also be sure you’re protected in the event you have a claim involving your drone usage. Call an agent in our office to discuss your plans before you experience a claim.

For answers to everything insurance, trust the insurance agents at George A. Bell & Son. George A. Bell & Son, Inc. is a full service property and casualty, independent insurance agency serving New York, New Jersey, Connecticut and various other states. Founded in 1880 as Bell Brothers Fire Insurance, we continue to be a family owned agency, with the fifth and sixth generations currently continuing the legacy of what those brothers started. We value ourselves on quality insurance, top notch customer service, and a focus on making sure our clients get the best value for their money.

In today’s litigious environment, claims against industrial companies are inevitable, and off-the-shelf solutions to manage liability risks are too often inadequate.

In the high-risk manufacturing sector, where large-dollar claims are common, small to middle-market companies struggle to find experienced partners capable of providing targeted risk control and effective techniques to lower loss results and reduce the effect on the total cost of risk.

According to Property Casualty 360, here are four tactics industrial companies can implement to reduce the cost of workers comp claims.

1. Understand Your Claims History

Effective claims management begins with an understanding of what has happened in the past followed by corrective actions to address loss trends and improve financial outcomes. For casualty lines of coverage, this process should involve:
  • Analyzing claim trends that negatively affect loss experience and total cost of risk.
  • Developing a risk control plan based on this review.
  • Spelling out clearly the financial improvement to be expected by implementing the recommended plan.
This process of improving safety in targeted areas can help reduce insurance premiums by up to 15 percent in the…

Starting a small business could mean achieving your lifelong goal – but that dream may quickly vanish if your business lacks proper protection against disasters and risks. Here are some of the most common issues for which you should prepare at the same time as planning the opening of your business.

Insurance Concerns for a Small Business

Property Damage
Before purchasing or renting a building for your business, an inspector should examine electrical, structural, and exterior elements. A standard insurance policy will cover damage from fire, storms, and other accidents, but you can include additional liabilities if you feel this is necessary.

Liability
If you sell products or offer services, you could face a product or malpractice liability due to even the simplest of mistakes. If you rely on others to operate your business (which is the case for most small startups), you also need insurance to protect your company from third-party fault.

Fraud and Cyber Crime
Practically every business has at least some online presence, but email, e-commerce, and electronic databases put you in danger for fraud and cyber crime. Even if you take extra steps to protect customers’ personal information, you can never be certain that employees, contractors, and your clients themselves are being as cautious. It is essential that you have adequate coverage for all eventualities.

Prepare for the Worst
In addition to insurance, prepare for disaster by creating an emergency kit to keep at your business location at all times. Key components include water, batteries, a flashlight, a fire extinguisher, non-perishable food, a whistle, and first-aid items.

Working With a Trusted Choice Agent

You will receive the best policy possible for your business if you work with a Trusted Choice independent insurance agent. Invite your insurance agent to your business location to learn about the inner workings of your company. He or she will:

  • Ask questions about everything from how you deal with customers to the security of your data and intellectual property.
  • Ensure that you consider all exposures, even those you may not have known exist.

Confirm which liabilities are covered under a standard policy and which would require additional coverage.

Your company faces a unique set of risks, which will affect the type of business owners policy you require. It could take you hours of research to find the right coverage – or you could use a Trusted Choice agent to handle the task, leaving you free to focus on serving your customers. Contact us at George A. Bell & Son for support choosing the right type of protection for your company.

When your house is also your workplace, homeowner’s or renter’s insurance is often not enough to cover you against all eventualities. For instance, such policies will not provide you with liability coverage if a person is injured while visiting your home on a business matter and will only cover equipment and inventory losses up to $2,500.

For sufficient coverage, you need to expand your insurance to encompass the activities of your home-based business.

Insurance For A Home-Based Business

Depending on the extent you want your coverage to reach, you can choose from one of the following three options:

1. Upgrading Homeowner’s Insurance

If you require only a little extra coverage, you can simply upgrade your current homeowner’s insurance. For example, you use this to cover equipment and inventory worth up to as much as $10,000 and even add a liability endorsement to your policy, provided you only receive very few visitors to your home for business reasons.

2. Taking Out an In-Home Business Policy

If business equipment and inventory in your home has a higher value, if you receive frequent visitors, or if you have employees working for you at home, you will need to purchase an in-home business policy. This will also provide you with additional coverage for any off-site property, the loss of important documents, accounts receivable, and, in some cases, the loss of income due to a disaster that prevents you from running your business.

3. Opting for a Business Insurance Policy

If the above falls short, your final option is a standard business owner’s policy – the same as you would purchase if your business was located in a separate building from your home. This is the most comprehensive type of insurance available and can protect both you and your employees against a range of losses, including theft, liabilities, embezzlement, fraud, and suspension of business activities due to damage.

Will This Affect My Homeowners Insurance?

Depending on the situation, this very likely could effect the eligibility of your homeowners insurance, and could results in claims not being paid, particularly if you see a lot of visitors or foot traffic. And that’s even if you have a separate policy just for your business! For example, if you are a dentist and your see customers in your home, this could very likely invalidate your homeowners insurance policy as it’s not properly set up to handle a commercial business exposure. We had a customer whose current homeowners company decided to cancel their policy because the company found out that they had a dentist office in their home.

 

It can be difficult to know which type of in-home business insurance would be right for you without first consulting with an expert. Fortunately, our team at George A. Bell & Son has the experience and expertise to protect you from potential financial losses. Contact us for further advice about how to protect your home-based business from theft, liabilities, damage, and more.

Hurricane season is here, and it is time to make sure that you and your family are protected from the dangers that these storms can bring. Flooding is one of the greatest risks during hurricane season – every year in the United States alone, floods kill about 140 people and cause around $6 billion worth of damage.

Even if only a few inches of water enter your home, you could end up paying thousands of dollars in repairs. Between 2008 and 2012, for instance, the average residential flood claim was $38,000.

The best way to avoid such expenses is to purchase flood insurance. 

Where Does Your House Fall In The Flood Risk Levels?

Homes are either moderate-to-low risk or high risk depending on their location. If your home falls under the first category, you may be eligible for coverage at a preferred rate, which means premiums may be as low as $129 for your house and its contents. With almost one-quarter of claims to the National Flood Insurance Program coming from moderate-to-low risk homes, flood insurance for you is just as important as if you lived in a high-risk area.

If your home is high-risk for floods, you will need to purchase a standard policy, which covers your property and its contents separately. In fact, you are required by law to hold coverage if your mortgage lender is federally regulated or insured. Your lender should inform you if you need flood insurance during the process of securing your loan.

Choosing the Correct Flood Insurance Coverage

Flood insurance covers your home, its foundation, electrical and plumbing systems, permanent installations, built-in appliances, and detached garages. It also covers personal belongings such as furniture, clothing, electronics, and valuables worth up to $2,500. However, policies cover contents located on the first floor and above, but not possessions stored in the basement.

Flood insurance does not cover currency, financial losses, living expenses, possessions outside your home, nor preventable damage such as mold, moisture, and mildew.

You will normally need to wait 30 days to receive coverage; however, you can receive coverage immediately if you are securing a flood policy for a loan or mortgage. This is to avoid panic buying in the case a hurricane or storm is approaching. 

Before You Buy…Before purchasing a policy, discuss these points with your insurance agent: 

  • How much coverage you need for your home and its contents
  • The options you have to reduce your premium; for instance, if your community participates in the NFIP Community Rating System (CRS), you may qualify for a CRS rating discount.
  • Whether the policy provides replacement cost value or actual cash value.

If you do not already own flood insurance, now is the time to make a purchase. Contact us at George A. Bell & Son for help and advice about finding the right insurance for your needs.