a person in yellow boots standing in flooded street

What Is Covered Under Flood Insurance?

Floods are the silent home destroyer. The amount of damage they can cause has no limit, and over 15 million US homes are at high risk of flooding.

While there isn't much you can do to prevent a flood from happening, there is plenty you can do to protect yourself from financial ruin. Don't wait until the next disaster to start thinking about it. Let's look at what is and isn't covered by flood insurance!

What Is Covered Under Flood Insurance?

If you purchase flood insurance for your property, you will have to go over all the details with your insurance provider to know exactly what is covered under your policy. However, there are many items that are most likely to be covered by just about any policy, so let's talk about the ones you should expect.

If there is something you want to be protected that you don't see on this list, be sure to schedule a consultation with a flood insurance provider and discuss your concerns so they can find you the right coverage.

Structure Of Home

Floods pose enormous damage to your home itself. This is especially true if, like most houses, it's made of wood.

If water gets into the walls or floors, it poses serious risks to the actual structure of a house, which could cause the entire house to need replacement. This is the number one reason flood protection is important, as these costs are devastating. Most policies will cover up to $250,000.

Electrical And Plumbing

Water damage is likely to destroy the electric system in your home, so having this covered is essential. Plumbing systems can be totally shifted around, rusted, or broken because of flooding, too.

Foundation

Anything that is stationary and part of your home will be covered, including the foundation. While every foundation is different, most are durable and may not require coverage in the event of a flood.

However, if the flood covers a larger area and harms the soil that your foundation lies in, the foundation could actually sink, shift, or even lift, which is an expensive fix. Even the slightest shift can damage the rest of your home.

Certain Appliances

Any built-in appliances in your home will be covered. This includes your water heater, furnace, central air or vacuum systems, and more. It also includes appliances that aren't built in but are essential to a home like a refrigerator.

Cleanup Expenses

When disaster strikes, it makes a mess. If you need walls taken down, flooring removed, and appliances thrown out, then you're going to want flood insurance to cover you! Even for a minor flood, you'll at least need a dumpster and a cleanup crew. Your flood insurance policy should cover these expenses.

Personal Belongings

Note that your policy may not cover your personal belongings. Some policies will cover your house and certain appliances, but anything else of value may require a separate policy.

In many cases, the flood insurance policy will cover the damages of your home up to $250,000, and a separate policy will be required for most belongings, usually up to $100,000.

Many regular insurance policies will cover your clothes, electronic devices like televisions, furniture, dishwashers, and other belongings. However, if you have to take out a separate policy, having them covered is a great idea to avoid having to buy everything all over again.

What Isn't Covered

As we said, personal belongings may require a separate policy. However, read the fine print. Leaving valuable items in your basement in a high-risk area may also leave them unprotected from insurance.

Underground levels may only receive limited coverage by your insurance policy, so be sure to go over this with your insurance provider if you plan to keep valuables that are vulnerable to flooding in high-risk areas of your home.

Coverage for your basement may be limited to only your washer and drier, portable air conditioners, and food freezers. If you have an attic or alternative storage space, we recommend you store your other valuables there.

Another valuable item that may be missed by your flood insurance coverage is your car, as it is not part of your home, so be sure to go over your options for that as well.

Certain cabinets, shelves, furniture, and kitchen appliances are unlikely to be covered by your policy. If you open a second policy for personal belongings, be sure to keep a list of what you want protected before signing up, and have a list of questions ready!

Do You Need Flood Insurance?

In all honesty, yes. Nobody is safe from flooding. People think of fires as the biggest threat to your property but floods can easily destroy everything you own. That's true if you live 50 feet from a lake or at the top of a hill.

If you think you're at a seriously low risk of flooding, then that's all the more reason to purchase flood insurance. Lower-risk areas will be less expensive for the purchaser. The cost of floods every year is over $17 billion in the US, and that number is expected to increase by up to 61% over the next 30 years.

Find The Right Policy For You!

Now that you know what flood insurance covers and doesn't cover, be sure to look around for the coverage that meets your needs. It isn't just residential insurance either, so check out some benefits of commercial flood insurance for your business, and stay up to date with our latest insurance news!


a three person leaning crew wiping a desk and floor

What You Need to Know About Cleaning Business Insurance

Many people don't think about the risks that come with running a cleaning business, such as people slipping and falling.

If you are looking to start your cleaning business but aren't sure about what type of insurance you need, continue reading below! We will go over what cleaning business insurance is and how you can purchase it for your business.

What Is Cleaning Business Insurance?

Cleaning business insurance is an insurance policy that protects your employees, you, and your cleaning business from lawsuits or accident claims.

Without this insurance, you could personally face medical claims or lawsuits. Those claims tend to be expensive, and without these types of insurance, you will have to pay out of pocket for those claims.

If you have the right amount of coverage, you won't have to worry about losing your business. You also won't have to worry about paying out of pocket for any injuries or other claims.

General Liability Insurance

General liability insurance provides coverage if a customer or client sustained injuries. It also covers any property damage that your business caused. General liability insurance pays for the investigation, defense, and settlement for any claims presented to your business.

Bodily Injury Coverage

If a third party is claiming injuries, they can use your bodily injury coverage for medical payments. For example, if you or one of your employees mopped the floor and someone comes out into the area and falls, the injured party can claim damages. Bodily injury does not apply to your employees. If your employee were to sustain injuries from work, they would need to make a workers comp claim.

Property Damage

Property damage coverage pays for any property damaged while in your care. For example, say your employee were to damage an expensive vase during a cleaning job. The owner of the vase can create a claim under your policy for reimbursement.

Commercial Property Insurance

This type of insurance is necessary if you run your cleaning service out of a building or office space. Commercial property insurance protects the building structure and the equipment that you own inside. If you own office furniture or equipment such as desks or computers, they are covered in the event of theft or a fire.

Workers' Compensation Insurance

If you are hiring employees to work for you, you will need to purchase workers' compensation insurance. This coverage will help pay for any injuries or sicknesses that your employee may have incurred while working.

For example, if your employee were to have an allergic reaction to your cleaning solution, workers' comp will cover that. This coverage will also pay for any lost wages that your employee misses while recovering from said injury or illness.

Equipment Insurance

Vacuums or carpet cleaning machines you purchase to conduct your business can become costly if they need to be repaired or need to be replaced.

Equipment insurance will help reimburse you for the cost to replace these items or any other equipment listed on your policy. They typically have a $2,500 coverage limit, but you can speak with your insurance agent for more information if you need more coverage.

Who Needs Cleaning Insurance?

If you are thinking about creating a cleaning business, you need cleaning insurance. Cleaning businesses that conduct house cleanings or office and commercial cleaning should have cleaning insurance. This ensures they have adequate coverage in any accidents.

Other businesses that need cleaning insurance include:

  • Waste removal
  • Carpet cleaning
  • Pressure washing
  • Window cleaning
  • Janitorial services

Regardless of which type of cleaning industry you are in, you will need to have insurance for your business. Having cleaning insurance also shows your clients that you are serious about your business and care about everyone's safety.

How Do I Get Cleaning Insurance?

Certain insurance companies specialize in getting you the proper insurance you need for your cleaning company, like Central Jersey Insurance Associates.

They specialize in the insurance products you will need to have your cleaning business completely covered. You can go onto their website and review the different insurance options they offer.

It is always essential to research what other coverages you may need for your business, but reaching out to an insurance professional is your best bet if you aren't too sure. They can also go over any additional insurance, like commercial auto insurance, if you have a business vehicle that you operate out of.

How Much Does Cleaning Insurance Cost?

The cost of a cleaning insurance policy can vary based on your location, coverage limits, and your businesses' risk profile. Depending on what coverages you need and how risky your business is, you can have a monthly policy payment of about $40 per month.

There is no definite answer on how much your policy will be because there are so many factors. If you have concerns about the cost of your insurance, you will need to speak with your agent about updating your policy.

Cleaning Business Insurance

Just like you use gloves and goggles to protect your body when cleaning, you can purchase cleaning business insurance to protect your company from any harm.

With the right amount of coverage and the best insurance company backing your cleaning business, you will have the protection you need.

Contact us now to receive a free quote for your general liability coverage. We can also assist you with any other policies that you may need for your business.


man clicking on cyber security option

Types of Cyber Attacks in 2021 (Protecting Your Computer)

Cyber attacks are one of the biggest threats that businesses face in 2021. While digital technology has made our lives easier, it has also made us more vulnerable. 68% of business leaders feel like the risks from cyberattacks are increasing.

So what kind of threats does your business face, and how can you protect against them? Read on to find out.

Zero-Day Exploit

A zero-day exploit is when a vulnerability is found in a piece of software or hardware. A good developer will release a patch as soon as possible to address the problem.

Unfortunately, cybercriminals are also on the lookout for these kinds of security issues. When attackers target a newly discovered vulnerability to compromise a system, this is known as a zero-day exploit.

If cybercriminals target zero-day exploits as soon as possible, they can avoid detection. Even if you have top-of-the-line antivirus and firewall software, it probably won't detect a zero-day intrusion.

Therefore, it's vital to keep your software updated. Information about system vulnerabilities travels fast throughout cyber-crime communities. This means that organizations without updated systems are making themselves into a big target.

This also means that you should be wary of working with vendors who are slow to update their software. If it takes a vendor weeks to update critical security issues, you're leaving your organization open to a hack.

Ransomware

Ransomware is one of the most popular forms of cyberattack in 2021. A ransomware attack works like this: you inadvertently run a file from an attacker on your system. The file then applies encryption to your files. This renders your files inaccessible if you don't have the code to decrypt them.

The attackers will offer to give you the code to get your files back, but only if you send them a cash payment. Generally, they'll demand that you send a payment with a cryptocurrency such as Bitcoin.

Crypto payments allow the attackers to stay anonymous as these currencies are fairly hard to trace. Also, ransomware attackers generally target people from other countries. Even if you know who they are, it's unlikely you can take any kind of legal action against them.

Once they've encrypted your files, there's not much you can do. It's not even necessarily a solution to just pay the ransom. Sometimes ransomware doesn't even have decryption built into the malware.

The only foolproof solution against this kind of threat is to have a proper backup system for your important files. When you have backups, dealing with ransomware is trivial. You simply revert to your previous backup, and the ransomware is rendered useless.

Cryptojacking

Cyptojacking is another form of cyberattack that involves cryptocurrency, like Bitcoin. Here attackers install malware on your computer that acts as a crypto miner.

Crypto mining involves using your computer's resources to earn crypto. The process is very resource intensive, and you'll need to have a powerful computer for it to be worthwhile. Most times mining crypto is simply not viable because of how much electricity it uses.

Cyptojacking allows cybercriminals to get around this limitation by having someone else's computer do the heavy lifting. With cryptojacking, your computer mines the coins, and the attacker reaps the rewards.

This process uses a lot of your computer's resources, and it's likely that you'd notice something was amiss if your computer was mining crypto while you were using it. Cryptojackers account for this and program their malware, so it only hijacks your system when you're not using it.

You're particularly at risk for this kind of attack if your organization has powerful workstations. You can protect yourself against cryptojacking by running good antivirus software.

Denial of Service Attack

A denial of service attack is when cybercriminals overwhelm a website with traffic in an attempt to shut it down and disrupt services. During a denial of service attack, it's incredibly difficult for legitimate users to access your site.

This could have some serious consequences for your company. If you're in the business of selling products online, it could prevent you from making any sales.

A variation of a denial of service attack is known as a distributed denial of service attack. This is when an attacker has a network of compromised computer systems that flood your site with fake requests.

The good news is that preventing a denial of service attack is relatively straightforward. If you're being targeted by this kind of activity, you can purchase denial of service protection for your website.

This protection will filter the traffic to your site. This should eliminate most of the illegitimate traffic and make your site usable for legitimate visitors.

Phishing Attack

Another kind of cyber attack that you should know is the phishing attack. Phishing involves tricking an internet user into inputting their username and password into a fake login page.

These fake pages are made to look like the actual site, but when you put in your username and password, the information goes straight to cybercriminals. Usually, phishing attacks use a URL that is very similar to the original page, but with a slight difference.

A phishing attack against your organization could involve making a fake login portal for your company. When someone from your organization tries to log in to the fake site, attackers can then use their credentials to get into your company systems.

The most effective way to combat this kind of attack is through education. Phishing attacks are quite easy to spot once you know how to recognize the signs.

Protect Your Company Against Cyber Attacks

As you can see, there are many types of cyber attacks that could happen to your company. If you want to protect your company, you need to make sure everyone in your organization is educated in matters of cybersecurity.

To secure your organization, focus on creating a security culture. You might also consider purchasing cyber attack insurance. No matter how well you protect yourself, you can never be totally safe from cybercriminals.

If you want to get a quote for this kind of insurance, contact us today.


american flag waving from flag pole

The American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 FAQs - Downloadable PDFs

The American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 FAQs - Downloadable PDF

american flag waving from flag pole

What Changes Have Been Made to COBRA Election Deadlines Due to COVID-19?

In April of 2020, the Department of Labor (DOL) and IRS issued a pause on COBRA election and premium payment deadlines during the “Outbreak Period” of the Coronavirus pandemic.

The “Outbreak Period” is defined as the “period beginning March 1, 2020 and ending 60 days after the end of the National Emergency is declared by the President; not to exceed one year.

Qualified beneficiaries can now delay their COBRA elections and payments until these deadlines expire.

The DOL later released Notice 2021-01 in February of 2021 which clarified the extensions during the Outbreak Period. Deadlines were extended until the earlier of:

• One year from the date the individual was first eligible for relief, OR
• 60 days after the end of the National Emergency is announced (which means the end of the Outbreak Period), before their 60-day election or 30-day payment clock starts again.

Since the National Emergency is still ongoing, the determination of when the “Outbreak Period” ends will be calculated based on each individual’s qualifying event. But it will never exceed one year plus the applicable election or grace period.

For qualified beneficiaries which had a portion of their standard election period begins prior to the extensions, they will have the remainder of their election period to select coverage without penalty.

What Changes Have Been Made to COBRA Premium Payment Deadlines Due to COVID-19?

For the premium extensions, simply add one year to the standard date that the premium would have been due. There is some debate about whether an employer can require the entirety of the premium in a lump sum at the end of the extension or if each payment has a one-year extension added on; additional guidance is expected.

Please note, the DOL states that if the plan administrator or other responsible plan fiduciary knows, or should reasonably know, that the end of the relief period for an qualified beneficiary is exposing a participant or beneficiary to a risk of losing benefits, the administrator or other fiduciary should consider sending a notice regarding the end of the relief period.

What Is the “Outbreak Period”?

The “Outbreak Period” is defined as the “period beginning March 1, 2020 and ending 60 days after the end of the National Emergency is declared by the President; not to exceed one year.

What Is the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA)?

The American Rescue Plan Act allows employers to subsidize COBRA coverage 100% (including the 2% administration fee, if applicable) for all “assistance eligible individuals” (AEIs) and their qualified beneficiaries were enrolled in at the time of their original qualifying event. Under the new rules, subsidized COBRA participants will not be required to make any COBRA premium payments during the subsidy period.

To What Time Period Do ARPA Subsidies Apply?

For the period of time beginning April 1, 2021 and ending September 30, 2021.

Who Is Eligible for a Premium Subsidy?

In order to be eligible for the subsidy:

  • The qualifying event must be an involuntary termination of employment or reduction in hours.
  • Involuntary terminations will have to be identified.
  • An AEI qualified beneficiary is one who was involuntarily terminated from employment or suffered a reduction in hours who are or could have been eligible for COBRA between April 1, 2021 and September 30, 2021. The word “involuntary”, applies only to terminations.
  • Qualified beneficiaries must still be in their original 18-month COBRA coverage period.
  • Even employees who lost health coverage as far back as November 2019 may benefit from the subsidy, since their 18-month maximum COBRA period will not expire until the end of April 2021.
  • The qualified beneficiary is not eligible to receive the subsidy if he/she is eligible for coverage under Medicare or an employer-sponsored plan (that provides other than excepted benefits).

For example:

  • Mary lost her job and her coverage on December 1, 2019.
  • Mary’s 18-months of COBRA begins December 1, 2019 through May 31, 2021.
  • The subsidy begins April 1, 2021. Mary is only able to receive two months’ worth of the COBRA subsidy (April and May 2021) because her 18 months of COBRA continuation expires on May 31, 2021.

Who Is Responsible for the Subsidized Premium Payment?

Further guidance is needed however it appears that the below applies:

  • Self-Insured COBRA Eligible Plans – Plan Sponsors (employers) are entitled to claim the ARPA COBRA subsidy as Medicare payroll taxes credits on Form 941.
  • Fully Insured COBRA Eligible Plans – Plan Sponsors (employers) are entitled to claim the ARPA COBRA subsidy as Medicare payroll taxes credits on Form 941.
  • State Continuation Eligible Plans – The insurance carrier providing coverage under the group health plan is entitled to claim the tax credit.
  • Multi-employer (Union-sponsored) health plans – The Multi-employer Plan is entitled to claim the tax credit.

What Plans Do the Subsidies Apply To?

The subsidies apply to all plans subject to Federal COBRA. This includes both fully and self-insured medical, dental, and vision plans. The subsidy also applies in states that offer state continuation.

Keep in mind that state continuation does not apply to self-insured plans, or dental and vision.

Does the Subsidy Apply to State Continuation?

Yes, the subsidy applies to state continuation, but may be subject to certain limitations. State continuation does not apply to self-insured plans, or dental and vision.

Must COBRA Coverage be Continuous to Be Eligible for the Subsidy?

No, the ARPA subsidy does not require COBRA coverage to be continuous and provides qualified beneficiaries with a second chance to prospectively elect coverage.

Are There Additional Notice Requirements?

Under the new rules, plan sponsors must still notify all qualified beneficiaries within, what would otherwise be, their 18-month coverage period of their right to elect coverage effective April 1, 2021.

The DOL will issue a model notice for this purpose within 30 days that must be sent to qualified beneficiaries by May 31, 2021.

The Notice must include:

  • The forms necessary to elect coverage;
  • The name, address, and telephone number to contact the plan administrator and any other person maintaining relevant information in connection with such premium assistance;
  • A description of their right to elect coverage effective April 1 at any time during the 60 days following the date of the notice;
    • A description of the obligation to notify the plan if they become ineligible for the subsidy (i.e., because they become eligible for coverage through a new employer); and
    • A prominently displayed statement regarding the right to subsidized coverage.
    • A second notice is required to be sent to any individual who elects the subsidized coverage and will remain eligible for COBRA after the subsidy period ends. This notice, which must be sent between August 16, 2021 and September 15, 2021, must explain when the subsidy will expire.

Are Model Notices Available?

Model notices and guidance from the Department of Labor and/or the Internal Revenue Service regarding these new rules are available here: https://www.dol.gov/agencies/ebsa/laws-and-regulations/laws/cobra/premium-subsidy

If an Employer Was Subject to COBRA in June of 2020 and an Employee Was Involuntarily Terminated but the Employer is No Longer Subject to COBRA Today, is the Employer Required to Offer COBRA?

Changes in COBRA status occur in January of each year based on employee counts from the previous calendar year. If an employer is no longer subject to COBRA, changes only apply to events that occur after January 1. Those individuals on or eligible for coverage prior to the change in status retain their rights under COBRA. In addition, state continuation may apply to certain employers.

Are Plans Subject to State Continuation (Not Federal COBRA) Eligible for the Subsidy?

Yes, state continuation is eligible for the subsidy. The below outlines the language reflecting this:

The term ‘‘COBRA continuation coverage’’ means continuation coverage provided pursuant to part 6 of subtitle B of title I of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (other than under section 609), title XXII of the Public Health Service Act, or section 4980B of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 (other than subsection (f)(1) of such section insofar as it relates to pediatric vaccines), or under a State program that provides comparable continuation coverage. Such term does not include coverage under a health flexible spending arrangement under a cafeteria plan within the meaning of section of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986.

Would a Secondary Qualifying Event Impact the Subsidy?

The guidelines do not address this issue yet. Further guidance is expected.

If an Employer Offers Multiple Health Care Options, Can Eligible Participants Enroll in a Different Group Health Plan?

ARPA allows employers to give employees the option of switching to a less expensive plan when enrolling in COBRA. However, this is an optional provision. The DOL will be providing model notices for this purpose.

What Forms are Needed to Receive the Tax Credit?

The credit for self-insured groups subject to federal COBRA will be taken against their quarterly Medicare payroll taxes on Form 941.


a living room completely flooded with water

What to Look for When Buying Flood Insurance

Did you know that your homeowners' insurance policy does not cover flooding? Most people decide that as long as they aren't in a high-risk area, they won't need to invest in a flood insurance policy.

That's where they're wrong. In fact, 1 out of every 4 flood insurance claim comes from people that are located outside a high-risk area. To put it another way, 25 percent of all flood insurance claims are from outside a high-risk area. Those statistics show how important it is to have a flood insurance policy.

See below for an in-depth guide informing you on New Jersey flood insurance, what it is, why you need it, and so much more.

What is Flood Insurance?

Everyone understands the basic premise of flood insurance. As the name would imply, it grants you financial coverage in the event of a flood due to weather, pipe leaks, etc. Side note: flood insurance does not protect against damage that was caused by a sewer backup, as it is not the technical term of a flood.

That said, most people don't take the time to understand what flood insurance actually covers. Depending on the severity of the flood, your flood insurance provider might be your only protection from a financial loss. It's important to invest in a strong flood insurance policy.

Flood insurance can help protect a significant portion of your belongings and aspects of your house, such as your:

  • Electrical systems
  • Detached garages or sheds
  • Furnaces
  • Plumbing systems
  • Fuel tanks
  • Kitchen appliances (such as refrigerators, dishwashers, stoves, etc.)
  • Windows and doors
  • Cabinets, bookcases, and other permanent features
  • Flooring & more

Upon calling us to inquire, we'll take the time to listen to your goals, take note of your belongings, assess the risk associated with where you live, and more. We pride ourselves on creating a flood insurance policy that fits your every need, such as coverage, meeting your preferred budget, etc.

Questions to Ask Yourself

Whenever someone is considering flood insurance, they find themselves wondering if it's a need for their situation. In short, the answer is always yes. As the statistics in our intro pointed out, you never know when an emergency could happen.

However, if you still need more reassurance that it's a worthwhile investment, here are a few questions that you could ask yourself.

The first and most important question is can you afford not to have it? In other words, do you have the money saved up to replace all of your damaged property and belongings from a flood? For most people, the answer is no. Even if you have that amount saved up, why use it when you can have a flood insurance provider cover the cost?

The next question you should ask yourself is has your property flooded before? Even if not, is it in a 100-year floodplain? For those of you unfamiliar with the term, a 100-year floodplain is an area in which there is always a 1 percent chance of a flood occurring any year. Do some research on your home's location.

Lastly, do you have a basement? If so you unquestionably need flood insurance. It's the only protection that you have when a flood occurs in your basement, which can lead to problems with your foundation, dry rot in your home, the destruction of your HVAC system, and so much more.

What to Look for When Buying Flood Insurance

Of course, your protection is only as strong as the flood insurance policy that you invest in. See below for the things you need to look for when buying flood insurance.

A Reputable Provider

Don't just invest in flood insurance with the first provider you see in an advertisement. Find a provider that you can trust!

Look into the provider's reputation by reading through online reviews and customer testimonials on their website. Let their previous clientele be your guide.

Lastly, call them. Do they seem helpful and enthusiastic? Are they genuinely worried about your needs as a homeowner? Can they create a policy that fits your needs?

Proper Coverage

We listed all the different things that flood insurance should cover for your policy, but every provider is different. Some don't provide as much coverage as others.

Make sure that you have coverage for all the unique features of your home. That includes appliances, electrical systems, permanently installed features, and more.

Here at Central Jersey Insurance Associates, we take pride in making sure our clients understand the ins and outs of their coverage so that they have more peace of mind.

Balance of Coverage, Premiums, and Deductibles

As with any other insurance policy that you invest in, you want to make sure that a balance is struck between the coverage and the premiums.

In other words, you want as much coverage as possible, but within the confines of your budget. The more coverage you have, the higher your premiums will be.

There is one exception to that though. You can pay a higher deductible to activate the coverage, which will lower your premiums and still help you get your desired coverage amount.

Invest in Flood Insurance for Your Property Today

Now that you have seen an in-depth guide to New Jersey flood insurance and what to look out for, be sure to use this information to your advantage.

If you're a business owner as well, take the time to read this article to learn more about the benefits of investing in commercial flood insurance.

For any other inquiries that you may have, be sure to reach out to us via our contact us page and we will be happy to assist you further.


HVAC working outside on air conditioning unit

What You Need to Know About Insurance for HVAC Contractors

When things go wrong with HVAC systems, HVAC contractors may be at fault in a lawsuit. To protect your business in these situations, it is beneficial to get HVAC insurance. Do you want to learn more about business insurance and HVAC contractor insurance?

Keep reading to learn more about the types of insurance for HVAC contractors, the types, and policies available!

Common Types of HVAC Coverage

When you are selecting HVAC insurance for your business, there are many things you need to consider. By understanding what each type of insurance covers, you can choose the coverage that is best for your business! Here are a few of the most common types of HVAC insurance coverage options.

1. General Liability

A type of insurance that every HVAC company should have is commercial general liability insurance. This type of insurance will cover any bodily injury or any damage to property that comes from your business.

This coverage will help you with accidents and will help protect your business!

2. Excess Liability

Another common type of insurance you should consider for your HVAC company is an excess liability policy. This policy will improve the general liability policy that you already have.

For example, you can purchase a specific amount of excess liability insurance that will be additional coverage for your other policies.

If you have a larger business or more assets, this will determine how much excess liability you should purchase.

3. Commercial Auto

If your HVAC company has a van, truck, or another type of commercial vehicle, you should have commercial auto insurance. This auto insurance covers liability that comes from auto accidents.

There are differences between commercial auto insurance and personal auto insurance. It has to do with the person who owns the vehicle. A commercial auto vehicle is one that is owned by your business and is driven by an employee.

4. Equipment Insurance

A very important type of insurance policy you should consider getting as an HVAC contractor is equipment insurance. As a contractor, you will have many kinds of expensive equipment that may be difficult to replace.

If you have any tools that are lost, stolen, or damaged, having a policy for equipment insurance will help you with the cost to purchase new tools.

This type of policy can save you thousands of dollars in damaged equipment and will make sure you can continue working even after you lose or break equipment.

5. Workers' Compensation

Workers' compensation is a type of insurance that is required for any business. Depending on the state you live in, the amount of coverage you need will vary.

If you or your employee is injured while working, workers' compensation will help take care of their medical bills and expenses. It will also help cover the lost wages of you or your employee while you are too injured to work.

There are many common issues and accidents that occur to HVAC contractors. They face the threat of electrocution from the wiring and equipment they use, they may be exposed to asbestos, and they can even get burnt from the hot equipment they work with.

While there are many other types of insurance you can look into for your HVAC company, these are the most useful types of insurance for HVAC contractors. When you talk to an insurance agency, they can help you identify which policies your company needs!

Tips for Selecting Insurance for HVAC Contractors

The first thing you should do when selecting an insurance agency for your HVAC insurance is get quotes from several agencies. This will help you know what kind of coverage you can expect and how much you can expect to pay for your policy.

Not only will this help you know what your policy will cover, but it will also help you shop around for the best price for your insurance.

It is also vital to find an insurance company with a good reputation and a good company history. This will make sure you are doing business with a trustworthy organization.

It will also help you know whether the company will be easy to work with. When you have to file an insurance claim, the last thing you want is to deal with an insurance headache. Find a good company and you won't have to worry about these issues that could have been avoided.

Finally, you may want to consider asking acquaintances or other businesses for referrals. This will give you confidence that your insurance company will take care of your business needs.

By following these tips, you can feel safe knowing that you will get the best insurance possible for your HVAC company and that your company will be protected in the case of an accident.

Contact an Insurance Agency Today!

There are so many kinds of HVAC insurance available, so it is important to do your research before deciding what coverage you need. One thing that can help you decide what kind of HVAC insurance you need for your company is talking to a professional at an insurance agency. They can help find the right policy for you!

If you are looking for a reliable insurance agency, Central Jersey Insurance Associates can help. Whether you need help with professional liability coverage or commercial general liability insurance, we can help you find a policy that works for your company.

Contact our team today to learn more about our services and to get an insurance quote for HVAC contractors!


businessman pointing to the word

Your Guide to the Types of Business Insurance for Restaurant Owners

There are over one million restaurants across the country employing 15.6 million workers and they have suffered significant losses recently because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Despite this, passionate entrepreneurs are still operating.

Once the country starts returning to normal, the economy will begin recovering. As a result, new restaurants will hit the scene. But many of these restaurateurs won't have extensive operational experience.

Keep reading for a deep dive on four kinds of business insurance you'll require in order to run a restaurant.

1. Commercial Property Insurance

Commercial property insurance is a critical insurance for a restaurant policy to have. Without it, you'll have to pay for damage to property and buildings your business owns out-of-pocket.

Typically, a commercial property policy will cover buildings (also referred to as real property) and Business Personal Property (BPP).

Under buildings, the policy covers all the fixtures, equipment, and machines you permanently install. Anything that isn't attached to the building falls under the BPP category.

What if you own the building your restaurant operates in? The commercial property policy will cover both the BPP and the building. That's a vital distinction that an experienced insurer should help you understand.

If you lease your space and make improvements, a commercial property policy will cover them. That's as long as you paid for them and if they are not removable.

Additionally, such a policy covers property that you're leasing and which you're legally mandated to take out insurance on. If there's any property under your care, within the building your restaurant operates in or outside at a certain distance, the policy can cover it.

A good commercial property policy should also offer additional coverage. The extra protection helps you cater to certain losses that you'd otherwise pay on your own.

For example, a good policy should have Debris Removal. Should the property suffer damage from covered perils, you'll not pay to remove the debris from the covered property.

2. Employee Theft Insurance

As a restaurant owner, you don't hire workers hoping they steal from you. The sad truth, though, is that some staffers will steal from you, and you need to protect your business.

An employee theft policy will compensate you because of financial losses you suffer when employees steal from your business. The beauty of this policy is that it's broad, giving you robust protection.

The policy covers anything from funds transfer fraud, loss by forgery, and computer fraud. The only caveat is that losses from such acts are only eligible for compensation if perpetrated by employees.

However, there is an insurance condition under this policy you need to pay attention to. Under the "Termination As To Any Employee" condition, you or another business principal won't receive compensation if you discover an employee is stealing.

Once you uncover the fact that an employee has stolen something, you can't file a valid claim for anything else the same employee steals in the future.

3. Employment Practices Liability Insurance

The restaurant business is labor intensive, meaning you expose yourself to a lot of employee-practices-related issues. The Employment Practices Liability Insurance (EPLI) policy ensures your restaurant doesn't buckle under claims emanating from employees feeling you've violated their legal rights.

For example, if an employee feels you fired them for the wrong reason, they can file a wrongful termination suit. Other issues that can lead employees to sue you include:

  • Retaliation
  • Wrongful discipline
  • Discrimination
  • Wrongful failure to promote
  • Harassment

Once an employee files such a case, it doesn't matter whether you are right or wrong. You will have to cover the legal costs to defend your restaurant. The policy reimburses you for these costs, including judgments and settlements.

It's vital to note that what you'll pay for EPLI coverage varies. For example, if your restaurant employs a higher number of workers, you'll pay more than a similar business with fewer employees.

You can get EPLI coverage as part of your Business Owners Policy (BOP) or as a stand-alone policy. Your restaurant's financial requirements will dictate that decision.

4. Workers' Compensation Insurance

Did you know that 2.8 million employees in 2019 alone suffered work-related injuries and illnesses?

Businesses employing others are required to take up worker's compensation insurance. With this policy, you can protect your workers in case of any workplace injury or illness.

In the event your employee suffers an injury or falls ill on the job, the policy can cater to their medical bills and other costs relating to the injury or illness. If they have to stop working because of injury or illness, the policy will compensate them for their lost wages.

For workers who can recover but will need occupational therapy or other programs to nurse them back to health, worker's compensation takes care of the related costs.

There are also scenarios where an employee recovers from the injury or illness but can't return to their old job. Here, worker's compensation pays for the worker's training for a new job.

Should an injury or illness result in disability, workers' compensation offers some options via temporary disability, permanent partial, or permanent total disability.

A workplace illness or injury leading to a fatality will cause the family of the deceased receiving compensation. Typically, the spouse or kids of the deceased employee can be eligible for 65% to 70% of the late worker's pay.

As an employer, workers' compensation helps you avoid unpredictable financial hits. You won't be responsible for expenses relating to an on-the-job injury or illness.

If your restaurant operates in a no-fault state, an employee won't need to prove you were at fault before getting coverage. That makes the policy even more critical.

Safeguard Your Restaurant With the Right Business Insurance

A business is like a child - delicate and in need of tending. To help protect your restaurant, you need to look up the appropriate business insurance policies to invest in. Doing so will protect you should the inevitable ever occur.

At Central Jersey Insurance Associates, we believe that it's better to have insurance and never need it than require it but not have it. Talk to us today to learn how you can insure your business and protect your valuable investment.


judge's gavel in hammering position

Blue Cross Blue Shield Settlement | Class Action

Background

Class Representatives (“Plaintiffs”) and the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association (“BCBSA”) and Settling Individual Blue Plans reached a Settlement in a class action antitrust lawsuit. BCBSA and Settling Individual Blue Plans are called “Settling Defendants.”

Plaintiffs allege that Settling Defendants violated antitrust laws by entering into an agreement not to compete and to limit competition among themselves in selling health insurance and administrative services for health insurance.

The Court has not decided who is right or wrong. Instead, Plaintiffs and Settling Defendants have agreed to a Settlement to avoid the risk and cost of further litigation. If approved by the Court, the Settlement will establish a $2.67 billion Settlement Fund. Settling Defendants will also agree to make changes in the way they do business that will increase the opportunities for competition in the market for health insurance. Payments will be made if the Court approves the Settlement and after any appeals are resolved.

Settlement Classes

The Court certified two Settlement Classes in this case ― a Damages Class and an Injunctive Relief Class.

The Damages Class Includes:

  • All Individuals, Insured Groups (and their employees), and Self-Funded Accounts (and their employees), that purchased, were covered by, or were enrolled in a Blue Branded Commercial Health Benefit Product sold, underwritten, insured, administered, or issued by any Settling Individual Blue Plan during the respective class periods.
  • The class period for the fully insured Individuals and Insured Groups (and their employees) is from February 7, 2008, through October 16, 2020.
  • The class period for the Self-Funded Accounts (and their employees) is from September 1, 2015 through October 16, 2020.
  • Dependents, beneficiaries (including minors), and non-employees are NOT included in the Damages Class.
  • Self-Funded Accounts encompass any account, employer, health benefit plan, ERISA plan, non-ERISA plan, or group, including all sponsors, administrators, fiduciaries, and Members thereof, that purchased, were covered by, participated in, or were enrolled in a Self-Funded Health Benefit Plan during the Self-Funded Settlement Class Period.

A Self-Funded Health Benefit Plan is any Commercial Health Benefit Product other than Commercial Health Insurance, including administrative services only (“ASO”) contracts or accounts, administrative services contracts, or accounts (“ASC”), and jointly administered administrative services contracts or accounts. For associational entities (e.g., trade associations, unions, etc.), the Self-Funded Account includes any member entity which was covered by, enrolled in, or included in the associational entity’s Blue Branded Commercial Health Benefit Product. A Self-Funded Account that purchased a Blue-Branded Self-Funded Health Benefit Plan and Blue-Branded stop-loss coverage remains a Self-Funded Account.

Excluded from the Damages Class Are:

  • Government Accounts.
  • Medicare and Medicaid Accounts.
  • Settling Defendants themselves, and any parent or subsidiary of any Settling Defendant (and their covered or enrolled employees).
  • Individuals or entities that file an exclusion or opt out from the Settlement.
  • The judge presiding over this matter, and any members of his judicial staff, to the extent such staff were covered by a Commercial Health Benefit Product not purchased by a Government Account during the Settlement Class Period.

The Injunctive Relief Class Includes:

  • All Individuals, Insured Groups, Self-Funded Accounts, and Members that purchased, were covered by, or were enrolled in a Blue-Branded Commercial Health Benefit Product sold, underwritten, insured, administered, or issued by any Settling Individual Blue Plan during the applicable Settlement Class Period, and
  • Dependents, beneficiaries (including minors), and non-employees are included in the Injunctive Relief Class.

Those who are still unsure if they are included in the Settlement Classes, please review the detailed information contained in the Settlement Agreement, available for download at www.BCBSsettlement.com. Otherwise, feel free to contact the Claims Administrator at info@BCBSsettlement.com or call toll-free at (888) 681-1142.

How Much Can One Expect to Get from the Settlement?

Damages Class Members who submit a valid approved claim (“Authorized Claimants”) will receive a payment from either the FI Net Settlement Fund or the Self-Funded Net Settlement Fund if the Settlement is approved. Distribution of the Authorized Claimants qualify for a payment based on the total amount of estimated premiums they paid to the Settling Defendants (“Total Premiums Paid”) during the Settlement Class Period.

Payments will be distributed on a proportional basis across all FI Authorized Claimants based on their estimated premiums.

When filing a claim, FI Groups and FI Employees may choose a Default or Alternative Option for determining the allocation of Total Premiums Paid between the employer and any employee of that FI group that file a claim. To efficiently process claims, the Plan of Distribution sets a Default allocation as follows: (1) 15% of an employee’s premium for single coverage is deemed to have been paid by the employee (with the remainder to the employer) and (2) 34% of an employee’s premium for family coverage is deemed to have been paid by the employee (with the remainder to the employer).

The Alternative option allows the claimant to submit data or records supporting a contribution higher than the Default. The below scenarios are examples of how an estimated premium may be calculated for use in determining a claimant’s proportional share of the FI Net Settlement Fund. In any case where an FI Group makes a claim, it will receive credit for any premiums not otherwise allocated to claiming employees.

Distribution of the FI Net Settlement Fund

The payment amount (i.e. claim payment) to FI Authorized Claimants will be determined by the following formula:

Total Premiums Paid during the Settlement Class Period by FI Authorized Claimant A
Divided by Total Premiums Paid during the Settlement Class Period by all FI Authorized Claimants who submit claims
Multiplied by Total dollars in FI Net Settlement Fund
= Claim payment of FI Claimant A’s claim
Example: $1,000
Divided by $10,000,000,000
Multiplied by $1,780,000,000
= $178

FI Individual Policyholders – Total Premiums Paid for FI Individual Policyholders will be based on data provided by Settling Defendants. In most cases that data should allow for the calculation of Total Premiums Paid without requiring the FI Authorized Claimant to submit any premium data.

FI Groups and FI Employees – Total Premiums Paid for FI Groups and FI Employees will be based on
(a) data provided by the Settling Defendants showing the total amount of premiums paid by any FI Group and
(b) a process for allocating the Total Premiums Paid between each specific FI Group and any FI Employees of that FI Group who submit a claim.

Distribution of Self-Funded Net Settlement Fund

Self-Funded Authorized Claimants are eligible for compensation for Total Self-Funded Fees Paid to the Settling Defendants during the Self-Funded Settlement Class Period. Payments will be distributed on a proportional basis across all Self-Funded Authorized Claimants. The amount of each claim submitted by any given Self-Funded Authorized Claimant will be determined by the following formula:

Total Administrative Fees Paid During the Self-Funded Settlement Class Period by Self-Funded Claimant B
Divided by Total Administrative Fees Paid during the Self-Funded Settlement Class Period by all Self-Funded Authorized Claimants who submit claims
Multiplied by Total dollars in Self-Funded Net Settlement Fund
= Claim payment of Self-Funded Claimant B’s claim

How to Make a Claim and Receive a Payment

You must file a claim form online or by mail postmarked November 5, 2021. Claims may be submitted online at www.BCBSsettlement.com or by mail to:
Blue Cross Blue Shield Settlement
c/o JND Legal Administration
PO Box 91390
Seattle, WA 98111

If you select the Alternative Option, you must submit relevant data or records showing a higher contribution percentage. Otherwise the Default Option will be used. Instructions for submitting your claim are on the claim form and on the Settlement Website. When required, sufficient documentation shall include an attestation signed under penalty of perjury when other documentation is no longer available.

If you do nothing, you will remain a member of the Settlement Classes and be bound by the Settlement. However, if you had been entitled to share in the Settlement proceeds, you will not get a payment.

When Will the Court Decide Whether to Approve the Settlement?

The Court will hold a hearing to decide whether to approve the Settlement on October 20, 2021. At this hearing, the Court will consider whether the Settlement is fair, reasonable, and adequate. The Court will also consider whether to approve attorneys’ fees and expenses up to $667.5 million and $101 million for additional costs and service awards. If there are objections, the Court will consider them. After the hearing, the Court will decide whether to approve the Settlement. We do not know how long these decisions will take.

Legal Rights and Options in the BCBS Settlement
Long Form Notice (bcbssettlement.com)

In re: Blue Cross Blue Shield Antitrust Litigation MDL 2406, N.D. Ala. Master File No. 2:13-cv-20000-RDP (the “Settlement”).


construction working laying down on back holding head in pain

A Guide to Workers' Compensation Laws in New Jersey

Are you a business owner that's looking to cover all of your bases with insurance? Do you stay awake at night worrying that one of your workers will get injured on the job? If so, you need to invest in workers' comp insurance right away.

Doing so will help protect you and your employees in the event of a workplace injury or illness. Millions of workers are hurt every year, so it's unwise to assume you'll never be in this situation.

See below for an in-depth article with more information on workers' comp in the state of New Jersey, whether your business needs it, and so on.

What Is Workers' Comp Insurance?

Perhaps you're starting a new business for the first time. Maybe you're unaware of what workers' comp is and how it can help your company.

In its simplest definition, workers' compensation is a form of insurance that provides coverage in the event of a workplace injury or illness. This can help both you and your employees from experiencing a major financial setback.

For example, let's say that a member of your workforce breaks his ankle while he's on the job. With an injury like that, he won't be able to work until he's fully recovered unless his job is mainly behind a desk.

With proper workers' comp insurance in place, your worker can receive coverage on his hospital bills, loss of wages, cost of rehabilitation, and so forth.

Workers' comp insurance protects you as the employer as well. You aren't forced to pay for that worker's recovery and loss of wages, thus protecting your company's future.

The state of New Jersey is a no-fault state, meaning that the employee doesn't have to prove you (the employer) are at fault for their injury/illness to receive coverage.

Am I Required to Have Workers' Comp Insurance?

The quick answer is yes. As long as you employ people under your business model and have even one employee on your payroll, the state of New Jersey requires you to carry workers' compensation coverage.

Many employers try to get around this by delegating their work to subcontractors and freelance workers, but even those fall under your umbrella at times. In fact, if a freelancer was injured on your site, they have reason to pursue compensation.

That said, the general New Jersey law requires employers to only carry workers' comp insurance for their employees, so be sure to play it on a case-by-case basis.

By investing in workers' compensation, your employees will receive coverage for temporary disability, permanent partial disability, permanent total disability, and even fatal accidents.

Permanent partial disability refers to situations in which a worker could be eligible to receive weekly benefits after their temporary disability or injury has recovered. This could be things like arms, fingers, feet, teeth, eyes, hands, and so forth.

Fatal benefits are used to protect the financial situation for the deceased person's dependents, such as their spouse and children. They may be eligible to receive up to 65 or 70 percent of the deceased one's salary.

Benefits of Workers' Compensation

Even though the state of New Jersey requires you to carry workers' comp insurance, it actually benefits you just as much as the injured or ill employee. See below for a list of benefits that you (as an employer) will receive from having workers' comp insurance.

1. Peace of Mind

Every year, millions of companies have their worst fears brought to life when a workplace accident occurs. Those accidents can lead to minor or severe injuries, illnesses, or in extreme cases: death.

As an employer, that kind of risk can keep you up at night. Even companies with the most elaborate safety training programs are liable for an accident with the hustle and bustle of the modern corporate world.

When those severe situations happen, workers' comp insurance is there to back you up, protecting the future of your company and your employee's health.

2. Mends the Relationship With Your Staff

Even if the workplace accident isn't your fault as the employer, a workplace injury can cause severe stress on the relationship between you and the injured worker.

Without workers' comp insurance in place, your top-tier workers might build up spite because they did not receive compensation for the injury that they sustained.

With workers' comp in place, you (the employer) can remove yourself from the situation. Your employee will attempt to settle with your workers' comp provider, protecting your relationship with your staff and allowing them to come back to work once they're fully recovered.

3. Monetary Relief

If workers' comp insurance didn't exist, it would leave the employer as the one responsible for covering the costs related to the accident.

That same thing can happen if you choose to ignore New Jersey workers' compensation laws and not invest in coverage. Not to mention the fines and penalties that will be handed down to you by the state. Penalties you might not be able to recover from.

Investing in workers' comp right away provides you the financial protection that you and your staff need in case of an emergency. Don't neglect this opportunity.

Invest in Workers' Comp Insurance for Your Company Today

Now that you have seen an in-depth guide on workers' comp insurance in New Jersey and why it's so important, be sure to invest in it for your company today.

Be sure to read this article on small business health insurance and open enrollment in NJ for those of you that are looking for health coverage as well.

For more inquiries, please be sure to reach out via our contact us page and we will be happy to assist you further.


flooded office with chairs, couches, and tables halfway under water

The Benefits of Getting Commercial Flood Insurance

Millions of homes and businesses are damaged by floods each year and can cost thousands of dollars in damage. In fact, even one inch of water can cause over $20,000 worth of damage.

Are you looking for the best commercial flood insurance company to give you flood protection and protect you against storm damage? Keep reading to learn more about the benefits of flood insurance!

What Is Commercial Flood Insurance

Commercial flood insurance protects your business in the event of flood damage. It not only will protect your building, but it will also protect the contents of your building! Flood insurance can help you pay for repair costs and it can even cover the costs of new products depending on your coverage.

Floods can cause devastating damage, especially to businesses that live in areas with high flood risk. Even businesses that are not in high-risk areas for floods can be damaged as well. Having this insurance coverage will protect you from flooding when other insurance policies will not!

What Does Flood Insurance Cover?

Flood insurance generally only covers damage or losses that are directly caused by a flood. While most commercial insurance policies or business owner policies will not cover damage from flood water, commercial flood insurance will cover damages caused by flood water and will also help pay for all expenses associated with this flood water.

Commercial flood insurance offered by Central Jersey Insurance Associates will not only protect your business location, but it will also protect the assets inside your property.

Benefits of Getting Commercial Flood Insurance

There are many benefits that come from getting additional flood insurance. Not only does it protect your livelihood, but it will also give you peace of mind! Here are some ways that getting commercial flood insurance can help you.

Peace of Mind

One of the biggest benefits that comes from purchasing commercial flood insurance is that it will give you peace of mind. Even if you do not live in an area that is at risk for flooding, there are still unforeseen problems that can cause flooding.

Having this insurance will give you peace of mind that your business will be protected, that you will not lose your business product, and that you will be able to recover from a natural disaster!

Protects From Financial Loss

If your business floods and you do not have commercial flood insurance, you may not be able to financially recover. Not only does flood damage cost thousands of dollars to repair, but flooding can also damage the products that you sell or important business documents!

Another financial loss can come from the time your business is interrupted. If you cannot work until repairs are made, you are losing out on more money from your clients.

Having commercial flood insurance will save your wallet when your business experiences a flood.

Protects Building and Product

As was mentioned previously, flood insurance protects not only your building. If you have important products, documents, or other assets that are damaged as a result of a flood, your insurance will protect you and cover these costs!

Additional Coverage

Finally, a benefit of commercial flood insurance is that it provides additional coverage to your business that other policies may not cover.

While business owner policies may cover damage to your building created by broken pipes, they won't cover flooding from natural causes. Having this additional coverage will keep your business safe!

Common Causes of Floods

There are many things that cause floods, even in areas that aren't high risk for flooding. One of the major events that can cause floods is storm surges and hurricanes.

Hurricanes affect many states in the United States, but especially affect the eastern coast and southern states, like Texas and Louisianna.

Another thing that commonly causes flooding is flash floods. These come from heavy rainfall in a short period of time. Other types of flooding can come from blocked storm drains, broken dams, extreme snowmelt, mudslides, and more.

What Companies Should Get Commercial Flood Insurance

Anyone who owns a company should purchase flood insurance. This will protect your business in the event of a flash flood, rising water, and other disasters that come without warning.

There are also many companies that are situated on a flood plain. This is an area of low-lying ground that is near running water, like a river. In the event of the river rising, these plains are often flooded. Many businesses located in these areas may be required to have flood insurance.

Many people believe they are immune to issues that come from flooding. However, floods can happen anywhere. It is important to determine your risk of flood damage and see if your business is near a flood zone. Especially if your business is on a lower floor of a commercial building, you have a higher risk of being flooded.

Find a Flood Insurance Company Today!

Do you need flood protection for your commercial business? It is vital that you do your research to find coverage that will protect you in your time of need. If you want to learn more about commercial flood insurance and how to protect your business, Central Jersey Insurance Associates can help! We have offices in Eatontown and Medford, New Jersey, and we can help you prepare for unexpected disasters. Contact us today to learn more about flood insurance and our business insurance options!