food-truck-insurance

Insurance for Food Trucks: Understanding Your Liability and Risk

Food truck insurance is required in the U.S., just like insurance for any other business in the food industry. The specific types of coverage you need will depend on where your vehicle is parked and what kind of food you serve.

General Liability Insurance, Property Damage Insurance, and Auto/Truck Liability Insurance are usually great options when you're starting out. Workers' compensation and product liability insurance are also very important coverages to consider.

This article will cover the basics of each type of insurance and why you might need it. Read on to learn more about the importance of food truck insurance and what you should consider before purchasing a policy.

The Importance of Coverage for Food Trucks

Food trucks have become an increasingly popular option for entrepreneurs. Running a successful business can come with its own unique set of risks.

Having the right insurance policies in place is essential for safeguarding against losses. These damages can happen due to property damage, bodily injury, and other possible liabilities.

In order to make an informed decision about which types of coverage are necessary for your food truck, it is important to consider factors.

Commercial general liability and auto liability protects from property damage and injury claims. Product liability coverage helps protect from any issues. Business interruption insurance also provides necessary coverage in case operations are interrupted. These often occur due to natural disasters or other unexpected events.

Furthermore, food trucks also need to consider workers' compensation insurance for their employees. This type of coverage ensures medical and disability benefits to those injured.

Ultimately, having food truck insurance in place is essential for any food truck business.

Liability Coverage

Food truck owners face a variety of liability risks. These include property damage, bodily injury, and advertising injury.

Property damage can occur when customers slip and fall on your premises or if there is a collision involving one of your vehicles. Bodily injury risks must be considered if a customer is injured while at your food truck. Finally, advertising injury can include claims by a business over copyright infringement.

Fortunately, commercial general liability and auto liability insurance coverage is available. This help protects food truck owners against such risks.

Commercial general liability covers the costs related to third-party property damage claims. In contrast, auto liability covers the costs of accidents that happen when operating vehicles.

Additionally, you may want to consider workers’ compensation and liquor liability coverage. Workers’ compensation provides protection for employees injured on the job. Liquor liability protects from any incident involving alcohol at an event served by a food truck.

Property Coverage

Protecting your property against theft and damage is crucial for any food truck.

Equipment, tools, and refrigeration are all important components of running an efficient operation. Without these items in working order, it would be difficult to serve customers as they expect.

That’s why having the right coverage in place can help ensure that you won’t suffer financial losses.

Business interruption coverage helps food truck owners guard against income losses. These can occur due to natural disasters, power outages, or other circumstances that prevent normal operations.

Product liability insurance also helps protect food truck owners from claims in relation to products. Examples include food safety and quality issues. Customers want to trust that what they purchase from you is safe to consume, but businesses still need to have this type of protection in place in case something goes wrong.

Additional Considerations You Need to Make for Food Truck Insurance

When considering insurance policies for a food truck, it is important to analyze cost factors. You need to understand the associated risks.

There are some simple steps that owners can take to help reduce risk and decrease premiums. Examples include good maintenance of equipment and enforcing safety protocols for customers.

Additionally, there may be specific policies that are required by local governments. It is essential to research these requirements thoroughly before making a decision.

Commercial general liability and auto liability coverage can provide protection. This applies to property damage, bodily injury, and advertising injury risks. In addition, business interruption coverage helps guard against income losses due to events. Product liability insurance safeguards from claims related to products sold by the food truck.

Note that taking time to consider cost, reduce risk, and research regulations is critical.

Tips for a Successful Food Truck Business

Every city has its own ordinances that can affect food truck businesses, from where you can park to what types of permits you need. Make sure to do your homework so you know exactly what is required of you before setting up shop.

Having high-quality equipment like refrigerators and proper storage ensures ingredients are fresh.

Make sure to promote your business on social media outlets such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or YouTube. This way, customers can find out about upcoming events or specials right away!

By following these tips and investing in the right insurance policies, you can make sure your food truck business succeeds.

Insurance Done Right

Having the right food truck insurance in place can help protect food truck owners.

By understanding the types of liability coverage and doing research, businesses can be certain they are adequately protected against property damage and bodily injury.

With these steps taken, you can be confident that you have the right insurance coverage in place. This will ensure that you are guarded against costly liabilities.

Get in touch with us if you're interested in learning more about the right type of insurance for your food truck.


big-home-insurance-homeowners

Homeowners Insurance: Is a Standard Policy Enough for Your Bigger Home

In the U.S., homes now cost over $350,000 on average across the country. One of the most important obligations you have as a homeowner is choosing the right homeowners insurance.

However, not everybody understands whether a standard home insurance policy provides enough protection to cover a larger home. Let's take a closer look to see the coverage amounts traditional home insurance policies can offer and compare that to the insurance needs larger homes may have.

What Do Standard Policies Cover?

Standard homeowners insurance policies cover damage to your home caused by fires, windstorms, hail, and other weather-related events. Coverage also includes theft and vandalism of the property plus personal belongings like furniture and clothing.

Additionally, standard policies provide liability coverage if someone is injured on your property or if you’re held liable for another person's injury or property damage.

You may be able to purchase additional coverage depending on the risk factors associated with where you live.

What About a Larger Home?

For homeowners who have more expensive homes, especially those in higher-risk hurricane or earthquake-prone regions, additional coverage may be needed.

The good news is that most insurance companies offer extended coverage for large homes that protect against damage from things like flooding and earthquakes. They may also provide additional coverage for items like expensive jewelry and other valuables. Be sure that you keep this in mind when moving forward.

Note that your policy may still not be sufficient fully cover your needs.

How Do I Know if I Have Enough Coverage?

Put simply, you will need to determine the financial limit of your policy and compare it to the value of your home. For example, let's assume that a standard policy from a particular insurance provider caps at $500,000. However, if your home is valued at $750,000, the policy's coverage limit won't be enough.

This could leave you vulnerable to potential losses if an incident happens that exceeds the $500,000 limit. Unfortunately, scenarios like this aren't impossible.

All it takes is a single flood, hurricane, tornado, fire, etc. to put you in financial ruin. The good news is that there are policies out there that can accommodate scenarios like this.

What Can Impact Home Rebuilding Costs?

In the event of a tragedy, you may need to repair or even completely rebuild your home. Rebuilding costs are not always the same as the purchase price of your home.

Depending on where you live, certain building codes and permit requirements can impact the cost of rebuilding after a catastrophic event. Other factors include the style of your home, the number of rooms, and the type of materials used.

Cost is also affected by the current market price of labor and materials. It will also vary from location to location. Rebuilding a high-value home in California, for example, will likely cost more than doing so in Montana. For this reason, it's always recommended that you have coverage that surpasses the value of your home.

What Type of Coverage Is Available For High-value Homes?

For larger homes, some insurance providers may offer a separate policy for high-value homes.

This type of policy could include additional coverage for items like pools and spas, guesthouses, landscaping, fine art collections, etc. Your agent can help you determine if this type of policy is necessary for your home based on the value of your home, its features, and the type of coverage you need.

How Does Inflation Factor Into Coverage?

A primary concern of those with high-value homes is how inflation will impact labor and material costs over time. To clarify, let's assume that your home is worth $750,000 and you have $800,000 worth of coverage.

Seven years after you purchase your policy, however, a storm requires you to rebuild your home. Due to inflation, the total cost to rebuild your home is now $1 million.

The good news is that most insurance companies offer inflation coverage protection. This can usually be added to your policy at an additional cost and ensures that you will have enough money to rebuild in the event of a tragedy, even after accounting for inflation.

What Should I Look For in an Insurance Provider?

Not all companies will be able to meet your needs. So, you shouldn't always work with the first person you find.

When looking for an insurance provider, make sure they're reliable and have a track record of paying claims in a timely manner. You should also inquire about their customer service and the level of coverage they offer for high-value homes.

Ask about any discounts that may be available to you. Many insurance companies offer special discounts for things like alarm systems, smoke detectors, and other safety precautions. In some cases, these could prove to be substantial.

Be sure to shop around for different policies. Chances are that you can save a significant amount of money by having a handful of options to choose from.

Finally, find out if they offer any additional services, such as appraisals of your home or valuables. These can help you update your coverage limits and make sure that you are adequately protected in the event of an emergency.

You Shouldn't Overlook Homeowners Insurance

Choosing the right homeowners insurance comes with plenty of benefits that you can't neglect. Consider the above info so that you can make the decision that is best for you.

Looking for more information about what we can do? Reach out to us today to see how we can help.


business-man-woman-general-liability

5 Reasons Why Every Business Needs General Liability Insurance

Small businesses make up 99.99% of all firms in America with a total of more than 31.7 million companies. But regardless of a company's size, every business needs insurance.

General liability insurance is the most popular insurance type you can buy, and it's necessary for every business.

But why do you need it? What protection does it offer?

Keep reading to learn about the top five reasons every business needs general liability insurance.

1. General Liability Protects Against Injuries

A general liability insurance policy offers the protection a business needs against injuries and accidents that occur in the workplace.

Note that this insurance type doesn't provide coverage for the company's employees or owners. Instead, it protects any guests who visit the company. These individuals may include:

  • Mail delivery people
  • Delivery drivers
  • Customers
  • Vendors
  • Utility workers

Your business might also have other types of people that come to your business. For the most part, these individuals will be safe when they visit your company, but if an accident occurs, you need to make sure you're protected.

Suppose, for example, a delivery driver falls down your stairs when carrying packages into your company. Falling down the steps might lead to broken bones and other injuries. The delivery person can then demand you to pay for these damages which can cost you thousands and thousands of dollars if you don't have appropriate protections in place.

2. General Liability Assists With Lawsuits

Additionally, a business might face lawsuits after injuries occur at the company's physical location. Paying for a person's injuries is costly, but paying for a lawsuit is worse. Fortunately, general liability insurance covers lawsuits, so your insurance plan will cover relevant expenses if a person sues you after sustaining injuries.

This coverage can include finances to fund both a lawyer to represent your company and legal fees. These expenses can cost hundreds of thousands--if not millions--of dollars in some cases, and if you have to pay these expenses out of pocket, you could lose your business. That's why general liability coverage is so vital.

3. General Liability Insurance Covers Your Mistakes

General liability insurance offers a wide range of relevant protections including covering damages from your mistakes. While you and your employees might take the appropriate steps to avoid errors, mistakes can still happen. Unfortunately, these mistakes can be costly, but with the right insurance policy, you may not have to pay anything out of pocket.

For example, consider the risks certain foods may have if you work in the restaurant, bakery, cafe, or other food service-related industry. One risk you may commonly face is contamination. This can come from mishandling of produce and ingredients by processing plants, certain cross-contaminations with allergens like shellfish and peanuts, or other factors.

In many cases, entire businesses have to be shut down during a sanitation process so that the contamination can be removed. These businesses can't make any money while they're closed, and they may suffer damages to their reputation if word spread about the contamination. This can severely limit a business' long-term success and can cost it a significant amount of money.

Fortunately, general liability insurance will likely cover every expense related to the original mistake or contamination to help keep the company in business.

4. You Can Customize General Liability Coverage

Insurance policies protect businesses against risks. Yet, every business faces different risks. As a result, insurance companies encourage businesses to customize their liability policies. A liability policy protects against the things described in this article, and it also provides other protections.

An example of this is cyber liability insurance. If your business faces risk associated with cyber threats with online transactions, logs, or other digital content, you need adequate cyber protection.

Cyber threats and problems come in various types. For example, hackers might break into your computer system and steal information. Another example are ransomware attacks where hackers hold your information hostage until you pay the ransom they demand.

You can talk to an insurance agent to learn about other forms of liability coverage to add, like a cyber liability policy. Then, you'll have a custom plan that protects your company's unique risks.

5. General Liability is Usually Required

Finally, every business should purchase liability insurance to meet the legal requirements. The federal government has rules relating to the insurance types that businesses need. For example, they require that employers have workers' compensation and disability insurance. However, they also require liability insurance for some businesses.

You might also check with your local city and county to determine the insurance requirements. Meeting these requirements is essential, as you may face consequences if you fail to purchase the proper insurance types.

Protect Your Company With the Right Insurance Types

Your business needs protection, and general liability insurance provides a good foundation of coverage.

If you're interested in a general liability insurance policy and want to learn more, contact our top-tier team of insurance agents today. We'd love to help you find the plan that works best for you.

Contact us at Central Jersey Insurance Associates to learn more about our products.


safety-authentication

The Safety Benefits of Having Two Factor Authentication

About 59% of people use their birthday as their password. Over 40% of users have shared one or more of their passwords with another person. Less than 50% of all people change their password after a breach occurs.

As you can imagine, all these actions pose a massive security risk. While you can't control what your employees and customers set their passwords to be, you can control the ease with which a hacker can get into their accounts with two-factor authentication.

Two-factor authentication adds an extra layer of security by forcing a user to use two forms of identification to log in to an account.

But stronger security is only one reason why you should consider implementing two-factor authentication. Continue reading to learn more.

Increased Security

The main benefit of two-factor authentication is increased security. When a hacker attempts to get into an employee's or customer's account, they'll have an extra barrier to contend with.

While a cybercriminal might be able to guess an employee's password, it will be difficult for them to obtain a code that's sent to their personal phone number.

Customer Trust

While performing extra login steps can be annoying for some, customers will still appreciate having their information protected. You increase customer trust when you show them that you care about their data.

The moment you lose a customer's data is the moment they stop trusting you. It's difficult for a company to regain its reputation after a breach.

Productivity and Flexibility

Now more than ever, businesses are allowing their employees to work remotely. Being able to work from anywhere increases the quality of life for employees, and it makes them more productive. The problem is that using public Wi-Fi, isn't secure.

However, with two-factor authentication, employees will be able to safely access your workplace tools and data no matter if they're sitting in their favorite coffee shop, or relaxing on their couch.

Stay Compliant 

Depending on your industry, you may have strict guidelines to follow when it comes to protecting customer data. If you're not compliant, your business can get into serious trouble.

No matter the guidelines, you can protect your customer's data and prevent your company from breaking guidelines with two-factor authentication.

Customer Communication and Marketing

Text messages make for a pretty effective marketing tool. But not all of your customers are going to be comfortable giving out their phone numbers. This is especially true if your company has a history of losing data.

To put customers at ease, you're going to need to be able to guarantee their security with two-factor authentication.

Reduce Password Fatigue

With all the passwords that a person has to remember, they may be tempted to use the same one for all their accounts. This poses a huge security risk because all a hacker will need is to do is guess a single password to gain access to all of a person's accounts.

With two-factor authentication, it won't matter if a customer uses the same password for your site that they do for their banking app because whoever logs into the account will have to validate their login with another device or authentication method like facial recognition or fingerprint identification.

Streamline the Login Process

Not only does two-factor authentication make logging in more secure, but it also makes the process easier. It allows a customer or employee to get into their account using a one-time password.

A one-time password is a random string of numbers and letters that are sent to a person via text message or email. All the user will have to do is type in the code to get into their account. The entire process is secure, and it only takes a few minutes.

Access Monitoring

Two-factor authentication comes with device access and network access monitoring features.

With these tools, you'll be able to limit what devices have access to your business account. You can also block certain networks and locations.

Customizable

You can customize two-factor authentication to meet your business needs. For example, your technology might allow for voice recognition, but not fingerprint scanning. Two factors might be right for your company, or you may have to use three.

No matter what your needs are, you can set up two-factor authentication for all your customers, employees, vendors, and business partners.

The Many Benefits of Using Two-Factor Authentication

Many users don't protect their passwords online. They use their birthday or use the same password for all of their accounts.

While you can't control the password-creating skills of your employees or customers, you can control how easy it is for hackers to get into their accounts.

Set up two-factor authentication to add a layer of security, streamline the login process, reduce password fatigue, and stay compliant with security guidelines.

Two-factor authentication protects you from data breaches, but it's not foolproof. Contact us to learn about our cyber liability insurance.


home-living-room

Is Homeowners Insurance Required? What You Need to Know

Around 93% of homeowners have homeowners insurance policies, leaving just 7% without them. But why do so many homeowners purchase this insurance type?

You might assume that homeowners are legally required to have home insurance policies. While this is partially true, it's not true 100% of the time. Home insurance is a vital policy to have, but it is only sometimes required. 

Are you interested in learning how this works? Then keep reading this guide to learn more.

Basics of Homeowners Insurance

In the first quarter of 2022, the average cost of a home was $428,700. Of course, some homes cost much more than this amount. In any case, buying a home is a big investment that requires money down. You might save your money for five years or more to have enough for your down payment. Therefore, you'll want to protect this investment. One way to protect it is by purchasing the best homeowners insurance policy. 

Homeowners insurance covers several vital things:

  • First, it covers the home structure. If a covered peril damages your structure, your insurance plan compensates you for this damage.
  • Secondly, it covers your belongings, such as your clothing and furniture. If a covered peril damages your belongings, you can file a compensation claim. 
  • Finally, homeowners insurance protects you from injuries that occur to people who visit your home. This part of the plan is called liability insurance coverage. 

Most typical home insurance policies cover several types of perils. These generally include fire, wind, hail, and water damage. If you experience these perils, you'll have the protection you need. 

Why It's Required in Most Cases

First, it's vital to know that there is no legal requirement for homeowners relating to home insurance. But you might still ask, "do I need homeowners insurance?" The answer is yes if you have a mortgage. While you're not legally required to purchase a policy, your lender requires it. 

Lenders have a massive stake in home loans. In many cases, financial institutions pay for 80% of a home's value or more by issuing loans to borrowers. As a result, lenders need protection, and they get this protection in several ways. First, they screen applicants and only approve loans to people who appear creditworthy.

Secondly, they require homeowners insurance during the loans. This requirement aims to ensure that lenders receive the money borrowers owe, even if borrowers lose their homes to extreme perils. For example, suppose a person owes $300,000 on their home when it burns down. If this person didn't have insurance, they probably wouldn't repay this money, leaving the lender out of the money.

However, if the lender requires home insurance, they'll receive their money when the insurance company settles the claim. 

If you're currently buying a home with a loan, your lender will tell you to buy a home insurance plan. You must have proof of coverage when you attend your mortgage closing appointment. The lender will not issue the loan if you don't have insurance coverage at your mortgage closing. 

Times It Isn't Required

So if lenders require homeowners insurance for borrowers, you might wonder if you need it if you don't have a loan. The answer is no. You will only have someone dictating this requirement if you have a loan.

Therefore, you can drop your homeowners insurance policy if you meet either of the following:

  • You pay cash for a house
  • Pay off your loan
  • At this point, the house is yours, and you won't have to keep a home insurance policy. So when you own a house free and clear, you no longer have to follow this requirement. 

Why You Should Buy It Even if It's Not Required 

Suppose you're ready to buy a house with cash right now. You'll face the decision: should you buy homeowners insurance or not? So what should you do?

The primary thing to consider is your house's value to you. For example, if a fire destroyed your house and you lost the entire thing, would this harm you financially? The answer is likely yes. Most people would face steep financial consequences if they lost their homes. After all, homes are worth a lot of money.

So the decision is simple. If you own a house, you should have homeowners insurance. It doesn't matter if you owe 100% of the home's value or 0%. Having home insurance is your only protection. 

How to Find the Best Policy

The final thing to consider is how to find the best homeowners insurance policy. What should you look for in a plan? Here is a breakdown of the vital things to research before choosing a plan:

Reputable Company

First, you need the right insurance company. Finding a reputable company is the first thing to do. You can read reviews and talk to people to find out what insurance companies to consider. 

Replacement Value

Secondly, your policy should include replacement coverage value. If you lose your home, it might cost more to rebuild it than its current value. Having replacement value gives you the coverage you need. 

Other Coverages

Additionally, you'll have other insurance options when buying a home insurance plan. You must make sure your policy gives you all the protection you need.

For example, you might need extra coverage for your jewelry collection. You might also want extra coverage for sewer problems. You can typically add extra coverage to a plan, but the options vary by company.

Learn More About Home Insurance 

If you're buying a house with a loan, you must purchase homeowners insurance. However, if you're paying cash for a house, buying home insurance is still a vital step.

Are you interested in learning more about home insurance or getting a quote? Contact us at Central Jersey Insurance Associates. You can reach us by calling 732-383-7158 or check out our website for more information.


business-man-insurance

7 Things to Consider When Purchasing Business Insurance

There were over 1.45 million new business applications in the US during the first quarter of 2022. The US economy breeds new bright entrepreneurs every year. However, only 70% of these businesses survive after two years. Aside from making sales and deploying marketing strategies, mitigating risks is part of a small business owner's job.

The right business insurance policy will help you protect your assets and employees. However, with so many policies out there, choosing one can be overwhelming.

But which insurance options are right for you? Here are seven things you need to consider before you purchase insurance. Read on to find out more.

1. Types of Business Insurance

Before you can choose a policy, it's best to understand what your options are first. Your business insurance needs may depend on your assets, industry, and more. Understanding the different business insurance options will help you find the kind of protection you need.

Here's a breakdown of the different types of business insurance and what they cover.

General Liability Insurance

General Liability Insurance covers claims related to business operations. This includes property damage and physical injury. If you damage another person's property or someone gets hurt within your premises, your insurer will cover the damages and legal fees.

Commercial Property Insurance

Commercial Property Insurance protects your physical business assets from theft and damage. For example, if your store gets robbed overnight, the insurer will reimburse you for replacement. The same happens if you need repairs due to an accident in the office.

Additionally, commercial property insurance is that it also covers lost wages that result from theft or damage.

Workers' Compensation Insurance

Workers' Compensation Insurance is also known as worker's comp. This type of insurance is for employees who get injured while working. Worker's comp will cover their lost wages and medical expenses. Depending on the situation, it can also cover your legal defense.

Professional Liability Insurance

This insurance protects businesses in case of injuries or damages that result from an error. If you make a mistake that leads to loss or injury, this will cover your defense and the damages.

Product Liability Insurance

Product Liability Insurance is similar to Professional Liability Insurance but only covers products you sell. Your insurer will cover injury or damage claims that happened because of a product you sold.

Cyber Liability Insurance

Studies show that 98% of small businesses have a website. If there's one thing they have in common, it's the risk of cyber-attacks. Cyber Liability Insurance will protect you in case of a data breach and help cover the PR needed to remedy the situation.

2. What Potential Risks Does Your Business Face?

Understanding what risks you may face as a business will help you narrow down your options. A restaurant may not have the same needs as a construction company.

Does your business often handle customers' banking information? Does your company own valuable items that could disrupt work if stolen or damaged? Identify what events or circumstances could disrupt or harm your business operations and go from there.

3. Legally Required Insurance

For some industries, purchasing insurance is a must. All businesses have a legal responsibility to carry Workers' Compensation Insurance. In some states, you need to buy this policy from the state.

The regulations will vary with each state, but generally, you need to get coverage as soon as you hire your first employee. All businesses that offer advice or services must have Professional Liability Insurance. Some clients may also require you to have a specific coverage level before hiring you. It's best to research legal obligations for your industry and area before you start shopping for insurance. This will give you fewer headaches later on.

4. Coverage Takes Priority

The first thing you may consider when looking for a business insurance policy is how much it will cost. Most start-up businesses worry about this, especially if they're working on a tight budget. However, remember that insurance is also an investment in your business.

No one wants to lose their hard work because of something that happened in a day. Cheap policies may be tempting, but it's best to prioritize coverage over the cost of the policy. In addition, insurance companies that offer cheap policies may not have your interests in mind.

5. Consider the Policy Terms

Policies will vary between insurance providers. You'll be comparing premiums, exclusions, and more. While reading through every policy to get the one you need may seem tedious, doing so is best for your business.

You don't want to encounter a problem in the future only to find that your provider doesn't cover it. You can rest assured that there won't be any gaps in the policy that could harm you or your business later on.

6. What Can Affect Your Insurance Rates

Insurance rates vary but not only between providers. Your location, the type of insurance you need, and the size of your business can impact your premiums. Other factors, such as your years of experience and claims history, will also affect the final quote.

Even if you have insurance, it's best to take extra steps to protect your business and employees. This includes creating a safe work environment and installing security or fire alarms. Doing these will allow you to keep your premiums low so you don't have any breaks in coverage.

7. Compare Insurance Quotes

Insurance coverage and premiums will vary between carriers. You may be lucky and get a good policy with the first insurance provider you consult, but it's best not to sign with the first company. You may get something better with another carrier.

Comparing quotes and policies will help you find the best business insurance. It also helps to consider flexible terms for scalability. You may need to update your policy in a few years or purchase a new one.

Get Business Insurance Today

Starting a business comes with a lot of sacrifices and life changes. Protect your hard work by getting business insurance.

Finding the best insurance for your business will take some time, but it helps to have a place to start. Our agency will tailor a policy that will match your needs perfectly. Contact us today to learn more about our policies.


homeowners-front-yard-insurance

Does Homeowners Insurance Protect My Yard?

An estimated 85% of homeowners have some form of homeowners insurance. However, many homeowners don't understand what their homeowners insurance covers in relation to their property–specifically their yards. 

So to help clear up this confusion and ensure you have all the coverage you need, here is a quick guide where we'll talk about what is and isn't covered by homeowners insurance so that you can compare your policy and protect your yard. 

Understanding Covered Perils

Before we talk about insurance coverage for your outdoor property, let's discuss the concept of covered perils. This concept refers to the sources of damage that your insurance policy will cover.

Common covered perils include:

  • fire and/or smoke damage
  • certain weather-related damage, including wind or hail
  • water damage not caused by weather-induced flooding
  • theft and/or vandalism
  • explosions
  • certain types of damage caused by snow or ice

In other words, understanding your insurance policy isn't just about knowing what types of property your insurance policy covers. You will also need to take into account the cause of damage and whether or not it is a covered peril. 

Insurance Policies and Negligence

Keep in mind that your insurance policy won't apply if the damage was caused by negligence. For example, if a tree that was dead or rotting falls, your insurance may not cover stump removal or residual damage to your property. If, however, a tree falls due to severe wind and wind is one of your covered perils, you may receive coverage for these damages.

In other words, your insurance company will expect you to keep up with routine maintenance and compliance. This can include dealing with known problems, like rotting trees, pest infestations, and soil erosion. It can also include ensuring that all of your outdoor structures, like fire pits or pools, are legally compliant and permitted by the city.

Is Landscaping Covered by Homeowners Insurance?

Landscaping here refers to the natural or hardscaped features of your yard, like your lawn, garden, or garden walls. Most of the time, landscaping falls under your dwelling coverage. If your landscaping damage was caused by a covered peril, most insurance policies will provide coverage at a rate of 5% of your overall dwelling coverage.

Is My Deck Covered by Homeowners Insurance?

Most decks that connect to the primary home are considered part of the dwelling. However, this is not the case with all insurance policies, so you will want to double-check as it may be covered under the “other structures” section of your policy.

Is My Fence Covered by Homeowners Insurance?

Any large standing or permanent structures on your property that aren't connected to the house may be covered under an “other structures” policy. Most of these insurance policy types will include chainlink fences, wooden fences, and stone walls. 

Are Additional Outdoor Structures Covered by Homeowners Insurance?

Additional outdoor structures that tend to be covered under other structures include:

  • pergolas
  • sheds
  • gazebos
  • firepits
  • fountains
  • in-ground pools
  • greenhouses

If you have a large number of outdoor structures or outdoor structures that are high in value, take a look at how much coverage you currently have. It's possible that you will need to adjust your policy to increase your additional structure coverage.

Is Outdoor Furniture Covered by Homeowners Insurance?

Outdoor furniture and other belongings tend to fall under the category of homeowners content coverage. This type of coverage, which is a standard part of homeowners insurance policies, covers indoor furniture and belongings, as well. This is the coverage you would rely on if your lawn furniture, pool, landscaping equipment, or even your barbeque smoker was damaged by a covered peril. 

What If I Use Parts of My Yard for Commercial Purposes?

If, for example, you use your shed as a designated at-home office or your greenhouse to grow plants that you sell from home or from a secondary location, it may not be covered under a homeowners policy.

Specifically, this applies if any part of your yard is designated for 100% commercial use. In that case, you will need to include it in your business insurance policy. Depending on your homeowners insurance policy, this same rule may apply if the space is used for both commercial and personal purposes. 

What If I'm Worried About Uncovered Perils?

Unfortunately, many homeowners have discovered that they have no insurance coverage when they need it most. For example, many New Jersey homeowners that were impacted by flooding from Hurricane Ida were left to pay for those damages out of pocket because natural flooding isn't a commonly covered peril. 

If you are concerned about risks posed by uncovered perils, there is a potential solution. You can purchase additional coverage that will kick in when your standard homeowners insurance coverage doesn't. The best option is to talk to a knowledgeable insurance agent about your options.

Get the Coverage You Need in Central Jersey

Are you concerned that your homeowners insurance doesn't cover enough of your outdoor property? Are you looking for a policy that better suits your budget or needs? Central Jersey Insurance Associates can help.

Contact us to speak with an insurance specialist at Central Jersey Insurance Associates today. We can walk you through your coverage options and discuss the best policies based on your property, finances, and concerns.


home-improvement-house-and-tools

Why You Need Business Insurance for Your Home Improvement Company

Are you thinking of starting a home improvement company in Central Jersey? This is likely to be a winning business idea as more Americans invest in significant renovations and home improvement projects. But starting a home improvement company will take more than just the right tools and the right know-how. You're also going to need the right business insurance.

Read on to learn why you need business insurance for your home improvement company and what types of coverage you need to secure.

Business Insurance Requirements for New Jersey Contractors

If you're running a home improvement company, you're most likely working as a contractor. That means that you will need to acquire a contracting license, which comes with some insurance requirements. Let's take a lot at the insurance you'll need to run a compliant home improvement company in Central Jersey.

General Liability Insurance

To get your contracting license in New Jersey, you will have to meet several requirements. One of them is proof of a general liability insurance policy that provides a minimum of $500,000 of coverage per incident. General liability insurance for contractors typically covers:

  • property damage during a project
  • property damage resulting from negligent work
  • injuries during a project
  • injuries resulting from negligent work

For example, if you or one of your employees damages a client's home while completing a project, you will be held liable for that damage, but general liability insurance will step in to provide the coverage you need to avoid paying for that damage out of pocket.

Worker's Compensation

With a few exceptions, most home improvement business owners will need to take out a worker's compensation policy. While general liability protects your finances and your client's homes and health, worker's compensation protects the finances and health of your employees. If an employee sustains an injury on the job, you may need worker's compensation to cover their medical bills as well as any lost income they accrue during recovery.

Going Beyond Insurance Requirements

There are additional business insurance policies that you may want to consider investing in even though they aren't required. You can often bundle these types of business insurance options into one policy with a single premium or pick up only those policies that you need. Let's take a look at common types of nonessential business insurance that home improvement companies benefit from.

Commercial Property Insurance

If you have a brick-and-mortar location, whether that's an office space or a warehouse, you should get commercial property insurance. Commercial property insurance covers:

  • damage to the building or structure
  • damage to tools and equipment
  • vandalism and theft

Whether you lease or own your property, this coverage is crucial. 

Commercial Auto Insurance

If you have a work truck or work van, you will need commercial auto insurance. Commercial auto insurance covers any damage caused while operating the vehicle or any damage sustained by the vehicle. You may also want to take out non-owned liability insurance to cover any accidents your employees may have while at a job site in their vehicles. 

Business Income Insurance

We know how unexpected changes can impact businesses in every industry. Business income insurance can provide coverage when you are unable to earn money due to property damage. A policy that includes interruption insurance can also provide coverage when your business gets temporarily shut down for unexpected reasons.

The Benefits of Getting Proper Coverage

We've talked about the different types of business insurance you should have for your home improvement company. Now let's talk about the importance of getting a policy that truly fits your needs. The right insurance plan always provides better protection.

Protection Against Financial Loss

Ultimately, business insurance prepares you for worst-case scenarios. No, you don't want to damage a client's home or lose employees to on-site injuries. However, life happens fast, and insurance protects you from losing financial stability when the worst does occur. 

Meeting Licensing Requirements

At the end of the day, it's never a good idea to try to get around legal licensing requirements. Running a home improvement company without proper licensing exposes you to unnecessary legal risks. Letting your insurance policy lapse is a surefire way to lose your license, which can spell ruin for your company.

Boosting Client Confidence

Today. consumers are well-educated and do their research before making a decision. Most of your potential clients will know that hiring an uninsured contractor can leave them vulnerable. As a result, you're likely to lose business if you don't have any insurance protecting your business. And the inverse is also true–getting the right coverage will boost client confidence. 

Central Jersey Insurance Associates Can Help

Now is a great time to take your home improvement skills and turn them into profit. If you're considering starting a home improvement company, you're already on the right track. Learning about business insurance is a key step in the process of launching a contracting business.

Now, it's time to make sure that you're getting the best rates and best coverage for your needs. Central Jersey Insurance Associates are here to help. With years of experience, we can help you to create a customized insurance plan and get better protection for your company.

To get started, contact us today. We look forward to helping you turn your dreams into a reality.


How to Get the Best Quote for Flood Insurance

If you're a business owner or homeowner in New Jersey, you know that one of the most important things you can do is insure your property. That way, if something happens, you're covered. But not all emergencies are created equal. Some disasters, like floods, can do severe damage to your property.

As a homeowner, you’re 27 times more likely to experience a flood than a fire over the course of a 30-year mortgage. So even if you don't think you live in an area prone to flooding, getting a quote for flood insurance is still a good idea because having flood insurance can give you peace of mind if the worst happens.

The best thing about this insurance coverage is you don't have to break the bank to get quality flood insurance. Let’s dive into a few key tips on how you can get the best quote for flood insurance.

Shop Around

All of NFIP’s partner companies offer the same basic flood insurance coverage, but any policy-specific differences will come from your specific insurance company. Make sure you carefully weigh the pros and cons of different companies to find one that meets your needs best. When shopping around, make sure to consider factors like customer rating, how claims processes are handled, and what additional benefits the provider may offer.

Additionally, check the coverage levels of an insurance policy to ensure you are getting the fairest rate. Not all insurance policies are created equal, so it's essential to do your research before committing to one.

Consider Your Deductible

Another way to get the best quote for flood insurance is to choose the right deductible. Your deductible is the amount you must pay up-front before your insurance policy kicks in. A higher deductible will mean that you receive a lower premium but face more out-of-pocket costs if you have to make a claim.

So take the time to carefully consider what you can pay out of pocket to meet the demands of a higher deductible or whether more costly monthly insurance premiums are the smarter choice for your budgetary needs.

Review Your Policy Regularly

Your insurance needs can change over time, so make sure to regularly review your flood insurance policy. If you’re in an area that hasn’t seen much flood damage over the previous few years, you may feel comfortable reducing your flood coverage. On the other hand, if you’re in an area where flood damage is predicted to be on the rise, increasing your policy’s limits may be prudent.

Keep in mind that while reducing coverage too much is not recommended, reviewing your policy annually and making adjustments will help you make the best decision on coverage levels.

Ask About Discounts

Some insurers offer discounts to homeowners who take precautions that help reduce their home’s risk of flood damage. These precautions may include lifting your house, installing a sump pump, or waterproofing your basement. Other discounts may come in the form of bundling a flood insurance policy with home and auto, so always make sure to inquire about which discount options may be available to you.

Find an Insurance Agent

Finding the right insurance agent is one of the most important things you can do when you’re looking for the best quote for flood insurance. Many flood insurance companies have agents who specialize in helping homeowners and business owners get the right flood insurance policies to meet their needs.

There are a few different ways you can find a quality insurance agent including conducting online searches, asking family and friends for recommendations or visiting the NFIP website. 

Note that if you live in a high-risk area, your insurer may require that you purchase flood insurance through the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). You can check rates on the NFIP website to see how much it will cost before you start shopping around for an insurer.

Know Your Policy

Knowing your policy is another way to get the best quote for flood insurance. Make sure you understand your policy’s exact coverages before you invest. That way, there are no surprises down the road if you have to make a claim. To ensure there are no gaps in your coverage, be sure to talk with your insurance agent.

Additionally, keep in mind that most private flood insurance companies have a maximum waiting period for a policy to go into effect, which is ten to fourteen days, while the NFIP has a waiting period of thirty days. 

Ready to Get a Quote for Flood Insurance?

There's no need to spend a fortune on flood insurance premiums. By shopping around, considering your deductible, and reviewing your policy regularly, you can get a flood insurance policy that fits your requirements.

If you need help getting the best quote for flood insurance, we can put you on the right track toward finding an affordable policy for your property. Reach out to our team of experienced insurance agents today, and get the flood insurance your property needs!


Top Cyber Threats for Business Owners

Is your business ready to fight cyber attacks?

As technology continues to improve, so do cyber threats. Typically, with cyber security issues, micro-enterprises tend to suffer the most. In fact, studies show that about 43% of cyber threats target small businesses.

But whether you're a small or large business, cybersecurity is no joke. With any attack, you risk losing your data and your customer's private information. This is where cyber insurance coverage comes in. Read on to discover the top cyber threats and what the right insurance can do to combat them.

Cyber Threats Businesses Encounter

In business, data plays a crucial role. It can refer to statistics, sales, and customer information–all very sensitive data types hackers may try to access and take advantage of. To prepare your business for cyber threats, you need to understand how cybercriminals operate when stealing your data. 

1. Password Attack

With the correct password, it's easy for hackers to get into your system. Once they have access to your data, they can do virtually anything they want with it. So you must never use weak passwords in your system. Three of the most common password attacks include dictionary attacks, brute-force attacks, and key-logging.

Dictionary Attack

Cybercriminals have many different strategies they employ to crack passwords. The most common technique is what’s known as a dictionary attack. This refers to an attempt to enter a system using all usernames and passwords previously recorded in its database. If you use a common password in your business, hackers can crack it in a matter of minutes.

Brute-Force Attack

Another way cybercriminals can access your password is by implementing a brute-force attack. This method involves hackers guessing numerous different password combinations until they hit on the correct one. Typically, they gather as much information on you as they can before attacking by farming your social media profiles for keywords.

Key-logging

The more complex method used to crack a password is key-logging. To do this, cybercriminals install an infected application in your system which helps them track keystrokes. As you log your username and password, the hacker can record each stroke you make.

2. Insider Threats

When recruiting employees, most businesses employ a thorough vetting process. However, despite undergoing a rigorous selection, you may still hire the wrong person. In cybersecurity issues, insider threats are a common problem for businesses.

Employees can serve as potential insider threats if they take advantage of their authorized access to damage the business. Oftentimes, this results in the leaking of sensitive data. Studies show that 34% of data breaches in businesses result from internal theft. When larger businesses are compromised this way, they can lose significant amounts of revenue and customers. But the impact for small businesses is often worse as it can cause irreparable damage that can result in complete business closure.

Remember, small business insurance is not enough to cover all of the damages you may face in a cyber threat. It's important to have a policy that explicitly covers cyber liability so you can reduce the number of damages you’re liable for.

3. Ransomware

Regardless of the business size, ransomware is a serious threat. As its name suggests, it's a kind of malware used by attackers to hold sensitive information for ransom. Often, ransomware spreads through phishing emails and the downloading of infected attachments.

For businesses, a ransomware attack is incredibly destructive. Hackers can encrypt and lock your data until you pay the ransom, and if you fail to give them what they want, they’re easily able to destroy your files.

To protect your business, back up your files and install strong anti-malware software. Further, update your devices and software programs as often as possible and invest in insurance options with the best insurance agency to protect yourself and your business.

4. Malware

As technology and security features advance, so too does malicious software. Specialized programmers have developed software systems designed to execute unauthorized access and damage secure systems. Attacks initiated by these programs come in the form of worms, viruses, and trojan horses, and each one can cost your business significant amounts of money.

Typically, these attacks are triggered when individuals click infected links or attachments that result in harmful software being uploaded into your system. Fortunately, there are many good anti-malware applications available that can protect your devices and systems no matter how big or small your business is.

5. Phishing

Phishing is a form of cyberattack that uses bait, often in the form of a malicious email, to scam people. Through deception and social engineering, attackers target the weaknesses of their victims to encourage them to share sensitive information.

They try to access financial accounts, system credentials, and other data they can make a profit from. But instead of fighting against technology, individuals face their attacker head-on making personal defense much harder

Fortunately, this cyber threat is easy to recognize, so you can train yourself and your staff to manage security information and determine suspicious activities by imposing strong security policies and procedures to prevent cyber threats.

How Can Cyber Insurance Help?

In a business, having the right insurance is necessary as it protects your operations, profits, and reputation. However, most traditional policies don't offer protection for digital issues, so how can you avoid the damage of cyber threats?

Well, you can protect your business by training employees and updating systems regularly. However, despite taking preventive measures, cyberattacks may still happen, and as a small business owner, the challenges you face with them can be much more impactful, so you must invest in cyber liability insurance.

By getting cyber insurance, you can manage and reduce the risks of attacks while also gaining coverage that protects you from expensive costs, liabilities, and losses when attacks do happen. 

What Are the Cyber Threats Businesses Must Look Out For?

Cyber attacks will continue to rise, and businesses will suffer the most. When attacked, enterprises incur more costs, generate a loss, and lose customers. With a reliable insurance company, you can ensure additional safety of your business.

If your business needs protection, you can count on our team at Central Jersey Insurance Associates to get the best coverage against cyber threats. Reach our team any time by clicking the link here.