binder labeled insurance next to other business supplies

The Ultimate Guide to Choosing Business Insurance

Business insurance can protect your company from a wide range of negative situations, but you'll need to make sure you have coverage specific to your type of business. From a cyber attack to natural disasters, business insurance could keep your company afloat when disaster strikes.

Read our guide to stay protected and choose the right insurance for your company today.

The Different Types of Insurance

Property Insurance

Property insurance will protect you from theft or damage to your office. This can include contents such as equipment and furniture. Natural disasters such as accidents and fires could be covered too.

Professional Liability Insurance

Another name for this is Errors and Omissions Insurance. It protects you from mistakes, malpractice, and negligence. It's often for physicians, accountants, and lawyers.

Commercial Vehicle Insurance

No matter your type of establishment, if you have a company vehicle, this is a good idea. It covers cars and trucks.

It includes damage to property, personal injury, liability, and collisions. Individual policies don't usually cover commercial vehicles.

General Liability Insurance

General liability insurance covers you against damage to your property or bodily injuries from your services, products, or location. It doesn't cover employee injuries or professional mistakes.

Workers' Compensation Insurance

A requirement in most areas, it covers bodily injuries because of your products, services, or business. It can vary from state to state.

Many basic policies will include coverage for hospital visits, workers' healthcare, physician appointments, prescriptions, and medical tests. It could also include wage reimbursement.

Business Owner's Policy

This policy protects you against various risks. It can include liability, property, and business interruption insurance. Many prefer this, since it combines multiple insurance policies into one. The cost could be less since you're combining them.

Cyber Insurance

In 2021, there was a 518% increase in ransomware demands. If your company uses computers, you'll want to have cybersecurity software. Consider a data breach or cyber insurance policy for extra protection.

Covered expenses can include improving your digital security, recovering data, and restoring your company's reputation and public relations expenses. It can include costs from customers whose security was affected, along with your operational expenses.

Home-Based Business Insurance

Homeowner's insurance doesn't cover certain parts of your home office. A home-based insurance policy will cover supplies, equipment, and other work property. You might need additional insurance if you have customers or clients coming to your home.

Key Person Insurance

Key person insurance can pay for lost income or the hiring of a replacement. This is when you or another head of the company can't work.

How To Choose Business Insurance

Consider a plan that'll scale as you grow. Individual employee costs can make scaling with specific policies complex.

Compare multiple insurance providers. The benefits and costs can vary depending on the insurance agency. See what is and isn't included.

While over-insurance could hurt you financially, not having enough insurance could put your company at risk. Ensure that your insurance meets the requirements of your state.

Perform a Risk Analysis

A risk analysis will tell you where you're liable in your company and what needs protection. Try to find clauses specific to your niche. Your insurance agent can help you decide which plan is best.

Don't Only Choose Based on Price

While it can be tempting to go with the lowest price, understand what you'll receive. Lower prices might mean poor customer service and limited coverage.

Receive as much information as you can about each insurance policy, along with the company's process for filing a claim.

Consider Future Needs

Consider your needs in advance and discuss them with your insurance agent. This will help to prevent you from having to change insurance policies regularly.

However, review your coverage over time, and not just let it renew. For example, enhance coverage for loss of income if it has increased.

Understanding How To Choose Business Insurance

After exploring this guide, you should better understand how to choose business insurance. Take your time looking at the different plans, talk to an advisor, and choose the right insurance for your company.

Are you ready to get your company protected? Contact us today, and we'll come up with the right plan that meets your company's needs.


real estate agent showing listings to couple

The Essential Guide to Insurance for Real Estate Agents

Did you know that the average real estate agent in the US has about 8 years of experience? 93% of real estate agents prefer communicating with their clients through text and 89% communicate via email.

You can do your best work and find a dream home for your clients with these methods of communication, but you are still vulnerable to lawsuits. Anytime you give advice even by email or text, you are opening the door to clients suing you. For example, if they bought a house based on your advice that turned out to have significant structural damage.

Are you wondering how insurance for real estate agents can protect you from third-party claims? Keep on reading to learn how insurance can give you peace of mind and cover any unexpected expenses that arise.

Why Do You Need Protection?

Real estate agents are usually independent contractors who help negotiate and advise on contracts. The list of paperwork involved in closing is staggering, and everything needs to run on time to ensure you have a successful closing. A closing agent helps the buyer, seller, and lender complete the closing of a real estate transaction.

Like any other professional, you are vulnerable to issues such as client disputes and transaction errors. With the average listing price for a home in the US of $374,900, a lawsuit can get expensive. Getting insurance ensures that you don’t have to pay out of pocket for any third-party claims.

Breach of Contract

The biggest issue that you may run into is client disputes where the client claims that you have not met the obligations of your contract. A client can claim breach of contract if you fail to meet specific obligations in your contract, such as failure to meet the timelines in the contract. This type of dispute is usually associated with a negligence claim.

Breach of Duty and Failing to Disclose a Property Defect

Even if you didn’t breach a particular term in the contract, you can be held responsible for breaching your duty as a real estate agent to advise and identify issues. If you fail to disclose a property defect, your client will have to deal with repairs and renovations that they did not account for. They can sue you for the total expenses that they have to pay for repairs and any other transaction errors during the real estate transfer.

Giving Legal Advice

A real estate agent cannot give legal advice. You need to make sure that any advice you give is based on your expertise as a real estate agent, and get a lawyer to provide legal advice. Where you gave incorrect advice that the client relied upon, they could sue you for breach of duty and negligence.

Failing to Keep Client Data Safe

If you have a client's financial information and the information is stolen or hacked, the client can sue you for failing to keep their data safe. You may have saved a lot of time and money by emailing documents, electronic signatures, and saving documents on the cloud. These are vulnerable to being hacked, so you need to take extra precautions to protect your client’s information.

What Type of Insurance for Real Estate Agents Should You Get?

Now that you know the common issues that a real estate agent faces, you need to understand how you can protect yourself. The right insurance can cover the cost of litigation and settlements, so you don’t have to pay out of pocket. A real estate agent should consider getting these types of insurance.

General Liability Insurance

You may have an office where you invite your clients to come in and sign paperwork. If your client slips and injures themselves or their property, they can sue you for their medical expenses, and any loss of wages. General liability insurance protects you from any third-party claim, especially in a commercial lease situation.

Errors and Omissions Insurance

One of the most important types of insurance you will need is errors and omissions insurance that protects you from lawsuits for breaching a contract or providing incorrect advice. You don’t want to be stressed out and not provide the best advice because of fear of being sued. This insurance will cover any costs of litigation and settlement regardless of fault if you are sued for providing advice that the client relied on.

Commercial Auto Insurance

You may be driving clients around in your car to various listings. No matter how careful you are, you could end up in a car accident.

This type of business insurance covers you for the cost of any property damage caused by your car in the accident, and the medical expenses associated with any bodily injury. Without your car, running your business will be difficult, so you can also protect yourself from any vandalism and theft of your car.

Cyber Liability Insurance

You will need to keep financial and personal information about your client on your personal laptop or cloud software. Unfortunately, there is a risk that this information could be hacked, and your client can sue you for any damages they suffer. Cyber liability insurance can cover you for the cost of those claims, including settling any ransomware demands.

What Should You Look for in an Insurance Company?

You need an insurance company that is right for you. Look for areas of specialization of the insurance company. Every business is different and there are nuances that your insurance company needs to understand so they can offer the best coverage at the lowest price.

You want to make sure you understand what is covered under your policy and get the most affordable premiums for you. Your insurance company should be able to communicate this complex information to you clearly and honestly.

Get Insurance for Real Estate Agents Today

As a professional, you face certain risks in your daily operations including getting sued for breach of duty, negligence, or fraud, and the cost of legal fees and settlements can be very high. Insurance for real estate agents can protect you from these expenses, so you don’t have to pay out of pocket, and you can continue to provide the best service.

Speak to an agent at our NJ based insurance agency today. We have two offices in Eatontown and Medford for your convenience. With our 50 years of experience, we can work with you to get the best coverage for your needs.


person clicking on insurance button

How to Maximize Your Health Insurance Benefits

According to a study by the Commonwealth Fund, only 43% of people with health insurance are aware of their plan's benefits. Health insurance is something that everyone needs, but many people don't understand how to make the most of their benefits. What about you?

There are a few key things that you can do to get the most out of your health insurance policy. In this article, we will walk you through everything you need to know about health insurance and how to make sure your policy is working for you.

How Can I Maximize My Healthcare Insurance?

There are a few specific things you can do to make the most of your healthcare insurance. First, be sure to stay up-to-date on your preventive care, including screenings and vaccinations. These services are often covered at no cost to you, and they can help you avoid more serious health problems down the road.

Second, take advantage of your insurance company's resources. Many insurers offer 24/7 access to nurses and other medical professionals. They can answer your questions and help you make informed decisions about your care.

Finally, don't be afraid to shop around for the best deal on prescriptions and other medical services. With a little research, you can find providers who offer discounts to patients with insurance. By taking these steps, you can make sure that you're getting the most out of your healthcare insurance.

What Are the Types of Health Insurance Available?

There are a few different types of health insurance available, and the best option for you will depend on your individual needs.

The most common type of insurance is employer-sponsored health insurance, which is offered through your job. Other options include individual health insurance plans and government-sponsored health insurance programs like Medicaid and Medicare.

No matter what type of plan you have, be sure to comparison shop during open enrollment to find the best deal on premiums and out-of-pocket costs. You may also want to consider using a healthcare concierge service to help you navigate the complex world of health insurance.

What Is Open Enrollment?

Open enrollment is the period of time when you can sign up for health insurance or make changes to your existing coverage. For most people, open enrollment takes place in the fall, but there are some exceptions.

If you're covered by an employer-sponsored plan, you'll usually have to enroll during the open enrollment period set by your company. If you have an individual health insurance plan, you can generally enroll any time of year.

However, if you experience a life event like getting married or having a baby, you may be able to enroll outside of the open enrollment period.

What Should I Do If I Have a Pre-Existing Condition?

If you have a pre-existing medical condition, you may be worried about getting coverage. The good news is that under the Affordable Care Act, insurance companies can't deny you coverage based on your medical history. However, they can charge you more for a plan if you have a pre-existing condition.

If you're concerned about the cost of health insurance, be sure to shop around. During open enrollment, you can compare plans from different providers.

You may also want to consider using an insurance agency to help you find the best deal on coverage.

What Is the Cost of Health Insurance?

The cost of health insurance varies depending on a number of factors, including your age, location, and the type of coverage you need. In general, health insurance plans tend to be more expensive if they cover more services.

If you're looking for health insurance that fits your budget, it's important to compare plans and shop around for the best deal. During open enrollment, you can often get discounts on health insurance premiums if you sign up for a plan through your employer.

You can also use an insurance agency to help you find the right plan for your needs. They can provide personalized recommendations based on your budget and needs.

Is It Worth It to Get a Second Opinion?

If you're facing a serious medical decision, it's always a good idea to get a second opinion from another doctor.

Many insurance companies will cover the cost of a second opinion. Some will even require that you get one before proceeding with certain treatments.

Getting a second opinion can give you peace of mind and help you make sure that you're making the best decision for your health.

Remember that you can always get a second opinion if you're facing a serious medical decision. With a little research and planning, you can make sure that your health insurance is working for you.

Maximizing Your Insurance

Healthcare insurance can be a confusing and daunting topic.

But making the most of your health insurance coverage doesn't have to be difficult. Stay up-to-date on your preventive care, take advantage of your insurer's resources, and make sure to shop around for the best deals.

It's important to understand your options and make the best decision for you and your family. By comparison shopping during open enrollment, using an insurance agency, and getting a second opinion when faced with a serious medical decision, you can be sure that you're making the most of your healthcare insurance coverage.

If you enjoyed this article about healthcare insurance, please check out the other articles in our blog!


paper cutouts of umbrella with homeowners insurance written on it covering family and home

The 5 Dangers of Not Having Homeowners Insurance

Are you on the fence about purchasing a homeowners insurance policy? If so, you're not alone. An estimated 5% of homeowners (which comes in at about 3.5 million people) don't have homeowners insurance.

Does that mean that it's a good idea to forgo homeowners insurance? It does not. Like other types of insurance, it's easy to assume that you don't need it until you do, and without it, you can find yourself facing serious debt.

Why take our word for it when we can spell it out? If you're still on the fence, we encourage you to stick with us while we talk about the risks of not having homeowners insurance.

Read on for the five legitimate dangers you will face if you don't purchase a strong homeowners insurance policy.

1. From the Start: Inability to Secure Financing

While there is the occasional buyer who can purchase a home in full cash upfront, this is not the typical home-buying scenario. In fact, cash buyers represented 25% of all homebuyers in the US this time last year, and this was considered a record-high number.

What does this have to do with homeowners insurance? Most buyers will need to secure financing in the form of a mortgage in order to purchase a home. In order to secure this financing, you will need to commit to a homeowners insurance policy.

Lenders want to know that their investment (and your debt) is protected. When you choose not to purchase homeowners insurance, you cannot get a mortgage. Unless you can pay in full with cash, this is going to prevent you from buying a home.

2. Racking Up Huge Costs for Repairs

It's easy to assume that the worst won't happen to your property. If it's in good shape upon purchase, you aren't likely thinking about the possibility of a pipe bursting and flooding your basement or a storm destroying your roof. Yet in your experience as a homeowner, you're almost definitely going to have a major repair on your hands at least once.

Homeowners insurance serves a variety of purposes. One of them is to enable homeowners to make needed repairs to their property over time without going into debt. You pay your monthly premium and, in exchange, receive partial or full funding when needed.

When disaster strikes, you don't need to go into debt to make your home livable again. Avoid this risk by getting the coverage you need.

3. Leaving Your Property Unprotected

You're likely thinking we already covered this one, but there's more to property coverage than meets the eye.

Your property isn't just the structure of your home, it's also everything that you own, from your heirlooms to your furniture and appliances. Your property is also the other structures on your property, like sheds, swimming pools, and decks.

Imagine that your house catches fire and you lose just about everything in it. Do you have the money to replace everything that you own? Chances are, probably not.

Homeowners insurance can help you recover all of your property, including your possessions. Some policies can even help you cover the cost of staying somewhere else, like a hotel or apartment, while your property undergoes major repairs to make it livable again. Once again, that monthly premium can save you from massive debt in the event of a disaster.

4. Risking Liabilities in Civil Court

Have you ever been involved or aware of a personal injury case? Perhaps you know someone who was injured in a store and took the company to court, or you know a person who was hit in a car crash and took the other driver to court. Did you know that as a homeowner, you bear certain responsibilities to visitors and that they can take you to court if those responsibilities aren't met?

Something as simple as a trip and fall on your property can leave you in charge of paying medical bills, covering lost income, and accounting for additional damages. If the injury is bad, these bills can roll in for years to come. Homeowners insurance takes care of this type of liability, providing payout if a visitor has a preventable accident on your property.

5. Letting a Policy Lapse: Risking Foreclosure

Earlier this year, New Jersey had the second-highest foreclosure rate in the nation. Some of these foreclosures may have been preventable had the homeowners continued to pay for their homeowners insurance policy.

As we discussed earlier, your mortgage lender will require proof of insurance before granting you the funds to buy your house. In the years that you're paying off your mortgage, this remains the case. If you let your homeowners insurance policy lapse, your lender has one of two options, and one of them is defaulting on your mortgage, which can lead to foreclosure.

The other option? Pushing you to pick up a homeowners insurance policy of their choice. When this occurs, don't expect a cheap insurance policy. They may stick you with a policy that has higher premiums and a higher deductible, which will leave you wishing that you had stuck with the policy you already had.

Get Homeowners Insurance and Protect What's Yours

Homeowners insurance isn't something that overly cautious people purchase for no reason. As you can see, failing to get (or hold onto) homeowners insurance comes with some serious risks, many of which can disrupt your finances far more than a monthly premium will.

If you're looking for homeowners insurance in New Jersey, come to Central Jersey Insurance Associates. Our insurance agency will match you with the best insurance policy for your specific needs, from business insurance to insurance for your home. Contact us today to get started and avoid the risks of being an uninsured homeowner.


types of insurance written on chalkboard

7 Questions to Ask Before Choosing an Insurance Agency

Life insurance purchases have skyrocketed throughout the pandemic!

If you are ready to get life insurance or any other form of insurance, then selecting the right insurance agency is a big decision. Your insurance agent is one of the most important people in your life.

Therefore, they must be reliable and someone that you can count on. If you're not exactly sure how you should go about selecting the right agency, so you can secure a quality agent, there are some clues that you can look for.

Here are seven questions you should ask any insurance agency you are thinking about selecting.

1. Tell Me About Your Company?

One of the most important questions you can ask your insurance agent is to tell you more about the agency. Find out how long they have been in business.

Ask if the company can provide information about its financial situation in the last fiscal year.

You should also ask about their claim to settlement ratio. This is important because it will help you see how your claim will go if you ever have one.

2. What Area Do You Specialize In?

The specialization of your insurance agent is something that you need to know. Insurance agents specialize in different facets of insurance. Some may specialize in:

  • Health insurance
  • Disability insurance
  • Life insurance
  • Business insurance
  • Homeowners insurance

You need to find out which area a prospective insurance agency focuses on the most. This will help you know whether you want to use them to help you secure the right insurance policy for your needs.

Whatever types of insurance you are currently interested in, it is always best to find an agency that specializes in it. Remember a good insurance agency will usually cover a wide variety of insurance types.

3. Will I Be Able to Get Discounts?

Finding out the type of discounts you can get on your insurance policy is also important. After all, why should you pay more than you have to?

Asking about discounts is also one way to find out how knowledgeable the representative of the agency is. The more helpful and knowledgeable they are, the higher the likelihood that you will get quality service.

4. Can I See Your References?

The references of any insurance agency that you use are essential. When you are meeting an agency representative for the first time, they will almost always make a good first impression.

However, can they live up to this in the long term? The only way to find out is to get references from those who have previously had to do business with them.

Ask your insurance agency if you can talk to other clients that they have dealt with. You will want to find out from these references whether they find the insurance agency to be cooperative, reliable, and efficient in the long term.

This is one of the best ways to decide if you want to do business with them.

5. What Benefits Will I Receive?

You will want to make sure that any policy you select will give you as many benefits as possible. Make sure that you ask your insurance agency about this. Ask their representative to clarify anything that you do not understand.

The benefits of the policy are something that you need to fully understand. If you have any doubts, ask for documents or brochures outlining the benefits and then look at them in your free time.

When you do this, you'll be able to come back to the agency with all the relevant questions you have so that you overlook nothing.

6. How Much Premium Will I Pay?

One thing that you cannot afford to overlook is how much premium you are going to be expected to pay.

The premium amount that you will pay is especially important and you want to ensure that there will be no surprise charges. Ask your insurance company about how premiums can be paid and how long you will need to pay them.

Some insurance plans see premiums increase significantly. There are also insurance plans where your premium may decrease.

Therefore, you need to be well informed about the policy that you are going to be signing up for and on all the options that are available to you with any plan that you select.

7. What if I Can't Pay the Premiums?

When you open an insurance policy, you do it with the best of intentions. You will probably know how you are going to pay your premiums. However, the circumstances of life can change and you may not be able to pay the premium in the long term.

You should find out from your agent whether there will be a grace period allowed until you can provide payment for the premium once more.

Normally, what happens when you can't pay the premium for some time is that the policy will lapse. Should the policy lapse, you should ask whether you will be able to revisit it.

Select the Right Insurance Agency

Selecting the right insurance agency is important. Before you sign up for a policy from an agency, you need to make sure that you are getting the best insurance to meet your needs.

The only way to find out if an agency can do this is to ask pertinent questions.

Make sure that the answers that you get satisfy you. If you feel that something is not quite right, trust your instincts.

Do you need a more in-depth look at your insurance options? Contact us now to get the help you need.


waterfront vacation home

Does Homeowners Insurance Cover Vacation Rentals?

Natural disasters strike at a moment's notice, and 90% of the time, they cause flood damage. However, flooding isn't the only type of damage you can encounter.

Hail, wind, and fire can also damage property, and these elements have no bias. They'll strike anyone, anything, and anywhere.

People who own homes purchase homeowners insurance to minimize their risks and protect their properties. But is homeowners insurance the right choice for your vacation rentals?

If you want to protect your rental properties from perils like these, you'll need a special type of home insurance. Insurance agents call this rental property insurance, or landlord insurance.

Are you ready to learn more about it? Read on for a guide that explains the coverage type you need and how it works.

Traditional Homeowners Insurance Is for Your Primary Residence

When you own a home, you can purchase insurance for homeowners. Insurance companies call this homeowners insurance, and it's a product designed to cover houses. But it's not the right product for all homes.

The most crucial fact about homeowners insurance is that it's for your primary residence. It's not designed for a second home, such as a vacation home or a property you rent to someone.

Your homeowners insurance policy covers your home's structure and your belongings. It also provides liability coverage on your property.

When you buy the policy for your primary residence, an insurance company bases your rates on the risk levels. When you live in a home, the house has fewer risks than a home you use as a second home or rental property.

Therefore, a traditional homeowners policy is not the right plan type for vacation properties you own. Instead, you'll need a policy designed for rentals.

Vacation Properties Require Rental Home Insurance

Owning vacation properties is a great way to earn revenue, but these properties present different risks to insurance companies. Therefore, insurance companies offer other policies that protect vacation rentals.

A rental property insurance policy is the coverage you need for properties you own and rent to people. Some insurance companies call this landlord insurance. It's important to know that several distinct differences exist between landlord insurance and traditional homeowners insurance.

One difference is the risks between these two property types. Rental properties have increased risks to insurance companies, and here are some of the additional risks:

Vacant Homes Increase Risks of Damage

Vacation homes don't always have guests or tenants, which means they're often vacant. A vacant home tends to have an increased risk of damages, and insurance companies know this and factor it into the rates.

Burglars might notice when no one is in these homes, and they might break into them.

Tenants and Guests Might Not Care for the Properties

Tenants and guests who rent properties won't care for them like the person who owns them. When you own a house, you have an investment in it. The result is that you tend to care more for it.

Increased Liability Issues

Renting a home to someone increases the liability risks at the property. Your guests might be more prone to injuries on the properties, potentially resulting in lawsuits.

Rental Homeowners Doesn't Cover All Perils

Vacation rental insurance tends to cost more than traditional homeowners insurance, but it might not be the only insurance coverage you need for your rentals.

Like with homeowners insurance, vacation rental insurance doesn't cover every peril. Most policies cover the standard perils that pose the highest threats to properties, including the following:

  • Wind
  • Hail
  • Fire
  • Water damage

If any of these perils strike your properties, they can cause major damages. However, you can file a claim for compensation with the right insurance coverage.

However, if a non-covered peril strikes your property, you won't have this option. For example, if a flood damages or destroys your rentals, your policy won't cover the damages.

As a result, it's always a wise idea to purchase flood insurance if you have any risk of a flood damaging your properties. You can add a flood insurance policy to your current policy to cover this risk.

Additionally, you might need other coverage types. For example, is there a risk of your sewer line causing damage? If so, you could add sewer line coverage.

You can talk to an agent to learn about other options, too.

Why You Need to Purchase the Right Coverage

Finally, you might wonder why it's important to purchase the right insurance coverage. Here are a few reasons:

The Wrong Policy Won't Provide the Coverage You Need

The first thing to know is that the wrong insurance policy won't offer the coverage you need when a disaster strikes. For example, if you have traditional home insurance, it won't cover the damages to your rentals.

Insurance Minimizes Your Risks

Insurance coverage is the only product you can buy to minimize your risks when perils strike. If you don't have a policy, you'll have higher risks of encountering substantial repair bills if a peril damages your properties.

Lenders Require Insurance

If you have loans on your properties, your lenders require the proper insurance coverage. You can ask an insurance agency about these requirements if you have questions.

Protect Yourself Through the Right Home Insurance Policies

Buying homeowners insurance for your primary residence protects you, but you must ensure you have the right coverage for your vacation properties. Suffering losses is much easier with insurance coverage.

If you're interested in learning more about protecting your vacation rentals with insurance, contact us at Central New Jersey Insurance Associates. We can help you get the coverage you need to minimize your risks.


stressed lawyer at desk

How Much Is Malpractice Insurance for Lawyers?

With malpractice lawsuits on the rise, carrying malpractice insurance is common sense.

If you have a home, chances are you make a point of paying for homeowners insurance. Similarly, if you are a lawyer, you need business insurance to protect your legal practice.

In the same way that accidents can happen to responsible homeowners, even the most experienced lawyers can make mistakes. Without malpractice insurance, those mistakes can be very expensive.

How much is malpractice insurance for lawyers? It depends on factors such as what type of law you practice, whether your area of expertise is high risk, and other considerations.

The bottom line is, malpractice insurance for lawyers won't cost you as much as a lawsuit. Keep reading to learn about how insurance agencies calculate the cost of malpractice insurance.

What Is Malpractice Insurance For?

Malpractice insurance is a type of professional liability insurance for lawyers. Doctors and other medical professionals also use malpractice insurance.

This type of insurance protects these types of professions from being held liable for doing harm. Malpractice insurance is the best way to cover yourself in the event you make a mistake that causes a client or patient to sue.

Some states require lawyers to carry malpractice insurance. Others require lawyers to disclose to their clients whether they carry malpractice insurance. Many states have no requirements.

If you do not have malpractice insurance for your law practice, you risk the possibility of paying clients' damages out of pocket. This might lead to needing to file for bankruptcy.

How Much Is Malpractice Insurance for Lawyers?

When an insurance provider evaluates the cost of malpractice insurance for a lawyer or law firm, they take several factors into account. The biggest factor they consider is the amount of risk that is involved.

Different legal specialties have different levels of risk. Insurance agents calculate risk based on a combination of frequency and severity. How frequently the specialty reports claims and how severe the claims are.

Let's dig into several factors that impact the way an insurance agent will calculate the risk and associated costs of malpractice insurance for your law practice.

What Services Does Your Practice Provide?

The services your practice provides will be determined by the area of law you practice. The services a family lawyer offers are inherently different from those of a criminal lawyer, for example.

The area of law you practice and the services your law firm provides has a major impact on how much your malpractice insurance will cost. This is simply because some practice areas have higher levels of risk than others.

The higher your practice's level of risk, the higher the cost of your firm's insurance premiums. To evaluate these costs, insurance agents must perform constant calculations across all legal areas of practice.

Is Your Area of Practice High Risk?

Knowing which practice areas are higher or lower risk is valuable information, whether you are just starting out or considering growing your practice. Before you decide to add a specialty, do some research on its risk level.

Some practice areas in particular that have low-risk severity include family law, bankruptcy, and criminal law. Most legal defense areas also have relatively low-risk severity.

On the other end, real estate law, personal injury, as well as wills, trust, and estate law tend to be at a higher risk and therefore can have higher malpractice insurance premiums.

What Size Is Your Firm?

Larger law firms pay higher premiums than smaller firms do. This is simply because there are more practicing lawyers to insure.

As you add lawyers to your practice, you can expect your insurance premiums to increase. However, your premiums won't necessarily go up exponentially with each additional hire.

Some insurance agents may offer discounts to growing law firms in order to entice them to continue to use their services.

Where Is Your Firm Located?

In the United States, each state can set its own minimum premium requirements for different types of insurance. States can also set different premium rates for each area of law practice.

For these reasons, it is typical for malpractice and other insurance rates to fluctuate yearly. These rates also get determined based on how many malpractice claims occur by practice area in each state.

Finally, insurance companies can charge different premiums based on the county in which your firm practices.

If insurance companies notice a rise in malpractice claims in a particular county, they will raise premiums in that county rather than raise premiums for the entire state.

Insurance companies need to be able to adjust premium rates in order to protect their interests, while also balancing with the need to retain clients.

How Much Coverage Do You Need?

The size of your firm will determine the policy limit you need to effectively protect your practice. Whereas a small law firm may be sufficiently covered with a million-dollar policy limit, a larger firm would find that inadequate.

On the other end, you want to avoid purchasing too much insurance. The higher the policy limit you require, the higher your insurance premium will be.

When determining the policy limit that is appropriate for the size of your law firm, you need to take into consideration the costs of your defense and the cost of any potential settlements.

Consult an Insurance Agency

How much is malpractice insurance for lawyers? As with most questions related to cost, the answer is, it depends. The factors that will determine the cost of your malpractice insurance premiums include:

  • Size of law firm
  • Location of law firm
  • Area and scope of practice
  • Level of risk
  • State minimum premium rates
  • Amount of coverage needed

If you are practicing law in New Jersey without carrying malpractice insurance, you are taking a significant financial risk with your practice. To learn more about the benefits of malpractice insurance, contact us today.


signing contract for home and receiving keys

How is Insurance for Landlords Different from Homeowners Insurance?

Around 36% of households in the U.S. rent the homes or apartments they live in, while the rest own their homes. As a result, owning rental properties is a great way to earn long-term revenue.

If you have a home that you want to rent out, you might need to update your insurance policy on that house.

Homeowner's insurance is one product you can buy to protect a home, but if you rent a house to someone, you'll need insurance for landlords.

What is the difference, you might wonder, between homeowner's insurance and landlord insurance? Continue reading this guide to learn what these products are and their differences.

How Risk Effects Insurance

Homeowner's insurance is not the same as renter's or landlord insurance, even though they all cover homes and dwellings.

An insurance agency offers different products for different purposes, and a property's risk level is one of the reasons they have various types of insurance products.

Risk is a major concern to insurance companies, and they take many steps to determine a person's risk level when offering insurance. As a result, people tend to pay higher rates when they have higher risk levels.

So, how does this factor in with homeowners insurance and insurance for landlords?

The answer is that homeowners tend to have lower risks than tenants renting a place. Insurance companies know this from statistical information.

They know that homeowners tend to file fewer claims than landlords. As a result, home insurance presents a lower risk to insurance companies than landlord insurance.

The result of this is that homeowner's insurance tends to cost less than landlord insurance.

The Purpose and Basics of Homeowner's Insurance

Insurance companies offer homeowner's insurance policies to people who own and live in these homes. Therefore, to purchase homeowner's insurance for a house, you must own it and live in it.

If you don't own the house, you can't buy a homeowner's policy, and you also can't buy one if someone else lives in the home.

If you live in two homes, you can typically still buy homeowner's insurance for both. However, you might pay less for the insurance on the home you're at more often.

So, what is homeowner's insurance? The answer is that it's a product that provides protection for the home you own and live in. It provides several types of protection that you need for your house:

Liability Coverage

If people come to your home and end up with injuries, your liability coverage with your homeowner's insurance policy pays the damages.

You should always carry liability coverage on a home, even after paying off the mortgage.

Dwelling Coverage

The main reason you have home insurance is for the protection it offers for your dwelling - your home's structure.

If your home experiences damage from a peril that your plan covers, your insurance plan compensates you for the damages.

Personal Property Coverage

Your home insurance plan also compensates you for your personal property if you lose any because of a covered peril. Your plan might have limits, though, so you should ask an insurance agent to ensure you have enough coverage.

Additional Living Expenses (ALE) Coverage

ALE provides compensation if you must leave your home for a temporary period after experiencing damages to your house. The damages must be from a covered peril.

The ALE coverage you have with your policy compensates you for the extra costs of living you encounter after damages occur to your home.

Each of these is important to have when you own a house, and you should realize that lenders require home insurance. If you owe money on your house, you can't go without having home insurance.

The Purpose and Basics of Insurance for Landlords

Insurance for landlords is a form of business insurance. While it provides some of the same coverages for a house, it doesn't provide all the same coverage as a home insurance plan.

Insurance companies require different insurance plans for people who own homes they rent to tenants. They often call this landlord insurance or insurance plans for landlords.

Landlord insurance provides protection in two main areas:

1. Liability Coverage

As described above, liability coverage protects you from lawsuits that arise from guests encountering injuries at a property. As the owner of the rental house, you can protect yourself by purchasing liability coverage.

2. Dwelling Coverage

Your landlord insurance policy also covers the structure. If anything happens to the house that the insurance policy covers, you can file a claim for compensation.

Landlord insurance doesn't cover the tenant's personal things. If the tenant wants coverage, they'll need to buy a renter's insurance plan.

Landlord insurance tends to cost more than homeowner's insurance, even though it doesn't provide as much coverage. The reason for this is that the insurance company assumes a higher risk level when insuring a rental.

Steps to Take When Renting a House to Someone

When you rent a home to someone, you can require that the tenant purchase insurance for renters.

Insurance for renters provides coverage for the tenant's personal possessions. It might also provide other forms of coverage, depending on the plan.

You can also set rules to reduce the risk level with the tenant. For example, you can prohibit smoking in the rental. You can also restrict the use of candles.

You may also want to use thorough tenant screening procedures to choose a tenant that will care for the property well. Choosing the right tenant is vital when renting.

Get the Right Insurance for Your Rentals

As you can see, a basic homeowner's insurance plan is not suitable for a house you rent to someone. Instead, you must purchase insurance for landlords to have the coverage you need for your rental home.

If you live in New Jersey or own rental properties there, you can contact us at Central Jersey Insurance Associates for an insurance quote or to learn more about our products.


insurance agent and clients reviewing a document in office together

What Is the Best Insurance Agency in New Jersey?

Did you know there were 36,000 independent insurance agencies in 2020 in the US? For people trying to find a good insurance agency to cover their business and properties, this can mean an overwhelming number of choices.

If you live in New Jersey, the numbers are a bit more manageable since there are only 419 insurance agencies to choose from, but how can you find an agency you can depend on? Read on to learn what to look for when searching for an insurance agency in New Jersey.

Get Recommendations for an Insurance Agency in New Jersey

Word of mouth can help you narrow your options down. Knowing that someone you trust has had a positive experience with an insurance agency in the area can give you the peace of mind you need to make this choice.

When you ask for recommendations, it can be a good idea to put together a list of questions to ask the person making the recommendation. It is important the person recommends the agency because of the quality work they provide and not because of other subjective reasons.

Despite getting a recommendation, you need to do your own vetting before making a decision. Read reviews online and pay special attention to any client complaints. If you see a pattern in them, that can be a warning sign.

The right agency that offers property and business insurance in New Jersey will do its best to address complaints.

Coverage and Specializations

An agency may have excellent reviews, but that means nothing if it cannot offer the coverage you need. For a business, this can be even trickier because your business will be unique and may have unique needs.

For business insurance, you will want an agency that can provide:

  • Worker's compensation
  • Commercial property
  • Commercial auto
  • Product liability
  • Commercial general liability
  • Cyber liability
  • Medical malpractice
  • Professional liability

These are the basics for business insurance, but there may be specifics for your own business you need, so look for an agency that offers what you require.

For home coverage, including rental homes, you need the agency to offer coverage in areas like personal property, homeowner's insurance, liability, landlord insurance, and more. If you need coverage for a commercial property, avoid choosing an agency that has only ever offered insurance for residential properties.

By beginning your search knowing exactly the insurance you need, you can start considering the specialized agencies in your area. Most agencies have websites where they share what niches they work in. If they do not mention it, they probably do not offer it.

Prices

The agency you choose has to have rates that fit your budget while still offering quality services. The agency offering you the lowest prices is not always the best option because their coverage may have limitations. Always go through the coverage details and what fees you can expect.

Before making a decision, get at least three quotes from insurance companies in your area. New Jersey offers guides that show average coverage rates for different policies throughout the state.

Claims Process

Some insurance agencies have a complex claims process and that can be stressful when looking for compensation. Speak with the agency to see what their process is and the average time to get compensation.

The agents the agency employs have to have experience going through the claims process. They should be ready to tell you how they will go about filing the claim.

Financial Standing

Most people remain with an insurance agency for years. You need to be certain the company is financially stable enough to last for all of those years.

If there is a claim situation, the last thing you want to hear is that your insurance agency cannot cover you. There are numerous independent rating agencies that look at various factors and financial results to give the agency a letter score. Before making a choice, check these independent agencies to see what the rating is.

Client Support and Communication

If you need to contact your insurance agency, how can you do so? These days, most companies have 24/7 phone services, as well as online chats and social media support. Many have online portals where you can:

  • Pay bills online
  • Report claims
  • Get claim support
  • Ask billing questions

Working with the agency cannot be difficult. They have to offer rapid responses to your concerns and have a streamlined process for filing a claim, whether online, over the phone, or in person. Ask about how they address billing questions and policy changes.

Certification

A certified agent and agency has met the standards New Jersey's Department of Insurance has in place. That means the agency is qualified and certified to offer its services in the state.

To get certified, an agency has to meet certain financial guidelines, letting you know the agency will meet any claims without a problem.

Some certifications to watch for are the CDAR, or certified designated agency representative, which is given to agents who have at least three years of experience in the industry. For this certification, the agent also has to complete at least 40 hours of continuing professional development each year.

Choose the Best Insurance Agency in New Jersey

Deciding on the right insurance agency in New Jersey means taking time to consider everything from their customer service to the coverage they offer. A good agency will always fight for you.

If you need the best in the state, you can turn to us at Central Jersey Insurance Associates. With our years of experience and our excellent reputation in the state, you will be in skilled hands.

Contact us now to speak with one of our agents!


miniature home and calculator on top of pile of money

7 Common Homeowners Insurance Mistakes and How to Avoid Them

There are over 82 million owner-occupied households in the US, and that number continues to grow. Buying a home is an achievement, but it is not where the financial commitment stops.

Most homeowners then have to navigate mortgages, property taxes, and find a homeowners insurance policy. While you often receive tax and mortgage guidance, finding insurance coverage can be a trickier task. And if you pick the wrong one, it can be a disaster.

So, how can you avoid homeowners insurance mistakes? The first step is to know the common errors homeowners make. Read on to learn the top seven homeowners insurance mistakes and how to avoid them.

1. Underestimating Coverage

One of the top homeowners' insurance mistakes is not buying enough coverage. You want coverage to be enough in all situations. For example, if your home is destroyed, you want enough coverage to support a rebuild. There are many reasons your property could be destroyed, with thousands of homes being destroyed by wildfires alone every year, for example.

It can be a devastating mistake not to get enough coverage. While it can be tempting to pick a cheaper option and hope for the best, it is not worth the risk. Make the investment now so you do not throw away your hard work of buying a home.

2. Ignoring Insurance Terms and Conditions

Always read the fine print of your homeowner's insurance policy. Never presume something like flood damage is covered. Consider the risks for your area and compare policies to see what should be included.

If something isn't covered, add any additional coverage if you need it. And do not be afraid to question the insurance terms and conditions. You want to ensure they will support you in all circumstances and you need to make sure you are on the same page as the insurance provider.

Often cheaper insurance may seem appealing, but you will find issues when you check the insurance terms and conditions. Save yourself money and stress over the long run by understanding the policy so you can select the right one.

3. Setting a Low Deductible

The deductible is how much you pay each time you file a claim on your household insurance policy. Automatically picking a low deductible may appear cost-effective, but it does not always work out that way. A low deductible usually means paying a higher premium, which is the fee you pay for the insurance.

Take the time to consider what option works best for you. The biggest error is not weighing both options: low or high deductible?

A low deductible means you will have higher yearly or monthly premium costs to manage, so assess whether this financially makes sense for your situation. It might seem better if something happens and you will have to pay less out of pocket. But during years where you do not need to claim, a high premium will mean losing out financially.

4. Not Updating the Insurance Provider

Always update your insurance provider on any changes with your home. You will avoid any issues and might save money. For example, if you install certain safety features in your home, you can save money.

Potential safety features that help you save money include alarm systems, sprinkler systems, storm shutters, and carbon monoxide detectors. And these safety features all benefit you.

Preparation is better than reacting. After all, burglaries of residential properties account for 62.8 percent of all cases. So safety features such as alarms can reduce risks of break-ins, along with other reasons you may need to make a household insurance claim.

5. Forgetting To Do a Household Inventory

It may seem tedious, but without an accurate inventory of possessions, you might lose out on a claim. And you will end up spending a lot more money trying to replace items.

Commit time to make a household inventory now, so you can have peace of mind that everything is noted. You do not want to miss out on a claim or forget a valuable item that will then not be covered and replaced. Although some items are irreplaceable, your insurance provider needs proof of belongings to justify a claim.

6. Not Considering Insurance Bundles

When you research insurance policies, consider if you need other insurance policies too. For example, do you need auto insurance?

It can make life easier if you have policies with the same provider if issues arise. Otherwise, you will spend more time contacting different insurance providers.

And sometimes, you can receive discounts for bundling insurance policies. It is important to check with the provider regarding this option.

7. Not Researching the Insurance Provider

When you first move into a home, it is natural to want to relax and enjoy the space. But do not pick the first homeowners' insurance provider that you find. Otherwise, you could end up with a policy that does not protect you and your home.

Take the time to research different providers and compare the cost of insurance options. The cheapest insurance or most expensive insurance is not always the best. The most important thing is that you find a reputable provider who can guide you to what you actually need.

Check independent reviews for the insurance provider and that they have the right licenses. It is surprising how often a company looks great on paper, but the reviews do not match their promises. Often providers offer free consultations so you can get a feel for their customer service and how they will handle your claim. Take advantage of this!

Avoid Homeowners Insurance Mistakes

Now you know the common homeowners insurance mistakes to avoid. Taking the time to research insurance options will save your wallet and home over time. If you pick the right homeowners' insurance provider, they will guide you through the process and ensure your coverage is sufficient for your needs, while making sure you aren't overspending.

Central Jersey Insurance Associates has been in business for over 50 years and is happy to help you with your homeowners insurance needs. Contact us today to schedule an appointment with our insurance agents.