businessman choosing insurance services option from digital projection

Choosing an Insurance Agency for Your Business

Did you know Americans paid $1.28 trillion for insurance premiums in 2020? Why do you think businesses and individuals heavily invest in insurance?

It provides them with security and a safety net in case of emergencies. Imagine your business equipment breaking down or business goods getting stolen. You wouldn’t want to close your firm because of such uncertainties.

A good insurance policy can protect you from these liabilities and more. Before paying your premiums, you need assurances you are working with a competent insurance agency.

Here are essential factors to consider when choosing an insurance agency.

Factors to Consider When Choosing an Insurance Agency

Each insurance agent brands their company as competent and reliable. You have to look beyond the marketing messages. What should you look for?

Here are essential factors to consider when reviewing options for insurance agencies.


When selecting an insurance agency, consider certification. A certified agency has met the standards set by your state’s Department of Insurance. It is qualified to conduct business in your area.

Here are some certifications you can look out for:

Certified Designated Agency Representative (CDAR)

The Insurance Regulatory Authority gives this certification. Insurance agents must have a minimum of 3 years of experience in the industry. They also need to complete at least 40 hours of Continuing Professional Development (CPD) every year.

Certified Insurance Advisor (CIA)

The Insurance Brokers Association gives this certification. It also requires a minimum of 3 years of experience in the industry.


How much coverage does your business need? Depending on a business model, insurance needs may differ.

As a business owner, your goal is to have your company adequately covered. This can mean different things to different companies. Choose an insurance agency that meets your needs.

As a rule of thumb, you should consider the following options:

  • Property coverage
  • Commercial general liability
  • Commercial auto
  • Product liability
  • Errors and omissions
  • Workers' compensation

The list is not limited to these types of coverages alone. Your coverage needs may be different if you own a food truck business or other modern businesses.

You are better off working with an agency that can customize a policy according to your business needs.

Insurance Terms and Conditions

There are terms and conditions that accompany every policy. Many people are not sure of the insurance terms and conditions.

People skip to the end of the terms and conditions, or just sign without looking at it. This could land you in trouble during the claims process. Before signing any insurance agreement, understand all the terms and conditions.

If some terms are unfamiliar, get your agent or lawyer to break them down to you. Review the claims process, deductibles, policy period, and policy limits. This will help determine if the insurance agency offers a comprehensive plan for your business.

The terms and conditions will determine your policy provisions.


Reputation will tell you which insurance agency is worth your business, as it's built by word of mouth. It is an effective form of advertisement and one to consider since it's not coming from the agency.

Insurance agencies with a poor reputation often have higher premiums and unreliable claims processes.

Choose an agency with an excellent reputation and a history of excellent customer service. These companies are more willing to negotiate better terms for your business.

Consider checking agency reviews online via platforms like BBB or Yelp. Online reviews will offer insight into customers' experiences with the company.

Reading online reviews is not enough, though. Consulting with your friends and family is the most reliable form of word of mouth. Such reviews are more genuine and free of bias.

Your family will offer accurate reviews sugarcoating nothing, while some online reviews are subject to manipulation.

Cost of Coverage

Today, many insurance agencies offer free quotes on their website. This makes it easy to compare prices.

When choosing an insurance agency, consider the price. You need a policy that matches your budget. However, don't just choose the agency at the lowest price.

Discounts and lower costs should not be at the expense of quality service. You would rather pay slightly higher premiums for quality service.

Customer Service

A competent insurance agency cares about their customers' needs. They are there to help when you have questions or concerns. You need someone who will help find a solution that fits your needs.

When reviewing customer service, consider the company's insurance agents. Insurance agents are the first point of contact for clients. They work directly with customers and offer guidance, support, and information on their policies.

Depending on how a company trains its agents, it will determine how helpful they are. Reliable agents answer questions and address your concerns. They offer advice that best suits each customer's needs.

Agents should ensure clients are satisfied with the company's services. It's frustrating to follow up on an issue for days or weeks. Work with an insurance agency that makes your needs a priority.

Work With the Best Insurance Agency

Choosing a reliable insurance agency doesn’t have to be daunting. With the above tips, you will secure a good business insurance policy and avoid frustrations when your business is in crisis.

Central Jersey Insurance Associates is committed to quality insurance products and services. We offer a wide range of business insurance coverage; workers' compensation, professional liability, and more. The total experience of each client is our number one priority.

Contact us today for quality insurance coverage.

medical stethoscope on top of notepad next to doctor working on laptop

Medical Malpractice Insurance FAQs for Medical Professionals

Medical professionals provide life-saving treatments every day. However, sometimes those interventions can lead to civil lawsuits. A quarter-million Americans died because of medical malpractice in 2020.

Not every death leads to a lawsuit. But in the event of litigation, medical malpractice insurance can protect doctors from bankruptcy. In this article, we'll explain the basics of professional liability insurance.

What Is Medical Malpractice Insurance?

Malpractice insurance is a special type of insurance for physicians, as the policies offset liability. They protect doctors when a treatment injures or kills a patient.

Most states mandate medical malpractice insurance coverage. They also require medical systems like hospitals to carry this form of insurance for doctors. The policies are often paid through monthly premiums or as a lump-sum annual fee.

The insurance is available through traditional insurance carriers like Blue Cross Blue Shield, while some companies specialize in medical malpractice insurance.

Another form of protection from liability comes from a medical risk retention group. These state medical societies are a form of self-insurance. The members agree to collectively pay for costs related to defending cases and paying judgments.

Any type of medical doctor or medical professional may need individual or group coverage. Dentists, psychologists, pharmacists, nurses, optometrists, and others can use the coverage. Surgeons represent the highest percentage of cases that use medical insurance.

What Does the Insurance Cover?

Sometimes medical insurance protects doctors following a legitimate medical error. In other cases, the coverage protects medical professionals from fraudulent claims.

Doctors are often seen as an easy target for lawsuits. This is because plaintiffs see doctors as being able to pay out large court settlements.

Insurance for medical professionals covers a range of expenses related to malpractice suits.

Attorney and Court Costs

Even a baseless malpractice claim will probably make it to court or mediation. Attorneys can charge hundreds of dollars per hour for their services. Doctors would have to pay those fees out of pocket if they do not have malpractice insurance.

Court filings are also expensive. Extra fees could include expert witness testimony and court reporter fees.

Arbitration Costs

Arbitration is a negotiation process that is done in private. It is often done between two or more concerned parties.

Arbitration also requires legal fees. Judges are often hired to act as arbitrators, and they charge high fees.

Arbitration can lead to lower court fees and a faster resolution to legal disputes. Medical malpractice insurance typically covers the cost of arbitration.

Settlement Costs

Attorneys may agree to settlements for many reasons. Sometimes settling a case is the better option than going to court. Ultimately, court trials take doctors away from their patients.

The attorney or attorneys who represent your insurance company may see the settlement as the better option. Settlement costs are usually covered by medical malpractice coverage.

Punitive and Compensatory Damages

If a judge rules in favor of the plaintiff, a court may find a doctor liable for damages. Judges often award monetary damages to settle cases.

Judges assess compensatory damages based on the level of harm done to a defendant. Following the death of a patient, one or more family members may seek damages. The damages often equal what the deceased patient would have earned over the rest of his or her lifetime.

Judges can levy punitive damages besides compensatory damages. Punitive damages are often reserved for cases where a judge sees an injury or death as egregious.

As long as criminal conduct is not involved, punitive damages may be covered.

Medical Damages

Some plaintiffs may seek medical damages, and these costs are related to the medical procedure. Further medical treatments may be needed because of a botched procedure. In that case, malpractice insurance may cover medical damages.

What Is Not Covered by the Insurance?

Medical malpractice insurance does not cover doctors who engage in sexual harassment and other forms of sexual misconduct. Liability resulting from criminal acts is not covered by malpractice either. Doctors who alter medical records may lose protection under malpractice insurance. Malpractice insurance protects doctors who perform procedures ethically.

Other Malpractice Insurance Considerations

Medical malpractice insurance covers certain types of situations. Any hospital, private practice, or group practice will need to look at several other types of insurance, too.

Cyber liability protection is one example. If ransomware hits your company, you will need a special type of insurance to address loss because of those events.

Failure to fulfill regulations may lead to the need for a unique form of insurance. Some forms of medical malpractice insurance can add provisions to cover these situations.

When shopping around for coverage, be sure to ask what all is covered. If there are certain protections that you would like added, ask the insurance carrier if those protections can be added.

Find the Right Malpractice Insurance for Your Medical Practice

Medical malpractice insurance allows doctors to perform treatments without the worry of lawsuits. The form of insurance is robust enough to cover pretty much any type of liability issue tied to performing medical treatments.

If you are shopping around for medical malpractice insurance, you want to work with a company that has extensive experience. Central Jersey Insurance Associates has been in business for over 50 years. To schedule a consultation with one of our agents, please contact our team today.

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A Guide To Commercial General Liability Insurance

Are you looking for ways to protect your business and clients from a financial setback? Do you fear that one mistake by your staff could lead to monumental damage to your clients? If so, then you need to learn all that you can about commercial general liability insurance.

Every company should invest in business insurance to protect its future. All it takes is one error to complicate your business' finances. With the right coverage, you can have total peace of mind as you go about your daily business operations.

See below for an in-depth guide on commercial general liability insurance and why it's so essential.

What Is Commercial General Liability Insurance?

Imagine the horror of finding out that a customer is suing you for the injuries that they sustained. For example, a customer might claim you're responsible for their slip and fall accident because a wet floor sign was not around the slick area. Another example is that a customer could claim that a product you sold them was faulty and led to their injury.

Whatever the case might be, you need coverage. Without it, your company will be left on the hook for covering medical bills, loss of wages, and more.

This is where commercial general liability insurance comes in. It protects you and your company from claims that include damage or injury. No matter what industry you're in or the product/service you sell, general liability insurance is a must have. It can cover:

  • Damage that was done to a client's property (such as a faulty plumbing repair causing water damage)
  • Injuries caused by confusing advertising
  • Reimbursements for your defense costs (such as lawyer fees)
  • Any physical injury on your property to a worker or customer

Don't let your business in New Jersey or elsewhere go a day longer without protection. Reach out to us to learn more about our commercial general liability insurance right away.

What To Look For In A Business Insurance Provider

You wouldn't purchase a car from a dealer that you didn't trust or apply for a business loan with a funding agency you don't believe in. Why do any differently with the insurance provider for your business? Your coverage is a major investment. For that reason, it's important to know what to look for in a trusted insurance provider.

First, you can gain some valuable insight from their customers by browsing through online reviews. Do they seem satisfied with the coverage and service they've received?

Next, gauge the insurance company's communication skills. Give them a direct call and ask them as many questions as possible. Do they take the time to answer your questions thoroughly? Do they seem knowledgeable and passionate about their products?

Finally, find a local insurance company. Here at Central Jersey Insurance Associates, we're passionate about protecting the businesses in our community. We want to help small business owners overcome emergency situations.

What Are The Benefits Of Commercial General Liability Insurance?

Now that you understand what general liability insurance covers, let's dive into the reasons you need it most. See below for some of the biggest benefits of investing in liability insurance for your business.

Protects Your Company's Future

Some business owners try to save a few dollars by not investing in business insurance coverage. However, by doing so, they may end up costing themselves thousands of dollars, if not their entire business.

Without proper coverage, your company will be held financially responsible for the injuries and damage associated with your services. By the time you add up medical bills, lost wages, and such, that's a dollar amount that sends most small businesses under.

With general liability coverage in place, you're able to protect your company's future.

Business As Usual

As a small business owner, you have your plate filled with different responsibilities. You know that even one minor setback could end up costing you hundreds or thousands of dollars in sales. Claims against your company can prove to be an enormous obstacle without the right coverage.

With commercial general liability insurance in place, you'll be able to cover the cost of legal representation and overcome this adversity.

With that worry out of the way, you and your staff can focus on running your business operations, knowing that the claim is being taken care of by experts.

Peace Of Mind

There's no denying the mental toll that a claim can take on a business owner. You started this company to help people, so the thought of someone suffering a setback can be worrisome.

Without proper coverage, you'll experience a stress level unlike any you've experienced. Every piece of evidence they stack against you is more money out of your pocket.

Thankfully, general liability insurance can give you some much needed relief. You can rest easy at night knowing that, if an accident occurs, you have protection for yourself, your company, your workers, and your clients.

Invest In Commercial General Liability Insurance Today

Now that you have read an in-depth guide on why commercial general liability insurance is so important, use this information to your advantage.

Take the time to read this article for more information on the business health insurance that your New Jersey company needs. Call us directly at 732-383-7158 and we will be happy to assist you further.

hvac contractor working on central air unit

What Type of HVAC Contractor Insurance Do You Need?

Did you know that the average replacement cost of a HVAC system is between $4820 and $9350 Depending on the size of your business, it could cost more.

The liabilities associated with the HVAC system go beyond a breakdown. The risks include property damage or bodily harm to contractors. Some risks may even be unavoidable.

You need HVAC contractor insurance to protect your business from unfortunate events.

Like other insurance policies, they don't feel necessary until you need one. Don't wait for that moment as one accident can cost you your business.

Keep reading to learn the types of HVAC contractor insurance your business needs.

Types of HVAC Contractor Insurance

Getting the right HVAC insurance is the best bet to mitigate risks. Depending on your business dynamics or which state you conduct business in, different insurance coverages may be necessary.

Different states in the US require specific types of HVAC insurance. At a minimum, most states require HVAC technicians and business owners to have general liability insurance.

Choose an insurance company that matches your coverage and state’s needs.

General Liability Insurance

HVAC installation and operation pose risks like property damage and accidental injuries. HVAC liability insurance covers primary third-party risks, while general liability insurance protects your company from common risks that affect other businesses.

So, what coverage does general liability insurance offer?

• Property damage costs
• Courts and legal fees in case of a lawsuit
• Medical payments for people injured on site
• Physical injuries during an onsite job
• Moisture damage caused by HVAC work

Injuries or damages by HVAC systems can exhaust life savings. You don’t want to work under such risks.

Workers' Compensation Insurance

Over 13,000 non-fatal work injuries occur annually in HVAC and plumbing operations. Injuries in the line of duty can attract claims and costly medical bills.

Since HVAC installation and maintenance require a team of professionals, there are a good amount of people you'll want covered. Every once in a while, you can also expect to send in HVAC contractors or other staff for repairs and maintenance.

You need security for the staff in case of injuries. It gives you peace of mind if the employees can get proper treatment without breaking the bank.

A workers' compensation insurance policy covers the staff’s medical and payroll costs. Many states require business insurance for HVAC contractors, particularly the employees.

Contractors Error and Omission Insurance (Professional Liability Insurance)

Although your HVAC contractors are skilled with experience, accidents happen. Some mistakes are minor and don't warrant hefty consequences. However, the errors that call for claims and lawsuits are not to be ignored.

You need contractor error and commission insurance to address negligence claims and professional mistakes. The policy allows HVAC contractors to move on smoothly from client disputes.

If you run an HVAC installation business, you need to be accountable for your mistakes. Choose a professional liability insurance to build trust with clients.

Commercial Auto Insurance

HVAC service providers commonly need vehicles to carry equipment and technicians from one job to another. Service providers invest in vehicles for convenience and branding.

If your firm has company vehicles, commercial auto insurance should be among your priorities. If your company operates an installation car, transports tools and equipment, or sends employees on errands, commercial auto insurance is a necessity.

An accident by staff using the company car can cause property damage and medical bills. The costs of an automotive injury can accumulate to thousands of dollars. If third parties are injured, the liabilities extend to lawsuits and medical bills.

You can save thousands of dollars by paying a monthly premium of around $200 or less per month.

You need to protect your fleet and staff. Commercial auto insurance covers collision and property damage costs, medical bills, and vandalism on cars. Your cars and staff are valuable assets that need coverage.

Match your commercial auto insurance with New Jersey’s state’s liability insurance requirements.

Technician Umbrella Insurance

HVAC companies or any business are vulnerable to civil suits or liability incidents. These incidents commonly overwhelm your HVAC liability insurance. The umbrella liability insurance protects you from additional costs that exceed the liability insurance.

The policy offers you backup coverage for your HVAC Company. The extra coverage works with liability insurance, commercial auto liability cover, and employer liability insurance.

This type of HVAC contractor insurance is necessary for companies working with high-risk clients.

Equipment Insurance

HVAC systems carry expensive equipment and tools. Machinery such as air conditioners and gas furnaces are costly. It's essential to protect assets from theft or accidental damage.

Standard insurance does not cover the HVAC unit if the damage is because of wear and tear. The insurance will only cover specific conditions.

HVAC equipment insurance is ideal for the following:

• Equipment less than five years old
• Mobile equipment
• Small quotes

The policy covers the repair or replacement of HVAC equipment and tools. If you run an HVAC contractor company, you will need to transfer equipment from one place to another.

HVAC contractor insurance protects your tools wherever you take them.

Choose the Right HVAC Contractor Insurance and Insurance Agency

We cannot control some of the risk factors for HVAC systems. However, you can control the extent of the damage during the aftermath. Work with a competent insurance agency to determine the ideal HVAC contractor insurance for your business.

Before acquiring a policy, research your company’s needs. You want to choose the HVAC insurance policies that perfectly matches your parameters.

If you are not sure of your needs, work with a competent insurance broker. A professional will conduct a needs analysis, which will help determine the most suitable type of HVAC insurance for you.

While insurance coverage may appear to be an annoying expense, it's not. It protects your bank account and ensures business growth. Contact us for comprehensive HVAC insurance coverage for your business.

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What Kind of Business Health Insurance Do You Need?

Around two-thirds of employees focus on their health over everything else—even a higher salary. They usually turn to their company for help, so this matter is in your hands.

Do you want to increase productivity and keep happy employees? Take a closer look at your health insurance benefits.

As a business, how do you take care of your employees’ health? Offering strong health benefits is the easiest method. Keep reading to learn the different types of business health insurance for your needs.

Preferred Provider Organization (PPO)

As the name suggests, a PPO business health insurance plan has preferred doctors or hospitals. Employees covered under this plan must get their medical care from the providers on this list to get the highest coverage.

The members pay higher out-of-pocket costs when choosing out-of-network physicians. There’s also more paperwork involved. Some PPO plans pay out a small sum, but some might not provide coverage at all.

The benefit of this health insurance plan is that employees can enjoy a moderate amount of freedom in their choice of healthcare provider. They do not need a designated primary care physician. They can go to a specialist without a referral from their PCP.

Members must pay an annual deductible before the coverage applies to their bills. They may also have a copayment or co-insurance.

It is a good option for your business if you want a balance between freedom and lower premiums. It also saves your employees from the burden of getting a referral from their primary care doctor to see a specialist.

Health Maintenance Organization (HMO)

An HMO is a group insurance policy allowing members to seek healthcare within a network. It limits the employee in their choice of healthcare provider. They usually have to stick to the network of HMO-contracted companies.

An HMO plan offers lower out-of-pocket expenses for the employee. It also has a broader coverage for preventative services than other options.

It requires the employees to choose a primary care doctor for all their health concerns. When needed, the PCP can refer the member to a specialist. The member must have a referral first to get coverage from the HMO plan.

Employees usually have a copayment, but they may not need to pay a deductible before the policy kicks in. They have no coverage for going outside their network, except in cases of emergencies.

HMOs are a great option when you want to pay a lower premium for health benefit plans. The trade-off is the employee must stick to a network to get coverage.

Point-of-Service (POS)

A point-of-service plan has the features of both HMO and PPO. Like HMOs, employees must select a PCP to refer them to a specialist.

The primary care doctor must be in the network of a POS plan. However, the plan does not limit them to a list of providers.

Members can choose out-of-network healthcare providers, like in PPO. They have to pay more, though.

They are also likely to get a lower coverage for non-network provider services. Employees must pay for the service first and file a claim for the POS plan to pay them back.

If you want a primary care physician to coordinate care for employees, this is a better choice than HMO and PPO. POS has more flexibility while providing lower premiums.

Exclusive Provider Organization (EPO)

EPO has an even more specific network of doctors and hospitals. Members have to use their services to get coverage. Otherwise, the plan does not cover the medical bills, except in emergency cases.

In an EPO plan, employees do not need to select a PCP or get a referral to see specialists. Still, they have to stick to in-network specialists.

Members usually have a co-pay, while deductibles depend on the insurance plan. They rarely have to deal with paperwork.

EPO business health insurance plans offer even lower premiums than a PPO. The network is restrictive, but the advantage is that members do not have to coordinate through a PCP.

High-Deductible Health Plan with a Health Savings Account (HSA)

A health savings account works like a 401(k) or flexible spending account (FSA). It’s a bank account for members to save money, specifically for medical expenses in the future. For non-medical events, they may have to pay a penalty fee and interest.

Participants can make pre-tax or tax-deductible contributions. However, the IRS sets a contribution limit each year. For 2022, the limit is $3,650 for self coverage and $7,300 for family.

Unlike an FSA, HSA funds roll over every year and earn interest tax free. The employees own this account, but you can contribute.

HSAs must pair with a compatible high-deductible health plan (HDHP). This means employees have higher out-of-pocket costs to pay. However, the plan pays for 100% of the costs beyond the deductible amount.

Preventive care is also free, like other plans, even if the member hasn’t met the deductible. For other medical care, they can use their HSAs to cover the costs.

The IRS also sets the maximum out-of-pocket costs. For 2022, it’s $7,050 and $14,100 for self and family coverage, respectively. The minimum deductible is $1,400 and $2,800.

The healthcare providers you can use depend on the plan. It can either be PPO, HMO, POS, or EPO.

The premiums for HDHP plans are lower, making it a good choice for businesses that cannot afford a group health insurance policy. It also gives you greater control over the amount you want to contribute to health employee benefits.

Choose the Right Business Health Insurance Plan Now

The best business health insurance plan depends on the needs of your employees. Of course, the capacity of your business to provide is an enormous factor. Yet, remember that it’s your employees who will have to live with the policy.

Consider what’s better for your employees to make them productive and loyal in the long run. Contact us today and let us help you with insurance plans.

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Why You Should Include Group Vision Insurance in Your Employee Health Plan

It's that time of year again! Open enrollment for 2022 will be here before you know it, and plenty of people in HR are carefully evaluating their employee health plans to see what they should keep and what they should drop.

Is vision insurance a part of your employee health plan? Since many types of insurance leave vision as an optional choice, some employers choose not to include it. However, if you're serious about employee wellness, it's something that should be essential instead of optional.

Want to know why vision insurance is an important part of any group health plan? If you're on the fence about adding it to yours, your mind will be changed once you read about all the benefits that come with vision plans.

Help Employees Save Money

When you're used to seeing glasses and hearing people casually talk about their favorite brand of contacts, it's easy to forget that even though these things are common, they're also costly.

Prescription frames can cost several hundred dollars, and the lenses are treated as a separate cost. Contact lenses can become expensive, as people that use them daily will need to go through several packs in the span of a year.

Help your employees save a little money by giving them a vision plan. Vision plans don't just come with a baseline of coverage. Many also offer exclusive discounts that can help employees save money with certain brands.

Help Your Company Save Money

Adding more coverage to your plan may seem like a strange way to save money, but in this case, it can easily work in your favor.

It isn't uncommon for some insurance companies to bundle their vision or dental plans together for added savings. Adding on vision coverage as a standard part of your plan could end up being a little cheaper than your basic coverage.

It's also important to note that adding on vision can help save you money in less direct ways. Since it's easier for employees to find vision care and take care of eye-related problems, you could see a boost in productivity and a drop in time spent outside of the office.

There are also a variety of tax incentives that both you and your employees can benefit from. In fact, you may be able to deduct up to 100% of the premiums you pay on your vision insurance plan. If you choose to offer group health insurance as a regular part of your compensation package, you may even be able to reduce your payroll taxes by offering tax-free health insurance benefits.

Improve Loyalty and Retention

Do you want to know a reliable way to keep your best employees from searching for new jobs? Higher pay is always a way to keep employees happy, but it's not the only solution.

There are only so many raises you can give an employee in hopes of keeping them engaged and happy at work. If you really want to keep your employees happy, pair that next raise or bonus with introducing vision care into your overall coverage plan.

Salary is one of the most important things keeping people at their jobs, but benefits are a close second. The right benefits package can keep star performers at your company for years to come.

Vision Care Is Health Care

Far too many people associate vision care with getting glasses or contact lenses. While it's true that vision insurance can help cover the cost of prescription glasses and contact lenses, a good plan does much more than get you a stylish pair of glasses.

Your eyes do more than just provide vision, they can also be alarm bells for more serious problems. It isn't uncommon for serious problems associated with diabetes and other chronic conditions to be present in the eyes. One exam could help spot serious conditions.

It's also important to note that health problems can occur in the eyes. Cataracts, glaucoma, macular degeneration, and strabismus can be caught and treated during a routine eye exam.

All of these reasons and more are why eye health should be taken seriously. Vision care truly is health care, and employers should do whatever they can to help employees get comprehensive care.

Showcase Your Wellness-Driven Culture

Employee wellness has been a term employers have used for a while, but the recent pandemic has made the term much more meaningful. Health, work performance, and job satisfaction are all bound together. In a world where health is much more fragile, it's more important than ever for workplaces to show that they're dedicated to the health and wellness of their employees.

There are several ways employers have embraced wellness at work. Some offer discounts on gyms and others offer incentives for employees that take health and wellness classes.

The easiest way to embrace and showcase your culture of wellness is to add the right benefits to your health care plan. Vision care makes your employee's insurance coverage much more comprehensive and shows that you take their health seriously.

This doesn't just affect the employees you have now. Adding vision care to your insurance package can show potential future employees that you have a wellness-driven culture too.

Choose Your Next Employee Health Plan the Right Way

Health care is one of the primary motivators for workers. If you want to choose a comprehensive employee health plan, it's crucial for vision coverage to be a part of it.

Adding vision coverage to your health plan makes financial sense for your company and its employees. It also can boost employee morale, improve your company image, and make work a happier place to be for everyone involved.

Do you need help choosing the right insurance plans for your employees in New Jersey? Contact us today so we can work on creating the right coverage plan to meet your needs.

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What Is EPLI Insurance and How Can It Protect Your Business?

Did you know that a business is three times more likely to be sued by an employee than experience a fire? Most employee lawsuits (41.5%) target small private companies with less than a hundred employees.

The average cost of employment liability rose by 26% within three years. If a business loses the case, the average settlement cost is around $217,000.

Out-of-court settlements are much cheaper averaging about $75,000.

However, seven out of ten businesses still don’t understand the importance of EPLI insurance.

The insurance policy proves useful in dealing with employee-related lawsuits. In this post, we explain what EPLI insurance is and how it can protect your business.

What Is EPLI Insurance?

EPLI is covered under the equal employment opportunity commission enforced laws. All employees are protected against discrimination in every aspect of employment.

But over the years, internal lawsuits keep rising, making it risky and costly for most business owners. Employment practices liability insurance is a policy put in place to shield employers from such lawsuits.

Businesses that adopt this insurance policy get a better understanding of their rights, and the employer can follow a lawsuit with a counter lawsuit if they deem it necessary.

There are many forms of EPLI claims. But some are more common and you might have seen them at least once. Here is something to look out for to avoid your business getting sued.

General Discrimination

During the hiring process, avoid asking for family medical history. Under the Genetic Information Non-Discrimination Information Act, the law prohibits the use of genetic data to approve or reject an applicant’s employment status.

Illegal Background Checks

The Fair Credit Reporting Act ensures there is privacy, accuracy, and fairness of consumer credit bureau file data. Background checks are common during the hiring process.

However, the employer must follow the Act when conducting checks on potential employees.

Pregnancy Discrimination

The Pregnancy Discrimination Act came into existence in 1964. It requires all employers to let expectant women continue working for as long as they can.

The law is also clear that a job applicant is not to be turned down for employment because of their pregnancy.

Unpaid Internship Programs

Sometimes, there is no apparent difference between an intern and an employee. Before starting the internship program, invite an expert for a review.

The expert checks if your program follows the requirements put in place by the Department of Labor for internships.

Recreational Marijuana Consumption

The legalization and decriminalization of marijuana in New Jersey has brought more freedom. Employers need to review relevant laws before dismissing a potential employee.

The business should also focus on creating favorable drug policies. These policies should focus on keeping the workplace safe. Remember to keep up with new legislation regarding marijuana usage in your location of business.

What Does Employment Practices Liability Insurance Cover

Legal action against a company is quite expensive even if you win the lawsuit. The size of the business doesn't matter with employment lawsuits.

But smaller businesses are more likely to be affected since they cannot keep the services of lawyers. As a small business owner, EPLI insurance is the safest bet for protecting your business.

The insurance company advises the business on the steps to take to reduce the risk of employee lawsuits.

Employment practice liability insurance is typically not covered by basic liability insurance. You must purchase it as a stand-alone policy or add it to your business insurance or homeowner's insurance.

The insurance covers legal costs, judgments, and settlements that result from the following claims.

Workplace Sexual Harassment

Following the rise of the #MeToo Movement, there has been a spike in workplace-related sexual harassment lawsuits. The claims account for 31.7% of all employment lawsuits, inclusive of LGBT-based charges.

The ELPI insurance is not limited to the business as an entity. If a director, management team, or employee receives a sexual harassment lawsuit, the policy covers any financial losses resulting from the proceedings.

Wrongful Termination Case

Employee wrongful termination charges fall under civil lawsuits. It allows employees to seek compensation for losses incurred because of the termination.

The EEOC views wrongful termination as some sort of discrimination. But it’s challenging to prove since an employer can end a contract at any time and for reasons only known to them.

To resolve future wrongful termination charges, our EPLI insurance provider vets the company’s layoff process, ensuring it is in order.

Retaliation Claims

In 2020, half of the total claims sent to the EEOC involved retaliation lawsuits. Employers lost half of the lawsuits with around 10% of cases costing over one million dollars.

But the settlement fee is directly affected by the size of the company and strength of evidence, among other factors.

Retaliation charges range from economic and non-economic damages to punitive damages. The cost of the lawsuit and attorney’s fee are some other charges you can incur.

Most small businesses don’t have $1 million for settling claims, so purchasing the EPLI insurance policy covers your business against costly retaliation claims.

Discrimination Lawsuits

The majority of workplace lawsuits fall under discrimination. There are specific laws put in place to protect employees against any form of discrimination in the workplace.

An out–of–court discrimination settlement will set a business back around $40,000. Employment practice liability insurance is responsible for covering all forms of discrimination charges brought against your business.

The rate of employment lawsuits and the cost of settlements keep on rising. You should protect your business against costly settlement fees.

What EPLI Insurance Doesn’t Cover

Though the insurance policy offers great protection against most employment lawsuits, it doesn't cover everything. For example, if a computer breach results in privacy violations, EPLI insurance may not cover it.

Here are other scenarios that EPLI doesn't cover.

• Punitive damages resulting from criminal activities

• Intentional or malicious acts

• Claims arising under worker’s compensation law

• Bodily injuries

• Property damage

Secure Your Business With the Best EPLI Insurance Agency in New Jersey

As more businesses grasp the extent of employment lawsuits, they are looking to EPLI insurance. Adding an extra layer of protection to your business is never a bad idea.

Especially for small businesses who can get crippled by heavy attorney and settlement costs. Central Jersey is an insurance associate firm that offers premium insurance services for business owners and homeowners.

Contact us today to discuss our ELPI insurance policy. We will help you learn how you can set up policies to avoid employment lawsuits.

whole life insurance document next to paper cut outs of a family

What Are the Benefits of Whole Life Insurance?

What are the benefits of whole life insurance? And how do they compare to those of term life insurance? If you've been wondering about this yourself, prepare to have your questions answered.

Below is a comprehensive guide on why whole life insurance is a good idea for everyone. For starters, it's the most secure way to make sure your loved ones are taken care of after you pass.

And even before you're gone, you yourself can reap its benefits. These include possible dividends, tax reductions, and retirement funding.

Ready to learn all about it? Read on to discover even more about the amazing benefits of whole life insurance.

What Is Whole Life Insurance vs Term Life Insurance?

The term whole life insurance means that the policy lasts until the policyholder dies. No matter how many years there are until that day, the policy won't expire. The only way the policy can be canceled is if the insured fails to pay their premiums or if they voluntarily cancel it.

Alternatively, term life insurance policies do expire. They last only until their specific term is up. After that, they're either renewed or they end.

However, the terms and conditions of the policy, including premiums, can change with each renewal. Usually, this means that the premiums increase.

Now, let's take a look at the specific advantages of whole life insurance.

1. Whole Life Insurance Never Expires

We mentioned this one already, but the really important part is that you'll never be without coverage.

For instance, when term life insurance is about to expire, you must consider your insurance options all over again. Your renewal offer might now be more than you can afford or otherwise unsatisfactory. If so, you'll have to compare quotes from other companies.

This could plausibly take so long that your current term expires. Then, you (and your surviving loved ones) are left without coverage if anything happens to you.

This may be a rare, worst-case scenario, but it's still possible.

2. The Cost of Premiums Doesn't Change

As mentioned, your renewal offer premiums for your term life insurance will increase as you get older. And even if you shop around for the best deal, premiums for the elderly are always expensive.

This is arguably the number one advantage of whole life insurance. Your premiums will never, ever go up. If you start paying whole life insurance premiums in your twenties, you'll pay the same for premiums when you're 75.

For this reason, whole life insurance is much more affordable overall. Even better, it's more affordable when you need it the most—that is, in your old age.

3. There's Less Hassle

You can tell by the examples above that term life insurance is a big hassle every time you have to renew. That's not the case with whole life insurance.

Since your whole life policy never changes and you never have to renew it, you don't have to worry about it, either. All you must do is make sure you keep paying your premiums.

4. Know That Your Loved Ones Are Taken Care Of

All the terms and conditions of your whole life policy, including what you leave to your loved ones, never change unless you decide so. And they never expire or lapse as long as you pay your premiums. Thus, you can rest knowing your surviving family members are well taken care of on the day of your passing.

5. Tax-Free Benefits

Amazingly, the money left to your loved ones through your whole life policy is completely tax-free. Your survivors will get exactly the amount that you set aside for them. Conversely, the taxation of term life insurance benefits can be an enormous problem for your surviving family.

6. Possible Dividends

Some insurance companies also award you with annual dividend payments. You can use these to invest more in your policy or for personal use.

7. Your Policy Has Cash Value

Now, let's talk about how the insured can benefit now, before they pass. The following benefits all have to do with the fact that your whole life policy builds cash value as you add to it. This is not true of term life insurance.

Take Out a Loan

Once the cash value is built up enough, you can borrow some for use at any time, for any reason. It's an easy loan to get approved for too because you're borrowing from yourself. Expect a very favorable interest rate as well.

Tax Benefits

Your cash value is also tax-deferred. That means, as long as it remains in your whole life insurance account, it's tax-free. You will only pay tax on it if you cancel the policy and take the cash for yourself.

Also, your whole life policy may be subject to taxation if it becomes a Modified Endowment Contract (MEC). This can happen if you put excessive amounts of money into it. Here, the policy is recategorised as an MEC and is subject to different taxation laws.

Donate to Charity

Sometimes, you can get an income tax reduction when you donate large sums to certain charities. You can borrow from your whole life policy for this too.

This may be a good idea during years that you make a lot of income. You get to save on taxes and help out at the same time.

Fund Your Retirement

Your whole life insurance cash value is also good for retirement funding. Take out consistent, reliable payouts as an annuity alongside your other retirement income.

Reap These Benefits of Whole Life Insurance

If you don't have whole life insurance, you now know why you should. Don't miss out on these benefits any longer. Contact Central Jersey Insurance Associates today to discuss your options.

health insurance document with pen and stethoscope

How to Lower Your Health Insurance Premiums

The average monthly health insurance cost is now close to $500. It's a small wonder many Americans are looking to reduce their premiums.

It's easy to conclude that they're just a fact of life, and there's little we can do to reduce them. But actually, there are some things that all of us can do to make them more affordable.

Let's look at how to lower your health insurance premiums.

Make Lifestyle Changes

A recent study found that many Americans would gladly make lifestyle changes to reduce their health insurance cost. In fact, the study found that one-third of Americans would agree to 24/7 personal monitoring! All in the name of reducing their premiums.

While this kind of monitoring may be something for the future, there are changes you can make now to reduce your premiums.

Quit Smoking

Most insurers do tobacco rating for their insurance policies. This is only prohibited in 4 states and the District of Columbia. Smokers can pay as much as 50% more for their insurance policy.

This could provide an extra incentive to people who are struggling to quit smoking! Not only will your general health improve, but you should also benefit from lower health insurance premiums.

Lose Weight

The Affordable Care Act (ACA) does not allow insurers to charge higher premiums to people with pre-existing conditions. However, obesity does not come under this category.

Insurers use a person's BMI to calculate their insurance premiums. If their BMI is higher than 30, they can charge up to 50% more than for someone with a BMI in the healthy range.

Losing weight to bring your weight under 30 on the BMI scale will have health benefits. It may also help you to reduce your premiums when renewals come around.

Shop Around

For many people, affordable health insurance is out there, but it just takes a lot of homework. If this is overwhelming, consider getting an insurance broker to help you find the right health insurance for you.

Consider Using a Health Insurance Broker

A health insurance broker can view coverage from many insurers. It gives you an opportunity to discuss your specific needs so that they can find an insurer that provides the right level of coverage.

Check Your Tax Credits

Family and personal circumstances may change from year to year, as do government regulations. It's important to check each year that you are receiving the correct amount of tax credit for your situation.

Check Prescription Drug Coverage

If you take prescription drugs regularly, check where each insurer stands on those drugs before choosing a policy. Some pharmaceutical companies may have a program for lower-income patients that you can benefit from. Discuss this with your pharmacist.

Generic medications may also be available at a lower cost. This is an important part of your research, as lower premiums may mean higher out-of-pocket costs.

Use Doctors Within the Network

If you choose to visit doctors who are not in your insurance network, you will probably have to pay the costs in full. While it can be frustrating to change doctors, using doctors within the network will keep costs down.

Alternatively, if you want to ensure that you can see a particular doctor, choose coverage with an insurer that includes them.

What If I'm in a Group Health Plan?

Depending on the size of your company and your relationship with your employer, you may be able to discuss reducing premiums with them.

It may surprise employers when they consult employees. Certain coverage options may actually be unpopular or unnecessary. Reducing these options may dramatically reduce premiums.

Carefully Consider Changing Categories

Many purchase their health insurance through the ACA marketplace. If you do, you can consider the advantages of changing coverage.

There are three 'metal' categories - Gold, Silver, and Bronze. Gold provides the highest level of coverage, with low costs for care and fewer deductibles.

Silver is the moderate level of cover and Bronze is the lowest. The premiums follow the same pattern. Gold is the most expensive, Silver has a moderate monthly premium, and Bronze is the cheapest.

If you're in excellent health and rarely need medical services, then Bronze may be suitable for you. However, if you want to qualify for cost-sharing reductions such as premium tax credits, you must choose the Silver plan.

This is a risky option, but would reduce the monthly cost of your health insurance. However, if you needed unexpected medical care, your costs would be higher.

Raise Your Deductible

To lower your health insurance premiums, the simplest way is to raise your deductible. What this means is that you will pay a lower premium each month, but if the time comes that you need care, you will have to contribute more.

Health insurance deductions are the amount you pay before your insurance plan pays. If you choose a higher deductible plan, make sure that you have the funds to cover it.

A High Deductible Health Plan (HDHP) is often combined with a health savings account (HSA). This account allows you to save money that's free from federal taxes to use towards your healthcare. This can help to reduce some risks of having a plan with a higher deductible.

Cut Out Unnecessary Doctor's Visits

There are many things we do to keep ourselves healthy, but the fact is all of us get sick from time to time. Some of these sicknesses require a visit to the doctor's office, but there are many that respond well to over-the-counter medication.

For example, a mild fever or a cold may pass within a couple of days with medication we can purchase ourselves. There is no need in such cases to consult a doctor. The same with minor stomach ailments.

However, if conditions continue, it's essential to seek medical advice. Do your research, and don't take chances if a condition is becoming more serious or lasting for longer than expected.

The Bottom Line: Lowering Health Insurance Premiums

Health insurance premiums are a significant monthly cost for most Americans. Shop around, choose the right level of coverage for your situation, and keep yourself as healthy as possible. Doing this will help you keep costs manageable.

At Central Jersey Insurance Associates, we help New Jersey residents find the right insurance coverage for them.

Contact us today to discuss how we can help you find the right healthcare insurance.

flooded living room with couch under water

Homeowners Insurance: How to Protect Your Home

It's a widely accepted fact that insurance is a great way to prepare yourself for potential disasters in the future. That's especially true when working to protect your home and your finances.

But did you know that in order to get a mortgage, you'll likely be required to have home insurance set up?

All major banks and lenders see the value of insuring a home, and we want to make sure you do too. That's why we've created this guide to help you get a basic understanding of homeowner insurance, the benefits of having a policy in place, and how to get covered.

Coverage Details

Homeowners insurance sounds fairly straightforward. It's coverage in case something catastrophic happens to your home so you can make any necessary repairs to keep it a livable space. But, in fact, there is much more to it than that.

The coverage offered by homeowner insurance policies varies widely. It's important to make sure that you get the coverage you need for your specific needs. The policy you choose and the extent of the coverage is up to you.

Every insurance broker should be able to give you a breakdown of each of their policy options. It's helpful to come up with a set list of what will and won't be necessary for your new home. That way, you can compare it to your options to find the perfect fit.

Types of Homeowners Insurance

Once you've determined the basic things you'd like to have covered by your homeowner's insurance, it's time to inspect the different types of insurance you can purchase. Just a few minutes into your research, you'll see there are so many options to choose from.

Many policies are broken down by the type of property you own. There is specific insurance for large homes and a different policy would be used for a townhome, for example.

Another major difference between types is how the amount is determined. You'll either have the current value of your property (home and belongings) be the total, which means the number will go down as the items age and depreciate. Or it could be the purchase value, which means the total will stay the same regardless of depreciation.

Finding the Right Broker

The differences between options to insure a home can seem very subtle so it wouldn't matter which option you went with, but the wrong choice can have lasting effects on your living situation. In the home insurance shopping experience, this is a great time to work with a professional.

An insurance broker will have all the knowledge and expertise to give you solid advice and find you the perfect amount of coverage.

The key to success is finding a broker who can look at your specific property and belongings to determine which policy would best protect you in a disaster. Ask around to the people you trust for recommendations so you know you're in excellent hands!

Overall Cost of Insurance

There's no way to give an accurate estimate for the cost of a homeowners insurance policy with none of the specifics of the home or anything else covered. The price you pay depends on those factors. Though there are calculators that can give you an idea with some of your basic information.

As you determine what you can afford and what you can't in terms of insurance, it's important to consider what it would cost you to recover from a crisis without it.

Most homeowners choose to have their insurance payments worked into their monthly mortgage bill. This allows them to know they're always covered without worrying about missing a payment! But there are also options to pay for the entire year up front as well. Work with your broker to find the best solution for your budget.

Additional Coverage Options

After you have your basic homeowners insurance in place, it's a good idea to look at some additional coverage options. Many things like floods or earthquakes aren't covered by a traditional policy and have to be added on.

If you live in an area that's prone to a specific type of natural disaster, it's best to make sure you're covered for that type of disaster. There would be nothing worse than having your house flooded in a hurricane, only to realize it's not covered and you're responsible for the entire flood repair bill.

This is another instance where working with a professional broker comes in handy. They'll make sure all your boxes are checked and you'll feel more confident.

Keep Details of Policy on Hand

Typically, the kinds of events that cause damage where insurance is needed aren't scheduled. They come out of nowhere and cause immense amounts of stress. The last thing you'll want to do in situations like that is to spend hours searching for your homeowner's insurance policy information.

Take the time to choose a safe place to keep all the information together and accessible. This will help you get the repair process moving much quicker and will ease a lot of your frustration.

Protect Your Home With Homeowners Insurance

Getting a home is a major milestone for anyone. It brings with it a sense of accomplishment, as well as some added stress. There are so many unknowns when owning a home. A problem can turn into a disaster that costs you thousands of dollars.

Instead of leaving yourself vulnerable to a crisis, protect your home and your bank account by adding homeowners insurance. The low monthly cost will pay off tenfold if you find yourself with large amounts of damage. You'll rest easy knowing you'll be able to make the repairs necessary if the time comes.

If you're interested in learning more about homeowners insurance and seeing what your options are, contact us today!