Flooded-home-with-animals

Commercial Flood Insurance for NJ Property Owners

In 2012, Hurricane Sandy caused $70.2 billion in economic damage to New Jersey. Thousands of businesses were closed for renovations, and hundreds never reopened.

Most of these businesses weren't prepared for a storm of this severity. Many of them didn't have commercial flood insurance to help recoup their losses. With no money to rebuild, they were forced to shut down.

Don't let that be you. Floods can happen anywhere but are more common in coastal states like New Jersey.

If your business doesn't have flood insurance, now is the time to get it. Continue reading to find out what flood insurance is, what it covers, and why it matters.

What is a Flood?

A flood is what happens when water accumulates where it isn't supposed to be. This can be from rising tides or overflowing river banks. It can also occur when drain systems get clogged and a lot of rainfalls.

What is Commercial Flood Insurance?

Commercial flood insurance protects businesses against flood damage. It can help cover the costs of building damage or loss of company assets if a flood occurs.

How important is it to have? It could be the difference between permanently closing your doors or rebuilding. It is an invaluable protection for your company, especially if you're in a high-risk flood zone.

Types of Commercial Flood Insurance

There are three types of commercial flood insurance available. The first two are the most commonly used. The third option is an add-on for businesses at a high-risk of flooding or with more than $500,000 in assets.

Standard Policy

The standard policy is for businesses in high flood risk areas. It is also for companies in undetermined risk areas.

With a standard policy, businesses must insure their building and it's contents under two separate policies. Each of the two policies can be for up to $500,000. Deductible options range up to $50,000 per policy.

Preferred Risk Policy

If your business is lucky enough to be in a low-to-moderate flood risk area, it qualifies for a preferred risk policy. These policies have the lowest premiums. It also allows for the building and contents to be insured on the same policy.

Supplemental Policy

Supplemental policies are an extra coverage option for anyone with commercial flood insurance. Most companies don't need it.

Your company might need it if they're in a high-risk flood area. Companies whose building and contents are worth substantially more than $500,000 could also use a supplemental policy.

Does Regular Commercial Insurance Cover Flooding?

No. This is a common misconception that costs New Jersey business owner's fortunes. Regular commercial insurance policies don't cover flooding.

These policies might cover certain water-related damages, however. Usually, you're covered from any water damage that comes from above but not from below.

This means you'd be covered if snow caused your roof to cave in. You wouldn't be covered if a storm surge caused waters to enter your first floor.

How Much Does Commercial Flood Insurance Cost?

The price of commercial flood insurance varies based on certain factors. Your building's age, height, and condition are large factors. The value of assets insured may also affect cost.

The greater the risk of flooding, the higher the insurance premium. Someone in a moderate risk area will pay less than someone in a high-risk area.

The company itself will be a factor. Different companies may have different rates. They might place a higher emphasis on one consideration over another, which can affect the price.

Whether you buy flood insurance through FEMA's National Flood Insurance Program (NIFIP) or a private insurer is another consideration.

How to Choose a Commercial Flood Insurance Policy

When purchasing flood insurance, there are two ways to go about it. You can buy the insurance directly through FEMA's program, or you can go through a private insurer.

If you're looking to buy commercial flood insurance for your business, you want to know how to choose the right policy. Look at the key considerations below to get a better understanding of how to choose the right policy.

  • What flood zone is your company in?
  • What is the value of your assets?
  • Which companies serve your location?
  • Do you need a company that offers supplemental coverage?
  • Which companies offer the best rates for the coverage you need?
  • Do you prefer to work with an insurance agent in person or are you fine with doing business over the phone?
  • Is it possible to work with the same private insurer holding your other insurance policies?

You'll also want to look at online reviews when finding an insurance provider. If you've never worked with a company before, seeing how other customers were treated is the next best thing.

You can search online to find real customer testimonials and reviews. If you find nothing during your online search, you should be wary. Little to no online presence is a huge red flag for scams.

Things To Know About Flood Insurance

Most businesses should have flood insurance. Even in low-to-moderate flood risk areas, this insurance policy can help protect the future of your business. There are a few things you need to know about these policies, however.

  • You must have flood insurance for thirty days before you can receive coverage
  • Flood insurance doesn't cover earth-related disasters (even if there is flooding involved)
  • Policies cover items based on the actual value, including depreciation
  • Flood insurance doesn't cover any damage sustained before the flood

For More Information

Still have questions about commercial flood insurance? Looking to start a flood policy for your business? Contact us today and one of our associates will be happy to assist you.


a home workstation

Neither Here Nor There: Should I Have Home Office Insurance?

Whether you work from home part-time or you run your entire business out of your home, you may want to consider getting a separate insurance plan to cover any potential losses.

You may wonder if you need home office insurance, or if your current homeowner's policy covers everything you need.

Read on to learn more about this specific type of insurance and whether you need it.

It's crucial to know that your important information and assets will safe in an emergency.

Homeowners Insurance Basics

Most insurance companies will cover your home's structure and will pay for repairs for specific types of damages.

Yet, if you use part of your home to work or run a business, there are definitely some limitations.

Each policy is different, but most policies will offer you very limited coverage to any of your property used for business purposes.

In fact, this coverage limit is usually as low as $2,500 and could be even lower for specific items such as computers.

If you use a separate structure such as a garage or shed for your business, traditional homeowner's insurance likely won't cover damages.

And, when it comes to sensitive information or business records, that won't be covered either.

For many business owners, lost revenue can be detrimental.

If you lose revenue as a result of your home becoming damaged or uninhabitable, traditional homeowner's insurance will not reimburse you.

It's also important to note that you won't get liability coverage for your business under a traditional homeowner's policy.

If there's bodily injury or property damage, it won't be covered unless you have a separate home office insurance policy.

What Home Office Insurance Covers

When you get a separate home office insurance policy, it will cover a variety of things for your business.

Most importantly, it should cover things like your business equipment.

Equipment refers to anything from computers and copy machines to your smartphone.

Most standard homeowner's insurance policies have a monetary coverage limit on the contents of your home.

If you have vital business equipment that you use at home, we recommend a separate policy.

It's important to note that your business equipment will only be covered when it's used inside your home.

For example, if you take your laptop with you and it gets damaged on a job site, your policy may not cover it.

You may be able to add a supplemental policy to cover the things you take off-premises.

As a business owner, you should also have a form of general liability coverage.

If someone comes to your home and gets injured, this should help to cover their medical expenses and protect you from a lawsuit.

Perhaps you use your vehicle to conduct business.

If you do, you must make sure that your vehicle is also covered under a separate business policy.

And, if you sell a physical product from your home, consider opting for product liability coverage.

This insurance will protect you if customers claim the product has what's known as "nonperformance."

It may also cover you if someone gets injured because of using your product.

Other Important Things to Consider

While your property and your liability are both crucial to a good home office insurance policy, there are a few other components you may want to add.

These items can be optional, or they may be required depending on several factors.

If you have a large business or live in a specific jurisdiction, you may have to enroll in these other coverages.

The coverage you need may also depend on how much revenue you get from your business.

When you offer services, you must have some professional liability coverage.

This protects you and your clients and can be a real life-saver for many business owners.

Professional liability insurance protects you if a client says they've suffered damages through your actions as a professional.

This insurance protects your personal assets and can also help to pay for your legal defense.

Make sure you go in-depth with your agent to make sure you have the right level of coverage and limitations.

You may also need errors and omissions insurance.

This applies if you're getting paid to give someone professional advice. If someone says that they suffered damages because of your advice, this insurance should protect you.

Disability insurance is another important aspect of home office coverage.

If you become disabled and cannot work or lose income, the policy may provide you with some compensation.

And finally, business interruption coverage is another thing to consider.

This covers any lost revenue if you have to suspend business activities due to flooding, a fire, or other forms of disasters.

Protect Yourself and Your Business

Now that you're aware of what is covered by a home office insurance policy, it's easy to see why it's a crucial part of working from your home.

Whether it's your laptop or a customer complaint, having separate insurance will keep you protected.

Talk to an insurance agent who understands the nuances of this specialized insurance.

When you enroll in a policy, you'll have the peace of mind you need to operate your business in confidence.

For all your business insurance needs, be sure to contact us today for more information and we'll be happy to provide you with a quote.


business people shaking hands

How Much General Liability Insurance Do I Need?

Owning a business means considering all the details that keep it afloat. If you want your business to thrive, you must always protect it with a quality insurance plan.

Since the insurance coverage you need can vary, it's important to get to know what sort of protection is included under each policy. This will let you customize your business insurance to your needs.

Here's what you should look for in a general liability insurance plan.

1. Workers' Compensation Insurance

Once you hire employees, you are legally required to maintain a workers' compensation insurance policy.

Having one of these insurance plans protects everyone involved. Your employees don't have to worry about whether or how they will pay for their medical bills if they get hurt at work, and you won't have to worry about your business being ruined by expensive lawsuits.

When you talk to some business insurance providers, they'll let you know how much insurance you need for your business to be properly covered. It's a matter of both the size of your business and the work that happens at your business. If you work in a risky field or setting, consider a larger and more comprehensive plan.

2. Car Insurance for Any Vehicles That You Use

If you use work vehicles, always make sure you have plenty of work vehicle insurance.

This will protect you if your employees get into a wreck while on the clock. The amount of car insurance that you need will vary based on the vehicles you have, how many people will use them and in what nature.

3. Protect For Damages to Your Property

When you operate a business, you are always at risk for damages to your property. This could mean anything from weather-related to damage to the cost of office repairs.

The value of the plan you get is contingent upon the property value of your workplace. Always thoroughly check the specific types of property damage instances that are covered, so that your plan protects you from all risks.

4. Insurance Clauses That Make Up for Downtime

There are certain situations that can cause your business to go through downtime.

This could result from construction or remodeling work that you need, or you could lose access to your office or resources for circumstances out of your control.

If you don't have the resources or cash flow of a larger company, downtime can be hurtful to your business.

business insurance plan is like a safety net for your small business, so it's important that you purchase the policy that will be helpful to you in that regard.

The insurance plan you get can provide you some cash flow to help you during this gap, and can also provide you temporary infrastructure if you get displaced from your office building.

5. Liability Insurance to Help if You Get Sued

Personal injuries make up some 96 percent of all civil litigation, so you always need to be protected against these sorts of liabilities.

If someone gets hurt when they visit your property, they may have grounds for a lawsuit, from which an insurance plan will be necessary to protect you. You'll want to be prepared to get the insurance company involved when you are gathering records of the injury and engaging in settlement talks.

Since lawsuit payouts can be costly, having your insurance plan active every day is essential.

6. Protection From Advertising Claims

Today's society is very litigious, so you must have insurance that covers you from false advertising and other marketing-related claims.

You may get sued by customers who feel mislead and claim false advertising, or you may get taken to court by another business that thinks you infringed upon their intellectual property. These sorts of cases require a response whether or not you are guilty of these issues, so you will always want to have an insurance plan that will pay your lawyer fees.

7. Industry-Specific Insurance Protection

There are always certain types of business insurance that help you with industry-specific liabilities and protections.

For instance, medical malpractice, libel and construction liabilities are very specific and require policies that account for variables within those industries. Think about the industry you're in when you're looking to sign up for a business insurance plan.

Shop Around for the Best General Liability Insurance

Buying a general liability insurance plan is your best bet if you want your business to stay protected.

Because the area of business is so vast, you must dive into some research to know the exact protections that you will need. Above we've laid out a few of the most common types of business insurance, so you can use these points of information to guide you as you shop around.

There are plenty of insurance professionals that can help you find the right plan for you, so you can consider these points to get the help you are looking for.

We're the best in the biz and would happily help you find whatever kind of business insurance you need.

If you need help or have some questions, you can get in touch with us in a few different ways.

You can contact us online by using the web form, or give us a call at (732) 383-7158.


the outside of a sears store that is closing

Sears Reaches $3 Million Life Insurance Benefits Settlement

Just a decade ago, Sears was a retail giant that led sales for consumer products in several markets.

It was the store people shopped for their hardware, clothing and almost any other need. So, it came as a shock when Sears filed for bankruptcy just last year.

After declining sales and a jeopardized market position, Sears simply couldn't cut it. They couldn't find a way to compete against Amazon's new era of online retails.

Why would their customers journey out to an actual store when they could have everything they need sent to their doorstep with just a few clicks?

It was indicative of the way the industry as a whole is headed.

The more that online retailers earn new market space, the older retailers lose business and face bankruptcy. Sears may not be the last mega-store to go out of the business.

But, it is the first to hold up its end of the bargain and give its employees their life insurance cuts (after some battling in court).

To learn more about the trial that ensured Sears retirees got their life insurance, keep reading below.

Sears Filed for Bankruptcy Last Year

It's no secret that the retail industry has been struggling to survive for a while.

Online retailers like eBay, Amazon, and Etsy have reached a point of efficiency which traditional ones could only dream of. They know how to make sure their employees work hard, and they reap in billions of profits for it.

Sears was just one of the first to feel the brutal effects that the internet has had on the retail industry. It filed for bankruptcy when it had $6.9 billion in assets and over 700 stores across the United States. There was money in the bank for the company to use to keep going forward.

Yet, its leaders realized that there was no way for them to survive what was coming.

The brand had lost its allure, and they were already paying employees the minimum wage. The wounds Sears was losing revenue from were simply impossible to heal.

So, the company's leaders filed bankruptcy, hoping to recoup losses. Yet, they tried to recoup losses by holding back what was rightfully Sears' retirees. They canceled the life insurance plans of several former employees in an attempt to cut back on losses.

An Earlier Deal Prevented Them From Cutting Policies

Yet, former employees fought back.

They recognized that there was an injustice done to them when they could no longer collect on their life insurance policies. They filed a lawsuit against the company, and a team of lawyers got to work holding Sears' leaders accountable.

They found that a prior lawsuit obligated Sears to pay their employees their life insurance policies.

They found that Sears gave up its right to stop making life insurance payments as part of a 2001 lawsuit about the same thing. It could only stop making payments if the company totally liquidated.

And since Sears' leaders were working on recouping lawsuits — the company wasn't totally liquidated. Because of some clever legal research and arguing, the company was required to set up an account for life insurance beneficiaries.

There is $3 million in it for qualified applicants.

The New Fund Isn't Official... Yet

Although the deal was made, it has yet to be approved by a judge.

Sears' leaders are working on setting up the account, and representatives for retirees are confident that they will approve the deal. And once it's approved, it'll be time to collect.

Yet, since the company remains in dire straits, and is still bankrupt, there are stipulations.

Not everyone will get a piece of the fund, and those that do may not get as much as they want. Keep reading below to learn more about the fund, and what you can expect out of it.

It is For Beneficiaries of People Who Died After March 15

The stipulation on the life insurance fund is that it is only for people who were qualified to receive it after March 15.

If your loved one passed away before then, you may not be eligible to collect from the Sears life insurance fund. This date was selected since it was when Sears canceled its life insurance program.

Yet, just because you fall short of the March 15 date doesn't mean you won't get life insurance payments. This date only applies to people eligible to receive from the life insurance fund. If a loved one was on Sears' life insurance policy and passed away before March 15, you may still collect from it.

If you're having difficulty collecting life insurance as a beneficiary, be sure to reach out to a lawyer. They'll make sure you get what you deserve!

Current Applicants Could Get Cents on the Dollar

Just because there was a fund set up to ensure people receive their life insurance payments doesn't mean nothing's changed.

In fact, since Sears is now a bankrupt company, beneficiaries could end up with less. Sears had hundreds of employees, and now there is only $3 million to go around between them.

Yet, getting something is still better than nothing. Once this fund runs out, there may be nothing left to get. Sears' future is too uncertain to say anything for sure.

Even if you won't get as much as you expected, still apply for the fund if you believe you're eligible. Your loved one wanted to leave something behind for you and you deserve it.

We Know What Matters

Picking a life insurance company for your family means picking someone you can trust.

Several people believed that they could trust Sears before the company went bankrupt. Now, they must fight for what is rightfully theirs.

We stand right beside them, too.

As an insurance company, we understand what actions like Sears' hurt the industry. It harms the invaluable trust insurance companies have with their clients, and we believe beneficiaries should get what they deserve from Sears.

And if you want an insurance company that guarantees beneficiaries will receive what they're owed, contact us.

We work tirelessly to provide top-of-the-line insurance coverage for everyone and work with clients to ensure they're satisfied with our policies.


male construction worker holding his knee

Is Workers' Comp Insurance Mandatory for Small Businesses?

You have your business up and running and now all you have to do is hire employees. Before you accept applications you will need to do a little paperwork, including some for workers' comp insurance.

Depending on what kind of business you’re running and how many employees you have, you may or may not be required by your state to get it. There is a little gray area in there that we will go over.

Here is a quick guide on everything you need to know about providing your employees with workers' comp insurance.

Watch our video summary below:

1. What is Workers' Compensation Insurance?

Workers' compensation insurance is a policy you buy that can pay for your employee's medical expenses if they are hurt on the job. So, if one of your employees slips on a wet floor in your retail business and throws out their back they would file a workers' comp claim.

This claim will cover their medical expenses as well as compensate them for any wages they miss out on while they're out of work. They carry this out no matter if you're at fault because you forgot to put up a wet floor sign or they're at fault because they didn't read the sign.

2. Why Does Your Business Need it?

Most states require small businesses to have workers' compensation insurance. You must read up on the laws of your state to find out if you need to have it or not. If you need to get it and you don't have it, you can get into hot water.

Not only would you be required to pay for your employee's medical bills out of your own pocket but you would most likely get hit with a hefty fine.

3. Am I Required by Law to Have it?

Again, the law varies from state to state with this so you must check. It depends on the number of employees you have and what sort of business you run.

Generally, if you have five employees or more, you must have it, but certain businesses can opt-out if the employees are:

  • Business owners
  • Independent contractors
  • Volunteers
  • Farmers
  • Employees of private homes
  • Railroad employees
  • Temp workers

There is also an exception regarding family-owned businesses. If you don't have any employees working for you that aren't also family then you may put off getting workers' comp insurance until that changes.

This law varies from state to state, so you must check before you opt-out.

4. What Injuries Does it Cover?

Workers' compensation insurance covers any employee who injured while on the clock. So, if one of your drivers get into an automobile accident while running deliveries, they can still be covered even though they weren't at your establishment when they got hurt.

Workers' comp will also cover illnesses that spawn from the workplace. If one of your employees is hospitalized because they inhaled some toxic chemicals while working and got sick, it will cover them.

Other things that it may cover is lost wages, the cost of retraining if they were out for a long time, living expenses if they have a permanent disability and can't go back to work, and benefits to their family if they have a fatal accident on the job.

5. How Much Coverage Does Your Business Need?

The amount of coverage that your business will need depends on the number of employees you hire, the level of danger that they will be exposed to while on the job and if you have any history of accidents on the job prior.

To give you an example, jobs such as construction will need a higher amount of coverage than office jobs. This is because construction companies usually have more employees and there is more risk for danger.

This being said, the business owner for the office should still take out a small policy even if their employees aren't in a lot of danger. A tiny risk is still a risk and company health insurance rarely covers workplace accidents.

6. Where Can You Get a Policy?

You will need to get your workers' comp insurance either through the state or through a private provider. It depends on the laws set by your state.

If you can go through a private insurer, do your research. Read reviews to find a great provider who can handle the job. It costs nothing to talk to a company so call several to compare quotes.

7. What Isn't Covered?

Workers comp policies cover what the state requires them to cover. It's a lot, but not everything. It may not cover a lawsuit that came from an employee's own negligence.

For example, an employee who got into an accident from driving the company's car while under the influence of alcohol may not be covered. You may need to take out employer liability insurance to cover instances such as these.

Getting Workers Comp Insurance For Your Small Business

When you're opening up a new business, you may need to get workers' comp insurance before you hire employees. It will cover them if they are injured on the job. It's required by most states and if you don't have it you may have to pay a fine.

Don't let an employee accident catch you off guard. Be ready with workers' compensation insurance.


male and female business owners reviewing information on a laptop

What is Commercial Insurance? A Guide for Beginners

If you're a new business owner and are just learning the ropes, you probably have a lot of questions.

After all, there is a lot to learn.

Chances are, one of those questions will be, "What is commercial insurance?"

Most people know how car insurance or homeowners insurance works, but if you're new to owning a business, you probably won't know much about commercial insurance.

Commercial insurance is a broad term and encompasses many insurance policies available to businesses. Keep reading for a breakdown of common commercial insurance policies and the benefits of each.

What is Commercial Insurance?

Commercial insurance works similarly to personal insurance.

Business insurance exists to protect your business from financial loss caused by specified events. There are different policies that come into play depending on the circumstances of the loss.

Overall, commercial insurance protects businesses from liabilities such as lawsuits from third-parties, like customers or those they entered a contractual relationship with, lawsuits from clients, injuries to employees or customers, and damage or theft of business property.

As technology advances, new types of insurance have come into play, such as cyber liability insurance, which protects businesses from liability when data breaches leave customer information exposed.

Businesses with employees are usually required by state law to carry workers' compensation insurance. Otherwise, choosing whether to purchase insurance is up to them.

The exception to this is contractual liability. When businesses enter contracts with other entities such as landlords, they often commit to carrying commercial liability insurance.

What Commercial Insurance Looks Like

Commercial insurance policies have many commonalities with personal policies. You will find similar language and conditions for coverage in both types of policies.

Let's look at some examples:

Policy Limits

Each policy and type of coverage will have a limit. This is the limit of how much money the insurance policy will pay in the event of a loss.

There is usually a limit per claim as well as a limit per policy overall. For example, there could be a per claim limit of $1 million and an aggregate policy limit of $2 million.

Most commercial liability insurance policies have a $1 million limit.

Deductibles

Some commercial liability insurance policies have a deductible, while others don't. If you have a deductible, that means you must pay your deductible amount before insurance pays the rest of the claim.

Some insurance companies will pay the claim in full and allow you to reimburse them for your deductible if they are paying a third party.

Coverages/Exclusions

The first section of your policy, after the insuring agreement, will tell you what the policy covers.

After your coverages, come the exclusions. These are things the policy won't pay for or conditions that exclude coverage. For example, all liability policies exclude coverage if you harm another party intentionally.

Types of Commercial Insurance

As we mentioned before, commercial insurance is a broad term. Technically, commercial insurance simply refers to insurance available to businesses.

In reality, there are a handful of specific commercial insurance policies that all businesses should have.

Sometimes, commercial insurance is used synonymously with general liability insurance, but for the sake of accuracy, let's break commercial insurance down by some of its common policies.

General Liability Insurance

Although sometimes used interchangeably with commercial insurance, general liability insurance is not the same thing.

General liability insurance has specific coverages and does not cover all potential losses. General liability insurance covers you if someone is injured by or on your property because of you or your employees' negligence.

It will also cover damage to others' property that you cause. These policies also include coverage if you commit personal or advertising injury, which includes defamation.

If you are sued by a third party for any of these reasons, your policy will pay for all legal and court fees incurred. The insurance company will either pay the claim, defend you or offer a settlement.

Property Insurance

Commercial property insurance policies are similar to personal property insurance policies.

You'll need this coverage to protect your buildings and their contents from theft and physical damage. Natural disasters and fires can cause devastating financial loss.

Business property policies can also include additional coverages such as business interruption, loss of use, and business personal property.

Workers' Compensation

Workers comp insurance provides coverage and benefits for your employees if they are injured on the job.

Not only will it cover their medical expenses, but it will also help them with lost wages if they miss time from work because of their injury. In exchange for these benefits, your employees lose the right to sue you.

Errors and Omissions

This coverage is especially important for those in the tech industry but it's also common for professionals like lawyers and insurance agents.

Errors and omissions coverage protects you from lawsuits over a mistake you made. We all make mistakes, and that's why this coverage is important to have.

If your mistake affects your client, they might sue you. This coverage will cover the cost of the lawsuit.

Cyber Liability Insurance

This insurance protects you when a data breach affects you or your clients.

This is a newer type of insurance that can help cover the cost of data breaches and the costs associated with recovering from them.

Buying Commercial Insurance

Now that you know the answer to the question, "What is commercial insurance?" it's time to shop for a policy.

Your insurance agent will help explain the coverages necessary for your business and provide you with a quote. Contact us today to speak to an insurance expert in our office.


two contractors using tools and working on constructing a building

General Liability Insurance for Contractors in New Jersey

Did you know that 40% of small business owners don’t have any insurance coverage at all, while 75% are underinsured?

If you are working as a general contractor, you don’t want to fall into either of these groups. You should consider what type of insurance coverage will protect you, your client and your business. One type of insurance that you should definitely arrange is general liability for contractors in New Jersey.

Watch our video summary:

What Is General Liability Insurance?

As a contractor, you will be responsible for materials, equipment and labor for a particular construction project. This includes everything, even the operating vehicles used as trucks or potentially cranes. A contractor may also hire subcontractors for a project, so a significant level of responsibility and liability is attached to this role. That’s why it’s important to make sure you have a general liability insurance plan in place.

General liability provides financial coverage for a range of issues that you could experience. This includes customer injury or damage to the property. For instance, if during a project a wall collapses falling on a building next door or a piece of equipment falls off scaffolding hitting someone below, general liability covers the cost.

It also ensures that if there is a legal claim, you are covered. This is one of the first coverages you will set up because it ensures you are prepared for a client contract or a commercial lease. This is often a requirement before a project can begin.

Will An Independent Contractor Be Held Liable For Damages?

It’s possible for a general contractor to be held liable and sued for damages. It’s not that different from running your own business. If you don’t have an insurance plan in place, then you will have to cover the cost out of your own pocket. This can be quite an expensive bill, but if you have general liability, you won’t have to worry.

This doesn’t change based on the business that you are working in. People often assume if you are pursuing insurance coverage, you are working in an industrial sector, and this isn’t the case. Doing so could expose any contractor. For instance, you could provide content for a business owner.

If that content was plagiarised, it could cause damage to the reputation of the business. They can then sue you for a loss of profits. Alternatively, you could complete a renovation on a home and this may have lead to water damage after accidentally hitting a pipe. Here, the property owner could sue you to gain compensation for the damage caused.

While these are two different scenarios, both will cost businesses money and are covered by general liability insurance.

Why Do You Need General Liability Insurance?

There are a variety of reasons you need general liability insurance as a contractor. Similar to a small business owner, you are liable for incidents and accidents that may happen and potential damages. This could lead to legal action and you probably want to avoid this as much as possible.

With general liability insurance, you can make sure it protects your business. As an independent contractor, you have the same duties and responsibilities as a larger firm. They can sue you for anything from an injury to harming someone. With general liability, you make sure you can afford to pay both the damages and the legal bills. Without it, this can leave thousands in unpaid expenses.

You should also consider whether you need general liability insurance. Certain industries including construction require contractors to have general liability insurance. Ideally, both the client and the contractor should make sure they have general liability coverage rather than simply relying on one or the other.

Your client will also likely expect you to have it, even if they have their own. If you don’t have this insurance in place, you will leave them vulnerable foo. It’s not a risk that most clients will take.

How Can Contractors Gains Coverage

You might wonder how you can gain general liability coverage as an independent contractor in New Jersey. There are actually two routes you can consider taking. The first option is to gain general liability through the client. Here, they will add you to the policy as an additional insured.

With this option, you receive coverage for the entire duration of the project and potentially longer. While it is possible for a business to add you or even multiple contractors to their policy, it makes it more expensive. It won’t always happen, but sometimes, a client will do this. Usually, it's so they can be certain that the work you provide is fully insured.

The other option will be purchasing your own general liability insurance. You can do this by exploring multiple insurance providers. Clients will typically request proof that you have this coverage. You can request that your provider offers a certificate which you can freely show to clients. This also makes you more attractive to clients because it’s cheaper than having them put you on their own existing plan.

It’s important to note that both options do not provide the same coverage in case you or a client has to deal with the financial consequences of property damage or injury.

If you opt for insurance as an additional insured, you will not gain the same level of protection as the client or the holder of the policy. Instead, you will gain defense coverage so you can cover legal fees and potentially coverage for injury, property damage or even advertising injury.