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Rooftop Safety to Lower Contractor Insurance Costs

Posted by David Ross on Fri, May 31, 2024

Contact us for ways to save on contractor insurance in Philadelphia, Lancaster, Pittsburgh, Erie, Allentown, Reading, Harrisburg, and throughout PA.The construction industry is filled with hazards that can result in injuries or death and increase Contractor Insurance costs. According to the Texas Department of Insurance, 20% of fatal work injuries in the U.S. in 2021 occurred in the construction industry, and 37% of construction deaths in 2021 were caused by falls.

OSHA also found that roofing falls are the leading cause of roofing injuries and fatalities, accounting for about one-third of all fatal falls in construction between 1992 and 2005. Therefore, if you own a roofing company or ever work on roofs, understanding its unique hazards and taking steps to mitigate them can help lower your Contractor Insurance and other administrative costs.

10 Top Rooftop Hazards

Before starting any job, you should assess the situation and identify potential hazards. Here are the top ten rooftop hazards.

  1. Roof Stability
    Unstable roofs that aren’t strong enough to support the weight of people and equipment needed for the job can cause accidents.

  2. Ladder Security and Placement
    Unstable or improperly secured ladders can lead to injury.

  3. Weather Conditions
    Snow, rain, and ice can make roofs slippery. Wind and extreme temperatures can also be hazardous to rooftop workers.

  4. Roof Hole
    Skylights and poorly covered holes can result in falls.

  5. Edge Awareness
    Some workers become so focused on their work that they forget where the roof edge is.

  6. Improper Training
    Workers can’t avoid accidents if they don’t know how to identify, prevent, and avoid hazards.

  7. Improper Use of Fall Protection
    Fall protection must be used properly for it to work. Poorly anchored railings, too-long lanyards, or weak tie-off points will give workers a false sense of security and will not protect them if they slip or fall.

  8. Poor Line of Sight
    Ridge vents, shingle bundles, chimneys, etc., can block egress on a roof.

  9. Pitch
    The steeper the roof, the harder it is to work on and the more hazardous the conditions.

  10. Split-Level Roofs & Fall Heights
    Workers on low-slope and split-level roofs with unprotected sides and edges can be hazardous.

Electricity, power tools, and hazardous substances are additional rooftop hazards to watch for.

9 Tips to Mitigate Rooftop Hazards

  1. Provide Fall Protection
    Depending on the situation, fall protection may include personal fall arrest systems (PFAS), fall restraint systems, safety net systems, and/or guardrail systems.

  2. Provide Safety Training
    Proper safety training, which should be regular and ongoing, will help workers identify and avoid hazards.

  3. Follow OSHA Regulations
    OSHA regulations are designed to keep workers safe and avoid injuries and death. In 2013, the most frequently cited OSHA standards during roofing contractor inspections included the duty to have fall protection, ladder safety, fall protection training requirements, eye and face protection, and general scaffold requirements.

  4. Provide Appropriate PPE
    Depending on the situation, proper personal protective equipment for roofers may include safety glasses, high-visible clothing, hard hats, non-slip footwear, respiratory protection, earplugs, fall protection, and/or gloves.

  5. Use Signage to Identify Potential Hazards
    Proper signage can alert workers to potential hazards and is required by OSHA.

  6. Pay Attention to the Weather
    Pay attention to weather forecasts, and if bad weather threatens workers, delay work on roofs,

  7. Ensure That Ladders are Stable
    Ladders should be regularly inspected for visible defects, workers should be trained on ladder safety, ladders should only be used on stable and level surfaces or secured to prevent accidental displacement, ladders should be placed away from traffic, and the areas at the top and bottom of the ladder should be kept clear.

  8. Inspect Roof Before and After Work
    Look for potential hazards like holes and loose debris before and after work.

  9. Have an Emergency Action Plan in Place—Creating a written emergency action plan and ensuring workers, especially managers, are familiar with it is the best way to ensure that calm prevails and proper steps are taken if disaster hits your work site.

Lower Contractor Insurance Premiums the Easy Way!

The right insurance helps protect your workers and your business, but you don’t want to pay more than you need to for that protection. As a Trusted Choice independent insurance agency, the experienced agents at American Insuring Group compare the cost of your coverage with many competing insurance brands to ensure you pay the lowest premium.

Ready to save? Call us today at (800) 947-1270 or (610) 775-3848, or connect with us online.

Tags: Construction Insurance, Construction Risk Insurance, Contractor Insurance, Contractor Safety Management

Landlord Insurance Vs. Homeowners Insurance

Posted by David Ross on Sat, May 25, 2024

Landlord-Ins-Vs-Homeowners-Ins-b-1000Most property owners understand the importance of protecting their property with adequate insurance. If you're looking for insurance to protect the home you and your family live in, homeowners insurance is probably the answer.

However, if you rent out a room in your house, have a vacation home you rent out when you aren't using it, or rent your home out occasionally (for special events), homeowners insurance may not be adequate. And if you own a rental property with tenants, homeowner insurance is definitely not enough.

Historical data shows that tenant-occupied properties pose more risk than owner-occupied properties. Therefore, if you have homeowners insurance on a property occupied by tenants and need to make a claim, it probably won't be covered, making all those insurance premiums a waste of money. It isn't enough just to have insurance; you need to have the right insurance.

One of the experienced insurance agents at American Insuring Group can help ensure that you have the right insurance to protect your property, but here is some basic information to consider.

The Difference Between Landlord and Homeowners Insurance

  • Occupancy
    Who lives on the property? This is the most significant difference between landlord and homeowners insurance. As we mentioned, homeowners insurance is probably your best bet if you and your family live in the home. However, if you rent an investment property out to tenants, you should have landlord insurance. Renting out a room or occasionally renting out the property is more of a gray area. Sometimes homeowners insurance will suffice, sometimes your homeowner's coverage may need to be adjusted, and sometimes the only thing to protect your property is landlord insurance.

  • Property Coverage
    Typically, both homeowners and landlord insurance cover damages to the structure caused by covered perils, but coverage for personal property is different. Homeowner insurance typically covers all personal property (furniture, jewelry, household goods, etc.), whereas landlord insurance does not cover the tenant's personal property. Furthermore, if the property owner has furniture, appliances, landscaping equipment, etc., in the rental property, they need to consider that when choosing their landlord insurance policy.

  • Pricing
    Because tenants pose more risk, landlord insurance typically costs about 25% more than the standard homeowner's insurance.

  • Loss of Use vs. Loss of Rent
    Both homeowners and landlord insurance provide coverage when a property is damaged by a covered peril, rendered uninhabitable, and under repair. However, homeowners insurance provides coverage for loss of use (reimbursement for living expenses, such as accommodation and meals), and depending on your policy, landlord insurance covers loss of rent (rental income reimbursements to help cover ongoing expenses)

Types of Landlord Insurance

There are three types of Landlord Insurance: DP-1, DP-2, and DP-3. DP-1 offers the most essential coverage, DP-3 provides the most comprehensive coverage, and DP-2 falls in between.

  • DP-1 offers the most affordable and least comprehensive coverage. It only covers perils named explicitly on the policy - fire, lightning, smoke, explosions, vehicles, aircraft, riots or civil commotion, volcanic explosions, windstorms, and hailstorms. DP-1 pays out the actual cash value (ACV) of the lost property. In other words, it determines your payout based on the original cost minus depreciation. That means you may not receive enough money to repair or replace an item at the current cost.

  • DP-2 covers only perils specifically named on the policy, but it does include more perils, such as burglary, collapse, the weight of snow and ice, etc., than DP-1 policies. Unlike DP-1, DP-2 policies pay claims based on replacement cost value (RCV), which pays for repairs or replacements based on current costs.

  • DP-3 is the most expensive option but offers the most protection. It covers all perils unless the peril is explicitly excluded in the policy. DP-3 typically pays out claims based on the RCV. It also covers loss of use, liability, and personal property you have on the property.

Do You Have the Right Insurance for Your Property? We Can  Help!

The independent insurance agents at American Insuring Group can ensure that you have the right insurance for your specific needs. Then, they carefully compare rates and coverage from competing insurance companies to find you the best price!

Call us today at (800) 947-1270 or (610) 775-3848, or connect with us online.

 

Tags: Landlord Insurance, Homeowners Insurance

Get the Right Commercial Truck Insurance by Asking the Right Questions

Posted by David Ross on Sat, May 18, 2024

Contact to get the right commercial truck insurance in Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Erie, Reading, Lancaster, York, Harrisburg, and throughout PA.Whether you're a fleet owner, fleet manager, or owner-operator, the right Commercial Truck Insurance protects you, your business, and your vehicle(s). You are probably quite familiar with vehicle maintenance, government regulations, and other aspects of running a trucking business. However, you may not be as familiar with the ins and outs of commercial truck insurance. With so many different insurance companies and options, choosing the right insurance for your needs can be tricky.

5 Questions to Ensure You Have the Right Insurance at the Best Price

  1. What coverage options are relevant to my needs?

When considering Commercial Truck Insurance, many think about collision coverage, which protects against damages to your truck and other vehicles in a collision-type accident. However, there are many other potential hazards and things besides your truck that need to be protected to be successful.

Every situation is unique, so it's best to review potential scenarios with your agent and ask what options are relevant to your needs. Here are a few options your agent may mention:

  • Comprehensive Insurance
    Comprehensive Insurance covers damages or losses not resulting from a collision, such as vandalism, theft, fire, etc.

  • Commercial Liability Insurance
    Commercial Liability Insurance protects you against loss from legal liability resulting from bodily injury or property damage to another party.

  • Cargo Insurance 
    Cargo insurance protects against loss from legal liability for damage to goods or merchandise in your care and custody while in transit.

  • Trailer Interchange Insurance
    Trailer interchange insurance covers legal liability for damage to others' trailers if you haul trailers belonging to other truckers or motor carriers.

  • Uninsured/Underinsured Motorists Coverage
    Uninsured/Underinsured Motorists Coverage helps pay for damage to your truck if someone hits you and does not have liability coverage.

  • Non-trucking coverage 
    Non-trucking coverage is for things not directly related to the trucking operation. 
  1. What factors affect my commercial truck insurance premiums?

What you don't know can hurt you in this case. The cost of your insurance premiums is based on several factors, such as the driver's age and experience, the driver's driving record, the value and age of the truck you're insuring, your vehicle's maintenance and service history, driving location, and distance, your business safety rating, if you have multiple policies, type of cargo being transported, the amount of your deductible, and more. If you know the factors that affect your premiums, you may be able to make adjustments to lower them.

  1. How can I lower the cost of my commercial truck insurance premiums?

    Ask your agent what steps you can take to lower your premiums. They may suggest trying to reduce the number of claims by managing risk. For example, maintaining high safety standards, providing safety training, properly maintaining your vehicles, and utilizing technology (GPS tracking, dash cams, fleet telematics systems) can lower the risk of an accident and claim, lowering your insurance premiums.

    Your agent may also suggest combining policies and/or increasing your deductible. A good agent will also advise you of any special offers or discounts you may be able to take advantage of. For example, American Insuring Group has partnered with Progressive Commercial to offer our Progressive truck insurance customers free use of an ELD device or up to $500! It's an easy and smart way to satisfy the ELD mandate at no cost.

    Here are a few additional ways to lower commercial truck insurance costs.
  2. Are you an independent or captive insurance agent?

    The independent agents at American Insuring Group work with over 25 competing insurance carriers so we can find you the best insurance value to meet your specific needs. Whereas a captive agent only works with one insurance company.
  3. What is the claims process?

    According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), there were approximately 494,000 police-reported crashes involving large trucks in 2021. Therefore, you're probably looking at when, not if, you will need to make a claim, so you should ask your agent about the claims process with any insurance company you're considering. For example, is it a slow or complicated process? Look for terms such as 24-hour claims service, access to a real person, quick claims processing, and online claims submission.

Contact Us to Get the Right Commercial Truck Insurance!

The agents at American Insuring Group specialize in Truck Insurance and are happy to answer any of your questions. Plus, as independent agents, we compare the cost of your coverage among many competing insurance companies to ensure you get the best rate on your insurance premiums.

Don't let what you don't know hurt your business. Call American Insuring Group today at (800) 947-1270 or (610) 775-3848, or connect with us online to get your questions answered.

Tags: Commercial Vehicle Insurance, truck insurance

Workers Compensation Fraud and Social Media

Posted by David Ross on Sat, May 11, 2024

Contact us for workers compensation insurance in Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Erie, Lancaster, Harissburg, Reading, and throughout Pensylvania.In Pennsylvania, almost every employer is required to carry Workers' Compensation (WC) Insurance for their employers. WC is a type of small business insurance that covers employees for work-related injuries. A typical Workers Comp policy pays lost wages and medical expenses incurred due to a work-related accident while also protecting the employer against accident-related lawsuits. According to Forbes, the average cost per $100 in payroll in 2020 was $1.19.

Most businesses need this crucial insurance to obey the law and to help protect their business and employees. While most employees are honest and most Workers' Comp claims are legitimate, Workers' Compensation insurance fraud does occur, increasing the cost of WC premiums.

What is Workers' Comp Fraud?

Experts estimate that WC insurance fraud costs companies $5 to $7 billion annually, representing 1-2% of all WC benefits paid. Fraud can be perpetrated by the employer, the insurance company, or the employee, and it can be claim or premium-related. According to a 2024 Marketdata report, claim-related fraud accounts for about 80% of the cases, and about 82% of claim and premium-related fraud is perpetrated by employees.

Employee claim-related fraud occurs when an employee provides false information on a claim, such as filing a claim for an injury that didn't happen, filing a claim for an injury or illness that is not work-related, exaggerating the severity of the injury, misrepresenting their ability to work, or filing a claim for an old injury that didn't heal.

One way to minimize the risk of Workers' Compensation fraud and lower Workers' Compensation costs is to investigate every workplace accident.

What is an Accident Investigation?

When a workplace accident occurs, it's in the employer's best interest to investigate the accident. Investigations provide many benefits, including identifying hazards and shortcomings in a business's safety and health programs, uncovering fraudulent claims, and lowering Workers' Compensation Insurance costs.

The PA DLI defines an accident (incident) Investigation as "An organized process using written procedures that are applied every time an accident occurs regardless of its severity."

 

Surveillance may be a part of any WC claim investigation, but it can be expensive and time-consuming. Social media is a cost-effective surveillance tool that investigators can use to help verify the legitimacy of a claim.

How Can Social Media Assist in Workers' Comp Claim Investigations?

"Social media is a part of everyday life for most internet users in the United States and is frequently used for socializing, business, and dating," Statista reports. "As of 2022, the United States had the third-largest social media audience worldwide, after China and India. The United States is home to over 302 million social media users at a social networking penetration rate of over 91 percent."

Facebook is the most popular social media platform, followed by YouTube, Instagram, and TikTok. People of all generations frequently share information, photos, videos, and more on social media platforms.

Many people falsely believe that their social media accounts are private and that no one can see them. However, Aura reports, "In some cases, posts you share privately with friends or in private groups can be shared publicly without your permission. And if your friends don't follow the same stringent social media privacy settings that you do, this information could be accessed by anyone—even scammers and employers." Furthermore, everything posted on social media leaves a "paper trail." Social media is considered a public record in every state.

This makes social media a helpful tool when investigating WC claims. Investigators can gather information for free while in the comfort of their office. By searching the claimant's social media, investigators may find background information, monitor post-injury activities, discover information confirming or contradicting statements in the WC claim, and find evidence that the worker is lying about a disability or physical limitation.

While social media is a great tool, investigators should ensure they are using the tool ethically and that the information they are gathering is admissible.

Lower Your Workers' Compensation Insurance Costs

At American Insuring Group, Ltd., we offer cost-effective Workers' Compensation Insurance from multiple competing insurance companies. It's our mission to get you the best price on quality insurance to protect your employees and your business!

Call us today at (800) 947-1270 or (610) 775-3848, or connect with us online.

Tags: Workers Compensation Insurance, workers comp costs, Workers Compensation Insurance Fraud

What Construction Defects Are You Liable For

Posted by David Ross on Sat, Apr 27, 2024

Avoid construction defects so you can save on contractor insurance in Philadelphia, Reading, Lancaster, Erie, Pittsburgh, Harrisburg, Allentown, Lebanon, and throughout Pennsylvania.In a perfect world, every construction or renovation project would go exactly as planned with the expected results. Unfortunately, that rarely happens. Sometimes, design plans are flawed, work is done incorrectly, or materials are defective, resulting in construction defects that you, as a contractor or subcontractor, may be held liable for.

Contractor insurance helps protect you and your business from lawsuits, including those caused by construction defects.

What are Construction Defects?

A construction defect is when part or all of a construction project fails to comply with and deliver everything laid out in a contract. It's when a construction project doesn't look or perform as the buyer expected and the contractor promised. Examples of construction defects include water intrusion, foundation cracks, plumbing leaks, and mechanical problems.

Construction defects can be caused by poor design, lack of planning or supervision, lack of inspections, defective materials, etc. These defects can lead to structural deficiencies that reduce a building's value and create harmful conditions for the occupants.

5 Construction Defect Causes:

  1. Design Flaw
    This type of defect is typically created by an engineer or architect. Examples of design flaws include roof designs that cause water to leak into the house or inadequate structural support that can or does cause a collapse. A contractor is typically not held liable for following an architect's or engineer's flawed design unless they are aware or should be aware there is a defect. It is often difficult to determine the cause of this type of defect.

  2. Construction Defects
    Poor quality workmanship during installation can cause many issues and is considered a construction defect. Construction defects can cause water intrusion, cracks in the foundation, dry rot in lumber, electrical and mechanical problems, and plumbing leaks.

  3. Defective Material
    "Using inferior building materials can cause significant problems, such as windows that leak or inferior concrete that cracks under pressure. Inferior products can fail to perform and function adequately, even when properly installed," FindLaw explains. "Common manufacturer problems with building materials can include deteriorating flashing, building paper or waterproofing membranes that are not up to code, inferior asphalt roofing shingles, or using inferior drywall that is not approved for use in wet or damp areas, such as bathrooms and laundry rooms."

  4. Lack of Maintenance
    Construction defects can result from poor maintenance over time, which is why regular quality checks are crucial.

  5. Normal Wear and Tear As structures age, they will wear down, which can lead to construction defects.

2 Construction Defect Categories:

Obvious or Patent An obvious defect is something immediately apparent. For example, a worker accidentally punches a hole in a wall and doesn't fix it.

Latent This is an issue that is not immediately obvious. For example, a support beam that looks good but gives way over time because it is not strong enough or a newly installed roof that leaks after the first heavy rainfall. It's often difficult to determine how this type of failure occurred.

Who Can Be Held Liable for Construction Defects?

Depending on the defect and its circumstances, anyone involved in the construction project, including the contractor, subcontractors, builder or engineer, architect, or manufacturer of materials used, can be held liable for construction defects. Sometimes, the property owner can even be found liable.

Insurance to Protect Your Business

There are many types of Contractors Insurance to help protect you and your business from construction defects and other liability issues. Here are just a few:

  • Professional Liability Insurance
    Professional Liability Insurance (aka Errors and Omissions and E&O Insurance) helps protect your business from claims of errors, omissions, negligence, violation of good faith and fair dealing, misrepresentation, and inaccurate advice.

  • Commercial General Liability (CGL) Insurance
    CGL is one of the most important insurance products for any business. CGL protects your business if you are liable for property damage. It covers the cost of medical and legal expenses and damages if you are found liable.

  • Commercial Automobile Insurance
    If you use a vehicle (which, of course, most in the construction industry do) to conduct business, such as transporting materials, equipment, or employees, you should have commercial automobile insurance to help protect you in the event of an accident that causes bodily injury, loss of life, or property damage. 

  • Builders Risk Insurance 
    Builders Risk Insurance helps replace materials, tools, and lost, damaged, or stolen equipment.

  • Cyber Insurance
    Cyber Insurance helps cover your business's liability for data breaches that involve sensitive information, such as credit card numbers, driver's license numbers, and health records.

Start Saving on Contractors Insurance Today!

If you want to ensure that you have the right insurance at the lowest cost, the agents at American Insuring Group can help. We specialize in Contractors' Insurance, and as independent agents, we compare the quality and cost of your coverage with those of multiple competing insurance companies to find you the right policy at the right price!

Don't Delay - start saving today by calling us at (800) 947-1270 or (610) 775-3848, or connect with us online.

Tags: Construction Insurance, Contractor Insurance, Professional Liability Insurance, Construction Defect

What You Need to Know if You Want to Invest in Real Estate

Posted by David Ross on Sat, Apr 20, 2024

Follow these real estate tips and save on Landlord Insurance in Philadelphia, Lancaster, Lebanon, Pittsburgh, Erie, Allentown, Reading, Harrisburg, and anywhere in Pennsylvania.Historically, buying real estate has been a lucrative investment. "For the past decade, real estate has ranked as Americans' top investment pick, with 34% of Americans identifying real estate as the best long-term investment in 2023," according to Investopedia. "That puts real estate ahead of gold (26%), stocks and mutual funds (18%), savings accounts and certificates of deposit (13%), and bonds (7%) as the favored long-term investment."

As with just about any investment, buying real estate comes with its share of risks that need to be considered and addressed to succeed. Landlord Insurance can help protect you from some, but not all, of those risks.

Whether you want to purchase a property, fix it up, and sell it for a profit or rent it out and receive a monthly income from tenants, here are five tips to be successful in real estate investing.

  1. Determine Your Goal
    Due to the high value and low liquidity of real estate investments, you must determine your goals before diving in or risk losing a lot of money. Do you want to buy a home to live in and build equity in rather than continue to pay rent? Do you want to buy a property and have a regular income through rental payments? Do you want to buy a property, hang onto it, and hopefully sell it for a profit, or do you want to buy a property, fix it up, and again, hopefully, sell it for a profit? You need to be clear on your goals before purchasing a property.

  2. Do Your Research.
    Again, unlike buying stocks and bonds, if something goes wrong, you can't quickly bail out of a real estate investment, so before jumping in, do your research. Determine if you are in a buyers' or seller's market to help you decide if now is the right time to invest in real estate. Find out how much of a loan you will qualify for and the amount of the mortgage payments. Research if the property you're considering buying is in a good location (still one of the most crucial factors in real estate investment profitability) and if the property is in good condition or will require costly repairs. If you're planning on renting the property out, ask if the property currently has a tenant, how much they're paying, the rate of vacancy, etc. You must also know the rules and regulations, such as zoning laws, required permits, etc. Before diving into real estate investment, do as much research as possible to help avoid costly mistakes.

  3. Understand Your Expenses
    Understanding your expenses is especially crucial when purchasing a rental property. You need to know approximately how much utilities, property taxes, and landlord insurance will cost. You need to allow for maintenance, repairs, improvements, and property marketing costs. Even if you're buying a property to immediately turn around for a profit, you need to figure in appraisal fees, home inspection costs, and closing costs. If you plan on doing work on the property before selling it, you need to determine the approximate cost of the work and business permits.

  4. Have a Cash Reserve
    Things happen - the building needs a new roof, a tenant doesn't pay, etc. Setting aside a reserve of money to help cover these unexpected expenses can mean the difference between success and failure.

  5. Manage Risk
    Managing risk can take many forms. Determining your goals and researching helps minimize the risk of getting in over your head or buying the wrong property. Understanding your expenses and having a cash reserve helps reduce the risk of being forced to sell the property at a loss. Ensuring the safety of your property and tenants - screening your tenants and installing smoke detectors, fire extinguishers, security cameras, etc. - can also help you manage risks.

  6. Get Landlord Insurance
    Another way to manage risk and protect your investment is with the right Landlord Insurance. It's best to consult an experienced insurance agent to ensure you have the right insurance to protect your property. For example, did you know that if a rental unit is vacant for an extended time, you may be required to purchase Builder's Risk Insurance because the risks associated with a vacant property are different from those of an inhabited property; therefore, your regular landlord insurance policy may not cover the damage.

Do You Have the Right Insurance for Your Investment Property?

Landlord insurance is essential for protecting your investment property, but you don't want to overpay for coverage. The independent insurance agents at American Insuring Group carefully compare rates and coverage from competing insurance companies to find you the right policy at the right price!

Call us today at (800) 947-1270 or (610) 775-3848, or connect with us online.

Tags: Landlord Insurance

5 Commercial Truck Insurance Myths That Could be Costing You Big Time

Posted by David Ross on Sat, Apr 13, 2024

Avoid these truck insurance myths and save on Trucking Insurance in Philadelphia, Allentown, Pittsburgh, Reading, Harrisburg, Erie, State College, York, Lancaster and throughout PA.Commercial Truck Insurance is crucial for protecting yourself and your business. Unfortunately, common truck insurance myths may be costing your business big time.

5 Common Commercial Truck Insurance Myths

1. There's Nothing You Can Do to Lower Truck Insurance Premiums

 This is not true. Insurance premiums are based on risk. Lower your risk, and you lower your insurance premiums. There are many ways to reduce your risk, such as hiring safer and more experienced drivers, providing safety training, properly maintaining your vehicles, and conducting pre-and post-trip inspections. Other ways to lower insurance premiums are asking about discounts, combining policies, increasing deductibles, and working with an independent insurance agent at American Insuring Group, who will compare the cost of your coverage with several insurance companies.

2. Truck Insurance Only Covers Vehicle Damage 

Some truck drivers and trucking companies are under the false impression that truck insurance only pays for repairs or replacement if their truck or trailer sustains damage in a collision. While that is a key part of commercial truck insurance, it can cover much more.

Here are a few types of insurance coverage owner-operators should consider:

  • Comprehensive insurance covers damages or losses not resulting from a collision, such as vandalism, theft, fire, etc.

  • Commercial Liability Insurance protects you against loss from legal liability resulting from bodily injury or property damage to another party.

  • Cargo Insurance protects against loss from legal liability for damage to goods or merchandise in your care and custody while in transit. It also provides coverage for things like debris removal and refrigeration breakdown.

  • Trailer Interchange Insurance is available under the trucker's or motor carrier's policy form, which covers the insured's legal liability for damage to the trailers of others. Under the business auto policy (BAP), coverage is also available by endorsement. Under a trailer interchange + agreement, the motor carrier in possession of the trailer is responsible for any damage to the trailer, even if the trailer is not attached to the tractor.

  • Uninsured/Underinsured Motorists Coverage helps pay for damage to your trick if someone hits you and does not have liability coverage.

3. ELDs are Not Required for Small Fleets

Often, smaller fleet owners are under the impression that they can continue using paper logs or other methods to track hours of service (HOS). According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), "The ELD applies to most motor carriers and drivers who are currently required to maintain records of duty status (RODS) per Part 395, 49 CFR 395.8(a). The rule applies to commercial buses as well as trucks and to Canada- and Mexico-domiciled drivers." Failing to do so can result in fines, penalties, audits, investigations, and lawsuits.

4. Only Large Fleets and Long-Haul Truckers Need Truck Insurance

Whether you're a fleet of one or one hundred and travel 100 miles or 100,000 miles a day, you are still exposed to risks like accidents, cargo damage, liability, etc. Truck insurance helps protect you, your vehicles, your employees, and your business.

5. Not Having Truck Insurance Can Save You Money

Some people think they can save money by not having truck insurance. After all, you're paying a monthly premium, and who knows if you'll ever need to file an insurance claim. That's a risk not worth taking.

In 2021, there were more than half a million large truck accidents across the U.S., according to Forbes, a 26% increase over 2020. "The good news is the majority of truck accidents do not result in fatalities or even in injuries. A total of 310,000 of the collisions in 2020 involved property damage alone," Forbes states. "Unfortunately, the bad news is, that 101,000 truck crashes caused injury over the course of that year with another 4,444 causing fatalities. Truck drivers and the companies that employ them may be held liable when a crash occurs…"

Without the proper insurance, one severe accident or big lawsuit could put you out of business!

Don't Let Truck Insurance Myths Cost You!

The agents at American Insuring Group specialize in Truck Insurance, so we understand your unique needs, can answer any of your insurance questions, and debunk any Truck Insurance myths.

Furthermore, as independent agents, we compare the cost of your coverage among many competing insurance companies to ensure you get the best rate on your insurance premiums.

Don't let truck insurance myths hurt your business. Call today at (800) 947-1270 or (610) 775-3848, or connect with us online.

Tags: Commercial Vehicle Insurance, truck insurance, Trucking Insurance

Aggravation Vs. Exacerbation in Workers' Comp Claims

Posted by David Ross on Sat, Apr 06, 2024

Follow our tips to save on Workers' Comp Insurance in Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Erie, Allentown, Lancaster, Lebanon, Reading, and all throughout Pennsylvania.Regarding Workers' Compensation (WC) Insurance, ignorance is definitely not bliss. In fact, ignorance can cost your company a lot of money when it comes to WC claims. Therefore, the more you understand medical terminology, the better you'll be able to control Workers' Compensation costs.

Two terms you may see physicians use in a WC claim are "aggravation" and "exacerbation." Sometimes, the terms are used interchangeably, but there is a subtle difference in the definition of each. Both describe the worsening of an existing medical condition.

Aggravation Vs. Exacerbation

The difference is that Exacerbation is "a temporary increase in the symptoms of a pre-existing condition that returns to its prior level within a reasonable period of time (typically two to eight weeks)." An aggravation is "an increase in the severity of a pre-existing condition where the underlying pathology is permanently moved to a higher level."

In Pennsylvania, pre-existing injuries or conditions that are aggravated or exacerbated on the job typically qualify for Workers' Compensation benefits. An injury that is exacerbated or aggravated at work does not change the diagnosis or location of the injury or condition; it just means it was made worse by a work-related activity. However, an aggravated injury will have a bigger impact on the cost of a WC claim.

So, regarding Workers' Compensation claims, the question becomes, "When will the symptoms end?" Are WC benefits limited to a few weeks or indefinite? Medical costs are constantly rising, so insurance carriers don't want to pay for treatments that do not fall within the purview of their responsibility.

Therefore, adjusters will always review medical records, especially with an aggravated injury. Often, they will request an Independent Medical Evaluation (IME) to determine whether the pre-existing condition has been aggravated or exacerbated, which will either move the case along or cause it to be disputed.

Common Causes Of Aggravated and Exacerbated Injuries and Conditions

Any injury or condition that is made worse by a work-related activity can result in a WC claim for an aggravated or exacerbated injury or condition. However, various forms of arthritis are pre-existing medical conditions commonly exacerbated or aggravated at work.

There are more than 150 types of arthritis, such as degenerative disc disease, bone spurring, osteophytes, spondylolistheses, and spondylosis. Many can be caused by disease, infection, genetic defect, injury, or overuse; sometimes, the cause is unknown. Arthritis symptoms include pain, stiffness, inflammation, reduced mobility, and skin redness around a joint.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), an estimated 53.2 million (21.2%) American adults have been diagnosed with some form of arthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, gout, lupus, or fibromyalgia. Furthermore, while many people might assume that arthritis is limited to older workers, 5% of people ages 18-44 and 26% of people ages 45-64 have been diagnosed with arthritis.

Repetitive stress injuries, such as chronic back pain, tennis elbow, and carpal tunnel syndrome, are another common cause of aggravated or exacerbated WC claims. Federal laws require that employers accommodate employees to help prevent repetitive stress injuries. Furthermore, minimizing the risk of a repetitive stress injury can help lower employee absenteeism, improve productivity, lower the risk of aggravated or exacerbated injuries, and lower WC costs, making it a win-win situation.

Lower Your Workers' Compensation Insurance Costs!

Understanding the difference between aggravated and exacerbated injuries and conditions is just one way to lower Workers' Compensation costs. Another way is to work with one of the experienced agents at American Insuring Group, who specializes in WC insurance.

As independent agents, we work hard to get you the lowest price on all your insurance needs by comparing costs among many competing insurance companies.

So call us today at (800) 947-1270 or (610) 775-3848, or connect with us online.

Tags: Workers Compensation Insurance, workers comp

20 Tips to Prevent Struck-By Accidents and Lower Contractor Insurance

Posted by David Ross on Sat, Mar 23, 2024

Avoid Struck-by Accidents to save on Contractor Insurance in Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Erie, Allentown, Lancaster, Reading, Harrisburg, State College, and throughout PA.If you want to lower the cost of Contractors' Insurance and other costs, lower the number of accidents and resulting insurance claims by creating a safer work environment. This is particularly true in the construction industry, filled with hazards – moving vehicles, sharp tools, working at great heights, etc. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, in 2021, nearly one in five workplace deaths occurred in the construction industry. 

OSHA's Fatal Four – falls, struck-by, caught-in/between, and electrocutions - are the top four causes of construction fatalities. Being struck by vehicles, heavy equipment, and other objects was the top cause of injuries and the second-highest cause of fatal accidents in construction in 2009, according to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).

What is a Struck-By Injury?

"Struck-by injuries occur from violent contact or impact between an object or piece of equipment and a person," according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). "Struck-by injuries can be fatal, and even when a worker is not seriously injured, can result in days off work to recover." Injuries can result from being struck by flying, falling, swinging, or rolling objects.

Examples of struck-by injuries include a worker being struck by…

  • a vehicle or piece of heavy equipment
  • a tool or material dropped from a higher level
  • falling materials that were improperly stacked or loaded
  • flying particles
  • an improperly braced structure that collapses
  • compressed air

According to OSHA, approximately 75% of struck-by fatalities involve heavy equipment.

Tips to Prevent Struck-By Injuries

Many struck-by injuries are preventable, and there are many steps you can take to ensure worker safety and minimize the risk of struck-by and other injuries. Start by following all OSHA standards and training requirements and these twenty tips:

  1. Provide safety training to help workers identify and avoid common struck-by hazards
  2. Ensure workers are adequately trained on tools and equipment
  3. Enforce the use of hardhats at work sites
  4. Provide and require appropriate PPE, such as eye and face protection, foot and hand protection, etc.
  5. Ensure workers are visible with high-visibility apparel
  6. Inspect vehicles, tools, and equipment to ensure they're in proper working order
  7. Limit access to work areas
  8. Require workers to wear seat belts
  9. Do not drive heavy equipment backward without an audible reverse alarm and/or another worker with a clear view confirming it's safe
  10. Lower or block end-loader buckets, bulldozer and scraper blades, etc., when not in use
  11. Set parking brakes when vehicles and equipment are parked
  12. Do not exceed the rated load or lift capacity
  13. Use barricades and warning signs where appropriate
  14. Properly stack materials to prevent sliding or collapse
  15. Avoid working under loads being used
  16. Use toe boards, screens, or guardrails on scaffolds to prevent falling objects
  17. Use debris nets, catch platforms, etc., to catch falling objects
  18. Reduce compressed air and use with appropriate guarding and PPE
  19. Only drive vehicles and equipment on roads and grades that are safely constructed and maintained
  20. Ensure there is a cab shield or canopy on all haulage vehicles loaded by power shovels, loaders, cranes, etc.

Here's How to Lower Your Contractor Insurance Costs

Minimizing injuries and the resulting claims is just one step you can take to lower Contractor Insurance costs.

The experienced agents at American Insuring Group perform an in-depth review of your business. Then, we compare the costs and types of liability insurance for contractors among many competing carriers, providing you with multiple contractor insurance quotes and our recommendation on the best choice for your business. The result? You'll get the precise coverage needed at the best possible price.

Call us today at (800) 947-1270 or (610) 775-3848, or connect with us online.

Tags: Construction Insurance, Contractor Insurance, Contractor Safety Management

What is Landlord Insurance?

Posted by David Ross on Sat, Mar 16, 2024

Contact us to save on Landlord Insurance in Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Harrisburg, Erie, Lancaster, Allentown, Reading, York, State College, and anywhere else in Pennsylvania.Many new real estate investors assume homeowners' insurance will cover any damage or liability associated with their rental property. However, if you are not the resident of a property and instead rent it out to someone else – whether it's for a week or several years – you need Landlord Insurance, not Homeowner's Insurance, to protect yourself and your assets.

Why? Insurance is all about risk, and renting out your property to someone else increases risk. Therefore, if something happens to a rental property or someone is injured on the property, homeowner's insurance will not cover you. Furthermore, if you have a mortgage on the property, your lender will most likely require Landlord Insurance if you are not a property resident.

What is Landlord Insurance?

Landlord Insurance is a unique type of homeowners' insurance that protects your rental property, whether it's a house, condo, guest house, apartment building, commercial building, etc. It covers many of the risks that homeowner's insurance covers and more.

A good Landlord Insurance policy typically protects against three main risks:

  • Property Damage helps replace or repair damages to your property caused by fire, theft, vandalism, natural disaster, etc.
  • Lost Rental Income helps pay for lost rental income if the property is not inhabitable due to damage, severe mold, rat infestation, etc.
  • Liability Protection helps pay for medical and legal costs if someone is injured on your property.

You may hear the terms DP-1, DP-2, or DP-3. DP stands for dwelling property. DP-1 provides the most basic level of coverage, and DP-3 provides the most comprehensive coverage.

The cost of Landlord Insurance can vary, based on the following factors:

  • Location
  • Age and condition of the property
  • Security and safety equipment
  • High-risk features, such as pools and fireplaces
  • Short-term vs long-term tenants

Typically, Landlord Insurance costs about 25% more than a standard homeowner's insurance policy. Although it is not required by law, most lenders will require Landlord Insurance, and it makes good business sense.

Additional Riders to Consider

To choose the right coverage for your property, you need to consider the potential risks, how much cash reserve you have, etc. For example, if the property is near a river, you may want to consider flood insurance, or if you have little or no cash reserve and rely on the rental income to pay the mortgage, you may want to consider guaranteed income insurance.

Here are a few of the riders you may want to consider adding to your insurance policy:

  • Rent Guarantee (Aka Tenant Rent Default)- Covers you if a tenant skips out without paying rent.
  • Sewer and Water Line Backup– A break in your sewer or water line can cause a great deal of damage. Sewer and Water Line Backup coverage can help pay for repairs and cleanup.
  • Pet –Allowing tenants to have pets can reduce vacancy and enable you to charge higher rents. However, pets can cause damage or injuries, so if you decide to make your property pet-friendly, you may want to consider pet coverage.
  • FloodFEMA states, "In simple terms, a flood is an excess of water on land that is normally dry."
  • Non-occupied Dwelling – If a unit or property is vacant and damage occurs, landlord insurance may not cover it; however, non-occupied dwelling insurance typically does.
  • Burglary – Although the renter is responsible for his personal property, landlords often have property in rental units, such as washers and dryers, refrigerators, etc., that can be stolen.

10 Questions to Ask Your Insurance Broker About Landlord Insurance

The experienced agents at American Insuring Group are always happy to address any questions you may have. Here are some questions to ask:

  1. What are the deductibles on my policy?
  2. Does the policy provide replacement cost or cash value?
  3. Does the policy cover flooding, and what kind of flooding – natural disaster, sewer backup, etc.?
  4. Can I do anything to lower my insurance costs for my rental property – upgrades, repairs, etc.?
  5. Do you recommend any additional coverage?
  6. Do I qualify for any discounts?
  7. Does the policy cover both short and long-term rentals?
  8. Do I need a separate umbrella policy?
  9. What is NOT included in my policy?
  10. Will bundling multiple policies help lower the cost?

#1 Tip to Lower Landlord Insurance Costs Without Affecting Coverage!

Contact one of the independent agents at American Insuring Company who specializes in Landlord Insurance. They understand your needs, can make recommendations, answer any questions, and ensure you have the right insurance (no gaps, but also not paying for coverage you don't need). Plus, as independent agents, they will compare the cost of your coverage among many insurance companies to ensure you receive the lowest insurance premiums for the protection you need.

Call us today at (800) 947-1270 or (610) 775-3848, or connect with us online.

Tags: Landlord Insurance