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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

7 Health and Safety Tips for Commercial Truck Drivers

Posted by David Ross on Sat, Mar 09, 2024

Follow these safety tips to save on Truck Insurance in Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Reading, Harrisburg, State College, Allentown, Lancaster, and throughout PA.Keeping commercial truck drivers healthy and safe is a win for everyone. It minimizes the risk of driver injuries and fatalities, lowers the risk of damage to trucks and cargo, decreases driver turnover, reduces Truck Insurance and other costs, and creates safer roads for everyone.

“In 2021, 5,700 large trucks were involved in a fatal crash, an 18% increase from 2020 and a 49% increase in the last 10 years,” according to the National Safety Council (NSC). “Also in 2021, 117,300 large trucks were involved in crashes resulting in an injury, a 12% increase from 2020. Since 2016, the number of trucks involved in injury crashes has increased 15%...”

Furthermore, according to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), “Drivers of large trucks and other vehicles involved in truck crashes are ten times more likely to be the cause of the crash than other factors, such as weather, road conditions, and vehicle performance.”

Healthier truck drivers are more alert and focused, minimizing the risk of accidents and creating healthier bottom lines for drivers and trucking companies.

7 Health and Safety Tips

  1. Get Lots of Rest
    “Sleep deficiency can cause problems with learning, focusing, and reacting. You may have trouble making decisions, solving problems, remembering things, managing your emotions and behavior, and coping with change,” according to the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. “You may take longer to finish tasks, have a slower reaction time, and make more mistakes.” Experts recommend that adults get between seven and nine hours of sleep a night.

  2. Eat Healthy
    Good nutrition is key to good mental and physical health. According to experts, a poor diet can cause fatigue, slower reaction time, impaired cognitive function, and more.

  3. Stay Hydrated 
    “Mild dehydration can cause problems with blood pressure, heart rate, and body temperature,” according to Cedars-Sinai. “Severe dehydration can also cause weakness or confusion. In extreme cases, it can lead to kidney damage, brain damage, and even death.” Many experts recommend six to eight 8-ounce glasses of water a day.

  4. Manage Stress
    Driving a large truck, dealing with traffic and other drivers, sticking to tight deadlines, etc., can all lead to stress, and stress can cause headaches, fatigue, memory problems, sleep problems, and more. You may not be able to eliminate stress, but if you want to be a safer driver and minimize the risk of causing an accident, it’s crucial that you learn how to manage stress.

  5. Wear Your Seatbelt
    The FMCSA reports that safety belts, especially lap/shoulder belts, are effective in reducing injuries and fatalities and the cost of operating large trucks. Plus, it’s the law. Failure to wear a seatbelt can result in state or federal penalties to drivers and employers.

  6. Avoid Distracted Driving
    Distracted driving can cause accidents, resulting in death, injuries, property damage, higher operating costs, litigation, and more. Distractions can come from inside – texting, eating, adjusting the radio, etc. - or outside – billboards, unusual sights, etc. If anything takes your eyes off the road, it is a distraction. If anything takes your mind off driving, it’s a distraction. If anything forces you to take your hand or hands off the wheel, it’s a distraction.

  7. Practice the Optimal Seating Position
    Understanding the optimal seating position can help alleviate many health issues by decreasing strain on various body parts. Plus, it can increase driver comfort, increase safety in a vehicle accident, and optimize the visibility of the vehicle controls while driving.

Don't Overpay For Truck Insurance!

At American Insuring Group, we go beyond providing you with affordable truck insurance. We carefully analyze your needs and match you up with the best trucking insurance policy based on a careful pricing and coverage analysis of many competing insurance companies. 

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

Tags: truck insurance, Trucking Insurance, Texting, Commercial Auto Insurance

PA Workers' Compensation Insurance and Workplace Violence

Posted by David Ross on Sat, Mar 02, 2024

Avoid workplace violence and save on worker's comp insurance in Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Erie, Allentown, Harrisburg, Reading, Lancaster and throughout Pennsylvania.Workers' Compensation (WC) Insurance pays for medical costs and lost wages for work-related injuries and deaths. For example, if someone falls and is injured on the job, is exposed to dangerous chemicals at work, or is injured by faulty machinery while working, they will – in all probability - be covered by WC. But what about workers who are injured or killed by workplace violence?

What is PA Workers' Compensation Insurance?

PA Workers' Compensation is a no-fault insurance most employers are required to carry in Pennsylvania. "The workers' compensation system protects employees and employers," the PA Department of Labor & Industry (DLI) explains. "Employees receive medical treatment and are compensated for lost wages associated with work-related injuries and disease, and employers provide for the cost of such coverage while being protected from direct lawsuits by employees."

What is Workplace Violence?

Workplace violence can involve employees, clients, customers, or visitors. "Workplace violence is the act or threat of violence, ranging from verbal abuse to physical assaults directed toward persons at work or on duty," according to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH). "The impact of workplace violence can range from psychological issues to physical injury or even death."

Here are some examples of workplace violence:

  • Physical and verbal altercations among employees
  • Criminal activities, such as robbery
  • Physical confrontations between customers and employees
  • Active shooting incidents
  • Violence that occurs between an employee and their partner that happens in the workplace

Service occupations, such as health care, law enforcement, education, and retail, are most at risk for workplace violence, but violence can occur anywhere. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, acts of violence are the third-leading cause of fatal occupational injuries in the U.S.

According to the NIOSH, 20,050 workers in the private industry experienced trauma from nonfatal workplace violence that resulted in days away from work in 2020. 76% of those injuries occurred in the healthcare and social assistance industry, and 22% required 31 or more days away from work. In 2020, 392 workers were workplace homicide victims. 30% of them were performing retail-related tasks.

Does Workers' Compensation Insurance cover Workplace Violence?

Workers' Comp is a no-fault insurance, which means it doesn't matter who or what caused the injury. However, for an injury or death to be covered under WC, it must occur in the "course and scope of employment."

In other words, for an injury or death to be covered under Workers Comp, it must be directly related to employment. Therefore, injuries may not be covered under WC if it's a personal dispute unrelated to employment.

While each incident is unique, the following scenarios will typically be covered under WC:

  • A police officer is shot in the line of duty.
  • A customer attacks an employee because they are unhappy with your company's return policy.
  • Co-workers fight over how a work task should be performed.
  • Psychological injuries are caused by witnessing a violent event at work.

The following scenarios are typically not covered under WC:

  • Someone who has a personal issue with an employee comes into their workplace and causes injury.
  • An employee is attacked by someone whom they have a criminal relationship with.
  • A husband attacks his wife at her place of employment.
  • Two employees fight over a personal matter not related to work.

Are You Paying Too Much for Worker's Compensation Insurance?

At American Insuring Group, we offer cost-effective worker's compensation insurance from many competing insurance companies. We'll work hard to get you the best price on quality insurance for all your business needs.

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

Tags: Workers Compensation Insurance, workers comp, workers comp insurance

What Contractors Need to Know About Certificates of Insurance

Posted by David Ross on Sat, Feb 24, 2024

Contact us to learn more about certificates of contractor insurance in Philadelphia, Lancaster, Erie, Pittsburgh, Allentown, Reading, Harrisburg, State College, and elsewhere in Pennsylvania.Contractor Insurance is crucial to protect your business financially, provide credibility to your business, and put the minds of the individuals you're working with - such as owners and general contractors - at ease.

Construction sites are riddled with hazards – sharp objects, moving vehicles, etc. - that can cause damage or injury. Insurance helps for damage or injuries that occur. Owners, general contractors, and others want to protect themselves from being held liable for injuries and damages that are not their fault, so they want to ensure that anyone they work with also has adequate insurance.

For example, suppose a general contractor hires a plumber, and the plumber installs a leaky faucet that causes damage. In that case, the subcontractor's insurance should help pay for the damages caused by their work.

This is why a certificate of insurance (COI) is essential to any construction business.

What is a Certificate of Insurance?

"A certificate of insurance (COI) is a document issued by an insurance company or broker. The COI verifies the existence of an insurance policy and summarizes the key aspects and conditions of the policy," Investopedia explains. "Small business owners and contractors typically require a COI that grants protection against liability for workplace accidents or injuries to conduct business."

The following information is typically included on a COI:

  • Name of the insurer or insurers providing the coverage
  • Insurance agent or broker's contact info
  • Name and address of the insured party
  • Name and contact info of the certificate holder
  • Name of any additional insured parties
  • Policy number
  • Type of coverage
  • Amount of coverage
  • Coverage description
  • Policy's expiration date

What's the Difference Between an Insurance Policy and a Certificate of Insurance?

A COI is a brief summary of the main details of an insurance policy used to show proof of insurance or to show that a third party is named as an additional insured. An insurance policy is a detailed contract that is much more detailed than a COI. It includes information about the terms and conditions of the policy, covered perils, exclusions, etc. If you have any questions or need to file a claim, the insurance policy will provide most of the information you need.

Who Will Ask for a COI?

COIs may be requested by the following:

  • General contractors
  • Property Owners
  • Clients
  • Suppliers
  • Government agencies, when you bid on a job with them
  • Businesses you're leasing equipment from
  • Banks and lenders

When Should You Request a COI?

Whenever you're working with a third party, and there is a chance of damage or injury that is not your fault – a faulty product or shoddy workmanship from a specialty contractor - you should request a COI to help ensure that you are not held liable for the damage or injury. For example, if you're a general contractor hiring a subcontractor (electrician, plumber, etc.), you should request a COI. Both general contractors and subcontractors should also ask for COIs from any vendors they work with.

Notes About COIs:

  • When you receive a COI, you must review all the information to ensure accuracy.
  • The certificate holder is the party receiving the COI from the party insured. Being listed as a certificate holder does not provide any protection under the policy. Only the policyholder and additional insured parties listed receive protection under the policy listed on the COI.
  • A COI shows that a policy is in effect on the date and time it was issued. Unscrupulous businesses may cancel the policy after the COI is issued. Therefore, verifying with the insurer or insurers that the party still has insurance with appropriate policy limits is always a good idea.
  • You should organize and retain all COIs indefinitely.

Don't Overpay For Contractor Insurance!

American Insuring Group will perform an in-depth review of your business to determine your specific insurance coverage needs and then compare the cost of that coverage with multiple insurance companies to ensure that you get the best price on quality Contractor Insurance.

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

Tags: Construction Insurance, Construction Risk Insurance, Contractor Insurance, Contractual Risk Transfer

5 Common Mistakes Landlords Make

Posted by David Ross on Sat, Feb 17, 2024

Avoid landlord mistakes and save on landlord insurance in Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Erie, Allentown, Reading, Lancaster, Harrisburg, and throughout Pennsylvania.Investing in rental property and becoming a landlord is a viable income stream for many Americans. According to Doorloop, approximately 17.1 million properties generate income in the U.S., earning as much as $97,000 annually (more than $35,000 above the median household income).

However, landlords need to make intelligent decisions, avoid mistakes, and protect their investments with Landlord Insurance to make that kind of income. Simply buying a property, making a few renovations, and renting it out – without taking necessary precautions – can lead to financial loss and more problems.

5 Common Mistakes Landlords Make

1. Not Properly Screening Tenants

When you rent out your property, you are handing it over to a stranger; therefore, it's imperative that you properly screen all tenants before handing over the keys. Although you may be concerned about quickly renting out your property and avoiding vacancies, you need to do whatever you can to help ensure that your tenants will pay their rent on time and not trash your property.

Stessa recommends the following steps when screening applicants:

  • Set minimum applicant requirements
  • Request a completed rental application
  • Run credit, rental history, and background check
  • Speak with current employer and landlord
  • Interview the applicant
  • Review all applicants

2. Not Budgeting for Vacancies

Most rental property owners compare their monthly costs with anticipated rental income to determine their profit. Many rely on rental income to pay all or part of their monthly mortgage payments. However, some fail to budget for months when the unit is vacant and providing zero income.

How often your rental property will be vacant and for how long varies greatly depending on the area, the economy, the condition of your property, etc., but it's safe to say that your property will be vacant at some point.

Therefore, when estimating your cash flow, always estimate for months with zero-dollar income from your rental property and ensure that you can continue to pay your mortgage, property taxes, maintenance costs, etc., when (not if) that happens.

3. Neglecting Property and Tenants

Although rental income is considered passive income, that doesn't mean that you can be passive when it comes to your property and tenants. You must ensure that your property is appropriately maintained to comply with the Pennsylvania Landlord Tenant Act, avoid injuries that can lead to lawsuits, and keep minor issues (a leaky faucet) from becoming more expensive repairs (replacing flooring). Landlords should regularly inspect their rental properties to watch for maintenance issues and perform routine maintenance (such as replacing air filters, testing smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, checking fire extinguishers, etc.).

You should also regularly check in with your tenants to ensure there aren't any issues that need to be addressed.

4. Not Treating it Like a Business

Too many landlords treat their rental property like a hobby. To be successful (enjoying an income and avoiding unnecessary headaches), you must treat your rental property like a business. That means conducting market research before purchasing a property, keeping records (financial, maintenance, etc.), estimating costs, building a financial reserve, having a marketing strategy, enforcing the lease, knowing when and how to evict a tenant, etc.

5. Not Getting the Right Landlord Insurance

One of the biggest mistakes many new landlords make – especially if they're renting out a single-family home – is to assume their homeowner's insurance policy will protect them if the rental property incurs damage or someone is injured on the property. Insurance is all about risk, and renting your home to someone else increases risk; therefore, most standard homeowner's insurance policies do not cover damage or injuries if you rent your property to someone else.

The right Landlord Insurance fits your specific needs and helps protect your property and so much more.

Don't Pay Too Much for Landlord Insurance!

As Landlord Insurance specialists, the agents at American Insuring Group understand your unique concerns and insurance needs to ensure you get the right insurance coverage. As independent agents, we compare your insurance coverage with multiple competing insurance providers to ensure you get the best price on quality coverage. 

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

Tags: Landlord Insurance

Lower Truck Insurance With Pre and Post-Trip Inspections

Posted by David Ross on Sat, Feb 10, 2024

We can help you lower your truck insurance. costs in Philadelphia, Reading, Allentown, Pittsburgh, Harrisburg, Erie, and throughout PA. Call today. In 2022, there were 168,320 truck accidents, with 76,180 people injured. In 4,766 of these accidents, one or more people died. These accidents cost trucking companies millions of dollars annually, which is why Commercial Truck Insurance is crucial. However, if you want to keep your insurance premiums in check, you need to take steps to minimize the risk of your truck being in an accident.

According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration's (FMCSA) Large Truck Crash Causation Study, approximately 10% of accidents involving large trucks are caused by an issue with the vehicle. Pre- and post-trip inspection can help lower the risk of these accidents, reducing truck insurance and other costs. Furthermore, pre and post-trip inspections, along with a Daily Vehicle Inspection Report (DVIR), are required by Federal Motor Safety Regulations (FMCSR).

What is a Pre- and Post-Trip Inspection?

Experts explain, "A pre-trip inspection is a thorough check of your vehicles before they hit the road to ensure everything is working properly. These inspections are designed to detect any potential malfunctions or failure points on the vehicle to both keep your drivers safe and prevent expensive repairs.

"These inspections can be performed by your mechanics before the drivers head out for the day and by the drivers themselves before they get behind the wheel. They should be performed every day that your vehicles are on the road and logged into a central database where they can be accessed and reviewed regularly."

Benefits of Pre- and Post-Trip Inspections

The benefits of pre-and post-trip inspections go beyond lowering Truck Insurance costs. They also help…

  • Ensure your trucks are running efficiently and at peak performance
  • Minimize the risk of breakdowns by spotting mechanical problems early
  • Prevent minor issues from becoming more expensive repairs
  • Keep your drivers and others safe
  • Keep vehicles from going out of service and drivers on the road
  • Maintain compliance with the law
  • Save money – insurance costs, more extensive repairs, lawsuits, legal fines, etc.
  • Reduce liability
  • Assist in claim investigations
  • Avoid negative publicity

Pre- and Post-Inspection Tips

Smart Trucking offers a comprehensive pre-inspection guide for truck drivers, but here are some things to check:

  • Service brakes, including trailer brake connections
  • Parking brake
  • Steering mechanism
  • Lights, reflectors, and signals
  • Tires
  • Suspension
  • Coupling devices
  • Wheels and rims
  • Fluid levels
  • Belts and hoses
  • Electrical and air lines
  • Gauges
  • Air brake warning system
  • Seat belts
  • Horn
  • Windshield wipers
  • Rear vision mirrors
  • Emergency equipment
  • Applicable paperwork

Additional Tips:

  • Use a calibrated tire gauge (not the kick test)
  • Double and triple-check the brakes because 30% of vehicle component failure truck accidents are attributed to brake problems.
  • Develop a routine for pre- and post-inspections.
  • Budget at least 10-15 minutes.
  • Keep accurate logs.
  • Report potential problems immediately.

More Tips to Keep Your Vehicles Safe and at Peak Performance

Keeping your trucks safe and at peak performance should be an ongoing process and not end with the pre- and post-inspection. Here are some additional tips:

  • Inspect your vehicle when you stop for fuel (some drivers are required to do this by law).
  • Use all of your senses while driving to detect problems – listen for odd noises, pay attention to unusual odors, and notice if the handling or braking seems off.
  • Regularly change the oil.
  • Replace brakes about every 50,000 miles.

Don't Overpay For Truck Insurance!

The Truck Insurance experts at American Insuring Group ensure you get the right insurance coverage for your specific needs. As independent agents, we compare the cost of that coverage with multiple  insurance companies to make sure that you don't overpay for Truck Insurance!

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

Tags: Commercial Vehicle Insurance, truck insurance, commercial vehicle insuarance, Trucking Insurance