What Is Workers’ Compensation Insurance?

A wise person once said, “You gotta crack a few eggs if you’re gonna make an omelet”, meaning, accidents happen. Even if you have a team of world-class omelet makers, not every chef can cook mistake-free forever.

That being said, before a mishap leaves you and your business covered in yoke, you should make sure all your employees are protected. The Stanford Agency will walk you through your options to find the right plan that will help both sides recover from an egg-cracking accident.

What Is Workers’ Compensation Insurance?

Basically, it’s a contract between a business and an insurance company, where the insurer will pay for an employee’s medical costs, lost wages, permanent disability or death benefits that result from a workplace injury or illness. In most cases, it also protects a business against lawsuits filed by employees.

Is Workers’ Comp Mandatory?

Yes. There are some exceptions, but even if it isn't mandatory, a worker’s comp policy is HEAVILY recommended. You wouldn’t want one little whoopsie to crush your big business dreams, would you?

Why Do I NEED Workers’ Comp?

If an employee were to injury themselves, workers’ comp can save your company from crumbling to the ground in a number of ways, but if you like living on the edge and fail to provide adequate coverage you could face a giant world of hurt.

Bad things that can happen if you don’t have workers’ comp insurance:

  • Financial ruins: without an insurance policy, out-of-pocket expenses for a severe injury could bankrupt your company

  • Legal issues: without coverage, you lose certain types of common law defenses, which make it nearly impossible to win your case

  • Criminal charges and fines: failure to comply with state regulations could lead to hefty fines and even jail time. Jail. JAIL!

     

What Does Workers’ Comp Cover?

A workers’ comp insurance policy will cover the majority of injuries that arise from work-related duties, ranging from simple slip-and-fall accidents to repetitive motion injuries and even an illness or disease contracted at work.

Employee coverage will usually include the following:

  • Medical bills and rehabilitation costs

  • Weekly payments in place of missed wages

  • Compensation for past, present and future economic loss due to disability

If an employee dies, their family will usually receive the following:

  • Compensation for funeral costs

  • Legal fees (if the family sues)

  • Death benefits

Workers’ Comp Insurance for A Small Business

Coverage will be determined by your corporate structure and the regulations of the state’s workers compensation rating authority, but it typically depends on the number of employees, type of business, type of work the employees are doing, among other things. Even if it’s not required, it’s relatively inexpensive and well worth the protection it provides. Protect yourself, by protecting others.

Workers’ Compensation Laws by State

Each state, has its own rules, regulations, coverage requirements and everything in between—they pretty much run the show.

What’s So Great About an Independent Insurance Agent?

It’s simple. Literally. The Stanford Agency will simplify the process by shopping and comparing insurance quotes and rates for you. Not only that, they’ll cut the jargon and clarify the fine print so you know exactly what you’re getting.

Plus, they work with multiple workers’ comp insurance carriers, which gives you more options for finding ideal coverage that complies with state regulations. Most importantly, they’ll be there to help you when claim time comes. The outcome of insurance claims can be strongly impacted by how the process is approached and handled. They've got your back!

 

How Much Does Workers’ Compensation Cost?

The cost of a workers' compensation policy depends on the coverage and a number of other factors like state regulations and industry. So, an ergonomically-conscious accounting firm might less than $1,000 a year, whereas a traveling circus could pay significantly more. Basically, the safer and smaller the company, the cheaper it is.

 

How Can You Get Lower Workers’ Comp Insurance Rates?

First, take steps to manage your risks, like clearing the banana peels from all major and minor walkways. This will also help the future you, because the less claims you make the lower/same rate your premium will be.

Comparing Workers’ Compensation Insurance Quotes

The Stanford Agency will review your needs and help you evaluate the coverage that makes the most sense. They’ll also compare policies and quotes from multiple insurance companies to make sure you have the right protection in place. So, you’ll have that going for you.

 

What to look for when shopping for renters insurance!

If you rent a house or apartment and experience a fire or other disaster, your landlord’s insurance will only cover the costs of repairing the building. To financially protect yourself you will need to buy renters or tenants insurance.

 

Renters insurance protections

Like homeowners insurance, renters insurance includes three key types of financial protection: 

·       Coverage for personal possessions

·       Liability protection

·       Additional living expenses (ALE)

 

The big difference is that renters insurance doesn't cover the building or structure of the apartment—that's the landlord's responsibility.

 

Coverage for personal possessions

Coverage for your personal property is a key component of renters coverage, protecting you from theft, fire and a host of other unfortunate events.

 

How much insurance should I buy?

Make sure you have enough insurance to replace all of your personal possessions in the event of a burglary, fire or other covered disaster. The easiest way to determine the value of all your personal possessions is to create a home inventory —a detailed list of all of your belongings along with their estimated value.

 

Should I choose replacement cost or actual cash value coverage?

Actual cash value policies include a deduction for depreciation (that is, the idea that items lose value over time).  Replacement cost coverage is pricier but can be well worth the extra expense if your belongings are damaged or destroyed (think about how much you'd get for your TV used versus how much it would actually cost to replace).

 

What disasters are—and are not—covered?

Renters insurance covers you against losses from fire or smoke, lightning, vandalism, theft, explosion, windstorm and certain types of water damage (such as from a burst pipe or when the tenant upstairs leaves the water running in the bathtub and floods your apartment).

 

Like standard homeowners policies, most renters insurance policies do not cover floods or earthquakes. Flood coverage is available from the National Flood Insurance Program and a few private insurers. You can get earthquake insurance as a separate policy or have it added as an endorsement to your renters policy, depending on where you live.

 

What is my deductible, and how does it work?

A  deductible is an amount of money you responsible for paying before your insurance coverage. For example, if you have a $500 deductible and a fire destroys $5000 worth of furniture, the first $500 is your responsibility and your insurance company will cover $4500.

 

Renters insurance deductibles are generally specified as a dollar amount, which can be found on the Declarations page of your policy. In general, the larger the deductible, the lower your insurance premium.

 

What is a “floater” and do I need one?

A floater is a separate policy that provides additional coverage for more costly valuables if they are lost or stolen. If you have expensive jewelry, furs, collectibles, sports equipment or musical instruments, consider adding a floater to your policy to protect against their loss.

 

Am I covered if I am traveling or away from home?

Most renters polices include what is called off-premises coverage, which means belongings that are outside of your home are covered against the same disasters listed in your policy. For example, property stolen from your car or a hotel room while you’re traveling would be protected.

  

Liability protection

What is liability insurance?

Renters insurance provides liability protection that covers you against lawsuits for bodily injury or property damage done by you, your family members and even your pets. This coverage pays for the cost of defending you in court, up to the limit of your policy.

Your renters policy should also include no-fault medical coverage as part of the liability protection. Medical payments coverage allows someone who gets injured on your property to simply submit his or her medical bills directly to your insurance company so the bills can be paid without resorting to a lawsuit.

 

Do I have enough liability insurance?

Make sure the amount of liability coverage provided by your policy is sufficient to protect your financial and other material assets in the event of a lawsuit.

 

Do I need an umbrella liability policy?

If you need a larger amount of liability protection, consider purchasing a personal umbrella liability policy. An umbrella policy kicks in when you reach the limit on the underlying liability coverage provided by your renters or auto policy. It will also cover you for things such as libel and slander.

  

Additional living expenses

Additional living expenses (ALE) coverage provides coverage if your home is destroyed by an insured disaster and you need to live elsewhere for a time.

What does ALE cover?

The additional living expenses portion of your rental insurance policy pays for hotel bills, temporary rentals, restaurant meals and other expenses you incur while your rental home is being repaired or rebuilt. Essentially, it covers the expenses you would not have to incur if you had your usual roof over your head.

 

How much does ALE cover?

Most policies will reimburse you the full difference between your additional living expenses and your normal living expenses; however, there are generally limits as to the total amount the insurer will pay or time limits specifying how long you’re eligible for the ALE payments. Make sure you’re comfortable with the limits of the policy you choose.

 

Multiple policy and other discounts

What types of discounts are offered on renters insurance?

Insurance companies often offer discounts on renters insurance if you have another policy with them—for example, car insurance or business insurance.

You may also get a discount if you:

·         Have a security system

·         Use smoke detectors

·         Use deadbolt locks

·         Have good credit

·         Stay with the same insurer

·         Are over 55 years old

·          

Discounts may vary widely by insurance company.  So let the Stanford Agency help you compare prices!

What does my car insurance actually do for me?

How much does New Jersey car insurance cost?

On average, New Jersey drivers pay more than most other drivers around the nation, but you'll still find an affordable rate for your unique needs when you team up with The Stanford Agency.

Americans pay an average of $1,474 per year for their auto insurance, while New Jersey drivers pay on average about $1,905 per year. Make sure you're getting the best rate by comparing quotes from a variety of insurance companies. The Stanford Agency can provide you with different quotes.

 

What does my car insurance actually do for me?

Accidents can happen to anyone – even the best drivers. Car insurance protects your finances if you find yourself in a motor vehicle collision. Here's a look at some of the ways your insurance will help.

  • Fix your car: This is called "comprehensive & collision coverage," and though it is not required by the state, it may be required by your lender.

  • Fix someone else's car: This is called "property damage liability." Required/minimum $5,000.

  • Pay your medical bills: This is called "personal injury protection" or "PIP." Required/minimum $15,000.

  • Pay someone else's medical bills: This is called "bodily injury liability." Required/minimum $30,000 per person; $50,000 per accident.

You'll notice that every New Jersey driver is required to have specific insurance coverages at certain minimum liability limits. These policies will pay for someone else's vehicle damage and medical bills, and most states have similar laws to ensure that drivers are prepared for accidents they cause.

 

Who pays if the accident wasn’t my fault?

The driver who caused the accident will cover the damages.

 

How many New Jersey drivers are uninsured?

10.3% of NJ drivers are uninsured.  A lot of people drive without any insurance or financial backup plan for accidents.

That's where "uninsured motorist coverage" comes in. If you are hit by an uninsured driver, this insurance coverage will pay to fix your vehicle and handle your medical bills.

Typically, your insurance company will attempt to collect compensation from the at-fault driver, but sometimes that can be difficult. So although the state doesn't require you to have uninsured motorist coverage, we highly recommend it.

 

Why Have A Homeowner's Policy?

How much does New Jersey home insurance cost?

The average premium for homeowners insurance in America is $1,132, but if you live in New Jersey, you might pay less. The average premium is $1,092, making it cheaper to buy home insurance in New Jersey than in most other states.

 

What does my home insurance do for me?

Sometimes, disasters strike suddenly and with no warning for homeowners. Think of your home insurance as a backup plan that helps you stay afloat after an unexpected catastrophe.

·         Pays for repairs to your home and your belongings.

Example: A tree falls on your house, and rain ruins your 60" Samsung TV.

 

·         Pays for someone else’s injuries or property damage when it’s your fault.

Example: Your kid is playing baseball and accidentally smacks the ball through your neighbor's window.

 

·         Pays for temporary living expenses when your home is damaged

Example: You need a hotel while your house's roof is being repaired due to a fallen tree.

 

Will I actually use my homeowners insurance?

We can’t be 100% certain, but last year insurance companies spent more than $1.1 billion on home insurance claims in New Jersey. That's a lot of unfortunate events happening to New Jersey homeowners.

 

How is my homeowners insurance calculated?

Insurance carriers calculate the cost of a home insurance policy by asking, "How likely is it that something bad will happen?" The more likely it is that something bad will happen, the more expensive the home insurance policy will be, and vice versa. We call these potential disasters "risk." Let’s take a look at how risky New Jersey is compared to the rest of the US.

·         Crime

Break-ins and burglaries are an ongoing problem in New Jersey. In fact, theft is one of the most common homeowners’ insurance claims.

·         Average number of burglaries per 1,000 homes in NJ: 16.26

·         Average number of burglaries per 1,000 homes in the US: 24.9

 

·         Weather

New Jersey is famous for long, cold winters that can lead to serious problems for homeowners, like frozen pipes, flooding due to snowmelt, and roof damage.

·         Most common cause of disasters in the state: Floods

 

Contact The Stanford Agency to review your homeowner’s policy today!

Happy 4th of July!

Please take some time to read this article about firework safety to make sure you have a safe 4th of July.

Follow these firework safety tips and you will decrease your chances of becoming one of the almost 10,000 Americans who are injured by fireworks each year. Of these injuries, 64 percent take place between June 22-July 22. Click here to continue reading.

June 28 is National Insurance Awareness Day!

What is National Insurance Awareness Day? This day serves as a reminder to check your insurance and make sure everything is up-to-date and that you have the right coverage in place.  Insurance gives us a way to care for and protect our families in the event an injury, accident or unplanned event happens. Here are some common types of insurance:

  • Car Insurance

  • Home/Renters Insurance

  • Flood Insurance

  • Umbrella

  • Jewelry

  • Business Insurance

In order to take advantage of this day:

  • Review all of your existing insurance policies and make sure they are up-to-date.

  • Ask yourself what has changed?

  • If there is a type of insurance you need or can benefit from, call The Stanford Agency!

 Talk to your independent insurance agent at The Stanford Agency!

Summer Safety: Are You Insured for Summer Fun?

Summer Safety: Are You Insured for Summer Fun?

As the summer season approaches, your plans are likely to include more entertaining, travel and outdoor excursions. Sunshine may help you relax and recharge, but before engaging in some recreational activities, you should reevaluate your insurance risks and needs. These tips from the National Association of Insurance Commissioners can help make sure you are protected while you enjoy summer fun.

Pools and Trampolines!

Before inviting friends and family over to enjoy your pool or trampoline, know that either may increase your insurance risk. Consider purchasing an umbrella policy in addition to your homeowners insurance to increase your liability coverage. However, because pools and trampolines can be dangerous, some companies may not insure your property if you own them, or there may be policy exclusions for liability for related injuries. An insurance company may also deny coverage or cancel your policy if you do not follow the policy's safety guidelines or fail to inform them when you build a pool or purchase a trampoline. Check with your insurance provider for rates, discounts and safety guidelines (such as installing a fence or locked gate). If you lease a property with a pool, discuss your insurance options with your agent or insurance company.

Boats

A boat insurance policy provides liability coverage if someone is injured on your boat. It also covers bodily injury inflicted on others and property damage to your boat. These policies may be suspended during the months your boat is not in use. Read your policy carefully and speak to your agent as some watercraft policies have minimum or fully earned premiums associated with them.

There are three types of boat insurance loss settlement provisions for damages to your boat:

  • Actual cash value (ACV) or market value: Your insurer will reimburse you for the current value of the boat, minus your deductible, if you experience a total loss. For a partial loss, the insurer will pay for the depreciated value of lost or damaged items, minus your deductible.

  • Agreed amount value: You and your insurer have agreed upon a value of your boat at the time you purchase the policy. This is the amount you will be paid if you experience a total loss, minus your deductible. Damage from a partial loss is paid on a replacement cost basis, minus your deductible. In other words, no depreciation is taken on a partial loss.

  • Replacement cost coverage: In the event of a total loss, your insurer will pay to replace your boat with one that is as similar to your boat as possible.

The personal property coverage of your homeowners policy may cover a small boat for $1,500 or less in physical damage. However, coverage for your liability risk is limited. A large boat will be excluded from your homeowners policy for property and liability coverage. Personal watercrafts, such as jet skis, often require a separate policy that may be offered by your homeowners' insurer. Alternatively, you may choose to purchase a policy from an insurer that specializes in boat insurance. Talk with your insurance agent and get quotes from other companies to understand your options.

All-Terrain Vehicles (ATVs)

ATVs are not covered by standard automobile insurance policies, but your homeowners policy may partially cover liability. Ask your agent if you have sufficient coverage on your homeowners policy. If you do not, you should consider a separate ATV policy. Ask your provider about age restrictions regarding who may operate the ATV or if the policy covers friends and family. Make sure you have the right coverage for your situation and intended use.

Traveling

Whether you're leaving home for a weekend getaway or a long road trip, be aware of what your homeowners or renter's policy will cover while you're gone. Typically, your homeowners insurance will follow you, protecting you even while you're not at home. Off-premises' coverage means your belongings are covered anywhere in the world. If you're staying at a hotel and your belongings are stolen, your homeowners policy will provide coverage but the exact coverage depends on your policy. In addition to your deductible, items will typically have a limit on things like jewelry and furs. If you're traveling with high-priced items, it's a good idea to get separate insurance coverage for these items. Contact your agent or insurance company to find out what's covered under your policy.

For More Information
Contact The Stanford Agency.  We are more than happy to answer your questions.

Portable electric heater safety tips

Paul Davis Restoration of Union & Essex Counties, a leading provider of fire and water damage clean up and restoration services, provides consumers with safety tips when using portable electric heaters also known as space heaters in cold weather months. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) and the United States Fire Administration (USFA) estimates these types of heaters are involved in thousands of fires each year resulting in deaths, injuries and millions of dollars in property loss.

Paul Davis offers the following tips to help prevent fires from space heaters:

  • Never operate a heater you suspect is damaged: Before use, inspect the heater, cord, and plug for possible damage. Follow all operation and maintenance instructions.
  • To see if your electric heater has been recalled: Visit www.cpsc.org.
  • Never leave the heater operating while unattended, or while you are sleeping.
  • Keep combustible material such as beds, sofas, curtains, papers, and clothes at least three feet from the front, sides, and rear of the heater.
  • Be sure the heater plug fits tightly into the wall outlet. If not, do not use the outlet to power the heater.
  • During use, check frequently to determine if the heater plug or cord, wall outlet, or faceplate is hot. If the plug, outlet, or faceplate is hot, discontinue use of the heater.
  • Have a qualified electrician check and/or replace the plug or faulty wall outlet(s). If the cord is hot, disconnect the heater and have it inspected/repaired by an authorized repair person.
  • Never power the heater with an extension cord or power strip.
  • Insure that the heater is placed on a stable, level surface, and located where it will not be knocked over.
  • When purchasing a heater, ask the salesperson whether the heater has been safety-certified. A certified heater will have a safety certification mark.
  • Never run the heater’s cord under rugs or carpeting. This can damage the cord, causing it and nearby objects to burn.
  • To prevent electrical shocks and electrocutions, always keep electric heaters away from water, and never touch an electric heater if you are wet. In case of fire or emergency property damage, contact a licensed, professional fire damage clean up and restoration company.

###

 

Paul Davis is a leading provider of fire, water and mold damage restoration and reconstruction services for residential and commercial properties. Local office owners nationwide are properly licensed individuals with certifications from leading industry organizations like The Institute of Inspection, Cleaning and Restoration Certification (IICRC). Founded in 1966, Paul Davis has restoration, remodeling and emergency services franchise office locations throughout the US and Canada. Visit the local office website at http://union-and-essex-counties.pauldavis.com.