Mackay Insurance Blog
Starting a New Business During COVID? Protect Your Startup With The Right Insurance
It might seem counterintuitive to launch a new business venture during an unprecedented global pandemic.
For the millions who have been downsized during this past year, as well as for workers who can't get enough hours to make ends meet, launching up a startup is starting to look smarter and smarter.
The truth is, Canadians have a history of thriving during challenging times. Crisis can be the stuff of world-changing creativity and innovation.
And while insurance isn't the most exciting part of this type of venture, this is definitely not the year to start a new business without it.
If you are considering the launch of a new business or are already deep in the startup stage of a new business, this is definitely the article you want to read. Mackay Insurance in Belleville provides small businesses with the right insurance during the COVID-19 pandemic in Ontario.m Let’s make sure that your new business is fully insured and your investment is protected in 2021!
New Business Startup Insurance: Cover Your Bases With Mackay Insurance
Starting a new business will always require business insurance. This is one thing that COVID-19 has not changed.
However, as we mentioned in the introduction here, what has changed due to COVID-19 is the number of workers who are launching businesses for the very first time.
So this section gives you a quick overview of business insurance basics you need to address to protect your hard work and investment.
These are the three basic categories of business insurance coverage that every small business (whether home-based or not) should consider:
1. General (commercial) Business Liability
Commercial liability insurance for businesses covers injuries that occur on the worksite. It sometimes also covers legal fees as a result of such injuries.
2. Business Property Coverage
Business property coverage typically protects against damage to the premises or the contents, which may range from equipment to inventory.
3. Business Interruption Coverage
As the name implies, business interruption coverage provides relief if the business is unable to operate for certain covered reasons as outlined in the policy.
Depending on the type of business and how/where you operate, here are some additional new business insurance coverage types you may want to consider.
Business (commercial) Auto Insurance
Commercial auto insurance protects you or workers using a vehicle for non-commuting business purposes.
Professional Liability (errors and omissions) Insurance
Professional liability insurance protects you or officers and directors from errors or omissions that result in legal fees.
Cyber Security Insurance
Data breaches are more and more common and this insurance can help offset the costs of suffering a data breach or cyber attack.
Accounts Receivable Insurance
If a major customer goes bankrupt, this insurance protects you from sudden loss of revenue.
Home Based Business Insurance Coverage
The start of winter saw another spike in COVID-19 cases here in Ontario. While this was not entirely unexpected, it has definitely put a damper on reopening plans for many brick-and-mortar business locations.
This has re-focused attention on the viability of home-based businesses, whether you are planning to launch or expand a virtual element to your existing business or proceed with starting a new virtual business.
Our brokerage team at Mackay Insurance recommends reading our blog post and reviewing the ins and outs of home based business insurance basics. If you have any questions regarding business insurance coverage or how to obtain it locally in Quinte, contact Mackay Insurance brokers today!
NOTE: The most important part of starting up a new home-based business is also the most-often overlooked part. Be sure the community where you live is zoned to permit home based business operations!
Small Business Insurance for Remote Workers
Running a business has never felt less secure or stable than it has this year. Many small businesses have made the leap to a remote workforce wherever possible. In some cases, the shift may become permanent.
One important aspect we take special care to mention each time we talk with one of our small business clients in Mackay Insurance is remote workforce insurance.
If your company had been operating out of a single location prior to 2020, it is definitely time to revisit your existing business liability coverage from every angle, including remote access to sensitive data and BYOD (bring your own device) policy coverage.
For businesses who are shifting to a remote model for the first time, be aware that you may need to change your coverage or add a relevant rider to protect remote work locations and/or work-related auto use that is not straight commuting (such as a new business delivery service).
We covered these topics in more detail in a blog post devoted to how businesses in transition may need to update business insurance coverage due to COVID-19.
COVID-19 Relief Business Insurance
Not surprisingly, Mackay Insurance has been receiving a large number of calls from our existing business clients asking about options for business relief insurance due to COVID-19.
The main challenge here is that the Canadian insurance industry has also been hard-hit by the global pandemic. Interest rates have plunged and claims have skyrocketed, with the predictable impact that premium prices are rising.
Earlier this year, many auto insurers initiated relief efforts to consumers struggling to pay their premiums. More recently in Ontario, a new relief effort began to support hospitality industry businesses who have been unable to obtain business insurance coverage.
Our brokerage team at Mackay Insurance is happy to talk with you about available options to obtain business insurance or apply for insurance relief.
We also highly recommend that you read our blog post about COVID-19 insurance relief.
Get in Touch With Mackay Insurance in Belleville Ontario
Here in Belleville, Ontario, Mackay Insurance is open to serve you! Let us know how you prefer to connect with us!
We are here to support home based businesses and small business owners with affordable insurance options to protect your present and your future.
Returning to the New Normal: What That Means For Your Insurance Coverage
Slowly yet surely, we are starting to emerge out of the firestorm of the global pandemic.
Many of our customers are returning to working outside the home, with their kids similarly preparing for a return to school.
The roads are more crowded now. Some of that traffic even represents seasonal cottage-holders finally able to make the trek to check on their properties and perhaps enjoy a long weekend away.
We may still feel a bit shaky, a touch uncertain about personal safety and next steps, but there is life to be lived and we want to live it.
And while insurance matters may not feel pressing in light of the other major issues we have faced as individuals, communities and a nation this year, this shift towards post-pandemic life also means it is time to revisit your insurance coverage yet again.
In this timely post, we highlight important insurance coverage tasks you may need to consider as we move into the fall and winter season here in Ontario.
Commuting Again? Make Sure Your Auto Insurance Has You Covered
Earlier this year, it came as a welcome relief for many of our customers when auto insurers dropped rates and offered rebates to reflect province-wide pandemic shelter-in-place orders.
You may have also had a conversation with your Mackay broker about reducing coverages based on reduced driving activity.
As the world opens back up again and you find yourself logging more commute time once more, be sure your auto insurance coverage reflects your actual use patterns.
Time to Make the Switch to Off-Season Cottage & Vehicle Insurance?
This hasn't been an easy summer season thus far for seasonal cottage owners and recreational vehicle owners.
In fact, with the majority of the brief warm season now behind us, our goals for getting the RV out of storage or taking a spin with our motorboat or jet skis may rapidly be fading as we move into fall.
However, with fall nearly upon us, our customers who own snowmobiles or ATVs may be eyeing those with unseasonal eagerness, imagining a winter with the pandemic firmly behind us at last.
In either case, make sure you update your seasonal cottage insurance and recreational boat insurance coverage accordingly. It is not too early to retire a recreational vehicle you don't anticipate using for the remainder of the summer season and reap the savings from that.
Similarly, if your cottage is typically inaccessible in winter, talk with your Mackay Insurance broker about transitioning to off-season coverage there as well.
Evaluate Business Insurance Coverage for a Remote Workforce
Whether your business is an entrepreneurship or a large company, the transition to a largely remote workforce can have a ripple effect on the types of business insurance coverage you need.
In many cases, business liability insurance is set up to reflect a group of workers operating out of a single location. The risk profile changes across the board when that same group of workers is now working from multiple locations.
Part of the increased risk comes into play due to the need to provide remote online access to secure company networks and databases that may contain sensitive or proprietary information.
Part of the increased risk arises from the use of a remote location as a "work site" and what might happen if the remote worker is injured on the job or causes harm or injury to another during scheduled work hours.
Another aspect to the increased risk comes from the need or choice to store company property, supplies, materials, devices or data in an off-site, remote location.
Yet, another issue that arises is when a remote worker needs to use their personal vehicle for non-commute-related company business or to transfer company property or data from one location to another, such as between a home office and the regular work site.
Each of these issues needs to be addressed in a thorough review of the current business insurance coverage - even more urgently if there is an ongoing semi-permanent or permanent transition to a remote workforce. Your Mackay broker in Belleville can help you review and adjust your business coverage policy to reflect these types of post-pandemic shifts.
Homeowners Insurance Policies May Not Cover a Home Office
Similarly, for remote workers who are using a portion of the home as a temporary (or transitioning to permanent) remote work site, it is vital to be aware of any coverage limitations under your existing homeowner insurance policy.
Your current homeowners insurance policy may contain a clause that expressly prohibits operation of a home-based business. Should a claim arise out of the choice or necessity of working remotely from home, it will be up to your insurer to decide whether that constitutes a violation of the policy exclusion or not.
And while it is true that many insurers have adopted a policy of leniency during these unprecedented crisis months, this should be viewed as a temporary laxity and never something you should count on.
It is worth a phone call or email to your Mackay Insurance broker to talk through any changes to your work site and possible risks that may open up when filing a homeowners insurance policy claim.
If necessary, your coverage can be adjusted to reflect your new use of a portion of your home space as a work site. Something as simple as an "incidental office use" rider may be all that is needed.
You may also need to adjust your personal riders to reflect use/storage of high-value business property like computers. If there is theft or loss, you want to be sure those items can be replaced without causing you to use your personal savings to do so.
Get in Touch With Your Mackay Insurance Broker Today
Mackay Insurance in Belleville, Ontario continues to work remotely and our qualified Mackay Insurance brokers are available to serve you by appointment, in person, as well as by phone, email, fax, social media and courier.
COVID-19 Insurance Relief for Individuals & Businesses
If there is one COVID-19 fact everyone around the world easily agrees on, it is this: the new novel coronavirus is wreaking havoc with budgets and bottom lines worldwide!
This includes individuals, small businesses, big businesses and not-for-profit organizations of all sizes. It seems no individual or business is immune to the effects. The economic ripple effect from the unexpected pandemic is only now starting to make its impact felt.
In fact, 95% of the calls we are receiving right now are calls to inquire about insurance for income loss and/or business interruption, auto insurance discounts and personal insurance benefits.
Callers want to know if the insurance they have been faithfully paying for all these months, or years, can help them in this time of near-universal struggle.
In this post, CEO Bruce Mackay of Mackay Insurance will answer your most frequently asked questions about insurance policy benefits as they may relate to COVID-19 relief.
NOTE: Do you have a question that we didn't answer in this post? Use the contact information at the end of this post to send us your question!
Question #1: Auto Insurance Discounts - Are You Going to Get One?
The short answer to this question is "it depends on the insurer.
Ontario province has adjusted regulations to permit auto insurers to offer discounts and/or rebates to customers who are driving less, due to COVID-19. This option will continue to extend for a full 12 months after the pandemic is officially over.
But officials have left it up to each individual insurer to decide if and/or how to administer financial relief to policyholders.
Some insurers are choosing to be proactive and simply issue blanket financial relief to all policyholders. Some insurers are choosing not to offer relief at all. Some insurers are only administering rebates or discounts on a case-by-case basis - and often only if you, the policyholder, call them first to ask for these benefits.
The best way to find out if your auto insurer is providing rebates and/or discounts due to reduced mileage or changes in vehicle use is to contact your Mackay Insurance broker right away.
NOTE: You can find additional information about coronavirus-related changes to auto insurance in this blog post.
Question #2: What Happens If You Can't Pay Your Policy Premiums Due to COVID-19?
An enormous number of people in Ontarian are struggling to pay for essentials due to the pandemic shutdown. So it is easy to see how paying for insurance premiums might become a serious economic hardship.
Currently, it is up to each individual consumer or business insurance provider to decide how to handle requests for payment deferments and/or premium discounts due to COVID-19 related economic hardship; however, from what we have seen thus far, the majority of insurers are doing their best to provide special concessions to policyholders who are severely impacted by COVID-19. Many insurers are providing policyholders with generous deferments (where you can simply resume paying for your premiums at a later date) upon request.
The best way to find out what, if any, type of economic relief may be available if you can't afford to pay your insurance premiums on time is to contact your Mackay Insurance broker.
Question #3: Will Business Interruption Insurance Cover You for COVID-19?
Recent events have conspired to make this the most controversial and hotly contested question in the insurance industry right now.
Traditionally speaking, the business interruption clause in most commercial insurance policies has not been designed to cover pandemic disruptions, at least according to the Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC).
As Insurance Business Magazine points out, a recent Supreme Court ruling has rekindled hope that commercial insurers might provide benefits for coronavirus-related business interruption. However, since this ruling was not related to COVID-19, it may be a long road to try to apply this case as precedent to seek coronavirus business interruption benefits.
Because so many businesses are being economically impacted by pandemic-related shutdowns, we expect much more dialogue and debate on this question in the coming weeks and months.
For now, the individual wording of each commercial insurance policy is still the ultimate determinant of whether a pandemic-related shutdown constitutes business interruption for the purposes of triggering insurance benefits.
Some companies and business owners are choosing to take the matter to court, and at least one class action is in process due to denial of business interruption benefits coverage.
The best way to find out if your particular commercial insurance policy may provide benefits for a pandemic-induced business interruption is to contact your Mackay Insurance broker to review your policy.
Question #4: Should You Get Travel Insurance If You Need to Travel During the Pandemic?
Here in Ontario, the travel insurance industry is closely linked to official travel advisories and border closures.
Starting on March 13, 2020, when Canada officially posted the non-essential travel advisory, the majority of insurance providers stopped issuing travel insurance policies regardless of the reason for the trip.
While some boutique insurers may still provide travel insurance policies for international travel outside of Canada, it is important to verify with the insurer that coronavirus-related travel delays and cancellations as well as medical benefits are included within the policy.
If travel is a requirement for your job, your employer may provide travel insurance benefits to you as a part of your employment package.
If your travel is of a personal nature, the best way to find out the most up-to-date information about available travel insurance benefits is to contact your Mackay Insurance broker.
Get in Touch
Do you have other questions about how the insurance industry is changing in response to the global pandemic crisis?
Do you need help applying for insurance premium payment deferment or filing a claim related to the current economic shutdown here in Canada?
COVID 19 and Your Mackay Home Insurance
Like many people, on March 16, 2020, Mackay Insurance in Belleville, Ontario began to transition our staff from our town office to working from home in order to prevent the spread of coronavirus and to do our part in protecting you. During this time, we have experienced quite a few phone calls in regards to this increased time spent at home. Many of our Quinte home owners have been asking whether their home insurance policies should be updated now as well, due to working from home, using business tools within their home, holding business property within their homes, renovations and home maintenance updates etc. Our Quinte team of certified home insurance brokers have many suggestions for our clients in terms of these working from home transitions. Keep reading as we reflect on these changes and advise on your home insurance policies! If you have any questions or would like more information in regards to any aspect of your home insurance, please contact us!
Home Insurance - Working From Home
Most home insurance policies in Ontario don’t include home business coverage, nor do they extend liability to working from home. During the COVID-19 pandemic, many companies actually changed their policy in order to include this coverage, but after July they are expected to revert back to the policy wordings as before, which don’t include working from home.
If you are temporarily working from home or, like Amazon and other tech companies, making a permanent transition to your home office, we definitely recommend getting this noted by your insurer and getting liability on your home insurance policy extended as soon as possible. This can be done very inexpensively as well! Contact one of our qualified home insurance brokers today and we will get this sorted out for you!
Home Insurance - Business Tools
Most homeowner policies in Ontario have limited coverage for business tools/business property while at your residence as subject to your home policy deductible. Many of our Quinte homeowner clients have brought home desktops or laptops, as well as other materials from their business offices and it is important to make note of these within your home insurance policy. It’s not uncommon for your home insurance policy to limit business tools and property to $2,500 - $5,000. In many circumstances, however, this isn’t enough. We recommend speaking with your employer about this to see if their insurance extends to their property while at your home, or if they can increase the limits.
Home Insurance - Business Property
Many of our clients who are working from home keep their company property within their house, which most policies will extend to with limited coverage. Some clients, however, have left company property in their car, which we highly recommend not doing. For security reasons, empty your car each night of business property. Leaving a laptop in your car is an easy target, and can also make your employer vulnerable to cyber security issues and could jeopardize your employer’s willingness to allow working from home to continue in the future.
Home Insurance - Renovations
With the onset of the current pandemic, many of Mackay’s clients have opted out of vacations and travel and have, instead, invested in updating their workspaces at home. This includes upgrading renovations within their home. An interesting statistic has emerged where fire claims have actually increased during this pandemic, due to many clients attempting to renovate their homes themselves. Unfortunately, encountering electrical and other issues causing more fire claims. We highly encourage and recommend ensuring you have the proper building permits and hiring professionals to do all electrical work for you. Before and after you do renovations, please contact your Mackay Insurance broker to update your home insurance policy and limits, and to ensure that you have the proper coverage for water, sewer, and overland coverage.
Review Your Property Policy
While most of our country is spending more time in their homes, we are highly recommending you consult your property policy and review the data with respect to any of the following updates:
- When was your roof last updated?
- How old is your furnace?
- How old is your wiring?
- How old is your plumbing?
- What are your limits for sewer and overland water coverage?
Home Run Business Packages
For many, the transition of working from home is now permanent.
At Mackay Insurance in Belleville, Ontario, we offer Home Run Business packages that will extend liability, and also increase commercial coverage for business property. To get a fast and easy online quote for updating your home insurance policy, please contact our team today or visit us online!
As of this year, there are an estimated 1.15 million small businesses scattered throughout Canada. Half of these are located in Ontario.
But if we fast-forward 10 years, statistics tell us nearly half of these businesses will have disappeared.
A variety of factors contribute to business survival, including number of employees, industry, economic fluctuations and leadership succession plans.
Often overlooked, however, is a business’s risk management strategy. This includes the strategic purchase of business insurance to protect the growing company from the inside out and the outside in.
In this post, we highlight eight key ways to know it is time to take out a business insurance policy for your small business.
Business Insurance Defined
The Government of Canada defines business insurance as “peace of mind.”
This definition may sound simplistic at first, but at its most fundamental level, this is precisely the role business insurance plays in safeguarding your company’s future.
There are many different types of business insurance to offer protection for various key aspects of your company. Business insurance can protect you and your employees, your materials and products, your company vehicles, your online activities and much more.
Different businesses need different types of business insurance. What type you acquire depends on the industry you work in, the size and scope of your operations, your net worth and even your local weather!
As a general rule of thumb, your business insurance policy should match your current needs, with a bit of room to grow.
8 Signs You Need Business Insurance
If you find yourself nodding while you read any of these 8 signs, please give one of our friendly and knowledgeable insurance brokers a call (contact information at the end of this post).
1. You set up a business website
Your business website is essentially your virtual workplace. This is especially the case if you have an online store (more about that in number 6 here), but even your blog and social media feed function as outgrowths of your business operations.
General business liability insurance will protect you in the event someone takes issue with content you post, images you use and advertising and marketing activities.
2. You hire someone to do work for you
Once you take on an employee, you open yourself up to a whole new level of risk. That employee may have an accident on the job or say or do something while working for you that harms someone or damages something.
For the former, workers’ compensation insurance provides protection for you and your employee. For the latter, professional liability insurance covers you for an employee’s (or your own) on-the-job errors that cause damage or harm.
3. You use your vehicle for your business
This is an area far too many business owners overlook to their personal peril.
What many small business owners don’t realize is that a personal auto insurance policy does not cover you if you have an auto accident while driving for work. Some insurers will even drop you if they discover you have filed a claim for a work-related incident under your personal auto policy.
For this, what you need is a commercial vehicle insurance policy. This way, you are protected when driving for work whether you use a personal vehicle or a business vehicle.
4. You carry raw materials or product inventory
Theft, vandalism and even natural disasters can wreak havoc with the raw materials or finished inventory you rely on to keep your business’s doors open. The same holds true for the basic equipment and supplies you use to do business, from your desk and office chair to your phones and computer equipment.
The type of business insurance you need to protect the premises can vary based on whether you are operating your business out of your home or out of a leased or owned commercial space. Commercial property insurance will protect the contents of that space, including raw materials, office supplies, equipment, furniture and finished goods.
5. You receive a new major order
Every business owner dreams of the day they receive their first large order that really solidifies their company’s place in their industry.
But in the glow of success, it is easy to forget this is also a time when you need to already have an active certificate of liability insurance in place to secure that new client.
6. You store confidential or personal customer data
If your website also functions as an online store, chances are good you are accepting and perhaps storing very sensitive customer data, including credit card or bank account information.
With the amount of online fraud activity today, it is smart to include a cyber insurance rider in your business insurance policy to protect you in the event of a data breach.
7. You have visitors to your business
Whether your company operates out of your basement or the office building down the street, you open yourself up to risk with each visitor that enters your space.
From trips and falls to property theft, you will want to have general liability business coverage in place to protect you if someone is injured or their property is damaged while they are visiting your business.
8. You act as an expert in your industry
Finally, in the litigious society we live and work in today, there is nothing to say someone won’t take issue with what you say or do, or your credentials to say or do it.
Errors and omissions insurance plus a professional liability insurance rider will protect you here.
Get in Touch
Contact us online or give us a call at 888-853-5552.
If you own a home or a car, chances are good you have purchased some type of insurance policy to protect you from loss, theft or damage.
So it just makes good sense that you would want to put the same protection in place for your business! While the self-employment sector of the Canadian workforce continues to grow larger each year, this type of smaller business is also more vulnerable to setbacks ranging from theft or vandalism to natural disaster, lawsuits and personal setbacks.
Contractor insurance is a type of insurance product specifically designed and uniquely well-equipped to help your business handle the inevitable ups and downs of working as an independent contractor. In this post, learn what you need to know about contractor insurance, including how much you need and how to apply.
Mandatory Insurance Coverage for Contractors
This mandate extends to contracting businesses from very small to very large.
Not surprisingly, wading through the complex assortment of laws and regulations regarding contractor insurance can be a full-time job. After you get done sorting out which insurance policies you need, what they cover and what is still missing, then it is time to tackle tax accounting requirements, mandatory worker training, licenses, certificates and day-to-day business management.
This explains why so many independent contractors often feel like they are working themselves to death and still not getting ahead!
We want to make contractor insurance easy to understand and acquire so you can get back to your real job—managing and growing your business.
What Type of Contractor Insurance Do You Need?
Regardless of how small or large your company size is, you will need the same basic types of insurance protection.
Completed operations insurance protects contractors from client lawsuits that may occur months or years after the job is completed.
Even a single dispute that evolves into a lawsuit can topple a small independent contracting business. Customer disputes can occur despite your best efforts, which is why you need insurance coverage to protect your business itself while the lawsuit progresses.
As an independent contractor, you have invested heavily into the success of your company, right down to purchasing and maintaining the equipment and materials you use to do your job. If your equipment breaks down or gets damaged on the job site or en route, this is the coverage you need.
Business interruption can occur for many reasons. This insurance coverage protects your company if your income stream is halted due to insured events beyond your control.
This general term covers many exposures contractors face, ranging from injuries resulting from work that was performed to simple trips and falls on the job site. This type of contractor insurance is an ironclad necessity in today’s litigious society.
You need to protect your own business property just as you would your personal residence or vehicle. Materials, equipment, supplies and other assets housed at your business location or job site can be protected under a business property insurance policy.
Crime is another hazard of doing business today, and an increasingly serious one, at that. From workers with sticky fingers to strangers who see your job site-in-progress as an easy score, you can’t always control who comes by or what damage they may do. But you can control how much it impacts your growing business by adding a crime insurance rider to your contractor insurance policy.
How a Contractor Insurance Policy Can Benefit You
The obvious benefits of a contractor insurance policy are clear at this point: you don’t risk losing your business in the event other people or events intersect in a way that limits or interrupts the work you are doing.
But there are other, less-visible benefits of taking out a contractor insurance policy.
A major benefit is customer trust. When a new client contacts you to bid on a job, having contractor insurance in place can give them valuable peace of mind and increase the likelihood that you will get the job.
Peace of mind
Another major benefit is your own peace of mind. It’s hard to run a successful business from a place of fear, worry and stress! When you know that your best efforts are protected from unknowns such as climate change-related weather patterns and the actions of criminals, you can conduct operations with more confidence and courage.
Freedom to collaborate
Still another benefit that comes along with adding contractor insurance to your risk management program is the ability and freedom to collaborate on construction jobs knowing you are protected if something goes wrong.
As the Canadian Design-Build Institute explains, expert collaboration is a mainstay in an industry where technology is producing sweeping changes to how jobs are planned and executed. But without insurance protection, the blurred lines of responsibility that collaboration sometimes creates can become harder to navigate in jobs gone wrong.
Worker and personal protection
Finally, having a customized contractor insurance policy in place provides protection to those whose livelihoods depend on yours: your workers, vendors, staff and family.
Get in Touch
Here at Mackay Insurance Brokers, we have more than 165 combined years of personal, residential, auto and commercial insurance expertise. Our seasoned staff bring a customer-service-first focus to every consultation and every policy we write.
Chat with us online, email us or give us a call at 1-888-853-5552 to speak with a knowledgeable agent today.
If you can’t imagine doing business without your vehicle, chances are good your livelihood would suffer greatly if that vehicle became unavailable due to an accident or loss.
Regardless of how many commercial vehicles you own (one or several), you need to protect them as valuable business assets.
Commercial auto insurance functions similarly to personal auto insurance in that you can select the types and levels of coverage that are the best fit for your business and vehicle types.
The goal of commercial auto insurance is to ensure your business vehicles are protected on the road and while garaged, whether your trips stay local or eventually cross borders.
In this article, learn the basics of commercial auto insurance and how it can protect the vehicles you depend on to do business.
An Overview of Commercial Auto Insurance Coverage
When most people think about commercial auto insurance, they often assume it’s designed only for large fleets of big trucks.
While this is one use for commercial auto insurance, it is far from the only use. In fact, if you have any vehicle that you use for commercial (business) purposes—even if you also use that vehicle personally—it is eligible for commercial auto insurance.
Commercial or business auto insurance offers the same basic types of protection that personal auto insurance covers:
Comprehensive coverage. Protection if your business vehicle is damaged by something other than a collision (e.g., vandalism) or if it is stolen.
Collision coverage. Protection if your vehicle is damaged or totaled in an auto accident.
Liability coverage. Protection if your vehicle causes damage to other drivers or vehicles.
Accident Benefits coverage. Protection if you are injured in a vehicle accident.
Uninsured/underinsured coverage. Protection if the other driver has no coverage or insufficient coverage.
Commercial Versus Personal Auto Insurance
It is quite common to be confused about what separates commercial (business) auto insurance from personal auto insurance. After all, they sound identical on paper!
The difference boils down to what you are using your vehicle for. Even if you use your vehicle for personal use as well, if you use it in your business too, it needs to be insured accordingly.
This holds true even if you don’t use your personal vehicle to do business frequently. One of the “declarations” you make when you buy car insurance is the percentage it is used for business driving.
So: what if you already have personal insurance and begin to use your car for business driving after you bought the policy? You need to call your broker. There is fine print in every car insurance policy that requires you to promptly inform your broker or insurance company of any “material change.”
This means that if you don’t report the use of your car accurately, you could find yourself paying for a policy but not having coverage when you have a claim. It just isn’t worth the risk.
If you are not sure if what you do with your vehicle is considered business driving, call your broker.
How to Save the Most on Your Commercial Auto Insurance Policy
No one really gets excited about spending money on insurance. This is because purchasing insurance is not a luxury but a necessity. One terrible day on the road has the potential to make or break a business of any size, and that is a risk businesses can’t afford to take in today’s competitive marketplace.
But there are ways to pay less for your commercial auto coverage!
Here are some of the best methods to find discounts and savings on your commercial auto insurance policy:
Bundle your policy with other policies you hold with the same insurer. Some insurers offer loyalty discounts for customers who purchase more than one type of policy.
If employees drive your vehicles, look at applicants’ driving records as part of your screening process when hiring people. It’s simple: drivers with excellent safety records and no tickets on their record are less expensive to insure.
Choosing to install extra safety or risk management tools. These can range from in-vehicle alarm systems to driver monitoring systems, locked garaging to VIN etching, mandatory driver safety courses for your drivers, or daily mileage limits.
Check auto insurance coverage rates before investing in a new work vehicle. Just as with personal vehicles, in the business world, different types of vehicles may come with lower or higher premiums.
Give Us a Call
We are so honored that our owner and CEO, Bruce Mackey, was named 2017 Business Person of the Year by Quinte Business Achievement Awards (QBAA)!
Give us a call at 888-853-5552 or contact us online, and let us know how we can help with all your insurance needs in 2018!
As of 2016, Canada is home to an estimated 1.17 million businesses. Nearly 98 percent of these are small, independently owned and operated businesses, of which half reside in Ontario and Quebec.
However, for every new Canadian business that opens its doors in a given calendar year, another one closes its doors for good. What is the reason for such a high rate of closure annually?
One reason is the lack of business liability insurance. In this article, learn more about how business liability insurance protects your company if you are found legally liable for events beyond your individual control as owner-operator.
4 Main Kinds of Business Liability Insurance
Let's say you produce a certain product. A customer uses it and gets injured. They pursue your company for damages. Here, general liability will protect your business if you have to go to court or pay out a settlement.
General liability insurance covers your company for four types of events: bodily injury, medical costs, property damage, and slander/libel.
Also, if your company runs as a sole proprietorship or a small partnership that does not afford you as the owner the protection of a legal corporate entity, general liability insurance can protect your personal assets if you need to sign for a business loan, if you have caused someone injury, or if either you or a business partner wishes to depart the company.
General liability can also include a number of specialty endorsements as may be required for your specific industry.
Now let's say you work in a high-risk industry. Court settlements, while rare, can and do bankrupt affected companies.
In this scenario, you may want to take out what is called an umbrella liability insurance policy to protect your company from damages over and above what a general liability policy will extend to cover.
An umbrella policy is especially beneficial if your company does business internationally, runs a fleet of company automobiles, or is involved in more than one type of industry.
Directors & Officers liability
Whether your company is for-profit or nonprofit, and regardless of its revenue or total number of employees, you’re probably governed by a board of directors. Here, while your directors and officers may do their utmost to protect your company from legal exposure, sometimes even their utmost may not be sufficient to protect them from personal liability.
In this situation, you may find it tough going to attract the kind of top talent you want represented in your board of directors—unless you provide each director and officer with the protection of Directors & Officers liability insurance.
With this type of policy in place, your directors and officers can continue to do their legal due diligence for your company without fear of reprisal on a personal level for actions they take on your company's behalf.
A Directors & Officers liability policy also covers your company both for financial losses and for payment of necessary legal costs incurred as a result of any action one of your directors or officers may take.
Errors & Omissions liability
Errors & Omissions liability is no longer recommended only for those companies that operate in very high-risk professions (i.e., accountants, lawyers, physicians). In today's litigious society, many businesses can benefit from having this protective policy in place.
Errors & Omissions liability insurance is designed to protect any individual acting in a professional capacity on behalf of your company. Here, a "professional" is considered someone who
has attended training to qualify for their role.
adheres to guidelines outlined by an industry professional association or organization.
operates under a set of provincial laws or regulations.
provides their services professionally on a fee basis.
A basic Errors & Omissions policy will provide coverage up to a moderate level in the case of a breach of contract, an incorrect appraisal, a delay in provision of services, a transmission of advice that was not true or complete, a design defect, and other similar situations.
Contact Mackay Insurance Brokers Today
At Mackay Insurance Brokers, we have proudly served our clients in the Belleville, ON, and surrounding areas for 35 years. When we first opened our doors, we had just a handful of clients. Today, our client list numbers well over 5,000 and is still growing!
Together, our professional staff has amassed more than 165 years of professional insurance industry expertise. As a fellow independent business, we remain committed to helping our clients obtain the most comprehensive and protective business liability insurance coverage at the most competitive rates.
To learn more and receive a free quote, you are warmly invited to contact us at 613-966-5740 (1-888-853-5552 long distance) or online.