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'Tis the season to keep your business healthy

Cold With cold and flu season here, many of you are making your doctor appointments for your flu shots.  The same should be said for your business.  Many business insurance policies come up for renewal in January.  Just like a doctor appointment, this is the time of year you should be making your appointments with your insurance agent.

In the midst of the holiday season, business may be up for some and for others business may be down. As Tim Johnson indicated in his blog earlier this month, this is a good time to "make your list and check it twice."

So let’s take at look at some highlights on insurance coverages that seem to be overlooked but can have a substantial impact on a business owner:

Building Coverage – Do you own your building? If not, you may not need to insure the building. However, you will want to make sure you have enough coverage for damage to rented premises. It is not uncommon to see a business owner only carry $50,000 or $100,000 coverage for this. Make sure your coverage is sufficient.

Business Personal Property – Have you consolidated or downsized any of your locations? Are you increasing your inventory to prepare for the holidays? Make sure your coverage is sufficient to cover any of your seasonal changes.

Tenant Improvement and Betterments – Who paid for the remodeling costs of your space? If you did, then you may want to have coverage for this on your policy in the event that you have a loss and want to reoccupy your same space. If the building owner paid for these costs or you acquired the space, then it will be up to the building owner to have the right coverage in place. Another point to make is that some companies will include this in with Business Personal Property coverage, which can be a much higher rate. So it may be cost effective for you to look at a company that separates this coverage out.

Business Income – Do you have enough income listed to cover your expenses if your business is inoperable? Do you want to be able to pay your employees during this time? If so, you may need to include ordinary payroll in this coverage.

Water Back-Up/Sump Pump – This is not flood coverage. This is coverage in the event that a sewer backs up or your sump pump fails and causes water to get backed up in your building and damages your property as a result. This coverage is not included in your policy. You will need to add it.

Landscape – Have you spruced up the outside of your building with new rock, bushes, plants or trees? If so, there are limitations on business policies for this coverage. Often times the coverage is minimal. So take a look at your policy to make sure you have coverage and that it is enough to cover any damages you may occur.

Business Income from Dependent Properties -- I am sure many of you have never even heard of this coverage. However, this coverage can provide a business owner with income in the event that their main supplier or manufacturer has a loss which in turn affects the insured’s business. So if your business is viably dependent upon another – you may want to review this coverage on your policy.

Vacancy -- Have you lost some tenants in your building or shopping center? Is your rental building sitting empty? Insurance companies can have different definitions of the term vacancy, which can mean additional costs and/or some penalty charges to the policyholder in the event of a loss. An endorsement can be added to the policy to help avoid this. So it is a good idea to discuss any vacancy concerns and make sure that your policy is written correctly to ensure you have coverage.

So in an effort to keep your business healthy, a good checkup may be all you need.

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