Any state in the US has a “financial responsibility” requirement for owning an auto, usually this means buying auto insurance. Rates are based on a number of different factors such as age, gender, driving history, use of your vehicle and even your credit history. All policies ARE NOT the same, and buying the cheapest auto insurance policy is usually not a good idea. If you can avoid it, stay away from “state minimum limits” that “keep you legal”. Also don’t forget about Uninsured and Underinsured Motorists coverage which is one of the biggest benefits, but least understood parts of the auto insurance policy.
Whether you own a single family home or condominium; or you rent a house or apartment, you need Homeowners or Renters Insurance. Coverage should be written on a “Replacement Cost Basis” whenever possible. A Homeowners or Renters policy also includes Personal Liability coverage which we recommend to be written at no less than $300,000 per loss. In most cases, your agent can help you determine the limit of coverage on your home or condo. For renters, you should simply estimate how much it would cost to replace all your personal belongings including furniture, electronics, kitchen supplies and utensils and clothing.
An Umbrella policy adds an additional layer of liability protection over and above the Personal Liability on your homeowners policy and your Auto Liability. For businesses, an Umbrella can be added over the top of the General Liability and Auto Liability. The minimum amount of coverage is $1,000,000, but higher limits can be purchased. Usually the annual premium for this policy runs around $175 – $200 for families. Annual premium for businesses vary, but a good rule of thumb is $500 for each $1,000,000 layer. So you get a large amount of additional liability protection for a relatively low cost. Also, Uninsured and Underinsured Motorists coverage may be added to the Umbrella.
“How much Life Insurance do I need?” is a question we hear often. We can help you determine your needs and make suggestions on the best way to meet them. Term Life policies are very popular, but don’t ignore the need for a small amount of “Whole Life” or Universal Life”. Getting the quote is the easy part. The heavy lifting comes in after the application is submitted and your coverage is underwritten. This is where we come in to assist you throughout the process.
We insure businesses from one-man remodeling companies to contractors with over 100 employees. We also specialize in Machine Shops, Retailers, Light Manufacturing, Auto Repair and Distributors. We offer a comprehensive review of your current policies with our recommendations. If you’re just starting out, we can help you as well.
Directors and Officers Liability
This coverage, often called “D & O Liability” protects the directors, trustees and officers of a for-profit and not-for-profit corporations from claims or allegations of “Wrongful Acts”. These claims are becoming more frequent and can by initiated by shareholders (for a for-profit corp), membership, donors, etc. (for a non-profit corp). The annual premium depends on the type of organization. Coverage is available for the board as a whole or for individual board members.
Any business that furnishes alcohol has a Liquor Liability exposure. Some of these types of businesses are easy to identify – bars/taverns, restaurants, food and beverage retailers, etc. But there are other types of businesses that also need this coverage such as banquet and reception halls, gas stations that sell beer and wine, golf courses and social clubs (Elks Clubs, American Legion Halls, etc.).
All business have a data breach exposure – regardless of whether or not they accept credit/payment cards. Data breach is the unauthorized use of information about an individual maintained by you including (1) any information that can be used to distinguish or trace an individual‘s identity, such as name, social security number, date and place of birth, mother‘s maiden name, or biometric records; and (2) any other information that is linked or linkable to an individual, such as medical, educational, financial, and employment information. If a business takes credit or payment cards, there is certainly an exposure. But what about a business’s employee files? Does the business have bank account information from customers or suppliers? Keeping any of these types of records increases a business’s exposure to a data breach claim.
This coverage takes many different forms and no policy is the same. Coverage is available for website development and maintenance, social media presence, software development and programming, IT consulting and systems maintenance. This coverage usually includes coverage for Data Breach as well.
Pollution can be caused by anything from toxic substances to mold and fungus. There are typically two types of Pollution Liability, on-site and off-site. On site coverage provides protection for the owner of a property against allegations of bodily injury or property damage caused by pollution from their operations on their premises (plant, shop, etc.). Off-site is usually written for contractors or other business where a pollution claim can be brought by the owners/employee or others from a job site on which they are performing work.
Coverage for rental property can be difficult to place. However we have a few good markets for this type of account. Usually the age of the building is the leading factor in determining premium. Buildings should have been updated in the last 20 years (roofing, electric – circuit breakers, plumbing – copper or PVC, furnace, water heater). Building should also have two forms of egress and smoke detectors (preferably hard-wired). Buildings that are vacant require a different type of policy.
Almost all property insurance policies (Homeowners and Business), have a “Vacancy Condition” in the policy wording. Basically this condition requires that he building remain occupied. If the building is not occupied some coverages are suspended including vandalism, theft, attempted theft, water damage and glass breakage. In addition, any other claim that would be paid under the policy (i.e. Fire, Wind, etc.) will be reduced by anywhere from 20% to 30%. A special vacant policy can be written that gives some of these coverages back.
Special Program Offerings
From small one-man businesses, to large scale multi-state operations, Heister Insurance has some terrific programs. Pesticide and fertilizer application is not a problem! We even offer pre-employment driving record screening for our Landscapers.
Auto Repair and Body Shops
If you own an auto repair or body shop, you know how much the cost of parts and labor have increased. Not to mention the hoops you have to jump through complying with the EPA and state environmental agencies. We can help by offering some of the lowest rates you’ll find for auto repair and auto body shops.
As the saying goes, “It all runs downhill”. Nothing could be truer if you’re a plumber that has to comply with GC and Project Manager requirements. Heister Insurance specializes in providing the right coverage for your plumbing business and we will assist you in your Certificate of Insurance compliance. We can also assist you with development of safety manuals and procedures.
Years ago an old boss of mine said, “There’s no such thing as a bad electrician. You’re either a good one or a dead one!” Electricians are a very specialized trade where you don’t often get a second chance to get the job done right. You should expect the same from your insurance agency as well.
Whether you’re repairing a simple AC unit, or installing a brand new chilled water plant in a commercial building, we have the right coverage for you. Pollution coverage can also be added to protect you from allegations of mold, fungus, etc. If a job requires Professional Liability, we can add this too.
We have VERY aggressive pricing for flooring contractors. Whether you’re laying carpet, or installing custom ceramic tile, we have just the insurance product for you.
Roofers experience some of the highest per-dollar insurance costs of all the trades. However, at Heister Insurance we have two programs that are designed for residential roofers. We can also assist you with your Workers Compensation.
you don’t have to be a client – let us help you!
Most claims are submitted to an insurer and are paid without a hitch. However, there may be times when this is not the case. For instance, perhaps your insurance company is not offering you as much for your totaled vehicle as you think its worth. Maybe you’ve received a “Reservation of Rights” letter from your insurer, or perhaps you have roof damage to your home, but the insurer isn’t willing to pay for the entire roof. This is where a third-party opinion can help. Give us a call – we’ll try to help you as well as we can.
We all want value for our insurance dollar, but how do you know that you’re getting the proper “bang for the buck”? We can review your policy or policies for you – at no charge – even if you want to stay with your current insurer. Sometimes a third-party opinion is all you need to enforce your buying decision. It never hurts!
Did you ever read your policy? We mean REALLY read it? The answer is probably no, and for a good reason. Insurance policies are supposed to be easy to read and understand, but in real life, they’re not. Let us help you with the interpretation of your policy. We can make suggestions, identify gaps in coverage, and perhaps even give you the “inside scoop” on how to save money – even if you don’t want to switch insurers.
We offer notary public service to anyone. You don’t have to be a client. Just give us a call at 513-741-3244 and stop in!