Best Indiana Home and Auto Insurance Plans – 2019 Edition
You’re looking over your home and auto insurance. You’re thinking – is this the right plan? The best plan? The best value for what I need? Choosing the best Indiana home and auto insurance plan for 2019 can be tricky. Of course, everyone wants to save money – but which plans have the best features? Which might cost a little more on the surface but give you the flexibility to save more based on your own actions?
The short answer is that every insurance company does different things. They have different features, they offer different discounts, and your unique situation will make the difference between which plan is the ‘best’ for you at that particular time in your life.
Even so, I’ve put together a list of home and auto insurance policies that are typically great options regardless of where you are in life. Some will fit you better than others right now, but here are a few the plans you should be aware of in the state of Indiana for 2019. I will not be going into the discounts and features that most if not all insurance companies offer – Good Student Discount, Multi-policy Discount, etc – but only the ones that set these plans apart from the others. If you’re ready to get started now, click here now to begin your quote.
Otherwise, without further ado, let’s find out what YOUR best Indiana home and auto insurance plan for 2019 is!
State Auto Insurance Home and Auto Plan
State Auto has taken tremendous steps over the past couple years, technology-wise. They have their eyes on the future, can get you a quote in minutes, and have given the customer more control over their rates than many companies out there now.
You Should Buy If:
You are unafraid of – and love – technology but still want the accountability of an agent
You want a forward-thinking insurance company who loves technology as much as you do
You want more personal control over your rates
Available Discounts and Unique Features:
Advanced Quote Discount – Yes, most companies offer this now. If you quote with them and decide to buy before you reach the date that you actually need it, you’ll get a discount. However, with most companies, this discount falls off fairly quickly, sometimes at your first renewal. That’s not the case with State Auto – they cap the amount that your Advance Quote discount falls off by a maximum of 1% every year. Also, if you’ve had continuous insurance with the same company for at least 24 months, you get an additional discount, which stays on your policy for life.
State Auto Safety 360 Program – This is the big one, and it can give you a discount of up to 50% off your Auto insurance. (Really, 50%.) The program comes with a free plug-in device for your. The safer you drive, the more you can save. This program gives you more control over what you pay, and is fairer because what you pay is determined by how YOU drive, which is much different than a traditional auto insurance policy where what you pay is heavily influenced by what other people do behind the wheel. The plug-in device even comes with additional valuable features like the ability for State Auto to potentially recover your vehicle if it’s stolen and even send you instant notification if your car has been involved in an accident.
Smart Connected Discounts – Smart Home products are everywhere. 68% of Americans say smart homes will be as common as smartphones within 10 years, and 47% of Millennials already own at least one smart home device. State Auto is one of the few companies now formally recognizing how important the security of smart home products is to customers, and they offer discounts for a wide variety of devices. Products eligible for a Smart Home Discount include smart cameras, smart lights, smart smoke alarm batteries, automatic temperature detection thermostats, and any devices that can detect moisture, gas or freezing.
Ridesharing endorsement – If you drive for Uber or Lyft, your standard Auto insurance policy contains some significant gaps. You could be exposed not only to having your policy cancelled or a claim not being covered, but also lawsuits. With this easy (and inexpensive!) add-on to your policy, State Auto closes all those potential coverage gaps giving you the peace of mind to continue accepting rides.
The best way to describe Auto-Owners is steady. They make large decisions slowly and thoughtfully, and thus historically don’t see huge rate increases. They’re great for those with clean driving records and offer a tremendous paid-in-full discount AND they’re dog-friendly.
You Should Buy If:
You prefer to pay your bills annually or semi-annually
You have a bigger dog with no aggressive behaviors or biting history, but its breed is preventing you from purchasing most standard home insurance plans
You’d like to have Cyber insurance for yourself
You have a ppol
Available Discounts and Unique Features:
Paid-In-Full Discount – Yes, most companies do offer this now. But not all of them offer a 10% discount just for paying in full. That’s well worth saving up for!
Teen Driver Monitoring – In addition to the Good Student Discount, if your teenager is have an app or plug-in that allows you to know their whereabouts then you’ll receive a discount on your policy.
Ridesharing endorsement – If you drive Uber or Lyft, there are most definitely some coverage gaps. If you opt to purchase this endorsement – and it is very inexpensive – you can rest easy that the coverage gaps will be addressed.
Dog friendly – Most insurance companies have a problem with bigger dogs. If you have one, you know how difficult it is to find a good insurance company that won’t cast you out for having your dog. Not Auto-Owners! As long as your dog is friendly, they’re 100% ok with it!
Cyber Liability Insurance – I’m positive that this will be more prevalent in the next 5 years. This will help pay for data recovery and system restoration in the event of a cyber attack, will assist you in matters of cyber extortion and how best to respond, restore you in the event of fraudulent charges, and assist in data breach situations. This will become more and more important as time goes on.
Pool Insurance – Yes, most insurance companies will work with you if you have a pool, but they usually require you to have a fence. Or no diving board. Or no slide. Auto-Owners will work with you whether you have all or none of it!
GrandProtect® policy package from MetLife Auto & Home®
A GrandProtect policy package can protect everything from your homes and rental properties to your vehicles and valuables. If you have complex insurance needs such as own a higher valued home, multiple properties, boats, motorcycles, or vehicles, a GrandProtect policy package may be the solution for you. Here are just a few enticing reasons and features that make GrandProtect a great choice when compared with other insurance options.
Consider GrandProtect if you have complex insurance needs such as:
If you have a higher value home or homes
If you own multiple properties in addition to your primary home, such as a secondary home or rental property
have high value property or valuables in self-storage units or in your home(s)
If you have extensive personal property such as jewelry, computers, or tools.
If you want additional coverage in a single product
If you seek the peace of mind that comes from working with a company, you know you can count on. Not to mention, having the accountability and guidance of a local agent along the way.
Unique features and savings:
ExpressIT® automatic payment plan savings– MetLife Auto & Home offers savings for enrolling in monthly automatic withdrawal. Some companies prefer that premiums be paid in full, but at MetLife Auto & Home you’re rewarded for enrolling in automatic monthly payments.
Water backup coverage included– $10,000 in Sewer, sump pump and drain back up coverage is automatically included in your policy at no additional cost. You can also choose to increase this coverage if you see fit.
Blanket Property Limit– This is huge. Some companies may have separate limits for your dwelling, private structures and personal property coverage. MetLife Auto & Home combines policy limits for all 3 under one blanket sum, which gives you some flexibility when you need it.
One deductible– Let’s say you back into your garage door and need to replace your car bumper and garage door. GrandProtect can save you money since you pay only one deductible for any one loss—even if more than one type of property is damaged. If you had separate policies for each type of coverage, you would typically pay separate deductibles1.
No sublimits on personal use tools, computers, and property in self-storage– Some policies limit the amount of available coverage on these items. MetLife Auto & Home on the other hand will cover them up to the total value you have on your personal property amount.
*Earthquake and volcanic eruptions are excluded. The one deductible feature is not available in North Carolina. L0719516434[exp0622][IN]
Safeco Insurance Home Premier and Auto Ultra Policy
Safeco might just offer you the most flexibility and freedom in helping you take control of your rates. They have an excellent claims submission platform online and have some very unique features worth talking about.
You Should Buy If:
You want to take control of your rates but don’t want to constantly be ‘tracked’
You prefer to submit/handle your claims online but still want the accountability of an agent
You collect firearms but do not want the hassle and expense of listing every single one of them on the policy
You like feeling secure in knowing that they are owned by Liberty Mutual
Advanced Multiple Car Discount – So you sign up for a new auto policy, but temporarily you only have one vehicle. You plan on purchasing an additional car in the next few weeks. Safeco will give you the multi-car discount ahead of time so that you aren’t paying extra for only having one car.
90 Day Telematics – You like the idea of relying on your own driving to dictate your rates, but you do NOT like the idea of having a tracker in your car. Well, Safeco may have the answer for you. They will have you use the Tracker for the first 90 days, and then you never have to use it again. Depending on how your driving is during that 3 month span, you can earn up to an additional 30% savings for the duration of the policy! Best of all, there’s no risk in trying it and you’re guaranteed a 5% discount at minimum.
No Limit on Firearms – Most carriers set a sub-limit, of around 2,000 – $5,000 for things of higher value such as jewelry, art, and firearms. Anything past that would need to be listed extra on the policy. However, Safeco does not have a sub-limit for firearms. Whatever your Personal Property amount is (Coverage C), that’s how much coverage you’d have. Very convenient if you have a collection!
Ridesharing endorsement – If you drive Uber or Lyft, there are most definitely some coverage gaps. If you opt to purchase this endorsement – and it is very inexpensive – you can rest easy that the coverage gaps will be addressed.
100% Water Backup Coverage – If you select the Homeowners Premier policy, you will automatically receive Water Backup coverage up to the value of the home itself. Very useful if the basement becomes filled with 8 feet of water due to a sump pump failure!
Indiana Farmers is a company to watch. Currently only offered in Indiana and Illinois, they’ve got their sites set higher and are doing what they can to responsibly get there while taking great care of their clients.
You Should Buy If:
You live in Indiana or Illinois
You are concerned about the limitations of standard water back-up policies
You don’t have any children (yes, I’m serious!)
Unique Discounts and Features:
Water Coverage with $5,000 included – If you select the Homeowners Plus endorsement, you will receive coverage for water damage. Yes, most companies will offer water damage but the limitations are clear. The definition of water damage is expanded in this endorsement and the cost is extremely affordable.
‘Empty Nest’ Discount – Yes, Indiana Farmers is giving you a break if no children are living in the household! Just something to think about if you need a little extra incentive to help the kids move out.
This has some of the most interesting endorsements out of all of these policies – but keep in mind, Westfield has two different combo policy types: The Wespak and the Wespak Estate. While both are excellent, for the purposes of this article we are talking about the Estate. Let’s take a look.
You Should Buy If:
You have a home valued at $400,000 or higher replacement cost
If your home is completely destroyed, you’d like to have the option of ‘cashing out’ and rebuilding elsewhere
Disappearing Deductible: If your loss exceeds 10x the amount of your deductible, it ‘disappears’ and you do not have to pay it. ($25,000 loss with a $2,500 deductible = you do not have to pay your deductible)
$100,000 Water Backup Included – You would also have the option to ‘buy up’ for more coverage or ‘buy down’ to $20,000 if $100,000 is not necessary
In summary, picking an Indiana home and auto insurance plan in 2019 is tough. The price is important, yes. But as you can see, each policy can offer you a different perspective and answer a different need based on where you are in your life’s journey.
Based on that, it’s difficult to say which is the ‘best’ plan – only what is ‘best’ for you. And remember – this list was created to highlight a few of the best all-around home insurance and auto insurance plans available. If you want more specifics, let me know.
You’ve been recruited to document one of the most important days a couple will have together – their wedding day. As you’re organizing your equipment and making your plan on how to best capture every amazing moment of the day, you wonder – Do I need wedding photography insurance? Is there anything special I need to do on my insurance policy to make sure I’m covered for a wedding as opposed to a standard photo shoot?
To answer the question, you do need wedding photography insurance. As a photographer, many unexpected things can go wrong the day of a wedding.
You lose or accidentally damage the footage.
While documenting the reception, you are taking a few steps back and fall right into the wedding cake.
You’ve set up your equipment as best you can, but the groom’s grandfather doesn’t see the cord and trips over one of your lights.
You set the camera down for a second, and when you return it has been stolen.
These are just a few of the claims you might face at a wedding that you will want to be prepared for.
What kind of wedding photography insurance do I need?
General Liability Insurance: This is what you’ll need for most injury or property damage lawsuits. If someone trips over your equipment and injures their arm or if you damage the property of the venue or the couple, for example, your general liability insurance policy would help pay for the damages resulting from a lawsuit.
Business Property Insurance and/or Inland Marine Insurance: Your photography equipment isn’t cheap. If it’s lost or damaged, you’ll want to make sure you can repair or replace it to its full value as soon as possible. A general liability policy will not pay for your own property, but it will help restore your items and make sure you can get back to work without missing any other photo shoots.
Professional Liability Insurance: If you lose or accidentally delete the footage, or if you miss a key moment in the wedding, professional liability insurance can cover your liability and pay for your damages and legal costs that you may be liable for in a lawsuit.
Workers Compensation Insurance: If you have employees and one of them gets injured on the job, you will want to make sure you are fully protected in that sort of scenario.
Commercial Auto Insurance: Do you have a company vehicle? If so, you will want to have coverage in place to not only protect your vehicle, but to protect the business itself in the event of an at-fault accident that you could be liable for.
Cyber Liability Insurance: If your secure website is hacked and a client’s personal information, payment information, and/or photos are leaked online, cyber liability insurance can help protect your business from the resulting liability claim and help restore the client’s information.
How much does wedding photography insurance cost?
The short answer is that the cost will vary. That said, wedding photography insurance is relatively inexpensive. For example, a general liability only policy can be purchased for as little as $25/month. However, it will depend on your business and your operation. For example:
How many employees do you have?
How many events are you documenting each year?
Do you want to cover your equipment?
Do you own a vehicle or use your own personal vehicle to transport your equipment?
Do you want professional and cyber liability?
All of these will factor into the price. Fortunately, assuming you can qualify for it, you may be able to combine several of these policies into one Business Owners Policy (BOP). A BOP is often more comprehensive in its coverage and since it is a combination policy, the pricing is often better as well.
Not everyone qualifies for a BOP, but these things can help:
How long have you been in business?
What experience in photography do you have?
How and how often do you back up your data?
What sort of wedding photography contract do you have the couple sign, and have you reviewed it lately?
How long have you had insurance previously?
How many claims have you had, if any?
Do you need wedding photography insurance? Yes, you do. You will want to make sure you have a wedding photography insurance policy to not only protect yourself, but to ensure that your clients are not being left out to dry. A wedding insurance policy can help protect you from having to pay a very large claim out of pocket. As time changes and the photo industry becomes more and more digital, cyber liability is becoming much more of a necessity as well, along with the professional and general liability.
If you have further questions, feel free to reach out to us and we can help you find the best plan for you.
It’s an all-too-common question when reviewing your ministry’s finances: How much does church insurance cost? How does our insurance policy stack up to other ministry-specific plans? How much SHOULD church insurance cost?
The short answer is that it varies on several things. It depends on the insurance company that you have your church insurance with. It depends on the size and scope of your congregation. It depends on the ministries your church is providing. It depends on the size and structure of your building(s). It also depends on the risks you’re willing to gamble on versus the risks you definitely want to be protected from. Yes, you may be able to find a General Liability-only policy for under $500 – but what coverage are you willing to sacrifice to get it?
It depends on your insurance carrier
First and foremost, let’s discuss your insurance carrier. Most insurance companies will actually write insurance for a ministry. There are some companies that avoid writing it, but the majority do. The problem lies in whether or not they are equipped to handle your ministry and level of risk. For example:
Will they cover pastoral counseling?
Will they cover sexual misconduct? *Side note – you do not necessarily need to be guilty to need this coverage. Sexual Acts Liability can also help pay the legal cost to defend you in court due to the possibility of innocence. So before writing this coverage off thinking that it can ‘never happen to you,’ remember that all it takes is an allegation to need it.
How does their policy specify discrimination claims?
There are many standard carriers that will cover these things and more – however it’s recommended to consider a ministry-specific insurance carrier that works primarily with churches and ministries. They will be the most up-to-date on the true risks that churches are facing and are the fastest to react in a changing world to meet the needs of the church. And since they are primarily focused on churches and ministries, their pricing is often a bit better for the level of coverage that you get.
It depends on the size and scope of the congregation
Where do members choose to worship? Is every event at the church? Are there any events/potlucks/Bible studies held at homes? Do you have missionaries? Are they domestic or international? How many services are held at the church each week?
You will want to know where and when each event is happening on behalf of the church and who is holding it. Most ministry-specific policies will offer you the coverage needed to protect the church in the event of a claim, and you will want to check with your agent to see how it works with a standard insurance carrier.
It depends on the ministries your church is providing
Similar to the last topic, the cost is going to depend on what the church is doing. Does it have a bus, and if so, what is the bus used for? Does it have a school? What grades? What about a daycare center? What about a church camp? How is the church’s online presence and what is the risk of a hack, either of the site itself or an employee’s email?
Assuming any of the ministries above are of concern to your church, which are you willing to sacrifice for cost savings? Which are absolutely critical? Which are offered by your insurance carrier now, and which are not?
It depends on the size and structure of your building(s)
If you’ve had updates done to your building, you know the costs involved in doing it right. Was your insurance carrier notified of the changes so that the policy could be updated? There are many features of a building that can play into the replacement cost calculation, including:
You can choose to insure the building at Replacement Cost, or you can choose a depreciated amount called Actual Cash Value to save money – but is it worth it?
In short, there are definitely affordable church insurance options available to you right now, some General Liability-only policies costing under $500. When shopping, make sure to disclose the ministries your church is involved in. And most importantly, make sure you are aware of any risks that are not covered on the policy that you select.
Your big day is coming up. You’ve got 17,000 things to organize and the costs are adding up. Now that you’ve got several vendors booked and the venue is picked out, you’re wondering, “Should I buy wedding insurance? Why should I buy wedding insurance? What is wedding insurance anyway? Do I even need it?”
The short answer is that you do need wedding insurance. Every wedding is different. Each one will have different needs, and that means that everyone will need a different wedding insurance plan.
Let’s go over the basics.
Ready for a quote now? Let’s go!
What is Wedding Insurance?
Essentially, wedding insurance is there to protect all of the investment you’ve put into your big day when things happen that are beyond your control. Unfortunately, disasters can happen on your wedding day. The dress gets ruined. The photos don’t turn out. The limo doesn’t show up. What if you have to book another vendor at double or triple the price at the last minute because the one you selected went out of business 2 weeks before your wedding? This is what wedding insurance is meant to protect.How much does Wedding Insurance cost?
There are several plans available, but the basic wedding insurance plans start around $160 and can range up to around $1,000. You’ll want to evaluate the limits on each plan to determine what it will take to adequately protect your investments and assets including clothing, presents, decorations, videos/photos, and deposits, and that will guide you on what type of plan you need. You may also need to carry General Liability and Liquor Liability coverage, depending on how your venue handles the insurance on their end. Liability coverage can typically be added for $200-$300 on average.
What does Wedding Insurance cover?
Here are just a few examples of things that a wedding insurance policy would cover:
Special Attire: The bride’s dress catches fire during the ceremony, damaging it significantly. This coverage would reimburse her to replace the dress at equal value.
Cancellation/Postponement: The groom is in the military and is called to active duty the week before the wedding, forcing the wedding to be postponed. This coverage would reimburse them for the deposits they put down for the wedding day.
Additional Expense: The caterer lets you know 3 days before the wedding day that they will now be unavailable for your wedding, and now you need to book someone new in a hurry. This coverage would pay for the difference to book someone else.
Event Photographs/Video: Upon reviewing the photos that were taken, the photographer realizes that the negatives or data was lost or damaged. This coverage would pay to help reconvene the wedding party for an additional photo shoot.
Event Gifts: Sometime during the reception, several of the gifts are significantly damaged. This coverage would pay to recover/replace the damaged items.
Lost Deposits: The DJ fails to show up to the wedding at all. This policy would reimburse you for the lost deposit for booking that company.
(Optional) General Liability: A wedding guest trips and falls during the ceremony and now has a severe back injury. This would pay the liability you may have. This is often covered by the venue but you will want to verify with them as to whose responsibility it is to carry this coverage.
(Optional)Liquor Liability: An intoxicated guest causes an accident at the venue, which could lead to a liability claim for you. This would protect you against alcohol-related incidents. Again, this is often covered by the venue but you will want to verify with them whose responsibility it is to carry this coverage.
What doesn’t Wedding Insurance Cover?
Other Jewelry: As mentioned earlier, any jewelry coverage on a wedding policy MAY cover the wedding bands themselves, but any other rings, gemstones, watches, etc may not be covered.
A change of heart: Pretty self-explanatory, but you won’t have coverage if you get cold feet.
As soon as you can. Once you start putting deposits down, it’s time to get that plan going.
So should I buy Wedding Insurance then?
Well… yes. However, it would be a good idea to check with your vendors to see what sort of coverage they have. Find out what they will and will not pay for in any of the given scenarios to decide how much you actually need. Would your photographer pay for damaged or lost data? Does the venue carry liability insurance? What happens if the bakery doesn’t bring the cake? Otherwise, you can always just purchase the policy that best covers your total investment.
How do I buy Wedding Insurance?
Easy! Just fill out the form here to get started, and we’ll handle the rest. Let’s make sure that one of the most important days of your lives is safeguarded.
Which homeowners insurance companies allow trampolines?
The kids asked for months and months, and you finally caved. You bought the trampoline. They’re so excited! It’s hardly standing upright before they’re jumping up and down, having the time of their lives. Then your neighbor walks over. “Nice trampoline! How much did it cost? Was it hard to put together? Do you mind if my kids use it from time to time? What did your insurance say about it? Which homeowners insurance companies allow trampolines, anyhow? Because mine didn’t, and that’s why I didn’t get one.”
Well, that stops you in your tracks. You hadn’t even thought about checking with the insurance company. Now, not only do you need to know if it’s covered, you need to know who will insure it if your current company won’t.
Homeowners Insurance Companies that Allow Trampolines
Great news – there are more insurance carriers that will insure a trampoline than you may think. However, it’s going to depend on the situation. Do you have a net? Do you have a fence? How accessible is it? Do you have a way to monitor it? Ultimately you’re going to want to talk to an independent insurance agent to see which homeowners insurance companies will allow for trampolines. Just know that you will have several options.
How do I make sure I qualify for the best insurance rates if I have a trampoline?
There are a few things you can do to help you qualify for having a homeowners insurance policy that will allow a trampoline. The very first thing you should do is buy and install a net and padding. This is absolutely critical. The majority of the accidents that happen on a trampoline do so because of a lack of a net or padding.
Once you have the net and padding in place, that will qualify you for many of the insurance carriers that will insure you with a trampoline. The next thing you can do is to install a fence around your property, especially if you live in town. The last thing you need is for a neighbor to wander onto your property, onto your trampoline, and severely injure themselves. Coincidentally, you’ll also need a fence for a pool as well, but that’s another story.
Thirdly, you could also make sure the area is monitored. Installing cameras or a smart alarm system will not only help with your overall homeowners rates, it will help you stay on top of the situation and stop dangerous situations before they happen.
How much does it cost for a trampoline on homeowners insurance?
For the carriers that do insure the liability for trampolines, the cost is not as high as you might think. In fact, the majority will insure it somewhere between $25-$100/year ($2.08 – $8.34/month), while some may not charge at all. Either way, well worth the price.
Do I have to tell my homeowners insurance company that I have a trampoline?
YES. If you decide not to tell your homeowners insurance company about your trampoline, then you risk misrepresentation which means that coverage for any claim resulting from a trampoline injury can be denied entirely. The last thing you should do is conceal it from the insurance company. Contact your independent insurance agent and they will find a reasonable solution for you!
Can my homeowners insurance be cancelled for having a trampoline?
Yes, it can. If your company does not allow trampolines in any way, shape, or form, then they have a legal right to cancel your policy. Either way, they also have a legal obligation to let you know ahead of time.
Can I allow a tenant to own a trampoline if I’m leasing a property?
NO. Simply following the precautions on a property that you own and reside in is challenging enough. Allowing it at a property that is not your primary residence will be even more so. And make no mistake, if there is a lawsuit from a trampoline injury, you will be dragged into it. The best thing to do is to specify the ‘no trampoline’ condition in the lease up front.
Every year, trampolines cause over 100,000 injuries. There are reasons that trampolines are an additional cost on an insurance policy, and even more reasons for insurance companies to exclude them altogether. Either way, if you decide to get a trampoline, please exercise as much caution as possible to protect yourself.
A strong safety and security plan isn’t just about doing your due diligence as a gas station owner — it’s also about protecting your investment.
The truth is that gas stations face far more threats, and operate in a much more hazardous environment, than many might initially expect. From a new rise in workplace violence to more consistent dangers like fires, you need to ensure that your current workplace safety strategy is prepared for a variety of situations.
Unfortunately, you may not be quite as ready as you think you are. This post is here to change that. Read on to learn how to make your gas station a safer place for everyone — and understand how getting the right insurance policy can help take some of the burden off of you as the owner.
Basic Gas Station Safety
Let’s quickly go over some basic gas station safety rules that your employees need to follow. We also recommend creating signage near the gas pumps, so that your customers can stay safe, too.
First of all, always ensure that cars are completely turned off when a car is being refueled. Absolutely tell customers and employees not to smoke, use matches, or lighters on the premises. Remind customers to avoid entering and exiting their cars during the refueling process, as doing so can sometimes create a charge of static electricity.
Use only approved containers for storing and selling your gasoline. Always keep these containers in a upright position, and do what you can to prevent customers from handling them without supervision. When you fill a portable container, only do so when it’s on the ground.
Unfortunately, there are over 7,000 fires at gas stations every year. If you create the right signage and train your employees to recognize and intervene when they see irresponsible behavior, you can make sure they don’t happen at yours.
Developing a Strong Security Plan
Let’s talk about the ways in which you can better monitor what’s going on at your gas station.
First of all, remember that visibility is key. Employees need large windows so that they can see what’s happening at the pumps at all times. Your customers also need to be protected at the pump. Invest in high-quality lighting so that they feel safe getting gas at night.
Install security cameras at several parts of the station, and invest in convex mirrors to give you even greater visibility.
Remember that safety is also about cleaning up any gas spills as soon as they happen. Develop a strict policy when it comes to cleaning up spills. Remember that “topping off” often leads to overflow and spills — so make sure that your employees don’t do it if they’re filling up the tanks.
You also need to ensure that customers can clearly see where they need to turn to enter or exit your gas station. Invest in reflective tape, make sure to keep the exits clear from debris or signs, and do what you can to create a good guide for traffic flow.
An insurance provider may also be able to help you develop the right security plan and identify risks. We’ll talk more about insurance later on in this post.
If You Also Own a Convenience Store
Adding a convenience store to your gas station is an excellent way to drive up your profits and connect with your customers on a deeper level.
It also means that you’ll need to be prepared to deal with new safety and security risks.
First of all, make sure your store’s interior is designed to prevent slips, trips, and falls.
This means that aisles should be well-lit, not overly crowded, and that any spills should be cleaned up immediately, with proper signage. Put mats at the entrances and exits to your store. Avoid stacking boxes too high on shelves, and make sure customers don’t reach for higher-up items themselves.
If employees are preparing hot food/drinks, train them on how to prevent burns. Instruct them on proper sanitation requirements, as well, like wearing gloves, using tongs, wearing hairnets, and washing their hands.
When it comes to the inventory itself, ensure that you do everything you can to buy non-expired, high-quality products. We suggest investing in food spoilage liability insurance to protect yourself if a customer somehow gets sick from eating spoiled food.
Remember that, if you decide to sell liquor, you’ll likely need to take proper security measures — in addition to securing the proper licensing in your state. Getting liquor liability insurance makes things easier. Depending on your location and operating hours, you may want to buy bulletproof glass or avoid having workers in the store on their own during certain hours.
Unfortunately, armed gas station robberies (of both merchandise and cash) happen all the time. You need to be prepared — and often, this means training your employees in de-escalation tactics. Also, remove cash from the register at the end of the evening, and set firm limits on how much cash you’ll have on the premises at any given time.
Play It Safe With Gas Station Insurance
Even if you feel like your safety and security plan is airtight, accidents can still happen. Sometimes, you won’t be able to clean up liquids in time. A customer may be negligent, and damage your equipment. Someone could decide to randomly vandalize your store.
From helping you to understand how the right coverage can protect you in the event of a gas spill to pointing out potential risks, working with the right insurance representative can make all the difference.
We can help you to get the insurance you need to protect your investment. Reach out to us to get a quote today.
You’re ready to own your own business, and have decided that a gas station and convenience store is the perfect opportunity for you.
You want to make sure you’re a responsible business owner, but you also want to know the steps you should start taking now to create a profitable business model. You know you need a business plan and a marketing strategy — but just dreaming up plans in your mind doesn’t guarantee success.
From making sure that you have the right insurance policy to developing a strong employee training program, follow the advice in this post to create a profitable gas station.
Location Is Everything
One of the most important things you need to do in order to have a profitable gas station?
Secure the perfect location.
For both safety (especially if you plan to keep your business open 24 hours) and to ensure you always have an influx of customers, opt for a location on a busy street. If possible, aim to find a gas station (or build your own) on the right-hand corner after a light.
Your customers will be able to avoid making left-hand turns.
Make sure you also take the time to research your competitors in the area. Though you can’t always control your gas prices, you can learn from then — and realize what you have to offer customers that they don’t.
Independent Ownership vs. Franchising
One of the biggest decisions you’ll make when it comes to owning a gas station is deciding whether you’d like to operate an independent business, or become a part of an established franchise.
There are certainly pros and cons to each.
Franchising often means that at least a portion of the financial responsibilities will be taken off your shoulders. They also come with the benefit of brand recognition. Additionally, when you join a franchise, they may have strict requirements about the types of gas station insurance you need to have — and often, they’ll cover most of the cost of that, as well.
However, you’re obligated to follow all the rules of the franchise, including buying all of your gas from them. When you buy a franchise, you’ll also need their approval should you ever need to sell in the future.
When you run an independent gas station, you’re in absolute control of everything from marketing to securing your gas. Especially if you want to add on a convenience store, you’ll have much more freedom over the products you can stock. You’ll also have the freedom to sell on your own at any time. You’ll also be able to negotiate with the seller of the gas station you’re interested in buying, potentially getting a better price.
Of course, this means that all of the responsibilities fall completely to you, including buying your own insurance.
Proper Employee Training
Businesses that have excellent customer service are able to achieve customer retention rates as high as 92%.
Whether you’re joining a franchise or buying an independent gas station, you need to ensure that you’re paying close attention to the way in which you train your employees. Teach them how to respond if there’s an accident, or even if they see a customer misusing a pump or causing another issue.
Ensure that they know how to work the security cameras, that they’re willing to help those that need assistance pumping their gas, and that they want to take the time to get to know repeat customers on a personal level. You should also make sure your employees know to empty the cash register every night, and that they’re clear on how often to make bank deposits to avoid having too much cash at the business.
Develop a strong safety plan, and make sure they stick to it by offering incentives. Make sure your team knows that they should only wear clothing made from cotton, as synthetic fabrics can cause fires. Instruct your employees to avoid using a flashlight near the tank, and even tell them to refrain from powering on cellphones while at the pump.
Remember that well-trained employees may help you to save on the cost of your insurance, because you can prove that you have a response plan in place in the event of an emergency.
Get Gas Station Insurance
You have health insurance and life insurance to protect yourself and your family members if something happens to you.
You can’t run a successful gas station — or any business at all — without the proper insurance. First of all, it’s just part of being a responsible business owner. But it also protects you from having to cover the costs of property damage, vandalism/theft, accidents, the consequences of customer negligence, and even medical bills.
If you have to pay for these things out of your own pocket, you may end up having to sell your business.
Look for an insurance plan that includes worker’s compensation, general liability insurance, service station coverage, pollution liability insurance, and much more.
Follow These Tips for a Booming Business
From making sure you’ve picked the perfect location to selecting the right insurance plan to protect your investment, you now know the top steps you need to take to ensure you have a profitable business.
We’re here to help make the process of buying gas station insurance as simple and stress-free as possible.
Get in touch with us today to learn more about the kinds of insurance you should have. We’ll compare options from some of the best coverage providers out there, and give you a quote we know you’ll love.
Read on to learn more about why pollution liability insurance isn’t something your gas station should open its doors without.
What is Pollution Liability Insurance?
First, let’s make sure you have a strong understanding of what pollution liability insurance actually is.
This insurance helps you to cover environmental losses that are caused to your gas station, as well as losses your gas station may cause to other businesses/people. In a gas station, this kind of coverage is mainly designed to protect you against losses due to gas spills/fuel leaks.
This insurance helps with on and off-site clean-up expenses, bodily harm or damage to property that occured because of a gas spill, and legal defense costs and revenue losses that may arise as a result of lawsuits and other claims.
Pollution liability insurance covers your gas station whether you own or rent your business.
There are several factors that will likely influence the overall cost of your policy.
They include how you’ve handled any spills in the past, your gas station’s location and construction, the different types of quantities of pollutants your gas station uses, and the kind of services your gas station offers.
The Benefits of Pollution Liability Insurance
Remember that pollution insurance is not included as a part of your overall commercial liability insurance policy.
However, in many cases, you may be legally required to show proof of pollution liability insurance before you can open your business.
But even if you’re not legally required to have pollution liability insurance, it’s still something you should invest in.
First of all, because it’s an incredibly comprehensive policy, offering coverage for both first and third parties. This means that, whether someone on your team is injured in a gas leak, your property has been damaged due to a spill, or if a customer’s negligence causes property damage to your gas station, you’re protected.
You’ll also be able to offset the costs of gas spill cleanup, building or car repair, and even medical bills or other equipment damage. You don’t want to have to pay for these expenses out of pocket — especially if the accident wasn’t your fault.
Finally, investing in a pollution insurance policy just helps you to sleep better at night. You already have enough things to worry about. Your insurance coverage shouldn’t be one of them.
Common Claim Examples
Let’s take a look at some potential claim examples when it comes to pollution liability insurance.
Of course, one of the most common scenarios happens when a car backs into a fuel pump at your gas station, spilling gas all over the property. You’ll need to clean up and contain the fuel, clean up anything that it came into contact with, (like other cars) and potentially repave part of your lot.
Or, one of your customers could accidentally drive away while the pump’s nozzle is still in the car, causing a huge mess. You’ll need to clean up not only your gas station, but also the area surrounding it that was impacted by the leak.
Perhaps a customer is trying to sue your gas station for negligence, because a hose split open while they were pumping gas, spraying fuel all over them and their vehicle. However, you properly maintain all of your equipment, and suspect that the fault lies with the way the customer handled the pump.
Finally, your gas station could be dealing with a leak coming from one of your underground tanks. Perhaps someone is trying to prove that this leak contaminated the local environment in some way.
The amount of coverage you’ll receive depends on the outcome of these cases, if cause or negligence can be established, and much more.
Having pollution liability insurance in situations like these can mean the difference between having to close down your gas station for good due to high costs and fines and being able to stay open.
Questions to Ask When Shopping for Coverage
There are several things to keep in mind when shopping for the right pollution liability insurance policy.
First, make sure you understand the kind of optional coverage the company may offer. This can include things like damage to your reputation, transportation of pollutants, an interruption in your business, and more.
Next, ask how the insurance company plans to find the right policy for you. How will they get to know the needs of your gas station and fairly evaluate your risk? Do they have relationships with several insurance providers that allow them to compare/contrast specific policies? Are they able to offer multi-policy discounts? What other kinds of coverage do they offer that your gas station could benefit from?
The more questions you ask, the faster you’ll be able to determine whether or not you’re truly working with the right company.
Are You Ready to Purchase Pollution Liability Insurance?
Now that you understand why pollution liability insurance is so important, let’s talk about how you can find the best possible plan for your gas station.
At Ovation Insurance, we’ve worked hard to make relationships with over 25 A-rated insurance providers. This means that we can compare your insurance options, saving you time and stress.
In addition to pollution liability insurance, we’ll help you to make sure your gas station has all the coverage it needs when it comes to your employees, your equipment, and even potential crime.
As a gas station owner, you know just how important it is to create a safe and secure environment. You work tirelessly to keep your inventory high, train your employees to provide customers with the help they need, and get to know the people who do business with you on a personal level.
You take pride in what you’re able to offer your customers — but are you doing everything you can to protect yourself? If you don’t have a comprehensive insurance policy for your gas station, then the answer is “no.”
A shocking ¾ of American businesses are underinsured by at least 40%, with many citing the high costs of insurance as the top reason why there are gaps in their current plan.
This post is here to help you get the coverage you need for the best possible price. Read on to learn what you can do to reduce your gas station insurance cost.
Take a Proactive Approach to Risk Management
There are over 5,000 fires per year at gas stations around the country. Within a year, more than 14,000 crimes resulting in some sort of property damage also happen at gas stations.
We don’t tell you numbers like this to scare you, but rather to convince you of the importance of risk management. It’s not just a way to keep your gas station insurance costs down. It also helps you to protect your investment, and keep both your customers and your employees safe.
So, what are some of the biggest risks to gas stations?
They physical layout of your gas station can sometimes make it tough to see what’s really happening inside of outside your store. Add convex mirrors and cameras to make sure you’re able to keep watch on everyone who enters and exits the gas station. If a convenience store is a part of your gas station, make sure you’ve installed excellent lighting, large windows, and can clearly see what’s happening in the aisles from the register.
Consider the location of your gas station as a whole. If it’s in a popular area, you’re less likely to deal with criminal activity — but perhaps, due to high traffic volume, more likely to experience accidents. Add signage so that the entrances and exits to the station are clear, and make sure you understand the crime rates in the neighborhood where your business is located.
Ensure that you’ve properly trained your employees when it comes to incident response. If someone is injured or the victim of a crime, do employees know how to react — and how to react as quickly as possible?
Finally, evaluate your approach to cash control. If you don’t keep much cash in your register, you’re much less likely to be the victim of a robbery. Explain to insurance companies that you make cash deposits several times a day if needed, that you have policies in place when it comes to access to a safe, and even install things like bulletproof glass to protect merchandise if needed.
Provide Insurance Companies with a Business Plan
Your business plan is certainly an excellent opportunity for you to evaluate your operating costs, understand when you can expect to turn a profit, and allows you to explain why you’re qualified to be a gas station owner.
However, it also gives you an opportunity to explain the kinds of security measures you plan to put in place, and the specific risks you’ve identified.
For example, your business plan could include a section on where you plan to install sprinklers, the layout of your gas station, your methods of employee training, and how you’ll respond to an accident.
If you’ve experienced losses in the past, you should also mention how your new business plan will prevent them from happening in the future.
When you create your business plan, you’ll also have a better understanding of how much you can actually afford to pay for coverage. You can decide if it’s financially feasible for you to pay your premium up front, or if you’d like to pay a higher deductible in order to keep your premiums as low as possible.
You may even want to consider hiring an attorney to look over your business plan. They can help you to make your plan more attractive not only to your insurance provider, but also to potential investors.
This guide is an excellent starting point when it comes to learning how to create a strong business plan for your gas station.
In addition to giving your insurance provider a strong business plan, you can even show off great online reviews from your customers on platforms like Yelp and Google My Business to prove that you have a history of doing excellent business.
Shop Around for a Comprehensive Policy
We understand that affordability is one of your biggest priorities when it comes to getting insurance coverage for your gas station.
However, it’s important to ensure that you’re getting a comprehensive policy. While you certainly shouldn’t pay for coverage you truly don’t need, remember that gaps in your insurance plan could leave you in terrible financial shape if there’s an accident or crime that you don’t have coverage for.
You should consider getting general liability and worker’s compensation insurance. You’ll likely also need crime/vandalism coverage, property damage insurance, and service station coverage to protect your underground piping, fuel storage, and pumps.
You may also need a liquor liability insurance if the convenience store attached to your gas station plans to sell liquor.
There’s no shame in shopping around and taking your time to find the best possible policy. Compare the costs of the plans, as well as the amounts of coverage they have to offer. Always evaluate any new risks to your business, and take another look at your policy each year to ensure that it’s still the right fit. You may need to add on additional coverage as your business grows. Make sure that you ask about multi-policy discounts!
Remember that your best bet for keeping costs as low as possible is to use one insurance company.
Need Insurance Coverage for Your Gas Station?
Now that you have a better understanding of how to lower the cost of your gas station insurance, you’re ready to begin reviewing your coverage options.
We’re here to help you with that.
We work with over 25 A-rated insurance providers, which means that we’ll compare all of your options for you, using our expertise to ensure that you get the best possible plan.
Reach out to us to get a quote today, and make your gas station a safer and more profitable place.
Joel Dunham, President of Ovation Insurance recently was awarded the designation of Certified Professional Insurance Agent (CPIA), a professional designation conferred by the American Insurance Marketing and Sales Society (the AIMS Society).
Dunham successfully completed three Insurance Success Seminars. The CPIA designation stands for professionalism, commitment to sales training and results, and technical knowledge.
Position for Success (CPIA 1) assists participants in implementing risk identification strategies and systems that will prevent errors and omissions during the insurance prospecting process.
Implement for Success (CPIA 2) focuses on the development of the technical knowledge and skills needed to design a complete, yet innovative, insurance program for prospective clients. Participants will leave with detailed information for providing solutions that benefit consumers in the complex insurance marketplace.
Sustain Success (CPIA 3) provides participants with specific methods for maintaining high legal and ethical standards of operation while developing the agent-client relationship.
The AIMS Society is the only insurance organization dedicated solely to recognizing training and service quality among property and casualty insurance personnel. The mission of the AIMS Society is to improve the selling skills and insurance knowledge of its members by upgrading professionalism through information and education, which will result in providing better service to the insurance-buying public.
For more information about Insurance Success Seminars, the CPIA designation program or membership in the AIMS Society, contact the AIMS Society national office at 877-674-CPIA (2742) or visit www.aimssociety.org.
Ovation Insurance was founded in 1961. Serving the states of Indiana and Ohio, Ovation Insurance has been recognized for exceptional insurance services and best practices throughout both states, featuring the 2018 PIA Indiana Young Insurance Professional of the Year (Joel Dunham) and the 2018 National Alliance Outstanding Customer Service Representative of the Year for the state of Indiana (Amanda Stoller).
For more information about Ovation Insurance, contact the agency at 260-749-4970 or visit www.ovationinsure.com.