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IPS / Lighthouse Insurance Group Blog

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Businessman pointing at stylized words - Risk ManagementAll businesses pose liability risks to other parties. All liability risks could potentially devastate your business. However, the most-significant of these are the most likely to lead to trouble. So, standard liability insurance might not prove effective in the most serious cases. It is these cases that might merit the use of a commercial umbrella insurance policy? How can it help you?

Umbrella Coverage

Most businesses carry general liability insurance policies. They might carry other specialized coverage, too. So, if the business causes harm to a third party, liability insurance might be able to help the business compensate those affected. It might cover various costs the person might claim as well as the business’s legal fees in case of lawsuits.

Yet, nearly all liability policies will have policy limits and exclusions present. They will only pay a maximum dollar amount for claims; many will not cover certain claims at all. If you don’t have coverage, you might therefore have to pay a client’s liability claim out of your own pockets. That is bad news for any business.

It is umbrella insurance that might be able to help you out. This coverage acts like an umbrella, or extra protection, for the costs that a standard policy won’t cover. So, if someone files a claim above a policy's limits, this coverage might pay the difference. If your liability policy doesn’t cover a claim, umbrella coverage might.

Extra Covered Costs

Perhaps your general liability insurance contains a $500,000 policy limit. Yet, a customer who falls in your store could sue you for $750,000 in medical bills, lost income and other damages. Your liability insurance might pay only the first $500,000 of that claim. However, your umbrella coverage might be able to step in to cover some or all of the remaining $250,000.

The umbrella policy will have its own limits. However, these usually start with extremely high values. Please note, though, sometimes you must carry the highest available limits on your standard liability policies to qualify for umbrella coverage.

Additional Covered Liabilities

Sometimes, your standard liability policies will not cover certain types of damage. Umbrella policies might. Whether this is true will depend on the type of incident. Policies usually will not cover illegal or intentionally harmful acts committed against others.

Please note, you cannot simply apply all liability costs to your umbrella policy if you don’t have a policy to cover them. What we mean is, if you have a data breach in the business, you might need help from cyber liability insurance. You'll use it before turning to umbrella coverage. You might not be able to make an umbrella claim for the losses unless you have cyber liability coverage to start. Yet, umbrella coverage might apply if a claim exceeds the cyber liability limits.

If you ever have questions, contact Insurance Planning Service. We can help you determine the right course of action.

Also Read: Five Losses Covered by Commercial Umbrella Insurance

commercial driver in front of vehicleThe goal of commercial auto insurance is to minimize your risks. You use it to help if there is an incident. However, it is up to you to make sure your drivers are safe. With new tech, there are increasing ways to improve your overall safety and to reduce risks. GPS tracking is one of those tools. It allows companies to have far more protection in place. How can it help you?

Minimizing Driver Risks

Today, many drivers are spending more hours on the road than ever. If you are a trucking company, your drivers may have to abide by laws that require on-and-off time.

However, even if you just have delivery drivers, you need to consider drive time. The more hours an employee is behind the wheel, the higher the risk is for injuries and accidents.

With GPS tracking, you gain some insight into this. Some units allow you to track how long your driver is moving – such as driving. It can provide you with insight into whether drivers are operating the vehicle for too many hours at a time. This can help you to know if they are taking breaks or sleeping long enough between long shifts.

If the driver gets to a destination too soon, that could indicate he or she is speeding. It could also signal your driver is operating without enough breaks or caution. This increases your risks.

Tracking Movements of Your Vehicle

A GPS tracking device can also provide you with insight into where your vehicle is. As noted, this can help to ensure the driver is operating in a safe manner. It also helps in managing your equipment.

With this type of unit in place, you know where your truck is at all times. If your driver reports someone stole the vehicle, you can work with the police to pinpoint its location. This safeguards your vehicle and the contents.

Also important, you can track how the driver is transferring the material. Are they not going where they should? Did the driver stop somewhere he or she should not? This can help you manage your employees while also managing your vehicle.

GPS tracking for commercial vehicles is growing in common use. New systems give you more insight and control. Use this information to prove to your commercial auto insurance company how responsible and safe your drivers are and that your vehicles are safe.

Want to learn about insurance coverage options for your fleet? Call Insurance Planning Services today at 800-220-5582.

Also Read: Saving on Your Commercial Auto Insurance During The Business Off-Season

Workers' compensation provides financial protection to businesses. If an employee suffers an injury resulting from the work they do, this policy covers some or all of their losses. This minimizes the financial loss your business may suffer. Some states require businesses to maintain this insurance. If so, it is important to have proper protection. Here is where to start.

What Factors Apply to Your Requirements?

safety gear with sign behind saying be safe at work

States have different laws regarding workers' compensation insurance. In some states, the requirement is clear - all employers need to maintain a policy. In others, there are limitations. Your first step should be to determine the requirements in your state. Your business insurance company can provide very specific information here.

Keep in mind that even if not required, workers' comp can still be a valuable asset for you. It offers protection from financial loss that can amount to thousands of dollars.

What Some States Require

The rules to remain in compliance vary from one state to the next. If you fail to maintain coverage, you may face a fine. Here are a few things to think about:
  • Some states require workers' comp if the company has more than five, 10, or another set number of employees. Failure to maintain this insurance results in fines. For example, in New York, all companies with at least five employees must maintain coverage.
  • In some states, such as Pennsylvania, if you don't carry coverage, it can result in a felony charge. This includes if you fail to disclose the true number of employees you have.
  • In California, Illinois, Massachusetts, Michigan, and Pennsylvania, failure to carry proper workers' compensation insurance can result in criminal charges. This may mean fines and jail time.
  • Texas is one of the only states that does not require employers to maintain this coverage. However, it does still hold employers liable for employee injuries in most circumstances. Employers therefore should carry coverage.
As you can see, maintaining proper workers' compensation insurance is critical. It safeguards your company financially and ensures you meet compliance requirements.

How to Ensure You Don't Make a Mistake

If you are unsure if you need workers' comp, call your business insurance agent. Discuss the type of business you run. Talk about the number of employees you have.

Think about the risks. Can employees suffer injuries? Could someone get sick? Chances are, the can at any time. Proper insurance is not just about compliance.

It is also about keeping your company safe. It does not have to be hard to get this coverage. Most states offer competitive insurance policies. You can find affordable policies that fit your needs. Then, you do not have to worry about an employee injury on the job.

If you need workers' compensation insurance coverage, contact Insurance Planning Service today at 734-421-9900.

Also Read: Reducing Worker Falls on Icy Outside Surfaces


You strive to keep your business property durable, clean and secure. However, at times, you cannot keep out every pest. Termites might be small, but they can wreak major damage on your business if you don’t control them. If termites create damage, you might wonder if your insurance will pay for theirtermites removal and structural repairs? Here are a few more details.

Property Insurance Limitations for Termites

Unfortunately, property insurance and termites have a complicated relationship. Therefore, your best bet is to try to prevent termites from taking hold.

Most termite infestations happen slowly. They might invade your business over time, and it might take years for noticeable damage to occur. Ordinary operations might continue with no inkling that pests have entered the building.

Once you notice termite problems, it might be too late to avoid severe damage. Therefore, you might face countless dollars in repair bills. You might even face a total loss of your structure should the damage prove too severe. Should structural integrity become compromised, it might prove unsafe to even enter the property. Therefore, operations could grind to a halt.

If a termite problem arises, you might wonder if your insurance will cover repairs. Unfortunately, you will likely find that property insurance won’t offer any recourse.

Property insurance generally only covers unavoidable, unpreventable damage to your property. In most cases, you can prevent termites with vigilance and maintenance. These tasks usually prove relatively inexpensive. Such care therefore usually falls under regular maintenance. Insurance almost never covers standard costs that are your responsibility.

Preventing Termites

Responsible business owners should always undertake regular preventive actions to keep termites out. Doing so can reduce the chances of ever having to file a property insurance claim.

One of the simplest ways to prevent termites is to engage in simple pest prevention measures. Have a pest service professional visit your property at regular intervals. They can spray a repellent in and around the space to prevent termites from getting inside. Most services will spray every few months at regular intervals. The ongoing prevention can almost certainly cut termite risks.

Furthermore, certain pest services also offer regular termite inspections. Professionals will inspect the structure for signs that termites have slipped past any chemical agents. Your pest inspector can likely catch small infestations before they get worse.

Don’t hesitate to call a registered pest elimination service today. It might help you prevent significant termite damage down the road.

Also Read: Will Commercial Property Damage Cover All Roof Repairs?

Posted 12:06 PM


If you run a furniture store, you’ll often offer repair services. You might even refinish certain pieces. This might mean working with everything from delicate antiques to malfunctioning contemporary pieces. Clients expect you to make repairs professionally. If you accidentally damage an item, you might placeimage of furniture being painted the client (and yourself) in a bind. Why do these risks occur? How can you avoid them?

Property Damage Risks in Furniture Businesses

Repairing furniture means you’ll take a client's belongings into your care. You might repair them in your store, or in the client’s home. The client will expect you to do your job professionally. So, if an accident happens, they might want compensation for their losses.

Think about some of the ways you might damage your clients’ belongings:

  • You spill a solvent on an upholstered chair, staining and burning it.
  • A fire breaks out in your business, and in the process damages client belongings.
  • An antique piece falls off a work bench, splintering beyond repair.
  • While visiting a client’s home to pick up an item, you accidentally damage an item. For example, you break a window when trying to move a piece out of the home.

If any of these damages occur, you might have a duty to replace the item, repay the client or both. You might even face legal action by the client.

Any such loss might create particularly high cost burdens. You might even put your business’s finances or assets on the line trying to reach a settlement. Thus, you might want to use your commercial insurance to help ease some of this burden.

If you have property damage liability insurance, you can often file a claim for damage to a client’s possessions. This protection exists to cover damage you cause to others’ belongings. So, since you will handle a lot of client belongings in your business, make sure you have this coverage. Most policies will have financial limits. Therefore, make sure you have enough to cover the value of most items in your care. This will likely amount to several hundred-thousand dollars.

Create a Safety Process

You’ll naturally not want to have to file a property damage liability claim. Create a plan to protect client belongings, and you can often reduce such chances.

Your safety practices will likely vary. However, careful handling should remain front and center. Only follow tried-and-true practices when repairing furniture. Never place these items in harm’s way and make ample use of anchors and shields to keep them safe. With attention to detail, you’ll likely create a better degree of safety for items in your care.

Also Read: Prevent Business Insurance Claims with These Risk Reduction Tips


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Lighthouse Group Main Office in Grand Rapids, MI
Mailing Address | P.O. Box 530009, Livonia, MI 48153

Phone: 734.421.9900 | Toll Free: 800.220.5582 | Fax: 734.421.9911

Also serving these Detroit area communities in Michigan: Livonia, Farmington Hills, Ann Arbor, Southfield, Plymouth, Canton, Westland, Northville, Novi, Dearborn, South Lyon & Walled Lake