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Cover your bases

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  • SIMA
- Posted: April 2, 2018
By Jared Perkoski

With winter wrapping up, spring is a good time to review your insurance policies with your agent, before the landscaping and construction season is in full swing. Various areas should be reviewed regularly. Whether you are growing or downsizing, there is content within your insurance policies to review to ensure you are not insuring something you no longer own or to make sure you are not underinsured. Following are some policies and items to review annually.

Auto
Always review not only the vehicles on the policy but also the driver list. If you have let drivers go during the year, remove them from the list. A driver with a negative driving record can increase your insurance costs, so it is important to only list current drivers. 

New vehicles and trailers are typically added throughout the year because they cannot be on the road without insurance. However, this list should still be reviewed yearly to confirm that all vehicles and trailers are listed on the policy. It is also important to ensure that you are not paying for any vehicles that you have sold or are not on the road. Also, review insurance limits. Typically, when there is a loan on a vehicle, the bank will require you to have physical damage coverage. If you own a vehicle or trailer outright and there is a low value on it, you may want to consider removing this coverage as a cost-saving measure. Never do this without thorough analysis and a review by your insurance agent.

Property
Companies should review the two main parts of the property policy - the building limit and the business personal property (BPP) limit. Building values and the cost of construction don’t typically change much from year to year. However, if you have not reviewed this limit in a few years it may be beneficial to do it to ensure you are not under or over insured on the building. If you rent or lease the building you occupy, then you likely will just review the BPP limit, which can change frequently. 

If you have added internal employees who require more desks and computers or maybe you just refurnished your boardroom or offices, this limit could drastically increase. In either case, review your current BPP limits. In the unfortunate event where your company has a total loss, you want to make sure the proper limits are in place to make you whole again. 

Inland marine
This coverage will typically cover mobile equipment such as skid steers or loaders. However, with the rising cost of snowplows, many companies are also scheduling these on their inland marine policy. Since many pieces of equipment are not registered for road use, some companies forget or decide not to insure them. Inland marine coverage is typically much less expensive than auto insurance, so it’s very important to review this policy with your agent to determine what pieces of equipment to add. It is also important to review limits since equipment will likely depreciate year to year.

General liability
This line of insurance is typically the most expensive for companies performing snow removal operations. It is also the insurance policy with the most exclusions. If you have recently switched insurance carriers, it is imperative that you review all policy exclusions with your insurance agent. Even if you have been with the same insurance carrier for years, continue to review these exclusions, since many carriers are now limiting coverage due to the increase in snow removal-related insurance claims. Some policies will exclude snow removal on streets and roads, while others may exclude snow removal on commercial parking lots. A more common exclusion I have seen lately is one related to working at apartment complexes and condos. If you are performing operations at these types of sites, it is important to confirm that you have coverage. 

These are just a few of the main lines of insurance that snow removal companies typically carry. There are obviously many others, such as workers compensation, pollution, employment practices liability insurance and others. All lines of insurance should always be reviewed with an experienced insurance agent yearly. It will help you sleep at night and will ensure that you are not unintentionally self-insuring any of your operations. 

Jared Perkoski is a risk advisor for FB Insure. Contact him at 508-695-1441 or email jperkoski@fbinsure.com.
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