Courtesy of iii.org
Business interruption insurance can be as vital to your survival as a business as fire insurance. Most people would never consider opening a business without buying insurance to cover damage due to fire and windstorms. But too many small business owners fail to think about how they would manage if a fire or other disaster damaged their business premises so that they were temporarily unusable. Business interruption coverage is not sold separately. It is added to a property insurance policy or included in a package policy.
A business that has to close down completely while the premises are being repaired may lose out to competitors. A quick resumption of business after a disaster is essential.
- Business interruption insurance compensates you for lost income if your company has to vacate the premises due to disaster-related damage that is covered under your property insurance policy, such as a fire. Business interruption insurance covers the revenue you would have earned, based on your financial records, had the disaster not occurred. The policy also covers operating expenses, like electricity, that continue even though business activities have come to a temporary halt.
- Make sure the policy limits are sufficient to cover your company for more than a few days. After a major disaster, it can take more time than many people anticipate to get the business back on track. There is generally a 48-hour waiting period before business interruption coverage kicks in.
- The price of the policy is related to the risk of a fire or other disaster damaging your premises. All other things being equal, the price would probably be higher for a restaurant than a real estate agency, for example, because of the greater risk of fire. Also, a real estate agency can more easily operate out of another location.
Extra expense insurance reimburses your company for a reasonable sum of money that it spends, over and above normal operating expenses, to avoid having to shut down during the restoration period. Usually, extra expenses will be paid if they help to decrease business interruption costs. In some instances, extra expense insurance alone may provide sufficient coverage, without the purchase of business interruption insurance.
Courtesy of iii.org
Whether you're hosting a Super Bowl party for 50 or greeting the New Year with a few friends, if you're planning to serve alcohol at your home take steps to limit your liquor liability and make sure you have the proper insurance.
Social host liability is the legal term for the criminal and civil responsibility of a person who furnishes liquor to a guest. Social host liability can have serious consequences for party throwers.
Also known as “Dram Shop Liability,” social host liability laws vary widely from state to state, but 43 states have them on the books. Most of these laws also offer an injured person, such as the victim of a drunk driver, a method to sue the person who served the alcohol. There are circumstances under these laws where criminal charges may also apply.
While a social host is not liable for injuries sustained by a drunken guest (as the guest is also negligent), the host can be held liable for harm to third parties, and even for passengers of the guest who have been injured in their car.
Homeowners insurance usually provides some liquor liability coverage, but limits are typically $100,000 to $300,000, which, depending on your assets, might not be enough. Before planning a party in your home, speak to your insurance professional to review your homeowners coverage for any exclusions, conditions or limitations your policy might have that would affect your social liability risk.
Remember that a good host is a responsible host. If you plan to serve alcohol at a party, promote safe alcohol consumption and take these steps to reduce your social host liability exposure:
- Make sure you understand your state laws. These laws vary widely from state to state (see final chart). Some states do not impose any liability on social hosts. Others limit liability to injuries that occur on the host’s premises. Some extend the host’s liability to injuries that occur anywhere a guest who has consumed alcohol goes. Many states have laws that pertain specifically to furnishing alcohol to minors.
- Consider venues other than your home for the party. Hosting your party at a restaurant or bar with a liquor license, rather than at your home, will help minimize liquor liability risks.
- Hire a professional bartender. Most bartenders are trained to recognize signs of intoxication and are better able to limit consumption by partygoers.
- Encourage guests to pick a designated driver who will refrain from drinking alcoholic beverages so that he or she can drive other guests home.
- Limit your own alcohol intake as a responsible host/hostess, so that you will be better able to judge your guests’ sobriety.
- Offer non-alcoholic beverages and always serve food. Eating and drinking plenty of water, or other non-alcoholic beverages, can help counter the effects of alcohol.
- Do not pressure guests to drink or rush to refill their glasses when empty. And never serve alcohol to guests who are visibly intoxicated.
- Stop serving liquor toward the end of the evening. Switch to coffee, tea and soft drinks.
- If guests drink too much or seem too tired to drive home, call a cab, arrange a ride with a sober guest or have them sleep at your home.
- Encourage all your guests to wear seatbelts as they drive home. Studies show that seatbelts save lives.
Courtesy of iii.org
Facts about wildfire risk
- Occur in 38 states – California is the state most associated with wildfires and, in fact, eight of the 10 most costly wildfires in the U.S. have occurred there. That said, Texas has been known to have twice the wildfires as California in a given year and 38 of U.S. states have areas at risk.
- Like dry conditions – Drought conditions, dry undergrowth and the presence of combustible and flammable materials contribute to wildfire hazard.
- Are more dangerous in combination with development – The risk of damage increases as housing and business development expands into the wildfire-prone wildland-urban interface (WUI)—such as mountain, foothill or grassland areas.
- Spread mostly on the wind – Direct flame contact and radiant heat from a wildfire can ignite combustible materials. However, research has shown that homes burned during wildfires most frequently catch fire from live embers (or "firebrands") that are blown by the wind.
- Thrive on house "togetherness" – Because of the dangers of the embers, close proximity of homes and presence of combustible features both increase the chances of a home going up in flames. Fire spreads rapidly when homes are less than 15 feet apart, making homes that are clustered near others more likely to burn. Features like fences and attached decks made from combustible materials often hasten the spread of fire.
Wildfires need fuel to spread—like wood, plastic, wood-plastic products and foliage. Don't help your house feed the flames—fit or retrofit your home with features that deter fire. The Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety (IBHS) and others have this advice:
- Maintain five feet of non-combustible "defensible space" around your home – Keep a five-foot diameter space of gravel, brick, or concrete in the area adjacent to your home.
- Maintain an expanded "defensible space" between five and 30 feet from your home – Keeping this area as unattractive to wildfires as possible will reduce the risk. Move trailers/RVs and storage sheds from area, or build defensible space (see above) around these items. Remove shrubs under trees, prune branches that overhang your roof, thin trees, and remove dead vegetation.
- Use non-combustible siding – and maintain a six-inch ground-to-siding clearance
- Regularly clean from your roof and gutters – to keep debris from being ignited by wind-blown embers. Use noncombustible gutter covers.
- Get a Class A fire-rated roof – Class A roofing products offer the best protection for homes.
- Use non-combustible fences and gates - Burning fencing can generate embers and cause direct flame contact to your home.
- Cover vents and create soffited eaves – Use 1/8-inch mesh to cover vents, and box-in (create soffits) on open eaves to keep embers out.
- Use multi-pane, tempered glass windows – Close windows when a wildfire threatens.
- Fireproof the deck - At a minimum, use deck boards that comply with California requirements for new construction in wildfire-prone areas. Remove combustibles from under deck, and maintain effective defensible space around the deck.
- Keep combustibles far away from the house – Combustible structures in the yard such as wood, plastic or plastic-wood playground equipment should be at least 30 feet away from the house. Experts indicate that evergreen trees, palms and eucalyptus trees have more combustible qualities than others—keep this type of vegetation 100 feet away from the house.