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Disaster Preparedness

5 Questions to Ask About Disaster Insurance, According to Allstate

Disasters are difficult to predict, but running a home service brings unique risks you need to consider. One year, a wind storm could damage your vehicle; another year, a hurricane could cause flooding in your building. How can you be sure your company is protected against the unknown?

The right policy looks different for everyone, and Allstate Business Insurance recommends talking to an insurance agent directly to make sure you have the right coverage.

These are some questions you can ask to get the conversation started.

#1 | What are the risks my company faces?

The first step in guarding yourself against a disaster is evaluating the coverage you have, as well as any upgrades you may need. If you don’t have insurance yet, this is also a good place to start.

According to Allstate, an insurance agent can sit down with a customer and take the time to understand their business really well, and then make sure you’re covered. An insurance agent knows what coverage is available, but only you know your business and the problems you face – that’s why this conversation is so important.

#2 | Should I protect myself against cyberattacks?

A crisis can come in many forms. Cyberattacks – including cyber extortion, where an attacker seeks out a ransom – are a serious and growing problem. Cyberattacks occur when someone breaches your company’s information system. This can expose private information that ranges from your employees’ social security numbers to your customers’ bank account details.

Additionally, in the event of a data breach, most states require that you notify anybody who may have been affected, and many have fines for not making those notifications. This can become a labor-intensive and expensive problem. Getting ahead with a policy that covers cyber disasters means recovery can be easier, faster and less devastating. Talk to your agent about whether this type of policy is important for you.

#3 | How can I guard myself against an economic disaster?

Business interruption insurance, frequently included in a basic Business Owner’s Policy (BOP), makes up for revenue your company loses when there is a direct physical loss to your property. It may also cover extra expenses — for example, costs incurred if you have to temporarily move your business because of a fire in your building. The important thing to be aware of with business interruption insurance is that it only provides coverage when there is a covered loss, so it is even more important to make sure you have the proper protection.

Talk to your agent about the type of losses that your policy covers. It’s going to be different for everyone, and cost varies depending on factors like where you live, the type of work you do and how much you want to pay each month.

Sometimes, there are also regional differences than can affect the availability and pricing of different policies. For example, if you live on a coast, you may need hurricane coverage, whereas a pro in a landlocked state might be more interested in hail or tornado coverage.

It’s also important to understand your coverage limit. An agent can outline exactly what that is so there aren’t any surprises if you have to file a claim.

#4 | What kind of policy do I need for company vehicles?

A commercial auto policy isn’t included in a BOP, so you’ll need additional coverage if you have one or more company vehicles. When talking with your agent, you should also discuss coverage for the equipment inside the vehicle.

Allstate Business Insurance explains it like this: Think of your van and the equipment you haul around inside of it. Do you have permanently attached mechanisms, gear or machinery? If so, those materials become part of the van, and that value must be added to the overall value of the van. If you don’t add the value of the permanently attached equipment, and the vehicle is a total loss for one reason or another, you’ll get back an empty van, without that equipment.

If you have equipment that you take in and out of your vehicle, you may need inland marine insurance to ensure it’s covered. Either way, it’s an important conversation to have with your agent.  

#5 | Do I need special insurance if I do disaster response work?

Let’s say you aren’t just protecting your own business against a crisis – you also help with clean-up. If you’re a pro who does disaster relief, you can expect to pay more for coverage than someone who isn’t exposed to the hazards that you are – but the expense can be worth it. Insurance can protect you and your team as you serve as a major resource to people across your community.

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