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Who Needs Inland Marine Insurance?

Inland marine insurance for contractors is an often-misunderstood product because of its bizarre name. Basically, inland marine insurance protects the transport of goods across land in the event that damage happens to them during their travels. Whether that damage happens as a result of construction materials shifting after a driver slams on their brakes or when a business van gets in a wreck that destroys thousands of dollars’ worth of tools, inland marine insurance will protect the commercial property of contractors.

As you can see, this product can prevent the huge costs of replacing materials, tools or equipment in the event of an unexpected accident. Prevent a nerve-wracking collision situation from being much worse than it needs to be by protecting the commercial goods being transported at the time.

Why Does Inland Marine Insurance Have Such an Odd Name?

Inland marine insurance’s name comes from a long tradition of financial products in America. Until the construction of the railroads and later the interstate highway system, transportation of goods over land was not nearly as common as it was now. Most “shipping” literally took place on ships.

Marine insurance covered the cargo carried by these ships in case they capsized, a fire broke out or some other incident occurred that could damage the transported goods. Shipping companies and other business people came to depend on marine insurance to reduce the risks of sending valuable goods across potentially turbulent waters.

Businesses that transported their goods over land as opposed to water began to demand that same coverage, especially as locomotives and automobiles made land transportation more realistic. This coverage was referred to as “inland marine insurance” to differentiate it from water-going transport. Even though trucking goods and equipment over land has become much more common, the name stuck.

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What Contractors Need Inland Marine Insurance?

With very few exceptions, all contractors and construction businesses should carry inland marine insurance. Even if you have commercial auto insurance designed specifically for contractors, the job site materials, tools and equipment you carry may not be covered as part of collision insurance. If these items do happen to be covered, coverage limits often fail to compensate for their full value.

Since materials like stone tiles and tools like plasma cutters can often cost tens of thousands of dollars, ignoring the risk of damaging them during transport can be a huge financial mistake. Most contractors are going to be carrying these items back and forth on a day-to-day basis as they travel from job site to job site or retrieve materials from suppliers. These contractors may not be aware of the limitations of their commercial auto insurance on covering these items. Should one of their employees get into an accident during work, they may suddenly be shocked to discover that thousands if not tens of thousands of dollars are expected to come out of their own pocket.

Do not let this situation happen to you. Any contractors that travel to job sites to perform work — which is nearly all of them — puts their business at risk when they transport materials without inland marine insurance. Find the coverage you need to stay confident and remain afloat even when accidents occur on the way to or from jobs.

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Should Your Business Have Commercial Auto Insurance?

Understanding why auto insurance is generally important does not constitute rocket science. However, many contractors believe that requiring their employees to carry their own auto insurance is enough to protect them in times of liability. This may not be true. Certain types of car usage —even with personal vehicles — are not covered under a normal policy.

Commercial auto insurance is more expensive than personal. However, if you are using vehicles specifically for business purposes, you may need to have this kind of coverage. Here are some things to look for when determining if a more robust insurance policy is right for you.

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Complete Your HVAC Contractor Insurance Foundation with These 3 Policies

Trying to find the basic insurance policies you need to run your small business can be a bit like finding a needle in a haystack. Companies may try to sell you a thousand policies at once or focus entirely on one specific coverage but, there are very few basic insurance breakdowns out there. That’s why we decided to put together this list of HVAC contractor policies that you can use to establish a strong insurance foundation.

HVAC Contractor Insurance – The 3 Basic Policies Every HVAC Contractor Needs

1.       Contractors General Liability Insurance

General liability insurance is an essential asset for any small business owner (especially if you own a contracting business). In this industry there are more than a handful of ways for you to lose quite a large sum of money in a very short period of time. General liability insurance is designed to reduce that peril. Defined as an insurance policy that offers protection against third-party claims of property damage, injury or bodily harm, loss of life or limb, or negligence, general liability insurance has the stopping power you need to protect your business from lawsuit-induced financial loss. It is also required by law in most states which is why we would consider this the most important HVAC contractor insurance policy on this list.

2.       Contractors Workers Compensation Insurance

Well, workers compensation insurance may give general liability a run for its’ money (at least in terms of importance). Like the aforementioned policy, workers comp is required by law in most states (except for Texas) making it an essential component of HVAC contractor insurance. It is designed to cover everything from injury or loss of limb, repetitive motion injuries, medical treatment and lost wages to death and emphysema. Needless to say it covers a lot (a lot more than we can cover in this post), so if you would like more information, please check out our page on workers compensation.

3.       Commercial Auto and Truck Insurance

Commercial auto and truck insurance might not have the same legal requirements as general liability insurance or workers comp but, it’s still a necessary piece of HVAC contractor insurance. If you use a vehicle to transport goods, people or perform other business related tasks then you may want to consider acquiring this policy. It will not only protect you (the driver) but the goods and employees you are transporting. Two things that your personal policy will not cover.

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Commercial Auto Insurance – Protecting You From Those Treacherous Winter Roads

In Connecticut we’re used to some pretty horrific road conditions. It snows, it sleets and it hails for almost four months, during which time you are expected to operate as well as you do when it’s 80-degrees and sunny. While your production may not dip, working as a commercial truck driver in the winter can be extremely stressful – for very little reward. Sure, you get paid for your job and you’re on schedule because you’re a professional but it would be nice to be thanked for the work you’ve done – at least once and a while. It would also be nice if you no longer had to worry about the financial repercussions of losing your truck in an auto accident. Luckily, with the right commercial auto insurance you should be able to protect you and your small business from an accident. Here’s what you need to know. Read more

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The 5 Contractor Safety Tips Every Builder Should Know

America is, and always has been, a nation of builders. We started with simple log-cabins and sod houses, which made for simple living but, it was living nonetheless. As our methods become more advanced we conquered the sky with buildings that soared through the clouds. We built a rail-line that unified our two costs and created the infrastructure for our industrial future. Beyond establishing the foundation that our country stands upon, our builders have been the talisman that the rest of the world has followed for over a century. While our list of accomplishments is impressive, there are still areas that we can improve on (take workplace safety for example). Last year alone there were roughly 12 work-related fatalities a day and, as world leaders, we can make strides to reduce that number even further if we have the proper education. Without further ado, here are our 5 contractor safety tips that will keep you and your team safe.

Stay Safe with These 5 Contractor Safety Tips

1. Site Cleanliness

Keeping a construction site entirely clean is pretty much impossible. However, some semblance of cleanliness could be the difference between a fatal injury and a minor trip or fall. To keep your worksite clean be sure to keep materials organized and instruct your employees on where materials should be placed during the work day.

2. Asbestos

Asbestos is common in old buildings in the States and is incredibly dangerous (and a major obstacle to contractor safety) if you do not take the proper precautions. Before you begin working on a worksite have an expert check for asbestos-containing materials (like sprayed insulation and asbestos cement) and have your employees educated appropriately.

3. Falls

Falls may be the most lethal component on this list but, they also may be the most preventable. With the proper equipment (scaffolding, guardrails, etc.) and proper training (i.e. how to properly use powered access equipment) we should be able to reduce the frequency of falls and significantly improve contractor safety.

4. Effective Lifting Technique

Lifting injuries might just be the most frequent cause of injury on this contractor safety list. Most injuries occur either because the contractor in question lacks the physical fitness necessary to complete the task or they have received improper training on lifting techniques (i.e. lifting with your back instead of your legs).

5. Transport

Due to the high volume of other drivers on our roadways, transport for your business can become a risky endeavor. Instruct your employees on the consequences of a traffic accident, what it could mean for their future as a contractor and give them instruction on defensive driving. Driving fast doesn’t mean the project will get done faster, driving safely and ensuring that both equipment and personnel arrive in one piece will.

These 5 SAFE-T contractor safety tips should help ensure that we as builders remain a step ahead of the rest of the world while simultaneously creating a safe environment for our fellow builders and employees. Still, there will be instances where injuries do occur (regardless of precautions taken) and in those moments it pays to have a quality workers compensation policy. If you have any further questions about workers comp or contractor safety please feel free to give us a call at 1-800-649-9094. We look forward to hearing from you!