(I really wanted to say “Yo
Dude!” - but my editor is so conservative, she’d
probably drop her mouse.) I popped up out of hibernation in
time to do research for this column. If I waited for Betty to wake me
up, -it would be the dog-days of August. She hates
it when I do a spiffy research job and she has to give me column space
I found out that many of you are uninsured. Tsk,
tsk. Some of you have insurance, - but you probably
pay too much for it! How much is too much? Well, Les Mor’s
agent in New Jersey wants $500 a year. That’s too much! (By
the way, Les was our cover artist for the JUNE '2000 publication, - and
will join us on our website shortly.)
I Have Homeowner’s Insurance
this: You take a special order, and your customer calls to let you know
she will pick it up on her way home from work. The snow is melting, and
you’re busy boxing her order. You hear the car stop,
but no one knocks on the door, so finally you look out the window and
see her lying at the bottom of your stairs.
goodness you’re insured, right? (Yes!) Your
home-owner’s insurance will cover her hospitalization,
there on business, - (yours.) Your home-owner’s insurance
usually does not cover business-related injuries.You need business
insurance coverage .
How about the little monsters who are
playing tag in and out of your booth? One falls into the corner of your
table and injures his eye. ($$$$$! – Yup.) That’s
why you need business liability insurance. I just finished researching
home-based business insurance; this is a specialty field
which most underwriters don't provide; they supply
business insurance to store-fronts, which is more costly.
personal property , also known as inventory and tools is also covered
by this underwriter in their business insurance policy. When you return
to your van and find the lock’s broken and several boxes of
your inventory stolen, - you’re covered under
business personal property insurance .
Many people think their
home-owner’s insurance covers them, because their business is
‘only a part-time affair, not really a business.’
Actually, as soon as you sell something, you are ‘in
business’ from every standpoint, including sales
tax and liability reasons.
A studio coverage rider is available
on some homeowner’s policies at an additional cost. Sometimes
it worth it, but you’ll have to find out what kind of
coverage it provides, and under what conditions. Asking “What
if . . .?” questions is a good way to research a
policy, -and always look for confirmation in writingto
confirm what you are told. Questions like:
What if there’s a fire and my tools and
inventory are damaged?”
if someone falls on my steps and gets hurt?”
if my display falls and injures someone?” etc .
A homeowner’s policy, even
with a studio rider, will not follow you to shows, nor provide coverage
for product stolen from your vehicle.
If there’s a liability
claim, your assets (bank account, car, salary, other income, first-born
male child, etc. ) can be attached if you can't pay the claim.
High winds can lift canopies, weights
and all, and throw them across a field. I remember my friend
Norma telling me about a show in which a tornado swept down through the
middle of the show area and lifted tents and canopies and threw a heavy
butcher’s block table almost 50 feet. The adjoining area was
happened at two a.m. there were no spectator injuries, just product and
display damage. Bad news, but since there was no damage to nearby
vehicles, and no personal-injuries, I bet the exhibitors breathed a
sigh of relief and got over it,- fast!
Uninsured craftsmen were on the phone
tracking down liability insurance the following Monday morning. It
takes just a single incident to prove the importance of liability
insurance companies usually cover retail stores. Craftsmen
are much lower risk. We don’t fit in the same high
risk-category, but if a company carries only one type of policy from
only one company,- and their policies are not geared to
micro-businesses like ours, the fees will be more expensive than a
policy that is geared to your low-risk needs.
Insurance policies underwritten by
RLI are a good starting point for research. They are one of the few
underwriters who specialize in insuring home-based businesses, not
storefront retail businesses. Their policies are available from John Carriero & Son, Inc. (800)
777-1344 - ask for Theresa. Their policies are
Although the Base Policy cost varies
from about $225 - $280 for craftsmen, for that price you can
get $300,000 liability coverage and $5,000 business personal property
coverage. The range in price will depend on your geographical location.
For an additional $60 (+/-) you can
get a million dollars’ liability coverage, and increase your
personal property coverage at the same time. You can also buy coverage
in-between those amounts for less than $60.
Musicians, clowns and entertainers are at the
high-end of the scale for basic coverage, - probably close to $300,
with an additional $60 for million-dollar coverage policy. Why would
anyone have less than a million dollars coverage? Lawsuit-happy people
think in terms of telephone numbers, - and so must you.
Protect yourself. (Compared to most business insurance policies, - you
can save $150-200 a year, and get very good coverage, indeed. Read on, little buddy.)
Teresa at John Carriero Company,
(1-800-777-1344.) They are managing agents which means you
can deal with them directly. If you prefer, they can give you contact
information for someone in your own area, but the prices they quote you
for coverage will not necessarily be the price another agent will
charge for the same policy. It pays to do your research. The
fee may vary even for the same policy, underwritten by R.L.I. depending
on the agent and your geographic location.
The above company is licensed to
provide coverage in Connecticut, Delaware, Massachusetts, Maine, New
Jersey, New Hampshire, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, -
and several other states.
Don’t tell me a tale of
woe, next time we meet. I want to see happy faces. Tell me you saved
money and got good insurance coverage! Tell me you love me. Ooops, here
comes Betty, - better not! She doesn’t want to hear about me,
she wants praise for the publication, for the layout, for her silly
paper-shuffling, for . . .
Babe. Didja bring me the dark chocolate you promised me for
Valentine’s Day?Whaat? You
you’ve got the worst case of C.R.S.* I've ever
seen. Why don’t you take Gingko? Man, -
I’m going back into hibernation. Without chocolate, life is
boring. Leave my next assignment on my voicemail. I am too
through . See you on the Queen’s birthday, - or
before the next lunar eclipse, -whichever comes first.
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