What Differentiates Personal and Commercial Auto Insurance?

Understanding commercial auto insurance.company van

If your company owns vehicles or requires employees to drive on the job, then you need to protect your business with the right commercial auto insurance.  But what is this coverage, and what makes it different than personal car insurance policies?  Here’s what you need to know.

Personal vs. Commercial Auto

When you compare personal and commercial auto policies, you’ll notice that both types of insurance offer similar forms of coverage.  For instance, both personal and commercial auto policies will offer coverages such as collision, comprehensive, bodily injury liability, property damage liability, medical payments, and so on.  The main difference between these two types of insurance is the amount of coverage that they offer.  Because businesses face higher liability risks and have more assets to protect than individuals, commercial auto policies offer higher coverage limits and are designed to cover more complex legal issues than personal policies are.  Additionally, because businesses can use standard cars, vans, and even delivery trucks, commercial auto policies are designed to cover a wider array of vehicles than personal car insurance.

What Does Commercial Auto Insurance Cover?

Commercial auto insurance is designed to cover accidents that occur when you or your employees are using a vehicle for business purposes.  While this coverage obviously encompasses company-owned vehicles, it can also extend to your employee’s personal vehicles that they are using for business-related purposes.

Who Needs Commercial Auto Insurance?

Any business that routinely uses vehicles to carry out operations needs commercial auto insurance.  This includes businesses that handle the following:

  • Transporting goods or equipment
  • Delivering goods or services
  • Driving around clients or employees
  • Renting out company vehicles for client use
  • Hauling work-related loads
  • Towing trailers used for business purposes

Securing the Right Commercial Auto Insurance

Because heavy vans and trucks will cause more damage than standard vehicles in an accident, these types of vehicles face higher liability risks.  If your business owns vehicles that weigh more than five tons or haul more than one-ton loads, you require special commercial insurance coverage.  Vehicles that fall into this category include minibuses, cement mixers, semi-trucks, and tow-trucks.

This is what makes commercial auto insurance different than personal policies.  Do you have additional questions about your business’s insurance?  If so, then contact the experts at Miller Carlisle Insurance Services.  We are ready to assist you with all your commercial coverage needs today.

Business Insurance for Start-Ups

What new business owners need to know about commercial coverage.business team at work

If you are getting ready to launch your business, then you are probably excited to see everything that you have worked towards come to life.  Naturally, the last thing that you want is for a damage event or liability issue to hurt your company before it even has a chance to accomplish anything.  This is why it’s so important to protect your company with the right commercial coverage.  Not sure where you should begin with business insurance?  Then here are some of the things that you should know.

Why You Need Coverage

First, it’s important to understand why you need to secure insurance for your business.  In the simplest terms, business insurance is designed to protect both your commercial and personal assets.  Your commercial coverage offers financial protection in the event that your business sustains damage or is on the receiving end of a liability claim.  Your coverage can help you pay for repair costs, compensation expenses, legal fees, and so on.  Without the right commercial insurance in place, you would have to cover the full cost of business damages and liability issues out of your own pocket.  This, in turn, could compromise your business’s revenue and even your personal savings.  This is why it’s so important to have the financial protection that only commercial insurance can offer.

When Should I Secure Coverage?

Business owners should secure commercial coverage as soon as they launch their companies.  This is because your company opens itself up for risk as soon as it opens its doors.  You should secure commercial coverage even if you are operating out of your own home.  This is because your homeowners insurance will not provide coverage for business-related inventory, equipment, supplies, or liability events.  The only way to protect your fledgeling business is with the right commercial coverage.

Which Policies Do I Need?

With all the coverage options out there, it can be difficult to determine which policies are right for you.  Some of the most basic and essential forms of commercial coverage include the following:

  • Commercial property
  • General liability
  • Professional liability
  • Product liability
  • Cyber liability
  • Commercial auto
  • Business interruption

This is what startup companies need to know about commercial insurance.  Do you have additional questions about your business insurance?  If so, then contact the experts at Miller Carlisle Insurance Services.  We are ready to get you the coverage that you need today.

Situations Where You Should Review Your Life Insurance

When you need to update your life insurance coverage.parent holding baby's hand

Just because you secured life insurance doesn’t mean that your work is done.  For your policy to offer maximum protection, you need to continually review and update your coverage.  But which life events indicate that it’s time for a policy update?  Here’s when you should review your life insurance.

  • You Have a Baby on the Way

If you are welcoming a new addition to your family in the near future, then you need to update your life insurance policy to address this change.  In addition to adding your child as a beneficiary, you should also increase your coverage to help your spouse pay for child-rearing costs and future educational expenses should you die unexpectedly.

  • You Buy a New Home

If you have finally taken the huge step of purchasing a home, your financial obligations will increase.  This is because you now have to keep up with regular mortgage payments in order to keep ownership of the home.  Once you close on the home, you need to increase your life insurance coverage to ensure that your benefit is enough to help your spouse keep up with mortgage payments or pay off your mortgage completely.

  • You Want to Start Your Own Business

If you want to launch your own business, then you may need to secure business loans to finance your company.  If your spouse or business partner cosigns on these loans with you, then they would carry the burden of paying these loans back if you were to die.  This is why you should be sure to update your life insurance policy by increasing your coverage and adding your business partner as a beneficiary so they can use a portion of your death benefit to pay back these loans.

These are some of the situations in which you should review your life insurance coverage.  Do you have additional questions about your life insurance?  If so, then contact the experts at Miller Carlisle Insurance Services.  Our dedicated team is eager to assist you with all your coverage needs today.

What Homeowners Should Know About Fires

Fire damage and your home insurance.firefighters at work

As a homeowner, fires are one of the most common and costly risks that you face.  This is why it’s very important to understand what your home insurance will cover when it comes to fire damage.  Here’s what standard homeowners insurance policies will cover when it comes to fire damage to your property.

  • Coverage for Fire and Smoke Damage

Standard homeowners insurance policies will offer coverage for both fire and smoke damage to your home and belongings.  You have this coverage regardless of where a fire starts.  For instance, if your home sustains damage from a fire originating at a neighbor’s house, your insurance will still offer coverage for repairs.  Most home insurance policies also offer coverage for the damage caused by wildfires.  However, if you live in an area particularly prone to wildfires, then your policy may limit the amount of wildfire coverage that you have.  You may have to secure endorsements or supplemental insurance policies to get the comprehensive protection that you need.

  • Additional Living Expenses Coverage

If the fire damage that your home sustains is particularly extensive, it may not be safe to remain in the home.  In this case, you can access the additional living expenses (also known as loss of use) coverage included in your homeowners policy.  This coverage will help you pay for temporary housing, as well as essentials such as food, laundry services, parking, and so on while your home is being repaired.

  • When Are Fires Not Covered?

The only time your homeowners insurance will not offer coverage for fire damage is when you or anyone named on your policy caused the fire on purpose.  Intentional acts of damage are never covered by insurance.

This is what you need to know about your homeowners insurance and fire damage.  Do you have additional questions about your home coverage?  If so, then contact the experts at Miller Carlisle Insurance Services.  We are ready to assist you with all your home coverage needs today.

Can Kids Stay on Your Auto Insurance Forever?

What parents should know about insuring their kids on their auto insurance handing female driver car keyspolicies.

When your child got their driver’s license, you probably added them to your auto insurance policy because it was the easiest and most affordable way to get them covered.  However, now that they are growing up and setting off on their own, you may be wondering about your ability to keep them insured on your policy.  Here’s what you should know about parents’ keeping their kids on their auto policies.

  • Auto Insurance Residency Requirements

Where you live is the most important factor for auto insurance companies who cover multiple drivers on the same policy.  Usually, car insurers will allow parents and children to remain on the same policy as long as they all reside at the same address.  This means that many insurance companies will let children stay on their parents’ policy as long as they still live at home.

  • When Your Child Moves Out

Once your child officially moves out of your home, they are legally required to secure their own auto insurance policy.  Prior to their move, make sure they secure their own policy and inform your auto insurance provider so they can remove your child from your coverage.  Please note that attempting to keep your child on your policy by lying about their new address is an act of fraud.  Should the insurance company find out about this, then you risk being denied claims coverage and having the policy canceled altogether.  So, if you do not want to lose your coverage, be upfront about your child’s changing living situation.

  • Residency Exceptions

There are some exceptions to the residency rule.  For instance, if a child is leaving home to attend college, then they can still remain on your policy.  This is because your home is still probably your child’s primary residence.  The other exception to this rule is children of divorced parents.  If you and your spouse are divorced, then you can still list your child on your auto policy, even if they only live with you for a portion of the year.

This is what you need to know about keeping your child on your auto insurance policy.  Do you have additional questions about your car coverage?  If so, then contact the experts at Miller Carlisle Insurance Services.  We are ready to assist you with all your personal insurance needs today.

What You Should Think About When Buying Renters Coverage

Questions to ask yourself when buying renters insurance.renters moving into home

If you are living in a rented home or apartment, then you need renters insurance to secure personal property, personal liability, and loss of use coverage.  While renters insurance seems pretty straightforward, it’s important that you do not simply choose a policy on a whim.  Ask yourself these questions to ensure that you are choosing the right policy to fit your needs.

  • How Much Are My Belongings Worth?

As mentioned, renters insurance is designed to protect your belongings.  To ensure that your policy is offering the comprehensive coverage that you need, you need to determine the value of all your possessions.  While itemizing your possessions is tedious, taking this step is better than finding out that you do not have coverage for major loss events.

  • Do I Need Coverage for Valuables?

Like all insurance policies, renters insurance is subject to coverage limits.  This means that if you have particularly high-value items, such as fine jewelry, antiques, collectibles, electronics, and so on, then your policy might not offer enough coverage to protect these items.  To ensure that you aren’t leaving your high-value items vulnerable, consider adding coverage endorsements onto your renters policy to secure the supplemental protection you need.

  • What Are My Personal Liability Risks?

In addition to protecting your possessions, renters insurance also provides personal liability coverage.  Personal liability issues can arise when someone is injured while in your rental property, you or a member of your household accidentally causes losses or injuries to another party, or when a pet causes harm to another.  Because personal liability suits can be very costly, it’s important that you have enough coverage in place.  To secure an adequate amount of personal liability coverage, speak to a trusted agent so they can get a better understanding of your personal risks.

These are some of the questions that you should ask yourself when choosing a renters insurance policy.  Do you have additional questions about your renters coverage?  If so, then contact the experts at Miller Carlisle Insurance Services.  We are ready to assist you with all your coverage needs today.

Important Home Insurance Terms to Know

Common home insurance definitions.handshake in front of home

If it is your first time securing a homeowners insurance policy, then you might be feeling a little out of your depth.  One reason why new homeowners struggle to get the coverage that they need is because they are unfamiliar with common insurance terms.  To ensure that you make smart coverage decisions, here are some of the important home insurance definitions that you should know.

Liability Insurance– Your homeowners insurance policy is made up of several different types of coverage.  One of the main types of coverage included in your policy is liability insurance.  Liability insurance protects you and your family from legal claims that arise if someone sustains injuries or property damages that you can be held responsible for.  Personal liability insurance will cover the medical and compensation costs of affected parties.  This type of insurance will also cover the cost of your legal defense should the affected parties decide to sue.

Dwelling Protection– Dwelling protection is one of the main coverages included in home insurance policies.  This portion of your policy offers coverage for the physical structure of your home and all the components that are attached to the home.  This includes things like flooring, cabinetry, fireplaces, attached garages, decks, and so on.  Your dwelling protection will help you pay to repair the damages your home sustains during a covered peril, such as a storm, fire, break-in, and so on.

Additional Living Expenses Coverage– Additional living expenses is one of the main types of coverage included in your homeowners insurance policy.  If your home is made uninhabitable due to a covered peril, then this coverage will help you cover the cost of temporarily living elsewhere.  This coverage will help you pay for things such as hotel stays, temporary apartment/home rentals, restaurant bills, clothing, pet boarding, and so on.

Insurance Adjuster-An adjuster is a representative of your insurance company who will handle claims.  If you call to report a claim, then an adjuster will come out to your home, assess the damage or situation, and then file and payout your claim.

These are some of the important home insurance terms that you should know.  Do you need further help with your homeowners insurance?  If so, then contact the team at Miller Carlisle Insurance Services.  Our experts are ready to assist you with all your coverage needs today.

Tips for Starting a Business as a Woman

How to launch your own company.smiling business woman

With International Women’s Day right around the corner, you may be feeling inspired and motivated to get your business off the ground.  To help you launch your own business, here are some of the suggestions you should keep in mind.

  • Focus on Marketing

While many start-ups do not have the budget to launch major marketing campaigns, you should still do whatever you can to announce your business’s presence.  When money is a concern, it’s best to focus on quality rather than quantity.  By creating specific marketing materials and distributing them to your target audience, you can make the most of your small marketing budget.

  • Outsource to Address Your Weaknesses

Many entrepreneurs try to handle everything on their own.  However, this isn’t reasonable or sustainable.  One of the first things that new business owners should learn is how to delegate and outsource.  By hiring other people to handle things you aren’t good at, you can save yourself time, effort, and avoid serious mistakes.

  • Focus on Customer Service

When your business is small, you can’t realistically think of competing with big-name, national corporations.  However, there are some advantages to being a smaller operation.  By being responsive, polite, and ready to go the extra mile, you can attract a base of loyal customers.  This can help you generate a stable income that will help your business grow and succeed.

These are some of the suggestions that female entrepreneurs should keep in mind when launching their own business.  Remember, your business cannot get off the ground without comprehensive commercial insurance.  For assistance with all your business insurance needs, contact the experts at Miller Carlisle Insurance Services today.

Helping Your Teen Get Out of an Unhealthy Relationship

Helping your child escape a bad relationship.sad teen curled up in corner of dark room

February is Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month.  As the name suggests, this month is all about educating teens to recognize the signs of an abusive relationship, and offering them the support to get out of this toxic situation.  As a parent, the idea of your child in an unhealthy relationship is terrifying, and you want to do everything in your power to help them.  If you suspect that your teen is in a harmful relationship, here are some of the ways that you can help.

  • Listen and Offer Non-Judgmental Support

Oftentimes, it can be difficult to get your teen to talk about a bad relationship.  The best way to get them to open up is by offering gentle support without judgment.  If your teen does want to talk, then be a good listener.  Do not interrupt to offer advice or make accusations.  Let your teen lead the conversation and only offer insight when prompted.  Of course, if your teen is in immediate danger, then contact the necessary authorities or emergency services.

  • Don’t Impose Ultimatums

As a parent, you may have to resist the urge to order your teen to break up with their abusive partner.  While you are doing this out of concern, your teen may see this as interfering and shut you out again.  For a breakup to be successful, your teen needs to want it for themselves.  While it will be difficult, you have to accept the situation and trust that your child knows how to manage it.  Continue to offer support until your teen can find the strength to walk away.

  • Create a Safety Plan

Having a plan of action can help your teen feel safer and can empower them to break up with a toxic partner.  If your teen seeks your help, then ask them which steps they would like to take and discuss ways that they can accomplish this.  If your teen is not comfortable discussing a safety plan with you, then help them find the support they need.  Encourage them to speak to a trusted friend or counselor to help them with this process.

These are some of the things to keep in mind when helping your teen through an unhealthy relationship.  Want another way to take care of your children?  Then make sure they are protected with the right insurance.  For assistance with all your coverage needs, contact the experts at Miller Carlisle Insurance Services today.

Do Drivers with Health Insurance Need Uninsured Motorist Coverage?

Do drivers need both types of coverage to be protected?smashed car with airbags

No one wants to pay more for auto insurance than they have to.  This is why many drivers look to save money by cutting down on coverage.  For instance, many drivers don’t want to pay for uninsured motorist coverage, assuming that their health insurance will be enough.  Unfortunately, this isn’t the case.  Here’s why drivers can’t afford to skip out on uninsured motorist protection.

  • What is Uninsured Motorist Coverage?

If you get into an accident with an uninsured individual, they will not have coverage for your injuries or vehicle repairs.  Additionally, most uninsured motorists do not typically have assets, meaning that the driver probably won’t be able to cover your accident recovery costs out of pocket.  This is where uninsured motorist coverage kicks in.  This form of insurance will provide coverage for things like your car repairs, medical treatment, and so on.

  • Why This Coverage is Important

If you already have collision and health insurance, then you may feel like uninsured motorist coverage is unnecessary. However, it’s important to understand that this coverage extends further than your existing policies.  Specifically, uninsured motorist coverage offers more benefits that your health insurance.  For instance, your health plan will only cover the cost of your medical treatment.  However, what happens if you can’t work due to your injuries, or if you are suffering mental and emotional trauma following the accident?  With uninsured motorist coverage, you will have coverage for your medical treatment, rehabilitation, lost wages, and reparation for your pain and suffering.  With these extended benefits, it’s easy to see why it’s worth it to carry uninsured motorist coverage.

This is why drivers need the protection offered by uninsured motorist coverage.  Do you have more questions about your auto insurance?  If so, then contact the experts at Miller Carlisle Insurance Services.  Our dedicated team is eager to assist you with all your coverage needs today.