How to Spruce Up your Rental

Written By Charlotte Insurance on April 26, 2018. It has 0 comments.

Being a renter doesn’t mean you have to live with beige everything or never decorate for fear of losing your security deposit. All it means is that you need to be a bit more creative in how you spruce things up. Just because you don’t own it, doesn’t mean you can’t love it or have fun!

Check out these non-permanent ideas to add fun, color, and style to your home.


Permanently changing the backsplash in your kitchen could definitely cost you your security deposit. Go with a temporary solution by using fabric. It’s easy to put up and easy to take down, so you can swap it for different colors and patterns whenever you want. When you’re ready to move, it’ll be a quick removal with no painting required.


Your doormat is the first thing people see before they walk inside. Let it make a statement! You can go fancy with a monogram or look for stencils to make something truly unique. Once you settle on the look, it’s time to pick your color. Basic black keeps it classy while choosing your favorite colors lets your personality shine through.


Obviously paint isn’t an option for a fabric couch or chair, but if you found or have an old set of wooden chairs and a dining table, paint is your friend. Pick colors that make a statement and change it up as much as you’d like. You can paint each chair a different color or add a design to your table. It’s up to you.


Another thrift store or side-of-the-road find, carts can make excellent shelving units without having to put holes in the wall. Clean it up, paint it a fun color, and stick it in a corner. You can put plants, books, or whatever you’d like. In the kitchen, it’s great for storing cookbooks or pots and pans. In the bedroom or living room, you can make it a bookshelf.


Let Pinterest be your guide on this one, but feel free to make your own wall art. You can decorate and be as creative as you’d like for not a lot of money. Use paint swatches, old pallets, forgotten mirrors, and anything else you can get your hands on. With a bit of paint or finish, or some glue and an inexpensive frame, you’ll have created a one-of-a-kind masterpiece that is all yours.


How you add a ladder to your decor depends on the space you have available. In larger rooms, you can open an old wooden ladder, place a board across the steps, and use it for books, plants, or anything else. In small spaces, close the ladder and lean it against the wall. Now it’s a towel rack, a place to store shoes and accessories, or a way to put together tomorrow’s work or “special occasion” outfit.

While you’re taking care of how your rental looks, make sure you take care of your stuff, too. Purchase a renter’s insurance policy to make sure everything you own can be replaced after a storm, fire, or other covered accident. It’s very affordable, and can give you peace of mind knowing that you’ve taken care of yourself and the things that matter to you. Contact Charlotte Insurance today to learn more and find out how inexpensive it really is.

5 Common Liability Risks that Bar and Restaurant Owners Face

Written By Charlotte Insurance on April 24, 2018. It has 0 comments.

Wouldn’t it be nice if every night was like a scene out of Cheers? You get plenty of new customers and the regulars come in, sit in their same seats, order their same drinks, and any problems wrap up nicely in less than 30 minutes. No one drinks too much or causes problems that can’t be easily solved.

In real life, people drink too much, try to get away with something they shouldn’t, and get into accidents. When you’re the one serving the alcohol, your bar or restaurant can be found liable for what happens after a customer starts drinking. While it shouldn’t scare you off from keeping your doors open every night, liability risks aren’t something to take lightly either. Here are five common liabilities that you face as the owner of a bar or restaurant.


All it takes is one server or bartender not paying close enough attention or deciding they don’t need to card customers. The worst case scenario is that an underage drinker gets into an accident that leads to someone’s death. Best case scenario, they get sick, feel miserable, and get caught. In any scenario, you could be still held liable for what happens because your establishment illegally served alcohol.


Everyone should be responsible for their own actions. The reality is that when your bar or restaurant serves the drinks — and doesn’t stop serving them — that leads to a DUI related accident, you could be found liable for the injuries and damage.


This isn’t the Wild West, and you’re not running a saloon, but multiple intoxicated patrons can still get into a fight, especially if their team loses or tempers flare for any other reason. Your bar or restaurant could be named in a lawsuit because you served the drinks, didn’t break up the fight, or for multiple other reasons that lead to injury and property damage.


Got a rowdy and intoxicated customer? Are they bumping into people or thrashing around in the bar? Maybe they don’t sue you when they injure themselves, but what about another patron who was an innocent bystander in the moment? Again, your bar or restaurant served the drinks and didn’t deal with the patron fast enough, so a third party who suffers injury or damage could name you in a lawsuit.


Even a small amount of smoke or the sound of the fire alarm can cause a panic among your customers. On a busy night, a rushed stampede to the exit could easily lead to tragedy. All exits must be clearly labeled and accessible. One set of doors to get people out isn’t enough, and nothing should block the exits. Even if the cause of the fire isn’t your fault, any accidents that result, especially if the exits were blocked, could easily get you sued.


You can’t stop lawsuits from happening, and you can’t eliminate all liabilities, but you can protect yourself and your business. Make sure your bar or restaurant has written policies that you and your staff follow. Strong policies can reduce your risks, and good insurance protection can cover you when things go wrong.

  • Check your general liability insurance coverage to make sure you have a robust policy.
  • Do the same with your liquor liability policy. Whenever possible, buy as much insurance as you can afford.
  • Add an umbrella policy for any claim that exceeds your liability limits. It might be a once-in-a-lifetime kind of claim, but it shouldn’t bankrupt you.

Need to go over your insurance coverage? Not sure you have enough liability protection? Contact Charlotte Insurance today so we can help you protect your bar or restaurant.

Having the Right Insurance for you Bar or Restaurant is more Important than you may Realize

Written By Charlotte Insurance on April 19, 2018. It has 0 comments.

Running a bar or restaurant offers a lot of great opportunities. You get to share good drinks and great food with your community. You feed people for a living. People celebrate good days and laugh away bad days, and your bar or restaurant are a part of it all.

Unfortunately, bars and restaurants are a hotbed of lawsuits from patrons. While there are things you can to do mitigate against lawsuits, you can’t prevent them completely. That’s why having the right type and amount of insurance is so important.


Although anyone can sue for anything, certain types of lawsuits are more common for bars and restaurants.

  • Slips and falls: Thanks to the constant movement, poured drinks, and spills from plates and glasses, wet floors are common in a bar or restaurant.
  • Fights between patrons: Add a bit of alcohol to the mix and things can turn bad quickly. When two patrons get into an altercation, someone will likely get hurt. If your bar or restaurant served the alcohol or didn’t diffuse the situation, you might be held liable.
  • Physical contact between employee and patron: This typically happens when a patron has too much to drink, and an employee has to remove them. Many establishments have a hands-off policy to avoid this and simply call the police.
  • Serving alcohol to an already intoxicated person: Maybe they drank before they arrived in your establishment, but if you’re the last person to serve them alcohol, you could be held responsible for what happens when they leave. You need a policy in place for how to handle intoxicated patrons and when you’ll cut them off.
  • Serving alcohol to minors: You know this is a big one, and of course, having a policy where you ID everyone is the best protection.
  • Unruly behavior from patrons: Maybe they don’t get too drunk and get into a fight, but disorderly behavior you don’t stop can lead to problems. In most cases, a third party gets hurt or experiences property damage, and they blame you for not stopping it.
  • Food prep problems: This can be food poisoning or something non-food getting into a dish. Either way, people are sick or grossed out, and you’re to blame. This is a less common reason for a lawsuit than you’d imagine, but it can and does happen.


You can’t prevent all lawsuits, but you can protect yourself as much as possible. The first step is to have solid policies in place that show you’ve thought about patron and employee safety. This helps prevent problems that can lead to lawsuits and also shows a judge or jury that you take the issue seriously.

The other thing to do is make sure you have enough insurance to cover you. While you need several different types of coverage as a bar or restaurant owner, the two that will help in a lawsuit are:

  • General liability
  • Liquor liability
  • Umbrella policy

General liability is what pays for claims of bodily injury or property damage from a patron, vendor, or other third party. It covers you if you’re sued, as well, up to your policy limits. An umbrella policy takes care of you in case your liability claim exceeds your liability policy. It’s important to buy as much general liability coverage as you can afford, and then add an umbrella policy as an extra layer of protection.

Liquor liability covers you specifically in alcohol-related claims. When a patron leaves drunk and gets into an accident, you could be held liable for it. It can also cover you during altercations between inebriated patrons. Because alcohol can lead to so many accidents and problems, the best option is to have as much liability insurance as you can buy.

Ready to check your liability insurance limits or add an umbrella policy? Contact us at Charlotte Insurance today!

Saving the Earth One Tree at a Time

Written By Charlotte Insurance on April 17, 2018. It has 0 comments.

We only have one planet, and it’s a beautiful one. Whether you love Crowders Mountain or Mountain Island Lake or you’re happy with the park in your neighborhood, it’s easy to see the beauty of Planet Earth. With Earth Day (April 22) and Arbor Day (April 27) fast approaching, you might wonder what you can do or how you can help.

Before you tell yourself the problems of taking care of the planet are too big or that you’re just one person, remember that even small things can make a big difference. What can you do this year? Maybe it’s time to plant a tree in your backyard.


Let’s start with the why it’s time to plant a tree. Not only will you add something lovely to your yard and potential shade, you’re helping the environment. Trees provide additional oxygen and they improve air quality. They help preserve soil and offer a home to wildlife. Trees even help control the climate around your home from keeping it cooler in the summer to providing a screen from harsh winds in the winter.


Wanting to plant a tree and being able to are two different things. Be realistic about your space. If you have a very small yard, you may be better off with a flower or bush instead of a tree. Planting any kind of plant is a good idea, though. Just make sure you don’t plant trees or anything with a large root system too close to the foundation of your home, sewer lines, or walkways as they can cause damage as they grow.


Maybe you have the perfect spot in your front or backyard for a tree, and you’d love to take this simple step in helping the environment. Now it’s time to pick your tree. Ideally, you’ll want to choose something that’s either native to the Carolinas or good for our climate. Talk to your local gardening club or someone knowledgeable at a local nursery if you’re not sure what to choose. Here are a few suggestions that make for great shade and beautiful foliage.

  • Dogwood: Right up there with magnolias and honeysuckle, dogwoods are a quintessential southern favorite. The flowers are beautiful and they provide great shade in the summer.
  • Red Oak: If you want beautiful colors in the fall, a red oak is a great option. This tree can grow up to 75 feet tall, so you’re going to need a big yard for it.
  • Tulip Tree: Maybe planting tulips isn’t an option for you, but a tulip tree might be. The flowers look like tulips and you’ll get shade sooner than with other trees. This one can grow up to two feet in a year.
  • Sugar Maple: Another great option if you want to enjoy changing colors in fall, the sugar maple can grow to be between 60 and 75 feet tall, so give this one some space, too.
  • Silver Maple: Another beautiful maple tree, the silver maple adds shade to your yard as early as five years after you plant it. It has a big root system, though, so plant with care.

This Earth Day or Arbor Day, you can take big steps to reduce your waste, clean up your footprint, and help the earth. But you can also do simple things like planting a tree that will provide shade and beauty for years to come.

April Showers may bring…Floods. Preparing for Workplace Disasters

Written By Charlotte Insurance on April 13, 2018. It has 0 comments.

As a business owner, you have a lot to worry about – from payroll to inventory, from customer complaints to managing income and expenses. One thing you don’t need to worry about is how you’ll handle a disaster. You can’t prevent disasters, but you can prepare for them.

When you put together a workplace disaster plan, you’ve taken one more step in protecting your business and your employees. Here’s how to put together and implement a workplace disaster plan.


This team should be made up of both hourly employees and staff. Their job is to come together and brainstorm worst-case scenarios of what could go wrong. They look at known possibilities like flooding or fire to company-specific issues like chemical spills or other hazards related to your business. From those scenarios, they help put together a plan for what should be done during a disaster.


With the help of your emergency planning team, create a written policy of what to do when a disaster strikes. This includes information on how employees are notified, what is done in and around the building, and the chain of command for communication. You should also list individual and team responsibilities for disaster preparation like protecting equipment, moving inventory, and other preventative measures that you can take if given enough warning of a disaster — like a hurricane or potential flood.


When disaster strikes — or it’s on the way — how will you communicate with your employees? Will you text message everyone? Will everyone receive a phone call? Is there a communications system in place that you can use? There is no single right answer, and each type of disaster (weather related, chemical spill, or otherwise) may need it’s own method. One decision you’ll need to make, based on the type of communication used, is who will notify whom. A phone tree is one way to determine the hierarchy of communication with multiple levels of notification so that everyone gets the message as soon as possible.


Of course your business has clearly marked exit signs or evacuation routes, but how many people actually pay attention to them? In your disaster preparations, emphasize learning and knowing these routes in case an emergency occurs while people are in the building. You’ll want to educate your employees with training, communication, and even practice drills.


The best plan in the world doesn’t mean much if no one knows about it or how to use it. Once you’ve got your emergency plan in place, it’s time to roll it out to your employees. Schedule meetings and training sessions to go over it with existing employees. Make sure it’s part of new-hire training. Even more importantly, schedule regular trainings after the initial implementation. Because it’s not something that will be used on a regular basis, the information will be forgotten over time.


While you’re putting a plan into place to protect your business and your employees, make sure you have the right amount of insurance coverage, too. At the bare minimum, you need property insurance to protect against common disasters like fire, lightning, theft, and vandalism. Talk to your insurance agent about flood insurance and other types of coverage to better protect your business.

Contact Charlotte Insurance today to make sure your business has the right kind and amount of insurance coverage to help you in an emergency. This way you’re ready before disaster strikes.