Do You Really Need Boat Insurance?

Written By Charlotte Insurance on June 30, 2020. It has 0 comments.

A boat out on the water that belongs to someone who's wondering if they need boat insurance

The fact of the matter is that boating in the state of North Carolina does come with some requirements and restrictions. A boating license is required for anyone born after 1988, and a minimum amount of liability coverage is required for boat owners. If you’re asking yourself if you really need boat insurance, the answer is yes, but that doesn’t mean it has to be expensive or that you should only buy the bare minimum.

Here’s what you need to know.

What Happens if You Don’t Have Boat Insurance

The reality is that one bad accident in your boat could cause long-term, serious financial harm in your life. Without boat insurance, you have to pay out of pocket if you’re sued because of property damage or bodily injury caused by your boat. You also have to pay the total cost to repair any damage to your own boat or to replace your watercraft after a major accident. And if an uninsured boater causes damage to your craft, you have to pay that, too.

Bottomline: It’s potentially very expensive to go without boat insurance.

How Much Does Boat Insurance Cost?

Your exact annual premium will be based on multiple factors, but on average, a boat insurance costs anywhere from $150 to $500 per year. Factors that determine pricing include:

  • Year, make and model of your boat
  • Horsepower, engine type, and maximum operating speed
  • Value of your boat
  • Any modifications you make to your boat
  • Boater safety courses you take

You can also lower your costs by increasing your deductible and bundling your insurance policies.

Don’t Count on Your Homeowners Insurance

Many boat owners think they don’t need coverage because they have a homeowners insurance policy. That’s not necessarily true, and even if you are covered, it’s not the best option for any boat owner. Homeowners insurance only covers boats with 75 horsepower or less, and you only have liability coverage. You’ll still be on the hook for the costs to repair or replace your own boat and any injury or damage caused to your passengers.

What Boat Insurance Covers

In general, there are two basic types of boating insurance policies: named-peril and comprehensive. Named-peril policies cover only the perils listed in the policy which can leave out a lot of other potential accidents. Comprehensive costs a little more than named-peril and offers more peace of mind.

As always, you can modify coverage limits and other details to create a custom policy to fit your boating needs, but it’s important to remember what boating insurance can cover for you:

  • Physical damage to your boat
  • Damage to another person’s boat, dock, or other items
  • Bodily injury or death you’re responsible for
  • Injury to you or your passengers caused by an uninsured boater
  • Medical payments for you or your passengers injuries
  • Wreck removal and/or towing
  • Trailer coverage
  • Accessory insurance for supplies or personal items on your boat
  • Personal property

Before you get out on the water this summer, make sure you and your boat are protected by a good boating insurance policy. Contact Charlotte Insurance today for a free quote!

Celebrating the Fourth of July in Charlotte

Written By Charlotte Insurance on June 29, 2020. It has 0 comments.

Coronavirus has changed much of life as we know it, including how we celebrate the Fourth of July in and around Charlotte. Some events have been cancelled for this year, but some events have not. If you’re looking for a way or a place to celebrate Independence Day this year, take a look at this list and find an event near, or in, Charlotte.

Note: Double check an event before you attend in case of a last-minute cancellation.

Charlotte Museum of History

The Charlotte Museum of History will not put on its annual Fourth of July celebration this year. Instead, the museum has a week-long digital celebration planned online between June 29 and July 4, so you can celebrate at any time. Everyday a new digital or virtual activity will take place. It’s all free and available to anyone who visits the site. Learn more here.

Charlotte Motor Speedway

Charlotte Motor Speedway will give you the thrill of fireworks a little early as well as a fun way to get out of the house. On Wednesday, July 1, head to the Speedway for a drive-in movie, The Goonies, at 7:00 p.m. At 9:00 p.m., enjoy the fireworks show. Tickets for the event are $40 per car. Goonies never say die! See the schedule here.

Fireworks Night with Gastonia Grizzlies

Celebrate the Fourth a night early on Friday, July 3. Head to Sims Legion Park in Gastonia to watch the Gastonia Grizzlies take on the Forest City Owls. The game starts at 7:00 p.m. When it’s over, the fireworks begin. Tickets cost $15 and up. Get more info here.

City of Gastonia Fireworks

Typically the city of Gastonia plans a big event for Fourth of July but not this year. However, you can still enjoy the fireworks show. On July 4 starting at 9:30 p.m. sit back and watch the light show. If you want to make it a night out, head to Downtown Gastonia for the evening. You can view the fireworks from there, too. Learn more here.

Fourth of July Celebration

Want to spend Independence Day with your family having fun? Head to the Fourth of July Celebration at Dallas Lavender Lane Farm in Dallas.  The u-pick family farm is hosting a free all-day event, from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Visit craft vendors, enjoy BBQ and ice cream, take the kids to the petting zoo, play mini putt putt, and so much more! Find out more here.

Fourth of July Concert

Looking for another outdoor, family-friend event, but in the evening? GreenLife Family Farms in Concord will host a concert on July 4 from 6:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. Admission is free but you must sign up to reserve a spot. The gates open at 4:00 p.m. and the music begins at 6:00 p.m. The bands will be Late Night Special, Lindsay Jordan, and the GreenLife Family Band. BBQ, hot dogs, and burgers will be available for purchase. Reserve your spot here.

Life may look a little different than we’re used to because of COVID-19, and plenty of adjustments need to be made to stay safe. But that doesn’t mean we can’t celebrate the important holidays. Here at Charlotte Insurance, we wish everyone a safe and happy Fourth of July!

Why Learning Centers Need Insurance

Written By Charlotte Insurance on June 25, 2020. It has 0 comments.

a learning center in Charlotte, NC in need of a good insurance policy

Often traditional schooling doesn’t provide enough individual attention or it needs additional learning supplementation to be truly effective. That’s where learning centers come in. They provide an invaluable service—knowledge and education for people from all walks of life.

Like any business, a learning center has its risks and liabilities. This includes not only professional liabilities, but also protections for students, parents, and any visitors. Let’s find out which insurances you need to protect your learning center from unnecessary risk.

One Size Doesn’t Fit Every Learning Center

Because your needs vary based on your class size, capabilities, and technologies, it’s difficult to just recommend a list of insurances. It’s best to learn what each coverage entails and talk to a knowledgeable agent who can guide you toward goals that make sense for your needs.

General Liability Insurance for Learning Centers

General liability insurance is a smart choice for any business, large or small, that has customers or visitors. This insurance protects against accidents like falls that occur on your property. This could be a student falling on a loose carpet or a guest falling on a wet floor. It also covers certain property damage.

Workers’ Compensation Insurance for Learning Centers

Your teachers, SAT test prep tutors, and other staff are the backbone of your company. Keep both you and them protected with workers’ compensation insurance. This affordable insurance covers employees from injuries that occur at the workplace like back injuries, repetitive motion injuries, or injuries from carrying supplies or children.

Commercial Auto Insurance for Learning Centers

If you have a vehicle that picks up kids or you use your own vehicle to pick up supplies for the learning center, you absolutely need commercial auto insurance. This protection covers vehicle damage and bodily injury for yourself and the other party in the event of an accident. It also covers theft and vandalism, which can be handy if you transport school supplies or electronics to and from the center.

Property Insurance for Learning Centers

Without a building, it’s pretty difficult to run any physical business let alone a learning center. If your building center were to catch fire or suffer any other covered peril, you’ll be reimbursed. If any of these occur, furniture, books, learning materials, and more may be covered with a commercial property insurance policy.

Crime Insurance for Learning Centers

Unfortunately, every business is at risk for a variety of crimes, even one as helpful to a community as a learning center. This also includes dishonest employee practices like committing fraud or embezzling money. Crime insurance protects you from the financial fallout of any of the above issues and will reimburse you for stolen money or property.

By choosing the right insurances, you make sure your learning center is protected against the unexpected.

The Importance of Property Maintenance

Written By Charlotte Insurance on June 23, 2020. It has 0 comments.

a homeowner who understands the importance of property maintenance

In the event of a homeowners insurance claim, it’s important to be able to show that your property was being actively maintained before the issue started, otherwise the claim may be denied. Here’s what you need to know about property maintenance and maintaining good records.

Schedule Regular Services and Maintenance

To help prevent problems before they begin, have professional service techs clean and maintain your property in different ways. This includes:

  • HVAC service ideally twice a year, but at least once a year
  • Yearly termite inspections
  • Yearly roof or chimney inspections
  • Yearly dryer vent cleaning
  • Septic tank inspections and cleanings every three years

Any major function of your home should be serviced or checked on a regular basis. Not only does this prevent costly repairs later, it can also help show that you kept your home well maintained if you need to file an insurance claim.

Keep Good Records

As a homeowner, there are plenty of other smaller maintenance tasks that should be done on your property on a regular basis. You’ll also need to have small repairs made at any given time — a roof leak, a broken pipe, any electrical issues, etc. Whenever you do work around your home or have a professional repair something, keep your receipts. Make sure you can show that you paid a professional or purchased items that help your property stay in good working condition.

Hire Licensed and Insurance Professionals

When you do have work completed around your home — a new roof, a new septic tank, or another major home repair or installation — only hire contractors and professionals who are licensed, bonded, and insured. Not only will they be someone you can call if there’s a problem later, doing so may help your insurance claim later. If a major leak occurs in your home, and the cause is a problem with your roof, you don’t want the “proof” of your maintenance to be someone who had no business repairing or servicing your home in the first place.

Don’t Wait to Make Repairs or Replacements

Waiting until there’s a big hole in your roof to get a new roof could hurt your claim. It’s one thing for a storm to knock a tree limb into your roof — assuming you kept your trees trimmed. It’s another for damage to occur because the roof was 40 years old and badly maintained. The same is true with your HVAC system, plumbing, appliances, and any other part of your home that could cause major damage and lead you to file an insurance claim.

Regularly scheduled maintenance should help you find problems before they get out of control. It should also be an opportunity for a service person to let you know when it’s time to schedule replacements. By having these regular service calls, you can give yourself time to save or plan for a major expense like a new roof, HVAC, etc.

When you file a homeowners insurance claim, you expect to get the help you need. Make sure you help yourself first and keep your home well maintained. Need a new home insurance policy? Have questions about your current coverage? Contact Charlotte Insurance today for help!

6 Ways to Celebrate Dad in Quarantine

Written By Charlotte Insurance on June 16, 2020. It has 0 comments.

a son celebrating father's day with his dad while in quarantine

This year Father’s Day won’t look like any other past Father’s Day, thanks to COVID-19. But that doesn’t mean you can’t celebrate, whether you’re quarantining with Dad or in your own home. Here are a few ideas to make his day special and let him know how much you love him.

Have Brunch, Lunch, or Dinner Delivered

If you usually go out for a meal on Father’s Day, you can still have a similar experience. Order up his favorite meal at his favorite restaurant and have it delivered. If you live close enough, bring it by and leave it on his front door step or sit outside, several feet apart, and enjoy your meal together, picnic style.

Go for a Walk or Bike Ride

What’s your dad’s favorite mode of exercise or relaxation? Do that with him! If you can maintain the minimum six feet of distance, hit the trails together. And if you’re not in town or it’s not safe for either of you to be too close, do it virtually. You go for a walk close to home while he does too, and chat on the phone at the same time. You don’t have to be physically together to spend quality time together.

Play a Board Game — or Any Game

Consider this another option for a virtual or in-person celebration. At home with your dad right now? Agree to play his favorite board, card, or yard game, especially the one you griped about when you were younger. Not able to see each other? Go online and play games together. Not sure what to play? Check out this list to find what piques your mutual interest — and your competitive spirit!

Watch Iconic Sporting Events

With live sporting events still on hiatus thanks to COVID-19, a lot of people are feeling nostalgic for games of the past. Whatever sport your father loves, watch a favorite past game together. Check out sports websites, like ESPN, or head to YouTube to see what’s been uploaded. You can watch together while hanging out online or watch separately and talk about it later. Even if the game happened before you were born, this is a moment to share with Dad.

Plan a Movie Night

Thanks to streaming platforms like Netflix, watching a movie together when you’re separated, is easier than ever. Of course, if you’re quarantining together, grab some popcorn and have a seat on the couch. But if you’re apart, you can have the same experience. To make it easier on Dad to participate and have fun, send him a care package with popcorn or candy so it can almost feel like you’re at the theater together.

Hang Out Online

A phone call is always great, but you can chat by Skype, Zoom, or FaceTime for a more personal conversation. Your dad wants to see your smiling face, and you don’t have to plan anything special. Cook dinner, take care of your own kids, or putter around the house while he does his thing. What matters is that you spend time together, in whatever way technology allows.

Here at Charlotte Insurance we want to wish all the dads out there a Happy Father’s Day. Even if we can’t be together right now, we can all make sure our dads know how much we love and appreciate them!

Why Lawn Care Companies Need Insurance

Written By Charlotte Insurance on June 15, 2020. It has 0 comments.

a Charlotte landscaper that needs insurance

In an ideal world, accidents never happen, mistakes are never made, and everyone is happy, healthy, and has a beautiful home to enjoy. Unfortunately, we’re only human, and even lawn care companies fall victim to accidents from time to time. Damaged property, stolen equipment, or employee and customer injuries can be mitigated but never entirely prevented. Protecting your assets and yourself is imperative. Let’s find out how.

What is Landscapers Insurance?

Landscapers insurance can help protect your Charlotte landscaping company today and in the future. This insurance, like others, prevents exposure to risk that can lead to financial loss or bankruptcy. Landscapers insurance lets you focus on getting the job done right without stressing over losing your business through something outside of your control.

In Charlotte, landscapers insurance costs vary depending on the type of coverage that you need. Exposure to different facets of landscaping can increase or decrease the type of coverage required for operation. For example, hardscaping can present hazards, like a collapsing structure, that you can be liable for. As a result, your premium will be more than a small company that only does lawn mowing and edging. Businesses with more employees tend to pay higher premiums as well as each additional exposure increases the likelihood of injury.

What Lawn Care Insurance Policies Do I Need?

General Liability Insurance: All lawn care businesses should start with a general liability policy. It covers bodily injury, property damage, and other liabilities. Many clients consider this a requirement even to begin work. For example, if you’re riding along on your mower and misjudge a turn and end up breaking a fence or another object in the yard, you’re liable for the cost of those damages. A general liability policy will protect your business from that cost. It also protects against losses associated with injuries to customers.

Commercial Property Insurance: Just like any trade, your tools are your livelihood. Without them, you can’t get the job done. So what if something happens to them? For example, you might have all of your equipment stored in a garage. If a fire starts and damages or destroys your equipment, you’ll be covered by property insurance, and you can get back to work with minimum downtime.

Business Owners Policy (BOP): This is a policy bundle that combines general liability and commercial property insurance. The combination comes at a lower premium for those who qualify.

Commercial Auto Insurance: If you’re moving large equipment from job to job, chances are you’re bringing along a pick-up or utility trailer. As we all know, accidents on the road happen. To ensure your vehicle and your equipment are covered on the way to a job, you need commercial auto insurance. More importantly, it pays for any resulting medical bills.

Workers’ Compensation Insurance: When you work with heavy machinery, especially those designed to cut or dig into the ground, there’s a risk for injuries to occur. Whether it’s minor damage or a severe injury, you need to protect workers who get injured or fall ill on the job. Most states require you to purchase this insurance if you have employees.

Preparing for Hurricane Season

Written By Charlotte Insurance on June 9, 2020. It has 0 comments.

preparing for hurricane season

A busy hurricane season has already been predicted for 2020 with up to 19 named storms possible, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). The season began June 1 and runs through November 30. Here’s what you need to know to get prepared now, before a storm arrives.

Put Together a Disaster Supply Kit

Because you never know exactly when a big storm will head our way and because the season is several months long, it never hurts to put together a disaster supply kit as early as possible. Best case scenario: you don’t need it. Worst case scenario: It gets you through the aftermath of a tragic storm until help arrives.

Your kit should include the following:

  • Canned and boxed foods — non-perishable items, enough to feed each person in your family for three days
  • Water: one gallon of water per person per day, enough to last three days
  • Battery-powered or hand crank radio
  • Solar cell phone charger
  • First aid kit
  • Whistle to call for help
  • Dust masks for each person in family
  • Moist towelettes
  • Wrench to turn off utilities
  • Can opener to open cans
  • Important family and home documents
  • Bleach and a medical dropper. A few drops in a gallon of water can make it clean for drinking.
  • Fire extinguisher
  • Matches
  • Clothing and blankets
  • Prescriptions and glasses
  • Formula and diapers
  • Pet food and medications
  • Personal hygiene products
  • Cash — ATMs, credit card machines, etc. may not work in the aftermath of a hurricane due to power outages

Make a Plan Now

The time to plan for what to do in the event of a hurricane should happen long before we’re in the path of a storm. There are plenty of things to do now to protect both your family and your home.

  • Trim tree limbs to reduce breakage and move them away from your home.
  • Clean your gutters and drainage so water can flow more easily during a storm.
  • Identify a safe room in your home to go to during a storm. This should be an interior room on the lowest level like a closet, bathroom, or hallway.
  • Figure out where you’ll shelter if necessary. If you have a pet, make sure you know which shelters accept pets. Even if you plan to shelter in place, know the location of the closest shelters in case you need to stay there after a storm.
  • Purchase the items for your disaster supply kit.
  • Develop a Family Emergency Communication Plan

Once a storm is named and it looks like you’ll be in the path, there are more immediate plans that should be made:

  • Move all outdoor items inside: garbage cans, furniture, potted plants, decorations, tools
  • Cover your windows. Storm shutters or plywood are your best options. Taping your windows won’t prevent them from breaking.
  • Charge your cell phone and keep it charged in case the power goes out.
  • Gas up your vehicles.
  • Turn off your propane tank.
  • Moor your boat.
  • Track the storm by radio, TV, or through the NOAA website.

Check Your Home Insurance

Now that hurricane season is here, it’s a good time to check your home insurance coverage, too. Once a storm is “in the box,” you cannot purchase a new policy or make any major changes to your existing coverage. If it’s been a long time since you updated your coverage limits, do it now before the next storm heads our way.

Contact Charlotte Insurance today to ask questions about your current coverage or to get an estimate for a new homeowners policy. If a hurricane comes this way, you need to make sure you have enough coverage to repair any damage or rebuild if necessary. Contact us today — we’re here to help!

How to Safely Reopen Your Business

Written By Charlotte Insurance on June 8, 2020. It has 0 comments.

a business reopening during phase 2 of the Coronavirus pandemic

Just because you may be given the clear to re-open your business doesn’t mean you can simply show up to unlock the front door tomorrow like nothing has happened. While getting back to business is important, it’s critical — for the safety of your employees, customers, and business — that you do so safely.

Here are some guidelines to follow as you reopen your business.

Develop and Follow Safety Protocols

How will your business operate under our current “new normal”? Can you maintain operations while also complying with state and local requirements? These are two questions to ask yourself in order to develop safety protocols for your business. A few basic requirements include:

  • Cleaning and disinfecting your business prior to reopening, and then scheduling regular and frequent cleanings once open.
  • Setting up barriers or changing the layout of your business to maintain social distancing among employees and/or customers. This may include moving tables, desks, and other furniture further apart, closing communal spaces, creating one-way aisles, and moving restaurant tables outside, just to name a few.
  • Train employees to understand and follow the safety protocols you develop.

Help Prevent the Spread of Illness

What can you do as a business owner to help prevent the spread of illness even as you reopen? This depends a lot on the type of business you own.

  • Allow remote work whenever possible.
  • Encourage curbside, delivery, or drive through ordering and pick-up.
  • Take your brick and mortar business online to allow customers to shop or heavily promote any online purchasing options you may already have.
  • Consider whether you will require or suggest wearing masks for customers entering your establishment.
  • Remind your employees to wash their hands regularly. Require and make available face marks and other PPE as needed to keep employees safe.
  • Encourage employees to stay home if they’re sick — and make it easy for them to choose that option.
  • Consider changing schedules or hours of operation to reduce how many employees are in a single space at one time. If you typically work a single shift (8am to 5pm) consider a staggered shift or split shifts.
  • Provide tissues, hand sanitizer (where available), and extra trash cans to easily clean up germs.
  • Discourage employees from sharing equipment or work spaces, unless you have a strict disinfectant protocol in place.
  • Consider installing high-efficiency air filters or increasing ventilation to help slow the spread of COVID-19 while employees and/or customers are in the building.

Monitor the Ongoing Situation

Once reopened, it’s not enough to have more safety precautions in place. You need to be actively aware of the situation in your area. If cases of COVID-19 are on the rise, it may be safer and wiser to close temporarily or make adjustments in scheduling or hours of operation. At the same time, if one of your employees contracts coronavirus, you should notify the local health department in case they have guidance or protocols of their own on what to do next — within your business and for your customers.

Only you can decide for yourself if it’s time to reopen your business and if you can do it safely. If you have questions about COVID-19 and your insurance, or any other business insurance concerns, contact Charlotte Insurance today. We’re here to help.

Protecting Your Business During Civil Unrest

Written By Charlotte Insurance on June 3, 2020. It has 0 comments.

broken window during a time of civil unrest

When you created your business’s emergency plan, you were thinking of big storms, a fire, or some other natural disaster. There’s a good chance that protesting, riots, and civil unrest didn’t factor into your plan at all. As a business owner, maintaining your business activities as much as possible is important, but you also have a responsibility to protect your employees and your facilities — especially during times of civil unrest.

Here are a few tips and things to do to protect your business.

Protect Your Employees

Only you can decide if business will continue as usual as protests occur. If so, consider these tips to keep your employees and yourself as safe as possible.

  • Discourage travel into the areas where protests are scheduled. You may want to do this as early as the day before the event until after the protest is over and the area has been cleared of people.
  • Expect road closures, irregular traffic patterns, and delays. It will take you and your employees longer to get to and from work or anywhere else.
  • Avoid scheduling meetings in the area where protests will be held.
  • Work remotely when possible or alter schedules to bring employees in before the protests or to have them leave after the protest is over.
  • Consider casual dress for employees if their uniform or your business logo could incite heckling or negative reactions from protestors.
  • Make sure you have current contact information for your employees and set up a phone tree so they can be easily contacted.
  • Encourage your employees to avoid the protests or the areas where they will be held and to avoid interacting with protestors.

Protect Your Business

As protest activity ramps up in your area, it’s important to make plans to protect your business so you can continue to operate during and after any civil unrest as well as possible.

  • Review your Business Continuity Plan (BCP). This is a document that will help keep your business running during and after any period of recovery.
  • Check safety systems at any facilities you operate in the area or city where protests will be held. This includes emergency lighting and evacuation plans.
  • Test your security tools including alarms, notification systems, and surveillance tools.
  • Schedule or reschedule meetings for times outside of the planned protest events, in case of civil unrest.
  • Make sure your business has enough supplies on hand — food, water, and other consumables — in case a shelter-in-place order is issued.
  • Monitor local news and websites as well as social media so you can adjust business operations on short notice.

Protect Your Facilities

During times of civil unrest, destruction of property and looting is a very real threat. Prepare yourself and your employees for this as early as possible.

  • Make sure employees are alert for signs of unusual activity and know who to report this information to.
  • Think about alternate forms of communication as cell phones may go down/become unusable during intense activity.
  • Conduct a risk assessment for each building and facility that’s part of your business that is likely to be exposed to protest activity.
    • Evaluate the anticipated threat and any potential impact, as well as the company’s potential to be a target.
    • Review the facility itself to identify critical points and vulnerable areas.
    • Review your response plans to find weak spots and shore them up.

The right to free assembly and to make our voices heard is one that every American should be proud to have. But as a business owner, you also have to consider the impact on your business when protest leads to unrest. Destruction of property and harm to employees is a real threat. Take precautions now to protect your business and your employees. Contact Charlotte Insurance for any questions related to your business insurance coverage as it relates to civil unrest. We’re here to help.