Charlotte Insurance Named Top 10 Agency by Auto-Owners Insurance

Written By Charlotte Insurance on September 22, 2020. It has 0 comments.

charlotte insurance agency award for being a top 10 agency with auto-owners insurance

For the third time, Charlotte Insurance has been named as a Top 10 Agency by Auto-Owners Insurance!

Auto-Owners Insurance is an insurance provider that works exclusively with independent insurance agencies across 26 states — agencies like ours. They partner with more than 6,300 agencies in total, making this award an honor.

Charlotte Insurance is proud to offer Auto-Owners Insurance for our clients and to work with an insurance provider who’s care for our clients matches our own company values. Auto-Owners Insurance seeks to make the claims process easy for customers and works with both customers and independent insurance agents to offer “No Problem” claim service, meaning your claim gets handled and paid as fast as possible.

While we don’t do this for the awards, we are honored to be recognized by Auto-Owners Insurance for the third time. We will continue to provide the service to our clients that earned us this prestigious award — with or without the recognition.

Auto-Owners Insurance, founded in 1916 and headquartered in Lansing, Michigan is one of more than 30 insurance providers we partner with. When you need to upgrade or change your insurance policy, we provide the best quotes available from our partner agencies. This is what allows us to give you the best coverage at the best price. Contact us today for all of your insurance needs.

Want to Lower Your Workers Comp Costs? Lower Your Experience Mod.

Written By Charlotte Insurance on September 22, 2020. It has 0 comments.

two construction workers holding a paper and discussing ways to lower their workers' compensation insurance experience mod.

One of the most important costs for any business is often considered the one most out of your control — workers’ compensation insurance. You have more control than you realize. You just have to know what impacts your overall costs. With workers’ compensation, the most important factor in your premium is your experience mod.

To lower your premiums, you need to lower your experience mod. Here’s what you need to know.

What is an Experience Mod?

Experience mods, or ex-mods, are used by workers’ comp insurance companies to determine your premiums for coverage. It’s used as an indication of the risk of workplace injuries occurring in your company. Experience mods compare your company’s actual losses from workers comp claims to other companies in your industry.

An ex-mod of 1 means you have workplace injuries, accidents, and claims at about the same rate as other companies like yours. Ex-mods higher than one mean you have more accidents — and will pay higher premiums. An ex-mod lower than one means your company is safer and better than average, and so you save money.

Lowering your experience mod has a direct impact on what you pay for workers’ compensation insurance.

How to Lower Your Ex Mod

The big question on your mind is probably, “So how do I lower my ex mod?” There are multiple ways to do this, and they all work together to create real cost savings.

Lower the Cost of Claims

Accidents are going to happen, but that doesn’t mean you should overpay for a claim.

  • Ask about experience rating adjustments (ERAs). When ERAs are allowed, medical-only claims are reported with a 70 percent discount. This means a $10,000 claim will be reported towards your ex-mod as a $3,000 claim.
  • Consider higher deductibles. The claim amount reported as a loss by your insurer will only be what they had to pay. If your deductible is $5,000, a $7,500 claim will be reported as $2,500.
  • Remember not all accidents require a trip to the doctor. Work with a medical professional, like a telephonic doctor or nurse, to determine if an accident requires a trip to a doctor or if self-care can safely be administered. This could eliminate nearly the entire cost of a workers’ comp claim.

Watch Your Primary Threshold

Your company’s primary threshold may not be something you immediately think about with your workers’ comp insurance, but you should. Every business has one, and it’s based on your class of business and the amount of your payroll over a three-year period.  The primary threshold is a dollar amount per claim where the maximum amount of points can be factored into your experience mod.

For example: You have a workers’ comp claim that’s worth $50,000, but your primary threshold is $35,000. Once you reach the $35,000 limit, you’re getting the maximum amount of points for the claim regardless of how much higher the claim may be.

Some claims may appear to be calculated to pay out $50,000 but focus on how much is actually paid out. If only $25,000 is paid, you don’t want to be penalized for the full $35,000 of your primary threshold. Ex mods are based on actual losses by the insurance company — what they actually paid for a claim. Make sure you get the benefit of the actual amount paid for a claim which could reduce the points applied towards your ex-mod calculation.

You can’t control who gets hurt when, but you may have more control over the losses from a claim than you realize. Pay attention to the numbers and do what you can to decrease the cost of a claim, and you’ll have a real impact on your experience mod and the cost of your workers compensation premiums.

Contact Charlotte Insurance for all your business insurance needs, including workers’ comp coverage.

General Liability Insurance – What It Does and Does Not Cover

Written By Charlotte Insurance on September 17, 2020. It has 0 comments.

a man signing a general liability insurance policy reading about what it does and does not cover

As a business owner, you’ve likely heard many times how important general liability insurance is to your business. It’s the first and most important insurance policy you may ever purchase. But it’s important to know what it does and doesn’t cover, so you can make smart and strategic decisions for your business.

Here’s what you need to know.

What General Liability Insurance Covers

General liability insurance covers four main areas where a business may be found responsible (liable) for damages. It also covers costs associated with claims. Let’s break this down.

Bodily injury and property damage: The most commonly known and used form of general liability insurance, this is damage caused by your business or by an employee working on your business’s behalf. This includes slips, trips, and falls, lost property in the course of doing business with you, and damaged property while on business premises or doing business with you.

Advertising injury: A lesser known issue covered by general liability insurance, advertising injury occurs when your business defames another person or business within your advertising. Comparing yourself to a named competitor and saying untrue and negative things about them could fall under this liability coverage.

Copyright infringement: Any materials, content, graphics, and other creative work you use in ads or to market your business must be owned by you. If the content is owned by another person or business, you could be sued for copyright infringement.

Reputational harm: Whether you speak publicly or have your writing published, be careful how you speak about others. If you say or write something negative about a business or person that negatively impacts them, they may claim reputational harm.

These are the types of claims covered by most general liability insurance policies. Your coverage will pay the costs for property damage, medical expenses, administrative costs to handle the claims, and court costs, judgments, and settlements related to covered claims.

What General Liability Insurance Does Not Cover

General liability doesn’t cover many other instances of liability. In most cases, however, there is an additional business insurance coverage you can purchase. Without the correct policy, you’ll still be financially responsible for these events, but you’ll have to pay out of pocket.

Commercial auto accidents: Even though property damage and bodily injury may occur in a business-related auto accident, only a commercial auto insurance policy will cover this type of liability.

Employee injury and illnesses: Due to the nature of the work or the working conditions, your employees may be injured or fall ill while on the job. Only workers’ compensation insurance covers these expenses.

Professional errors: You’re hired for your expertise and skill, but mistakes happen. Some of those mistakes result in expensive errors. To cover the costs associated with these problems, you need errors & omissions coverage.

Illegal wrongdoing: An employee may steal credit card numbers or sell customers’ data. You’ll need employee theft coverage for these losses.

Business property damage: If your commercial property becomes damaged, general liability won’t help you — but commercial property coverage will.

Claims above your policy limit: No one ever sees the larger-than-life claim coming. This is the one that explodes beyond your insurance policy limits. With an umbrella policy, you can extend your policy limit to cover you when you need to file a liability claim — instead of paying out of pocket for the remaining amount.

Intentional damage: Getting angry and kicking or throwing something isn’t exactly professional behavior. It also works against you if that anger causes damage to a third party. Even though your general liability might cover the cost of a broken car window for a customer after an accident, it will never cover damage caused by intentional actions.

General liability insurance is the bare minimum your business needs to be protected from the accidents that are sure to happen. Knowing what it does and doesn’t cover will help you know what other kinds of liability cover your company needs. Contact Charlotte Insurance to learn about all of your business insurance options.

Pay-As-You-Go Auto Insurance – Is It Right For You?

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

a man driving his car wondering if pay-as-you-go auto insurance for him

If you’ve ever wondered why you pay so much for auto insurance when you drive so few miles, you may be interested in a pay-as-you-go auto insurance policy. While it’s not right for every driver, there are situations that are tailor made for this form of auto insurance.

What is Pay-As-You-Go Auto Insurance?

Known by multiple names — usage based, pay-as-you-drive, and mile-based auto insurance — pay-as-you-go auto insurance calculates your premiums based on the amount of miles you actually drive. Premium prices tend to be significantly lower than standard auto insurance, in some cases up to 50 percent off. The largest discounts are offered to people who drive less than 10,000 miles per year.

Proponents of pay-as-you-go auto insurance think it offers more choice for drivers, especially those who don’t drive often. Environmentalists feel it incentivizes driving less often which helps reduce carbon emissions.

Who is Pay-As-You-Go Insurance Right For?

In general, anyone who drives infrequently may benefit from pay-as-you-go auto insurance. This includes students who may live on a college campus or people who sometimes use public transit. People who work from home and don’t drive often, in general, may also want to consider it. It’s also great for parents of teenagers as a potentially easy way to save on auto insurance for a new driver.

It’s important to note that not every major insurer offers pay-as-you-go insurance. You may need to talk to an independent insurance agent who works with lesser known, but still high quality insurance providers. It’s here that most customers get the most choice in their insurance coverage.

Concerns About Pay-As-You-Go Auto Insurance

The big concern for most consumers is how miles are tracked to verify the correct premium. Most insurance companies require drivers to install a GPS tracker in their vehicle. This can feel invasive to some people, which causes them to avoid considering this auto insurance as an option.

The trackers also track other driver behavior, like speeding, which is concerning for many drivers. If you’re deemed to be an unsafe driver, it could impact your premiums, regardless of the amount of miles you drive each year.

Pay-as-you-go auto insurance won’t work for every driver. If you like to take road trips, have a long commute, or spend a lot of time shuttling other people to and from different places, stick with standard auto insurance. But if you divide your commute between driving and public transportation, you drive infrequently, or you only drive a few miles a day, pay-as-you-go may be perfect for you. Contact Charlotte Insurance today to learn about your options!

Demystifying Condo Insurance

Written By Charlotte Insurance on September 11, 2020. It has 0 comments.

a condo that needs a charlotte condo insurance policy

You own a condo (or want to buy one), and you know you need condo insurance, but it’s confusing. How much do you need? What does the condo association cover? Do you need a special policy?

Let’s take the confusion out of condo insurance once and for all.

The Condo Association’s Master Policy

What determines the amount or type of condo insurance you need is your condo association’s (COA’s) master policy. This is the insurance policy that the association purchases to cover the building(s) and common areas like a clubhouse, pool, tennis courts, or parking lots. You help pay for that coverage with your COA fees. There are multiple types of master policies that an association can purchase:

Bare walls-in: This type of insurance coverage by the COA only takes care of damage to exterior framing, exterior walls, and the roof as well as common areas that all residents can use. You are responsible for everything on the inside of your condo. There are levels to this coverage from studs-in which excludes the drywall (meaning you have to replace it) to walls-in which includes the drywall (meaning the master policy covers it).

All-inclusive: This master policy covers any repairs to your unit to return it to its pre-damaged stage, including appliance, fixtures, and improvements.

Single-entity: Here the COA’s insurance coverage will replace or repair everything in your unit except personal property and any upgrades or improvements you made.

Don’t be surprised that the most common master policy tends to be some form of bare walls-in coverage. Which means you’ll most likely need a more comprehensive condo insurance policy. Your Realtor or the COA should provide documentation to help you purchase the right kind of insurance coverage.

Condo Insurance for Your Unit

Once you know what the master policy covers, you can begin shopping around for condo insurance. In general, condo insurance will be required. Mortgage companies require it as part of financing, and many condo associations require it as part of the COA rules and requirements. Even if it’s not required, it’s a good idea because it protects you financially from disaster and damage.

Your condo insurance policy can cover everything the association’s master policy doesn’t. This includes the walls, personal property, liability for damage or injury, and living expenses if you need to relocate after a covered peril. It’s important to choose the right policy limit and to understand what is and isn’t covered by your policy. Some condo insurance policies will name specific perils and some will include “standard” perils and only list what isn’t covered (like flood or earthquakes). Buying a separate flood insurance policy is a good idea — and required if you want coverage for flooding.

Loss Assessment Coverage

You may also want to purchase loss assessment coverage as part of your condo insurance policy. Part of living within a condo association is that sometimes additional costs are passed onto unit owners. With loss assessment, this occurs when damage to property within the COA exceeds the limits of the master policy. The association’s insurance pays up to the policy limit, and then the COA will assess a fee to be paid by each condo owner to cover the rest. Loss assessment coverage can pay all or some of your portion of the loss assessment, depending on the limit you choose.

Whether you’re buying a new condo or you want to update a current policy, contact Charlotte Insurance for your condo insurance needs. We can help you choose the coverage that offers the most protection for the best price.

9 Flood Insurance Myths

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

a flooded building that is in need of flood insurance

Most people never think about flood insurance until the worst happens, and their home is damaged beyond recognition. A lot of people think they don’t need coverage or that it won’t work for them, so they ignore it and never buy a policy.

Let’s bust several common myths about flood insurance so you have the information you need to better protect your home and family.

Myth: Homeowners Insurance Covers Flooding

Not true! Your homeowners insurance will cover some forms of water damage, but not all, and definitely not the common forms of flooding you see on the news. The only way to make sure you’re protected in a flood is with a flood insurance policy.

Myth: You Only Need Flood Insurance if You Live in a Flood Zone

The reality is that anywhere it can rain, it can flood. So yes, if you live in a known flood zone, you need to purchase flood insurance, but even if you live in a relatively low-risk area, you should buy a policy, too. The good news is that premium prices will likely be much lower for those in “low risk” zones.

Myth: You Can’t Buy Flood Insurance in High-Risk Areas

In fact, as long as your community belongs to the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), anyone within that community can buy a flood insurance policy. Your premiums may be affected by which zone you live in, but you won’t be barred from insuring your home because you’re in a high-risk area.

Myth: Flood Insurance Can’t Be Bought Before, During, or After a Flood

You can buy flood insurance at any time, even if your home has flooded before. However, flood insurance policies all have a 30-day waiting period after you make the first premium payment. That’s why it’s better to buy a policy sooner rather than later, but don’t let timing stop you from insuring your home.

Myth: Flood Insurance Has to Be Purchased Through NFIP

The truth is that you can purchase flood insurance from your local independent insurance agency, like Charlotte Insurance, or other insurance providers. NFIP doesn’t sell policies; it only backs them.

Myth: Only Homeowners Can Buy Flood Insurance

Let’s bust this myth forever! Both renters and commercial property owners can (and should!) purchase flood insurance. It’s available for you, too, and it’s a good idea to provide financial protection after a flood.

Myth: Disaster Assistance Will Take Care of Damage

If you’re hoping the government will help you rebuild after a flood, you are going to be very disappointed. Federal disaster funds are only available if the President declares a national emergency, and then only small grants or low-interest loans will be available. On average, available disaster aid totals about $5,000 per household which is nowhere near enough to rebuild or replace everything you may lose in a flood.

Myth: Flood Insurance Will Cover All of the Damage

Not quite. Like any insurance policy, flood insurance will have a policy limit in place. It’s important to buy enough insurance coverage so you don’t have to pay part of the replacement or rebuilding costs. But once that limit is reached, you’re responsible for the rest.

Myth: Flood Insurance Doesn’t Cover Basements

This is technically untrue. Flood insurance covers the structure of your home and essential equipment and that includes your basement. What it won’t cover are upgrades you may make to your basement or the non-essential contents.

A disastrous flood can happen at almost any time. Flood insurance helps you rebuild and get back to your life sooner, no matter how bad the flooding may be. Don’t let these myths stop you from protecting your home and your family. Contact Charlotte Insurance today for a free quote on a new flood insurance policy and to learn more about how it can help you after a flood.