Types of Surety Bonds for Your Small Business

The surety bond acts as a safety net for your clients. It means that they’re reimbursed should you fail to deliver. But does it benefit you too? 

 

Oftentimes, clients require surety bonds to reassure them of reimbursement in case something happens later on such as failure to complete the project, failure to follow regulations or failure to follow the terms stipulated in the contract. It may be difficult for you to pick which kind of bond you need for your business. 

Why get surety bonds?

The bond does not protect the business, rather it protects your clients. It’s an assurance that the business will do the job. For businesses, the bond is how they’re able to show that they are held accountable and reliable for their actions. When clients are looking for businesses to partner with, they will likely choose a business with surety bonds. It gives them peace of mind knowing that they won’t lose money. 

 

While it’s not required, your bond serves as an edge over your competition. It shows that you are reputable, responsible, and trustworthy. These are factors that help clients decide on which businesses they want to work with. 

Types of surety bonds

To date, there are over 20,000 kinds of surety bonds. You don’t need all of them to help your business but there are common surety bonds that most small and large businesses get to protect their customers. 

 

Contract Bond

A contract bond is a guarantee that all the terms of the contract are fulfilled. If the terms aren’t met, the contract owner can claim the bond to recover from financial loss. Contract bonds are typically required by government agencies for construction projects. The total cost of the bond depends on the contract amount. It’s always somewhere between 1% to 3% of the total contract. 

 

Commercial Surety Bond

This bond protects the client or consumers from fraud and misinterpretation. Commercial surety bonds usually cost somewhere between 0.5% to 3% of the bond obligation. Most private owners use commercial surety bonds for contractual obligations. 

 

License and Permit Bond

License and permit bonds provide customers with a safety net when businesses fail to comply with the laws of the land. All the states require businesses to have a bond and a license from their local authority. The bond acts as proof of legitimacy, trustworthiness, and that the business complies with the codes required by the local government. It’s a necessary part of any business as people choose to work or partner with licensed parties. 

 

Are you looking for the best bond insurance for your business? Look no further. The London Insurance Agency & Insurance Service Center provides you with the right solutions. We specialize in several types of bonds for small and large businesses including contract bonds, subdivision bonds, commercial surety bonds, license and permit bonds, and court bonds. Call us today with your questions and we’ll get back to you in no time. You can also email us and get connected. 

What Kind of Insurance Does Your Restaurant Need? 

Protect your restaurant with the right insurance coverage. Here are three kinds of insurance coverage to consider for your restaurant business. 

 

Insurance may not be a great happy-hour subject to talk about but it is a necessary topic that you need to put some thought into. Insurance isn’t only to protect yourself, your home, or your vehicles. It can also protect your businesses and other assets. For business owners like you, it’s critical to put a safety net to ensure that whatever happens, you and your business will be protected against accidents and other unexpected issues. 

 

All kinds of insurance policies aim to protect their policyholder but they are not all the same. You need to purchase the one that best minimizes risks and protects your restaurant from financial loss. So, which policy is the best one for your business? Here’s a list of restaurant insurance options to consider. 

3 Types of Restaurant Insurance

A quick online search will give you lots of options but the search results may be overwhelming for you. Don’t fret. We compiled the most important ones for your consideration.

General Liability Insurance

This coverage protects you against lawsuits caused by incidents such as bodily injuries or property damages. Without this coverage, you may need to pay for damages with your personal money. Other things covered by general liability are: 

 

  • Medical costs if customer/s are hurt while inside your establishment
  • Damages on rented properties caused by fire or explosion
  • Reputational damage caused by malicious word of mouth, slander, wrongful eviction, and violation of privacy 
  • Legal fees for defending your business against lawsuits and claims
  • Settlements for customers or clients’ lawsuits

Workers Compensation Insurance

Simply put, this coverage is for your employees. If your employee is injured while at work, the insurance will pay for medical and rehabilitation costs. This also pays for the employee’s salary if he/she needs some recovery time or death benefits. 

Commercial Property Insurance

This is most important for restaurant owners who only rent a space for their business. This coverage protects the building, tools, inventory, furniture, and more. You don’t need to finance the building repairs and replacements in case of damages from fire and explosions. On top of that, it also helps you in case of business interruption or loss of income. 

 

Are you planning to get restaurant insurance for your business? The London Insurance Agency is here to help. We have professional insurance agents who are here for you. They can walk you through the process and answer any of your queries. We offer property insurance, crime/employee dishonesty, general liability, liquor liability, and employee benefits liability.

 

Paying an insurance premium is well worth the long-term protection it provides. We’ll help you find the coverage that best meets the specific needs of your business.

 

 Give us a call today and let us help you find the right coverage.

Do you need flood insurance?

You have homeowners’ insurance, which is already a good thing. But how do you know if you also need flood insurance?

Nothing good comes from destructive natural disasters, especially if your homeowner’s insurance policy doesn’t cover the damages. Regardless of an impending catastrophe or not, your heart is more at peace knowing that your property and your belongings are safe. You’re off to a good start if you’ve already purchased home insurance. However, how do you know if you need more protection? Here are some things to consider before you decide if you need flood insurance as well. 

Flood insurance 

Most homeowners don’t bother with flood insurance. But for those who live in flood-prone areas, purchasing one apart from the homeowners’ insurance is a wise thing. Floods are one of the most common natural disasters in the U.S. Flood insurance is your safety net in case you experience damages from a devastating flood.

 

If you live in a low-risk area, do you still need flood insurance? Well, that is a personal preference. However, just because you don’t usually experience flooding doesn’t mean that you never will. Statistics show that between 2014 – 2018, homeowners in low-risk areas have reported over 40% of NFIP flood insurance claims, and about a third of the disaster assistance was issued. 

Do you need it?

Location is a primary factor in deciding whether you need a flood insurance policy or not. Homes in coastal and flood-prone areas should invest in flood insurance. Homes with mortgages from federally regulated lenders are required to get flood insurance.

 

There are two types of flood insurance, private flood insurance and the National Flood Insurance Program. 

NFIP 

The state government supports this insurance, and it’s for homeowners, renters, and business owners in specific communities who want to prevent as much financial loss as possible if a flood happens. Check out this link to see if your area is qualified for the NFIP. If your community qualifies, you can call their hotline to enroll in the flood insurance policy. 

 

Private Flood Insurance

Insurance companies also offer flood coverages. London Insurance Agency has professional insurance agents who can help you find out the best coverage for you, whether you’d want the NFIP, a standalone flood insurance coverage, or supplemental coverage. 

 

Homeowners’ insurance coverage is already good protection, but it doesn’t cover all the damages brought by other natural disasters such as floods. It’s better to make sure that you’re protecting your home from any damages and risks before they happen. In case of hurricanes, tropical storms, and long rainy days, you can be confident that your home and properties are protected and financially covered. 

If you’re unsure if your homeowners’ insurance covers flood damages, don’t hesitate to call one of our agents. Ask your questions and get answers here.

What is ATV Insurance and what does it cover?

ATV insurance is important but not many know just how beneficial it is. Let’s talk about ATV insurance, what it is and what it includes.

 

The Insurance Information Institute (III) says that ATV (all-terrain vehicle) insurance is a legal requirement depending on where you ride. Some states look for proof of ATV insurance when the ATV is being driven on state-owned property. Pennsylvania only allows owners to drive their ATVs off their property if they have proof of liability insurance. If you are an ATV owner, you’ll need to check the laws and regulations of the place you live.

ATV Insurance defined

Every state may have its definition of what an ATV is, but these definitions are almost all the same. ATVs are often defined as any motorized vehicle with either two or more wheels for off-road driving. These vehicles are unlike others in the sense that they’re not meant for highway use and they’re not licensed. However, like any other vehicle, it may pose danger to both the rider and the people around it if not used properly. Repairs and replacements are also expensive. ATV insurance is a practical protection. Insurance is also necessary if you want to use your ATV in places other than your land. 

What’s covered in ATV Insurance?

What’s included in the coverage depends on your needs. Your ATV insurance may include liability, comprehensive, underinsured, and collision coverages. There are also add-ons if you deem them necessary. 

 

Bodily injury liability coverage includes paying for the damages you caused to another driver or person. This also pays for the legal fees from litigation processes. There’s a limit for bodily injury liability and it’s usually a cost per person and the total cost spent per accident. 

 

The best way to avoid liabilities is to keep your ATV secured in a private area/garage with supervision. Know that you’d still be found liable even if you’re not the one riding the vehicle if the driver doesn’t have permission to drive ATVs. It’s important to only allow those who have permission to drive ATVs to use your vehicle. It’s equally necessary to always be aware of the regulations for ATV use in your state and to follow these laws diligently. 

 

Property damage liability 

This coverage pays for the damages you caused to another person’s property. This may include damages to the other person’s ATV, his/her yard, his/her home, and others. The claim is limited per incident. 

 

Other coverages such as medical payments, underinsured/uninsured, collision, and comprehensive are optional. 

 

Are you planning on buying an ATV or have just brought one? Then make sure that you are protected from financial liabilities. Get ATV insurance today. Here at London Insurance Agency, we have professional independent agents to help you get the right coverage for your specific needs. We want to help you protect your investment and guide you to the right coverage at a competitive rate.  

 

Your Homeowners Insurance vs Natural Disasters

Your home is one of your biggest investments so it should be protected. One way of doing so is by getting homeowners insurance. Over 350,000 Kentuckians recognize how helpful home insurance is. Regardless if your home is located in a natural disaster-prone area or not, homeowners insurance is a good safety net. 

 

The typical homeowner’s policy covers several disasters including tornadoes, lightning strikes, and winter storm damage. These events are called insurance perils. However, the disasters covered still depend on the kind of policy you get. It’s best to know the potential damages before you pick the insurance policy for your home. 

Homeowners Policies – What’s not covered?

Generally, homeowner’s policies cover your home and all that’s in it. You can go as specific as you can with the items in your home you want to be covered. Naturally, not all disasters are covered by your homeowners’ insurance. What isn’t covered?

 

Earthquake losses are usually not included in the basic coverage although they can be purchased as additional coverage. If you are unsure, always ask your agent or insurer if your coverage includes earthquake losses and damages. 

 

Flood losses are generally excluded from homeowners’ policies as well. You can get this coverage straight from the National Flood Insurance Program or you can reach out to one of our agents. Professional agents here in London Agency Insurance work with several insurance agencies and they may be able to help you connect with private insurers.

 

Car damages due to natural disasters may be covered but ask your insurer or agent to be sure. 

Extend your Home Insurance Policy

There is nothing wrong with making sure that all your bases are covered. Not all kinds of damages and repairs are covered by your home insurance. Some homeowners decide to get more coverage options for better protection. Some policies cover the entire cost of rebuilding a house. 

 

Your agent can help you get the additional coverage you want. But as always, it’s best to sit down and think of it beforehand. Consider your needs and requirements, your finances, and the potential damages in the future. All these should be factors in deciding whether you need the additional protection or not. 

 

The average homeowner’s insurance rates in Kentucky differ because of three things – location, the size of your home, and the neighborhood’s safety. Every home is unique and so are the things inside it. The same rate isn’t applicable for all kinds of homes. 

 

Are you a homeowner without homeowners insurance yet? Give our agents a call today to get the right coverage for the right price. Our agents will assist you from beginning to end. They’ll sit with you, consider your insurance needs, your budget, and get you coverage to protect your home. 

Building Maintenance and Property Insurance

How does property maintenance affect insurance claims? Learn more below. 

 

Your property is an investment, and it’s only logical that you protect it at all costs, regardless of the size of your business or the kind of facility you have. Building maintenance is an integral part of the trade – from regular cleaning to repairs. It helps ensure that your building lasts, your business is protected, and it helps during the claims process. 

 

In many states in the US, property maintenance is part of the claims process and underwriting. This is true for residential and commercial properties

Tips for Building Maintenance

Interior and exterior maintenance are equally important. However, exterior repairs and maintenance are more challenging. Check out these tips for building maintenance. 

Preventative maintenance 

Set up a regular maintenance plan, including inspection, testing, servicing, replacements, and repairs. Look out for missing and lost parts. Check the gutters and ensure it is free from any leaves, twigs, and other debris. Roof inspections greatly help in extending your roof’s longevity and they reduce costly emergency repairs later on. 

 

Do preventive maintenance inside the building as well. Perform regular inspection on flashing and roof perimeter. Look for signs of water damage such as stained walls, peeling paint, and mold. These things are the usual suspects of roof damage.

Set up regular checks

Check your property’s HVAC system at least once a year. Take note of even the tiniest plumbing leak, as this can cause more significant problems in the future. It may result in increased water bills and expensive repairs. You may even have to close down the businesses indefinitely when you let these small leaks turn into uncontrollable leak damage. 

 

Public restrooms (if you have any in your building) must also be checked. Toilet leaks cause ceiling collapse. This isn’t only dangerous for you, your employees, and your customers. It’s dangerous for the business as well. 

When making a claim

Proper documentation is the key to an efficient claims process. Make it a habit to record every scheduled, working, and completed project. You can also choose to create timelines for these projects.

Get business property insurance today

Is your business insurance-ready? Even with regular and proper maintenance, it’s still best to financially protect your investment. Business property insurance is a great option. It doesn’t just protect your building but everything in it, such as computers, fixtures, furniture, etc. It doesn’t have to be the most expensive coverage, but it should address all of your needs. 

 

London Insurance Agency is an agency that serves as a platform for our independent agents. With us, you have the freedom and opportunity to work with a professional agent connected to several insurance companies. This gives you more options for what your needs are. The goal here is to provide you with the perfect coverage for your needs. For more than 95 years, the London Insurance Agency has been offering services, insurance, and products for businesses. 

Do you have insurance? If not, it’s time to get it now.

Tips for First Time Home Buyers in 2022

Buying a home is a huge decision and responsibility. Check out these tips before buying your first home! 

 

Homes have been selling for above asking price, and buyers have been bidding against each other since early last year. It’s truly become a competitive space that first-time homebuyers may find intimidating. But there are ways to get yourself ready for the bidding war. Here are some tips for first-time home buyers. 

Things to remember for first time home buyers

We’ve compiled here a list of tips to help you navigate this housing market. Take note and keep learning. 

Determine your budget

Know your financial limit before you start looking for the home you want. Think of how much of a downpayment you can afford and how much you’ll need to finance. The rule of thumb is to not spend over 28% of your income on housing-related payments every month. Look for a mortgage calculator to see if the home’s price fits your budget. 

Be fully committed to a loan

A house loan is a long-term plan, and on average, it takes about 15-30 years. Ask yourself if you will stay in your home for the next five to ten years, have enough emergency funds to cover your expenses, and have a stable income. If you’re unsure, it’s best to put your plans on hold and revisit it when you’re more financially ready. Take your monthly expenses, your income, and your safety net into account before closing on a home loan. 

Save up for a downpayment

The key to more straightforward and quicker approval is to show your mortgage lender that you can pay up for the long run. It’s why your downpayment is a critical part of the process. The more money you save for the down payment, the better interest rate and terms you’ll get. 

Get pre-approved

Don’t skip the mortgage pre-approval process. Don’t confuse pre-qualification with pre-approval. Prequalification is the estimate of the amount of home loan you can get based on your income evaluation. On the other hand, pre-approval is a document from your lender that dictates the amount of financing you can get based on several factors, including your W-2s, credit score, and bank statement. 

The preapproval helps determine if you can afford the house you want, and it takes out any financial surprises along the way. 

 

Your home is an investment. You need to explore your options to see which one fits your budget, needs, and lifestyle. Once you’re done with all these, your next step is to protect your investment. There are various ways to do that. You can schedule regular maintenance, pay for the mortgage regularly, and get your home insured. Check out your homeowner’s insurance options. Give us a call today! We’d be more than happy to help.  

Insurance Trends to Watch in 2022

It’s time to get ready for what lies ahead in the insurance industry. 

 

Every industry changes due to economic conditions, customer demands, new market trends, and more. All these things prompt industries to adapt to survive. Here are some trends you need to know to ensure that you’re keeping up with the changes in the insurance space. 

Going digital

We live in a digital age, and it’s now the primary source of growth of industries around the globe. The same is true for insurance. Deloitte reports that 33% of premium insurance volume will be from new propositions by 2024. The aim is to improve and encourage a holistic customer experience using technological innovations such as artificial intelligence. 

 

These approaches effectively bring in more customers and help them get the best policies fit for their needs. 

Personalization

Clients want to feel valued, and this is what personalization does. It’s what you do to keep your clients and get new ones. The information available today across networks allows you to build your strategies and personalize your customer experience. More personalized service means having the ability to tailor your products and other offerings. This generally increases customer retention and sales. 

Build trust 

Trust between clients and businesses is essential. Clients expect nothing short of respect from you to protect their information and assets. Along with this, trust helps clients make their decisions. Although you provide advice and insights to help them pick the best choice based on their needs, at the end of the day, you can’t force them to enroll in a policy they don’t want. While seamless processing is appreciated, it’s also important to provide the solutions efficiently and securely. 

Automation and use of AI

Processing takes a lot of time when done manually, which impedes customer satisfaction. Automation and AI address that issue, and these two are used for updating client profiles, information, settlement, assessment, and more. Statistics show that workflow automation cuts paperwork time by up to 80% and speeds up processes by 50%. 

Customer interaction

Engagement is now part of the customer journey. This means that any kind of communication is taken as a part of the process. Engagement and interaction are possible via your active social media presence, your email campaigns, and using various mobile communication platforms. Connecting with clients has never been easier. Being visible and knowing that you’re always ready to help with questions and concerns is a great advantage. 

 

People need insurance coverage. Whether it’s for their homes, for their family’s financial security when they pass, for their car, for their business, or something else. They want to get these policies from an insurance company that offers the best for their needs and ensures safety, builds trust, and makes sure they’re always in the loop. Insurance trends continue to change but regardless, it’s essential always to put your clients first. 

 

At London Insurance Agency, we put clients first every day. Call us today! We’d be happy to answer any insurance-related questions you may have.

Things to Consider when Choosing Your Health Coverage

Getting health insurance isn’t only beneficial for individuals but also for families. However, picking the right fit for your needs can be overwhelming. Instead of enjoying its advantages, you may end up putting your family in a financial bind. You must arm yourself with the right knowledge to make the right decision. Below are some of the factors to consider. 

Pick your health plan marketplace

Most health insurance is provided by their employers or the company they work for. If that’s the case then there’s no need to go through different options or marketplace since yours is already set up. However, this doesn’t mean that you can’t look for other alternatives. If your job doesn’t come with health insurance, then you will have to look for a marketplace to find an option with the lowest premium offer. Here, you’ll get the help of professional insurers to provide you with choices. They’d also go through the process and explain the policies with you in terms that you can easily understand. 

Check the details thoroughly

This is especially true if you are on prescription medication. Check the health insurance plan and see if the drugs you’re taking are covered. You can also ask this from your insurer or get a list of the drugs covered by the policy you’re considering. 

Compare the types

People like to compare brands before finally buying the product they need. They look at the features and the price to help them decide which one is better. The same is true with health insurance plans, it’s better to compare each to determine which one fits your needs. There are typically four types– HMOs, PPOs, EPOs, and POS. Check out their benefits, the cost, and the network.

Consider your budget if you qualify for tax credits

Health insurance is expensive but you may be able to qualify for tax credits. The premium tax credit is a refundable credit that’s specifically created to help families with low- to moderate-income. The credit depends on your income so the lower your income is, the bigger the credit will be. The IRS explains that families and individuals are eligible for the premium tax credit if their annual income is at least 100% but not more than 400%  within the federal poverty line for their family size. 

Deductibles

It’s important to know when you’ll be able to get the benefits of the coverage. Some would have a deductible of $1,000 which means you have to spend that amount from your own pocket before your health coverage kicks in. These out-of-pocket expenses include procedure fees, prescriptions, and specialist visits. 

 

This may feel overwhelming for you so talk it out with your family. Get their opinion on what you need the most. You can also speak with professional insurance agents and brokers. London Insurance Agency is home to independent agents who represent more than one insurance company. Aside from our expertise, we have many options available for you. We can explain to you the policies and offer the best solutions. Give us a call today! 

Man in front of computer with smartphone on desk

Plan Your Year: 3 Financial Planning Trends 2022

Have you set up a financial plan for the coming year? If not, then take note of these financial trends in 2022 as your guide. 

 

The pandemic has caused much distress and distractions to peoples’ lives in the past two years. Aside from the health threats, many families have faced an unprecedented financial crisis due to sudden income loss. Businesses have closed down, and others that remained open had to make abrupt changes to keep their businesses thriving. The shift has affected families and prompted many to make adjustments to their financial plans. Will it be the same for the year to come? Read more to know the financial planning trends for families in 2022. Use them as your guide as you evaluate your plans and insurance policies. 

Invest in Life Insurance

Insurance is always a key piece of financial planning, but it was only when COVID-19 took millions of lives that people truly saw how critical life insurance is. Life insurance is

a safety net in case of the untimely death of a loved one. It protects your family from financial difficulties and stress from one’s passing, and it can also be an investment that grows in time. 

 

Do you already have life insurance in place? If so, your next step is to review your policy and perhaps include your parents in the coverage. 

Track your spending 

Take control of your money and keep track of your financial habits. There are many ways to do so. You can take note of your spending using a spreadsheet or download an app on your smart device. List all your income and expenses to see the accurate cash flow and understand where you can make adjustments if need be. 

 

Involve your family in the process. Share your spreadsheet or your app with them to sync your budget. This will help everyone keep track of their spending habits, not just yours. 

Look for affordable housing

Many families have opted to move houses during the pandemic. Some chose to sell their homes and profit and moved from the city to less dense areas. Others have discovered the value of homesteading. 

 

Other families who were renting took their extra savings and decided to put it on a downpayment for a new home. With the decreased mortgage, it has become easier for families to stop renting and own a home. 

 

Many had already been financially strapped before the pandemic, but it got worse as the pandemic spread. The death toll continues to rise, and the economy hasn’t fully recovered yet. New strains are emerging, and so we keep on fighting. This has taught us a valuable lesson – that financial stability isn’t, in fact, that stable in the face of a global crisis. 

 

Create your financial plan for the next year and ensure that your family is prepared for any unfavorable situations to come. Save, invest in life insurance and track your spending. Call us if you don’t have a policy in place or if you want to re-evaluate your life insurance.