Garage Insurance: What’s the Deal with Co-Insurance?

As the owner of a garage and auto body shop, you understand that the risks you face are nothing short of unique. As a result, you invest in reliable garage insurance to cover all aspects of your business; employees, liability, building, equipment, etc.

Let’s talk about your building insurance. As an insurance agency, we understand your desire to insure your building for what it is “worth.” Some think “worth” is the local tax or bank appraised value; others think “worth” is the price at which you can sell it and some believe “worth” to be an amount equal to what they feel would be the probable damage the structure would suffer.
In fact, “worth” to an insurance company is typically expressed as replacement cost (the cost in today’s dollars to rebuild the structure from the foundation up).
Let’s take an example. Let’s say you purchase a $100,000 policy with a $1,000 deductible for a building with a replacement cost of $1,000,000, under the belief that any loss suffered would probably be less than the $100,000 of coverage you purchased. A loss occurs due to a fire and destroys $50,000 of the building. All set, right? After all we purchased $100,000 of coverage!
Not so fast. The appraiser is likely to arrive and ask you. “Did this $50,000 damage occur in the $100,000 part of the building you insured or the $900,000 part that you didn’t insure?”
Interesting question! To determine the answer we need to look at the policy. Generally, all policies contain a co-insurance clause as part of the contract. This says if you insure just a part of the building the company will pay only a part of the loss.
In the above example, if the policy had a 100% co-insurance clause in the contract, that means that the insurance company expects you to insure 100% of the replacement cost of the property.
You only insured 1/10th of your building’s replacement value; so an insurance company is going to give you 1/10th of the damage (less your deductible). In the example above, that you suffered damage of $50,000, so you will receive a check for $4,000 ($50,000 x 1/10 of the building you insured… less your deductible of $1,000). You will be responsible for the rest!
It is critical that you understand how your policy works or you may find yourself co-insuring your property with your insurance company.
If you have any other questions or concerns about your garage insurance coverage or co-insurance, do not hesitate to speak with our experts at Wolpert Insurance. If you would like to request a free garage insurance quote, do not hesitate to do so! We would be happy to provide you with one. Just fill out the form on our website!

Go Green in Your Auto Body Shop for Earth Day!

As you may know, yesterday was Earth Day! Many Americans may have decided to pass on driving for the day or may have helped clean-up litter in their community. While we have one day designated to going green, that does not mean we should forget about it entirely until next year.

Have you ever considered going green in your auto body shop? Many business owners are making the switch, whether they are changing the products they use or recycling. Making your products and services more environmentally friendly, safe for consumers and cost-effective will benefit your business, from bringing in more customers to possibly benefiting your garage insurance premium.
So where do you start? Here are a few pointers:
• Each time you paint a vehicle, the environment is impacted. Make the switch from toxic Volatile Organic Compound (VOC) paint to waterborne paint. Waterborne paint is environmentally friendly for the simple fact that it is NOT a solvent. It reduces VOC emissions during application, the risk of fire and it is easier to clean-up. It’s a win/win!
• Opt for biodegradable cleaners in your shop.
• Recycle oil and fluids whenever you can (oil, antifreeze, transmission fluid, power steering fluid, etc.)
• You can do something as simple as changing the light bulbs in your shop. Choose compact fluorescent (CFL) bulbs to save energy.
So what are you waiting for? Now is a great time to start going green in your shop! Once you have done so, be sure to check in with us over at Wolpert Insurance. We would be happy to discuss your premium or protect your green auto body shop with our comprehensive garage insurance program. Come on over and grab a free quote!

OSHA Hazards : Walking/Working Surfaces

As a garage and body shop owner, you know that the risks on the job are endless. While you may assume tools, machinery and chemicals are the only cause for concern, you are mistaken. Did you know that slips, trips and falls constitute for the majority of general industry accidents? According to the OSHA website, these types of accidents “cause 15% of all accidental deaths and are second only to motor vehicles as a cause of fatalities.” Wow!
Luckily, your garage insurance policy includes workers compensation for any accidents or injuries on the job site, but it is still best to avoid this type of mishap. Here are a few solutions that OSHA suggests:

• Keep walkways and stairs clear of scraps and debris;

• Coil up extension cords, lines and hoses when they are not in use;

• Make sure all tools are placed in their proper place to avoid tripping;

• Keep electrical wires out of the way;

• Use salt and sand for safety when the surface is slippery;

• Grease, oil or paint spill? Clean it up immediately;

• ALWAYS put up a “Caution” sign or cones around a slippery or wet area;

Your garage should always be safe for your workers, no matter what type of job they are working on! The last thing you need is a simple slip and fall to put one of your mechanics out of work.

If this situation should happen to you, at least you have workers compensation to fall back on. At Wolpert Insurance, we have designed a unique garage insurance program that addresses each unique risk that your business faces on a daily basis. From garage liability coverage to workers comp, we will have you covered!


What Are the Costs of a Data Breach to Your Business?

Last year, My Fox Boston reported that more than two million residents had become victims of data breaches since 2010. As you can see, this issue is on the rise! As a garage and auto body shop owner, it is your responsibility to make sure you take care of your customer’s card numbers, social security numbers and any other personal information that could be compromised.

While garage insurance can cover the costs of a data breach, it is still best to avoid this issue as best as possible in your auto body and repair shop. If not, it may cost your business directly:
• Notification Expense
• Investigation Expense
• Communications/Public Relations Expense
• Costs to “Manage” the Data Breach (time spent away from business)
• Legal Fees
• Payment of any judgments
And do not forget about the indirect cost of this issue: loss of customers!
As you can see, it is in your business’ best interest to keep data breach issues to a minimum, no matter how much garage insurance you have. We do not need to keep adding to the two-million mark!

If you are concerned about protection from data breach mishaps, come and speak with our experts at Wolpert Insurance. We would be more than happy to discuss coverage options and put the proper protection in place.

Handling Customer Credit Cards? Check Out the MA Data Security Law!

As the owner of a garage and auto body shop, you are dealing with customers and their credit cards on an everyday basis. The cost for most jobs and repairs in your shop is probably too expensive to be paid in cash! Obviously, the customer trusts you with their card to make the payment. However, there are privacy laws in place that, if you are not careful, may end up coming back to bite you.

While your business may be protected with garage insurance, it is still best to avoid a legal issue or crisis. Here are a few FAQ that you may want to look over. It is important to be educated on these laws!
1. To whom do these laws apply to?

a. Individuals, corporations, associations, partnerships, and legal entities who own, license, store or maintain personal information about a Massachusetts resident.

2. What does “personal information” mean?

a. You have a Massachusetts resident’s personal information if you have their first and last name or the first initial and last name in combination with any one of the following: a social security number, a driver’s license number, state-issued identification card number or financial account, credit or debit card number.

3. What do these regulations require?

a. The development, completion, maintenance and monitoring of a complete written information security program, otherwise known as WISP. It must be applicable to all records containing the personal information of Massachusetts residents.

4. Who should you report security breaches to?
a. You are required to report known security breaches and unauthorized use of personal information to the Massachusetts Attorney General, the Massachusetts Office of Consumer Affairs & Business Regulation and the owners of the personal information affected.
Now that we have answered a few common questions, be sure to come back next week when we discuss the costs of a data breach to your business. Trust us, you do not want this to happen to your auto body shop!
We at Wolpert Insurance believe that your protection and security is important, just as important as your customer’s protection! This is why we offer comprehensive garage insurance for your unique business. Do not hesitate to contact us for more information on the protection we offer, from auto insurance to employers’ liability insurance.