A guide to small business property insurance in Maine

Obtaining property insurance for your small business in the State of Maine, is as easy as a phone call or trip up the street to your nearest Insurance Agent. Depending on the type of business you have as well as where the property is located, it’s best to check around for the amounts of coverage needed. A Lawyer, your bank or accountant can be a wealth of info. And lets not forget all we can learn using the Internet. As with any major purchase it’s best to know exactly what you need before setting out. Some agents can sell you a million dollar policy for a hundred thousand dollar business. This can cost unnecessary money. Having all the information concerning ownership, bank docs, and any lease information, if you’ll be leasing any of the property, will make the process much easier.

The coverage limits and type of coverage depend on how much your business earns. Do you have any employees? If so you might want to talk Workers Comp Insurance while there. The policy will be based on square footage of the space as well as the condition of the space. Some insurance companies want fire safety codes updated and will demand to see inspection certificates. They also may want sprinkler systems in place if your property is a place where people will gather like a restaurant motel or pub. Hopefully the information is easily obtainable.

Some Property Insurance policies for businesses consist of a whole lot of pages explaining what is covered and what is not. Naturally more is NOT COVERED than IS. While reading your policy, and it IS RECOMMENDED that you do read it, if you see something you feel should be covered but isn’t, make sure you change it right away. Things happen when we least expect. If your property is prone to flooding make sure you have all you need to weather the cost.

The old saying it pays to save for a rainy day, is true. It is a great feeling to accumulate wealth. Owning businesses and property is an excellent way to save for that rainy day or to look forward to for retirement. But not if a natural disaster robs you of everything. Or if someone decides to sue you and your family for every penny ever saved. Unfortunatly these hardships occur unexpectedly. If you have a business or property in the State of Maine, make sure you have the insurance to back you up. After all, it only takes a phone call or a short drive up the street to the nearest agency.

Cheap Renters Insurance – How to Get the Best Rate

Looking for renters insurance? Want to know how to get the best rate with a reliable company? Here’s how …

Why You Need Renters Insurance

You may be under the impression that your landlord’s insurance will cover you if something happens to your personal possessions. Guess What? It won’t. Your landlord’s insurance only covers damages to the building you live in.

Fires, floods, hurricanes, and tornadoes are becoming more commonplace. Liability lawsuits are also on the rise. If you don’t have renters insurance you run the risk of losing everything your own.

What Renter Insurance Covers

Renters insurance will pay to replace anything you own that’s been stolen, or damaged by fire, smoke, plumbing leaks, vandalism, explosions, hail, or storms. It does not cover damage done by earthquakes or floods, so you’ll need to purchase additional insurance if you live in an area that’s prone to these disasters.

Renters insurance also covers you if someone is hurt in your home and sues you. It pays for that persons medical expenses, personal property damages, and any legal fees your may incur.

Last, but not least, if your residence is damaged and you need to live elsewhere while it’s being repaired, your renters insurance will pay your hotel and restaurant bills until you move back in.

What Renters Insurance Costs

Depending on where you live, $20,000 worth of renters insurance can cost as little as $13 a month … about as much as going to the movies.

How to Get Cheap Renters Insurance

The only way to get cheap renters insurance is to get renters insurance quotes from a number of different companies. You can go from one insurance site to another filling out form after form to get quotes, or you can go to an insurance comparison website and fill out one simple form to get your quotes.

Most insurance comparison sites only deal with A-rated insurance companies, so if you purchase insurance through them you know you’ll get a cheap policy with a reputable company. The better insurance comparison sites feature articles with money-saving tips, and an online chat service so you can talk with an insurance expert and get answers to all your insurance questions (See link below.)

Visit http://www.LowerRateQuotes.com/renters-insurance.html or click on the following link to get cheap renters insurance quotes from top-rated companies and see how much you can save.

Why Do I Need Renters Insurance? – What All Renters Should Know

“Home insurance is only for people who own homes, right? And I rent my home (apartment, condo), so why do I need renters insurance?”

Fact is, you do need renters insurance unless you want to risk losing everything you own. Read on to learn the truth behind common renters insurance myths.

Myth: As a Renter I’m Covered By My Landlord’s Policy

Your landlord probably does have home insurance covering the property you rent. But it only covers the building itself. It will not …

* Cover your possessions if they are stolen or damaged.

* Provide you any money for living expenses if your home is damaged and you have to live elsewhere during repairs.

* Cover you if someone is injured while visiting you.

You need to buy renters’ insurance to provide these coverages.

Myth: I Don’t Have Enough Possessions to Buy Renters Insurance

You may not think you have very much stuff, but if you take an inventory you’ll be surprised at how much you actually own. Walk from room to room in your house and write down everything you own, including:

* Sports equipment, such as bikes, skis, tennis rackets, etc.

* Electronic equipment, including television sets, computers, cameras, phones, music players, etc.

* Clothes and shoes

* Furniture and appliances

* Books

* Linens

* Kitchen items, including pots and pans, silverware, dishes, and utensils

* Tools and hobby equipment

* Jewelry and collections

Now think about how much it would cost to replace all these items!

Myth: I Can’t Afford Renters Insurance

Renters insurance costs less than you think. The average cost is $200 a year ($16 a month) for $30,000 worth of property coverage and $100,000 worth of liability coverage.

To make sure you get the best rate on your renters insurance, go to an insurance comparison website where you’ll get fast quotes from multiple A-rated insurance companies. The best insurance comparison websites also let you talk with insurance professionals to get answers to your rental insurance questions (see link below).

Visit http://www.LowerRateQuotes.com/renters-insurance.html or click on the following link to get the best renters insurance quotes online from top-rated companies and see how much you can save. You can also get more insurance tips there.

Tax deductions for landlords in the US – Part 2

Now is the time to save money;tax time is near. Landlords and taxes both are at times despised and are seldom loved for all the goodness they likewise do. Therefore these two life necessities have a lot in common, although they themselves are at odds with each other when one says you owe me, hand it over’ and the other says, not so fast’.

You as a landlord cries on the shoulder of the IRS representative and, believe it or not, he listens. (Turns out he also has rental property and he understands.) He hands you some booklets and tells you to read them and to learn ways you can save on your income taxes. You read and you are aghast to learn you have been paying more than you should.

Ways to lower taxes on rental properties:

Landlords have at their disposal more tax benefits than most all other investments; yet not everyone takes advantage of them. Just think of all the repairs that must be done and all these are valid deductions. The IRS is not going to fault you over replacing leaking roofs, or making upstairs balconies secure.

They will gladly glide over that deduction. Whatever you do to improve houses that you rent of others is a good solid deduction. Even the gasoline and the other traveling expenses incurred while driving distances to check on your rental properties are accepted as deductions. Interest that must pay on the loans that you borrowed to get the money to afford the repairs and the improvements are also deductible. The depreciation value is also a tax deduction. Anything that has to do with your maintenance of your real estate rentals is usually a plus for you when it comes to paying taxes.

Ways in which you as a landlord can become friendlier with your tax representative:

You have been lax in record keeping. A few miles to that house to listen to complaints and to placate unfriendly neighbors and the cost of gasoline are negligible. Fifty cents for gasoline over a month adds up. This one place has cost you in that time about fifteen dollars out of your pocket. By the time income tax comes around next year you will have forgotten about it.

Had you kept daily accurate records, your accumulative little expenses could have saved you a few dollars on taxes. Why you failed to record this has to do with time. You were busy and did not take the time to record these small transactions. A great way to get around this is carry a small recorder in your pocket and record your estimates. Have your secretary make use of these notes.

Landlords Insurace – A Simple Guide to Landlords Cover

When the time comes to buy insurance for your rented properties, you have to think about more than just the building. Unlike normal home insurance, landlords must consider health and safety, and as if looking after the property isn?t enough, there are also people to protect ? both yourself and your tenants. All landlords need to protect themselves against possible legal action following an accident, injury or even fatality on their property.

A good Landlords Insurance company will protect all the necessary people and properties with the following cover:

Contents insurance

If you let your property in a furnished state, you need to be sure that you can replace items, should they be lost, stolen or broken.
A good insurer will cover contents on a new for old basis, with cover ranging from £5000 to £50000 and including the furniture and carpets.
However, the belongings of your tenants are unlikely to be included in this cover.

Liability insurance

The Association of Residential Lettings Agents (ARLA) say that claims for personal injury have risen by 85% since last year. With compensation of over £100,000 becoming the norm, decent liability cover is a key element of landlords insurance which landlords must have.

If buildings insurance is included, good liability cover provides cover of between £2m and £5m.

Buildings insurance

Another key element to check is that your buildings insurance covers the cost of fully rebuilding your property ? especially since ARLA estimates that up to 40% of properties are under insured.
The level of cover you need will depend entirely on the potential costs of structural repairs on your property.

Accidental damage insurance

You can also be covered in case your tenants (or other parties) cause accidental harm to your property. After all, accidents happen.

Loss of rent insurance

Finally, it?s all very well being covered for your building and everything in it, but if you do need to carry out major repairs, the tenants won?t be able to live there, and that means no rent. However, all is not lost! You can be covered for up to 20% of the buildings sum insured so you can rest assured that you won?t lose that income.
A decent insurer will also provide different accommodation for your tenants while you make your property habitable.

Mortgages – Buy To Let A Wise Bet

Buy-to-let is often seen by private investors as an interesting alternative way to make their money grow. Certainly it offers the chance of double benefits for the owner. There is the income from letting the property and the hopeful increase in the value of the property.

Unlike the mortgage which you raise when you buy your home, which is based upon your earnings, a buy-to-let mortgage is normally based on the income which can be generated from the letting of the property. There are many specialists in buy-to-let mortgages and a good broker will be aware of the prerequisites and terms which apply to them and will guide you to the right lender for your own circumstances.

The right property in the correct location is all-important. If your main aim is for growth in the value of the property then obviously you need to look at where you think the next “value-spurt” is going to be. Something like the Commonwealth games in London will pull up an area with all the developments and if you can get in early on this type of area there should be strong potential for property value growth. If income is your main aim, then University towns and cities are good hunting-grounds and you’re assured of a regular, although changing, stream of tenants, over the years.

Lenders like to see where their repayments are coming from and should be happy if you could produce some projected figures showing a gross income of around 135% of the property’s mortgage costs. This should cover the costs if things don’t go quite as smoothly as planned.

Costs over and above the mortgage repayments will include the upkeep of the property, any renovation work, furnishings if these are included in the contract and the cost of testing (for safety regulations) appliances and maintaining them. If the property is leasehold there could be ground rent and then there are possible service charges. Add to this any letting agent’s fees, typically 10% of the monthly rent and another 5% if you go for a management service. Don’t forget buildings insurance.

As far as a letting agent is concerned, they will earn their fees by searching for and vetting suitable tenants and collecting the rental. This could be valuable if you’re not renting in your own area, but is something many small landlords manage for themselves. Remember to allow for the time when there is no income from the property, between lettings, for example. At one time students use to pay rental on a per term basis, but nowadays it’s become more usual to pay for an annual occupancy.

Whilst everything goes well for the vast majority of private landlords, things can go wrong and it’s possible to find the whole project is more time consuming than you first thought. House prices have doubled in the past ten years or so, who knows how long this will continue?

In the event of bumps in the market, a landlord would still have the income from letting to cushion the blow and the property would still be there as a long term investment.

For all the advice and information that you need, the best approach is to find an on-line mortgage broker. They have access to all the latest mortgages from a range of lenders. As soon as they have your information they’ll scour the market for the best possible deal, on the most favourable terms.

Personal property insurance: How to make a property insurance inventory list

One area of personal property that is easily overlooked, but vital to a collector is ART. Many artworks are making headlines around the world with phenomenal prices. I am going to offer some names of insurance companies that specialize in Title Insurance, which is the name of what a person needs to buy. The focus is managing “risk”, and often the collector is not aware that such entities exist to aid them in the protection of a major asset, or assets.

ARIS Title Insurance can start off our list. Http://www.aris-corporation.c om. A year-to-year policy could cost the owner about $2,500., which could cover a collection valued at tens of millions of dollars. Some wealth managers are beginning to suggest such policies for their clients. There is also a new fangled way to get loans on your art. Aris’s policies guarantee the legal title and provenance until the owner or the owner’s heirs sell it or give it away. London-based Hiscox backs Aris policies with reinsurance, however, this is only available in the USA.

Chubb Group of Insurance Companies is another tried and true name to bank on. Http://www.chubb.com. The credit crunch has us all a bit nervous, so I thought it might be a good time for my readers who collect art, to rethink how they manage their collections. Fireman’s Fund Insurance will pay $10,000 in provenance research after a title claim is filed. Art Title Advisors check law enforcement and art authorities to verify if a work of art has been reported lost or stolen or sold under duress. Http://firemansfund.com/art.

AIG’s director of fine art and jewelry buesiness development tells us to use a good dealer, aske for the provenance, and pursue getting a lawyer, or attend to the details of checking stolen art registries, and/or consignment arrangements. Http://www.aigpcg.com.

The Art Loss Register, the FBI, and Holocaust art registries list stolen artworks, should you feel the need to not purchase works that you may have come upon through unscrupulous connections. Http://www.ubs.com/artbanking . Art Banking at UBS provides a due-diligence service.

Generally speaking, those who can afford to collect good art, also understand good fine jewelry. Check out Http://www.jewelersmutual.com . Most homeowners insurance has approximately $1500 coverage for a collection, which in fact, wouldn’t even cover a good platinum ring mounting, let alone the gemstone. Historical pieces can be identified by the stamped hallmark on the metal, or interior characteristics of a plotted stone. Always note social significance and maintain any pertinent documentation.

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Health Insurance New Options Make Health Insurance Affordable For Small Businesses

Health Insurance New options are designed to make health insurance more affordable for small businesses. Articles, tips, and information about all types of insurance coverage including auto, health, life, home, business, pet, and more… In some states, businesses are required to provide health insurance if they employ more than five workers. No, but it’s not easy to find good small business health insurance. Whether for leisure or business travel, travel insurance is critical in today’s uncertain world to protect your travel investment, health, belongings and vacation memories. As someone whose livelihood depends on your health and ability to run your business, disability insurance is essential.

Senate that would let small businesses buy health insurance policies exempt from state coverage requirements. Senate Bill 1955 would allow businesses belonging to a trade or professional association to band together across state lines to buy health insurance. Our trusted vendors provide excellent small business group health insurance both in price and in service and management. Small business health insurance can often times be expensive and as an employee benefit, difficult to manage. Individual California health insurance plans, family health plans, small business group health insurance brokers, term life rates, long… Health Coverage Providing health insurance coverage can be a challenge for small businesses in today’s competitive environment.

Commonly needed insurance areas for home-based businesses include business property, professional liability, personal and advertising injury, loss of business data, crime and theft, and disability. Property Insurance: Property insurance protects the building, office machines, office furniture, inventory (maybe) and other property owned by a business. general liability, property, mortgage insurance, business continuation, etc.) I can make a couple of recommendations. This policy covers building and personal property on a no-coinsurance, replacement cost basis and automatically includes business income and extra expense coverage.

Use a broad form of business property insurance. Our packaged policies or tailored plans provide a full range of property and liability insurance tailored to protect your business. When purchasing business insurance, include liability coverage to financially protect the business and yourself from damage or injury to customers, workers, or property. You may well need additional forms of business insurance, such as business and general liability, property, workers’ compensation and so on. It is a business insurance policy that protects the employer in case of any loss of money or property due to employee dishonesty. When a hurricane or earthquake puts your business out of commission for days

your property insurance has got it covered. Every year hundreds of businesses that carry adequate insurance against direct property losses fail because they are not insured for indirect losses. Loss of business income: Traditional business insurance usually requires direct physical damage or loss to tangible property. Commercial Insurance Take the pain out of property & casualty and workers’ compensation with commercial insurance designed for small businesses.

General Liability Many business owners buy general liability or umbrella liability insurance to cover legal hassles due to claims of negligence. Internet Business Insurance Web-based businesses may wish to look into specialized insurance that covers liability for damage done by hackers and viruses. General liability insurance is as close to a must have as you may get when operating a business. Even if product liability insurance is expensive, businesses should have it. Product liability insurance is another especially important type of insurance if a business is going to sell manufatured or assembled products. Besides general liability insurance, business insurance comes in more narrowly-defined versions so businesses can get coverage for specific risks.

Small Business page provides guides and interactive tools for small group medical, worker’s compensation and liability insurance, including instant quotes. Product Liability Insurance This insurance covers the business in the event that causes damage in some way as a result of a faulty product. Unitrin Business Insurance is a Dallas-based unit primarily selling commercial automobile, general liability, commercial fire, commercial multi-peril and workers compensation insurance. The BIT is the host of an informative Web site highlighting information on both business and professional liability insurance. You can protect these valuable assets with various types of business liability insurance.
http://www.insurance-life-quote.com/business-insurance/

PRIVATE LANDLORDS STILL FAILING TO PROTECT DEPOSITS

Martin Searle Solicitors’ Cate Searle explains why landlords need to sign up to a rent deposit scheme and the penalties for failing to comply.

Despite the law being more than a year old, many local landlords are still running huge risks by failing to register tenants’ deposits with an approved scheme. And the financial consequences can be catastrophic for the small buy-to-let landlord.

Since April 6 2007, landlords granting new assured shorthold tenancy agreements have needed to register deposits with one of three government-approved schemes. The purpose is to safeguard deposits and ensure they are returned swiftly at the end of the tenancy if there are no rent arrears and if the tenant has kept the property in good condition. Deposits are either held by a third party (under the custodial scheme) or protected by an insurance premium paid by the landlord (insurance-based schemes).

Thousands of landlords have signed up – either directly or through their letting agents – and almost a million deposits worth £900m have been protected. However, too many landlords are still not aware of the law or are deliberately flouting it. But that can be a costly mistake.

For example, one small landlord called me last week trying to recover unpaid rent totalling nearly £3,000. She had genuinely not known she needed to register her tenant’s deposit until I raised the issue. She was devastated when I explained that her tenant could take her to court to seek to recover three times the sum of the deposit and the return of the original deposit. This would have meant the landlord paying out in excess of £3,600 simply because she had failed to take the basic step of registering the deposit. What was owed to her in rent arrears would be set off, but she would still end up out of pocket.

And it isn’t just landlords dealing direct with tenants’ deposits that are suffering the consequences of failing to comply. Unwitting property owners are also paying the price when letting agencies fail to safeguard deposits in the required way. As a landlord you should ensure your letting agent is fully compliant with the legal requirements as it is you as landlord who is ultimately responsible for the deposit.
We are currently acting for a tenant who has a claim worth over £6,000 because her landlord and his agents failed to protect her deposit for over five months, even when she politely and repeatedly reminded them to do so . The agents only took the necessary steps after the County Court issued a default judgement. The landlord is furious with his agents, who he had entrusted to take the right action. No doubt he will now take action against his agents, but in the meantime he will shortly be ordered to make a payment of £6,000 to my client. He may also be ordered to return her deposit, and will be ordered to pay her legal costs.
Signing up to the scheme also places new legal requirements on landlords, some of which have recently been amended. The new law also gives tenants the option to challenge through Alternative Dispute Resolution for free any deductions from deposits made at the end of the tenancy. To avoid headaches, landlords can take steps to discourage tenants from frivolously challenging deductions and to prevent any genuine deductions being rejected should the case go to ADR.

Get full details about the changes to the scheme and how best to protect yourself from challenges to deposit deductions with our FREE updated Tenancy Deposit Factsheet at www.ms-solicitors.co.uk.

Next month Cate Searle will offer advice on how to ensure you don’t end up with a claim for unlawful eviction.

Insurance Protects Both Owners and Tenants from Huge Losses

Insuring rental property is crucial for real estate investors and just as essential for lessees who own valuable goods that would cost thousands to replace. Both real estate investors and tenants can be sued for medical payments if someone is injured on their property, whether inside or outside. Sudden accidents such as high winds that shatter windows, plumbing problems that instigate water damage or burglaries that happen due to lax security measures affect not merely the landlord who has to repair the damaged building, but also the lessees whose property has been stolen or destroyed. Landlord insurance does not cover a lessee’s personal property.

Renters Insurance Coverage is Low-Priced Compared to Homeowners Insurance

Renters insurance affords lessees so much protection for so small an investment, it is wise to have it. In addition to covering the replacement cost or actual cash value of everything inside the rental residence, renters insurance offers liability coverage for guest injuries, property coverage away from home, plus living expenses when the renters cannot reside in their leased property during repairs.

While renters insurance usually is priced at between $15 and $35 a month, depending on the lessee’s property, optional coverage and deductible, renters can save by selecting renters insurance from the company that supplies their car or life insurance. Lower premiums usually come with higher deductibles, which in reality benefits lessees. Renters should use their insurance only for major losses, since every claim carries the potential for higher premium adjustments.

Tenants should document their goods diligently to ensure that they buy ample renters insurance, and maintain their receipts in a fireproof safe, in their automobiles or in another secure place away from home.

Landlords Require Insurance to Deal with Various Risks

Landlord insurance policies vary widely, from simple “named peril” policies to comprehensive or “all-risk” insurance policies. Since annually one out of every three landlords is sued, plenty of coverage is paramount. Whether coverage is restricted to specified risks or includes every risk not specifically excluded in the policy, landlord insurance applies to storm damage to the building and any of the landlord’s fixtures and appliances inside the units. Premiums depend on quite a few factors, from the building’s construction to its tenants, and optional coverage makes premiums increase but offers necessary protection.

Optional coverage can include shielding from loss of rents, landlord liability that covers legal defense expenses and medical payments, coverage for theft or vandalism, earthquake coverage, flood insurance and Replacement Cost coverage, which pays far more than an ordinary Actual Cash Value policy that subtracts depreciation. Landlords can reduce their premiums by accepting a higher deductible, not allowing pets or holding on to excellent lessees. The increase in lawsuits over toxic black mold has many insurers dropping mold coverage or making it an expensive option, which may still be essential if the leased property is older or located in one of the many states prone to mold.

Rental property owners should realize just what their policy covers, what it excludes, and how to file a claim. They also should take photos or videotape their property, take inventory of what they own inside the units, and maintain excellent records of tenant communications. Keeping the property clean and secure can prevent negligence lawsuits, so real estate investors should make important repairs immediately. Owners also should inform their insurance agent or their insurance company’s claims hotline as soon as a covered incident takes place.