What are some of the most common insurance claims that contractors make?

Did you know that 1 in 5 deaths among workers in the U.S. occur in the construction industry? This is just one of many reasons for construction businesses to have the necessary insurance to protect themselves against workplace injuries, among other hazards.

Unfortunately, the construction business is risky–but at the same time, it’s integral to the U.S. economy. From on-the-job injuries to severe weather, vandalism and break-ins, traffic collisions, and more, there are so many possible ways to experience losses as a contractor. With the right insurance, you can be protected against almost anything that can happen. It helps to know what can happen. Here are some of the most common insurance claims that contractors make.

Are contractors required to carry insurance?

Before we get into the types of claims that contractors may face, let’s take a glance at what insurance is required of contractors.

Contractors and subcontractors are sometimes required to carry contractor insurance in the U.S. Specific contractors that may specialize in certain fields, like plumbers or electricians, may benefit from having special artisan contractor insurance. That being said, insurance requirements can vary depending on the state, line of business, etc. Usually, it’s a general rule of thumb that any business with employees acquires workers’ compensation insurance.

General liability and errors and omissions insurance are also highly recommended. The former protects your business against claims of bodily injury and property damage and the latter protects your business against claims of negligence, misinformation, error, etc. Both are beneficial layers of protection to support your business in the face of costly lawsuits.

What are the five most common contractor insurance claims?

Construction can be high-risk, which means it’s ripe with opportunities for damage and losses. Here are five of the most common contractor insurance claims:

Personal injuries and property damages

Did you know that 10% of all liability claims arise from slips and falls? Accidents still happen, no matter the precautions we take to avoid them. With construction, there can be a lot of hazards–falling debris, cracks in the ground, machinery and equipment left out, etc., that passerby could trip or injure themselves on. If a non-employee injures themselves or their property is damaged by your construction business’s operations, they could sue. That lawsuit could cost your business.

For example, say your construction business was performing renovations when a heavy piece of equipment gets dropped accidentally. It significantly damages a homeowner’s living room floor and nearby wall, cracking their hardwood floor and leaving a large hole in the wall. The damages are estimated at $8,500. The total claim amount for the repairs, plus any additional expenses, amounts out to $9,500–which would be covered by a general liability insurance policy.

Workers’ compensation injury

The construction industry is huge for workplace injuries, ranging from minor to severe. It could be due to a fall, dropping heavy equipment, misuse of machinery, etc. If a workplace mishap sends a worker to the doctor or, worse, the hospital, they’ll be out of commission for some time plus may rack up some serious medical bills. Workers’ compensation insurance can be used in this instance to cover both lost wages, medical bills, rehabilitation or ongoing care, and in a worst case scenario, funeral expenses and death benefits for your employee’s surviving family.

Damage to ongoing builds

Construction involves a lot of works-in-progress, which tend to be extremely vulnerable to damages during the period where they are being worked on. There’s a lot to lose on an ongoing project–materials, supplies, equipment, tools, and all the work your company has invested time and money in. One of the most common contractor insurance claims comes for projects in progress, with wildfires being among the most common causes of damage.

Stolen equipment

A probably unsurprising cause of loss for construction companies and contractors is equipment stolen off of worksites. Your contracting equipment is crucial to helping your business run. It’s also expensive–and appealing to thieves. If your tools go missing from a worksite or warehouse, or are lifted out of your company trucks, it might be time to file a tools and equipment insurance claim.

Traffic accidents

Contractors and construction companies may make use of company vans to tote around workers, equipment, materials, supplies, and more. No vehicle is immune to traffic collisions. Plus, with as much time as these vehicles spend on the roads going between worksites, it only makes sense that commercial auto claims would be popular in this industry. Keep in mind that your personal auto policy–or your employees’ personal auto policies–won’t cover your company vans or trucks if they’re damaged in a crash. You’ll need to have a commercial auto policy in your toolbox.

Do I have enough coverage?

Having enough coverage to protect your business against all that go wrong is crucial. If you aren’t sure if what you have is enough, AHI has got your back. Much of what we do is advise you in the way of coverage; we suggest where you might need to fill in your gaps by purchasing new coverage, plus we can identify where you can “trim the fat” a little. We can suggest modifications, limit increases, and more. Give us a call to find a great deal on your contractor insurance.

Protecting your home in the face of severe weather

Extreme heat in the Southwest is causing powerful storms in the U.S. this week. Winds up to 80mph are expected, reaching across western Oklahoma, eastern New Mexico, and western Texas. The truth is the summer, despite its warm weather and fun activities, brings extreme storms that can cause serious property damage–and we’ve seen more of these damaging events in recent years than ever before.

Did you know that 2023 marked the U.S.’s costliest year on record for severe storms, surpassing $50 billion in insured losses, according to a study released by the Insurance Information Institute? This issue is impacting everyone, and it’s even causing your home insurance rates to increase.

Regardless of the type of weather your area might be facing, heed our advice for protecting your home (and other physical assets, like your car!) against storm season. Being proactive could even help you save money on your auto and home insurance.

How is severe weather affecting my insurance rates?

As climate change intensifies, the frequency and severity of natural disasters such as hurricanes, wildfires, floods, and tornadoes have increased.

Insurance providers are facing more claims as well as higher claim costs as a result of the extensive damage being done to property, including homes and vehicles. To ensure they can continue to pay claims, insurance companies are raising premiums across the board. Homeowners in high-risk areas are particularly affected, often experiencing substantial hikes in their insurance costs or, in some cases, finding it challenging to obtain coverage at all.

The unpredictability of severe weather events complicates risk assessment for insurers. This uncertainty leads to a more conservative approach in pricing policies, contributing to higher premiums nationwide. Insurers also need to factor in the cost of reinsurance—insurance for insurers—which, just like ordinary property and casualty insurance, has become more expensive due to the increased likelihood (and severity) of catastrophic events.

What can I do?

Climate change is such a complicated issue. While you can do your part in being a good eco-warrior, severe weather won’t hold off just because you use bamboo cutlery. To protect your property, you need to be proactive–and that starts by being a good homeowner.

Before the weather hits

Even before a storm is in the forecast, it’s good to take proactive measures and fortify your home’s defence. Come spring and summer, it’s likelier that you’ll start to see high winds, heavy rain, and hail–all of which can be seriously detrimental to your property.

Always ensure your home is well-maintained. Clean out eaves troughs and downspouts regularly, and ensure that your downspouts are always extending away from your home at least six feet. Alternatively, you can set up a rain barrel to collect water runoff from your roof.

Notice any cracks in your walkways, patios, or driveways? Seal those up! It’s a good time to also look for any leaks, seepage, or cracks in the foundation of your home, crawl space, or basement. Get these repaired before the weather hits, or severe weather could just as well worsen the issues you’re already seeing and seriously accumulate the cost of repairs.

If you are scheduled for a roof replacement, consider materials that may help to reduce damage to your home. Depending on the kind of weather you experience, you might consider a metal, asphalt shingle, clay, or even a tile roof! Remember as well: the age of your roof can impact your roof’s durability, so if your roof is getting too old then it might be time to consider a new one.

When the storm is coming

Severe weather in the forecast? Doing some last-minute preparations for your home can be the difference between small repairs and major restorations–sometimes even thousands of dollars. We recommend subscribing to your local weather alerts so that you’re aware when a storm is about to hit.

If hail or high winds are in the forecast, park your car somewhere indoors or take it to a public underground parking lot where it will be safe from the impact of flying debris or ice. Be careful if you do decide to take your vehicle to an underground parking lot, as odds are, many other drivers will have the same idea and the roads might be treacherous! Also, if the hail has already started and parking your car indoors is not an option, cover it with a thick blanket to reduce the impact.

Make sure you’ve cleared all loose furniture from outside your home or brought it inside. High winds can make something as insignificant as a lawn chair a very dangerous projectile.

After the storm

After the storm, if your home has sustained damage, it may be time to consider making a claim. If the damages are small enough that you can do the repairs yourself, i.e.: a broken window, a couple of dents, or some landscaping got thrown around, you may want to avoid claiming to reduce the chances of tarnishing your current insurance record. The more claims you make, the more your insurance will increase as you’re considered a slightly higher risk.

If your home has been severely damaged, don’t re-enter until it’s safe to do so. Falling debris or roofing materials could be hazardous to you and your family members. Only re-enter when you’re allowed to. Take as many photos and videos as you can during this time, as evidence of your loss can help expedite your claim. And, finally, work with an agent! An AHI agent can guide you through this process. As stressful as making an insurance claim is, it’s that much easier with an expert in your corner.

Reinsurance rising: What’s happening to your home insurance rates

On January 1, 2024, U.S. property catastrophe reinsurance rates rose by as much as 50%. To the average onlooker, this may seem like unimportant news; in the grand scheme of this, it’s just another of many figures going up. However, the status of reinsurance, and its price points, have a direct influence on the rates you’ll pay for your property insurance. Home insurance is just one example of a product that’s being impacted by the jump in reinsurance costs.

How exactly does reinsurance costs rising impact your home insurance? Let’s dig in.

What is reinsurance?

Suppose insurance is an agreement between the insured and the insurer. In that case, reinsurance is an agreement between an insurance company and another insurance company, wherein the latter agrees to cover the former if the former is obligated to cover a catastrophic loss beyond what their premium pool can pay out for. Reinsurers, aka insurance companies for insurance companies, are companies that sell insurance to your typical P&C or commercial insurance companies.

Insurance companies manage their own risk by buying insurance. If an area an insurance company sells home insurance to experiences a massive wildfire, they may find that their premium pool is insufficient in managing all the claim payouts. In this instance, they’ll turn to their reinsurance provider, whose contract states they’re obligated to cover the remaining losses. Having reinsurance also means that insurance companies need to have less capital on hand, which means they don’t have to charge as high of premiums and can invest excess capital elsewhere. Reinsurance also ensures insurance companies can take on more policies and business, as their risk is less overall.

How does reinsurance impact my insurance?

But, like any business in the insurance industry, reinsurance is impacted by things like climate change and inflation. The more losses there are, the more payouts there are. The more payouts there are, the more reinsurance providers are having to dig into their own pool of funds, thereby requiring more capital. They raise their rates, so insurance companies raise the rates for their insured to offset the increased expense.

The result? Higher insurance premiums. Of course, this is nuanced and the impact depends on where you live. Some areas are more exposed to losses and natural disasters than others. Florida’s reinsurance dependency has increased over the last couple of years due to frequent and severe weather-related losses, inflation, and other effects. This has caused some insurance providers to altogether exit the state, and new, high-risk providers have entered.

What are the benefits of reinsurance for policyholders?

Despite the rate increases, reinsurance isn’t a bad thing for policyholders. Quite the opposite, really. For one, it allows insurance companies to offer business in areas that they might not ordinarily consider due to the decreased risk. You may have found your preferred insurance company due to this reason.

Reinsurance also guarantees you receive your true and fair settlement following a loss, even if your insurance provider’s funds run dry. This risk is sometimes higher for smaller insurance companies. Reinsurance comes in to serve as an additional layer of protection for both yourself and your insurer. Your insurer receives the assistance it needs, and you get the compensation you’re entitled to.

Reinsurance also keeps rates down, in a sense. Because the risk is more spread between your insurance company and the reinsurer, your insurance company needs to keep less capital “on-hand” and therefore doesn’t need to charge more in premiums.

How do we find affordable home insurance amid rate increases?

Assessing your insurance needs during a hard market, like the one the insurance industry is currently faced with, is no easy task. At AHI, our agents are here to help you through these difficult times. When it seems like the cost of everything is on an endless rise, it can be overwhelming to find the right starting point! While raised rates aren’t ideal, we can still help you find a good deal.

Here’s what we might suggest:

Review your insurance needs with an agent

Your insurance needs will change year-over-year. Schedule a review with an agent and go over your insurance needs to see where adjustments may need to be made. Who knows? An agent may even be able to identify eligible discounts or highlight potential coverage gaps and vulnerabilities. They can even help you “trim the fat,” so to speak, and remove excess, unnecessary coverage.

Raise your deductible

Your deductible is your percentage of the risk your insurance company takes on, so you’ll be responsible for it when the time comes to make a claim. Roof damage worth $3,500? If your deductible is $1,000, you’ll be required to pay $1,000 towards the repairs before your insurer covers the remaining $2,500. Raising your deductible can qualify you for lower insurance premiums, but talk with an agent before choosing this option. This isn’t ideal for those who might struggle to pay the new deductible amount.

Shop around with an agent

Maybe your current insurer is no longer the best option for you. Ask an agent to help you shop around and find a better rate. You may be able to find a provider who better suits your needs, or one who offers a deal that you qualify for that overall gives you a better rate than your previous provider.

Ask about discounts

Some insurance companies will discount your home insurance if you bundle it with your auto insurance. Many will discount your auto insurance policy if you have multiple vehicles insured through the same policy. There’s plenty of other discounts out there, too. Claims-free, retiree, green home, and more. Ask your agent what discounts your insurer offers and how to qualify!

An agent is your best resource in hard times. Give us a call at 913-839-1478 or request a quote.

Do subcontractors need their own insurance?

Did you know that there were 3,776,498 construction businesses in the U.S. as of 2023? This number wouldn’t be at all feasible without the support of the subcontractors who make it all happen.

Subcontractors help carry out difficult, sometimes very specific construction work. They may be exposed to a variety of liabilities as a result of the kind of work they do. Due to this, subcontractors, like general contractors, need insurance. The contractor insurance that your employer has may not include subcontractors in its terms; if this is the case, you, as the subcontractor, may need to buy your own insurance. An insurance policy can help protect you from unexpected lawsuit costs, workplace accidents, and even accidental property damage.

Can subcontractors be covered under their general contractor’s insurance policy?

Theoretically, if a general contractor’s insurance policy included subcontractors, then yes. Generally speaking, however, subcontractors are not automatically covered under a general contractor’s insurance policy, and most standard policies for general contractors won’t include subcontractors. However, there are nuances and specific conditions where some level of coverage may be extended.

It is recommended that subcontractors acquire their own insurance irrespective of the kind of insurance coverage their employer has, as oftentimes the extension of a general contractor’s insurance policy can be limited. An additional insured endorsement can be added to a general contractor’s policy, extending some of the policy’s protections to the subcontractor. This generally includes liability coverage, commercial auto, worker’s compensation, and so on.

Again, this can be limited. This endorsement generally only covers the subcontractor for claims arising directly from the subcontractor’s work on the general contractor’s project and typically does not cover the subcontractor’s independent activities or other projects.

What types of insurance do subcontractors need?

The specific types of insurance needed for subcontractors can vary based on the nature of the work, the industry, and contractual obligations. Here are some of the most common types of insurance that subcontractors should consider:

General liability insurance

General liability insurance is fundamental for subcontractors. It covers third-party claims of bodily injury, property damage, and personal injury. For example, if a subcontractor accidentally damages a client’s property or if someone is injured on the job site due to the subcontractor’s work, this insurance provides protection.

Workers’ compensation insurance

Workers’ compensation insurance is typically required by law if a subcontractor has employees. It covers medical expenses and lost wages for employees who are injured or become ill due to their work. Even if not legally required, having workers’ compensation insurance can protect a subcontractor from significant financial liabilities.

Commercial auto insurance

For subcontractors who use vehicles for their business, commercial auto insurance is necessary. It covers vehicles owned or leased by the business for damages resulting from accidents, theft, or vandalism. This insurance is crucial for transporting tools, equipment, and workers to job sites.

Equipment and tools insurance

Subcontractors rely heavily on their tools and equipment. Equipment and tools insurance, sometimes called inland marine insurance, protects against the loss, theft, or damage of these assets while in transit or at a job site. This coverage ensures that subcontractors can quickly replace essential tools and equipment if needed.

Bond insurance

While not technically insurance, bonding is often required for subcontractors, especially those working on public projects or large contracts. Performance bonds and payment bonds guarantee that the subcontractor will complete the project according to the contract terms and pay their suppliers and workers. Bonds provide assurance to clients that the subcontractor is financially stable and reliable.

The benefits of insurance for client-business relationships

Having contractor insurance, or any type of commercial insurance as a business, is crucial to fostering strong client-business relationships. For subcontractors, having comprehensive insurance coverage demonstrates professionalism, reliability, and a commitment to risk management. Clients feel more secure and confident working with subcontractors who are well-insured, knowing that potential risks and liabilities are adequately covered. This assurance can lead to increased trust and credibility, enhancing the subcontractor’s reputation in the industry.

Insurance can facilitate smoother project execution, as it ensures that any unexpected incidents are promptly addressed without financial strain on either party. Being properly insured not only protects the subcontractor’s business but also strengthens the overall client-business relationship, leading to more successful collaborations and long-term partnerships.

Get insured with AHI Group

Have questions about your insurance coverage? Interested in getting protected as a subcontractor? AHI Group has many options for contractors, from more general options to specialized artisan contractor insurance. Give us a call at 913-839-1478 or request a quote today.

Does home insurance cover roof replacement?

A roof is one of the most critical components of your home, protecting everything beneath it from the elements. Its importance cannot be overstated, yet many homeowners are often uncertain about their insurance coverage concerning roof replacement.

Understanding when your home insurance will cover roof replacement is essential for maintaining peace of mind, plus knowing what you’re covered for is a boon that cannot be understated.

When does insurance cover roof replacement?

Home insurance can be a lifesaver when it comes to unexpected damage. However, coverage for roof replacement depends on various factors, including the cause of the damage and the specifics of your policy. See, home insurance is inherently meant for one (or two, technically) kind(s) of damage: unpredictable and sudden. Below are some of the scenarios where insurance may come in handy in protecting you against the cost of roof replacement:

Yes: Situations where your insurance may cover roof replacement

Storm Damage

Your insurance typically covers the replacement if a severe hailstorm damages your roof. Hail pockmarks, missing shingles, holes, etc., all caused by a sudden hailstorm, are generally covered under most standard home insurance policies. The same goes for windstorms; if high winds damage your roof, the repairs or ultimate replacement are covered by insurance.

Wildfire or residential fire

Any accidental fire, whether wildfire or residential, causing roof damage is generally covered under most standard home insurance policies.

Vandalism

If deliberate damage is caused to your roof during a break-in attempt or simply due to vandalism, your insurance will usually cover the cost to repair or replace your roof.

No: Situations where your insurance will not cover roof replacement

Wear and tear

Your insurance is designed for sudden incidents, not predictable wear-and-tear over the years. A roof that has reached the end of its useful life due to age will not be covered by insurance for replacement. Maintenance and regular upkeep are the homeowner’s responsibility. Neglect falls under this umbrella as well. Failure to maintain the roof, resulting in gradual deterioration, is not covered by insurance.

Manufacturer defects

If the roof fails due to defective materials or poor installation, the insurance will not cover the replacement. This is typically a matter of the manufacturer’s or installer’s warranty.

Preventable damages

Damage caused by pests such as termites is considered preventable with regular maintenance and is usually not covered by insurance.

What insurance is meant for: Explaining “unexpected and accidental” in insurance terms

Home insurance is designed to protect homeowners from sudden, unexpected, and accidental events. This fundamental principle explains why certain types of roof damage are covered while others are not.

For example, a lack of maintenance resulting in gradual losses is not covered by insurance because the homeowner is expected to do their due diligence and look after the property. The homeowner is expected to conduct regular maintenance to prevent damage. This includes cleaning gutters, replacing damaged shingles, and inspecting the roof periodically. Having professional roof inspections can help identify and fix small issues before they become significant problems.

Weathering and incremental damages are also not covered by insurance because they are predictable. Over time, roofs naturally deteriorate due to exposure to the elements. This gradual loss will not be covered by insurance, so a much-needed replacement due to aging and wear will be on you. Check with your insurance provider to see at what age they recommend your roof to be replaced, as the age of your roof can impact your insurance rates.

Understanding these distinctions can help you better manage your home maintenance and know when you can rely on your insurance policy. Being proactive with roof care will save you from unexpected expenses and ensure your home remains protected.

Taking care of your roof

As we’ve established, part of being a good homeowner—and ensuring any damages to your roof are covered—comes with looking after your roof. If you’re a first-time homeowner, you may not be aware of what goes into looking after a roof! Here are some essential tips:

  • Conduct regular inspections: Inspect your roof at least twice a year, in the spring and fall, to spot any visible damage, such as missing shingles or tiles. Schedule a professional roof inspection every few years to identify and address issues that may not be visible from the ground.
  • Clean your gutters and check downspouts: Regularly clean your gutters to prevent water buildup, which can cause leaks and water damage to your roof and home’s foundation. Ensure that downspouts are clear and direct water away from your home.
  • Trim and clear away overhanging branches: Trim any tree branches that hang over your roof to prevent them from falling and causing damage during storms. Keeping branches trimmed also reduces the amount of leaves and twigs that can accumulate on your roof and in your gutters.
  • Repair damage promptly: Address any leaks as soon as they are detected to prevent further water damage and mold growth. Promptly replace any missing, cracked, or damaged shingles to maintain the integrity of your roof.
  • Prepare for weather shifts accordingly. Spring melt can be damaging to your roof, especially if you allow debris and gunk to clog up your eavestroughs and gutters. Prepare accordingly.

Have additional questions about roof replacement and your insurance? Uncertain about what’s covered? We’ve got you. Give us a call here at AHI.

What are car theft “hot spots?”

Auto thefts increased in frequency rather dramatically during the COVID-19 pandemic, jumping by almost 20% in 2020 and 2021. The National Insurance Crime Bureau (or NICB) has released statistics showing that these numbers are beginning to drop once more, but in certain areas of the country, they’re still rather inflated, causing serious ramifications to policyholder’s car insurance.

The current rate of auto theft in the U.S. amounts to two stolen every minute. While it has dropped in some states, such as Kansas, South Carolina, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Indiana, etc., rates for theft have increased in California, Texas, Washington, Florida, and Colorado. Here’s what’s going on.

Which states are considered designed hot spots for theft?

Regardless of where you live, taking precautionary measures to protect your car (such as not leaving it running, concealing your keys and not leaving them in your car, parking in well-lit areas, etc) is crucial. However, some areas have been identified as being more at risk than others. The list below (from Forbes) is comprised of different states in descending order with their theft rates per 100,000 residents:

  1. Colorado (731)
  2. District of Columbia (700)
  3. Washington (603)
  4. Oregon (541)
  5. New Mexico (540)
  6. California (520)
  7. Missouri (483)
  8. Nevada (481)
  9. Texas (350)
  10. Tennessee (337)
  11. Minnesota (312)
  12. Illinois (308)
  13. Oklahoma (299)
  14. Louisiana (297)
  15. Arizona (295)

Which states are considered designed hot spots for theft?

Numerous factors contribute to why certain states may put you at higher risk of auto theft than others. For one, population density. Several of the states as designated on this list have some of the highest populations in the U.S. (California, Texas, Ilinois, etc.) and densely populated cities, which provide more opportunities for thieves to operate quickly and anonymously.

Another reason why these states may be considered hot spots for theft is economic conditions. Economic disparities can influence crime rates, including car theft. States with higher unemployment rates and economic instability often see a rise in criminal activity as individuals may turn to theft out of financial desperation.

Border proximity, law enforcement resources (or lack thereof), socio-political factor, and the availability of high-value vehicles all tend to factor into why certain states may see more auto theft than others. Usually, a combination of these factors may contribute to a state landing itself on the “hot spot” list. However, no state’s citizens are immune to auto theft.

Which cars are most at risk for auto theft?

It varies by state, city, and insurance company, however generally older “high-volume” (aka number of insureds on the road) are taken more often than your luxury/new vehicles since they’re most often taken to be sold individually as parts. They’re usually driven away or towed where they can be stripped down into components and then sold off to repair shops and over the Internet. Sometimes even overseas!

Electric cars tend not to be the target of theft for one reason: a lacking of charging infrastructure in overseas countries. There isn’t much demand for their parts as there aren’t many electric-powered vehicles in the countries these parts are being sold to, so as a result they can be less at-risk for theft. Still, they’re not entirely immune, and vehicles can still be stolen for any number of purposes!

Why your rates could be impacted if you live in theft hot spots

Living in a high-risk area for car theft can significantly impact your auto insurance rates, even if you haven’t personally experienced theft. Insurance companies base their premiums on the likelihood of claims being filed, and residing in a theft hot spot increases this risk. Your rates could be higher for any of the following reasons:

  • You’re now an increased risk for insurers. Living in a neighborhood with a high incidence of car theft puts you at an increased risk of your insurer having to pay out for stolen vehicles. This increased risk is reflected in higher premiums to offset potential future losses.
  • Historical data and trends show a higher incidence of future losses. Areas with a history of high car theft rates are considered more dangerous, and this statistical analysis influences the calculation of your insurance rates. Even if your car has never been stolen, the past data from your area plays a significant role in determining your premiums.
  • The cost of claims is higher in your area. Insurers factor in not just the value of the stolen vehicle but also administrative costs, investigations, and potential legal fees. Higher claims frequency in theft hot spots drives up these costs, leading insurers to charge more to cover these expenses.
  • You may be asked to invest in security measures. Insurers might require or recommend additional security measures for your vehicle, such as alarms, GPS tracking, or immobilizers. These added precautions can reduce the risk but also increase the overall cost of insuring your car, as its total replacement value has now increased. However, some insurers will discount your insurance for these devices, which can combat the overall increase.

In essence, living in these “hot spots” can result in higher insurance premiums – even if you yourself have not made an insurance claim! Having a better grasp on these factors may permit you to navigate your insurance options better so you can find ways to lower your rates.

Have additional questions? Our agents at AHI Group will be more than happy to help out. Request a quote or, better yet, give us a call and ask us directly.

How much does general contractor insurance cost?

The role of the general contractor in construction cannot be understated. They oversee projects, manage subcontractors, and generally keep everything moving smoothly from initiation to completion.

With such duties comes a significant amount of risk, which is why it’s so critical for these professionals to have their own general contractor insurance. But, when managing all your different costs is so crucial to the success and growth of your businesses, where does the cost of insurance fit in? How much does general contractor insurance cost?

How much does it cost to buy general contractor insurance?

There’s no one true answer to this question. To find the approximate amount your general contractor insurance will cost, it’s better to ask an agent to find you quotes and compare between your different options. Policies for smaller businesses can cost as little as $1,000/year, whereas policies for larger businesses with specific risks may exceed $5,000/year or more.

The cost of general contractor insurance is not a one-size-fits-all figure. Various elements, or “factors,” contribute to the overall premium, each reflecting the unique aspects of the contractor’s business and the risks involved. Here are some of the factors insurers use to price general contractor insurance:

Business size

The size of a contractor’s business significantly impacts insurance costs. Larger companies with more employees, higher revenues, and extensive operations typically face higher premiums due to the increased risk exposure. Conversely, smaller businesses with fewer employees and lower revenue can often secure coverage at a lower cost.

Nature of contracts

The types of projects undertaken by a contractor play a crucial role in determining insurance premiums. High-risk projects, such as large-scale commercial constructions or those involving hazardous materials, generally attract higher insurance costs. In contrast, smaller, less risky residential projects may result in lower premiums.

Coverage types

The specific types of coverage included in the insurance policy affect the overall cost. General liability, workers’ compensation, and professional liability are common coverages for general contractors. The broader and more comprehensive the coverage, the higher the premium.

Location of operations

Geographical location is another important factor. Contractors operating in areas with higher construction activity or regions prone to natural disasters (such as earthquakes or hurricanes) may face higher insurance premiums. Local regulations and the legal environment also influence costs.

Claims history

A contractor’s claims history is a key determinant of insurance costs. Contractors with a history of multiple claims or significant losses are seen as higher risk by insurers, leading to higher premiums. Maintaining a clean claims record can help reduce insurance costs over time.

Business experience

Experience and a solid safety record can positively impact insurance costs. Contractors with many years in the business and a demonstrated commitment to safety are often rewarded with lower premiums. Implementing strong safety protocols and training programs can help improve a contractor’s risk profile.

How do I get more affordable general contractor insurance?

One of the best things to do for your business as a reputable contractor is to look for affordable general contractor insurance that doesn’t compromise on necessary coverage (or fall short of whatever contractual/state requirements that are expected of you!) Doing so is easier when you have an agent in your corner helping you out. While we do recommend giving one of our agents a call to discuss your needs one-on-one, we also have a few steps listed below on suggestions for more affordable general contractor insurance coverage:

Maintain a good claims history

A clean claims history is an asset when seeking affordable insurance. Contractors with fewer claims are viewed as lower risk by insurers, often resulting in lower premiums. Implementing robust risk management practices and safety protocols can help minimize incidents and maintain a favorable claims record.

Increase deductibles on coverages

Opting for higher deductibles on applicable coverages can lower premium costs. While this means paying more out-of-pocket in the event of a claim, it reduces the insurer’s risk, which is reflected in lower premiums. Contractors should assess their ability to cover higher deductibles, possibly with the assistance of an agent, before choosing this option.

Review and update coverages regularly

Regularly reviewing and updating insurance policies ensures that contractors are not overpaying for outdated or unnecessary coverage. As business circumstances change, adjusting coverage to reflect current needs can lead to cost savings.

Shop around and compare quotes

One of the most effective ways to find affordable insurance is to shop around and compare quotes from multiple insurers. Different insurance companies have varying pricing models and coverage options, so obtaining several quotes allows contractors to identify the best value for their specific needs. An agent can do this with you/on your behalf.

Give us a call

General contractor insurance is a not a one-size-fits-all, so it’s important as someone looking to continue their business for years to come to find a good fit. To find great coverage at a great price, work with AHI Group. Our commercial agents are experts in finding excellent coverage solutions for contractors. Give us a call or request a quote on our website.

What counts as a classic car?

Classic cars are beloved by the car community, with around 43 million cars in the United States fitting the definition of “collector” or classic vehicle. The combined value of those collector cars is estimated to exceed $1 trillion in insurable value.

What exactly is a classic or collector car? How does one define classic for both registration and insurance purposes? Let’s get into it.

What old does a car have to be to be considered a classic?

There are several ways to truly define a classic car, and those can differ immensely. America’s Classic Car Club defines classic as a vehicle that is distinctive or fine and generally built between the years of 1915 and 1948. That being said, to register a classic car you would need to adhere to state law. With most states, cars of that age are considered vintage or antique automobiles. Make sure to check with your own state’s specific automobile guidelines.

From an insurance perspective, the age of a classic car must be at least 20 years old but not more than 40. In order to have it insured and registered as a classic, your vehicle must not be modified and kept to its original design/specifications. Any restoration done must be consistent with the way the car was built originally, meaning that it needs to include the kinds of materials used in the interior and all the kinds of parts used in the engine. No “modern” applications, so no built-in nav system or audio player.

Is it expensive to insure a classic car?

You may be surprised to learn this, but classic car insurance is traditionally less expensive than typical automobiles. This is because classic cars have restrictions on how long/far they can be driven and how often, and some insurers or states only allow classic cars to be driven and used at events like car club meetings, parades, or car shows. They cannot be used for daily transportation.

If a car spends more time in the garage than out and about, there’s less risk of it getting into an accident or experiencing other damage. Rates will be lower, but this doesn’t mean that these cars should be without insurance. Firstly, it’s illegal in most states to drive without auto insurance, and even though classic cars are only driven sporadically, it’s still enough that they need to adhere to automobile regulations. A ticket could cost you more than the car would cost to insure for one whole year.

However, there are instances where you won’t always pay less to insure a classic. Classic cars, unlike regular automobiles, become more valuable with age. Any other new car will start depreciating the second it leaves the dealership, but classic cars, after a certain point, begin to appreciate. If they are well-maintained, their replacement cost will be much higher than it is for new cars.

Like any other car, the cost to insure a classic car varies by location, driving record, car usage, and more. Working with an agent is the best way to get affordable car insurance.

Why do classic cars need special insurance?

Classic or collector cars are not only valuable but also require specialized care and maintenance. Because of their distinct characteristics and needs, classic cars require special insurance coverage that differs significantly from standard auto insurance.

As mentioned above, the value of a classic car is often significantly higher than that of a standard vehicle and it appreciates with time. Special insurance policies typically offer “agreed value” coverage, which means the insurer and the car owner agree on the car’s value at the time the policy is written. This ensures that in the event of a total loss, the owner will receive the full agreed-upon amount, rather than a depreciated value.

Classic cars are also not used as primary vehicles or driven regularly and are used solely for special occasions. Classic car insurance takes this into account, offering policies tailored to limited usage. This can result in lower premiums compared to regular auto insurance, which assumes daily use and are much higher mileage than classic/collector cars.

There is also special consideration when insuring classic cars due to the uniqueness of their repairs. Repairing a classic or collector vehicle often requires specialized knowledge and skills, as well as rare/custom-made parts. Standard auto insurance may not cover the costs associated with these specialized repairs. Classic car insurance policies often include provisions for using original parts and cover the higher costs associated with maintaining and restoring classic vehicles.

Liability insurance often comes with additional implications. Classic cars often draw attention and can attract larger crowds at events. This increased exposure can raise the risk of accidents or incidents involving the car. Special insurance policies for classic cars often come with higher liability limits to provide additional protection in case of any damage or injury claims.

How do I get insurance for a classic car?

Working with an agent is one of the best ways to get affordable insurance for your classic car. Not only will an agent be able to help you find an insurance policy that meets the needs of your exact classic car, but they’ll also be able to find you a great price! Call AHI Group at 913-839-1478 for a free quote.

Do you need to buy household cyber insurance?

Insurance is ever-evolving to tackle new, serious threats to homeowners, drivers, businesses, and families alike. One threat that’s starting to rear its ugly head more and more, although not new, is cybercrime. While cybercrime is mostly a threat to businesses and organizations, households and families have been known to fall victim to this unique threat.

How do we protect ourselves? Is it necessary to buy cyber insurance for your household?

Cybersecurity is becoming a serious issue in the U.S.

Malicious attacks aren’t specific to large businesses, or even just businesses alone; criminals sometimes target households due to their typically insecure security or exploit unattended vulnerabilities in personal networks, stealing financial data, personal information, and more to use for ransom.

In just 2023 alone, phishing attacks in the United States increased by 1,265%! This was attributed primarily to the growth of generative AI and may continue to scale as an issue as more and more AI tools begin to roll out on the market. Here are some of the more common methods used by cybercriminals to exploit both technologies and human behavior:

  • Phishing: Perhaps one of the most common means of cyberattack, phishing involves sending deceptive emails, text messages, or social media messages that appear to be from reputable sources, aiming to trick individuals into providing sensitive information such as passwords, credit card details, or personal identification.
  • Malware: Malicious software, including viruses, worms, Trojans, and ransomware, can infect devices and compromise data security. Malware is often distributed through malicious links, email attachments, or compromised websites.
  • Unsecure Networks: Hackers may exploit vulnerabilities in unsecured Wi-Fi networks to intercept sensitive information transmitted over the network. This can include login credentials, financial transactions, or personal communications.
  • Identity Theft: Criminals steal personal information, such as social security numbers, bank account details, or passwords, to impersonate individuals or commit fraud. This information can be obtained through data breaches, phishing, or social engineering attacks.
  • Fake Software Updates: Cybercriminals may distribute fake software updates or applications containing malware, exploiting individuals’ trust in legitimate software vendors to infect their devices.
  • Remote Access Tools: Cybercriminals may gain unauthorized access to individuals’ devices using remote access tools or malware, enabling them to monitor activities, steal data, or deploy additional malicious software.

Does my home insurance protect me against cybercrime?

Some home and renter insurance policies automatically include a certain level of coverage against identity theft, or at least offer a special endorsement for identity theft. However, cyber insurance is a relatively new offering, and not all home insurance companies sell it.

For those that do, personal cyber insurance is typically designed to cover the following:

  • Cyber extortion coverage, providing you the necessary funds you require to recover from ransomware attacks that could bar your information behind a paywall. You could also receive reimbursement for hiring assistants who can help you regain your data.
  • Cyberbullying coverage, which can help compensate you for online harassment potentially resulting in discipline from school, wrongful termination, relocation expenses, lost wages, legal expenses, etc.
  • Data breach coverage, which helps pay for the cost of hiring services if any data entrusted to you is lost, stolen, or even leaked.

You may also receive access to services for lawsuit protection, cyber monitoring, fraud investigation, electronic data repair, etc., with personal cyber insurance.

How does personal or household cyber insurance work?

Personal cyber insurance, also called cyber liability insurance or even cyber risk insurance, is designed to provide household members with a layer of financial protection in the event of a cyberattack or digital loss. Every personal cyber policy varies in what it covers, so be sure to work with your provider or agent to ensure you have the protection you need.

Coverage activates in the event of a triggered loss, at which point your insurance policy may provide you with financial compensation for losses incurred. This could be reimbursement for funds stolen via online fraud, providing funds to pay a ransom demand, or covering the costs to restore personal data.

Personal cyber insurance also often comes with legal assistance and/or the coverage of legal expenses incurred as a result of cyber-related incidents.

Do I need personal cyber insurance?

Whether you’re managing sensitive financial information, conducting online transactions, or simply using social media (like most of us do!), the prevalence of cyber threats in today’s digital landscape makes it at least strongly recommended that most households consider purchasing cyber insurance.

Personal cyber insurance offers peace of mind by providing financial protection against these potential threats, covering expenses such as legal fees, identity restoration, and financial losses. By investing in personal cyber insurance, you can protect yourself and your household against the potential consequences of cyber incidents.

Considering cyber insurance?

Give us a call. While cyber is still a mostly unknown risk, it’s important to be proactive and take the necessary measures we need to defend our personal data. Cyber insurance can provide an extra layer of security that we wouldn’t otherwise have, granting us peace-of-mind when using technology. As cyber risks evolve, so does insurance! Give one of our agents a call to discuss cyber insurance, its benefits, and whether it might be time to consider adding it to your home or renters insurance policy.

Floodplain mapping: Why your insurance rates could be rising

Extreme weather events in the United States are making it difficult to insure homes in certain areas. In some situations, it’s preventing homeowners from paying for the insurance protection they so desperately need; with flood risk, that’s becoming an increasing issue.

What is “floodplain mapping” and how does it impact your insurance rates? Let’s explore how the increase in flood frequency and severity may be affecting the cost of your insurance as well as your home’s overall insurability.

What is floodplain mapping?

Floods can occur virtually anywhere in the United States. Even if your home isn’t a waterfront property or is located within proximity of a body of water, heavy rains, construction projects, and poor drainage can put your property at risk of damage due to flood.

A tool that communities can use to assess their risk of flooding is a flood map. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) maintains and consistently updates data through risk assessments and existing floodplain zones or flood maps.

Floodplain maps don’t coincide with property limits and city limits but rather are grouped by risk areas, and you can use flood maps to determine the relationship between your property and existing areas with a high risk of flooding. There is no “no-risk” areas, as all regions can experience flooding.

How does floodplain mapping influence my insurance rates?

Flood maps may actually be used by mortgage lenders when gauging insurance requirements. As mortgage lenders will want to protect their investments, they may increase or decrease coverage requirements based on the level of risk.

More coverage means higher premiums. For homeowners located in these higher-risk areas, mortgage lenders may require them to carry higher levels of coverage, thereby costing them more in premiums.

Data regarding flood risk can also influence the decision of underwriters as to whether to increase insurance premiums for a certain area or not. For example, in early 2023 alone, premiums in Texas rose by up to 16% for homeowners due to the risk of flooding in Austin being higher than initially anticipated.

Insurance companies will raise rates based on the probability of risk as demonstrated by flood maps to offset the potential for a loss. Floods can be especially devastating to insurance companies as they tend to impact homes across a larger area than individual events, like residential fires or break-ins.

In summary? If you live in an area at a higher risk of flooding, you’re likely to pay more for your home insurance. Worse, some insurance providers are removing certain coverages for areas more exposed to reduce the risk for themselves.

Could my home’s flood risk impact its insurability?

Yes. If your insurance rates rise as a result of an increase in your flood risk, you could find it too expensive to continue paying for certain coverages. Some insurers are also pulling back from certain areas or entire states altogether, meaning homeowners will need to look elsewhere and potentially purchase more expensive policies to maintain coverage on their homes.

Back in 2023, State Farm, which is one of the biggest insurance providers in the United States, announced that it would no longer be selling new home insurance policies in California. This decision was based on, to quote, “historic increases in construction costs outpacing inflation, rapidly growing catastrophe exposure, and a challenging reinsurance market.” Following suit, Farmers Insurance discontinued offering home insurance in the state of Florida alongside a dozen other providers who had long-since left.

For many insurance companies, the more sensible thing is simply to withdraw from high-risk markets. Unfortunately, what that ends up meaning is that vulnerable populations may be disproportionately impacted with far higher rates than they can manage, forcing them to forgo critical coverage.

What can we do?

It’s a tough situation, unfortunately. Homeowners at the highest risk of flooding may find themselves in difficult situations where purchasing insurance for flooding is too expensive, or they may find it difficult to obtain insurance altogether due to numerous providers pulling out of offering coverage in their area.

Some states are offering special “state insurance.” California has its own program called the FAIR Plan,m which is designed to insure properties located in areas that are at higher risk and may not be eligible for insurance otherwise. Some states are also allowing insurance companies to take climate change into account when determining insurance premiums, but this can cause even higher insurance rates.

Despite increases in insurance rates, we advise avoiding missing payments as much as possible. Being cancelled due to non-payment can raise your rates significantly the next time you go to get insured again, sometimes even vaulting you into the high-risk market where you could be paying two or three times as much as you were previously. If you are worried about missing an upcoming payment, discuss options with your provider or agent.

You can combat insurance price increases by investing in mitigation devices. Some insurance companies will discount your insurance if you purchase water alarms or monitoring devices, backup valves, and similar devices. Ask your agent about which devices qualify and if your provider offers discounted insurance for their installation.

Finally, work with an insurance agent! An agent can help find you more affordable insurance, regardless of where you live. AHI Group is licensed in numerous states and can help find you the coverage you need.