7 Answers to Common Auto Insurance Questions

auto_insuranceEven though our customer service representatives are available to answer all of your questions regarding your auto insurance policies, here are answers to the top seven most common ones we hear. Please feel free to call your NEC insurance agent if you have additional questions, or want to increase your coverage. Our goal is to help you feel more comfortable with how well you protect yourself and/or your family. 

  1. Do you have to buy uninsured motorist coverage on an auto policy?
    Yes, an insurance company cannot issue a contract of automobile liability coverage in Missouri without including uninsured motorist coverage on the policy.
  2. What does uninsured motorist coverage cover?
    Uninsured motorist coverage applies to bodily injury only. Your uninsured motorist coverage will protect you from hit-and-run drivers. It covers you for injuries sustained while in your car or as a pedestrian when hit by an uninsured driver. It does not cover damage to your vehicle.
  3. Can the driving/accident records of my child/spouse have an impact on my ability to buy auto insurance?
    Yes, the driving record of any licensed driver in your household will affect the decision of the insurance company to insure your vehicle(s). It can cause you to be turned down for insurance coverage or to pay high risk insurance premiums. You may want to ask your agent or insurer about a driver exclusion endorsement.
  4. Can a finance company take out insurance on my car and charge me for it?
    Yes, if under the terms of your loan, you agree to provide comprehensive and collision insurance and you fail to do so. The lending institution can obtain a policy to protect its interest. These policies typically do not offer liability insurance coverage to meet the state’s financial responsibility (mandatory liability) laws.
  5. Is it legal for an auto insurer to place me in a high risk policy if I have not been insured in the last 30 days?
    Yes. Current Missouri law does not prevent an insurer from doing so. This situation can be avoided by paying your premiums on time to avoid lapses in coverage.
  6. Can the insurance company tell me where to have the repair work done under either homeowners or auto?
    Yes, if the insurance company is willing to guarantee the work. You always have the option to go to the repair shop of your choice, but you will be responsible for the additional costs. Your insurance company may only be obligated to pay for the lowest estimate.
  7. What are the minimal insurance protection limits required in Missouri?
    The minimum amount of insurance you can purchase to remain in compliance with Missouri laws is a liability policy which provides $25,000 of protection per person for bodily injury, $50,000 per occurrence, and $10,000 for property damage. With today’s automobile and health care costs, most drives feel such low limits expose them to more risk than necessary. For more protection, they typical choose a policy that provides $100,000 per person for bodily injury , $300,000 per occurrence, and $100,000 of protection for property damage.

To learn more about the additional services offered by NEC Insurance such as commercial insurance or financial planning, please contact your insurance agent, or feel free to contact Joe Bosse, President at 636.271.2481.

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NEC is one of the largest independent insurance brokers in Missouri offering business insurance, personal insurance, risk prevention, and financial services.  Contact us today for more information at 636.271.2481 or visit NECins.com.

What Can an Umbrella Insurance Policy Protect that Your Current Insurance Can’t?

Car key and overturned model vehicle with glass of wine

Though most people have business insurance to protect their professional assets, and auto/home/life insurance to protect their personal assets, why is purchasing an umbrella insurance policy still a good idea?

An Umbrella Insurance Policy Offers Protection Beyond the Usual

An umbrella insurance policy offers additional protection typically in the amount of $1 – $2,000,000. Though it’s easy to assume only the wealthy need that much additional coverage, there are several scenarios that prove that it’s a good asset protection plan for everyone.

85 percent of umbrella insurance claims are related to car accidents. This is an indicator that very often even a well insured motorist may not have enough typical auto insurance to cover claims in our litigious society.  Then there are situations where you may be involved in an accident while driving in a foreign country, or driving a ski boat or jet ski, etc.  Your umbrella insurance policy protects beyond the usual.

Will your home owners insurance be enough to protect you if you have a swimming pool or trampoline on your property, or if guests at a party at your home get injured in some way?  Again, these are unusual circumstances that may require additional asset protection.

Another important feature of an umbrella insurance policy is the protection they offer against lawsuits for such things as defamation of character or slander. With the freedom of speech social media sites such as Facebook offer today, you may be more vulnerable than you imagined. Because all umbrella coverage is not the same, a NEC insurance professional can design specific umbrella coverage to protect your unique exposures.

You Have More at Risk Than You May Think

If you currently think, “they can sue me, but they won’t get much”, think again. At any time you can be sued for more than you have in the bank. Your retirement funds, investments, savings, and even your future earnings may be at risk if they are included in a settlement.

The cost of the additional protection offered by an umbrella insurance policy is minimal when comparing the benefits. The typical cost for $1 million of protection runs approximately $200 per year. That’s a little over $16 per month. You can purchase more if you feel you need it, but it’s recommended that you consider your total financial picture when making decisions about how you want your assets protected in the event something unusual puts you at risk.

For more information about an umbrella insurance policy for you or your business, contact Joe Bosse, President, at 636.271.2481, or jbosse@NECins.com.

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NEC is one of the largest independent insurance brokers in Missouri offering business insurance, personal insurance, risk prevention, and financial services.  Contact us today for more information at 636.271.2481 or visit NECins.com.

5 Simple Steps to Save Money on Business Insurance

money in the handsBusiness insurance is a necessity for all business owners. Though the expense can’t be tied directly to revenue, it has to be budgeted as one of the costs of doing business. To help make these costs more manageable, follow these five simple steps:

Buy a Package Policy
It may be less expensive if you purchase a package policy, such as a Business Owners Policy (BOP), rather than individual coverage spread around to different service providers. A package policy provides standard coverage and limits of liability that are appropriate for typical small-to-medium-sized businesses.

Develop a Relationship with your Agent or Broker
Your insurance professional has a wealth of  information that can help you protect your business from unexpected disasters. But you need to keep him or her informed about any major changes in your business. This includes major purchases, expansions, changes in hiring, or the nature of your operation. Also, get your agent’s advice in terms of disaster planning. Ask what you can do to reduce risks like fire or work-related accidents, as well as the best procedures to have in place in the event of a major catastrophe.

Your business is one of the most valuable assets you are protecting, so work with someone you trust and feel comfortable opening up your business to so they can have all the information they need to make the best recommendations possible.

Ask About Ways to Prevent Losses
Implement your insurer’s risk prevention recommendations. These may include making changes to operational functions such as workplace safety, disaster preparation, or human resource intervention, but these changes have been recommended to decrease costs.

Choose a Higher Deductible
Deductibles represent the amount of money you pay before your insurance policy kicks in. The higher the deductible, the less you will pay for the policy. Evaluate your cash flow situation before determining what a comfortable deductible amount would be

Let Your Broker Do the Work
Prices vary from company to company, so let your broker do the work. They will be able to compile a list of companies who specialize in your type of business. They will present you with different options so you can compare prices and get a feel for the types of services each company will provide. Working with a strong broker like NEC will ensure the company you choose is financially stable so you’ll know your protection is secure.

Give yourself time to do the research you need. Having the right coverage and a well thought out disaster plan can save you money in the long run and keep you operational during any type of claim process.

To work with an insurance agency that has the experience you need to provide you with the best coverage at the best rate, contact Joe Bosse, President, at 636.271.2481, or jbosse@NECins.com.

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NEC is one of the largest independent insurance brokers in Missouri offering business and personal insurance, risk prevention, and financial services.  Contact us today for more information at 636.271.2481 or visit NECins.com.

Three Mistakes a Good Leader Can Make

G.WashingtonAs a business owner with employees, sometimes it’s difficult to take the emotion out of the process and be an unbiased leader. Because all money going in or out is yours, it can be difficult to let go and allow our employees to do the best job possible and work to their full potential.

Here are the top three mistakes good managers make:

  1. Lack of Proper Boundaries: There are times when a good leader wants to be considered ‘nice’ by their employees.  This niceness can get in the way of productivity and employees can feel that the business owner isn’t really in charge. When employees don’t feel there is  definite leadership, some will take advantage; but good employees may view these lack of boundaries as a threat to the viability of the business. Articulating and defending clear boundaries is a skill and can become a habit with practice.
  2.  Adding Value: A good leader will allow their employees to rise to the challenge. If you ask an employee to complete a task and step in too quickly with suggestions, they won’t experience the same ownership of the project as they will if they complete it entirely on their own. If their plan is workable, allow them to implement it and learn from their personal mistakes.
  3. Ignoring Yourself: A good leader doesn’t forget about their own personal and professional growth. Just because you are the business owner, it doesn’t mean that your personal career becomes stagnant. Make time to continuously learn more about business ownership and your industry. Let your employees see you as a role model for professional development.

Want to become a better leader resulting in better results? Check out NEC’s BizAssure program for more information or contact Joe Bosse, President at 636.271.2481 today.

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NEC is one of the largest independent insurance brokers in Missouri offering business and personal insurance, risk prevention, and financial services.  Contact us today for more information at 636.271.2481 or visit NECins.com.

Do You Know What Business Insurance You Really Need?

Are You Prepared Question Ready Evaluation AssessmentEven though most small business owners consider their business their main source of income, only about one in ten understand what it takes to fully protect their livelihood with the proper business insurance.

If a disaster occurred tomorrow, are you confident that you could get your business operational in time to financially survive?  The first place to start is to protect your assets.

Check to ensure your coverage protects assets including:

  • Fire and other damage– covers your building, business contents, and inventory for specified events including fire, storm, explosion and earthquake.
  • Accidental damage– covers accidental loss or damage to your business’s property.
  • Burglary– covers theft of your inventory or equipment following forced entry at your business premises.
  • Glass– covers the replacement costs of broken glass or signage at your premises.
  • Equipment failure– covers the cost of repairing or replacing mechanical or electrical equipment after accidental failure which results in damage.
  • Goods in transit– covers goods in transit for loss or damage caused by collision, fire, derailment or theft.

But there is more to business insurance than protecting physical assets. Public liability claims can run into the millions and it is important to consider what would happen to your income if your business was suddenly out of action following a claim.

Other coverage necessary to protect your business includes:

  • Business Interruption– helps ensure your businesses can survive periods of trading disruption by covering the loss of profits caused by an interruption to the business following an insured event.
  • Public and Products Liability– covers legal liability to third parties for personal injury or damage to property caused by an occurrence connected with your business.
  • Fraud– covers loss of money or goods as a result of an act of fraud or dishonesty committed by an employee.
  • Security Breach – covers loss or liability for a data breach including your personal data and that of your clients or customers.
  • Cash– covers loss of money kept in your building, in transit or at your residence.

A common mistake made by business owners is renewing their policies without accounting for growth or enhancements in their business. Research says that only 63 per cent of small to medium businesses believe they have adequate insurance.

Don’t leave yourself, your business, or your family unprotected. Contact NEC Insurance for an Insurance Health Checkup today at 636.271.2481 or contact Joe Bosse,President for more information.

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NEC is one of the largest independent insurance brokers in Missouri offering business and personal insurance, risk prevention, and financial services.  Contact us today for more information at 636.271.2481 or visit NECins.com.

 

Has the New Year Brought on New Business Risks?

New year 2015 diggits on sport track. Good start, growing busineThe only constant in life is change. It happens in your business every year and if you don’t pay attention you may find yourself with new and increased risks which you are not adequately protected. On the other hand, if you’ve seen a decrease in revenues or streamlined overhead, you may have decreased your business risk exposures and may be paying for more coverage than you actually need.

A Commercial Insurance Checkup is recommended at least once a year. And Q1 is a perfect time to do it. You’ll review what you currently have based on your current needs and make the adjustments that could be critical to your business. A Commercial Insurance Checkup examines aspects of your business such as:

Changes in Property Exposures

Your property exposures should be updated frequently. This includes taking into account:

  • Increases and reductions of inventory
  • New and upgraded real estate—or a decreased physical footprint
  • Changes in your physical plant and equipment values

Business Income Insurance Coverage

If your Business Owner’s Policy (BOP) includes business income coverage, it’s important to have your policy reflect your true revenues and risks. Otherwise, you’re either underinsured—or paying more than you need.

The Special Needs of Business Growth

Growing businesses don’t just get bigger, they become more complex. As your business evolves, you’ll want to create a comprehensive risk management strategy. In addition to insurance planning, this should include loss control efforts—such as safety training and equipment, strong employee programs, business contingency planning, and IT safeguards.

Believe it or not, simple things like picking a new name for your company, making improvements to your property or expanding your product or service line can affect the types and amounts of insurance you need to protect your business.

Contact Joe Bosse, President today at 636.271.2481 to schedule your Commercial Insurance Checkup or visit www.necins.com for more information on how our BizAssure tools can help you plan for the future.


NEC Insurance is one of the largest independent insurance brokers in Missouri offering business and personal insurance, financial services, and risk prevention. For more information visit www.necins.com or call 636.271.2481.

Three Tips to Help Your Business Grow for 2015

As this year comes to a close, you may already be thinking about what you can help your business. The economy is stabilizing, the employee landscape is changing, and companies are looking for a competitive edge. Here are three tips to help your business grow for 2015:

  1. Get the Money You Need – now that the worst of the latest recession is over, banks have more money to lend and are once again open to discussions. This is the time to get the money you need to:
    ♦   Expand by buying a company, expanding your product or service line, or hiring new employees
    ♦   Refinance higher rate loans with loans at the current, lower interest rates
    ♦   Establish a line of credit for you temporary cash flow challenges
  2. Outsource Rather than Hire – Consider outsourcing to independent consultants in areas outside your core business. Don’t take on additional overhead for a fluctuating or part-time position. Outside consultants provide you with perspective and advice gained from best practices of a variety of industries and may be able to provide unexpected insight.
  3. Stay Lean – Before expanding into a new product or service; test the waters. Sample testing is still the most cost-effective way to expand your business. Don’t expand on a hunch. Testing allows you to determine what products or services your clients and customers need, and most importantly – what they’ll pay for.

The last five years have been challenging for small business. Now that the economy is improving, you’ll have better opportunities to help your business grow if you position yourself correctly. For answers at your fingertips, learn more about NEC’s BizAssure program, or contact Joe Bosse at 636.271.2481. You’ll have access to experts from a variety of areas that affect your business every day.


NEC Insurance is one of the largest independent insurance brokers in Missouri offering business and personal insurance, financial services, and risk prevention. For more information visit www.necins.com or call 636.271.2481.

Does My Commercial Insurance Cover the Damages Resulting From a Riot?

In light of the recent looting and violence experienced in Missouri and across the country, the question on the minds of business owners is “Does my commercial insurance cover the damages resulting from a riot?”.Does Your Insurance Cover the Results of a Riot

The National Underwriter’s Commercial Property Coverage Guide defines a riot as any tumultuous disturbance of the public peace by three or more persons mutually assisting one another in execution of a common purpose by the unlawful use of force and violence resulting in property damage of any kind. And in most cases, the answer is Yes, according to a spokesperson for the Missouri Insurance Coalition, Merchandise stolen and property damage would typically be covered.

It is recommended however, that temporary repairs be made to commercial property to prevent further damage such as additional water damage in the event of rain. This ongoing damage may not be covered. Any expense incurred for these temporary repairs is refundable providing you have receipts for the materials and/or labor costs.

Businesses forced to close due to a disturbance of this type may only be able to recover lost revenue if they have an additional business interruption insurance policy. Without this type of policy, lost revenue may not be recoverable.

Though the costs of recent riots and looting in our area have just begun to be assessed, it is obvious that business owners who are fully protected will have a better chance of financially surviving this event. For a free evaluation of your current business protection, or more information contact Joe Bosse, President, NEC Insurance at 636.271.2481, or jbosse@necins.com.

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NEC Insurance is one of the largest independent insurance brokers in Missouri offering business and personal insurance, financial services, and risk prevention. For more information visit www.necins.com or call 636.271.2481.

How Much Protection Does a Hold Harmless Clause Provide?

macro gavelA hold harmless clause is a legal statement in a contract that defines exactly what a party will do if a lawsuit arises from the contract. It is a positive, proactive statement, stating that one of the parties will indemnify and agree not to sue if a negative or unexpected event happens in the course of carrying out the business outlined in the contract. The one party agrees to hold the other party harmless.

Exceptions

While the hold harmless agreement is legally enforceable and will generally be upheld in a court of law, there are exceptions to the agreements and instances where the hold harmless agreement may be nullified by the courts. If one of the parties was negligent, the hold harmless agreement probably will not apply, as the agreement assumes that the party is acting in a normal manner without being negligent. Matters of public policy are usually exempt from hold harmless agreements.

Insurance Considerations

All of the hold harmless agreements and disclaimers may still not protect you from a lawsuit. Even if you are not liable for damages, someone can still sue you because they believe you are responsible. Liability insurance is critical for these situations. A general business policy should protect you if a lawsuit arises from business activities. Be certain to have enough coverage to protect all of your business assets, and consider an umbrella liability policy if you need further protection or your business activities place you at an unusually high risk.

For more information about a  NEC Insurance’s umbrella liability policy, contact Joe Bosse at jbosse@necins.com, 636.271.2481

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NEC Insurance is one of the largest independent insurance brokers in Missouri offering business and personal insurance, financial services, and risk prevention. For more information visit www.necins.com or call 636.271.2481.

Five Tips to Make your Employee Performance Review Less Stressful & More Productive

Performance Review Conducting an employee performance review can be stressful even when an employee is doing great. It’s always hard having a face-to-face with employees in a situation where confrontation may occur.

However if you’ve kept the lines of communication open throughout the year, nothing you say throughout the employee performance review should come as a surprise. If you only discuss growth opportunities on an annual basis, employees may not remember the specific instances you are referring to, and the learning opportunity is lost.  If you use the employee performance review process correctly, it can be a valuable tool that improves job performance, motivates your employees and facilitates an honest conversation about the employee’s future.

Here are Five Tips to Make Employee Performance Reviews Easier:

  • Do your homework. Hopefully, you have an employee handbook that outlines employee expectations and describes your company culture. Don’t count on your memory for specifics, refer to the handbook if it’s relevant. Make sure to tell your employee the areas in which they excel as well as areas where they need improvement. Create a Review Form for each job classification that has measurable standards so that employees are all being measured against the same benchmarks. TIP: Have each employee fill out a self-evaluation so you can see how they think they’re doing.
  • Be specific. Leave general feelings about performance and ability out of the review. Stick to the facts. Don’t say, “You seem like you don’t care”. Instead, say, “I’d like to see you take initiative and offer your own ideas about how to improve the process.” TIP: Throughout the employee performance review make sure you document all the specific tasks or behaviors that need improvement in the event termination is necessary at a later date.
  • Be honest about positives and negatives. You aren’t helping your company or your employee if you gloss over the negatives and only focus on the positives. Unless your employee is performing well below average, spend more time on their positive traits if possible. You want your employee to feel the employee performance review process was a positive experience. TIP: Go over the review with a spouse or friend before you deliver it. They can help you determine how balanced your review will be.
  • Encourage feedback. Don’t do all the talking. Emphasize that the review should be a conversation. (However, if you don’t want the person to talk until the end of the review, say so at the beginning.) Ask the employee if they need clarification on any points you made or actions you requested. TIP: If the employee is too shy to talk, ask specific questions about each of the employee performance review points to get the conversation started.
  • Focus on the future. Make sure the employee knows what you expect to happen by specific milestones, and ask them to share ideas on how to improve. TIP: Provide them with one or two obtainable goals and a deadline so you can easily monitor their progress.

For more information about employee performance reviews, ask about NEC Insurance’s BizAssure program or contact Joe Bosse at jbosse@necins.com, 636.271.2481

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NEC Insurance is one of the largest independent insurance brokers in Missouri offering business and personal insurance, financial services, and risk prevention. For more information visit www.necins.com or call 636.271.2481.

Rieva Lesonsky, GrowBiz Media