Unless you live on the equator at at one of the poles, we seem to be getting a lot more weather these days. This may not be quite what we were expecting from the so-called global warming, but there does seem to be more snow during the winters, and the range of heat to tornadoes to storms during the summer seems to be getting more extreme. As small businesses, we have to keep going no matter what is happening around us. We live or die by being there to sell the goods or supply the services.
That means always checking we have the right level of auto insurance to cover all our deliveries and business driving. Remember the value of the materials you are carrying may be increasing steadily as business develops. So, when you are starting out, you may only be delivering small quantities, or the range of tools and equipment you carry may be small. Always review the coverage, particularly as increasing snow and ice may make accidents more likely during the winter months.
And talking about the snow, how are you placed? If your premises have the sidewalk just outside, the odds are your local laws require you to keep the area clear. Do a bad job, leave some ice and a pedestrian falls, you are looking at a claim and a possible premium hike because it was your fault. Remember the law is not the same as for a residential property. The usual rule is for you to use reasonable means to keep the sidewalk safe. That means clearing the snow and preventing the build-up of ice by salting. Except, every town has different rules. Some say you should be out there as the snow falls, preventing any accumulation. Other leave it until there are signs of drifting. Still more leave it to your reasonable discretion. And do not forget some ordinances include the parking area as well as the sidewalk.
Then there are those wonderful movements during a thaw when a small avalanche slips off your roof and smashes down on to the sidewalk in front of your premises. Emergency room trips to passers-by caught in these festive events can work out costly. So have you checked whether your coverage includes slips and falls? If so, ask you insurance agent or attorney how the local courts are valuing the usual injuries from falls. You must have enough coverage to pay off the average award of damages for pain and suffering. If there is any good news in all this, it is that small business insurance premiums are a fully deductible expense. Just as you could consider buying expensive kit like a blower to clear deep snow, so you can write off expensive business insurance and weather any legal storms that may come your way. The best strategy is to get the best value policies that will keep you in business while the recession continues. In this, remember there has been an increase in the number of faked claims, backed up by false medical reports. Many dishonest people think businesses are fair targets. Talk through these issues with your agent to get the most cost-effective coverage.