Arm Yourself With Insurance Knowledge

What every plumber needs to know about business insurance

Arm Yourself With Insurance Knowledge

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Reading through complex insurance policies and understanding what’s covered and what’s not doesn't sound appealing. But Nicole Murray — who worked at her father’s insurance company for years before she established a business in the wastewater industry in Jackson, New Jersey, in 2012 — highly recommends contractors make time to do it. Every year. No exceptions.

That’s just one of several bits of advice Murray offered when asked what things plumbers should consider when buying commercial insurance. Here are some other suggestions to consider:

  • Find an insurance agent you can visit in person, rather than doing business over the phone or via the internet. “You can build a relationship and gain that trust,” she says. “You’re putting a lot in their hands, plus commercial insurance is very complex.”
  • Every commercial policy will differ, so build one tailored to fit your business. Factors to consider include number of employees, number of service vehicles and the size of payroll — even any storage space the company rents.
  • Be aware of policy exclusions. For example, Murray, who operates in both New Jersey and the state of New York, found out her New Jersey workers'  compensation policy wasn’t valid in New York. So she had to get a policy covering New York. “I had no idea at the time. It’s easy to assume everything and anything is covered, so always ask your agent,” she says.
  • Sit down with your agent and review policies annually. As businesses grow, circumstances change. An insurance policy should reflect those changes, she says. It’s also a good idea to review the cost of insurance annually and do some comparison shopping. Word-of-mouth referrals usually work best, she adds.
  • Take time to shop around for the best rates. Murray warns that sometimes insurance companies will provide a very low initial price to get business owners in the door, then keep adding on costs for other services. And when visiting an agent in person, always remember to bring along the hard copy of existing policies so the agent can make an accurate comparison.
  • As for the debate over higher deductibles/lower premiums or lower deductibles/higher premiums, there’s no hard and fast rule about which is better. “It comes down to what you feel comfortable paying,” she says.


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