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Business Insurance: Answers To Frequently Asked Questions Many Business Owners Have

 

Here at HIG, we’ve been helping local businesses in Fall River, Somerset, and along the South Coast of Massachusetts and Rhode Island with their business insurance needs for more than 100 years. Over the course of that time, we’ve seen how the business world has changed, and have worked to make sure our insurance offerings evolve with it.

We sat down with HIG partner Chris Hadley to go over some of the biggest risks and questions that business owners today have. Read along to learn more about what your business needs to be fully protected.

Q. What are some business insurance options that can protect a company when it comes to slips and falls?

A. “Slips and falls are a pretty big concern for businesses, especially in the winter time. We see this come up a lot when businesses don’t properly salt an entrance or sidewalk. We also see issues with this when people mop floors during business hours. That can be a big risk, even if you put up ‘Wet Floor’ signs. Luckily, a business owners policy (BOP) includes liability protection, which covers a company’s responsibility for any harm it may cause to others. Your BOP covers medical or legal expenses resulting from an accident, like a slip or fall, which happened on your property.”

Q. What kind of income protection does a business have if it’s shut down from a fire?

A. “Most BOP’s have business interruption coverage. If your business experiences a covered loss, like a fire, water damage or another catastrophic event that requires your business to close for a period of time, the actual loss of income you experience would typically be covered during the period of restoration. Business interruption coverage also picks up any extra expenses incurred from setting up in a new location. For example, if you’re a doctor or dentist and you open a temporary office while yours is being restored, the extra expense of renting the space and buying or renting equipment would be covered in this scenario.”

Q. What can a business do to protect themselves from lawsuits related to things like wrongful termination?

A.“Many business owners policies now have Employment Practices Liability Insurance (EPLI) to cover this. EPLI provides coverage for wrongful acts related to the employment process. The most typical situations are wrongful termination, discrimination, sexual harassment, and retaliation. It’s a security policy that pays for legal defense costs and/or any punitive damages. HIG has definitely seen our fair share of these types of claims coming from clients, so we have a discussion about EPLI coverage with anyone who has employees.”

Q. A topic that has been in the news recently is that of employee embezzlement. What can a business owner do to protect themselves from this?

A. “Many BOP’s have an option to purchase what’s known as employee dishonesty or crime coverage. This insurance coverage can protect a business owner from financial losses resulting from fraudulent acts performed by an employee such as theft, computer fraud, embezzlement, wire transfer fraud, etc. Your independent insurance agent will be able to help you determine how much of this coverage your unique business needs.

Q. Cyber Security has been top of mind for business owners for many reasons in recent months, but most recently with the WannaCry attack — what can business owners do today to protect themselves from a data breach or cyber attack?

A. “This is an enormously important topic these days with all of our business insurance clients. We recently had a client come in who had added an online purchasing option to their website. I suggested adding on data security coverage, which is an additional coverage that can be added onto your BOP, since their website was now taking credit card information. They decided to go with my recommendation and added on the coverage, which was very fortunate, because six months later they were the victim of a data breach. It’s one of those coverages where you don’t realize how important it can be until you experience a loss first hand.

Data Security Coverage protects your business if it becomes the victim of a cyber hack. One of the biggest benefits comes if you have credit card data that is stolen. This coverage will protect individual customers and your business by notifying all affected individuals and setting up credit card reporting and monitoring for each customer who is impacted, which can be a serious cost for a business to take on themselves. Business owners should know that credit card data isn’t the only thing cyber criminals are after, however. If they hack your computer system, they can also steal sensitive, personal information, like social security numbers, which is another way that this coverage can be helpful. Individuals who are impacted by your business’ data breach are eligible for identity restoration case management in addition to credit monitoring.

Data Security Coverage will also cover any damages that were done to your computer or computer systems, and includes a professional forensic IT review to research and determine any vulnerabilities in your computer system. It also covers cases of extortion, which have been happening recently like with the WannaCry ransomware attack. It’s not that expensive to add on, especially when you weigh the cost a business could face without this coverage, so we definitely advise any business that uses computers to purchase this additional coverage.”

When it comes to insuring your business, you never want to leave things to chance. A Business Owners Package is a great option for small to medium sized businesses because it combines your major property and liability risk into one comprehensive package, saving you time and money on your total insurance program. While many of the coverages we’ve discussed today are included in most BOP’s, your independent insurance agent can go over policy specifics and limits to make sure your unique business has the protection it needs.

Business owners — have more questions? An HIG representative is ready to help! Get in touch today by calling our office at 508.676.5949 or visiting our website at www.hadleyinsurit.com.

 

car insurance rates

HIG’s Guide To: Changing Car Insurance Rates

You’ve probably seen it in the news, but car insurance rates are on the rise, with all signs pointing to technology as the main culprit. In today’s highly connected world, cars are becoming more advanced with new safety features and technology. While these changes were intended to make cars safer, they also make it more expensive to repair a car when it is involved in an accident. Hence, the increase in car insurance rates in Massachusetts, even for drivers who have not been involved in a recent crash.

Here at HIG, we are breaking down why car insurance rates are going up for almost everyone and sharing a few ways to help you save on your car insurance costs to hopefully offset any changes you may see.

Cost of Fixing Cars

The cost of auto repairs have skyrocketed. There is no doubt that there have been vast safety improvements in cars over the last several years, but these changes have also affected repair costs and subsequently, insurance rates. Modern cars are more complex — made out of different materials and more parts than ever before. All of these improvements translate to labor intensive and costly repairs. Below are some of the ‘used-to-be easy’ fixes that have been impacted by newer and safer technology.

  • Bumpers

A fender-bender used to be an easy fix, maybe a few hundred dollars at most. In the past, auto technicians could simply punch out the dent — but that’s no longer the case. Many new bumpers are now a molded piece of vinyl attached to aluminum, which is designed to absorb impact and function with the crumple zone. This means that when there is damage to the bumper, it has to be completely replaced and typically with a hefty price tag, sometimes over $1,000! New bumpers also include sensors for things like backing up, collision avoidance, lane alignment, and even cruise control, further increasing repair costs.

  • Headlights

Headlights have also evolved over the last several years. In the past, many car owners were able to replace a headlight assembly themselves with a little patience and know-how. However, newer cars now use LED or HID bulbs which require different parts and expertise to replace. A typical halogen bulb would cost $15-20 on average, but HID bulbs typically cost $100 or more — and don’t forget about the cost of labor.

  • Windshield Repairs

For most insures the cost to replace a cracked or broken windshield is covered under your auto insurance policy; which is a significant saving for you. However, with new technology, the cost of repairing your windshield has increased drastically. According to a recent article in The Boston Globe, it used to cost around $350 for a simple windshield replacement. Today, those same windshields are made with higher quality glass and often contain connected sensors that can detect things like lane departures, rain, and even changes in lighting. Consequently, these advances have almost doubled the cost of repairs.

Other Factors

Technology isn’t the only thing impacting your car insurance rates — low gas prices, unemployment rates, and the technology in your hand have as well.

  • Gas Prices/Unemployment

With gas prices still relatively low and unemployment rates in Massachusetts still under 4% it may seem like a good thing, however in the insurance world, it can mean something completely different. The National Safety Council (NSC) projected that there were 3% more drivers on the road in 2016. And with more people on the road, there is an increased risk of car accidents. Combine this data with increased rates of distracted driving, and auto insurers are seeing much higher rates of auto insurance claims.

  • Distracted Driving

For the first time in history, we are dealing with a generation that learned to text before they learned how to drive. But teen drivers aren’t the only ones to blame — 36% of all drivers text and drive. With more distracted drivers on the road, we also see an increase in distracted driving accidents and fatalities. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, fatalities attributed to distracted driving increased 8.8% in 2015, reversing a long-running decline in automobile-related fatality rates. (If you’re concerned about distracted driving and want to learn tips to avoid this dangerous behavior, read our blog on Tips to End Distracted Driving.)

Technology is changing the world we live in, and here at HIG, we want to help you keep up. While we can’t stop auto insurance rates in Massachusetts from climbing, we can work to help you find a policy that fits your needs and your budget. Here are just a few discounts and coverages you should consider when assessing your car insurance options.

  • Bundling Auto & Home With The Same Insurance Carrier
  • Disappearing Deductible
  • Accident Forgiveness Multi Car Individual/Spouse
  • New Customer Discount
  • Automatic Bill Pay/Pay In Full
  • Energy-Saving Hybrids Or Electrics
  • Advanced Driver Training
  • Military Away
  • Motor Club Membership
  • New Auto Replacement Cost
  • Auto Loan/Lease Gap Coverage
  • Pet Coverage
  • A Student Away At School
  • Good Student Discount
  • Low Mileage Discount
  • Group Discounts

Not happy with your current auto insurance policy? Get in touch with us today to let us help you find a policy that fits your needs. You can reach us at (508) 676-5949 or by visiting our website.

 

Tips To End Distracted Driving

All it takes is four seconds to change the radio station, sip your coffee, check your makeup in the rearview mirror, read a text — or get into an accident.

Did you know that taking your eyes off the road for four seconds while going 55 mph is the equivalent of driving the length of a football field blindfolded? Hard to believe, we know, but what’s even more unsettling is the number of people who drive like this everyday. According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, there are 660,000 distracted drivers on the road at any given time, which many experts believe is a contributing factor to the increase in motor vehicle deaths the US has seen in recent years.  Keep in mind that as distracted driving behaviors increase, so do insurance rates.

Remember: distractions can be cognitive, visual, or both. Think of it this way, if you decide to read a text while driving, not only are you taking your eyes of the road, but you’re also thinking about that text instead of keeping an eye on your surroundings. It’s important to note, however, that driving distractions are not limited to cell phone use. Any activity that disrupts your attention from the main task at hand — driving — can be a danger when you’re behind the wheel. Here are some examples: 

  • Dialing or making a call on your phone
  • Playing with a smartphone app
  • Texting
  • Eating or drinking
  • Talking to passengers
  • Grooming
  • Programming a GPS or navigation system
  • Adjusting a radio or MP3 player
  • Looking for items in your vehicle

So what can you do to be a safer driver and to model safer driving behavior for the next generation? We’ve outlined a few tips to help keep everyone safe on the roads.

Be prepared before you leave.

Before you start your car, make sure you’re really ready to go. Your music is set, your phone is off, your sunglasses are on. If you’re running late and planning to multitask while you drive to save time, know that doing things like eating or grooming can be just as distracting as trying to text while driving. You should also make sure everything in your vehicle is secure before leaving — including pets and children. Trying to reach for something rolling around in the back seat while driving isn’t just a pain, it’s also a danger to yourself and everyone around you when you’re driving.

Put your phone away.

When you get in your car, put your phone upside-down and out of reach to avoid temptation. If you don’t feel comfortable doing this, consider putting your phone on silent so you aren’t distracted by notifications, calls, or texts. There are also gadgets available to help you or your teen driver stay safe on the road like Cellcontrol™ DriveID Technology from Arbella. Remember: no text or phone call is as important as a life. It can wait.

Pull over if you need to.

Maybe you dropped the top to your water bottle while you were driving. Or maybe you remembered you need to make an important phone call before arriving at your destination. Either way, you should always pull over to a safe place to address the issue rather than trying to multitask while driving. The same is true if you’re feeling drowsy while driving. It’s always better to pull over safely to take a rest than to try and push through and risk falling asleep at the wheel.

Distracted driving is an epidemic that endangers you, your passengers and the lives of anyone else on the road, which is why we want to challenge you to confront the problem. Understanding the dangers of distracted driving is the first step towards changing your behavior. But now it’s up to you to set a good example for those around you and to help eliminate distracted driving behaviors from our roads.

Here at HIG, our goal is to help keep you and those around you safe. Give us a call today at (508) 676-5949 or visit our website to at hadleyinsurit.com to learn more about distracted driving and how to put an end to the risky behavior.

Carbon Monoxide Safety Tips for Winter

From portable heaters to fireplaces and wood stove safety, there are a lot of things to be aware of during a New England winter. But one of the biggest winter dangers is invisible to the naked eye: carbon monoxide poisoning.

According to the CDC, more than 20,000 individuals visit the emergency room for carbon monoxide poisoning every year and over 4,000 are hospitalized. The dangers are real, just like in this tragic case in Acushnet. So what can you do to prevent this silent killer from harming your family? Read on for some common sources of carbon monoxide poisoning along with some safety tips to help prevent carbon monoxide leaks.

Wood Stoves and Fuel Burning Space Heaters

If you use a wood stove to stay warm in the winter remember — proper ventilation is key, as a poorly vented wood stove can actually create a buildup of carbon monoxide in your home. HIG recommends that you inspect your wood stove at the start of the season to ensure there is no buildup before you use it. The same goes for fuel burning space heaters. Check and clean your space heater regularly and make sure to use them only in a well-ventilated room. And this should go without saying, but never leave a wood stove or space heater on if it’s unattended.

Snow Blocked Vents

Throughout the winter, you should be checking your exhaust and furnace vents or any intake pipes to make sure they are not blocked by snow. If they are, make sure you remove the snow as soon as possible as this could lead to carbon monoxide poisoning.

Car Related Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

If you like to warm your car up before leaving the house and have a garage, remember to never do this if your garage door is closed. Running a car in a closed space can also lead to a dangerous buildup of carbon monoxide.

Carbon Monoxide Detectors

Make sure you have carbon monoxide alarms installed on every level of your home, as required by housing code in your town (here are some resources from Mass.gov for our Massachusetts friends and RI.gov for our friends in Rhode Island). Avoid installing detectors near ceiling fans, vents, or cooking or heating appliances, which can inhibit the detector’s ability to accurately work. Make sure you test them at least once a month and that you replace them according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

Symptoms of Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

Now that you know some common causes of carbon monoxide poisoning, you should also know the symptoms. Feeling weak and or dizzy, headaches, nausea, and even ringing of the ears can all be symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning. Keep in mind that carbon monoxide poisoning can happen faster in children than in adults because they have faster heartbeats and breathing rates. And don’t forget, your pets are also susceptible to carbon monoxide poisoning. In addition to symptoms like sleepiness or lethargy, your pets may also become uncoordinated in their movements, have difficulty breathing, or even have seizures if exposed to dangerous levels of carbon monoxide.

Unfortunately, these symptoms occur for a myriad of other illnesses, including the common cold or the flu, making it more difficult to diagnose cases of carbon monoxide poisoning. If you suspect you or someone you know is suffering from carbon monoxide poisoning, make sure to call 911 immediately.

Here at HIG, we’re not just insurance agents, we’re also trusted advisors. Your health and safety are our number one priorities. Get in touch today by visiting our website at www.hadleyinsurit.com or by calling our office at 508.676.5949 to learn more about what you can be doing to stay safe this winter.

Car Insurance Renewal Checklist

Can you believe that it’s already 2017? We know you’re probably worried about your New Year’s Resolutions like being healthier or spending more time with family, but at HIG we think the New Year is also a good time to think about your car insurance.

For many people, the first of the year is the time to renew your car insurance policy. If this is the case for you, make a goal to be more proactive about your insurance this year. Follow our helpful tips to make sure you have the coverage you need to stay safe on the road while saving money in ways you, or your insurance agent, could be overlooking.

Here’s a quick checklist we created to get you thinking. Not sure what something is? Keep reading for a more detailed description of each coverage and discounts!

Discounts:

  • Multi Car Discounts
  • Bundling Discounts
  • Good Student/Student Away at School Discounts
  • Disappearing Deductible Discounts
  • Energy Savings Hybrids or Electric Car Discounts
  • Disappearing Deductible Discounts
  • Energy Savings Hybrids or Electric Car Discounts
  • Advanced Driver Training Discounts
  • Military Away Discounts
  • Mileage Discounts
  • Annual Premium vs Monthly Premium Discounts
  • Charitable Donation Discounts
Coverages:

    • Lease Gap/Auto Loan Coverages
    • New Auto Replacement Cost Coverage
    • Accident Forgiveness
    • Substitute Transportation
    • Optional Bodily Injury to Others

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Car Insurance Discounts You May Qualify For:

Multi Car Discounts — Do you own more than one car? If you insure them with the same carrier, you may be eligible for a discount on your insurance premium.

Bundling Your Car — When you bundle your Car and your homeowners, condo or renters insurance policies with the same insurance carrier you could save 15% or more.

Good Student Discount — Have a stellar student at home? Don’t just brag about it; bring your child’s report card to your insurance agent to see if you’re eligible for a ‘Good Student Discount’.

Student Away at School Discount — If your child is away at school more than 100 miles from your home, you could qualify for this insurance discount.

Disappearing Deductible Discount — With disappearing deductible, you can save money on your insurance by just being a good driver! For every renewal you go without getting in an at-fault accident, you can earn credits towards a future deductible.

Energy Saving Hybrids or Electric Car Discounts — More than just saving money on gas, you could also save on your insurance by driving one of these new, environmentally friendly cars.

Advanced Driver Training Discounts — Did you commit to learning safer driver techniques by enrolling in a driver safety course? Let your agent know to see if you qualify for any discounts.

Military Away Discounts — We are proud supporters of the men and women in our armed services, and so are many insurance carriers. If you are deployed more than 100 miles from where your car is garaged, you could qualify for a discount on your car insurance.

Mileage Discounts — Are you an infrequent driver? Then this is a great discount just for you! By driving less, you could qualify for a lower insurance premium.

Paying Your Premium In Full — Did you know that paying your insurance premium annually versus monthly can save you money? Plus, you don’t have to worry about remembering to pay your insurance bill every month.

Charitable Donations Discounts — Do you have a charity or non-profit that is near and dear to your heart? Ask your insurance agent about any discounts you may be eligible for through your charitable donations.

Car Insurance Coverage Options:

Lease Gap/Auto Loan Coverages — Worried about your insurance coverage when it comes to your aging vehicle? Lease Gap or Auto Loan Coverage helps cover the difference between what you still owe for your car and its actual cash value in case you were to get in an accident.

New Auto Replacement Cost Coverage — Ever worry what would happen if you totaled your car? Would your insurance coverage be enough to get you the same car or would you have to downgrade to something not as nice? With new auto replacement cost coverage, your insurance will pay to replace your car with a new vehicle of the same make and model.

Accident Forgiveness — If you’re a driver with a clean driving record and at least 6 years of driving experience, you should definitely consider accident forgiveness. By purchasing accident forgiveness, you’re able to avoid insurance premium increases resulting from one at-fault accident. Just remember, you will still get points on your driving record, but your insurance premiums won’t reflect this change as long as you stay with your current insurance carrier.

Substitute Transportation — If your car is in the shop due to an accident, substitute transportation coverage can help cover the costs of renting a car or taking public transportation until you get your car back. Remember though, this would only apply after an accident, not for routine mechanical repairs.

Optional Bodily Injury to Others — While Massachusetts requires a minimum of $20,000 per person and $40,000 per accident for bodily injury to others, often times this limit is unfortunately not enough to cover medical expenses related to an at-fault accident. Talk to your agent today about raising this limit to make sure you’re protected in case you ever injure someone in an at-fault accident.

Are you planning to buy or lease a new car in 2017? Read our blog on what you need to know insurance-wise before you do.

Here at HIG, we know the auto insurance industry like the backs of our hands. Visit our website at www.hadleyinsurit.com or give our office a call at 508.676.5949 to learn more about how you can get proactive about your car insurance.

Here’s Why You Need Business Income Insurance

Imagine this: a tree is knocked over during a winter storm and falls onto a set of power lines in front of your business. This incident sparks a fire that damages your building, along with your two commercial vehicles parked out front. You’re forced to close for a few months in order to rebuild your office. Could your business survive without the income? Well, here’s why you need business income insurance.

For a lot of businesses, this exact scenario can be make or break. If your business suffers a major claim and is unable to generate revenue, what would you do? If you have a Business Owners Package, you would be in some luck. This insurance package combines major property and liability risk into one comprehensive policy. It also provides loss of income protection, also known as business income coverage.

Many small business owners don’t realize that this specific coverage is a part of their Business Owners Package, but it can be more important than property insurance if your business is ever in the position of being unable to operate for an extended period. Here are some details that you should know:

Will Business Income Insurance help my business?

Business Income Insurance is helpful for any type of business, from restaurants to retail stores to professional service providers. Think of it this way: if your business had to shut down for a few months, would you be able to continue covering all your business expenses yourself? If said the answer is no, then you would benefit from this coverage. While this type of insurance is helpful for any business, it can be particularly useful for retailers and healthcare businesses.

What does Business Income Insurance cover?

While your Commercial Property Policy will help cover the costs of repairing damages to the structure of your business based on the specifics of your policy, Business Income Insurance provides extra relief to help you get through the period of time when your business is unable to operate. First, this coverage can compensate you for lost income while your business is closed. The income value is based on financial records, and will take into account any recent increases or changes in revenue.

Business Income Insurance will also help you pay employees until you can reopen and may help cover recurring operating expenses like your gas and electric bills or even your mortgage. Depending on the specifics of your policy, Business Income Insurance might also help cover the costs of finding a temporary location for your business until your primary office is able to open.

Is there a limit to how long Business Income Insurance will apply?

This depends on the specifics of your insurance policy, however, in general, business income insurance should help cover expenses for your business for up to 12-18 months. You should check with your insurance agent to understand the coverage you have for your individual business.

How do you get Business Income Insurance?

Talk to your independent insurance agent today to learn more about this extremely valuable business insurance. Business Income Insurance is generally bundled as a part of your business owners package, along with property and liability insurance. If you don’t have a business owners package however, it can definitely be added as a part of your commercial insurance package.

If you’re worried about what you would do if your business was forced to close for an extended period of time, give HIG a call today at 508.676.5949 or visit our website at www.hadleyinsurit.com. Our team of experienced agents will help create a business owners insurance package that fits your unique needs so you can spend less time worrying, and more time running and growing your business.

Business Tips – The Four Different Kinds Of Business Liability Insurance You Need To Know About

When it comes to protecting your business, having the right liability insurance can be make or break. Consider this: a customer trips and falls on a set of stairs in your building and breaks their leg — would you be able to cover their medical costs? Or what if you are the victim of a data breach, resulting in the release of all of your clients’ credit card information? Would you have the resources to resolve the problem?

In many cases, experience and hard work are not enough to keep a business thriving. If you own a business, here are 4 types of liability insurance you should definitely consider:

General Liability Insurance in MA and RI

General Liability Insurance, also called commercial liability insurance, protects you, your business, and your staff against claims resulting from property damage or bodily injury. This coverage helps cover expenses like legal fees or medical expenses up to the limit of your policy. This type of coverage can also protect you in case you run into other unexpected incidents, like copyright issues or even instances of libel, slander, or misleading advertising.

Professional Liability Insurance in MA and RI

This type of insurance, also knowns as Errors and Omissions Coverage, is a must for any business that offers professional advice or services, such as a law firms, accountants, or engineers. This specific coverage provides protection in case a client takes legal action for things like negligence, misrepresentation, or for providing inaccurate advice.

Employment Practice Liability in MA and RI

Employment Practice Liability Insurance, or EPLI, helps protect businesses if an employee takes legal action because they feel their legal rights have been violated. Common lawsuits that EPLI provides coverage for include cases of discrimination, sexual harassment, wrongful termination, failure to employ or promote, breach of contract, or even cases of wrongful infliction of emotional distress or mismanagement of employee benefit plans.

Cyber Liability in MA and RI

If your business takes credit card data from clients or uses technology to store employee data, you should definitely consider purchasing Cyber Liability Insurance. As hacking threats become more sophisticated, small and medium sized businesses are now being targeted more and more. Cyber Liability will help cover the costs of identifying and resolving the cause of a data breach as well as the defense and settlement costs if your business is sued as a result of a hack.

You’ve worked hard to build your business; now let HIG help you protect it. Get in touch with our office today to learn more about the types of insurance your business needs: (508) 676-5949.

Cyberbullying & Insurance – What You Should Know

When was the last time you saw something in the news about cyberbullying? Probably not long ago. Although bullying has always existed, this new form of harassment is more difficult than ever to combat thanks to technology and social media. From Snapchat to Twitter to Instagram, there are seemingly endless mediums for teenagers to connect, most of which can be done instantly from their phones. And once they post a photo on the Internet or text it to a friend, it’s there for good, and leaves a solid footprint. As a parent, it’s up to you to make sure they understand the dangers that come with this type of connected life. Let’s learn more about cyberbullying & insurance.

Here are some things you can do to keep your kids safe online:

  • Talk to your kids early and often about bullying.
  • Discuss what information is and is not appropriate to share online.
  • Check your child’s social media profiles to make sure they are private and only accessible to friends and family.
  • Know what websites or social media channels your children are on, and monitor their usage.
  • Set rules about how much time your kids can spend online or on their phones.

Cyberbullying Insurance Options

There are a few insurance options available to help protect you in case you do get involved in a cyberbullying lawsuit. Personal Injury Coverage is an endorsement that can be added onto your homeowners insurance policy. Unlike what the name suggests, this type of insurance is not intended in cases where someone gets physically injured; rather, this insurance provides protection in cases of libel, slander, defamation of character and even wrongful eviction. Here’s an example of when this could be helpful — say your teenager begins spreading rumors online about a classmate. When the classmate’s parents find out, they decide to take legal recourse and sue you for negligence and your child for libel, like what happened in this case from Texas. You’re now forced to hire a lawyer and the legal bills quickly begin piling up; this is where personal injury coverage can come in handy.

An umbrella insurance policy, also known as excess liability coverage, can also be helpful. This extra insurance adds on to the liability limit allowed under your homeowners insurance policy, and can definitely come in handy if you are ever taken to court over an online incident. Make sure to call your insurance agent today to learn more about these options.

In today’s digital world, keeping track of your kids online activity can be very difficult. But with a little communication and the right insurance, you can help ensure that your family is protected online and in the real world.

Want to learn more about insurance options for the digital age? Give HIG a call today at (508) 676-5949 or visit our website today!

A Quick Guide to Insuring Your College Student

Where did the summer go? Somehow it’s September again, which means you’re dealing with getting your kids back to school. If you have a child headed to college this year, there are so many things to think about. From course loads to housing to making sure they know how to do their own laundry, back to school season can be overwhelming for anyone. At HIG, our goal is to help you worry less, which is why we’ve laid out a few insurance tips specifically for your college kids.

Auto Insurance

Parents, did you know that your MA auto insurance policy will follow your child when they go away to school, even if they are out of state? This means they’ll be covered under your policy when riding in a friend’s car or even if they decide to drive someone else’s car. To learn more about the coverage your MA auto policy provides while your kid is away at school, get in touch with your insurance agent today.

And don’t forget to look into available insurance discounts when your student does head off to college. For example, you may qualify for a good student discount based on your child’s grades. You could also be eligible for a student away discount depending on how far away your kid’s school is. If your child will be taking a car that you own with them, make sure to call your insurance agent to inform them of this change to the garaging address.

Renters Insurance

Renters insurance is definitely something to consider for your college-bound kid. While your homeowners insurance policy will most likely cover their possessions if they are living in a campus residence like a dorm, there may be higher homeowners insurance deductibles, which can make a supplemental renters insurance policy worthwhile.

If your child decides to move off campus, they should know that they will no longer be covered under your homeowners insurance policy and should definitely invest in their own renters insurance policy, which on average costs less than a cup of coffee per week. Even if your child is living with friends, they should still consider getting their own renters insurance policy to cover their personal belongings. Check in with your insurance agent to see what makes the most sense for your child’s unique situation.

Umbrella Insurance

Umbrella insurance policies can also come in handy when you have a child in college. This additional protection will provide personal injury coverage in case they hurt someone while they are at school. It can also help cover legal expenses if you or your child is sued. Call your insurance agent to learn more about how an umbrella insurance policy can help your family.

Want to make sure your child is protected no matter where they are? HIG can help. Our insurance experts can talk you through your options to make sure your policy fits your unique needs. Give us a call at (508) 676-5949 or visit our website today to learn more.

What to Know Before Buying or Leasing a New Car

Somehow, summer always seems to fly by! Labor Day is right around the corner, and with it comes some of the best car sales of the year. Before you go to buy or lease a new car though, take a minute to brush up on our car buying insurance tips to make sure you’re taking full advantage of the seasonal sales.

What your insurance agent needs to know when you buy a new car

One of the most important steps in the car buying process is informing your insurance agent about your new purchase. In Massachusetts, approved dealerships are able to process your vehicle transaction and title application through the Electronic Vehicle Registration (EVR). With this process, your information is directly sent from an approved dealership to your insurance agent to speed up the registration and title application process for everyone. Here is some of the information that your insurance agent will need to help you when you buy a new car:

  • Is the vehicle new or pre-owned?
  • Are you buying or leasing the vehicle?
  • What make, model and year is the car?
  • Will you be transferring over an existing plate or will you need a new one?
  • What is the contact information for the dealership where you are purchasing or leasing the vehicle?

Additional auto insurance coverages for your new car

There are some new coverages available that may not have been around the last time you purchased a car. Make sure to familiarize yourself with them before heading to the dealership. In addition to the auto insurance coverages required by Massachusetts law, drivers should consider purchasing the following insurance options to ensure they have the coverage they need while they are on the road. For a full list, visit the auto insurance page on our website.

  • Lease Gap/Auto Loan Coverage: Unfortunately, from the moment you drive your new car off the lot, its value decreases. Luckily, Gap Coverage helps cover the difference between what you owe on your vehicle and its actual cash value in case you get into an accident.
  • New Auto Replacement Cost Coverage: This coverage will help you if your car is totaled in an accident; your insurance will pay to replace your car with a new vehicle of the same make and model.
  • Accident Forgiveness: Accidents are a part of life. If you qualify for this coverage, though, you can avoid rate increases related to an at-fault accident.
  • Substitute Transportation: This coverage will come in handy if your car is in the shop due to an accident. It will help cover rental car fees during this period of time, as specified by your policy.
  • Optional Bodily Injury to Others: Extend the standard liability protection on a standard MA Auto Insurance Policy, which only provides a basic limit of $20,000 per person and $40,000 per accident, with this additional coverage. In many cases, this basic limit is not adequate to cover expenses related to an accident.

Auto insurance discounts you should be aware of

We understand that purchasing a new vehicle, along with upkeep and maintenance, can be expensive. Which is why we always recommend looking into available discounts to help lower your insurance costs. While you may know about some of the discounts available, such as bundle insurance discounts for auto and homeowners or renters insurance policies, there are many newer discount options to take advantage of. Here are some that you should consider when purchasing your new car.

  • Multi Car Discounts
  • Good Student/Student Away at School Discounts
  • Disappearing Deductible Discounts
  • Energy Saving Hybrids or Electric Car Discounts
  • Advanced Driver Training Discounts
  • Military Away Discounts

Remember that insurance coverages may vary from company to company, so always make sure to do your research before committing to an agent.

Here at HIG, our goal is to make your life easier while letting you rest easy knowing that you’re always protected. Give us a call today at (508) 676-5949 or visit our website at hadleyinsurit.com to learn more about how we can help with your auto insurance needs.