Get your home ready for fall with this checklist

Get your home ready for fall 2

Get your home ready for fall 2

Autumn is the time to start breaking out the sweaters, warm soups, and hot drinks. For homeowners, it’s also prime time for fall maintenance and to get your home winter-ready. Fall can bring a lot of rain and wind to Georgia and a lot of ice and snow to the Atlanta area. So, start preparing your home for the cold weather with these fall tips.

The gutters & downspouts

Before these important fixtures get clogged with leaves, debris, and possibly become iced over, make sure to:

  1. Clean out your gutters – Seriously. Gutter systems are meant to displace water away from your home to prevent rot and mold. Rot can not only start to eat away at your roof and sealants, but it can open the door to pests who are looking for warmth in the winter. So, keep your gutter clear and avoid paying for a new roof (home insurance usually doesn’t cover issues due to a lack of maintaining the home.)
  1. Check between the gutters and your home to make sure no water has seeped behind them.
  1. Remove water that has pooled on the ground, especially from the downspouts. – Again, if rainwater isn’t displaced, it could result in rot, cracks, and foundational issues later.

Windows & Doors

Windows and doors might add a nice aesthetic to both the inside and outside of your home, but they keep unwanted pests and debris out. So, before or during the Fall:

  1. Repair any cracks or holes in your doors and windows
  1. Make sure the area around the doors and windows is properly sealed. – This not only helps keep pests out, but it can also help you keep in heat, which can help you save money on your energy bill.

Your home’s exterior

Your home’s job, after all, is to protect you from the elements. Make sure that the outside of your home can do that by:

  1. Scheduling a roof inspection – You should have someone check your roof at least once a year. Fall can be the perfect time to schedule an inspection, right before potential hail and snow damage weighs and wears on your roof. Choose a reputable roofing company who will identify and report any potential problems you may see in the near future. Some companies even offer FREE inspections because it means you’re more likely to call them for a repair if needed. Beware, though. If someone offers you a free roof, it’s a scam.
  1. Visually inspecting the outside of your house. – Look for cracks in your foundation, mold growth, fallen siding, wood rot, or anything else that needs to be patched up before freezing becomes an issue.
  1. Sealing up any gaps. – Winter is an especially hard time for pests too. So, there will be a lot more of them trying to make a cozy home inside your humble abode. Don’t give them the chance! Close any holes that you see and block any potential entrances that bugs or rodents might use, big or small.

Additionally, check your walkways and steps for gaps that could trip you up. Snow and ice are already hard to navigate. Plus, if gaps are wide enough in these areas, water can seep in, freeze over, and cause even concrete to expand and crack.

  1. Checking your deck, porch, or patio. – Look for rusted bolts, rotting boards, etc. and replace them before the extra fall and winter water make the issues worse.
  1. Making sure your outdoor lights work. – This safety feature won’t do you any good if the lights themselves aren’t working. So, take a look at your outdoor lighting. Replace blown light bulbs, check motion sensors if you have them, and arrange to have any wiring issues repaired. Remember, it stays darker for longer in the winter, which means more time for burglars to hide in the dead of night. Maintaining your outdoor lighting can help you prevent burglary and help keep your home safe overall.

Get your home ready for fall

Your yard

Depending on your preference, you may or may not get a lot of use out of your yard in the winter. However, the land is still important to maintain. Before they become larger issues, check on these items in your lawn:

  1. Long or fallen tree limbs – Trim down shrub and tree limbs that are too close to power lines or rotten enough to possibly fall on your roof or a neighbor’s property. Loose branches are no match for heavy winds, rains, and the weight of snow.
  1. Your sprinkler systems, hoses, and exterior fountains – Chances are, you won’t be watering your lawn much in the winter. If you don’t, drain and store your hoses and sprinkler system somewhere water-resistant. If you do still use an automatic sprinkler system, remember to lower the frequency or amount of water used. Doing so can help you save on water and energy bills as well.
  1. Your pool – If you have a pool, make sure you have it drained or covered before the weather gets too cold. Keeping water out in the open like that could create a hazard or throw off the pH balance when you are ready to swim.
  1. Fallen leaves – Even if you jump in them afterward, rake up your leaves and put them in large trash bags to be thrown out. If you leave them on the ground, water could get trapped underneath and rot not only the leaves, but your lawn.
  1. Outdoor furniture – Leaving your patio furniture outside year-round decreases its lifespan. So, wipe down and clean off any outdoor furniture and find a safe place to store it for the fall and winter seasons.

Your home’s interior

Making the inside of your home comfy and cozy means more than just turning your central air system from cool to heat. These items will need your attention now so that you can be safe and warm later:

  1. Having your chimney inspected – Before you light the first fire of the season, open your flue and clean your chimney. Have a professional come and inspect the system before winter weather officially comes. There’s a higher demand for chimney inspections as it gets colder. So, if you wait to schedule, you may be waiting a lot longer for an inspector to come out.
  1. Having your HVAC/furnace inspected – The same goes for furnace inspections. Make sure your heat works before the cold weather hits, and have a specialist inspect your furnace before the rush. You don’t want to be stuck without heat for an extended period of time.
  1. Cleaning your dryer – This is more than just emptying the lint trap. Clean out your dryer vents before the greater amount of static electricity makes its shocking appearance known – in the form of a house fire.
  1. Checking your air filter & vents – If it’s been a while since you’ve looked at your air filter, it might be time to change it. Plus, cleaning out dust and debris in your vents can help your heating run more efficiently and with less of a burning smell.
  1. Making sure your pipes are well-insulated – If you can gain access to your piping system, make sure that they’re still well insulated to avoid them freezing over.
  1. Knowing where your main water line is and how to turn it off. – It can be useful if your pipes do freeze and you need to turn it off.
  1. Doing a semi-annual check on your carbon monoxide and smoke detectors.
  1. Checking your insulation, especially in your attic. – If there are any rooms that feel unnaturally cold compared to the rest of your house, you should probably check the insulation in that room. Additionally, take a peek at how the insulation in your attic is doing. Heat rises; so, if your attic isn’t properly insulated, that’s heat that’s escaping through your roof, and less heat that’s reaching you. Add more insulation if needed or if your current insulation is rotted or molded.

It’s also never a bad season to review your home insurance policy and shop around. However, we know that it can be a hassle to shop for homeowners insurance. That’s why our experts are here to help. We’ve formed relationships with the best carriers in the business so we can help you find great rates and coverage. Plus, we shop for you year after year to make sure you get the best prices! To start getting quotes from our insurance specialists, just give us a call, fill out our online form, or LiveChat with us today!

How to get business insurance in Atlanta

How to get business insurance

How to get business insurance

So, you’re ready to start a business and make your passion projects profitable. However, there are a lot of ways that things can go wrong and cost you a lot of money. Luckily, there are various types of business insurance available to protect your company. But how can you make sure you’re getting the right type of insurance for your Atlanta business? Start by taking a look at this guide.

How to get business insurance in Atlanta.

1. Find a business insurance agent

Ultimately, the easiest way to get the insurance you need will be to work with an independent insurance agent. Independent agents (like us!) have relationships with different carriers. We know all about the Georgia regulations for insurance, we’re familiar with the discounts you may be eligible for, and our experts have many years of experience with various industries. So, we can pair you with an expert in your business’s industry, identify your specific risks, and do all of the shopping for you so that you only get quotes on the best policies for you.

2. Know your risks

There are a ton of different factors that determine the type of risks you’ll need to protect your company against, including your business location, business age, number of employees, etc. Restaurants face different dangers than auto body shops. Professional organizers face different risks than event planners. Even a tow truck company is going to have different concerns than an auto hauler operation. So, it will be important to sit down, take a moment, and think about the worst-case scenarios that your business may face.

3. Find out what type of business insurance is required

Just as there are certain permits, licenses, and regulations to abide by when you form a business, there may also be requirements for the types of insurance you must have. Usually, it’s a good idea to start out with:

General Liability

General liability is the form of coverage that can help you cover the cost of medical bills if someone is hurt on your business’s property. It can also help pay the legal fees if the person sues you for the injury.

It's important to get business insurance for your company

Commercial Property

Regardless of if you sell goods or services, there can be a lot of equipment that goes into running your company. If something were to happen to it, you wouldn’t want to go into personal financial ruin trying to get your business back up and running. Commercial property coverage can help a business repair or replace property if it was damaged due to a covered loss. Covered losses for a business typically include:

  • Fire
  • Lightning
  • Windstorms
  • Vandalism

However, coverage differs from policy to policy. So, check your declarations page, your policy, or ask your agent about exactly what is covered in your particular business insurance policy.

Workers Compensation

Georgia actually requires that a company with more than three workers, including part-time employees, must have workers compensation insurance. Your coverage must be able to pay an employee a portion of their average weekly wages while they are medically approved or required to take off work. There may be more in-depth regulations for your specific industry, but those are the general basics.

You may also be required to have certain types of insurance specific to your industry. This can be especially true of contractors. Some clients will mark certain types of insurance as “required” in order to do business with them. Be sure to look through your contract to find out what types of coverages you need to do the business you want.

4. Be prepared to answer a few other questions

Again, there are a ton of factors that can determine the type and amount of business insurance you need. The most common questions that an agent will ask you to find you the right coverages are:

  • What type of business do you have?
  • Do you have any past claims?
  • How long have you been in business?
  • Where are you located?
  • What type of building are you located in? How large is the space?
  • How many full and part-time employees do you have?
  • What is your gross annual revenue?

These questions can vary depending on your industry and how you operate. Risk is determined in different ways depending on the industry, after all. Still, it’s nice to have an idea of what you may need to answer to get the best rates.

5. Calculate how much coverage you need

Sure, you need insurance. Only going for the minimum amount of necessary coverage, however, could be disastrous. Instead, consider how much money you would need in a catastrophic situation to get going again.

Consider how big your business is. Do you have enough coverage to replace vital equipment? Do you have enough coverage to take care of an employee or multiple employees if they’re injured on the job? Do you have enough money to handle a lawsuit? Anything that could sink your business financially is a potential type of insurance you’ll need to include in your business insurance policy.

6. Determine your budget for coverage

Now that you know about how much coverage you need, budget how much you’ll need to get that type of insurance. That number can vary greatly depending on your location, your industry, and the types of risks you’re exposed to.

Don’t forget to include the rates of things like workers’ comp, professional liability, and flood insurance. So, you’ll need to be prepared to pay for at least the insurance that’s required by the state plus what may be necessary for your industry.

So, there’s the run-down on what it takes to get the business insurance you need. It may seem like a lot to consider, but our agents are ready and raring to get you affordable rates on the coverage you need. To start get competitive quotes on the best business insurance for you, just give us a call, fill out our online form, or LiveChat with our experts today!

8 things you need to know about maintaining your car

Maintaining your car

Maintaining your car

Whether you’ve had your car for a few months or a few years, sooner or later, you’re going to have to service all its little moving parts. It can be expensive, time-consuming, and just generally unpleasant if you’re not an auto enthusiast. But there are tons of benefits to maintaining upkeep of your vehicle. These are some of the core reasons why maintaining your car is so important.

The importance of maintaining your car.

1. You’ll have a smoother drive

The funny thing about cars is that they give you warning signs of the slightest issues, and we’re not talking about just your “Check Engine” light. There are tons of sensitive parts working together to keep your car going. If even one of these parts isn’t performing at its best, you could hear grinding, squeaking, or simply the sounds of your car working harder than usual. You might also feel a shake in the steering wheel, excess heat from the hood, or a new, weird way that your engine turns over.

In any case, regular car maintenance can catch small problems like these quickly so that you have less of a rough ride on the road.

2. It saves you money in the long run

Maintaining your car can also save you from more expensive vehicle repairs later on. If something seems expensive to repair now, the replacement cost of the malfunctioning piece is usually a lot more. For example, not getting an oil change can cause parts of your engine to fail due to a lack of lubrication between parts or warping due to temperature control.

It’s important to note that your car insurance probably won’t cover damages due to neglecting vehicle maintenance. So, if something like that does happen, you’ll need to come up with the money yourself.

3. You’ll get better mileage

Think about it like this: you would run a marathon much more slowly and with greater strain if you weren’t at peak condition than if you were, right? That’s kind of how your car works. If something is wrong with it or its parts aren’t at their best, it takes a lot more effort to run like it normally should – which means it needs more fuel to run at the same pace as a “healthy” car. So, think of maintaining your car as being good for its health.

Regular vehicle maintenance can make sure that there are no loose or cracked hoses leaking vital fluid everywhere. It can also help keep your filters and tanks clean and using all the respective fluids possible in the best way. That way, you can get the most out of each gas fill-up (which, these days, are not cheap).

4. It helps you keep control of the car

Your ability to handle a car can depend on everything from power steering fluid to alignment to certain gears. If you take your car in for maintenance, even just an oil change and tire rotation, your mechanic should be able to tell you about these issues before start struggling with your steering wheel. Some auto shops will even offer you a free diagnostic check if you tell them about your car issues, so maintaining your car can be really helpful.

5. Your tires last longer

In a regular maintenance check, a mechanic can usually tell you if there’s any uneven wear on the inside or outside of your tires. They can tell you if your air pressure is low, if your alignment is off, and if it’s time to get new tires.

You may also be able to diagnose this part for yourself. There’s a small notch of rubber that looks like it links between certain treads. It’s raised to the point just before any more friction on your tire would pop it. On new tires, you won’t be able to see this easily. However, on worn tires or nearly bald tires, if you can see this notch, it’s time to get new wheels.

The treads on your tires are especially important for maintaining a safe stopping distance as well as driving and braking safely in the rain. So, this is definitely not a type of vehicle maintenance you want to put off.

6. Your car will last longer

Let’s turn back to our body analogy. If you feed your body the right fuel and keep your parts working well, then you’ll generally live longer. If you give your car the right fuel and keep its moving parts working properly, you’ll have the car longer. A mechanic is like your vehicle’s doctor. They check what may be wrong with your car, what you need to keep an eye out for, and how to keep its “body” healthy for the future.

7. Your car is safer overall

Even minor car issues can negatively affect the way your car drives. However, it can also affect your ability to stay safe on the roads. Of course, you want to get regular oil changes to keep the moving parts of your engine from grinding against each other. Of course, you want to replace your brake pads before they stop working while you’re driving. Still, some people neglect another vital part of their car’s maintenance that can keep you safe – how clean the car is.

Keeping your car clean, dusted, and vacuumed can help keep your cabin filters clearer, your windshield and mirrors crisper, and generally make your driving experience more comfortable. In turn, this gives you a clearer view of your surroundings, a greater sense of alertness, more attentiveness, and greater reaction times while you drive.

8. It’s the law

In some states, certain types of vehicle maintenance are required. Emissions testing has been a huge example of this in the past few years, and for good reason. Besides preventing the pollution of the environment, your emissions system can keep vital parts under your car from getting dusty, dirty, and therefore potentially damaged or not running optimally. So, check your state and city laws regarding how frequently you need to test your emissions and other systems.

There are tons of other ways that maintaining your car can benefit you in the long run. But if you keep these major reasons in mind, your next trip to the mechanic might not seem so bad.

If you’re looking for lower rates on the car insurance you need, talk to our experts today. We love making insurance easy, and we’re masters at finding the discounts that fit you. To start your free quotes on affordable auto insurance, just give us a call, fill out our online form, or LiveChat with a specialist today.

What do I do if I hit someone’s parked car?

What do you do if you hit someone's parked car?

What do you do if you hit someone's parked car?

Even the best and most experienced drivers may hit a parked car in their driving career. You may think, “How could someone possibly hit something that’s not moving?” But it’s more common than you think. In fact, a study showed that around 69 percent of hit-and-run accidents happened to parked cars. But how can you be the responsible party if you’ve made this small oopsie? Let’s take a look.

Read moreWhat do I do if I hit someone’s parked car?

6 tips for finding a home loan partner in Atlanta

Finding a home loan partner

Finding a home loan partner

Buying a home can be a big step into the next chapter of your life. However, it’s pretty unlikely that you have the money to buy a house all at once. So, you’ll need a home loan or a mortgage that you can pay off steadily. The problem is that there can be so many mortgage loan partners to choose from. How can you find the right one for you? Here are 6 tips on how to pick the right home loan partner.

Read more6 tips for finding a home loan partner in Atlanta

How to build a brand for your business

It's important to build a brand for your business.

It's important to build a brand for your business.

Starting a business doesn’t just mean putting a price on your goods or services. It’s making sure that your customer base has trust in the things you sell above any other maker. But how can you establish this trust when you’re just starting out? You need to build a brand for your company. Here are 7 tips on how.

How to build a brand for your business.

1. Know what makes you unique.

The first step to building a brand is to know what makes your specific business different. Consumers can go anywhere for certain goods and services, so what makes your company the one they should turn to?  The easiest answer is usually your specific knowledge and industry experience.

No one can look at the world through your eyes. So, if you’re providing a good, no one can craft that object like you can. If you provide a service, no one else approaches things the exact same way you do. However, it’s important to be specific when identifying this difference as you build a brand.

2. Stay consistent.

If you’re constantly changing the voice and the image that you put out to the world, people will have a tough time remembering your business. To help keep your brand consistent, take some time to write down the core objectives, values, and mission of your company. That way, you have a solid foundation of beliefs and goals for your business even as it changes.

3. Create your voice.

When building trust in your products, it’s important to know your audience and tailor your brand accordingly. Consider the type of voice that your potential clients will want to interact with. Usually, a company’s unique voice stems from its particular industry and its business location.  For instance, a craft beer brewing company in Oakland, CA will have a completely different way of communicating with customers than a five-star restaurant in Washington D.C.

Practice interacting with potential clients using your unique voice, and make sure you sound the same across all of your business platforms, not just your website. Carrying your brand voice throughout your company’s social media profiles, chat responses, and even phone calls will give people something to remember and find your business when they need it.

4. Get a website

Once you’ve established your core values and your voice, you’ll need a way to advertise so you can build your brand. The easiest method of advertising today is the Internet, where potential customers will most likely search for the services you provide. With tools like WordPress and Wix, it’s easy to make a professional-looking website.

Even if you don’t think you have enough time or skill to use those tools, there are tons of websites that allow you to connect to freelancers who will develop a website for you. Either way, make sure that the content, colors, font, and general aesthetic of your site matches your company voice.

5. Keep your promises.

Once you start acquiring customers, the easiest way to build their trust is by keeping any promises you may make about your business. Communicate promptly and clearly about your scope of work. Stick to turnaround times when making goods, offer proper assistance and guidance when providing services, and let your customer know as soon as possible if any hiccups happen along the way.

6. Create a stellar working environment.

There’s no better endorsement for your business than the ones that come from behind the scenes. If you have employees, firstly make sure that they are trained and onboarded properly – including safety training. Ensure that they understand the company’s mission and values in order to represent you in a positive light.

Create a pleasant and comfortable work environment and find different ways to build teamwork skills. When people see that your employees enjoy the company they work for, it shows clients that they could enjoy working with you on their needs.

7. Remember the importance of online reviews.

Similarly, get your customers to be your biggest brand ambassadors. Some companies have spent years and even decades relying on word-of-mouth marketing instead of traditional advertising. We’re not saying that this is the only method you should use, but word-of-mouth travels a lot faster these days with the rise of the internet. Plus, when people search for a new service, they look for the impressions that other people had about that product. So, if your customers are loyal and like the work that you do, ask them to tell the world!

Building trust by building a brand that’s consistent can seem like a difficult task, but it’s really quite simple. These are just some of the ways you can connect with your customers and build a great reputation before someone even walks through your doors.

Having the right business insurance can also help you build trust in your brand. Our experts can help you get the business insurance you need for your clients at the rates you deserve. To start getting customized quotes on affordable, quality coverage, just give us a call, fill out our online form, or LiveChat with and insurance specialist today.

What to do if you get a speeding ticket in Atlanta

Speeding ticket

Speeding ticket

Getting a speeding ticket can put a lot of stress on your mind, your wallet, and your car insurance rates. On top of a fine or worse punishment, your insurance can take quite the hit, depending on the offense. So, what steps do you need to take after a police officer gives you that little printed sheet? Here are some tips.

What to do if you get a speeding ticket.

1. Pull the car onto a shoulder, side road, or parking lot as soon as possible.

The instant you know that the officer is pulling you over, look for a safe place, out of the way of traffic, to bring your car to a complete stop. Not stopping in a timely manner could give the officer the impression that you are trying to evade them or a negative outlook of your situation before they even speak to you. When you do stop, put the car in park and turn off the engine.

2. Have your information ready and both hands on the wheel when the officer gets to your car.

If you have time before the officer gets to your car, it can help to have your license and registration already out in the open. Use slow, even movements to retrieve your documents, roll your driver side window down, and place both hands on the wheel while the officer is approaching the car.

3. Answer the officer’s questions and respond respectfully.

The officer may ask you a few questions, and they’ll explain why they’re pulling you over. Respond to any questions honestly and respectfully. Don’t give any more information than necessary or argue. During the traffic stop, this could be construed as disobeying an officer, which could result in another charge. If you have any complaints or arguments against the tickets, save them for the court date that will be printed on the ticket (more on that later).

4. Listen carefully to the officer & be observant.

Make sure you clearly understand all of the information they’re giving you and what you’re being cited for. Note the road conditions and if there were any external factors preventing you from obeying the speed limit. The officer may also ask you to sign a document when they pull you over. The document isn’t an admission that you were speeding; it’s just an acknowledgment that you have received the speeding ticket.

What to do if you get a speeding ticket

5. After you’re given the ticket, drive safely to your destination.

You may be a little shaken up from an encounter with the police. Breathe slowly in and out before you pull off. After you’ve safely arrived at your destination, carefully read the information on your ticket. It’ll tell you how to proceed.

6. Read over the ticket carefully

Read over the ticket carefully and understand the noted reason for the stop. Make sure you know how far over the limit they registered your speed, and if they’re citing you for any other offenses. These factors can affect the number of points added to your license. In the state of Georgia, if you have 15 total points on your license within two years, you could have your license suspended.

7. Find the court date/due date of your ticket.

Every traffic ticket issued will have a court date noted on the document. This is the date on which you must appear in court if you have not paid the fine beforehand. Here’s where it’s important to understand your options:

  • Pay the fine

The easiest and quickest way that most drivers put a traffic ticket behind them is to pay the listed fine before the court date on the citation. Remember to read your ticket carefully when it comes to paying your fine. Some counties in Georgia may still require you to show up in court even if you pay the fine beforehand.

Paying the ticket may be an immediate fix, but depending on where you were issued the speeding ticket, the fine may be hundreds of dollars. Plus, the offense will be marked on your MVR, which may raise your insurance rates in the long run.

  • Take a defensive driving course.

In some cases, a speeding ticket may be dismissed if you agree to take a certified defensive driving course. You’ll need to call your local municipal court to find out if this is an option for your situation, where to take the course, and what type of documentation you’ll need to prove that you’ve attended.

  • Appear in court

You can also choose to fight your ticket in court on the date that’s printed on the citation. Before you appear, build your case noting what type of speed tracking device the officer was using, the time of day you were pulled over, and any legally justifiable reasons that you may have been going over the speed limit (i.e. a speed limit sign that was not clearly visible, a recent change in the timing of a speed limit in effect, a medical emergency, etc.) You’ll have to do some research on what a court may find to be a “legally justifiable” reason to speed.

Keep in mind that if the citing officer doesn’t show up in court on your court date, the ticket will more than likely be dismissed. But don’t count on them not showing up! Be prepared!

  • Do nothing

Of course, you could always choose to do nothing. You could choose to ignore the court date and not pay the fine. However, this would either result in your license being suspended and/or a warrant for your arrest for failure to appear in court.

Overall, it’s important to remain alert and drive at a safe speed whenever you’re on the road. Doing so can keep you and other drivers safe, save you from paying hefty fines, as well as keep your car insurance rates down. However, if you do find yourself being pulled over, it can help to know exactly what to do during and after you’re given a speeding ticket.

For other sticky situations, our experts are here to save you money on the right car insurance. We can give you quotes on the coverages that fit your specific situation at prices that fit your needs. To get started with your quotes, call us today, fill out our easy online form, or LiveChat with an insurance specialist today!

What is professional liability insurance?

Professional liability

Professional liability

Communication may be the key to any business, but if it’s the sole backbone to your company, you may want to consider professional liability insurance. Words can be taken the wrong way or left out or miscommunicated all the time. So, it’s important if you’re consulting or giving professional advice, that you’re protected from the things that you say or don’t say. But how exactly can professional liability insurance protect you? Let’s take a look.

What is professional liability insurance?

Professional liability insurance is a type of business insurance that can help you if a client loses money due to your advice or lack of advice. It can also help you cover the legal costs of defending your business in court, whether you’re actually at fault or not.

Professional liability insurance is known by many names, including Errors & Omissions insurance or Professional Indemnity insurance. This coverage can also be industry-specific. For example, a doctor’s office may have medical malpractice insurance, or a lawyer might know it as LPL insurance.

What does professional liability insurance cover?

Sometimes the losses to a client aren’t due to property damage or bodily injury. Therefore, it falls outside of what a business’s general liability insurance can cover. If a client claims that they’ve lost money because of a slip of the tongue on your part, you could be held responsible for the extra money they’ve spent.

The most common claims that professional liability insurance can cover are those where a client claims:

  • That a professional was negligent
  • Misrepresentation
  • That the professional was not dealing in good faith
  • That the client was given inaccurate advice

In some cases, these types of claims are reported by the client months or even years after the incident occurred. So, it helps that professional liability insurance can have retroactive dates of coverage. In this case, it means that your policy may only cover incidences that happened after a certain date in the past.

Who needs professional liability insurance?

There are tons of professions that can benefit from professional liability insurance. However, the most common occupations that have this type of insurance are:

  • Doctors
  • Lawyers
  • Architects
  • Home Inspectors
  • Real Estate Brokers
  • Accountants
  • Financial Planners
  • Print Shops
  • Marketing Agencies
  • Web Hosting companies
  • Electricians
  • Plumbers
  • Wedding Planners
  • Professional Organizers
  • Interior Designers
  • Engineers
  • And more!

Professional liability insurance, no matter the name, can also cover different types of risks depending on the industry. So, it’s important to get the right type of policy that fits your specific company.

How can I get the right professional liability insurance for my business?

When considering the type of professional liability coverage you need, you’ll want to consider the answers to the following questions:

  • What types of services does my policy cover?
  • What time frame is covered by my policy?
  • Will my coverage change if my business is sold, merged with another business, or if my position changes?
  • What’s excluded by my policy?
  • Is there an option to extend the reporting period for incidents?
  • Can the policy be customized or modified?
  • Have there been any incidents that happened in the past that may result in a claim now?

Answering these questions can help your insurance agent get more accurate quotes and policies for the coverage you need.

How can I reduce the risk of professional liability claims for my business?

As a consultant or similar profession, you may have implemented various policies to avoid misleading your customers. Just make sure you follow these best practices for avoiding professional liability claims:

  1. Put everything in writing.
  2. Establish a high standard for quality control of your product or service.
  3. Keep your company records up-to-date with regular audits.
  4. Train your employees thoroughly and properly.
  5. Check in with your client regularly
  6. Answer any questions, concerns, or comments in a timely manner
  7. Get your customer’s informed consent. In other words, make sure that your client understands the product or service they’re receiving and get their explicit consent to perform your duties (when necessary).

We’ve all had to be wary of our words at some point or another. But when your business depends on more accurate communication than most, it’s important to stay clear and consistent with your clients and have the right type of insurance as a safety net. So, don’t miss out on the affordable professional liability insurance that can help save your business! Our agents are experts at finding great rates on the coverage that fits your services. To start your free business insurance quotes, call us today, fill out our online form, or LiveChat with an insurance specialist today!

12 tips for buying a home in Atlanta

Buying a home in Atlanta

Buying a home in Atlanta

Whether you’re tired of rental life or you’re moving to a new town, buying a new home can be stressful – especially in a big city like Atlanta. There are tons of diverse neighborhoods and various things to do around the city. You’ll feel like you don’t want to miss out on any of it! However, the most important part of your move will be deciding what’s right for you.  So, here are 12 tips for buying a home in Atlanta to get you started.

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10 tips to start a business in Atlanta

Starting a business in Atlanta

Starting a business in Atlanta

The Atlanta area is prime for starting a business. Everywhere you look, there are budding entrepreneurs and new businesses popping up in the city and all over its suburbs. But what does it take to actually set up a successful business in such a big city? We’ll take you through a few tips on how to start your successful business in Atlanta.

Tips for starting a business in Atlanta.

1. Create a business plan

Everything that lasts starts with a good plan, and a business is no different. Before you start anywhere else, you need to know the ins and outs of how you’ll operate your business. Start with the general idea of your company and then ask yourself:

  • What are my business goals?
  • What are my business’s values and mission?
  • What are the risks my business will face?
  • What kind of customers do I want?
  • What kind of objections to my company will I face, and how can I overcome them?
  • What kinds of materials will I need?
  • What materials and how much do I need to start out?
  • What can I compare my business to?
  • Who are my competitors?

These are just some of the basic details you’ll have to initially define for your company. Some of them, we’ll help you answer here. If you don’t know how detailed your answers should be, look up “mock business plans” or “sample business plans” on Google. Then, use those models to create your very own plan! This can be helpful for starting a business.

2. Define your Value Proposition

This term may sound scary, but it’s basically a fancy way of saying, “What makes you unique?” There are tons of businesses in Atlanta. So, what makes yours stand out? And how can you describe the difference to others?

If you’re an artist, then your value proposition may be your unique style. If you’re a consultant, it could be a different type of coaching method. If you’re a chef, it could be your signature dishes and the spin you take on traditional foods. In any case, you need to know what you bring to the table and how to properly express it to people in a way that sparks interest.

3. Build a brand

Now that you’ve identified what makes you unique, you need to be able to build a brand around that. Decide on a catchy business name, a slogan, and the type of personality you want your business to put out into the world. Are you a casual or black-tie kind of business? Do you want your tagline to be sassy or classic? What kind of voice do you want your business to have? All these are important things to consider when you’re starting a business.

Choose the options that will appeal to the customers you want, and then add a bit of your personal flair. Once you’ve created your brand, make sure that any marketing or company materials are consistent with that vision.

4. Be detail-oriented

While you may have an idea of the “big picture” of your company, there are tons of little details that go into day-to-day operations. What is your budget for everyday supplies? What type of training do your employees need? What is the step by step process of ordering t-shirts? How much will it cost to host your website? What are the safety measures you want to take? Some aspects may not need your attention until later. Until then, go through a typical day in business and pick apart the details of everything that an employee would do.

5. Budget out everything

When you’re starting a business, you’ll need to lay out all the supplies and services you’ll need to keep your business going and how much they cost. Map out how much money you have to start your company and how your start-up expenses fit into that budget. Are there things that you absolutely need right now? Or can something wait until you build up revenue?

Plan out how much you’ll need for behind-the-scenes operations costs like licenses, permits, and insurance. Account for the little things and for emergencies. Have a separate bank account for your business income and expenses so that everything stays organized. It’s important to find an accounting software that works for you, whether it’s an online spreadsheet or the top-of-the-line accounting program.

If you're starting a business, make sure you have the right insurance.

6. Get the right designations

If you need a certain license to start your business, find out the steps to take to get that designation. Know the legal designation of your business as well – whether it’s a sole proprietorship, an LLC, a corporation, etc. Your personal and business designations could determine how you’re allowed to operate.

Additionally, the legal designation of your company allows you to shift the liability of the business from you as an individual to your company as an entity. So, this step can be vital in making sure your personal finances take less of a hit if any.

7. Know what your tax situation will be

As you’re starting a business, make sure you’ve registered with the correct state and federal tax forms for your company. Allow room in your budget to be able to pay taxes. The best plan for getting your taxes in order is probably to partner with an accounting firm or a business tax professional. That way, you don’t have to worry about overpaying/underpaying your taxes or misunderstanding complicated laws.

8. Build a website

Now, you can start marketing your company using one of the easiest methods of the modern-day: building a website. There are tons of online programs that allow you to design a website or connect to developers to make you a custom site. This is a chance to spread your brand’s message to thousands of people pretty easily. It also presents an opportunity to showcase your work.

These days, most consumers won’t even consider businesses without a website or one with a site that looks slapped together. So, make sure your site looks clean and polished, and that it’s easy to navigate. Optimize your website loading times, and make sure that there’s a mobile-friendly version.

It’s also important to SEO optimize your site so that people can actually find your business in a web search. Don’t randomly insert keywords into your site’s content, though. Google can see right through keyword-stuffing and will knock you out of the top search results. Instead, vary your word choice and make sure that your content flows conversationally. Take an in-depth SEO course online and read up on tips to optimize your site.

9. Choose a location

You need somewhere to meet your customers, right? So, make sure that you choose a prime location for your business. Choose a location that’s convenient and easily seen. Look at locations that are local to your target customers and where the rent fits into your budget.

10. Get the right insurance

At the end of the day, a good business owner hopes for the best but prepares for the worst. Business insurance can be the best way to make sure that you have the tools to rebuild your company if something catastrophic happens. Forming a business means that it’s not just you anymore. So, you shouldn’t have to shoulder the brunt of a business disaster all on your own. Anyways – what we’re trying to say is don’t forget insurance when you’re starting a business.

Depending on the type of business you have, there are tons of different coverages you can get to protect your company. First, you may want to start off with a Business Owner’s Policy or BOP. A BOP is one way to get the basic amount of coverage you’ll need for a business at a better rate than purchasing the policies separately. BOPs usually include coverage for general liability, property damage (for your building), and business interruption insurance.

You may also want to consider coverages that are specific to your business, such as:

We know that starting a business can be an overwhelming and stressful process. However, our team can put your mind at ease by finding the right coverage for your unique company at the best rate possible. So, make sure you’re not missing out on game-changing coverage for your revolutionary business! Call us today, fill out our online form, or LiveChat with an expert today to start your free Atlanta business insurance quotes.