Workers Compensation Insurance Odessa, TXIndependent contractors are not eligible for workers’ compensation coverage; employers are not required by state law to purchase coverage for independent contractors. Whether or not a worker is an employee is not controlled by what name the employer uses for the worker, but by the circumstances surrounding the employee’s work.

Independent contractors provide a service, usually with a contract, whether written or spoken. An independent contractor controls how the service is provided, who provides it, and how it is delivered. The key is that the independent contractor acts independently, free of direction and control of the hiring company (employer).

To be an employee, the worker does not need to be interviewed and formally hired. Independent contractors typically receive payment by the job; on the other hand, employees receive wages on an hourly or salaried basis.

Another factor in distinguishing an independent contractor from an employee is who provides the equipment. An independent contractor typically provides the equipment necessary to complete the job, while an employer typically provides the equipment for the employee to complete the job.

Another thing to consider is the character of the work involved. If the work is highly skilled, and the worker only performs a single job, the worker is likely an independent contractor. Independent contractors almost always work for more than one company. Otherwise, if the worker is trained by and receives regular work from the same company, the worker is more likely to be considered an employee.

The state worker’s compensation board will consider all of the above factors regarding the workers’ employment situation to determine whether the worker was an independent contractor or an employee. Ask your independent insurance agent what works best for you if you have questions about worker’s compensation.

Boat insurance midland odessa, tx

Boat Insurance

If you happen to be a proud owner of one of the 580,000 boats registered in Texas*, you’re probably getting her ship-shape for some summer fun, fishing and relaxation on your favorite lake.  Since Texas has more square miles of inland water than any other state, you’ve got plenty of choices.*

Small boats with only a small or no engine at all, may be adequately insured under your homeowner’s insurance. A sailboat would come in this category. But if you’re buying a $35,000 (or more) boat or yacht, your homeowner’s policy will not cover everything you need. You can bundle your boat insurance policy with your home and/or auto insurance and probably save a little; another good point to discuss with your insurance agent.

If your boat is insured under your homeowner policy, it is covered only for theft.  It is also subject to a limited amount and the home deductible. There is no liability coverage whether the boat is on or off the water.

Your boat liability insurance protects you if a person is injured while on your watercraft. You can choose between replacement costs or cash value in case you have a total loss. Boat insurance will cover bodily injury if someone is injured while on your boat, damage on docks and other boats caused by your boat, and any physical damage to your boat if it should collide with something or goes onto the ground.

Comprehensive coverage will protect your boat from vandalism, fire/flood, theft, personal property coverage for gear, uninsured boater and roadside assistance, which is handy if you breakdown and require being towed.

Contact your insurance agent about details of your boat insurance coverage. Ask which of these items pertains to your needs based on the kind of boat you have and how you use it. If you participate in fishing tournaments, ask your agent if you need any special coverage.

  • Damage Coverage
  • Disappearing Deductible
  • Consequential Damage Clause
  • Fishing Equipment
  • Protection & Indemnity (P&I)
  • Medical Payments
  • Tournament Fee Reimbursement
  • Towing and Emergency Assistance
  • Unlimited Trailering within the continental United States

Boat insurance as well as adhering to good safety protocol will protect you and your boating crew from accidents and will give you the peace of mind to relax, kick back and have more fun concentrating on that “whopper” you’ve been hoping to catch.

If you’re in business, you probably understand what insurance underwriting means. The process of underwriting determines how likely your business is to file a claim. Simply put, the greater the likelihood of a claim, the higher your premium will be. If an insurance company determines that your business is at a high risk for a loss, it might even decide not to issue you a policy.

Fire risk is usually the primary factor that determines a business’s commercial property rates. Insurance companies do inspections as part of the underwriting process.

Fire inspectors use a standard rating system and weigh five factors to determine a structure’s fire rating.

The five factors are:

  1. Construction materials.Buildings made of potentially combustible materials will have higher premiums, while those made of fire-resistant materials could earn a discount. Additions to an existing structure might affect a fire rating, so it’s a good idea to talk to your agent or insurance company before remodeling. Internal structural elements can also affect a fire rating. Using wood partitions, floors, and stairways in an otherwise fire-resistant building will likely nullify any rate reduction. Fire-resistant interior walls, floors, and doors can help maintain a good fire rating.
  2. Buildings in cities or towns with good fire protection — as assessed by the Texas Commission on Fire Protection — typically cost less to insure than buildings outside a city or in areas with limited fire protection.
  3. A building’s use also affects its fire rating. An office building will likely rate better than a restaurant or auto repair shop. In a building with multiple tenants, one hazardous occupant will negatively affect the fire rating of the entire building. If your business is in a building with a more hazardous tenant, your premiums will be higher.
  4. Fire protection measures.Automatic sprinklers can reduce a building’s fire rating by as much as 50 percent. Buildings with fire extinguishers and automatic alarms and those within 500 feet of a fire hydrant will usually have lower ratings.
  5. Nearby hazards increase a building’s fire risk. Proximity to external fire hazards, such as a lumberyard or oil storage tank, will affect a fire rating even more. Other things that could affect your fire risk include cluttered buildings and grounds, heavy mechanical or electrical equipment, or volatile materials stored on site.

Your business insurance is an extremely important part of successful operations, affecting every aspect of your business. Cover all your bases by getting answers from your insurance agent to ensure positive outcomes for you, your employees and your investors.

Personal Umbrella Insurance Midland, OdesaWhile a personal umbrella insurance policy may seem unnecessary, there are good reasons to have one.  A personal umbrella policy pays for losses after you have exhausted your primary insurance coverage.  It can cover your home, auto, motorcycle, boat, RV and more. Your independent insurance agent will be able to advise you on whether you need it or not.

A personal umbrella policy usually has high limits of liability and the primary reason to carry a personal umbrella policy is to protect your assets from an unexpected occurrence such as a disastrous accident in which you are held responsible for damages or bodily injuries.

Following are some examples of various personal umbrella coverages:

Bodily Injury Liability

  • This covers injuries to other parties, as a result of a serious auto accident your vehicle caused
  • Injuries sustained by a guest in your home from a fall or injuries endured by a neighbor’s child playing in your yard

Property Damage Liability

  • Covers damage to another person’s tangible property. Such as a vehicle or damage caused by your child

Owners of Rental Units

  • Protects against liability as a landlord such as cost of liability claims as a result of:
  • Someone falling down because of a broken step on your rental property and suing you for damages
  • Your tenant causing injuries to someone

Things not covered by an umbrella insurance policy:

o   Damages you caused on your own property

o   Losses connected to your business or your business property

o   Business-related liabilities such as a malpractice lawsuit

o   Criminal or intentional actions

o   Liabilities connected with a contract, oral or written

The best advice you can get on whether or not a personal umbrella policy is beneficial to your particular needs is from your reliable independent insurance agent. Remember, with an independent agent you’ll get unbiased recommendations. They are not tied or committed to any one insurance brand, so shopping for the best rates and best quality insurance is what they do best. Contact us for a free quote.

Commercial Auto Insurance Odessa & Midland, TXWhether you’re just getting started with your business and have only one delivery van or you have a fleet of vehicles, you need the right commercial auto insurance that meets your specific needs.

There are many things to consider when purchasing business auto insurance, not only the number of vehicles you use for your company, but what kinds of vehicles they are. Also include the age and condition of the vehicles, as well as how you use them when making a decision on your company’s auto insurance.

  • Commercial trucks will cost more to insure than passenger vehicles, but there is a cost difference in the kind of trucks you use.
  • Lighter-weight trucks like pick-ups, parcel or panel vans cost less than larger ones.
  • Medium sized trucks such as box or stake bed trucks or larger refrigerated vehicles cost more.
  • Heavy duty trucks that usually include grain or farm trucks and beverage trucks cost the most.
  • Insuring a trailer with commercial truck insurance depends on the size and weight of the trailer.

Vehicles such as a plumber’s truck cost the least to insure, while vehicles used for dry cleaning delivery, for instance, can cost more. Business to business delivery trucks cost the most to insure.

Save money with technology

GPS tracking and onboard camera technology are now more affordable and add to the efficiency of your business vehicles. Of course vehicle alarms and warning devices or rear facing cameras add additional benefits to your fleet.

Play it safe

High grade fences and sufficient lighting and locks are ways to keep your commercial vehicles safer. Employees who take a vehicle home should be oriented on best practices for keeping the vehicle safe at all times, e.g. where to park, keeping it locked, parking in a well-lit area.

Managing your auto fleet can be easy if you work with an independent insurance agent who knows where to go for the best in class prices for commercial auto insurance. Small or large or somewhere in-between, protect your business by protecting your auto fleet with the best possible business auto insurance available.

Holiday Scenarios That Can Affect Your Insurance in TexasIt’s the holiday season, and you have a lot on your mind. Trimming the tree, buying and wrapping the gifts, baking the goodies. Be sure your insurance is up to date so you have one less thing to be concerned about!

Stolen holiday packages

During the holiday season, package delivery is a common phenomenon. If you’re a renter, you probably receive package left at your front door, unless the shipper is requested to leave the package at the front desk. If you have renter’s insurance. your possessions from theft are covered, after you pay your deductible. Renters policies usually cover your belongings, whether your apartment is burglarized, or the items are stolen while you are traveling. If you discover a theft, also notify the shipper along with your insurance agent.

Christmas Trees and Christmas Lights

Old fashioned large bulbs, the incandescent ones do get quite hot. Even the small ones can be dangerous if placed between branches and decorations that hold in the heat. If they get hot enough to ignite, you have a big problem.

Smaller holiday bulbs and LEDs that are more common today and are much safer. They rarely get hot enough to ignite. However, it is good to remember, that all of these lights and light sets run on electricity. If one set is damaged, a few strands of wire may be overloaded. If this happens and the insulation melts, it can get hot enough to start a fire. Broken wires can arc and ignite flammables. Typically, the fuses built into light sets usually prevent short circuits and arcing.

Your homeowner’s insurance covers such damages, but it is better to be safe, not sorry, and prevent it from happening in the first place.

Holiday Parties and Your Insurance

Christmas parties are some of the most favorite, but can easily result in accidents or damages during the festivities. Here are a few scenarios that help explain what is and is not covered under your homeowner’s insurance.

  • You attempt a marshmallow roasting in the fireplace and start a house fire:  You’re covered.
  • Your outdoor display ignites a new bush you just planted and burns it to a crisp: You’re covered.
  • Your pet ferret jumps into your Christmas tree, then the cat chases it and destroys your gifts:  You are NOT covered.
  • You’re burglarized and thieves get away with all your Christmas gifts:  You’re covered.

Remember, while the holidays are a wonderful time of the year to enjoy friends and family, consider the more serious side of protecting your belongings by understanding your renter’s or homeowners insurance.

Home and Auto Insurance Odessa, TXWhen you’re away traveling during the holidays visiting family and friends, are you confident your home and auto insurance are up to date and cover everything you need it to?

Being away from home can be worrisome if you don’t lay some groundwork first. Here are some valuable tips to put your mind at ease while you’re gone.

Lock it up — Using secure locks on all doors and windows is a great first step. Any windows or locks that are broken should be repaired.

Good neighbor policy — If you’re fortunate enough to have one good neighbor you trust, leave your travel schedule with them. Leave a key with them so they can check on the house and leave a telephone number to reach you in case of an emergency.

Don’t publish your plans – Avoid sharing your travel plans with all your ‘friends’ on social media. That can unfortunately be a weak link and an invitation to burglars.

Occupied house – Either have the post office hold your mail or ask a neighbor to pick it up each day. And no need to have the newspaper delivery while you’re gone. If it appears someone is at home you are safer from being burglarized. Timer switches on lights are a good idea so the house is lit up during the evening hours.

Odessa Insurance Agent There’s no way for us to know what challenges may be ahead, which makes being prepared all the more important. Insurance is one of those critical things we all need, but making the decision about which insurance company to do business with can be confusing.  While some people don’t really think too much about who they do business with for insurance, they may be paying more for what they’re getting and realizing less value.

The fact is that an independent insurance agent is not bound to any one insurance carrier. They often represent five or ten different carriers which enable them to research which one can offer their customer the most value for the best price.

Protecting our assets is a prime objective and the main reason most of us have insurance in the first place. Consider some of the real advantages an independent agent can offer before you sign on the dotted line with just anyone.

  • An independent insurance agency is comprised of licensed professional with polished customer service skills and strong community relationships.
  • Because an independent insurance agent has access to multiple insurance carriers, they are able to shop for you, looking for value and good costs.
  • If your insurance needs change, an independent can easily transition you to what’s needed.
  • They are accessible professionals who understand questions about claims.
  • Your independent agent will ask relevant questions to be sure you have the right coverage.
  • Buying all of your insurance from an independent agent (known as bundling) can not only save you money, but also has the advantage of convenience when you need to make changes.
  • Your independent insurance agent takes time to get to know you and your family. You are much more than just a policy number.

Most successful independent insurance agents have a strong presence in their local communities and often have a legacy of 20, 30 or more years in the insurance business.

And the chances are extremely good that their name and reputation are well-known and respected within the community.

With so many advantages, why would you randomly select an online insurance carrier or just pick one from the phone book? An independent insurance agent is overall your very best option for quality insurance products. Contact us for an insurance quote or policy review!

What Insurance Coverage Do I Need for My Brewery?

How you protect your brewery business is an important part of getting started. Here are some details about insuring your business and why it’s vital to have the right brewery insurance coverage.

Property and General Liability Coverage. Do you provide tours through your brewery or serve food items for purchase? If you have a craft brewery, your facilities are likely in an industrial-type building where there are chemicals, hot surfaces, and machinery that can contribute to accidents. To cover your business risks, consider these things:

  1. mark the walking paths and tasting/tour areas,
  2. guests should stay several feet away from equipment,
  3. safety glasses should be provided for tours,
  4. closed toe footwear is a smart request, and
  5. use properly-trained employees who conduct the tours.

Equipment Coverage. Equipment is usually one of the largest expenses in running a brewery. If equipment is stolen, most standard policies will cover it. Same with a breakdown, but being without your equipment could slow operations and revenue. Check with your independent insurance agent to be sure you have a well-designed brewery insurance policy that will keep business running.

Mobility. Transporting products, often in rental vehicles is a common practice among breweries, but it can also be an insurance gap. Ask about endorsements that can be added to your business policy to cover this gap.

Special Events. A special events coverage is recommended if you participate in trade shows, festival and such off-premises events.

Liquor Liability. Cover yourself for the risk of intoxicated patrons who can become a safety concern and a liability. Your trained staff should be able to easily identify someone in such a state. Also enforce an ID checking procedure and have an alternative way to see that patrons leave safely in case they cannot drive.

Product Liability. If you’re considering adding food service to your brewery be sure to consider such things as verifying the quality of raw ingredients, ensuring proper storage and temperature control, and smart food safety training for all brewing and kitchen staff.

Food Trucks. Food trucks are a popular trend, but can be a liability when serving patrons on your premises. Be sure the vendors provide certificates of insurance to prove they have a general liability policy including premises, operations, products, and completed operations and auto liability coverage. If they operate on your premises on a regular basis and your brewery provides utilities to them (power, water, waste disposal), you should request to be added to their general liability policy as additional insured. Your general liability insurance will only cover third party damages if those were your brewery’s fault such as a patron tripping and falling on your parking lot.

Insuring your brewery is not difficult if you have the right insurance agent who knows answers to your questions. Have a sit-down with your local independent insurance agent first and you can be confident of your coverage.