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Investing in Your Business: Tips for Buying a Company Vehicle

As your small business grows, you might consider purchasing a vehicle to use for business purposes. If you or an employee are often using your personal vehicle to drive to multiple job sites or transport clients, a company vehicle can make good sense.

Note: Any car, owned by an individual or a business, which is used for business purposes should be covered by a commercial auto policy. Personal auto policies will not cover business use. Please consult your insurance agent if you have any questions about whether or not your usage is considered “business use.”

Some pros and cons of the company vehicle

Buying a company car has several pros and cons. On the pro side, it’s one way to reinvest profits in your business, and you can often take advantage of tax benefits. A company car can be an asset, as well as a perk for you or your employees.

You may find that a company car can help you project a professional image and provide reliable transportation. And a company vehicle can even provide advertising opportunities if you choose to add a sign or professional wrap to it.

On the con side, buying a company car can be a sizeable expense. Not only does it cost money to buy in the first place, you’ll also have additional costs to register and maintain the vehicle. With a dedicated company car available, you or your employees may find yourselves on the road more often, thus exposing your business to more liability should you be in an accident.

Tips for choosing a company vehicle

If you decide buying a company vehicle is right for you, just as you would when buying a car for personal use, take time to think through your needs, research potential vehicles, and determine your budget. Some questions to consider include:

Does it make more sense to lease or own?

Should you buy new or used? New usually costs more up front, but a used vehicle may have higher maintenance costs.

What type of vehicle will be best for your needs: sedan, SUV, van, or truck?

How will the vehicle be used? Making deliveries, driving between work locations, transporting clients?

Who will drive it?

How often will it be used?

What features are important to you, such as comfort, fuel economy, safety features, or a warranty?

What type of image does your business wants to project?

What will be the ongoing costs of owning and maintaining each possible company vehicle?

Tip: While you’re in the research stage, call your insurance agent to see how much commercial car insurance will cost for the vehicles you’re interested in. Some makes and models are expensive or hard to insure—don’t wait until you’ve bought the vehicle to find this out!

Call L & M Insurance Group for your commercial auto needs

Once you’ve decided on a vehicle, make sure you protect your investment with commercial auto insurance. Just like personal auto policies, commercial auto policies can cover liability, property damage, comprehensive and collision, coverage for injuries, and coverage for uninsured motorists. The policies do differ in some technical respects, so consult with an experienced insurance agent to discuss your options.

An independent insurance agency like L & M Insurance Group is a great place to start your search for the best commercial auto policy. We write with multiple commercial auto carriers and can help you compare rates and coverage options to suit your business needs. Please call one of our agents at 813-672-4100 or click here for an online quote. Our office is located in Riverview, and we also serve clients in Tampa, Brandon, Valrico, Lithia, and surrounding communities.

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3 Factors Raising Your Commercial Property Insurance Rates

There have been plenty of headlines lately about Florida’s skyrocketing homeowners insurance prices. Unfortunately, we’re also beginning to see rising commercial property insurance premiums as well. Some of the same troubling trends plaguing homeowners insurance are also driving up the cost of commercial property insurance. If you are wondering why commercial property insurance rates are increasing here are some of the major factors.

Troubling trends in commercial property insurance

As a business owner, you carry commercial property insurance to protect your company’s physical assets—such as office equipment, inventory, and the physical property you own or rent. You can buy commercial property insurance by itself, or as part of a Business Owner’s Policy (BOP). Covered perils generally include fire, explosion, storms, theft, and vandalism. Since the coverage protects your financial investment in physical property, the premium increases are being driven by factors which include:

Catastrophic losses—In the U.S., we’ve endured more frequent and catastrophic storms, floods, tornadoes and fires than usual. There have been 89 weather/climate/disaster events over the past five years with losses totaling more than 764 billion dollars, according to NOAA National Centers for Environmental Information (NCEI).

Rising construction and replacement costs—Replacement cost is the amount needed to replace damaged or destroyed property without deducting for depreciation, up to the policy limit. Rising retail prices mean property items are more expensive to replace. In addition, construction costs have risen, largely driven by the cost of lumber and steel. Shortages in materials, project delays, and a shortage of skilled labor are also increasing the amount of time and money it takes to rebuild after a loss.

Cost of reinsurance—Reinsurance is “insurance for insurance companies.” It’s a way for insurance companies to limit the extent of their own losses in case of disaster. Global reinsurance rates have been rising for several years.

The danger of being underinsured

Even though the cost of business insurance is rising, it’s still an essential part of your business plan. As the U.S. Small Business Administration notes, statistics show 1 in 4 small businesses will have to close if hit by any type of catastrophe. Carrying the proper business insurance can help you avoid that fate. Even if you carry commercial property insurance, you should remain vigilant that you’re not underinsured, meaning you don’t have the right coverage or enough coverage for the risks your business faces. That’s where an expert in insurance can help!

L & M Insurance Group—your partner in commercial insurance

Is it time to review your commercial property insurance? Let L & M Insurance Group help you protect your business. We are an independent insurance agency, with the expertise to find the best coverage for your unique situation. Please call us at 813-672-4100 to discuss your commercial property insurance needs, or request a quote online.

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Commercial Landlords: Protect Your Liability with Lessors Risk Insurance

Owning a commercial building that you lease to others can be a great investment, but it’s not without risk. That’s why making sure you have the right insurance coverage to protect both your physical property and your liability in case of a lawsuit is crucial. This week, let’s talk about lessors risk insurance, also sometimes called landlord’s insurance.

What is lessors risk insurance?

Lessors risk is a type of small business insurance which protects you if you own a building that you lease or rent out as commercial space, such as retail, warehouse, or office space. It provides property damage coverage as well as liability coverage in case one of your tenants sues you because of a covered event that took place in your building or on your property. Of course, your tenant(s) should also carry their own general liability and commercial property insurance, but lessors risk is an important protection for you as a landlord.

Covered risks may include injury due to slip and fall, weather damage, fire, water damage (from a burst pipe or sewer back up), theft, vandalism, and auto accidents on the property.

To be eligible for lessors risk insurance, you as the landlord may not occupy more than 25 percent of the building. Generally, the building must be completely or mostly occupied, have no electrical hazards, have working smoke detectors, sprinklers and fire extinguishers, and be properly maintained.

You will be able to choose the coverage limits you want to carry. Many landlords find one million dollars worth of liability coverage to be enough, though each situation is different. However, if you have multiple tenants or tenants who engage in hazardous business, like manufacturing, for example, you may need higher limits.

Look to L & M Insurance Group for all your insurance needs

Whether you need business insurance (like lessors risk) or personal insurance, the experts at L & M Insurance Group are here for you. We’ve been helping customers find coverage tailored to their needs for more than 30 years. If you’d like an insurance quote, please call us at 813-672-4100, or contact us online. L & M Insurance Group is a full service, independent insurance agency, primarily serving the communities of Brandon, Riverview, Valrico, Tampa, and surrounding areas. We hope you’ll allow us to be your partner in business, and in life.