Roberts Insurance Group Blog
Why Does Your Business Owe Additional Premiums After An Audit? | Workers Comp Series | #3
So your company just renewed your commercial insurance for another term. Then, out of no where, you receive an invoice for additional premiums. Why? What is this for, you may ask? That is what we will dive into in this article:
Let's start with the question: How are Workers Compensation premiums calculated?
Workers Compensation Insurance, along with some General Liability policies are rated at the beginning of the policy period based on certain factors. With Workers Comp, it is rated based off of your payroll 100% of the time. With General Liability, it can be rated based off of payroll, revenue, building square footage, or other factors. For now, let's focus on workers comp insurance.
At the beginning of the policy period, your policy will be issued based on the estimated payroll for your business. Essentially, whatever you tell the insurance company you expect for payroll figures over the next 12 months is what will determine your estimated premium.
Consider 2 companies in the exact same industry. Company A has $750,000 of payroll expenses. Company B has $200,000 of payroll expenses. Due to the fact that the insurance company is at risk for paying out more in workers comp claims to Company A, Company A will have to pay more in workers comp premiums.
This gets broken down even further by class code. For instance, a worker that is a window washer for high-rise sky scrapers is more likely to get hurt or killed while on the job versus a clerical worker that sits behind a desk all day. Since it is more likely that the person with a dangerous job will get hurt, the insurance company has to charge more to cover that employee.
So How Does The Insurance Company Know That The Figures Provided At The Beginning Of The Policy Period Are Accurate?
Through a premium and payroll audit. At the end of the policy term, workers comp insurance carriers will perform an audit to ensure that the right amount of premium was collected. For small businesses, insurance companies may just send forms for the owner to complete and request a copy of payroll tax information. For middle to large companies, there is usually more paper works and documentation involved. After the audit is complete, the insurance company will either owe money back to your company because you were over-charged throughout the policy term. Or this could mean that your business owes money to the insurance company because you were under-paying throughout the policy term.
What Specifically Causes A Business To Owe More Money Back To The Insurance Company?
There's usually a few reasons why a business will owe additional premium to the insurance company:
So What Can Your Company Do To Make Sure You Aren't Stuck With A Massive Bill At The End Of The Policy Term?
The number 1 things that companies can do is get on a Pay As You Go workers comp billing plan. With Pay As You Go billing, your company is audited in real-time, meaning whatever you pay in payroll this month is appropriately charged to the company next month. You can either do a self-audit each month where someone from the company logs into an online portal with the insurance company and enters in payroll information or you can set it up where your payroll company reports it directly to the insurance carrier. In both of these instances, it is still important that employees are classified correctly and that you're collecting certificates from subcontractors.
What If My Workers Comp Insurance Company Doesn't Offer Pay As You Go?
Some carriers are still behind with the times. If you're company doesn't offer this billing option, I would recommend checking in with your commercial insurance agent every couple of months to update on changes with payroll.
What Happens If My Company Doesn't Complete The Audit?
If your company doesn't complete the audit then you will be charged with what is called a non-compliance audit. Essentially, the insurance company will charge you 2-3 times the estimated premium as additional premium owed.
How Can The Roberts Insurance Group Help?
For starters, we are very well-versed in workers compensation insurance and specialize in helping companies get set-up with the right plan from the start. At The Roberts Insurance Group, we have developed our CompCostControl Program that is specifically designed to help companies recoup money from past audits, among other things. We will also provide audit support on current and past audits. We are often are able to review past audits for new clients to find additional money that is owed back to you.
Give us a call at (678) 250-8133 or click below to see how we can help with your company's workers compensation program.
Whether you're in between homes or just simply don't have enough storage at your current home, most folks in Georgia have used a storage facility at one point or another. If you have, you know that the storage facility will always try to sell you an insurance policy to cover your belongings while they are at the facility. So, should you buy the policy from the facility?
This depends on how much personal property and what type of personal property will be stored at the facility. Homeowners policies in Georgia do have coverage for your items in storage off-premises, but not without some restrictions or limitations:
Lower Coverage Limit
In Georgia, home insurance policies have a separate limit for personal property coverage off-premises and it is usually 10% of your personal property coverage listed on your declarations page. For example, if you have $200,000 of personal property coverage, this means you will have up to $20,000 of coverage while your items are in storage. Depending on the value of the items in storage, this may not be enough. Luckily, many carriers will offer you the chance to increase this coverage, if needed. Make sure to discuss your options with your local independent insurance agent.
Limitations On Business Property And Specialty Items
If you are storing work-related property, tools, or equipment away from your home, your Georgia homeowners policy will not provide any coverage for those items. This is why you should consider a commercial insurance policy or a commercial inland marine policy.
As for specialty items like guns, jewelry, art, collectibles, etc., those are already limited by the homeowners policy to a sub-limit of insurance. Even if the items were lost, damaged, stolen at your home, there is limited coverage available- usually $1,500 to $2,500 per item up to a maximum of $2,500 to $5,000.
How Can You Make Sure Your Belongings At Properly Covered At Home And In Storage?
The best way to guarantee you're properly insured is to give us a call at The Roberts Insurance Group. We are an independent insurance agency based in Canton, GA and help homeowners throughout the state. Give us a call at 678-250-8133 or click below!
As an independent insurance agency based in Canton with clients throughout the state of Georgia, the number one question we get when our homeowner clients call after they find damage to their home is: Will this be covered?
Here at the Roberts Insurance Group, we use very comprehensive homeowners policies and coverage forms to help protect our clients' homes as much as possible. Even then, there will be some things that just simply aren't covered by any homeowners policy in the marketplace. Any time there is damage to your home that isn't covered, it is because it is explicitly excluded in your policy.
Today, we're going over 5 common issues homeowners run into that aren't covered by homeowners insurance in Georgia. Note that, in some instances, these issues or causes of loss CAN be covered with a different (extra) type of policy or a special endorsement.
Here in Georgia, there is not a homeowners policy that will cover flood damage. You must buy a Flood Insurance Policy in order for that to be covered. Just because you don't live next to a lake, river, or ocean, doesn't mean your home isn't at risk of flood damage. What do I mean by that? For insurance purposes, water damage is considered flood damage if your home is damaged by water that comes from the ground. Here are a couple of examples:
Here in Georgia, damage from earthquakes are only covered if you have your homeowners policy endorsed with earthquake coverage. Some carriers do not even offer this endorsement but some do. Typically, you will be required to carry a pretty high deductible. Earthquakes aren't necessarily common here in Georgia but they do happen, so this may be something to consider discussing with your independent insurance agent.
This is something that is not covered by any homeowners policy in Georgia. In fact, there is absolutely no way to have this covered by endorsement or a separate policy. Construction defects can be described as faulty craftsmanship by a contractor or home builder that causes damage to your home. If a contractor uses faulty materials when building or fixing your home, this would fall into the construction defect category as well.
Example: you get a new roof for your home but the roofing contractor does not install your new roof properly, which leads to water leaks and interior damage in your home. Your insurance company MAY cover the damage to the interior and try to subrogate against the roofing contractor's General Liability policy. But the cost of getting your roof repaired and properly installed would fall on the homeowner. Of course, you could sue the contractor for the faulty work but it is not likely to get you the funds needed to get a new roof in a timely manner.
Appliances (HVAC, Water Heater, Furnace, Refrigerators, etc.)
Appliances like those listed above are not covered by a Georgia homeowners policy if they break down or malfunction. If they were to leak and cause subsequent damage, the damage they caused can be covered but that is it. The only time these items can be covered under a Georgia homeowners policy is if they are stolen or struck by lightning.
Even though they are not covered by Georgia homeowners policies, they can be covered with a special endorsement or by a home warranty. If you would like coverage for these things, we recommend you discuss your options with your independent insurance agent.
Trees Falling On Your Property
This can be somewhat misleading to Georgia homeowners. On the majority of Georgia home insurance policies, there is coverage for tree removal. However, this coverage only applies if something else is damaged such as your home, other structures, or personal property. If you have trees fall on your property and nothing is damaged but it ends up costing $3,000 to have them removed, there's really nothing you can do expect do it yourself or pay someone to do it. However, if trees fall on your property and damage your home, other structures, or personal property, your homeowners policy will pay up to the sub-limit listed in your policy to have the trees removed.
So How Can You Make Sure You Are Protected?
The best way to make sure you're protected is to discuss any concerns you have with your independent insurance agent. Here at the Roberts Insurance Group, we work with homeowners throughout Georgia to help them design a coverage plan that works best for them and their family to make sure they have as much protected as possible.
If you have questions about your coverage or policy, we would love to help! We're located in Canton, GA and have clients throughout the state. Give us a call at 678-250-8133 or click below!
When Do You Have To Pay The Deductible On Your Homeowners Insurance In Georgia?
Canton and the rest of Georgia have experienced several storms over the past few months. As a matter of fact, one just came through today. As a result, there are many homeowners here in Canton and throughout Georgia that have had to file claims with their home insurance company to get damage fixed. One of the questions that has been asked more than once is: when do I have to pay my deductible?
Before we answer that question, it is important to know that you absolutely have to pay your deductible. This may seem redundant or common sense to some, but many contractors will make it seem like you do not have to pay your deductible. They do this by committing insurance fraud- submitting higher-than-needed estimates and invoices directly to the insurance company. If a contractor tells you that you do not have to pay your deductible, just know that this business practice is illegal and the contractor will lose their license and face criminal charges and fines if they are caught. It also contributes to higher insurance rates for Georgia homeowners as a whole.
Back to the question at hand...
Typically, the contractor is responsible for collecting the deductible from you, the homeowner. When a claim is filed and it is determined that the loss will be covered, the insurance company will write a check for the amount to repair/replace the damage, minus your deductible, minus depreciation. These funds should be used as the down payment to the contractor to get work started. Once work is completed, the contractor will send proof of completion to your insurance company. At that point, the insurance company will release the depreciation funds that were deducted from the first check, leaving your deductible as the only amount owed to the contractor.
By this time, the contractor should have received all funds related to this project minus your deductible. This is usually when the deductible will be due and need to be paid. Every contractor runs their business differently, so you may be able to work out a payment plan or pay using a credit card. This is entirely up to the contractor and something you should discuss with them before you sign a contract.
Here at the Roberts Insurance Group, we work with homeowners to help them find the right policy and coverage that will work just the way they want when they need it! We are located in Canton, GA and have clients throughout the state.
Give us a call at 678-250-8133 or click below to get started and see how we can help you or your family!
For most Georgians, their home is their biggest asset. It's what gives you shelter and a place to raise your family, which is why it is imperative to make sure there's a way to fix or replace it if it is unexpectedly damaged. The most efficient way to do this is to have a comprehensive homeowners insurance policy in place. In Georgia, you'll pay as low as $50 per month to have great coverage that will be there to pay for damages when the unexpected happens.
When you buy a home insurance policy in Georgia, these are just a few of the important coverages and features that will come with your policy:
Homeowners Insurance Property Coverage
In Georgia, the property coverage is the most important coverage to consider when selecting a homeowners insurance policy. Property coverage will pay to fix or replace your home, personal belongings, or detached structures if they are lost, damaged, or stolen. This includes any additions, improvements, or upgrades you have made to your home before the unexpected event.
For example, if you have $500,000 of coverage for your home and $250,000 of coverage for your personal property and there's a fire that causes a total loss, your home insurance company will pay up to $500,000 to rebuild your home and up to $250,000 to replace your belongings- a grand total of $750,000. Not bad for paying a $50 per month premium, right?
Homeowners Insurance Deductibles
A deductible is a predetermined amount of money that a Georgia homeowners agrees to pay out-of-pocket for a claim before the insurance company begins to pay for the damages. Homeowners insurance policies in Georgia have a variety of deductibles to choose from. The way it works: the higher deductible, the lower your premium, and vise-versa.
Typical deductible options for Georgia home insurance policies include flat deductibles (meaning your deductible will never increase unless you change it) ranging from $1,000 to $10,000 or percentage-based deductibles (meaning it is a percentage of the dwelling coverage) ranging from 0.5% up to 5%. An example of a percentage-based deductible would be: 1% on a $500,000 home, means your deductible is $5,000 for this policy term. We typically recommend staying away from percentage-based deductibles because they increase each year.
Homeowners Liability Insurance
Liability insurance is a coverage on Georgia homeowners policies that help pay for legal defense and settlements if you are named in a lawsuit involving bodily injury or property damage to another person or their property. This coverage is very inexpensive, so we recommend higher limits. For Georgia homeowners, this means $300,000 at a bare minimum. You can typically purchase up to $1,000,000 of liability coverage on a homeowners policy in Georgia. If higher limits are needed or desired, you will need to purchase a personal liability umbrella policy.
How Can You Make Sure You Have The Right Features And Coverages On Your Home Insurance Policy?
By working with the Roberts Insurance Group! We're an independent insurance agency based in Canton and we help homeowners throughout the state of Georgia get the very best value with their home insurance. We have over 40 insurance companies, which means our clients are guaranteed to get the coverage they need at the best price possible.
Give us a call at 678-250-8133 or click below to get the coverage you need today!
If you have an extra room or basement in your home or if you have a second home or investment property, you've probably considered renting it out as a short term rental property at one point or another. This has become a great way to make money and create passive revenue streams. The best part is the return on your investment. These properties tend to bring in much more revenue than a traditional long term rental.
If this is something you have considered in the past or are considering now, here are some things you need to know:
Need To Work With An Independent Insurance Agent
Why is this important? Because it is the best way for you to get the coverage you need at the best possible price. After all, you're doing this to make money and turn a profit, so it only makes since to improve your bottom line. By working with an independent insurance agency like the Roberts Insurance Group, you will get personalized guidance on the coverage you need and the benefit of having us shop your coverage around with over 40 different carriers to find you the best possible value for your home or investment property.
Make Your Agent Aware That Your Home Or Property Will Be Rented Short Term
If your agent doesn't know, then they can't help. If you plan on renting your property out on places like Airbnb, make sure your agent knows so that they can add the proper endorsement to your home policy or have it rewritten as an investment property with short term tenants.
Adequate Liability Coverage
Having increased liability coverage is a must-have for homes or properties that are rented short term. There's much more foot traffic and a higher likelihood of an injury, claim, or lawsuit. We recommend having at least $1,000,000 of liability coverage. This can be increased on your policy or with the help of an umbrella policy.
Loss Of Income
Loss of income coverage is crucial for your new investment. If a claim arises and you are unable to generate income for a period of time, it is important that the money keeps coming in. Having loss of income or loss of rent coverage will guarantee you continue to get a paycheck if your home is unable to generate revenue due to a claim.
At the Roberts Insurance Group, we specialize in working with homeowners and real estate investors. We're located in Canton, GA and help homeowners, investors, and landlords throughout the state.
Give us a call at 678-250-8133 or click below to see how we can help you!
We recently put out an article on some of the benefits of working with a local independent insurance agent or agency. Now, we're adding to the list! At the Roberts Insurance Group, we're an independent insurance agency based in Canton, GA and we truly believe that we provide the best overall solution for our clients in regards to their home, auto, and business insurance. Here's some more reasons why:
We've spent years working in the insurance industry and know it inside and out. We've helped clients in all types of situations and with many different types of risk. In short, we've seen it all! In addition, since we're an independent agency, we represent many different companies- over 40 currently! This means that we never have a pressure to push our clients towards any single product or insurance company. We're able to operate in the best interest of our clients and place them in the best situation possible.
Claim guidance is one of the great benefits of working with a local independent insurance agency like the Roberts Insurance Group. We fight for our clients to make sure they are treated fair and that their claims are properly adjusted. Case in point:
About 2 weeks ago we can a client that was involved in a total loss auto accident. The insurance company offered them just over $33,000 for their vehicle based on comparable vehicles in the area. We followed up with the client to check on their claim and they informed us that they thought the offer was too low and the adjuster was unable to increase the value. What did we do? We fought for our client. We spent hours searching the local market for comps and sent those to the adjuster to review, along with an explanation for why they needed to increase their offer. So what happened? The insurance company increased their offer for the vehicle to over $38,000! That's right. Our client is getting an extra $5,000 for their vehicle that they would not have gotten without our guidance and willingness to step in.
By working with a local independent insurance agency, you get a personal relationship from your licensed professional just like you get with your attorney, CPA, doctor, dentists, etc. Our kids go to school together, we shop at the same stores, we see each other face to face from time to time, so on and so forth. You are more than just a number to us.
Did you know our clients pay, on average, almost $900 per year less for their insurance? Again, we're in independent insurance agency so we shop around for our clients to find them the best overall value. The best price for the coverage they need.
We would love the opportunity to help you, your family, or your business with their insurance and risk management plan here at the Roberts Insurance Group. We help clients throughout the state with their home, auto, and business insurance.
Give us a call at 678-250-8133 or click below to see what we can do for you!
If you've ever been into a car accident in Georgia, you know it can be scary and overwhelming. There's a lot going on, emotions are high, and you just aren't thinking as clearly as you normally would. To help make things easy for when the unexpected happens, we're going over some steps and tips you should follow the next time you're in an auto accident:
Park Your Vehicle In A Safe Location
This is step 1 and, although it seems simple enough, many times Georgia drivers do not follow this step and further damage or injury occurs. We've seen drivers that may pull over onto the shoulder but do not give enough room for other motorists to safely pass, among other things. It's important to get to a safe place and away from danger so that you can safely exit your vehicle.
Your next duty if you're involved in an accident is to assess injuries for yourself, your passengers, and the other party's occupants. If anyone is seriously hurt or needs immediate medical attention, go ahead and call 911 to get paramedics to the scene.
Call The Police
Whether the accident happens on a public roadway or private property, it is important to call the police to come assess the situation and create an incident report. The incident report will help the insurance companies involved determine fault and properly adjust any claims. Also, since emotions are running high, policy officers can help diffuse any situation that may turn into more than just a car accident. It is important to not admit fault at the scene of an accident. At the end of the day, this is for the insurance companies to decide.
Go ahead and exchange information like names, phone numbers, insurance information, and vehicle information. If you are able to, take a picture of their info and their vehicle (including the license plate). Again, do not admit fault at this time, even if you feel it is your fault.
Take Pictures And Gather Witness Information
Pictures can really tell a story. By taking pictures of the accident scene, it can help the insurance companies "get. the full picture" of what exactly happened. Doing this will help them adjust the claim properly and quickly. Also, if there are any witnesses to the accident, ask them to stay to give a statement to the police officer. If they aren't able to stay, ask them for their contact information. The insurance companies involved may contact them for a statement to help shed light on what exactly happened.
Call Your Insurance Company
The last step would be to call your insurance company or local agency. If you are not at fault, we will often advise clients to go ahead and try to file on the other party's insurance.
Being involved in an auto accident in Georgia can really ruin your day. No one wakes up in the morning and expects to get into an accident, which is why it is called an accident! By following these steps, it will help the situation and your claim get resolved as quickly and efficiently as possible.
Here at the Roberts Insurance Group, we provide first class advice and claim management support to guarantee our clients get the best possible outcome from their claims and would love the opportunity to help you and your family.
We're located in Canton, GA and help individuals, families, and businesses throughout the state of Georgia with their home, auto, and business insurance. Give us a call at 678-250-8133 to see how we can help you!
Which Coverage Is Better For Your Homeowners Policy in Georgia: Replacement Cost (RCV) Or Actual Cash Value (ACV)?
Let's face it, insurance can be complicating. Not only are insurance terms and definitions exclusive to the industry but sometimes it is specific to each individual insurance company on what they mean! If you're like most folks, you've looked over your policy and weren't 100% sure on what was being said. That's OK! This means you're normal or you don't work in insurance.
Today we're diving into 2 different coverages that are often misunderstood with home insurance policies in Georgia: Replacement cost (RCV) and Actual Cash Value (ACV). These are 2 common options that are used to determine how claims are paid.
So What's The Difference?
Replacement Cost (RCV)
Replacement cost coverage essentially means that, when a claim is covered, the insurance company will pay the full cost to fix or replace something minus your deductible. This is the more expensive of the two options and the option that we recommend for all homeowners in Georgia whenever possible.
Actual Cash Value (ACV)
Actual cash value coverage essentially means that, when a claim is covered, the insurance company will deduct your deductible AND depreciation from what they are willing to pay to fix or replace something with your home. For example: $10,000 in damages minus a $1,000 deductible minus $5,000 for depreciation means that the insurance company will only pay $4,000 for a claim that resulted in $10,000 in damages. This is the least expensive of the 2 options and we highly suggest staying away from this coverage whenever possible.
So What Coverage Should You Have For Your Home Insurance In Georgia?
Replacement cost coverage- without a doubt. Sometimes, depending on the condition of your home, past claims history, location, home characteristics, etc., it may not be an option. But for 95% of homeowners in Georgia, you should take advantage of the option to have replacement cost coverage for your home and personal property.
Here at the Roberts Insurance Group, we're dedicated to getting our clients the very best value for their home, auto, and business insurance. We're an independent insurance agency located in Canton, GA and help clients through the state.
If you'd like to get a better value on your insurance, give us a call today at 678-250-8133 or click below and we'll get started working for you!
We always hear people asking "Who has the cheapest insurance" or "Where can I find the cheapest insurance". At the Roberts Insurance Group, we think the question Georgians need to be asking is: "How can I get the best value for my insurance". And here's why:
Just like anything else in this world, you'll get what you pay for when it comes to insurance. The important things to remember when trying to save money or get a better value is that you want to make sure your coverage needs are met and that you're getting a great price for your coverage. Some questions to ask:
So How Can You Get The Coverage You Need At The Best Price?
The answer to that is by using an independent agent or agency. Independent insurance agents represent multiple companies and can shop your coverage around to make sure you're getting the very best rate on the coverage you need.
The Roberts Insurance Group is a locally owned and operated independent insurance agency based in Canton, GA and we help clients throughout the state with their home, auto, and business insurance. We have over 40 different carriers we can quote our clients with to make sure they're getting the best overall value for their insurance.
If you'd like a better value for your home, auto, or business insurance, give us a call at 678-250-8133 or click below. We'd love to help!