Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Commercial Auto vs. Personal Auto

We have many people ask us if their personal auto they use for their own business is less expensive on a personal auto policy or a commercial auto policy. Before getting into price here are some items we need to ask to see what policy it SHOULD be on:

How does my insurance company define "commercial use"?

Some insurers define it as transporting goods for compensation or a fee. But, because the definition of “commercial use” varies by company, your agent is the best resource for this answer. Your agent can tell you whether your insurer requires a commercial policy for businesses like these:

  • pizza and newspaper delivery
  • real estate
  • catering
  • door-to-door consulting services
  • landscaping or snowplowing services
  • day care or church van services
What kind of liability limits do I need?

As a business owner, you may want higher liability limits to meet contractual needs or just to better protect the business you’ve built. In general, a commercial auto policy can offer higher liability limits than a personal auto policy.

Does my personal policy cover me for issues specific to my business?

For example, if a trailer damages another vehicle while on a job, a personal liability policy may not cover the repairs. A commercial policy usually will.

I have employees that drive my vehicles. Does my policy cover that?

In general, if other people drive your vehicles for work, you need a commercial auto policy.

Do the passengers or contents in my vehicle matter?

Yes. Vehicles used for picking up or dropping off people or goods, or hauling tools or equipment, probably need a commercial policy.

Do I need certifications or filings?

Documentation requirements—like certificates of insurance or filings for trucking—are generally good indicators that a commercial policy is needed.

Give us a call at 435-674-2221 or e-mail us at info@msiagency.com and we can help you get the best coverage at the best price based on your specific condition. You can also visit our website at www.msiagency.com.

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Ladder Safety Guidelines

General Guidelines

  • Avoid climbing unless absolutely necessary.
  • Select the proper ladder for the job, (i.e., aluminum, wood, fiberglass, step, extension or a straight ladder). For instance, never use an aluminum ladder around electricity.
  • Choose a ladder that fits the job. If ladders are too short, people will climb too high leaving them without proper handholds. Ladders that are too long are difficult to handle. They also tend to be erected askew and may be highly unstable.
  • Never use a ladder for a purpose that it was not designed for.
  • Inspect the ladder’s condition before use. Discard any damaged ladder.
  • Wear slip-resistant footwear.

  • Ladders should be inspected and documented by a competent person on a periodic basis. Items to look for should include:
    • Any structural damage such as cracks, bends, kinks or distortions.
    • All rungs are in place, secure and free of grease or oil.
    • Safety feet are in good condition and functional.
    • Any missing parts.
    • Working spreaders.

  • Ladders should not be placed in doorways, passageways or other locations where it can be disturbed.
  • Make sure the ladder is set on a level, stable surface.
  • A non-self-supporting ladder should be placed at an angle of approximately 75 degrees. The distance from the wall to the foot of ladder should be about one fourth the ladder’s total length.
  • When using a non-self-supporting ladder to access a point to where you will dismount, the ladder should extend at least three feet beyond the support point. The ladder should also be lashed as close to the support point as possible.
Climbing and Descending

  • Face the ladder while climbing or descending and hold on to it with both hands.
  • Always maintain at least a three-point contact with either two hands and one foot, or two feet and one hand.
  • Keep centered on the ladder.
  • Never lean beyond the side rails, or move, shift or extend the ladder while on it.
  • Never climb past the second step from the top on a stepladder.
  • Take one step at a time.
  • If tools are needed, use a tool belt or a bucket attached to a hand line.
  • Allow one person on a ladder at a time.
Remember that the ladder is a tool to assist in getting the job done, just like a wrench or screwdriver. Focusing on the task that necessitates using a ladder, while ignoring the tool, is a primary cause of ladder injuries. Climbing and descending a ladder must be a zero mistake activity. You can’t afford an error in judgment.

Give Main Street Insurance a call at 435-674-2221 for more safety tips for whatever type of business you have.