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05 Feb Frequently asked questions about Business Insurance

Protecting you r business

When people are considering different types of insurance, they usually have a clear understanding of what home owners insurance, auto insurance and even life insurance are for.  It just doesn’t seem so cut and dry with business insurance.  Today, we’ll try to answer the most frequently asked questions regarding business insurance.

What is Business Insurance?

Business Insurance, much like auto or homeowners insurance, protects your business against loss, damage and liability.  A business insurance policy can cover the policy holder against loss or damage to your property and business vehicles.  It can also mitigate liability to you personally.

 

Do I Need Business Insurance?

If you’re just starting your business or have very little assets, you might be questioning if you still need business insurance.  Or similarly, people may wonder if business insurance is necessary if they’re incorporated.  The answer to all of those is a resounding “Yes”.  Regardless of how long you’ve been in business, the assets your business has or even if it’s incorporate, you still have liability involved in owning a business.  In fact, the smaller your business is, the higher likelihood that you could be help liable if a monetary judgement is held against you.  Business insurance can help alleviate that liability.

 

Are There Different Types of Business Insurance Available?

Just as businesses types vary from business to business, the insurance polices they carry do as well.  The main types of business insurance you should consider are as follows:

  • Liability InsuranceLiability Insurance protects the policy holder in the event they are sued for negligence.  Such an occurrence  might take place if someone fell and were injured on your business property.
  • Property InsuranceProperty Insurance covers the physical location of the business and its contents from things like fire and theft.  Even if the building is leased, property insurance compensates for the loss of the business contents and any improvements that were made by the business owner.
  • Commercial Auto Insurance- Commercial auto insurance covers your business for loss or damage to vehicles used by your business and for damage to others caused by your business vehicles. Note that vehicles used for business are not covered under your personal auto insurance policy even if a vehicle is used for both business and personal purposes.
  • Product Liability Insurance- Product liability insurance covers your business for damages caused by a product designed, supplied, or manufactured by your business.
  • Worker’s Compensation- Worker’s Compensation covers workers if they are injured on the job.  If you have 3 or more employees, the State of Michigan mandates your business participates in Worker’s Compensation.
  • Business Income Insurance- Business income insurance may compensate for the lost cash flow and profits incurred because of an event that has interrupted your normal business operations.
  • Life and Disability Insurance- Life and disability insurance covers your business in the event of the death or disability of key owners, partners, or employees.

 

Can I Combine Different Types of Business Insurance Into One Policy?

There are many factors involved in deciding what types of business insurance are necessary.  Talking with an independent agent about different options and policies is beneficial in saving both time and money, since they are invested in your best interests instead of one specific insurance carrier.

 

How Do I Get Business Insurance?

If you are a business owner and feel overwhelmed on where to get started, feel free to give us a call.  One of Access Insurance Agencies’ four licensed agents can help you find a policy specifically tailored to your particular needs and budget.  Give us a call and find out why we say “Handling your insurance is our privilege!”

Let Access Insurance Agencies take the guesswork out of your coverage, whether it be auto, home, life or business insurance. We value strong relationships with both our carriers and with our clients. Our 3 convenient locations are in Grand Rapids, Kentwood and Holland. Give us a call and find out why we say, “Handling your insurance is our privilege!” Access Insurance Agencies is an independent insurance agency.

Kentwood

Access Agency 897 52nd St SE Kentwood, MI 49508 Phone (616)530-2800

Grand Rapids

Ringnalda Agency 4800 Broadmoor SE Kentwood, MI 49512. Phone (616)698-9390

Holland

Access Agency – Lakeshore 11595 E Lakewood BLVD Suite 30 Holland, MI 49424. Phone (616)796-0400

 

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31 Dec Tips for driving in snow

Tips for driving in snow

Winter has officially arrived and with it snow!  In West Michigan that means learning how to safely navigate snow and ice covered roads.  Following these tips for driving in the snow can help prevent the unwanted frustration of an accident.

 

Know Your Vehicle

Knowing about your vehicle and the safety features it’s equipped with is important to understanding how to operate it safely.  Rear-wheel drive and front-wheel drive vehicles handle differently in the snow because of their power to weight ratio and change the way they perform on snow-covered roads.  ABS, or an anti-lock braking system, is a safety feature designed to maintain traction on the road and prevent the wheels from locking up when prolonged pressure is applied to the brakes.  It helps the driver sustain control and prevents skidding.  If your vehicle does not have ABS, you’ll need to ‘pump’ your brakes in order for them to maintain their grip when braking hard.  Electronic stability control (ESC) is another safety system your vehicle may have.  It detects and prevents skids, helping the driver from losing control on slippery roads.   Although common, ABS and ESC are not standard on all cars and trucks.  Check your owner’s manual to find out more about your vehicle’s safety features.

Be Prepared

Preparing your vehicle for the winter is simple.  Adequate tread on your tires is critical to maintaining a proper grip on the road.  The Tire Rack recommends a minimum of 6/32″ for tires when driving in the snow.  Clear windshields are important too.  Check to see if your windshield wiper blades are working correctly, replacing them if necessary and make sure your windshield washer solvent is full of anti-icing fluid.  It’s also a good idea to carry extra blankets and water in your trunk, just in case your vehicle becomes stranded.  Even if you live in an urban area, inclement weather can prolong the time it takes for a tow truck to arrive.

Drive Cautiously

Slippery roads mean loss of traction for not only moving forward but for stopping as well.  One of the easiest and most effective things you can do when inclement weather hits is to reduce your speed.  Braking distance increases when the roads are slick, so give yourself more space between your car and the vehicle in front of you.  Remember that while AWD or 4WD provide power to all four tires, aiding your vehicle’s ability to move on ice or snow, but it does nothing to help your vehicle in stopping any faster.  Be aware of road conditions and look ahead for anticipated problems.  Learning how to recover your vehicle from a skid is important as well, and if possible should be practiced ahead of time.

Let Access Insurance Agencies take the guesswork out of your coverage, whether it be auto, home, life or business insurance. We value strong relationships with both our carriers and with our clients. Our 3 convenient locations are in Grand Rapids, Kentwood and Holland. Give us a call and find out why we say, “Handling your insurance is our privilege!” Access Insurance Agencies is an independent insurance agency.

Kentwood

Access Agency 897 52nd St SE Kentwood, MI 49508 Phone (616)530-2800

Grand Rapids

Ringnalda Agency 4800 Broadmoor SE Kentwood, MI 49512. Phone (616)698-9390

Holland

Access Agency – Lakeshore 11595 E Lakewood BLVD Suite 30 Holland, MI 49424. Phone (616)796-0400

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14 Dec Should I add a rider to my homeowners insurance policy?

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Christmas! It’s that special time of year spent with family or friends, sharing meals together and exchanging gifts. Some of those gifts can be expensive, such as jewelry or electronics. While owning these new items can be wonderful, it frequently causes questions regarding home owners insurance coverage to these brand new valuables.

Do I Need a Rider?

Your homeowners insurance policy covers your property from risks like fire and theft, but it may not cover as much as you think. If you have a fire then your jewelry is covered like any other item in the house up to your personal property limit. However, when it comes to theft, there is a limit on how much the insurance company will pay, usually only $1000 or $2000 in total. Adding a rider helps insure that your valuable items can be replaced for their value.

What Does a Rider Cover?

Riders usually cover property of considerable value, such as:

  • Jewelry
  • Antiques
  • Fine Art
  • Business Equipment
  • Oriental Rugs
  • Silverware
  • Stamp or Coin Collections
  • Musical Instruments

How Much Coverage Do I Need?

Adding a rider to your home owners policy insures you can replace your valuable in the case of theft or fire. It also gives you “All Risk” insurance for a particular item to cover nearly anything that could happen to the item. So, if little Johnny decides to throw your diamond ring away while you’re taking a shower but doesn’t let you know until the trash has been tossed in the dumpster, you’re still covered.

How Much Does Adding A Rider Cost?

Adding a rider, or scheduled personal property endorsements, don’t have to be expensive.  Riders tend to be $1 or $2 annually for every $100 but rates depend on your insurance company.   A lot of companies are now allowing you to add a rider for “Blanket” jewelry coverage, which means you no longer have to schedule each item individually, rather you can simply add $10,000 of coverage or $20,000 of coverage, and it will cover all of your jewelry up to that limit.  We recommend talking to your independent insurance agent to get a quote for your specific needs.

Let Access Insurance Agencies take the guesswork out of your coverage, whether it be auto, home, life or business insurance. We value strong relationships with both our carriers and with our clients. Our 3 convenient locations are in Grand Rapids, Kentwood and Holland. Give us a call and find out why we say, “Handling your insurance is our privilege!” Access Insurance Agencies is an independent insurance agency.

Kentwood

Access Agency 897 52nd St SE Kentwood, MI 49508 Phone (616)530-2800

Grand Rapids

Ringnalda Agency 4800 Broadmoor SE Kentwood, MI 49512. Phone (616)698-9390

Holland

Access Agency – Lakeshore 11595 E Lakewood BLVD Suite 30 Holland, MI 49424. Phone (616)796-0400

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30 Nov What To Do After An Accident

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It is the moment no driver wants to experience but the likelihood is at some point, you will be involved in an auto accident.  While accidents can be stressful, knowing what to do after one can help alleviate some stress.

Safety First

Make sure everyone is alright afterwards.  If medical attention is needed, call 911.  If there are no injured parties and there is minimal damage, calling 911 is not necessary.  Move the vehicles to a safer location if their location is hazardous.

Exchange Information

You will need to exchange information with the other driver.  Knowing where your proof of insurance is located beforehand will help expedite things.  You will need to get the name, address, phone number, drivers license number, basic insurance information, and license plate number.  Try to be courteous while exchanging this information and do not discuss who is at fault.  If there are witnesses, it is helpful to obtain their name and phone number as well.

Pictures

Taking pictures of any property damage to your vehicle or the other driver’s will can help alleviate problems in the future.  A photo of the entire accident scene is also suggested.  Most cell phones have cameras that include a date stamp.  If your cell phone does not have a camera, consider having a disposable camera in your glove box to use in the case of an accident.  Documentation through pictures may expedite your insurance claim and if needed, assist you in court.

Notify Your Insurance Agent

Inform your insurance agent as soon as possible that you have been involved in an accident.  If there is an accident report and you have obtained a copy of it, forward that onto your agent.  Typically, you will need to get estimates for repairing the damage to your vehicle.  These can be submitted to your insurance agent.

 

Let Access Insurance Agencies take the guesswork out of your coverage, whether it be auto, home, life or business insurance. We value strong relationships with both our carriers and with our clients. Our 3 convenient locations are in Grand Rapids, Kentwood and Holland. Give us a call and find out why we say, “Handling your insurance is our privilege!”  Access Insurance Agencies is an independent insurance agency.

Kentwood

Access Agency 897 52nd St SE Kentwood, MI 49508 Phone (616)530-2800

Grand Rapids

Ringnalda Agency 4800 Broadmoor SE Kentwood, MI 49512. Phone (616)698-9390

Holland

Access Agency – Lakeshore 11595 E Lakewood BLVD Suite 30 Holland, MI 49424. Phone (616)796-0400

 

 

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20 Nov 7 Ways To Save On Your Homeowners Insurance

Shop Around

Shopping for the best rate is one of the simplest ways to lower your homeowners insurance. While online quotes are convenient, we recommend speaking to an agent on the phone to personalize your policy and to get multiple quotes. Utilizing an independent insurance agent is often the easiest way to accomplish this step. Not only do they have relationships with many insurance providers, but they are able to compare apples to apples for your specific coverage needs.

Increase Your Deductible

A deductible is the money you’ll have to pay out before the insurance company will begin paying on a claim and can range anywhere from $500-$5000. Raising yours could mean a sizable savings, allowing you to save extra money. While a higher deductible can be tempting, take caution in raising it to an amount that is too high for your finances. Talk with your independent insurance agent about which deductible is right for you.

Maintain A Healthy Credit Score

A good credit score affects more than your ability to get a loan. Nowadays, insurance companies use it as one of the factors in calculating your insurance premium. A better score means a better rate. Schedule online payments or have your homeowners insurance payment added into your escrow account to avoid late fees. Reviewing your credit score from time to time is a good idea as well. Errors on your credit report can be costly.

Bundle Your Homeowners Insurance & Auto Insurance

Bundling all your insurance needs with one company into one policy not only saves you time and confusion, but money as well. Most insurance companies give a sizable discount for buying more than one type of coverage. While the most common types of insurance to bundle are home and auto insurance, don’t forget to consider adding life, RV, motorcycle, or boat.

Ask About Discounts

There are a lot of different discounts available. Talk to your agent about group discounts or senior citizen discounts. Newer heating, electrical, and plumbing systems are considered more reliable and may qualify you for a lower rate. Also, an added security system, fire extinguishers, smoke alarms and deadbolts could add to your savings.

Maintain The Same Insurance Carrier

Maintaining your insurance coverage with the same company over several years can pay off. Many offer a discount to their loyal customers after a few years.

Having Proper Coverage

Remember, your homeowners insurance should cover the cost of rebuilding your home and replacing the possessions it holds. The land that your home sits on will remain in the case of a tragedy and does not need to be included in your premium. From time to time, you may want to reevaluate the cost of the items in your home as well.

 

Let Access Insurance Agencies take the guesswork out of your coverage, whether it be auto, home, life or business insurance. We value strong relationships with both our carriers and with our clients. Our 3 convenient locations are in Grand Rapids, Kentwood and Holland. Give us a call and find out why we say, “Handling your insurance is our privilege!”

Kentwood

Access Agency 897 52nd St SE Kentwood, MI 49508 Phone (616)530-2800

Grand Rapids

Ringnalda Agency 4800 Broadmoor SE Kentwood, MI 49512. Phone (616)698-9390

Holland

Access Agency – Lakeshore 11595 E Lakewood BLVD Suite 30 Holland, MI 49424. Phone (616)796-0400

 

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31 Oct 6 Things Every Young Driver Needs To Know

Access Insurance Agencies

It’s a thrilling and exciting experience in a teenager’s life the day they finally receive their driver’s license. Being able to drive means more freedom and independence, but along with that comes more responsibilities. Vehicle crashes are still the #1 cause of death in teens but studies are showing that teen drivers whose parents talk to them about driving are less likely to exhibit risky driving behavior. Today, we’ll discuss the things every young driver needs to know.

Access Insurance Agencies

1. Distracted Driving

One of the most common and deadly distractions for teens is a cell phone.  Talking on the phone, texting or checking an app are a distractions for any driver, but teens represent the largest group involved in fatal crashes where the cause was found to be distracted driving. Studies have shown that 40% of teens say they’ve ridden in the past with a teen driver who is texting and an astounding one in four teens admits to texting while driving. While cell phone use is the most tempting distraction to your young driver, talk to them about the dangers of taking their eyes off the road for any reason and includes anything that diverts their attention from the road. Changing the radio, passengers in the vehicle or eating can all be dangerous when done behind the wheel. Remember, parents, that you are your teens best example. Showing them how to avoid distraction through your driving habits is more powerful than just telling them. Read more here: http://www.fcc.gov/guides/texting-while-driving

Access Insurance Agencies

2. Driving Under The Influence

With one third of teen fatal crashes involving alcohol, it’s important to discuss this issue. Talk to your teen about avoiding situations where alcohol or drugs are present, and the risks of drunk driving or riding with someone who is intoxicated. Let them know they can call you or another designated driver if they are ever in a situation where the driver is unsafe. Also, talk to the them about the dangers of driving when they are tired or not alert. Studies have shown that there’s no difference between driving drowsy or drunk. Both impair reaction time and double the risk of a car accident.

 

Access Insurance Agencies

3. Rules Of The Road

While it may seem obvious, particularly after learning all the rules of road, it’s still important to talk about obeying all traffic laws. Stress the importance of following speed limits, coming to a complete stop at intersections and staying a safe distance behind other vehicles. Remind them that they are responsible for their passenger’s safety and how risky behavior jeopardizes the people around them.

 

Access Insurance Agencies

4. When Things Go Wrong

Your teen may think they have mastered driving, but they simply haven’t had the experience you have had behind the wheel. Let them know what to do in case they are pulled over, get in an accident, have a flat tire, the car won’t start or they run out of gas. Having a plan to follow in these situations will help alleviate panic and give them confidence in the event anything unfortunate happens. Read more here: http://kidshealth.org/teen/safety/driving/post_crash.html#

 

Access Insurance Agencies
5. Defensive Driving

Knowledge is empowering, so talk to your teen driver about what it means to drive defensively. Defensive driving is defined as driving to save lives, time and money, in spite of the conditions around you and the actions of others. These driving skills allow you to defend yourself against possible collisions caused by bad drivers, drunk drivers, and poor weather. Let your teen driver know the importance of scanning for possible hazards and planning ahead. The State of Michigan even offers an 8 hour Defensive Driving Course for teens to help teach them these skills.

Access Insurance Agencies

6. Vehicle Responsibility

Just as a driver is responsible for their passengers, they are equally responsible for preventing damage or theft to the vehicle they are driving. Talk to your young driver about locking the vehicle doors and removing items from sight that may tempt thieves.

 

Access Insurance Agencies is proud to be an independent insurance agent.  Let us take the guesswork out of your coverage, whether it be auto, home, life or business insurance. We value strong relationships with both our carriers and with our clients. Our 3 convenient locations are in Grand Rapids, Kentwood and Holland. Give us a call and find out why we say, “Handling your insurance is our privilege!”

Kentwood

Access Agency 897 52nd St SE Kentwood, MI 49508 Phone (616)530-2800

Grand Rapids

Ringnalda Agency 4800 Broadmoor SE Kentwood, MI 49512. Phone (616)698-9390

Holland

Access Agency – Lakeshore 11595 E Lakewood BLVD Suite 30 Holland, MI 49424. Phone (616)796-0400

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17 Oct 10 Ways to save money on your insurance

save money insurance independent agent access insurance

 

These days, everyone is looking for ways to trim the fat off their budgets.  While auto insurance can be expensive, there are simple and easy ways we can help you save money on your policy.  Here are 10 ways to save money on your insurance.

 

1. Bundle Policies
Bundling all your insurance needs with one company into one policy not only saves you time and confusion, but money as well.  Most insurance companies give a sizable discount for buying more than one type of coverage.  Types of insurance to consider bundling together include life, auto, RV, motorcycle, boat, home or renter’s insurance.
2. Raise Your Deductible
Deductibles are the amount of money you’re willing to spend before the insurance company if an unfortunate event occurs.  By raising your deductible to a higher level, you can lower your premium.  While the savings can be tempting, make sure you have available cash on hand to cover the amount you’ll need to pay out before making changes.  Remember, the purpose of insurance is to avoid financial hardship in the event you need to make a claim.  Deductibles are chosen by individuals based on their specific needs.  We recommend talking to your insurance agent on which deductible is appropriate for you.
save money insurance independent agent access insurance
3. Maintain A Great Driving Record
We all know tailgating, speeding, reckless driving and distracted driving are some of the top causes of accidents but having a great driving record means more than just avoiding collisions.  Speeding tickets result in added points to your driver’s license and those points in turn add dollars to your premium.   While you can’t control the other cars on the road, you can control what’s happening in yours.  Give yourself some space, slow down and avoid using your cell phone.  Defensive driving is key to maintaining a great driving record and The State of Michigan even offers a Defensive Driving Course for teens.
4. Maintain A Great Credit Score
While the law prohibits insurers from using credit information or an insurance score as any part of a decision to deny, cancel or non-renew a personal insurance policy, it does allow them to use it to determine how much your insurance is going to cost.  Maintaining a good insurance credit score lowers your “risk” to insurance companies and helps you receive the best rate possible.  If your insurance company has not run your credit checked your insurance score recently and you know it has improved, ask your agent to see if it can lower your premium.  Keep in mind though, that a lesser insurance credit score can raise your premium so be sure where it stands before you make a request.
Save money insurance independent agent
5. Use An Independent Agent 
Often times, people miss out on the best rate available to them simply because they don’t get quotes from different insurance carriers.  Shopping around for the best policy is one of the easiest ways to save money.  Utilizing an independent agent, like Access Insurance Agencies, can save you time as well.  Having one agent who contacts several different insurance companies means you know you’re getting the best deal possible.   Contact us for a quote on your home, auto, boat, RV or life insurance today at 616.530.2800 or 616.796.0400.
6. Look For Group Discounts
Some companies offer a discount for people who are members of a group.  These types of groups may include your work, bank, credit union, or wholesale club.  Ask your agent if there’s a list of discounted groups and check to see if you’re a member.
7. Drop Coverage You Don’t Need
It’s no secret, your vehicle loses value as time goes by.  If it no longer has a large monetary value and there is no loan, you may want to drop full coverage, switching instead to the minimum insurance required by law.  This type of policy would not pay to have damage repaired on your vehicle so you’ll want to consider this type of coverage only if it has very little value.  You can determine your vehicle’s value on sites such as Kelly Blue Book or Edmunds.com.
8. Not Making Minor Claims
With every claim you make, your insurance premium goes up.  Also, if you make too many claims in a short period of time, you run the risk of being dropped by your insurance company.  If you happen to dent your bumper and the cost to repair it is $1200, you might want to think twice before submitting a claim.  If your deductible is $1000, that means your insurance company will only be paying $200 towards fixing the damages and you’ll be paying more on your insurance bill.  Before submitting that claim, decide which will be the most expensive in the long run.
9. Teen Driver/Good Grade Discount
If you have teenage drivers, you know that adding them to your policy, added cost as well!  The good news is, similar to a credit score, good grades are looked on favorably by many insurance companies.  Find out if your carrier offers a discount for teens who get good grades.  Some offer savings for teens who earn A’s and B’s.
10. Pay Policy In Full
Paying your policy in full every year or six months saves you money.  Many providers offer a significant discount to customers who make a lump payment.  This saves the companies time and resources billing you every month.  In turn, you save money.  Plus, one payment means only one due date, helping you to avoid late fees and possibly losing coverage.  Some companies even offer another small discount to those who are billed electronically.

Let Access Insurance Agencies take the guesswork out of your coverage, whether it be auto, home, life or business insurance. We value strong relationships with both our carriers and with our clients. Our 3 convenient locations are in Grand Rapids, Kentwood and Holland. Give us a call and find out why we say, “Handling your insurance is our privilege!”

Kentwood

Access Agency 897 52nd St SE Kentwood, MI 49508 Phone (616)530-2800

Grand Rapids

Ringnalda Agency 4800 Broadmoor SE Kentwood, MI 49512. Phone (616)698-9390

Holland

Access Agency – Lakeshore 11595 E Lakewood BLVD Suite 30 Holland, MI 49424. Phone (616)796-0400

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24 Sep Access Insurance Agency opens in Holland

Access Insurance Agency, Holland Michigan Insurance company

Access Insurance Agency’s Grand Opening in Holland, Michigan was a great success!  Thank you to everyone who stopped out to support us and congratulations to all our winners.  JQ99 even did a live remote broadcast, giving our 4 licensed agents an opportunity to share more with the listeners about our company.  In case you missed it, here’s another chance to listen…

 

12

Click to listen to Mark sharing with the JQ99 listeners the benefits of having an independent insurance agent working for you→ 26

Independant Insurance Agent, Holland, Kentwood, Grand Rapids

Click to hear Eric sharing the importance of Life Insurance and September being Life Insurance Awareness month → 23

locally, family owned, independant insurance agent

Click to hear Adam sharing with the JQ99 listeners the benefits of a local, family-owned insurance agent → 30

We missed a photo opp of Garry sharing information with Ceci but you can hear him talking about the uniqueness of Access Insurance Agencies by clicking → 16

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13 Sep Welcome to Access Insurance Agencies

Independant Insurance West Michigan

What began 35 years ago as Ringnalda Agency has now grown into our family-owned Access Insurance Agencies.  Since 1977, we have brought our strong industry knowledge and passion for insurance to West Michigan families and businesses.  With 4 licensed agents and a dedicated support staff, we are ready to help you meet your specific insurance needs.  As a local independent insurance agency, we can offer you better service by reviewing multiple polices and pricing options, and then recommend the best combination to fit your particular needs.  Let us take the guesswork out of your coverage, whether it be auto, home, life or business insurance.  We value strong relationships with both our carriers and with our clients.  Our 3 convenient locations are in Grand Rapids, Kentwood and Holland.  Give us a call and find out why we say, “Handling your insurance is our privilege!”

Kentwood

Access Agency 897 52nd St SE Kentwood, MI 49508 Phone (616)530-2800

Grand Rapids

Ringnalda Agency 4800 Broadmoor SE Kentwood, MI 49512. Phone (616)698-9390

Holland

Access Agency – Lakeshore 11595 E Lakewood BLVD Suite 30 Holland, MI 49424. Phone (616)796-0400

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