Alaska Household Goods Moving Insurance Policy Information
Alaska Household Goods Moving Insurance. Household goods moving companies pack up and move the contents of homeowner's houses from one location to another. While this is undoubtedly an invaluable service, if you're the owner and operator of such a company, you are legally liable for any losses that may occur while the goods you're moving are in your care.
You're also responsible for the safety and well-being of your staff, as well as any physical property that's related to your business operations, including your fleet of vehicles and commercial space.
Movers transport furniture and business or household goods from the initial loading and pickup at the customer's old premises to delivery and unloading at their new premises. Most furniture movers assist in the packing and unpacking for customers who are relocating.
Many have warehouse facilities for both temporary and long-term storage of customers' goods. Furniture movers may be local or operate on a regional or national basis. The trucking industry is regulated by a number of federal agencies.
To protect yourself from significant financial losses, investing in the right type of Alaska household goods moving insurance is imperative. What type of insurance do household goods movers need? Read on to find out.
Alaska household goods moving insurance protects your moving company, including damage caused by your movers - from lawsuits, with rates as low as $77/mo. Get a fast quote and your certificate of insurance now.
Why Do Moving Companies Need Insurance?
As a household goods mover, you make every effort to ensure the items that you are entrusted with are safe and secure. You also go out of your way to make sure that your employees are properly trained and are working in a safe environment.
However, despite your best efforts, mistakes can happen and accidents can occur. A member of your staff could trip, fall, and sustain a serious injury that requires medical care while they're on the job. A fire could break out in your commercial space. An accident involving one of your trucks could damage the goods you're transporting.
Since you're the owner and operator of your household goods moving company, you are financially responsible for any damages that occur as a result of accidents or negligence. Should any of the above-mentioned scenarios arise, the financial cost to you could be significant.
That's why carrying the right type of Alaska household goods moving insurance is imperative. Without insurance, you'd have to pay for the expenses you're liable for out of your own pocket; however, if you're insured, your insurance company would cover the cost of any damages that you're responsible for paying. In other words, insurance can help to protect you from financial ruin.
Not only does insurance protect you financially, but household goods moving companies are legally required to carry certain types of coverage. If you fail to do so, you could potentially face monetary fines and even legal ramifications.
What Type Of Insurance Do Household Goods Movers Need?
The specific types of Alaska household goods moving insurance policies movers need varies and depends on several factors; the size of your operation and where you're located, for example. However, there are certain types of policies that all household moving organizations are likely to need, such as:
- Cargo Insurance - In most states, cargo insurance is required for moving companies. This type of insurance covers the goods that you transport. If your crew drops and damages a client's computer, for example, this type of insurance would help to cover the cost of the damages.
- Commercial Auto - You'll also need to protect your fleet of moving trucks with commercial auto insurance. If any of your trucks are involved in an accident, this policy will cover the cost of any damages to the vehicle, other motorists that may be involved in the accident, and any medical care that may be needed.
- Commercial General Liability - This type of insurance covers the cost of third party liability claims, including personal injuries and property damages. For example, if a client files a lawsuit against you, claiming that your crew damaged their property, a commercial general liability policy would cover the cost of any legal fees, as well the damages that a court may find you liable for.
- Workers Compensation - As an employer, you are responsible for the well-being of your movers and other staff while they're on the job. If they sustain work-related injuries or illnesses, you are liable for the medical care that they require, as well as the wages that your staff may lose while they're recovering. Workers' compensation insurance will cover these costs.
- Commercial Property - To protect your commercial space, you'll need commercial property insurance. This policy covers the cost of any damages to the physical structure of your commercial building, some exterior structures (signage, walkways, etc.), and the contents within your building from certain catastrophic events. For example, if a fire breaks out in your warehouse, commercial property insurance will help to pay for the damages.
AK Moving Company Risks & Exposures
Commercial auto exposure is written on a motor carriers' policy. The exposure is very high because it includes loading, unloading, and transporting the furniture and other household goods. Customers and others can be injured should the movers drop or overturn items being carried. Children may be present during loading or unloading operations, requiring additional caution. All drivers must have training in lifting and handling of items being carried and to safely operate trucks under all kinds of conditions, including adverse weather, construction impediments, darkness, and heavy traffic.
They must have a valid commercial driver's license (CDL) for the trucks being driven. MVRs must be acceptable and checked regularly. Manipulating a large semi-trailer rig in a residential area requires training and awareness of surroundings. Driving logs must be maintained, and drivers must not be permitted to exceed regulatory limits on their hours of service. Hands-free two-way communication and GPS systems should be installed on all trucks. Random drug and alcohol testing should be required. Vehicles must be maintained and records should be kept in a central location. Accidents can result in the spillage of diesel fuel or other operating fluids from within the truck, requiring cleanup.
Premises liability exposure is low due to limited public access. Cargo containers stored outside may present an attractive nuisance to minors. Fencing and lighting help reduce the exposure. Most off premises exposures relate directly to truck operations, such as loading or unloading, and are covered under the motor carriers' liability policy. Contracts may expose the operation to additional liability. The contract should spell out the responsibilities of each.
Environmental impairment exposure can be high due to the storage of fuel and the waste disposal of fluids used for servicing and repairing trucks. All tanks, underground and above, must meet state or federal regulations and be routinely tested for leakage. Spillage and leaking of pollutants into the air, ground, or water can result in high cleanup costs and fines. Spill procedures must be in place to prevent the accidental discharge of sludge from water reclamation systems used in washing trucks. Contracts should be in place to dispose of all environmentally dangerous chemicals. If there are underground storage tanks, a UST policy will be needed.
Workers compensation exposure is moderate from driving, loading and unloading customers' goods, and repair and maintenance activities. Drivers must operate in adverse traffic conditions such as inclement weather or road construction. Ergonomically designed seats can reduce back and leg injuries to drivers who sit in the same position for hours at a time. They must be monitored to ensure that an appropriate amount of time is allocated for sleep. Loading and unloading can result in all forms of back injury, hernia, sprain, and strain losses.
The training, material handling devices, and equipment are important to review. Drivers can be injured in collisions. Garage employees can be injured by vehicles falling from hoists, strains, sprains and other lifting injuries. Good housekeeping is critical to reduce injury from slips, trips, and falls. Burns, eye injuries, and respiratory problems can occur with welding and painting. Dermatitis can result from employees coming into contact with harsh cleaning detergents. Repair areas should be properly ventilated. Proper safety equipment is required.
Property exposures may be limited to electrical, heating and cooling systems for an office location. If the company repairs, refuels and maintains its own vehicles on premises, there will be flammable liquids, including gasoline and diesel fuel, and heat-producing activities such as welding. Flammable liquids and heat-producing activities must be separated from combustibles to prevent fire and explosion. All spray painting should be conducted in a spray booth with explosion-proof fixtures. Poor housekeeping is a serious fire hazard.
Unless stored and disposed of properly, oily rags can spontaneously combust and cause a fire. The condition and controls of fuel tanks, whether above or below ground, are important for both property and environmental liability. There must be adequate aisle space to allow firefighters to carry out their duties.
When another party does the packing, the mover will not know the type of property being stored or its potential fire hazards. If rack storage of crates and boxes is used, there should be sprinklers in the racks. The sprinkler heads must be located high enough to avoid accidental contact with forklifts, but with enough clear space from the racks to allow unobstructed operation in the event of a fire. In order to reduce catastrophic losses, firewalls and fire divisions should separate the storage areas. Good housekeeping and fire controls are critical. Smoking should be prohibited.
Forklifts should be refueled in a separate, ventilated area away from combustibles. As stored items are attractive targets for theft, there should be appropriate security including physical barriers to prevent entrance to the premises after hours and an alarm system that reports directly to a central station or the police department.
Business income and extra expense exposures are high as replacement warehouse facilities may not be readily available.
Inland marine exposure is from accounts receivable for billings to customers, computers to track shipments, motor truck cargo for goods carried for others, and valuable papers and records for licenses and other regulatory information. Customers' property may be damaged while being transported due to overturn, collision, or theft. Cargo containers should have locks and appropriate alarm systems. Some furniture movers are subject to minimum cargo legal liability requirements. The bill of lading should clearly spell out the responsibility of the mover to the customer. Careful records must be maintained as to items moved and condition of items prior to transport.
Any items being transported or in storage must be marked to prevent incorrect release. Records should be duplicated and kept off premises. If goods are stored for customers, warehouse operators' legal liability coverage is needed. Limits needed will depend on the contract between the facility and its customers, but should spell out who is responsible for damage to stored goods.
Crime exposure is from employee dishonesty and money and securities. Background checks, including criminal history, should be performed on all employees handling money. There must be a separation of duties between persons handling deposits, billing, ordering, disbursements, and reconciling bank statements. Regular internal and external audits should be conducted. As drivers, loaders, and unloaders have access to customers' premises, the exposure to theft of customer property or customer identity theft increases.
Household Goods Moving Insurance - The Bottom Line
To find out what other types of AK moving company insurance policies you'll need - and how much coverage you should carry, consult with a reputable broker that specializes in commercial insurance.
Alaska Economic Data, Regulations And Limits On Commercial Insurance
If you're an entrepreneur who is thinking about starting a business in Alaska, it's important to have a basic understanding of the state's overall economy before you set up shop. Regardless of how high-quality the products and services you are planning on offering may be, if the location where you open your organization doesn't offer a target market that your products and services will appeal to, chances of success are slim. Furthermore, if a workforce isn't available to support your business, you'll have a hard time staying afloat.
With that said, it's important for business-minded individuals who are thinking about starting a company in Alaska to familiarize themselves with the state's economy; it's also a good idea to have an understanding of the commercial insurance requirements.
Following is an overview of economic trends and commercial insurance policies that business owners are required to carry in The Last Frontier.
Economic Trends For Business Owners In Alaska
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the unemployment rate in Alaska was 6.1% in December of 2019. While that's significantly higher than the national unemployment rate, which was 3.4% in December, 2019, it's lower than it was one year prior, when the rate of unemployment was 6.5% in December of 2018. Though the workforce is growing slower than it is in other states, economists do predict that the rate will continue to decline in the coming years.
Despite Alaska's remoteness and cold climate, it's actually a great start to start a business. According to the Tax Foundation, Alaska is the second most tax-friendly state for business owners in the United States, as there's no individual income tax or state sales tax. Additionally, Alaska has the second highest rate of new business owners, as well as the second highest percentage of available employees (as per 2016).
As in most states, the best spots to start a business in Alaska are the state's biggest cities and the surrounding areas. This includes Anchorage, Juneau, and Fairbanks. Other key areas that are seeing a boost in business development in recent years include Homer, Sitka, Prudhoe Bay, and Ketchikan.
While there are several industries that are experiencing growth in The Last Frontier, specific sectors thrive more than others. Businesses that are related to the following industries are booming in AK:
- Fishing, which is also one of the largest contributors to the state's economy.
- Mining, which provides more than 4,500 jobs in Alaska.
- Petroleum, which is responsible for 34% of jobs in the state. In fact, Prudhoe Bay is North America's largest oil field.
- Tourism is the second largest private sector employer in the state. Each year, millions of people from around the globe travel to Alaska to marvel at the numerous natural wonders that can be found here.
Commercial Insurance Requirements In Alaska
The Alaska Division of Insurance regulates insurance in AK. Alaska mandates very few forms of insurance coverage by law. They enforce worker's compensation.
Alaska requires you to have worker's compensation insurance if you hire even one employee on a regular basis. This includes part-time employees, family members, minors, and immigrant employees. It is not required for independent contractors or domestic employees, though you should check to make sure any contractors you have are true contractors, and not employees.
Alaska also requires all business-owned vehicles to be covered by commercial auto insurance. Other types of business insurance that business owners should carry depend on the specific industry.
Additional Resources For Commercial Auto Insurance
Learn about small business commercial auto insurance which includes liability and physical damage protection for vehicles that are used for business purposes.
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The person injured in an vehicle accident may be a child, a wage earning single parent, a brain surgeon, or even a homeless person. The costs of the accident may be relatively small or run into the millions of dollars, depending on the victim and his or her injuries. Do you have the assets to handle such costs?
Trucking operations in this chapter are among the most heavily regulated in the country. All are subject to multiple types of regulation including municipal, state and federal. The regulations are necessary because potential for severe property damage and/or bodily injury is extremely high.
All carry cargo that if not handled appropriately could have serious consequences to the cargo owner and/or the public at large. Those that carry people must prove that they keep their equipment in good condition and that employees operate in a safe, sober manner.
The insurance company pays amounts an insured is legally obligated to pay as damages because of bodily injury or property damage and certain types of pollution events covered by this insurance caused by an accident and resulting from ownership, maintenance or use of covered vehicles.
The obligation to pay is triggered only by accidental occurrences involving vehicles covered under the Business Auto Coverage Form. An eligible pollution event is covered only if it is connected to a covered bodily injury or property damage loss.
It is important that you have the proper Limit of Insurance to protect your operations. This limit is the most the insurance company pays for the total of all damages, including any covered pollution cost or expense resulting from any one covered accident, is the Covered Auto liability limit of insurance on the declarations.
This limit applies regardless of the number of insureds, autos covered, vehicles involved in an accident, premium paid, or number of claims made.
Minimum recommended small business insurance coverage: Building, Business Personal Property, Business Income and Extra Expense, Accounts Receivables, Computers, Motor Truck Cargo, Valuable Papers and Records, Employee Dishonesty, Money and Securities, General Liability, Employee Benefits, Umbrella, Motor Carriers Liability and Physical Damage, Hired and Non-owned Auto & Workers Compensation.
Other commercial insurance policies to consider: Earthquake, Flood, Mobile Equipment, Signs, Warehouse Operators' Legal Liability, Cyber Liability, Employment-related Practices, Environmental Impairment, Underground Storage Tank, Stop Gap Liability and International Coverages.
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