Many restaurant owners wonder, how much insurance does their business really need? They might also wonder, what the correct types of insurance are for their restaurant? They might wonder what types of insurance they can do without or what the bare minimum coverage is to get by.  These are all very common questions asked of insurance agents on a daily basis.   The answer to these questions and many other things in life are; ‘It depends’. There are many variables that go in to owning and operating a restaurant. Each variable brings on its own unique risk.  Also, the amount of coverage you purchase depends upon you the business owner and the level of risk you are willing to take. Workers Compensation and General Liability Coverage are required by law in most states for most businesses. This is where most businesses start when purchasing coverages. Depending upon how much risk you are willing to take, here are 3 tips to help you make sure you are purchasing the amount restaurant insurance.

Find the best information about workers comp insurance for your restaurant on this blog by Workers Compensation Shop.


Are you classified correctly?

First and foremost, a small business owner needs to make sure their business is classified properly. This applies to both workers compensation and general liability insurance. Each state has their own governing body for these coverages. Usually it is the department of insurance or some similar name. An experienced independent insurance agent can help you determine what coverages are required, what coverages are necessary, and what coverages you can do without. When talking with your agent, it is crucially important to be honest with them.  This is important in relation to the time you restaurant is open, how much and what types of alcohol you serve, and what exactly your employees do.  Restaurants are classified different based upon the risks they face. You can understand the risks are higher for a business that serves primarily alcohol and is open until 2:00AM compared to a diner that is open Monday through Friday from 6:00 AM until 2:00 PM. The amount these businesses pay in premium is reflected in the premium they pay for insurance. Being properly classified can save your business immensely.

Pay as you go option

Restaurant work comp insurance is required by state law in 48 out of 50 states. Getting this coverage in place is an enormous cost for some businesses.  Pay as You Go Workers’ Compensation is s a great option for seasonal or cash strapped businesses. The pay as you go option allows a business to pay premium based upon the amount of payroll each month. This is compared to a traditional workers comp policy that is based upon an estimate of payroll over the past 1-3 years. A traditional plan also requires an up-front lump sum payment of up to one third of the total premium just to get coverage in place. For many businesses, the pay as you go option can get coverage in place for as little as a few hundred dollars.

Implement Adequate Safety Programs 

Safety programs are great for your restaurant for a number of reasons. They lower the number of accidents that occur and the severity of those accidents. They prevent both employees and patrons from hurting themselves while in your facility. They also can lower what you pay in premium for some insurance coverages. If you have a thorough and well-documented program in place you should mention this to your agent and ask if any carriers offer a discount for safety programs. Finally, when a claim occurs; if you have safety programs in place your agent can use them to demonstrate to the carrier that the incident is an outlier and not a sign of how you do business. This can prevent or limit the amount of increase in premium after a year in which you had several claims or one large claim. If you do not have a safety program in place, it does not have to be extremely time consuming to implement one. Most training can be done upon hiring all new employees and then periodically a few times a month with all long term staff. Putting forth a small amount of time towards a safety program can pay tremendous results the next time you are looking for workers compensation insurance for restaurants.


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Heating, Venting, and Air Conditioning (HVAC)


Heating and Air Conditioning Contractors (HVAC) are the exact type of business that has a unique issues relating to workers compensation insurance. These businesses provide services and installations of heating and air conditioning units. They do work for both commercial and residential clients. The employees must be extremely knowledgeable about their craft in relation to both installation and repair of  both duct and vent work, the different types of fuel sources for heating equipment, which can be natural or LP gas, electric, steam, solid fuel, coal, or fuel oil. Many contractors also install, service, and repair air conditioners. While air conditioning units are normally electric-powered, they are charged with different coolants, some of which may be hazardous.

HVAC Unit on top of a building.

Many HVAC Companies are classified as Artisan Contractors for insurance purposes.  There are five main Classification Codes for HVAC Companies.

Common Workers Compensation Class Codes:

•   5537- Heating, Ventilation, A/C, Refrigeration Systems- Install, Service, Repair

•   8720-Heating and Air Conditioning- Inspection and Outside Sales

•   3726- Boiler Installation or Repair

•   5183- Plumbing- Gas or Water

Now it is important to ensure your business is classified properly within this industry. Depending upon the scope of the work you do, your rate for insurance premium may be dramatically different. Improper classification almost always gets fixed during the end of term audit, but it usually brings with it a headache if you are not properly classified on the front end.

One big difference among a lot of HVAC Companies is how their employees are classified.  Some companies classify their employees as independent contractor while some classify their employees as regular W-2 employees. Depending upon how you manage your employees, your business may be required to carry Workers Compensation Coverage regardless of how you classify your employees. It is important to check with the proper governing agency within your state to determine which classification is best for you and if you are required to carry workers comp coverage. An experienced independent insurance agent can help you with this decision.

Even if your business is not required to carry coverage it is more than likely worth your while to carry this needed coverage. If you are having trouble coming up with the initial lump sum payment, there are flexible payment options that some carriers offer. One such option is Pay as You Go Workers Compensation Insurance. This type of policy will allow you to get coverage in place at a much lower up front cost and it will allow you to pay your payments monthly based upon the previous months actual payroll.

Even if you do not decide to go with a flexible payment option, it is important to sit down and have an extended conversation with your insurance agent. It is especially important to inform your agent if there are certain types of work you do not partake in. There are numerous classification codes for each industry type depending upon the type of work your business does. If your business is classified improperly it can dramatically impact what you pay in premium for a number of commercial insurance policies.

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5 ways to save when purchasing Workers Compensation Insurance


Partner with an Independent Agent

It is always best to partner with an independent insurance agent when purchasing commercial insurance coverage. Especially when you are looking for ways to save on premium. An independent agent can save you an immense amount of time because you do not have to shop your policy around yourself. Most independent agents have the ability to go out and get quotes from multiple carriers for you. They also are privy to which companies are aggressively quoting your particular industry.

Tell your Agent what you Value most

If you are a business owner that wants to get the absolute best protection possible, it is important to let your agent know. If price is what is most important to you, than it is equally important to let them know as well. Independent insurance agents have to speak with a lot of people from a lot of different walks of life. Each of these people have different things they value related tot heir insurance packages. The more information you give your agent about what you value, the more likely you are to be satisfied with what they find for you.

Make sure Your business is classified properly

There are more than 700 classification codes just for workers’ compensation coverage. Each industry has multiple classification codes depending upon the activities of the employees in each individual business. If your business is not classified properly it can cause you to either over pay or underpay your premium throughout the year. Now this mistake usually gets straightened out during the end of term audit, but either way you have been paying the wrong amount throughout they year. This can result in you getting a refund on your premium at the end of the term or owing additional premium. Either way, this is an unpredictable cost to your business.

Ask for all available Credits and Debits

If price is important to you, you should express that to your agent.  Also, you should mention to them that you want them to look for all available credits or discounts your business can take advantage of. If you have a well-documented safety program, a return-to-work program, or a safe driver program in place, it is good to mention that to him.  They may be able to use this information to negotiate for better price on premium with the carriers they are shopping your policy with.

Selectively Price Shop

IT is always important to shop around your policy to make sure you are getting both the best possible coverage and a competitive rate. At the same time, it is not wise to switch carriers each year based upon a small difference in price. This is because, when a claim does occur your carrier is likely to work with you if this is your first term with them.  If you have been with a carrier for multiple years, they are much more likely to work with you after a difficult year if they know they have gotten multiple years worth of premium from you. When the only reason you chose them was because of price, they are much more likely to refuse coverage or raise your rate significantly after a difficult year. If you cannot find coverage on the open market after a difficult year, it may force you to purchase coverage from the state fund which is much more expensive. Once you are in the state fund, most states require you to stay there for a number of years. If this happens to you, you may save a few hundred dollars in premium on the front end, but end up costing your business thousands on the back end if you wind up in the state fund for multiple years.

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Workers’ Compensation Claim Process: Best Practices

Here are the Best Practices for Handling a Workers’ Compensation Claim

A Workers’ Compensation Claim can be an enormous cost to your business if not handled properly. Having a safety program in place and having multiple employees ready to address this situation can be the difference between a claim being a small hiccup and an enormous cost to your business. This safety program should have strict instructions for how your employees should handle an injury, how, when and where they should help the injured employee get proper medical care, and how they should follow up with the injured employee as well as the insurance company.

The Workers' Compensation Claim Process can cost your business immensely if not handled properly.

The carrier process the claim, not the agent

The Workers’ Compensation Claim Process can be tricky if you do not prepare for it. When a claim occurs it is handled by the insurance carrier, not the insurance agent. It is a good idea to contact your agent when a claim occurs. They can help get you to the proper person at your carrier in order to speed up the process. They can also go to bat for you if your carrier is not living up to their responsibilities. That being said, do not be upset with your insurance agent if they are not much help when you have a claim. They should be able to get you the proper phone number to call and maybe the name of a person or two who you should try to contact within the organization, but more than likely that is going to be the extent of their help.

Make this process a part of your safety program

This process should be a part of your safety program. If you train your managers and employees about the workers compensation claim process they will be more prepared to navigate the system more efficiently when a claim does occur. You do not have to go in to detail with your employees about the workers compensation process, but they should know that they should not feel they need to hide injuries. They should also know who is the proper person to report the injuries to when they do occur. Your managers need to be able to handle the workers compensation process throughout. This is because there may be a time when they have to handle the claim because the owner or President is sick or on vacation.

Have a detailed return-to-work program

A return-to-work program can only run smoothly if it is well thought out and prepared for prior to experiencing an injured employee. One of the main reasons for having a return-to-work program in place is because humans are creatures of habit. Coming to work on a regular basis is part of their routine. The longer an injured employee stays out of work, the more likely they are to develop new habits in their daily life outside of work. The longer these habits have to develop, the more likely that injured employee is to never return to work. This is when a claim can get severely out of hand. When claims get out of hand it can have drastically negative effects on the experience modification rating of your business. This rating is one of the largest aspects of your business that insurance carriers use to determine how much to charge you for premium. It is also one of the few aspects that you have direct control of through having a successful safety program that includes a return-to-work program.

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Industries that benefit from Pay as You Go Workers Comp

4 Industries that Benefit from Pay as You Go Workers Comp

Pay as You Go Workers Comp is designed to allow businesses pay their workers compensation insurance premium in real-time based upon the previous months payroll. This is a great way for many small businesses to free up cash because in a traditional work comp policy the business is required to make a large lump-sum payment just to get coverage in place. This payment is typically one third of the total premium for the year. This amount is estimated based upon the previous years payroll. If you are in an industry that is seasonal or dependent upon the weather, your payroll can be dramatically different from year to year. This can cause your business to be audited both mid-term and at the end of your insurance cycle. This audit takes time away from the day to day operations of your business and it can cause you to severely over or under pay your premium throughout the year. A Pay as You Go Workers Comp Policy can help your business prevent many of these issues by more accurately paying your premium in real time.  Here are 4 types of businesses that can benefit from the Pay as You Go Option.

Pay as You Go Workers Comp can help your business in many ways.


If you are a start-up that does not have historical payroll records, it can be difficult to anticipate what exactly your yearly payroll will be. Payroll will be dependent upon how many clients you acquire in your first year and how much revenue those customers generate. If you under estimate the amount of hours your workforce will be working, it can result in you having to make a substantial payment either when you get audited mid-term or at the end of term audit. Depending upon the size of your staff this different can be substantial and it may come at a time when you need that cash-flow for other more pressing needs. For this reason, it may be wise for a start-up to use the Pay as You Go Option until they get a few years of historical payroll records to estimate off of.

Commercial Cleaning

In the commercial cleaning industry, it is difficult for many business owners to anticipate payroll 12 months ahead of time. This is especially true if your business cleans retail establishments. These establishments have much more traffic at certain times of the year like Memorial Day, Thanksgiving, and Christmas. You can anticipate this somewhat, but depending upon the health of the economy, consumer confidence, and the amount of discretionary money people have to spend; this traffic may be dramatically different from year to year. This can cause your man hours to fluctuate up or down based upon many factors that are out of your control. This may make the Pay as Your Go Workers Comp Option ideal for a commercial cleaning business.

Bed and Breakfast

The bed and breakfast industry has a tendency to be seasonal. A lot of the seasonality deals with the weather in the area where the bed and breakfast is located. The Summer tends to be busy because of that fact children are not in school and a majority of families plan their vacations around this time of year. If the location is near a resort town that depends upon something like the fall colors or a ski resort, the busy time may be during that time of the year. The Pay as You Go Workers Comp Option may be ideal if your bed and breakfast is located in one of these areas.

Retail Stores

Most retail establishments are heavily dependent upon the state of the economy and how much discretionary income people have in their pockets. Now if you are a grocery store or an auto parts store, this may not be as true for your business; but most businesses depend upon people having extra money to spend. This can cause the amount of payroll you can invest in your workforce fluctuate significantly from year to year. If this is true of your retail location, Pay as You Go Workers Comp may be the best option for your business to free up cash for other business needs.

Pay as You Go Workers Comp






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4 Benefits of Pay as You Go Workers Comp

Small business owners in today’s business environment have a lot to think about. Finding and keeping employees is crucial to the success of your business long term. Acquiring good clients is equally important to generating enough revenue to keep the doors open. Purchasing the right amount of materials to keep your orders fulfilled, but not having cash tied up in unnecessary inventory can be crucial as well. All of these tend to eat up cash-flow. This is why some insurance carriers have developed a method of paying workers compensation premium that ties up less of your revenue. This payment option is called Pay as You Go Workers Compensation. This option allows you to pay your premium each month based upon the previous months payroll. This allows businesses to free up cash for more immediate business purposes.  Here are four ways Pay as You Go Workers Comp can benefit your business.

Pay as You Go Workers Compensation can help businesses free up cash.

Pay as You Go Improves Cash Flow

Most traditional Workers Comp Policies require a significant part of the premium up front just to establish coverage. This payment is typically 25-30 percent of the entire premium. This payment is estimated off of the payroll from the previous year or from the three previous years. After this initial payment the business must pay the additional premium in nine monthly payments. With the Pay as You Go Option most businesses, depending on revenue, can get policies in place for only a few hundred dollars. This allows the business to free up cash for more immediate business needs.

Increases Payment Accuracy

Pay as You Go Billing allows businesses to accurately pay what they owe each month based on real time payroll amounts. In a traditional work comp policy the payroll amounts are an estimate and during an audit at the end of the period they either are offered a refund for overpaying or they are charged for the additional amount of premium owed. Pay as You Go lessens this burden by allowing companies to pay a more accurate amount each month in real time.

Simplifies the Auditing Process

Because the amount of premium is paid in real time based on the payroll each month there are less inaccuracies during the auditing process. Typically the biggest problem during the auditing process stems from the business being improperly classified. This can cause a dramatic over or under payment if the business is supposed to be in a classification code that is dramatically more or less dangerous. A good example of this is related to driving risks. If a company has employees drive to many different locations to do a job as opposed to do a similar job at only one location without the employees operating a vehicle those are two class codes that are dramatically different risks and premium is dramatically different for those two businesses.

Allows the Business to Budget more effectively

Because the insurance premiums are paid in real-time based upon the previous months payroll, it allows businesses to more accurately budget other business needs. This is because payrolls fluctuate from year to year and with a traditional workers comp policy the premium is an estimate based upon the previous years payroll over the course of the entire year. Many businesses have payrolls that fluctuate from year to year and even month to month based upon a lot of factors. If your business is one of these, the pay as you go option may be ideal for your business to get your budgeting as accurate as possible.

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What is Pay as You Go Workers Compensation?

Pay as You Go Workers Comp is a type of insurance policy that allows a business to pay their insurance premium monthly based upon payroll as opposed to an estimated lump sum. This lump sum is usually based on last year or the past three years payroll and it is usually for 25 percent of the total amount. For many businesses, this is an excessive amount compared to the cash they have on hand. If this is true for your business, the Pay as You Go Option may be ideal for your business.


Pay as You Go Workers Comp

There are three main ways in which Pay as You Go Workers’ Compensation can benefit you as an employer:

  1. Allows you to pay premium monthly instead of in one large payment.
  2. Allows you to free up cash for more immediate business needs.
  3. Allows you to prevent most mid-term audits.

Monthly Payments

Pay as You Go Workers’ Compensation benefits you as a business owner by allowing you to pay your workers comp insurance premium monthly based on the payroll each month. This eliminates the need to tie up necessary cash in a large payment at the start of the term, just to get coverage in place. For many business owners, this means they can get coverage in place for as little as a few hundred dollars. This allows business owners to use that additional cash on inventory or any other more urgent business need.


Free Up Cash

Another benefit of Pay as You Go is that it frees up cash flow for more immediate business needs.  Because you do not have to pay the large lump sum payment on the front-end you can instead use that cash to reinvest in your business or give an employee a raise.  With a traditional Workers Comp Policy typically twenty five percent of the premium is due just to get coverage in place. The rest is usually paid in nine monthly payments. If you are a business with a small payroll or operate in a favorable class code, this may not be a big deal. If you operate in a high risk industry or you have a large payroll, this twenty=five percent down payment can be significant.

Prevent Audits

The third and possibly most important benefit of Pay as You Go Workers’ Compensation Coverage is that it prevents mid-term audits from happening more frequently. This is because your payment is in real-time based on the previous months payroll instead of an estimate of last years payroll. If you are in an industry that is dependent upon the weather, your payroll can be drastically different from year to year.  Pay as You Go Workers Comp provides your business with less risk of over or underpaying premium.


Pay as You Go Workers Compensation Insurance


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Roof Snow Removal

This time of year, depending upon where you live, snow and ice begin to pile up everywhere. This includes piling up on the roof of your home or business. Because of this fact, you may need to determine what type of roof snow removal is appropriate for your property.  You may be able to do this yourself, but depending on the amount of snow and the type of roof you have you may need to hire a trained professional.

Small building in desperate need of snow removal.

The amount of snow and ice your roof can support will depend on a number of factors, including the roof type as well as the age and condition of the structure. A good rule to keep in mind is if there is more than a foot of snow and your roof; especially if the snow is heavy, wet, or icy, you should have it removed.Here are a few tips to help you properly execute your roof snow removal plan.

Use the proper equipment

There are specific Roof Rakes designed for when snow accumulates excessively roofs and removal may be a challenge. Roof rakes help clear out the snow off your property and prevent ice dams from creating.

Work from the edge towards the center of your house

If you work from the edges of your house towards the center it will cause any excess snow to fall towards the outskirts of your house and on to the ground. On the contrary, if your work from the center out it can cause additional snow to fall towards the center of your house and cause the roof to collapse.

Only remove 2-3 inches at a time  

In addition to working from the exterior to the middle it is also important to only remove 2 or 3 inches on the roof at a time.  This is instead of scraping the roof clean, which will risk damage to your shingles or other roof covering.

Winter mountain landscape with a building in need of snow removal.

Be careful of metal roofs

A metal roof can conduct electricity and depending upon the conditions from the Winter Weather Storm there may be a power source connected to your roof. Approach snow removal careful or hire a trained professional.

For Flat Roofs

If your flat roof is easily accessible from the inside, it may be easier to shovel a portion of the roof from the interior.

For Sloped Roofs

Roof rakes are likely to be beneficial to remove the snow and ice from your sloped roof.  A rake with a long-handled tool design is ideal.  You should be able to stand on the ground and pull a majority of the snow off the eaves.  If you cannot safely reach the roof you more than likely need  to contact a homebuilder, landscaping professional, or property maintenance company to remove the snow and ice for you.


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Landscaping Businesses turn to Snow Removal in Winter

Landscaping businesses make up a huge part of our economy.  According to a July 2016 IBIS World Market Report, the landscape services industry had an annual revenue of $78 billion. This same report showed that the industry employs just under a million people and represents just under half a million small businesses. For a majority of the country, this industry is very dormant for at least 4 months out of the year. In an effort to continue to make income and keep good employs around, many businesses turn to Snow Removal during the colder months of the year. Here are several insurance policies that can help those businesses protect themselves and their employees.

Landscaping and snow removal are big business throughout a majority of the United States.

The risks associated with a snow removal business is very different than the risks a traditional landscaping company faces.  Cold weather and different equipment make the risks associated with snow removal high for your business.  Because of these risks, it is extremely important to speak with your insurance agent about exactly what it is that your business does and does not partake in on a daily basis. Partnering with the right independent insurance agent can help you determine if it is worth the risk to offer snow removal and if you do how to best protect your investment.

Snow Removal Operations are risky business for your employees.

Here are 5 insurance policies that are essential to protect your business if you are working in the snow removal industry.

General Liability

General liability insurance coverage is a type of insurance policy that covers your business for liability to third parties you come in contact with. Most policies cover bodily injury claims of third parties injured because of the actions of your business, along with property damage that occurs because of the actions of your organization.

Workers’ Compensation

Each state has their own rules and regulations regarding their workers compensation system. Depending upon each states guidelines, you may be exempt from coverage depending upon the industry you operate in or the number of employees you hire.

Depending upon the state you operate in and the number of employees you have, you more than likely are legally required to purchase workers’ compensation coverage. For example, in the state of Georgia coverage is required for nearly all businesses with three or more employees.

Now a workers’ compensation insurance policy is commonly referred to as ‘exclusive remedy’.  This is because when employees are injured, they receive coverage for their medical expenses and some lost wages while they are not able to work. Most policies cover around 60% of the employee’s salary. Employers gain the peace of mind to know that they will not be sued for injuries that occur as a part of normal business operations.

Commercial Auto

If you own or operate vehicles as part of your snow removal business you will need to insure those vehicles properly. If you own the vehicles you need a commercial auto policy and if you lease the vehicles you will need a hired and non owned auto policy.

Inland Marine

A Commercial Auto Policy will cover the truck or other type of vehicle, but it will not cover the trailer or any equipment being transported by the truck. An Inland Marine Insurance Policy will protect all of your specialized equipment while it is in transit on a trailer or in use off premise.

Cartoon of a person digging their car out of the snow.



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Snow Shoveling Safety Tips

As the Winter Weather Season attacks your area. Snow shoveling becomes a necessity for daily life around your house and at your business. Having an smooth safe area to walk can help your family operate and allow your staff and customers to continue using your business. There are some steps that need to be taken in order to ensure you, your family and your staff stay safe when you have to shovel snow this Winter.

Workers in Winter frequently have to shovel snow.


The following tips can help keep you safer when you set out to shovel snow this Winter:

  • Warm up your body – Adequately warming up your muscles and joints before heading out to shovel snow can help prevent injuries to many parts of your body.
  • Push with your legs and never with your back –  Pushing the snow away from your body with bent legs will prevent you from attempting to lift too much weight with your back. When lifting snow, bend your knees and use your legs whenever possible.
  • Choose your shovel wisely – Ergonomically-designed shovels can help reduce the amount of bending you have to do and the amount of weight your back has to deal with. Most hardware of home improvement stores have plenty of selection, but don’t wait until the storm is here to go looking for a shovel.
  • Lighten your load –  No matter what type of shovel you do choose, do not be tempted to overload the shovel with too much weight. Take your time and go slow when shoveling your house or business.
  • Pace Yourself –  Pace yourself and be sure to take frequent breaks. Consider taking a break after 20 to 30 minutes of shoveling, especially when the snow is wet.
  • Consider shoveling multiple times –  It is important to shovel as the snow is coming down and after it has stopped. It may be discouraging to shovel snow when you know that more snow is on the way, but the earlier you start attacking the snow the better.
  • Dress Appropriately for the temperatures –  Cold weather is no time for showing how well you deal with the weather. Dress appropriately for the conditions you face. Try to limit the amount of cotton you wear. Always wear a hat gloves and good wool socks.  In cold weather; not layering properly can cause you to get sick, not just to be uncomfortable.
  • Stay hydrated –  Drink plenty of water to stay hydrated while shoveling. Even if you are not perspiring much and do not feel thirsty, it is still important to keep your body properly hydrated.

Children love to play in the snow. For your sake, make that time useful and have them shovel snow at your home or office.

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