Estate sale insurance is a popular topic here at EstateSales.NET, so we wanted to bring in an expert to answer some of the most asked questions you all had on the subject. In our last Live Q&A, we sat down with Attorney Adam O'Dell and discussed the intricacies of having a reliable contract for your sales. In this interview, we quickly realized how much the two have in common. One of those most significant similarities being how detail-oriented you need to be when making sure you're covered. Joining us for this next live Q&A is Angie Becker from The Becker Agency. Angie is the president of the Antiques & Collectibles National Association (ACNA) and a Certified Insurance Services Representative. With over 20 years in the business, Angie is one of the leading authorities in the estate sale insurance industry. The following article is a summary of a few of the topics we discussed. We highly recommend watching the full video for a more in-depth discussion.
The Homeowner's Policy
While the homeowner's policy will only cover the homeowner and their guests, that doesn't mean that you will be covered while bringing people into their home in a business setting. Angie suggests ensuring that the homeowner has an up-to-date policy and strongly recommends that you have your own policy in place. Making sure all of your bases are covered is a running theme throughout this interview.
Companies that offer multiple services
Many companies offer other services to their clients besides conducting the estate sale, such as cleanouts, decluttering, and repacking services, and there are coverage options for these companies. Angie states that her company can write policies to cover these other services with their carriers. She suggests letting your agent know of the different facets your company deals in, and they will find the right policy.
You can be sued for anything
When asked about the specific language you should use in your contract to cover slips and falls and things of that nature, Angie says that even though she's not an attorney, you can take some reasonable preventive measures to help deter these things from happening. Adding the proper signage (not responsible for accidents, etc.) at your sales is a great place to start; however, it's not a foolproof measure. In Adam's interview, he also mentions adding that you're not assuming any liability for accidents in your contract.
High Ticket Items
If you're a company that deals in many high-value items, there are specific policies you can take out on these items. If you deal with a lot of jewelry, Angie suggests getting a Jewelers Block policy. When it comes to vehicles, double-check with your carrier to see if they are covered and suggest that the owner keeps a policy on it until it sells.
Crossing State Lines
Many companies do business in different states, so having a policy covering you across state lines is very important. If you decide to get insurance coverage in another state from which you reside, pay attention to what is covered in the policy. Pricing and coverage are going to vary from state to state.
Do you have to have insurance to operate your business?
When starting a business, getting all of your ducks in a row is the most important thing you can do. Although getting insurance coverage isn't always required (unless you're in an area where it is), protecting your business assets and employees should be a top priority. On top of basic liability coverage, Workers' Comp is also something you should consider if you have employees. Angie also mentions that several states are issuing fines for companies that don't offer Workers' Compensation.
Bonded and Insured
We've all seen the signs on business that say "Bonded and Insured," but what does that mean? Being bonded will mean that you're protecting yourself against your employees from things like theft and embezzlement. Insured is a contract that passes along some responsibility should an occurrence happen. Angie suggests being bonded and insured to make sure all of your bases are covered. She also mentions that getting a bond is relatively inexpensive. She gave the example of a $10,000 bond being around $150.00/year.
How do you get insured?
Angie mentions that with her company, getting coverage is as easy as filling out an application. You will need some general information pulled together first. How many sales you do, annual revenue, payroll, and your Employer Identification Number (EIN) are a few pieces of information that you'll need. What you experience may vary depending on who you decide to choose for your policy. Angie also mentions that you can get a quote within 24 to 48 hours from her company.
Questions and Timestamps:
- What should my insurance cover? (1:18)
- Does one's homeowners insurance cover anyone that attends an estate sale in the home in question? (2:49)
- Is there a way to combine other insurance premiums to get a lower rate for your company? (3:54)
- Will a picture of your inventory suffice? (4:57)
- Is it challenging to find coverage for companies that offer multiple services? (6:34)
- Are there general languages to include in your contract for falls? (7:41)
- Should you put out signs such as "not responsible for accidents" etc at your sale? (8:57)
- Who is responsible for items broken for items shipped out of state? (9:28)
- What are the best policies for high ticket items such as cars and jewelry? (10:24)
- What happens if items that aren't meant to be for sale are accidentally sold at the sale? (11:12)
- Are there policies that cover you across state lines? (12:21)
- Are we anticipating general liability rate increases in 2022? (13:13)
- Do you have to have insurance to operate an estate sale company? (14:29)
- If you store supplies in a separate location, should that be covered as well? (17:59)
- What are the differences between being insured and bonded? (19:48)
- What information should you have ready before you apply for insurance? (21:21)
- How do you file an insurance claim? (22:32)
- What does the future landscape of estate sale insurance look like? (26:40)
- Can you write that trips and falls fall under that homeowner's insurance in your contract? (30:17)
- What kinds of coverage should companies have? (33:14)
- How long does the application process for getting insurance take? (34:17)