Protect Your Work in Progress with an Installation Floater

The materials that a contractor brings to a job site are subject to numerous perils in a variety of locations. The contractor might take delivery of them at his main location and store them for a period of time. At some point, he will transport them to a job site where they may again sit in storage. Finally, he will cut, drill, weld, or otherwise process the materials until they become a finished part of the building. During all of these stages, the materials may suffer damage by fire, theft, flooding, or even damage in a traffic accident during transport to the job site.

Commercial property insurance policies do not cover materials once they have been moved off of the business’s premises, and they provide little coverage for materials while in transit. To insure property that moves around, the contractor needs an inland marine policy, which is a policy that covers property that can easily move from one location to another. The inland marine policy that covers materials a contractor will install in a building is called an installation floater.

Contractors may be familiar with a similar policy known as a builders’ risk policy. A builders’ risk policy insures an entire structure during the process of its construction. The structure’s owner or the general contractor in charge of the job might purchase this policy. An installation floater, while similar in coverage, insures only a specific type of property during the construction, such as the plumbing or electrical systems. Subcontractors, who ordinarily have a limited scope of work on the job, purchase installation floaters.

An installation floater policy insures property used in a construction project. While the actual policy form will vary from one insurance company to another, it will typically cover materials, equipment, machinery and supplies owned by the contractor or for which he has responsibility. The property must be used in or incidental to the fabrication, erection or construction project described in the policy. One single amount of insurance applies to the property; the limit should be the highest value for that type of property during the job. When insurance companies establish the premium for these policies, they take into account that the value of the property will start out small and increase as the job progresses. For example, if a boiler installation contractor buys an installation floater with a $500,000 insurance limit, the company will adjust the premium to recognize that, for most of the project, $500,000 worth of boilers and related equipment and supplies will not be there.

Installation floaters cover all causes of loss other than those specifically listed in the policy. They cover losses caused by fire, lightning, theft, explosion, and several other perils. Typical policies do not cover losses caused by extreme events like earthquakes and floods, but some companies will consider adding these coverages for an additional premium. Most policies will also exclude damage that occurs during testing of a building component or system (for example, testing of compressors). Some companies may consider adding this coverage as well, depending on the type of property and the nature of the testing.

Beside the policy’s expiration, several other events may cause coverage to cease. Coverage ceases when the purchaser accepts the work, when the contractor’s ownership interest in the property ends, if he abandons the project, or within a stated number of days after he finishes work.

Because every installation floater policy is different, contractors should carefully review their policies. They should discuss any deficiencies or confusing provisions with their insurance agents. Construction contracts often require this coverage, so it is vital for a contractor to make sure he has the proper coverage.

Know the Facts to Help Avoid Being a Victim of Auto Theft

According to the FBI’s National Crime Information Center, one vehicle is stolen about every 25.5 seconds in the U.S., which amounts to a total of 1,235,226 stolen U.S. vehicles and upwards of 7.6 billion dollars in vehicle losses.

Despite the tremendous expense involved when a car is stolen, many consumers still aren’t preparing in advance to handle the possibility of a vehicle theft. A number of common misconceptions have contributed to consumers adopting a defeatist attitude about vehicle theft. There are a number of vehicle owners that feel it’s all but impossible to prevent becoming a victim of vehicle theft, even when protective methods like anti-theft devices are used. This type of defeatist attitude can have serious and unnecessary consequences for vehicle owners.

The Wiser Drivers Wise Up project was started by the Council of Better Business Bureaus, the Insurance Information Institute, and The National Insurance Crime Bureau to dispel the defeatist attitude and teach drivers how to handle their vehicle being stolen. The program includes five auto theft myths that can actually leave a vehicle owner more vulnerable to having their vehicle stolen:

1. Older vehicles aren’t targeted by thieves. Statistics clearly show this myth isn’t true. For example, The National Insurance Crime Bureau reports that the five top stolen model years for 2009 were: 1994 Honda Accord, 1995 Honda Civic, 1991 Toyota Camry, 1997 Ford F-150 Pickup, and 2004 Dodge Ram Pickup.

2. The majority of vehicle thefts occur in unprotected areas. Again, statistics clearly disprove this myth. According to one FBI report on the subject, more than a third of all vehicle thefts take place from a home. The same report showed that only two in ten vehicle thefts take place in a parking lot and that only a very small number of vehicles are stolen or carjacked along roadways, highways, and alleys. So, parking in a an area felt to be secure doesn’t decrease the likelihood of your vehicle being stolen.

3. Anti-theft devices aren’t hard to install. Unless, you’re trained on the complexities of a vehicle’s electronic workings, then it’s best to pay for a professional to install, wire, and test the anti-theft device for you. It might be tempting to go with the cheapest price, but keep in mind that a cheap price doesn’t always equate to a bargain. Check with the Better Business Bureau to help you determine if the installer is running a reputable business, especially if a business is offering a substantial price difference from their competitors. If the technician that will be installing your alarm system hasn’t been certified by the Mobile Electronics Certification Program (MECP), then you might want to consider a different installer. Make sure that the installer provides instruction on how the alarm system works and is operated. You will also want a written warranty from the installer.

4. The police usually find stolen vehicles. Only half of all stolen vehicles are ever recovered. The first few days following the theft will be critical, as the chance of recovery diminishes with each day the thief possesses it. The highest number of vehicle thefts occur on Saturdays and Fridays. The highest number of recoveries are from vehicle thefts occurring on a Monday or Tuesday.

5. Insurance companies always provide victims of vehicle theft with a rental car. Check your policy; while theft coverage is part of a comprehensive auto insurance policy, it may or may not include a rental replacement car following a theft.

In closing, vehicle owners shouldn’t make the costly mistake of assuming vehicle theft is an inevitable occurrence. It’s also advisable to do an annual review of your auto policy for mandatory coverages, needed coverages, and coverage features like rentals and roadside assistance.