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What Coverage do you Need for Signs and Murals?

If your business’s building has a mural painted on its walls, or a monument sign that helps brand your location, you know that these things often add character to your property. If they were damaged, destroyed, or vandalized, you’d want them restored in the best way possible. However, some commercial property policies may not have the coverage you need to do so. Let’s talk about why.


Your commercial property insurance likely has some coverage that would pay for damage to signs or murals in a covered loss. The question is, what are the limits? If you paid an artist $3,000 to paint a mural on the side of your building, and someone drives into that wall – how much coverage do you have? Your insurance would likely pay for repairs to the wall, but would you have enough to have the mural redone?

The same may be an example for a roadside monument or elevated sign. If you have a BOP for your business’s insurance, there may not be coverage for outdoor signs that aren’t connected to the building. They likely can be added by an endorsement to the policy, however, and the same question about limits needs to be asked. How much would it cost to replace your sign and


Another thing to note about your signs and murals is what may be excluded from being covered. Some policies may exclude vandalism from coverage, and others may have specific language about lighting for signage. If you are currently having a mural painted, you may want to ask about coverage for it while it is in-process as well. Especially if it is a large financial investment.

Let’s talk through your signage and mural needs that may be unique, and make sure you have the coverage in place to protect them. Contact Brandon Patterson at 865.453.1414 or

What Does Your Small or Hobby Farm Need for Coverage?

If you have land on your property that you use for farming, you may think that you don’t need additional coverage if you don’t farm commercially. But the answer to that depends on your specific situation. Let’s take a look at what may be some common risks for small and hobby farms.


The coverage you need for farm property is typically based on how much land you use for it, and what those activities encompass. If you have a farm that is used primarily for enjoyment and not as a profit source, you likely have a “hobby” farm. It is unlikely that your home insurance policy properly covers your hobby farm, and you should discuss the additional options for your coverage. A farm insurance policy may be the best option, and


If you do any farming, you probably have equipment that you utilize for the work. If you have a “blanket” farm policy, your equipment may be covered. But not all farm policies offer blanket coverage, and even if they do, the limits may not be high enough for what you need.


Even with one cow or just a few chickens, you’re adding to your risk by having livestock. And while you may not need expanded coverage like a Livestock Risk Policy, you may be able to add an endorsement for livestock coverage onto your farm policy.


Have a pumpkin patch, corn maze, apple picking, etc. as activities on your farm? If you allow visitors onto your property – even for a small window of time – you should consider the liability you may incur should someone get injured. And although you may take the necessary precautions for safety, accidents happen. Small Farm Insurance may be the answer here, and the parameters of your use will determine the coverages you need.

Let us help you review the risks of your farm and help you understand the options you have for coverage. Contact Brandon Patterson at 865.453.1414 or

Does a Home-sharing Endorsement Properly Cover Investment Property?

The world of investment property has changed significantly over the past decade, as the short-term rental market has seen a meteoric rise thanks to platforms like VRBO and Airbnb. This has resulted in new risks as well as new insurance coverage options. One such option is home-sharing endorsements, which are being added to many individual home insurance policies as a way to cover short-term rentals. But is the right solution for covering investment properties? That depends on several factors, so let’s review them.

Personal and Commercial Use

You likely already know that your personal insurance is unlikely to cover commercial use of your property. A home-sharing endorsement may add coverage for property damage, theft, or liability claims that result from renters. But these coverages are typically tied to a primary residence. So, if you rent out rooms in your home or possibly even a guest house on the property of your primary residence, this may be a good option. If you have a cabin, vacation home, or other seasonal property, a claim filed through this endorsement that relates to a renter will likely be uncovered.

Primary Residence

If you have investment property like a short-term rental, or even your own cabin or vacation home that you rent out while not in your use – it is not your “primary residence” unless it is your legal domicile. As such, your homeowners policy is unlikely to cover it, no matter what endorsements are added. Insurance policies are contracts, and in this scenario they use the term “residence premises” to refer to the dwelling where you reside. In addition, if you’re being paid for rental, you’re involved in a commercial transaction.

Covering Investment Property Risks

What you actually need to cover investment property may still vary, but let’s start with the basics. Investment property, rental property, or even sometimes call landlord risk – these insurance policies are designed to cover you for losses to property you are renting out to others. Property damage, injuries, theft, and liability are all parts of this coverage you need to understand and know your limits for in the policy you have in place. You also need to keep in mind that while some coverages may be “bundled” into policies, there are often additional gaps to address. For example, sewer backup or flood insurance are unlikely to be included in these policies. Other considerations like loss of income or tenant rent default should also be discussed.

The Use is the Key

How is your property being used? That is the question to start with. Paying less money to add an endorsement won’t save you in the long run if you have a claim denied due to the policy language or exclusions.

Let us help you review your options and determine the coverages that are best for you! Contact Brandon Patterson at 865.453.1414 or email and let us help you get started.

Can Your Business Improve Your Work Comp Experience Mod?

Owning and operating a business can be very rewarding and potentially very profitable, but it can also be very expensive. Having inventory, property, taxes, and especially employees – it all comes with costs. But some of those costs can be controlled, is your workers’ compensation insurance one of them? Possibly so, and the source of control may be your experience modification factor (also known as experience mod rate, EMR, xmod, Mod, and more). Let’s review how.

Safety Programs

As you can read in another of our Blogs, your Mod is based on the comparison of your business to others in your industry. The average Mod is 1.0, so your business will be higher or lower depending on the circumstances. If you have a good business history with minimal and less severe claims, you will likely have a Mod lower than 1.0.

So, can you lower this Mod? Yes, and having a safety program in place is a great first step. To build one, take steps that include examining your risks, determining processes, deciding who is responsible for them, documenting the plan, and implementing/reviewing the plan and its results.

Your Data

Insurance companies are underwriting your coverage to predict future losses. They’ll review your company’s history and compare it to others in your industry. Making sure this data is accurate is critical. What are your employees’ roles, and are they classified properly. Is the industry you’re being compared with accurate to the work your company does? Do they understand your safety plan and the risk management measures you have in place. Work with your agent and the insurance company to be sure this information is complete and accurate.

Covering Investment Property Risks

What you actually need to cover investment property may still vary, but let’s start with the basics. Investment property, rental property, or even sometimes call landlord risk – these insurance policies are designed to cover you for losses to property you are renting out to others. Property damage, injuries, theft, and liability are all parts of this coverage you need to understand and know your limits for in the policy you have in place. You also need to keep in mind that while some coverages may be “bundled” into policies, there are often additional gaps to address. For example, sewer backup or flood insurance are unlikely to be included in these policies. Other considerations like loss of income or tenant rent default should also be discussed.

Claims Prevention

In addition to safety on-site, preventative measures can be taken before the job ever starts. Onboarding, training, screening, and testing of employees and potential hires can help you save.

In addition to safety, the above steps may help your company run more efficiently – which may lead to happier employees and higher profit margins. It’s a win-win!

Let us help you understand your Mod and the options you have to improve it! Contact Brandon Patterson at 865.453.1414 or email and let us help you get started.

Do Your Cabin & Vacation Rental Risks Change During Busy Season?

If you own or operate Cabin and Vacation Rentals, it’s likely that one of your busiest seasons is Memorial Day through Labor Day. You may have more occupants, and at a higher frequency than during the slower months of the year. So, does more use – and more users – equate to higher risks for your property? It may, and let’s take a look at how.

Damage from Renters

Even well-intentioned renters of your property may cause damage by accident, and these could be small concerns or large issues. The more people that are using the property, the higher the likelihood that an issue will occur. Doing a thorough check after renters complete their stay may help you identify any issues that need to be addressed before they become larger problems.

Risks for Liability

Having families or groups on your property under their own supervision can sometimes lead to accidents or injuries. And while you may have the proper structure in place to avoid significant liability, that doesn’t mean lawsuits can be completely prevented. In the litigious world we live in, there are unfortunately some “bad actors” as well. Having as much documentation of maintenance and systems in place might help you avoid a lengthy legal issue.

One specific area to monitor liability is for properties with pools and/or hot tubs. Be sure to have clear rules of use and waivers of liability in your rental agreement to help protect the interests of you and the renters.

Seasonal Risks

The Summer months also have concerns around their weather impacts. Dry weather can result in wildfire conditions; heavier storms can result in flooding, lightning strikes, or hail; and more active wildlife can also be a concern for property.

Preparation is the Key

Preparing your property for these risks and having the right coverages in place should an issue occur is critical. Some steps for preparation to consider include:

  1. Have very clear policies in procedures in place. Have extensive language in your rental agreement that addresses use and liability. Ideally, work with an attorney to review the language.
  2. Maintain your property. When you keep up with maintenance and fix issues as they arise, you are much more likely to avoid something larger occurring. Small leaks, loose fixtures, and unchecked equipment can result in larger problems if left unchecked.
  3. Review and understand your insurance. What would you be covered for, and what may be excluded or uncovered under your policies? What other options – like umbrella coverage – may be available?

Let us help you review these options and determine the coverages that are best for you! Contact Brandon Patterson at 865.453.1414 or email and let us help you get started.

Our Business has Workers’ Comp – Why do we Need Disability Insurance?

You know you want to protect your employees, but sometimes the different options for covering them can be confusing. If an employee gets hurt at work, you want to have coverage in place to help them and also protect the interests of your business. As a result, you purchase a workers’ compensation policy that will help support you both should that happen. But then your insurance agent asks you about short-term and long-term disability insurance – why do you need those policies if you’re already covered? Let’s break it down.

Workers’ Compensation Coverage
Workers’ comp coverage will typically cover medical expenses of employees that get injured on the job doing tasks related to their role. It may also replace a portion of their wages while the miss work to recover from the incident. Other claims, such as training replacement staff, permanent injuries, and in the worst case – death benefits – may also be payable from workers’ comp.

However, these injuries have to be work-related. What happens if your employee is an accident outside of work that leaves them unable to perform the duties of their job? That’s where disability coverage may come into play.

Short-term Disability Coverage
If you have an employee that is injured – let’s say in a car accident as an example – and needs time to recover, a short-term disability policy may help pay them a percentage of their salary for a time determined by the policy. This is often for a term of weeks, months, or possibly a year. And while disability “insurance” from Social Security may be available, that only applies after a term of five full months of the disability has occurred.

Long-term Disability Coverage
As you might imagine, long-term disability typically has a greater amount of time that the policy will provide income replacement. While the amount and time period depends on the policy, some terms are as long as though retirement age.

In addition to policies through a business, some people decide to purchase individual disability policies. These may cover more income replacement, and/or may have longer terms of coverage. What’s right for your business and your employees? Get in touch with Brandon Patterson at our agency by calling 865.453.1414 or emailing to discuss your insurance options.

The Trends of Cyber and Data Risk

Cyber liability continues to be a big concern for businesses – and individuals – with data. And whether we like it or not, we all have data that can be targeted. For businesses, the amount of data is likely much larger and more susceptible to attack. And while this has been true for a while now, the way that cyber criminals attempt to breach this data continues to evolve. Let’s take a look at some of these trends.

Sustained Campaigns

Data shows that there is cyber attack every 11 seconds. Hackers are trying more methods that used heavy “campaigns” to try and find vulnerabilities. One such method, A distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attack occurs when multiple systems flood the bandwidth or resources of a targeted system, usually one or more web servers. A DDoS attack uses more than one unique IP address or machines, often from thousands of hosts infected with malware.

Automation of Attacks

You’ve heard about automation for all sorts of industries and tasks, so it only makes sense that cyber criminals would automate as well. Crimeware is the name for this form of automated attack, and it is used in a wide array of activities. Stealing passwords, logging keystrokes, redirecting websites to malicious sites – these are all activities being automated perpetrate identity theft through social engineering or stealth.

Espionage and Cyber Spying

When you have sensitive or proprietary data, perhaps plans, blueprints, recipes, etc. that are advantages for your business, they may also be under attack. The goal of these attacks is to access the “secret” info, and then use it either for ransom demands, or in some cases, to give rival entities an advantage over the attacked business.

What Your Business Can Do

In addition to these “trending” attacks, there are plenty of other methods used. Card skimming, point of sale attacks, malware, phishing – it’s all still around. So, with all these threats to your data, what can you do to prepare your business?

  1. Have protocols in place for use of devices and access to files
  2. Back up files in secure cloud storage
  3. Utilize cybersecurity programs and regular update programs and scan files
  4. Consult with cybersecurity specialists on your unique risks
  5. Have a cyber attack response plan in place
  6. Have the right cyber liability insurance

Your business may need cyber liability coverage added to its policy, or it may need “standalone” insurance with higher limits and more coverages. We can help you review your risks and understand what’s available to help protect you, your business, and your data.

Get in touch with Brandon Patterson at our agency by calling 865.453.1414 or emailing to discuss your insurance options.

Protect Your Business from Seasonal Risks with the Right Insurance

If you’re a business owner, you know that the seasons can bring unexpected surprises that can disrupt your operations. You may face risks from extreme weather or product shortages due to seasonal changes that could cost you time and money. But did you know there are insurance policies available to help protect your business against some of these seasonal risks? Let’s dive in and explore the different types of insurance options out there for seasonal changes in your business.

Property Insurance for Extreme Weather Events

We all know how unpredictable Mother Nature can be. Heavy rain, hail, and windstorms can cause property damage to your business premises or equipment. A good property insurance policy will protect you against losses related to damages caused by severe weather events. But did you know that most business property policies do not include coverage for floods or earthquakes? There are options available for covering against these risks, and your business may be better protected if you have them in place.

Business Interruption for Contingent Businesses

If your business relies heavily on seasonal products or inventory, a product shortage could have serious financial implications for you. If you rely on suppliers to provide you materials, supplies, food products, or other goods and services – your business may have a contingent risk. Business interruption coverage may help protect you if a supply chain issue results in your business being unable to build inventory or meet increased demand.

Increased Value for Seasonal Changes                                                                              

If Spring is one of your busiest times of year, it is likely you stock up on inventory or increase your production to meet demand. This may mean you have higher than normal value on this inventory, seasonal employment increases, higher operating costs, more business income, and additional risks that may be significantly different than other times of year. It is important to factor these into your coverages, and possibly even look at “peak season endorsements” or other options for coverage.

We may not know what’s in store as the seasons change, but we can be better prepared. Get in touch with Brandon Patterson at our agency by calling 865.453.1414 or emailing to discuss your seasonal risks and the coverage options you may have available.

Spring is in the Air! What Coverages will Prepare You?

For those that don’t enjoy cold weather, springtime is a welcome relief! As the days get longer and the weather gets warmer, it’s an exciting time to be outdoors more and enjoy nature. But there are some risks that seem to “return” more heavily in the Spring, and we want you to be prepared!

Flood Risks
As the weather changes, storms are more common. Heavy, and more frequent, rains often lead to flash flooding or even overflowing creeks, lakes, and rivers. Every building is in a Flood Zone, and anywhere can flood if the worst conditions occur. Flood insurance is typically not included in your homeowners coverage, and our building and contents are also covered separately when it comes to Flood insurance. Make sure you’re aware of what you do – and don’t – have covered if a flood impacts your property.

Boats and Recreational Vehicles
Getting that boat, RV, ATV, or other vehicle ready for the season? Do you have it covered properly? Damage to these vehicles can often occur during their storage, preparation, and/or transportation – not just during regular use! Does your policy have coverage for when this other damage occurs?

Road conditions often “show up” more frequently during weather changes. Potholes may open as road coverings warm up, leading to sometimes dangerous hazards. If you only have collision coverage on your vehicle, pothole damage is unlikely to be covered by your policy.

Vacation Rental Coverage
Americans begin to take more and more trips as the weather improves, with Spring Breaks a common “kickoff” to this heavier travel season. Is your rental property prepared? Often, the Winter season has impacts that lead to necessary Spring maintenance. If you’re properly maintaining your properties, you may be avoiding risks that can lead to damage or liability. Even so, heavier use of your properties also comes with increased risks. Having the right policies in place for high traffic seasonal use is a critical part of protecting your property.

To help ensure you have that right coverages in place for seasonal risks, contact Brandon Patterson in our agency at 865.453.1414 or email to get started!

Insuring Condos is Just Like Insuring Any Other Home – Right?

Owning a condominium is a big investment, and it’s important that you take the necessary steps to protect it. And while condos do have many of the same risks as houses, there are also other risks you need to be aware of – and coverages that can protect you. There may also be less that needs to be covered than a traditional house, but it’s important to understand what that really means. Let’s take a look!

What Kind of Insurance Do I Need?
As you might expect when insuring a condo, there are three common types of coverage: dwelling, liability, and personal property. Dwelling coverage typically covers any repairs or replacements needed due to fire, theft, or specific natural disasters. Liability coverage is to help protect you from lawsuits that may arise from an accident in or around your condominium. And finally, personal property coverage is used to cover items inside your condo if they are damaged or stolen.

However, condos are typically insured on an “HO6” policy. The main difference in that and a “regular house” policy (typically covered by an “HO3” policy) is that condo owners are not usually responsible for the “common areas” around their condo. As examples, the hallways, land, parking areas, etc. are usually the responsibility of the company that owns or manages the condo – or the condo owners’ association.

So, as a condo owner with an HO6 policy, you may have “less” to cover. But that doesn’t mean you have less to protect. HO6 policies don’t typically protect you against losses from earthquakes, sinkholes, floods, and municipal water/sewers.

What Other Coverages Do I Need?
To fully protect your condo, you should discuss additional coverage options with your insurance agent. Coverages for flood, water backup, earthquake, and umbrella policies for additional liability may make sense depending on your specific risks.

Another coverage to review is “unit assessment” insurance, which can reimburse you for your share of an assessment charged to all unit owners as a result of a covered loss. For instance, if there is a fire in the lobby and all the unit owners are charged the cost of repairing the loss.

Insuring condos, like most property, is often unique to the risks you face. Contact Brandon Patterson at 865.453.1414 or email and let him help you determine your risks and understand your coverage options!