The Insurance Family Blog

Does Your Hobby or Home Business Require Extra Insurance?– Part One

Posted by Susie Scherff on November 7, 2011 at 10:01 AM

(Please also see our blog post Part 2 for this same topic.)

Did you know that your hobby may significantly affect your personal insurance needs? Hobbies often require a large investment in tangible property and may even create some legal responsibility to other persons or their property. 

Read More

Topics: Insurance, Property Insurance, Personal Umbrella, Personal Property Insurance

Home Based Business Insurance - Are You Covered?

Posted by Susie Scherff on November 8, 2010 at 7:52 PM

Operating a business from your home can be both rewarding and profitable.  Nothing better than being able to crawl out of bed, walk down the hall and start working.  What many home based businesses don’t realize, however, is that the vast majority of homeowners policies do not cover you when you file a claim related to your business.  Like any business, a home based business owner faces many potential property and liability claims.   Consider these common scenarios:

  • You operate a small e-bay business and have an inventory of $10,000 and computers worth $5,000.  A fire in your home destroys or damages both.  Your homeowner’s policy may cover $500-$2,500 in business personal property.  The balance would not be covered.   A business owners insurance policy would also cover you for loss of income as a result of this fire.
  • You are at a trade show and someone trips and falls over your display or you have a customer come to your home where he slips and falls.  A homeowner’s policy excludes business liability so you would have no coverage.
  • You operate a home based bakery and a customer claims he broke a tooth or became sick because of your product.  There is no coverage for this type of claim under your homeowner’s policy. 


  1. ENDORSEMENT TO YOUR HOMEOWNERS POLICY.   Depending on the type of business you operate, some companies will endorse your homeowners policy to include some business personal property and business liability coverage.   Coverage is limited however and is only offered to a business with minimum loss potential. 
  2. HOME BASED BUSINESS INSURANCE POLICY.   Also sometimes called an In Home Business Insurance Policy, this is a policy that is designed specifically for home based businesses.  It provides coverage for losses or damage from business activities conducted in your home or off-site at another location.  That means your coverage can extend beyond the boundary of your home to include protection for your business property while you are in transit and provides liability coverage when you are performing business-related activities at a trade show.  It is a very competitively priced policy, starting as low as $150 per year.   Although this policy is broader in coverage and is available to more types of business than the homeowner’s endorsement, there are many businesses that do not qualify for this policy.
  3. BUSINESS OWNERS POLICY (BOP).  A business owners policy is the most comprehensive solution to insuring your business.  This is what a full-time business owner with a store front will often purchase to insure their business.  The coverage on a home based business insurance policy and BOP are very similar.  The main differences are that the BOP may offer higher limits and broader eligibility.   The premium starts as low as $500-$1,000 depending on the limits of coverage and type of business. 

By not having insurance, home based business owners are at risk for significant financial losses such as fire, theft, loss of income and liability - losses that can devastate any business.

For more information about California home based business insurance contact Sutherland-Scherff Insurance Services, Inc.

Read More

Topics: Business Liability Insurance, Business Owners Insurance, Property Insurance, Loss of Income Insurance, Business Personal Property Insurance, Liability Insurance, In Home Business Insurance, Home Based Business Insurance

CA Wildfire Risk Map Hidden for Fear of Insurance Rate Hikes

Posted by Susie Scherff on October 21, 2010 at 5:02 PM

Officials in the city of San Marcos, California have been keeping a color-coded map showing the risk of wildfire danger a secret. Why? The officials believe showing the areas that are at the greatest risk will give reason for insurance companies to drop policies and raise rates.

City leaders told the North County times that a copy of the map which was circulated left out the shadings of “high-risk” and “extreme wildfire hazard” areas. Instead of differentiating sections based on risk, the circulated map just had green shading over any area that was at risk, not categorizing the risk from low to high.

Fire Chief Todd Newman, City Manager Paul Malone and other city officials said that the color-coded map was intended for internal planning use. It was never made public out of concerns that insurance companies would raise rates or cancel policies for Coronado Hills and Attebury residents, the two areas said to be at the highest risk.

The color-coded fire-risk ratings went from "low" and "moderate" to "high," "very high" and "extreme."

Coronado Hills and Attebury were rated "extreme." The communities of Solar, Esplendido, Rockoff, Via Allondra and Stone Canyon/Discovery Hills were rated "very high."

Nordahl, La Cienega, Tamara/Sunshine Mountain, Calle Marie, Rancho de Oro, Santa Fe Hills and La Plaza ranked "high." The city's five other communities ranked "low" or "moderate."

Be sure to check if your home is in a high risk area for a wildfire. If you find yourself at risk check fire insurance quotes at a San Marcos or Los Angeles Insurance Agency so your home and belongings will be covered in the event of a blaze.
Read More

Topics: Home Insurance, Property Insurance, dwelling fire policy

Insurance Could Save Your Home with Property Crimes on the Rise

Posted by Susie Scherff on September 30, 2010 at 4:45 PM

The Los Angeles Times reported this morning that an analysis of L.A. County crime data shows which California communities have the most and least property crimes per capita.

Compared with violent crimes, property crimes tend to be more diverse geographically due to the fact that they are usually clustered around shopping areas, business, and high traffic streets. The crime data showed that the communities with the most property crimes included some places that also had be victims of serious violent crimes, including Chesterfield Square in South L.A, Rancho Park, Westchester and the Fairfax district.

Communities with the fewest property crimes were mostly wealthier areas such as Hidden Hills, Rolling Hills, Bel-Air, but also included Chinatown near downtown and some Northern Los Angeles Communities.

The full list of property crimes by LA City can be found at the Los Angeles Times Website.

Be sure to keep your neighborhood and family safe by having proper California Homeowners Insurance if you reside in an area found to be heavily targeted for property crimes.
Read More

Topics: Home Insurance, Property Insurance

Ricki Lake's California Rental Property Bursts into Flames

Posted by Susie Scherff on September 10, 2010 at 4:38 PM

According to officials, actress Ricki Lake’s beach front rental home in Malibu burnt down early Saturday morning suffering irreparable damages. The 911 call came in around 7:30 am. When police and firefighters arrived on scene, they found Ricki, her two sons, and family dog safely outside, but the house engulfed in flames.

"It appears that she was refueling some sort of portable heater when a couch caught fire and that set the whole house ablaze," said Lt. Rich Erickson of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department's Malibu/Lost Hills Station.

Firefighters contained the fire in about 20 minutes, but not much was left of the beach front property. Later Ricki commented that she was trying to refuel an indoor heater and accidently set the couch on fire. She was able to remove boxes of clothing and move her cars before the home was fully engulfed. The direct cause of the fire is still under investigation.

Hopefully Ricki has California Renters Insurance, which can help devoid costs of damages to a property that a person is renting.
Read More

Topics: Home Insurance, Property Insurance, Renters Insurance

Gas Line Explosion Shows Vulnerability of California Infrastructure

Posted by Susie Scherff on September 10, 2010 at 4:35 PM

The fiery gas line explosion in a San Bruno, California neighborhood is a stark reminder of how fragile our infrastructure can be. With varying reports on the amount of confirmed dead, our heartfelt thoughts and prayers go out to those families who were affected by the tragedy. Google has created a map of emergency response centers to help those in need.

It’s easy to take for granted simple things like electricity, clean water and even our own homes providing shelter as we pursue materialistic objects or entertainment, but a catastrophe like this should give us all pause to reflect on what we value most and how it can be protected.

By all accounts, it seems there were no major warning signs and the fire just erupted from a gas line completely unexpectedly. While a major investigation is underway, there will be many questions as to what led to the explosion and why it wasn’t avoidable. Suburban life rarely gets interrupted by these types of events, so the microscope is on state officials to prevent this from happening again.

There will certainly be questions raised about California fire insurance; including who’s responsible for paying property claims and the level of liability Pacific Gas and Electric Co. have in this ordeal. Sutherland-Scherff has representatives available to answer questions about California dwelling fire, home, or umbrella insurance policies that provide protection and help for people affected by disasters who may be displaced or at risk for huge property losses.

Some photos from this disaster can be seen at the link below.

San Bruno, CA Fire Pictures - via
Read More

Topics: Home Insurance, Property Insurance

La Canada Residents Warned – Fire Coverage an Insurance Necessity

Posted by Susie Scherff on August 10, 2010 at 4:15 PM

After the 14,000-acre Crown fire that broke out last week in Antelope Valley and the devastating Station fire that panicked Los Angeles last year, residents of Glendale and Burbank are warned of potential impending property damages that face La Canada, Flintridge, San Marino, and Los Angeles.

"All we want is to make sure the residents of Glendale and Burbank are prepared to rebuild should there be a fire," said Scott Svonkin, the commission's chairman.

Fire coverage has become an intrinsic crux of California insurance. “Homeowners shouldn’t skimp on their insurance policies,” says commission member Luther Nash. Dwelling fire insurance is often the only thing that keeps a fire from bringing financial ruin to a family.

For more on this story, visit La Canada Online, the county’s Commission on Insurance, or the county Fire Department Website.
Read More

Topics: Home Insurance, Property Insurance, Condominium Insurance