The Gig Gap

For many decades, having a job meant being an employee of a company—often for life.
Today, it’s a different story.

For many decades,
having a job meant being an employee of a company—often for life.

Today, it’s a different story. That’s
because many people are a part of the so-called gig economy of independent consultants
who often move from one job to the next. This might mean selling goods through
a network marketing company like Avon, moving products on Amazon or eBay, or
running a home-based graphic design business. The trend is only growing: an
Intuit study predicts that more than 40 percent of the U.S. workforce will be
contingent workers by 2020.

Upsides like freedom and flexibility
attract people to this kind of work. Yet there are downsides, too, like
hustling to find jobs and managing a fluctuating income. Another lesser known
one is not having enough— or even any—business insurance.

Fortunately, there are easy ways to fix
that. Here’s how for some of the most common types of work.

You drive for a ridesharing service
like Uber or Lyft

Did you know that you’re no longer covered
by your personal auto policy as soon as you make yourself available as a
driver? Before you accept a ride, be aware that Uber and Lyft only cover you
for liability on a limited basis. They do provide more coverage when you accept
a ride and when you have the passenger in your vehicle, but some of it (like
collision damage to your own car) can be subject to high deductibles.

ERIE was the first insurer to offer a “business use” coverage designation on personal auto policies.
The exact price varies by location and vehicle, but it’s about 30 percent more
than the rate for people who never use their cars for business. Your ERIE Agent
can help you find the right protection at the right price.

You’re involved in network

Tupperware, LuLaRoe, Scentsy— there are
lots of ways to make money selling products as a consultant. If you do, it’s
worth considering extra protection.

Even if you sell something relatively
harmless like clothing, you’ll still want to add an incidental business endorsement
to your homeowner’s insurance policy. It will protect you if you’re hosting a
professional party at someone else’s house and accidently smash her antique
vase. It also protects you if someone comes to your house for one of these
parties and gets hurt.

You sell items on Amazon, eBay or

When you have a professional selling plan
on Amazon, you’re required to have at least $1 million in business liability
insurance. No insurance is required to sell on Amazon if you don’t have a
professional plan or if you sell on eBay or Etsy. Still, it’s worth
considering, depending on how much business you do on any of these platforms,
in case your inventory is stolen or someone is injured by an item you sold.

You run a business out of your home

Imagine that you’re renting out a room via
Airbnb and you accidentally break your guest’s expensive camera. Or what if
someone says you libeled or slandered them during your business? In these
instances, and many more, you might not be covered, since homeowners and renter’s
policies aren’t always designed to cover home-based businesses.

If it turns out you need extra coverage,
you can add an incidental business endorsement to your homeowner’s policy.
There are different kinds to fit your exact business—generally speaking, they’ll
run you about $30 to $70 per year.

If your situation is more complex— for
instance, you rent out more than half of your home or you have employees—then
you may need to buy a separate commercial insurance policy and/or a
workers’ compensation policy.

Finally, you might also consider buying professional liability insurance. This
type of coverage protects you if someone accuses you of doing inadequate or
negligent work. A few examples could include a bookkeeper making a critical
accounting mistake for a client or a real estate agent accidentally
misrepresenting key information.

The bottom line is this: Whether you have
a side hustle or draw a full-time income from your work, it’s a good idea to
talk with your agent about making
sure you have the right coverage in place.

You can always call The Agent to discuss any questions you may have | (330) 758-3339


Article by: By Jane Bianchi, ERIESENSE 5/12/17

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