AirBNB and other short term rentals: Are you really covered?


To rent or not to rent, that is the question.

You have that nice room in the back of your house with a private entrance that is barely used in the year.  You have a little in-law downstairs that your mother only takes over during Christmas.  You’ve always liked meeting new people, so why not utilize the space and do a short term rental?

Sounds like a great idea, but the big question is are you actually covered by your insurance?

Here’s a great article from the San Francisco Chronicle and features our personal lines manager, Kelson Herman:

“The insurance industry as a whole hasn’t come to terms with the concept because they don’t know how to charge for the particular risk,” said Kelson Herman, a broker with Riskguard Insurance Solutions in San Francisco. “From what I’ve seen, the majority of homeowners who are already doing Airbnb have not told their carriers. They are running the risk that they may not have their claims paid, because standard homeowners policies don’t cover Airbnb. The ones who are getting into it now are a little more careful, they are asking carriers beforehand.”

If you’d like to evaluate your insurance with us, give us a call at 415-447-4212 or check out our website.  We’d be happy to talk to you about various options we can offer.

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Holiday Donation Drive 2017!

As a company founded in the San Francisco Bay Area, we are committed to giving back to our community.  This holiday season, Riskguard Insurance Solutions, Inc. will be partnering with The Livermore Homeless Refuge for a holiday donation drive from now until December 31st, 2017.


The Livermore Homeless Refuge is a partnership between four Livermore churches: Asbury United Methodist Church, Tri-Valley Church of Christ, 1st Presbyterian Church, and Holy Cross Lutheran Church.  Their mission is to provide a clean, dry, warm, and safe refuge for people who need a place to stay, regardless of race, creed, or religion.  

How to help or make a donation:

  1. If you would like to make a financial contribution, please make checks payable to: Livermore Homeless Refuge.                                                                                       Checks can be mailed to:  Ashbury United Methodist Church, 4743 East Avenue, Livermore, CA 94550
  2. If you would like to donate materials or supplies, please consult their list of needed items.

You can drop off donations during our office at 422 Presidio Ave., San Francisco, CA 94115 during the weekdays of Monday-Friday 9am-4:30pm.  We will collect physical donations until Wednesday, December 13th, 2017.


Please note that this organization is in the process of securing 501(c)3 public charity status and therefore donations are not tax deductible.


Questions?  Contact Matt Gray- or 415-447-4212




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Workers Compensation 101: Licensed Contractors and Time Cards


First and foremost, if you are in the state of California and have employees, then you have to have workers compensation insurance.

If you are a licensed contractor in the state of California, the CSLB (Contractor’s State License Board) will also require that you have workers compensation (you are exempt if you have no employees).

What is a Dual Wage Class Code?

Dual wage class codes are codes where there is a different rate charged depending on the hourly pay rate for that class code. As an example, the Concrete code of 5202 is used where the employee is paid over $24.00 per hour and the 5201 code is used where the employee is paid under $24.00 per hour. The rate for the lower hourly wage code is much higher than the rate for the higher wage code resulting in a very different charge for premium. There are a number of dual wage codes like this including carpentry and others.


The Workers Compensation Insurance Rating Bureau (WCIRB) requires that you must clock each employee onto and off each job during a work day and if the employee does more than one type of job during a work day, they must be clocked on and off each different job during that day. This way the exact payroll is recorded for each class code and the proper premium will be charged.


If you don’t use this type of time clocking system and you can’t provide this level of detail during an audit (time cards, personnel records, and employee earnings records), the insurance carrier is required to move all payroll for that employee into the higher rated code. This can cost you thousands of dollars of additional premium so it’s vital that you understand and employ the proper type of time recording system.  Original time cards must clearly show start, stop and break times, hours worked, job duties and wage rates.

If you don’t already have such a system there are a number of hardware and software based products on the market that you can use and you can find many of these just by doing a Google search on “time card systems for contractors”.

StockSnap_A5Q1BUP3OFWhat about Sub-Contractors?

One other vital area to pay attention to is the use of sub-contractors. The WCIRB requires that you get proof of each sub-contractor’s valid license and proof that they have their own workers compensation coverage. If you can’t provide this evidence during an audit, the auditor can add all of the money that you paid to the sub-contractor to your payroll totals and charge you for additional premium based on the type of work the sub-contractor did on the project. So again, it’s vital that you understand what’s required and make sure you follow those requirements.

If you ever have questions or want more information, please don’t hesitate to contact our office. We’re always happy to help!

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Are You Ready To Send the Kids Off To College?: Bag? Check! Books? Check! Insurance? Um…

pexels-photo-207665Back-to-School Insurance Tips

College is expensive enough without finding out too late that an accident or theft isn’t covered under your current policies. So, as you get your children ready to head off to school in the fall, there’s one vital “to-do” to add to your list (other than writing that tuition check): a review of your insurance coverage.

It’s important to keep in mind that policy language varies from state to state, and there are never “one-size-fits-all” situations, but below is a general guide. If you have questions, or want to go over your insurance needs, don’t hesitate to contact us!


pexels-photo-509821HOMEOWNERS (may vary by state and individual policy)

  • Coverage of personal property: Most homeowners policies provide 10 percent of Coverage C (Personal Property) for property owned by an insured that is at a residence other than the insured’s. For example, if the contents of a policyholder’s home are insured for $100,000, a student’s property up to $10,000 would be covered if living in a dormitory – provided the damage is caused by a covered peril and the student meets the definition of an insured.
  • For apartments or houses off-campus, the same coverage generally applies. Certain items, such as jewelry or expensive electronics, may require special coverage, or a “rider.” Renters insurance is strongly recommended if a particular policy does not cover a student’s personal property.
  • Liability coverage: There usually is an exclusion for damage to property rented to an insured, so generally damage to a dorm room or apartment would not be covered.
  • Ensuring adequate coverage: Contact us to get specific answers and information about your coverages. Also, it’s a great idea to create an inventory of the items your student is taking to school, as is keeping photos of and receipts for the items.
  • Renters insurance: If your student’s needs can’t be met under your current policy, don’t forget renters insurance. Landlords’ policies generally only cover the structure, not the possessions of renters.


pexels-photoAUTO (may vary by state)

  • Coverage without a car at school: If your student will continue to drive while at home on school breaks, they should continue to be listed on your auto policy. If they are attending school more than 100 miles from home, and are not taking a vehicle with them, the policy may qualify for a distant-student discount.
  • Coverage with a car at school: In most instances, a car registered to parents and listed on their policy will be covered if used by a listed student away at school. But you should make sure that your insurance carrier writes coverage in the college’s state and location. And note that a change to the principal location of the vehicle could result in a change in premium.
  • Driving a friend’s car at school: Students generally would be covered while driving a friend’s car if the students are listed on their parents’ policy and do not have regular use of the vehicle. The coverage would likely be secondary in this case, as the carrier for the friend’s vehicle likely would be the primary coverage.
  • Coverage discounts: In addition to the possible distant-student discount mentioned above, students may qualify for a good-student discount. To qualify, most insurance carriers require that a student must be enrolled in at least four courses per term as a full-time student at an accredited college or university and meet certain academic qualifications. Also, drivers under the age of 21 who complete a driver education course may be eligible for a policy discount.


Going away to school is an exciting time for both students and their parents. Making sure you’ve got the right insurance coverage can help you protect your assets as you invest in your child’s future. We’re happy to discuss your coverage and options — just give us a call or stop by!


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3 Simple Ways to Reduce Car Accident Risks


Spring is here!  With warmer weather comes more activities to be outside including driving to beaches, areas in your neighborhood, or even weekend road trips.

Unfortunately, too many of those trips will end up being memorable for the wrong reasons, due to crashes and other risks that drivers face anytime they hit the road.

You can take control of your next trip, whether it’s across the state or across town, by following these simple rules:

  1. Pay attention. Do you know how many drivers around the country are using cell phones or other electronic devices right now? If it’s daytime, the answer is approximately 660,000, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration Anything that takes your eyes off the road or distracts you increases your risk of a crash. Here’s another reason to avoid distractions: If you’re completely alert, you have a better chance of steering clear of that guy who is texting on his way to work.
  1. Stay sober. One bad decision can change lives forever, and driving under the influence is an extraordinarily bad decision. Nearly 15,000 died in 2012 in crashes involving impaired drivers, according to the National Safety Council (NSC). So get a designated driver — or better yet, be a designated driver.
  1. Slow down. They say “speed kills,” and, as depressing as it sounds, it’s true. Crashes caused by excessive speed cause more than 10,000 deaths a year on average, the NSC Surprisingly, you are most at risk on roads where the speed limit is 55 mph or below. Remember, the posted speed limit isn’t always the best speed to travel. Depending on conditions, going slower might be the safest option.

Just a little common sense can make a big difference for you and the safety of others around you, your passengers and your fellow drivers.

Be alert and be safe out there on the road.

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CUESA’s Volunteer of the Month: Christian Herman

Congrats to our fellow agent, Christian Herman!  christian

Since August 2015, Christian has been volunteering with CUESA (a local non-profit organization that manages the San Francisco Ferry Plaza Farmers Market since 1999).  He was just named Volunteer of the Month by CUESA for his hard work and efficiency, which we see in his work at Riskguard Insurance on a day-to-day basis.

Christian left the restaurant industry to join the insurance business in 2015.  He brings to the office fresh ideas and insight, over 10 years of restaurant management experience, and a great attitude to educate and help commercial clients.

Check out the article here and learn a little bit more about Christian here:

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Workers Comp in CA: Some Info on First Aid Claim Reporting



The purpose of this notice is to inform you that the Workers’ Compensation Insurance Rating Bureau (“WCIRB”) California Workers’ Compensation Uniform Statistical Reporting Plan (the “Plan”), effective January 1, 2017 requires that all workers’ compensation medical payments be reported to the WCIRB, including “first aid” claim payments, which is defined by Cal. Lab. Code § 5401(a) (West 2016), as follows:

. . . . “[F]irst aid” means any one-time treatment, and any follow up visit for the purpose of observation of minor scratches, cuts, burns, splinters, or other minor industrial injury, which do not ordinarily require medical care. This one-time treatment, and follow up visit for the purpose of observation, is considered first aid even though provided by a physician or registered professional personnel.

This means that all first aid claims, regardless of whether payment is made by you or us, need to be reported to the WCIRB.  In order for us to be in compliance with the law, we will require that all medical losses, including first aid payments as defined under Labor Code 5401(a), be reported as policyholder losses.

We pay first aid claims at the applicable contract rate for network services or the Official Medical Fee Schedule (“OMFS”) for non –network services. Policyholders that pay bills directly may pay more than the contract rate or the OMFS which increases the amount reported for medical losses to the WCIRB. First aid medical losses will be considered when an employer’s experience modification is calculated and will be included on loss runs.

Please provide us with any and all medical bills that are paid by you on this workers’ compensation claim, regardless of whether they are first aid bills or not, along with any medical report(s) and documentation of payment, for appropriate review and reimbursement.
Courtesy of Republic Indemnity Insurance

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Flood Insurance: What do you need to know?


With the wet weather we’re having in California (finally!), the question of whether or not you have flood coverage comes to mind.  Did you know that your standard homeowners insurance doesn’t cover flood damage?

At Riskguard Insurance, we want you to be educated about all of the risks you may face – before a loss occurs – so you can determine what insurance coverage is appropriate. Spring is a prime season for flooding, so now is a good time to review your options.

Because very few companies offer flood insurance, the U.S. government created the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) in 1968. Available to homeowners, renters and business owners, this insurance often is required to obtain a mortgage in areas at high risk of flooding.

But you might want to look into a policy just for peace of mind, even if you don’t live in flood prone area. According to the NFIP, nearly 25% of the program’s claims occur in moderate- to low-risk areas. Check out the questions and answers below to help determine if flood insurance is right for you.

Is flood insurance available in my area?pexels-photo-279734.jpeg

To participate in the NFIP, a community must adopt and enforce a floodplain management ordinance with rules regarding construction in certain flood-prone areas. In exchange, the government makes flood insurance available within that community. We’re happy to help you find out if you’re eligible for flood insurance. Just give us a call at 415-447-4212. You can also visit

 What does it cover?

The NFIP provides coverage for both the structure and its contents. Coverage for contents is optional in some cases, so you may want to give us a call to discuss other coverage for your personal property.

Keep in mind that you typically can’t purchase flood insurance and have it take effect the next day. There is usually a 30-day waiting period. (Exceptions to this rule apply, however, particularly when the insurance is required by a lender and is purchased during the process of securing a mortgage.) If you think you need flood insurance, don’t wait to buy a policy!

What doesn’t it cover?

Generally, government-issued flood insurance will not cover the following: Buildings entirely over water or principally below ground, gas and liquid storage tanks, animals, aircraft, wharves, piers, bulkheads, growing crops, shrubbery, land, roads, machinery or equipment in the open and most motor vehicles.

How much does it cost?

As with all insurance policies, the cost of flood insurance varies depending on your situation. If your home or business is in a high-risk area, such as a “special flood hazard area,” your premium naturally will be higher than those in low- or moderate-risk zones. Premiums are based on how old the building is, how many floors it has, the location of its contents, your deductible and more. Renters insurance is typically less expensive, as renters generally insure their belongings and not the building.

Where can I find more information?

As always, we are happy to help you determine your insurance needs. Give us a call at 415-447-4212. The NFIP website, at, has plenty of answers as well.

Stay safe, dry, and covered!


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Donation to the Children’s Book Project


Our book drive came to a close on Monday, 12/19/16.  We collected over 100 books!  Thank you to everyone who contributed either by donating a book or making a monetary donation directly to the organization.


Two of our agents, Christine Kao and Kelson Herman, went to drop off our donation today.  Riskguard Insurance will also be making a monetary donation as well.

The Children’s Book Project is a great organization and helps so many people in need of books.

Just because our book drive came to an end, doesn’t mean you can’t still help!  You can always drop by during their hours to make a book donation or make a monetary one here:

Book drop offs are at the old Francis Scott Key School location.

Thanks again to everyone who participated!  Riskguard Insurance Solutions, Inc. and The Children’s Book Project appreciate it!


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Reminder: Holiday Book Drive until Monday, Dec. 19,2016

holiday-book-drive-fun-textRiskguard Insurance Solutions, Inc. is working with the Children’s Book Project this holiday season to collect books for children in need. 

Our Holiday Book Drive is still going on until Monday, December 19th, 2016!

Feel free to drop by our office with a book (or more!) or you can donate directly to the Children’s Book Project:


Two of our agents, Kelson Herman and Christian Herman, were able to stop by the Chronicle Book Sale yesterday and pick up a whole box of books as part of our donation from Riskguard.  Thanks, guys!


The Children’s Book Project was founded to help build literacy by providing free, new and gently used books to children who need them.  Since 1992, they have given away over 2 million books to help people build home and classroom libraries.


How to help or make a donation:

  1. Drop off new or gently used children’s books at our office at 422 Presidio Ave., San Francisco 94115 during the weekdays of Monday-Friday 9am-4:30pm
  1. Make a monetary donation directly to the Children’s Book Project through Network for Good (If you want to mention Riskguard, please put our name in the Dedication or Gift section):


Questions?  Contact Christine Kao- or 415-447-4212

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