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Homeowners insurance when studio is in the house


#1

I’m new to Orchid, and don’t know whether this subject has been
beaten to death previously, but am looking for suggestions.

We recently moved to Maine and got homeowners insurance.

I am just starting up a very small jewelry business at home. I asked
our agent to confirm with the insurance carrier that (a) they would
not have a problem with my having a small studio even though I hope
to turn a small profit on it eventually, and (b) I will be using an
enameling kiln, soldering torch (acetylene/air) and a glassworking
torch (oxy propane) in the studio.

At first they didn’t seem to be concerned with the fact that I will
be selling what I make (though not at the house).

But, they said I could not have torches in the house. I said, okay,
I’ll move them to the standalone garage, though it’s a major hassle
to have to go out there every time I need to anneal, or solder, or do
glasswork, and I don’t heat that workspace constantly or to a very
warm temperature (heating up here in Maine is a major expense), so
it’s uncomfortable and I worry about rust.

Nevertheless, even though I agreed to what they demanded, I received
a letter from the agent today saying the carrier will be sending me a
notice of non-renewal in about two weeks.

My question is whether any of you have a homeowners insurance
carrier that permits you to operate your studio in your house, and if
so can you share the name of it?

Secondly, our agent said that in talking with a jeweler friend to
get some background, he or she advised her that my tanks should be
outside. I can see the point, since propane is heavier than air, in
the event of a leak. However, outside at our house, the regulators
would be subject to rain, snow and ice, not to mention the hassle of
going outside to turn off the tanks each time I’m finished using
them. The oxy/propane system is a Little Smith, which has a carrier
for both tanks, and looks like it was designed to be both portable
and used inside. The acetylene tank is slightly taller and is used
with a Smith air/acetylene torch head. It seems to me that if the
tanks, regulators, hoses and torches are in good shape, set up
properly, tested for leaks, and the tanks secured so they cannot tip
over, it is not unreasonable to keep them inside. Your experiences,
opinions, and advice would be helpful.

Finally, I looked briefly online at one insurer of jewelers, but all
that seems geared much more toward commercial jewelers that have
thousands (or much more) in inventory, and employees, and on-site
customers (none of which I’ll have, although I do have some expensive
equipment I want insured–kilns, rolling mill, shear,
grinder/polisher). And I haven’t seen any indication that even with
such coverage, it would make the homeowners insurance carrier any
happier.

Thanks in advance for your insights.
Bill Mack


#2

You may want to take a look at Jewelers Mutual Craftsman policy.
There is probably nothing that will meet exactly what you need but
this might be closer to what you need than a commercial jewelers
policy. If you obtain a policy that covers your jewelry business
than you may be able to find a homeowners policy to insure you.
Without coverage for your equipment, etc., you may find it difficult
to obtain a homeowners policy that will cover your home and
belongings (non-jewelery business related).

Mrs. Terry Binnion
James Binnion Metal Arts, LLC


#3

Bill, I’ve written to you offline with more details, but anyone else
interested in the subject, I’ve had some recent experience when I
brought home my new acetylene/air torch - was told that I could not
set it up anywhere on my property, under my current policy, not even
the shed 100 feet from the house.

My broker has been busy looking around for a different carrier. I
didn’t have my insurance dropped, in the end, as I’ve back off all
such activities until the new carrier has been found (which I hope
is soon!). My understanding is that we will be going with a
commercial type of policy, and I’m busy trying to comply with the
City’s various regulations (on compressed gases - no propane
indoors, zoning, home based businesses etc) too.

Don’t forget to think of all areas where you might need special
insurance - like on inventory of client’s pieces (in for repairs or
remodeling), your own inventory of materials as well astools, any
arts and crafts shows that you would attend as a vendor, items left
at galleries/stores, on a consignment basis…etc.

Hope that helps!
Ros


#4

Hey Bill,

Try RLI Insurance Company (866) 741-6560. They are reasonable and
cater to the home studio artist.

I have the exact same equipment as you, however I am working out of a
recessed bay in my three car garage (not heated or A/C), in Florida -
a far cry from Maine.

Good luck,
Pam Timm
www.pamtimm.com


#5

Hi, Bill:

Having been in exactly your position, here is a summary of what I
found:

First, lotsa luck finding ANY homeowner’s policy that will cover
business tools, equipment, precious metals and gems, inventory, etc.
You can get a rider for small amounts from most companies, but I
found such a rider both expensive for what it covered, and
insufficient to cover my tools, equipment, and especially metals,
gems, and inventory. I wound up going with Jeweler’s Mutual and their
"craftsman" policy. I found it reasonably priced for the coverage,
which they will size to your needs. You also get protection when
shipping up to $100,000 per package, coverage of your work at shows,
galleries, on the road, insurance for property of others you hold in
your work, etc… if you ship frequently, you know insurance from the
carriers is very expensive. JM was very easy to work with via their
California agent, and I have only good things to say about them.

We have used Hartford for many years as our fire insurer, and they
have never had a problem with my home studio, as long as I didn’t
store any propane tanks larger than 5 pounds indoors. They were fine
with the oxygen, acetylene B tank, and the torches.

Try contacting an insurance broker in your area, and see what they
can find for you. Brokers have access to policies that you can’t buy
or find out about online or direct from the insurance companies.

Good luck
Bob Edwards
Chromis Designs
San Francisco


#6

While looking for studio insurance I was told that home owners and
renters insurance would not cover your business (or hobby). I called
around and was given extremely high quotes. Then I realized the
American Craft Council offered insurance with a business membership.
I upgraded my membership and called the fellow in the insurance
department. Within no time I was given a great quote which covers
materials, perceived value of jewelry, theft, teaching, selling, you
name it. More coverage than anyplace else I called. My insurer is
The Hartford. They are easy to contact and offer monthly payments. I
have yet to place a claim so I can’t offer feedback on the aspect.

Happy making!
Kim
http://kobrienjewelry.supermarkethq.com


#7

Bill, You may need to purchase a commercial GLC insurance policy
(general liability). It can cover your studio as well as your
liability when at arts/crafts fairs and shows and events in your own
home or other venues. You might try Professional Insurance Executives
in Garland, Texas. Regarding the propane issue, you may also want to
look into running your natural gas line into your studio (be sure to
have a certified plumber do that) and then install a G-Tec natural
gas booster off the line and run your torch from that. It works very
nicely and met our city code.

All the best,
Karen O’Brien


#8
Regarding the propane issue, you may also want to look into running
your natural gas line into your studio (be sure to have a certified
plumber do that) and then install a G-Tec natural gas booster off
the line and run your torch from that. It works very nicely and met
our city code. 

And yet where I live when I wanted to do just that I gave the gas
folks a perfect horror… NO WAY were they going to do that!!! They
assured me that the pressure of the gas that I use for heat is MUCH
lower than the pressure needed for a torch, and that in SC it is
illegal to put the higher pressured gas into a home… go figure.

Yet I have a friend in NC who has done just that…

Beats me.

Whatever you do, you DO have to check your local laws and your
personal insurance carrier, because boy do they vary widely!!!

Beth Wicker
Three Cats and a Dog Design Studio
http://www.bethwicker.com


#9

I have my business insurance for my in-home studio through CNA
Insurance Co. The agency that helped me with this is Willis of
Massachusetts, Inc. (978) 458-1275 willis.com. I was with an
Arts/Crafts Insurance Program that had originated with ACC but had
been moved to another insurer, and the provider was dropping that
program, so Willis helped me find CNA, which gave me a better deal
for better coverage :). The actual Willis agent I worked with was
Mary Fredette, and she was lovely, very knowledgeable and helpful!
Her number is 800-445-4664 x 3055.


#10

We generally don’t have problems with local authorities approving
G-TEC Torch Boosters in home studios although sometimes they do not
understand what the system is and we need to explain it, how it
works, safety features, etc.

If there is a local authority with questions about our products we
can speak with them and get any concerns settled - please call or
e-mail me at G-TEC if you find yourself in this situation.

In Boulder, Co. we had a Fire Marshal come upon one of our systems
and after we reviewed it with him his comment was, “This is a
fireman’s dream!”

Ed Howard
G-TEC Natural Gas Systems
https://www.ganoksin.com/gnkurl/safetgas