Business Insurance: Complete Guide to Insuring Your Business
Everything You Need To Know About Insuring Your Business
Setting up a business is no easy feat. You have to come up with an innovative product or service to consumers and go through many steps and paperwork to establish your business. After your business is officially registered, you have to hire employees to help you manage the company and execute a strategy to achieve your desired objective. Indeed, you need to put in much effort, time, and investment, making it crucial to protect your business.
No matter what size your business may be or what industry you may be part of, investing in business insurance is smart. When it comes to running a business, risks are inevitable, so the best way to go about them is mitigation. Even with utmost consideration and caution, you can never truly predict what may happen. Unexpected events may arise without prior notice, and in some cases, they can be harmful enough to cause bankruptcy for your business. As such, understanding insurance coverage for businesses and what’s included, serves as a safety net to protect your business from such losses.
Introduction to Business Insurance
Business insurance, sometimes also called commercial insurance, covers a broad range of insurance policies designed to protect businesses from risks and losses. It is so significant as it can serve as the lifeline of a business. Without it, a company might not be able to resume its operations after suffering a significant loss.
While running a business, unexpected or unforeseen circumstances may occur and harm your operations. For example, if a fire or natural disaster destroys your physical assets like buildings or inventory, you can still recoup losses with an insurance policy. The same principle applies to cases where an injury occurs in your business and the insurance covers for lawsuits.
Types of Business Insurance
Since business insurance is so broad, you may encounter several types while trying to apply for a policy. Here are some of the most common types of business insurance you may need:
- Professional Liability
Also known as errors and omissions (E&O) insurance, this policy covers your business from lawsuits that may arise from negligence and mistakes. It applies to cases when a person may suffer from loss after receiving your service or after an error on your company’s part. Every business and industry will have its own set of risks, so this policy is typically customizable to suit your case.
Property insurance is applicable for every business, regardless of whether you are renting a space or you own one. It covers damage to buildings, inventory, furniture, and other vital assets caused by events like a fire, storm, or other insured risks. Standard property insurance policies will usually have a limit to the amount it can cover, so if your area is vulnerable to mass-destruction risks, it will be best to get additional coverage.
- Product Liability
If you run a merchandising business, then product liability insurance will be essential to protect you from lawsuits that may arise from issues related to one or more of your products. Specifically, it applies to situations where your product may cause injury or damage, which can happen even after being extra cautious about your products’ safety.
- Workers’ Compensation
This type of insurance provides compensation for employees who cannot work after getting an injury or illness from work. Should you run into a lawsuit due to this case, workers’ compensation insurance will also help cover the legal expenses.
- Commercial Auto
Commercial auto insurance protects company vehicles, such as service trucks, automobiles, and workers’ vans. It works similarly to personal auto insurance because it provides coverage for liability, collisions, and medical payments. However, it is vital to get this specific insurance since your personal policy will not cover for vehicles used for business purposes.
- Business Interruption
If you are wondering what business insurances I need if a disaster forces me to cease my business operations for some time, this type of business insurance will compensate you for lost income caused by the event. It is particularly applicable for businesses that operate in a physical location since disasters will likely cause significant interruption in your daily operations.
- Data Breach
With looming threats on cyberattacks today, this insurance policy will help protect your business from losses that may occur from a data breach. Some insurance companies will go so far as to assist in finding the source of the breach and mitigating it to prevent future attacks. A similar type of insurance, known as cyber liability insurance, also exists to cover data breach lawsuits, monitor fraud, and related expenses.
Insurance coverage for businesses – What’s Included?
Business insurance coverage will ultimately vary based on your specific policy, though it typically covers elements like lost income, property damage, lawsuits, and similar losses. One of the most common business insurance options is the Business Owner’s Policy (BOP), which puts together property and liability coverage into one policy. Most businesses will qualify for a BOP, but the specific requirements for eligibility will differ based on your insurance provider.
That said, most business insurance policies only cover property damage and liability, so things like workers’ compensation and business interruption are not covered. Likewise, standard property insurance will come with a specific list of named perils, so any risk not included will not be covered. As for professional liability insurance, intentional acts of fraud are not covered, since this policy is limited to negligent acts. Similarly, general liability does not include auto accidents, as these are covered by commercial auto insurance.
Overall, there is no one-size-fits-all policy for business insurance, which explains the need for different types of business insurance. Most insurance providers will offer basic policies with the minimum coverage needed, so it will be beneficial to get additional coverage for specific needs that may apply to your business.
What Business Insurance Do I Need?
Though there are many types of business insurance available, only a few are mandated by law. For example, almost all employers are required to get workers’ compensation insurance if they have employees. At the same time, most states also require disability insurance for severe non-work related injury or illness. As for commercial auto insurance, this will be needed if you have company vehicles. By the same principle, employees who will be driving these vehicles need to be insured.
Liability and property insurance, on the other hand, are not legally required for all businesses. Still, these two are some of the most practical policies that will be beneficial to get. Some fields, such as real estate, will require professional liability insurance, and similar to purchasing a home, mortgage lenders will ask for property insurance for loans. If you sell alcohol, you will also need a sub-type of insurance known as liquor liability. This insurance policy protects your business from injury or damage that may be caused by an overserved customer.
How to Insure My Business?
Selecting an insurance policy for your business can be challenging and quite tedious, but taking the time to think about it ensures that you consider all important bases. The hardest part will be the first step, which is determining how much coverage you need. Set an appointment with your insurance provider to get an introduction to business insurance, as the topic is vast.
Naturally, the minimum insurance coverage amount to avail is determined by law, but in most cases, you may want to consider additional coverage for extra protection. To determine the best coverage, you have to ask yourself the following questions: what business insurances do I need? What type of insurance will protect me, my employees, my company, my customers, and my resources? How much will be an ideal coverage amount that is enough to cover the cost of my assets and investments?
You can start by contacting different insurance providers and asking about the policies they have for your business. These policies are usually curated to suit various industries and circumstances, allowing you to save on costs. Besides looking at these policies, check and see if your business falls under special cases, where you will need more insurance than the minimum coverage.
Insurance policy costs can vary significantly based on several factors, such as your industry, location, and the number of employees you have. If you are overwhelmed with the process, you can hire an insurance broker or independent agent to help you compare your options. These professionals can also help you calculate the ideal insurance amount that will be suitable for your business.
No matter what type of business you own, getting business insurance is the right choice. Running a business inevitably comes with risks, so you want to get as much protection to continue operating for as long as possible. Disasters and calamities can cause significant losses, so much so that some businesses end up filing for bankruptcy. Thus, you must take charge and be proactive by investing in business insurance as early as possible. Do not wait for something to happen before getting a policy as the losses then may be irreversible.