Not having sufficient commercial insurance can be a costly mistake. Granted, you might save money at first, which can be helpful if you are just starting your business. However, you must consider the long-term picture. Forgoing adequate coverage could force you to front medical fees, property repair costs, legal expenses, and more in the future. With this in mind, not having any commercial business insurance can spell doom for your company.
Before you choose an insurance issuer, you must obtain as many commercial business insurance quotes as you can. You should weigh all your options against your company's risks and budget. Choosing the first insurance issuer you come across can drain your finances, especially if you have the coverage you do not need.
What is commercial business insurance? What does it cover? How much should it cost? How can you pay less for it?
This article dives deep into these questions to help make you a smarter insurance shopper.
This type of insurance does not cover one specific risk. It is a broad range of policies that can protect companies in the event of a claim or lawsuit. There are many types of commercial business insurance that companies in every industry have. Some are only relevant to specific industries. For example, a company that ships goods by sea will probably have maritime insurance. A company that ships by land will probably not have this kind of coverage. Therefore, it is important to know what insurance your company needs before researching your options.
Some of the most widely-owned commercial business insurance policies include
Every business possesses a level of risk. Some businesses are riskier than others. For example, a construction firm generally has more risks than a digital marketing agency. Construction firms must contend with heavy equipment, hazardous work environments, and more. Digital marketing agencies do not have to plan for those risks. However, both types of businesses should have some form of commercial business insurance to help cover legal costs and damages should a claim be judged valid. Even if a claim does not make it to court, legal fees can accumulate. Commercial business insurance helps defray those expenses so they do not eat into a company's finances. You need commercial business insurance to protect your company's fortunes.
You might also need business insurance because laws and regulations demand it. Certain industries, like health care, might require malpractice insurance. It is essential that you not only assess all of your risks but also research your local laws to ensure you meet your legal responsibilities.
Each type of commercial business insurance covers particular risks. Let us look at the five previously-mentioned types.
A general liability policy helps cover your business against claims of bodily injuries and property damage that occur during normal business operations. This insurance can cover customer slips and falls and damage to their property. For instance, if your employee breaks a customer's car window during the course of business, then general liability insurance can help pay for repairs.
Also known as errors and omissions insurance, professional liability insurance helps protect your business against claims that it made professional errors that resulted in the customer/client losing money. For example, if you operate an accounting company and your employee made an incorrect calculation that resulted in a client losing money, then professional liability insurance could cover any claims or litigation resulting from the incident.
If you want to protect your company's physical assets, then you need to purchase commercial property insurance. This type of policy covers your company's physical location, everything inside it, and the property immediately surrounding it. For instance, commercial property insurance can cover furniture, equipment, signs, documents, and inventory. This coverage protects these assets from fire, storms, theft, and vandalism. Additional coverage like flood and earthquake protections can be added.
You also should consider your employees as carrying risks. As such, you should acquire workers' compensation insurance in the event they can not work due to experiencing a work-related incident or illness. Workers' compensation insurance can cover medical care expenses, lost wages, and disability benefits. It can also help pay for funeral expenses.
If your company requires the use of vehicles during normal business operations, then commercial auto insurance is a must. This type of policy covers the damage to a company vehicle and bodily injuries when your company's employee causes an accident.
General liability insurance will not offer protection for risks that are covered by other types of coverage. For example, it will not cover employees' job-related injuries. You would need workers' compensation insurance for that.
General liability insurance will also not cover damages that stem from your employees' intentional illegal acts.
This type of insurance does not cover any bodily injuries or property damage your customers or clients sustain while dealing with your company. It also does not cover any lawsuits your employees file against your company.
Items in transit, customer property, stolen goods, and malfunctioning equipment are not covered by commercial property insurance. For a thorough list, you should contact an insurance agent or broker. They can help you pinpoint the exact type of coverage you might need.
Workers' compensation insurance does not cover common illnesses like the flu, pre-existing conditions, intentional injuries, injuries originating from actions that violate company policies, and off-the-job injuries.
Personal, recently purchased, and customers' vehicles are not covered by commercial auto insurance.
Any type of business, including an LLC, can be sued or suffer financial losses from its liability risks. You need to protect your personal and professional assets. Commercial business insurance can be that extra level of protection.
Certain companies might need specific coverage depending on their industry, size, and local laws. Every company should have general liability insurance and add other coverage as they see fit.
In addition to the five previously-mentioned types of commercial business insurance, your company might benefit from:
Insurance rates vary. A company that must cover many risks will typically pay more for insurance than a company with only a few. Rates also depend on the industry and location. A high-risk industry like construction will probably pay more for insurance than a lower-risk company like a digital marketing agency.
Investing in a risk management plan is just as vital as owning commercial business insurance. Prevent your losses before they happen. Your company should constantly follow safety guidelines. Depending on your industry, theft prevention might also help defray your financial losses.
You could be paying more for insurance because you have the coverage you do not need. For instance, if you own cyber liability coverage but do not use any type of computer, then you are paying for something you do not need. Know your risks and only cover them.
Insurance issuers compete against one another for business. Use this to your advantage and compare rates. You should discover that each issuer might fight to give you the best deal.
Some insurance issuers will discount your rate if you pay ahead of time. These savings can be quite substantial for small businesses operating within a tight budget.
You have two options: you can request commercial business insurance quotes yourself via each insurance issuer's website or you can contact an insurance agent or broker. If you know what you need, then you can easily get quotes yourself. However, if you need assistance, an agent or broker can help you evaluate your needs.
Being informed can seem like a second job, especially when you are starting your business. Avoiding it will not make your liability risks go away. You have to guarantee your business can stand strong against injury and damage claims even if they are not substantiated. Collecting commercial business insurance information is more than premium quotes. You must know what types of coverage are available to help guard your business against costly claims and lawsuits. Although you might not see any short-term gains, your company's future is more secure with the right kind of protection.
A BOP bundles business property and business liability insurance into one policy, making it an easy and sometimes cost-effective method to maintain coverage.
You can deduct these costs from your taxes since this type of insurance serves a business purpose.
A certificate of insurance is proof of insurance coverage. The document acts as a receipt that proves you own coverage. It is typically free and can be obtained from your insurance issuer after paying for a policy. Some issuers let policyholders download and print their certificates.
If your company owns a vehicle, then you need commercial auto coverage. Personal auto coverage does not cover vehicles that are used for business purposes.
An insurance agent works for a specific insurance issuer. An insurance broker searches for policies from different issuers on the behalf of the customer.
You absolutely should make commercial business insurance a priority in your budget. Consider it just another cost of doing business.
Sometimes homeowner's insurance will cover home-based business-related property and equipment. If your policy does not, then you should look into getting home business insurance to protect against losses that result from property damage, lawsuits, and injuries.
Some basic information you should have on hand when you contact an insurance agent or broker for a quote includes but is not limited to: