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Do I need business insurance?

Do I Need Business InsuranceWhether or not you need business insurance depends on the type of business you have. If you have customers who come to you, if you have employees, or if you manufacture or sell products, you likely need business insurance.

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If you have a home business which you work in alone and you typically subcontract to other companies who assume the liability of your work, you do not need business insurance. For a business that does require coverage, learn your options for types of coverage and how to obtain it.

Understanding Business Insurance Options

There are many different types of business insurance options to consider. Many of the more important ones are explained below.

  • Property Damage Coverage will give you the coverage you need in case your business property is damaged through covered perils like fire, theft, flood or natural disaster. It will cover the building if you own it, supplies, fixtures and inventory.
  • Liability coverage gives you protection against lawsuits that may be filed against you. If another party suffered loss as a result of your products or services; while on your property; or through contact with one of your employees, you can be held liable. Another version of this type to consider is directors and officers coverage, which will protect them from personal liability involving the business.
  • Web site coverage is a new insurance type. It is a version of liability but for claims that specifically involve your website.
  • Health insurance is also an excellent benefit to offer employees. It helps attract and keep quality employees. Be sure to use a broker who specializes in health and medical coverage for small business.
  • Disability insurance is another type of benefit that should be offered to employees. It will provide for a part of their salary to be paid if they can no longer work due to illness or injury.
  • Make sure that you understand your state’s rules regarding worker’s compensation. This is a very important type of insurance to carry and is actually mandated by law. Depending on your industry, you need to pay it when you have a certain number of employees working for you.
  • Key Executive Life Insurance is very important when the top executives are a big part of the company reputation. Their death would constitute a business crisis. In business partnerships this is very important so the remaining partners can buy out the estate of the deceased, so they are not left running a business in conjunction with grieving family members.
  • Car insurance is necessary if your business has vehicles that are owned by it. This will include liability and other standard types of car insurance. If you have a large number of vehicles, you may want to consider fleet insurance.

Determining When to Buy Business Insurance

Almost all businesses at some point or another need business insurance. You should seek advice on when you should buy business insurance. You can get such information from a business mentor, a coach, an advisor or from someone at your local chamber of commerce. Ideally seeking the advice of someone you already have a relationship with and trust is the way to go.

Insurance agents will always be available to offer advice on when you need such insurance and how much you should carry. If you get advice from them, talk with several to see if there is a consensus on the topic. Bear in mind that agents have a financial interest in you buying coverage as soon as possible and for as much as possible. This does not always make them unbiased.

Many people will advise you to carry insurance from the day your business opens, but others will recommend that you need it when your sales hit a certain mark. Be sure the advisor you use is familiar with your industry.

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Buying Business Insurance

Choosing which business insurance to buy is only a part of the equation. You must then decide who to buy it from. As with any insurance purchase, you need to shop around in order to get the best deal possible on your coverage. You can do so easily using a free online quote tool. You input your business zip code to start, answer some questions and the information is submitted to various companies offering the type of insurance you are looking for.

When you begin to compare, look beyond price. You will want to make sure that the company you choose is the right one. You can ensure that it is financially stable by checking its rating with one of the independent insurance ratings companies, such as A.M. Best, Moody’s or Standard & Poor’s.

You can also learn a lot about how the company treats customers by checking them out with your state department of insurance. This group keeps data on complaints received on insurance companies and the resolution of such complaints. You can also do an Internet search for reviews and complaints about the insurer to learn what consumers think of their service.

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