Demystifying Business Insurance

• 6 minute read

A lot of entrepreneurs are put off when the topic of insurance comes up. They think it’s another item to be added to the already long list of expenses. It can also be that they’re confident about how prepared they are in case something unfortunate happens in their operations. Whatever the reason is, entrepreneurs need to realize that getting business insurance is essential to protect them against significant financial losses.

Another thing about insurance that may discourage entrepreneurs is that it comes with a wide selection of coverage and types. A lot of factors also need to be considered. What are the business aspects that need to be covered? Is one insurance product enough or do you need more than one? What type of coverage do you need? It may seem daunting at first, but with enough information about insurance, choosing the right one for your business will be much easier.

Here are several things you need to know about business insurance:

Home insurance is not enough to protect your home office

Some business owners think that when they do their operations at home, their existing home insurance will suffice to protect them against huge financial losses. This is a common misconception that must be cleared out. While add-ons can be included in the home insurance, it is still better to buy another insurance policy – one that is designed to protect your home-based business against claims. Bear in mind that your business needs are different from those in your home, so make sure to get coverage for both.

Commercial Auto insurance is different from Hired and Non-Owned Auto insurance

When it comes to ensuring vehicles used in business, it is essential to know the different types of coverage available. For instance, you may want to consider getting Commercial Auto insurance. This covers vehicles that you own and are used for business purposes. On the other hand, the Hired and Non-Owned Auto insurance, as the name suggests, covers vehicles that you don’t own but are used for your operations. These automobiles can be personal vehicles of your employees that are used in work-related errands, or those that you rent for business transactions.

General Liability insurance is different from a Business Owner’s Policy

General Liability insurance protects against claims associated with bodily injuries sustained by a third party within your business premises, damage to property while doing business, and advertising or personal injuries including libel, slander or copyright infringement.  On the other hand, a Business Owner’s Policy is a Commercial Package and includes several types of coverage including General Liability insurance, Property insurance, and Business Interruptions insurance.

Different names are used to refer to Professional Liability insurance

If your business provides professional services, consider getting Professional Liability insurance to protect you from claims about mistakes committed while giving professional advice. Keep in mind that this insurance product comes in different names depending on the industry or profession. Nurses, doctors, physical therapists, and other medical professionals usually use the term Medical Malpractice insurance. On the other hand, consultants, realtors, architects, brokers, and insurance agents use the term Errors & Omissions insurance.

A Workers Compensation policy may still be needed even if you’re a sole proprietor

Let’s say you just started your business and you have no workers yet, or maybe your operations doesn’t require workers. It’s easy to assume that you can operate without Workers’ Compensation insurance, right? Think again. While you don’t have employees on the payroll, where you are located dictates whether or not you need to get Workers Compensation coverage. Many states including Nevada, Utah, and New York require business owners, and sole proprietors, to carry this type of insurance. The laws and regulations differ per state so it is important to adhere to your state’s requirements. For instance, some states consider the type of business or the classification of workers.

Commercial Property insurance covers damages caused by all types of flooding

Flood can be caused by different factors. Some may be due to a natural disaster while others can be a result of sewage issues or a simple overflowing sink. Regardless of the reason, bear in mind that your existing Commercial Property insurance does not necessarily protect against flood-related damages. In general, the flood referred to in insurance coverage is water damage related to the sewerage system or when a sink overflowed. Hence, you need to buy add-ons to ensure that your business is protected against all flooding types. If you operate in a location that is prone to flooding, you may want to get a Commercial Flood insurance.

As you can see there is a huge selection of insurance products available in the market nowadays, and with all the factors that need to be considered, it is understandable that many business owners find it hard to choose the right coverage for their operations. But this shouldn’t be the case. As a start, take this business insurance checklist to  narrow down the selection process:

1. Buy Professional Liability coverage if your business involves:

  • Providing services such as coding and consultations
  • Providing services in the health industry
  • Signing contracts with clients

2. Carry General Liability insurance if you fall under any of these conditions:

  • Have a home-based business, or are working from home
  • Pay for office space rental
  • You and/or your employees go to a client’s office
  • Utilize other locations for your business operations
  • Use social media to promote your products and/or services

3. Buy Commercial Auto insurance, when you are under any of these conditions:

  • Have your own car used for business
  • Deliver products using a vehicle
  • Move people from one location to another

4. You need both General Liability and Property insurance if you:

  • Own an office
  • Have your own tools, equipment, and furniture
  • Rent tools, equipment, and furniture
  • Offer physical goods

5. Buy Cyber Liability insurance when your business involves:

  • Accepting credit cards
  • Keeping a list of personal details on customers
  • Relying heavily on technology to keep the business running smoothly

6. Consider Workers Compensation insurance when you:

  • Are based in a state that requires it
  • Are a contractor of a larger business
  • Have workers, contractors or freelancers