Protect your business in minutes
With the energy, care, time and resources you’ve put in, insurance for your business (and getting it right) will be a top priority. As specialists in insurance for small business, we understand that your requirements are unique and that the types of business insurance on offer can be confusing.
To help you decide, we’ve designed a form that’ll help you compare business insurance quotes tailored to your needs, choosing from a range of covers including public liabilityand employers’ liability. To get started, click below and get your commercial insurance quotes now.
Online business insurance
Selling products online? We can now cover your online trade, with online retailers’ insurance built for businesses that sell on the web. We offer excellent value and extensive cover, with stock insurance part of the package. Whether you’re a home-based business or high street retailer, our online retail insurance offers a tailored solution.
From the day an entrepreneur starts a business, he exposes himself to certain risks. Even before the first employee is hired, a business is at risk, making it important to have the right insurance in place. One lawsuit or catastrophic event could be enough to wipe out a small business before it even has a chance to get off the ground.
Fortunately, businesses have access to a wide range of insurance types to protect them against these dangers. Here are some insurance types that a business must have in place as soon as possible.
1. Professional liability insurance.
Professional liability insurance, also known as errors and omissions (E&O) insurance, covers a business against negligence claims due to harm that results from mistakes or failure to perform. There is no one-size-fits-all policy for professional liability insurance. Each industry has its own set of concerns that will be addressed in a customized policy written for a business.
2. Property insurance.
Whether a business owns or leases its space, property insurance is a must. This insurance covers equipment, signage, inventory and furniture in the event of a fire, storm or theft. However, mass-destruction events like floods and earthquakes are generally not covered under standard property insurance policies. If your area is prone to these issues, check with your insurer to price a separate policy.
3. Workers’ compensation insurance.
Once the first employee has been hired, workers’ compensation insurance should be added to a business’s insurance policy. This will cover medical treatment, disability and death benefits in the event an employee is injured or dies as a result of his work with that business. Even if employees are performing seemingly low-risk work, slip-and-fall injuries or medical conditions such as carpal tunnel syndrome could result in a pricey claim.
4. Home-based businesses.
Many professionals begin their small businesses in their own homes. Unfortunately, homeowner’s policies don’t cover home-based businesses in the way commercial property insurance does. If you’re operating your business out of your home, ask your insurer for additional insurance to cover your equipment and inventory in the event of a problem.
5. Product liability insurance.
If your business manufactures products for sale on the general market, product liability insurance is a must. Even a business that takes every measure possible to make sure its products are safe can find itself named in a lawsuit due to damages caused by one of its products. Product liability insurance works to protect a business in such a case, with coverage available to be tailored specifically to a specific type of product.
6. Vehicle insurance.
If company vehicles will be used, those vehicles should be fully insured to protect businesses against liability if an accident should occur. At the very least, businesses should insure against third-party injury, but comprehensive insurance will cover that vehicle in an accident, as well. If employees are using their own cars for business, their own personal insurance will cover them in the event of an accident. One major exception to this is if they are delivering goods or services for a fee. This includes delivery personnel.
7. Business interruption insurance.
If a disaster or catastrophic event does occur, a business’s operations will likely be interrupted. During this time, your business will suffer from lost income due to your staff’s inability to work in the office, manufacture products or make sales calls. This type of insurance is especially applicable to companies that require a physical location to do business, such as retail stores. Business interruption insurance compensates a business for its lost income during these events.
By having the right insurance in place, a business can avoid a major financial loss due to a lawsuit or catastrophic event. Check with your insurer to find out what forms of insurance are advised for your type of business and put those plans in place as soon as possible.
From minimum coverage to specialized protection, our flexible options allow you to get your business insured accurately for each stage of your business’s development.
Basic business insurance
Accidents, illnesses, lawsuits… If you’re in business, you’re exposed. While the number of risks you’re exposed to is almost unlimited, you might only need a few basic coverages to start out. For example:
- General liability insurance — All small businesses, old and new, need general liability insurance. It’s basic liability protection that guards against things like accidents, injuries, property damage and lawsuits.
- Commercial auto insurance — If you use vehicles for work, you’ll need commercial auto insurance to be fully covered. Personal policies don’t usually cover work related incidents. You’ll save up to 5% if you combine this with General Liability! Do you need a commercial auto policy? Find out here.
As your business grows
Most small businesses insurance needs quickly extend beyond basic liability and commercial auto insurance. Certain jobs require specific coverages, employees need protection, and a number of risks fall outside the protection of basic liability coverage.
When insurance coverages are packaged together, it’s often referred to as a Business Owners Policy, or BOP. Additional coverages in a BOP might include:
- Property — This can protect your commercial buildings and most of your personal property. Both of which are not covered by liability insurance. Liability normally covers other people’s assets, not yours.
- Business income interruption — If your policy includes coverage for property, you also have protection in the event of business interruption. For example, if you have a property claim that prevents you from operating your business, business income interruption coverage could help pay you for your lost income, employee salaries and rent expenses.
- Professional liability — Do you give professional advice or provide a professional service? If so, you should probably carry professional liability insurance. This can be endorsed to your BOP.
While technically not part of a BOP, we also offer workers’ compensation insurance to help pay for things like medical costs and lost wages of employees who become ill or injured on the job.
Business insurance for contractors
We cater to the special needs of contractors by offering general liability as a stand-alone coverage for contractors who don’t need a full BOP. Learn more about what we offer contractors.
Business insurance cost
Many factors play a role in determining the cost of business insurance. The most influential usually are profession, number of employees and coverage needs. As you may imagine, these factors can vary greatly from business to business.
Getting a quote is easy! You can start a quote online, or simply call us. We also offer a step-by-step guide on how to get business insurance, and a quoting checklist for information you may need to gather beforehand. Our specialty commercial agents can also help you decide which coverages and limits you need to match your unique business situation.
Types of business insurance
From brick-and-mortar shops to contractors on the go, we insure most types of small businesses such as:
- Beauty Salons
- HVAC Services
- And many more
In addition to outstanding customer and claims services, we also provide valuable discounts, fast online certificate services, flexible payment options, online bill payment capabilities and more. Call today for a complete rundown.
Small Business Coverages
As a small business owner or manager, you want to feel confident that your insurance coverage will protect what you’ve worked hard to build. As the #1 preferred property and casualty business insurance provider* with more than 100 years of experience working with businesses of all types and sizes, we have the local resources and expertise to do just that. At Liberty Mutual Insurance, we take the time to understand your unique needs — because the better we understand your business, the better we can protect it.
Small Business Insurance Basics
Insurers often combine a number of insurance coverages into a package that is sold as a single contract. The most common policy for small businesses is the Businessowners Policy (BOP).
The BOP combines coverage for all major property and liability insurance risks as well as many additional coverages into one package policy suitable for most small businesses. The term “BOP” specifically refers to insurance policy language developed (and revised as needed) by experts at ISO. ISO provides sample insurance policy language, research and a variety of other products to insurance companies.
The BOP includes business income insurance, sometimes called business interruption insurance. This compensates a business owner for income lost following a disaster. Disasters typically disrupt operations and may force a business to vacate its premises. Business income insurance also covers the extra expense that may be incurred if a business must operate out of a temporary location.
To cover specific risks associated with a business, a variety of additional coverages may be added to the basic BOP. For example, if a business has an outdoor sign, the BOP doesn’t cover it unless coverage is specifically added for an additional premium. If a business relies on electronic commerce, the owner can add coverage for lost income and extra expenses in the event the ability of the business to conduct e-commerce is slowed down or stopped due to a computer virus or hacker.
Only small- to medium-sized businesses that meet certain criteria are eligible for a BOP. Factors insurers consider include the size of the premises, the required limits of liability, the type of business and the extent of offsite activity. Premiums for BOP policies are based on those factors plus business location, financial stability, building construction, security features and fire hazards.
Most small businesses need to purchase at least the following four types of insurance.
1. Property Insurance
Property insurance compensates a business if the property used in the business is lost or damaged as the result of various types of common perils, such as fire or theft. Property insurance covers not just a building or structure but also what insurers refer to as personal property, meaning office furnishings, inventory, raw materials, machinery, computers and other items vital to a business’s operations. Depending on the type of policy, property insurance may include coverage for equipment breakdown, removal of debris after a fire or other destructive event, some types of water damage and other losses.
2. Liability Insurance
Any enterprise can be sued. Customers may claim that the business caused them harm as the result of, for example, a defective product, an error in a service or disregard for another person’s property. Or a claimant may allege that the business created a hazardous environment. Liability insurance pays damages for which the business is found liable, up to the policy limits, as well as attorneys’ fees and other legal defense expenses. It also pays the medical bills of any people injured by, or on the premises of, the business.
3. Business Auto Insurance
A business auto policy provides coverage for autos owned by a business. The insurance pays any costs to third parties resulting from bodily injury or property damage for which the business is legally liable, up to the policy limits.
4. Workers Compensation Insurance
In all states but Texas an employer must have workers compensation insurance when there are more than a certain number of employees, varying from three to five, depending on the state. Workers comp insurance, as this coverage is generally called, pays for medical care and replaces a portion of lost wages for an employee who is injured in the course of employment, regardless of who was at fault for the injury. When a worker dies as a result of injuries sustained while working, the insurance provides compensation to the employee’s family. An extremely small business, such as one operated by one or two people out of a home, may not need workers compensation insurance. But it often needs more property and liability insurance than is provided in a typical homeowners policy.
Other Types of Business Coverages
1. Errors and Omissions Insurance/Professional Liability
Some businesses involve services such as giving advice, making recommendations, designing things, providing physical care or representing the needs of others, which can lead to being sued by customers, clients or patients claiming that the business’s failure to perform a job properly has injured them. Errors and omissions or professional liability insurance covers these situations. The policy will pay any judgment for which the insured is legally liable, up to the policy limit. It also provides legal defense costs, even when there has been no wrongdoing.
2. Employment Practices Liability Insurance
Employment practices liability insurance covers (up to the policy limits) damages for which an employer is legally liable such as violating an employee’s civil or other legal rights. In addition to paying a judgment for which the insured is liable, it also provides legal defense costs, which can be substantial even when there has been no wrongdoing.
3. Directors and Officers Liability Insurance
Directors and officers liability insurance protects directors and officers of corporations or not-for-profit organizations if there is a lawsuit claiming they managed the business or organization without proper regard for the rights of others. The policy will pay any judgment for which the insured is legally liable, up to the policy limit. It also provides for legal defense costs, even where there has been no wrongdoing.
4. Key Employee Insurance
Life or disability income insurance can compensate a business when certain key employees die or become disabled. These coverages cushion some of the adverse financial impact that results from losing a key employee’s participation.
5. Umbrella Policies
As the name implies, an umbrella liability policy provides coverage over and above a business’s other liability coverages. It is designed to protect against unusually high losses. It provides protection when the policy limits of one of the underlying policies have been used up. For a typical business, the umbrella policy would provide protection beyond the general liability and auto liability policies. If a company has employment practices liability insurance, directors and officers liability, or other types of liability insurance, the umbrella could provide protection beyond those policy limits as well.
Choose the Right Small Business Insurance
Types of Small Business Insurance
- Business property insurance – Helps protect the physical location that your business owns or leases as well as property such as tools, equipment and inventory.
- General liability insurance – Helps protect your business from the financial costs of property damage, bodily injury, personal and advertising injury claims made against your business.
- Business income insurance – Helps replace lost income when you are unable to conduct business due to a covered loss like a theft or fire.
Extending Your Small Business Insurance
- Workers’ compensation insurance – If you have employees, most states require workers’ comp. This coverage provides benefits to employees for work-related injuries and illnesses.
- Commercial auto insurance – If you or your employees use a vehicle for work, consider adding commercial auto to your insurance policy. This coverage helps cover costs arising from a covered work-related auto accident.
The Hartford Difference for Your Small Business
Small Business Insurance Experience You Can Trust
Small Business Insurance
How Does Small Business Insurance Work?
Small business insurance is pretty simple. You make a payment (called a premium) in exchange for the insurance company’s promise to pick up the potentially enormous bill if something goes wrong in the future.
But there’s no single «small business insurance policy,» and that’s a good thing. If one policy covered all the accidents, lawsuits, and damages a business might face, the premium would be crazy expensive! To help business owners save money, insurance companies offer different policies for different risks.
When we talk about small business insurance (also called commercial insurance or company insurance), we’re referring to all the types of policies that can help protect your business.
Your company may not need every type of insurance. But considering 43 percent of small businesses have been threatened with or involved in a civil lawsuit (according to a survey by Penn Schoen Berland and Public Opinion Strategies), you most likely need somecoverage.
That’s where we can help. We work with several top carriers to offer you business insurance quotes for multiple policies. You compare them, choose the one you like, and secure the protection you need.
Let’s take a look at the policies small-business owners may need.
Which Insurance Policies Does My Small Business Need?
You can’t look in a crystal ball and predict the problems your business will encounter. But you can think about the complications that might arise when you work with customers, have employees, own commercial property, or drive vehicles.
Let’s take a look at each risk category for more details.
(Want to know right now which insurance policies will benefit your business? Our Policy Buddy can show you in two minutes.)
Insurance Policies that Cover Client & Customer Risk
Your business wouldn’t be much without customers coming through the door. Unfortunately, interacting with clients brings the risk of lawsuits, which are not cheap. The Court Statistics Project reports that the median cost of a business liability lawsuit is about $54,000. (For context, our business liability insurance quotes typically range from $425 — $1,200.)
The good news is that there are several company insurance policies to help manage the risks presented by clients and members of the public. Consider these scenarios:
- A customer has a slip-and-fall accident on your property: Commercial General Liability Insurance can help pay for immediate medical expenses and lawsuit costs if you’re sued over a non-employee’s bodily injury or property damage.
- Your client loses money after taking your professional advice: Professional Liability Insurance (aka Errors & Omissions Insurance) generally pays for your defense if a client alleges you made mistakes in your work.
- An employee loses their laptop, exposing your clients’ financial information: Cyber Liability Insurance helps cover the cost of notification, credit monitoring, and other post-breach expenses.
- An overserved patron hurts someone at your bar: In all 50 states, a business can be held liable for alcohol-related damage that happens on its premises, including fighting injuries and damage to patrons’ property. In 42 states, a business can be liable for damage caused by drunk patrons after they leave. Liquor Liability Insurance can help manage those risks.
Sometimes it can be tricky to tell where one policy’s coverage ends and another’s begins. Take a look at our article «General Liability Insurance vs. Professional Liability Insurance» for more clarification.
Bonus tip: If you have a lot of cash in the bank, your business may have a better chance of surviving lawsuits. If not, you might want to supplement your protection with Umbrella Insurance. Getting Umbrella quotes is as easy as checking the Umbrella box when you apply.
Insurance Policies that Cover Employee Risks
Employees help your business run, but more people almost always means more risk. For example, when you have employees, you can be liable for their workplace injuries and violating their work rights. And that’s not cheap. Nolo.com estimates that a workplace rights case costs $8,000 to $30,000 in legal fees.
Let’s look at some situations where business insurance can help:
- Your employee is hurt on the job. Some industries are inherently «safer» than others, but even office workers can get carpal tunnel syndrome. Most states require employers to carry Workers’ Compensation Insurance, which covers employees’ occupational injury expenses.
- An employee sues your business over workplace discrimination. Employment Practices Liability Insurance can cover disputes stemming from the employer-employee relationship.
Bonus tip: Nonprofit organizations and others with a board of directors may want Directors and Officers Insurance. D&O Insurance addresses disputes over decisions the board makes on behalf of the organization. Board members are not technically employees, but this policy may help attract quality talent to board positions.
Insurance Policies that Cover Property Risks
According to a study by The Hartford, the average cost of a fire is $35,000 for small businesses. If you don’t have that kind of money lying around, Commercial Property Insurance is probably a no-brainer. When certain weather events and disasters strike, it can help cover the cost of repairing and replacing your property.
The same study found burglary and theft are the most common small business claims, so whether you rent or own, chances are you could use the protection Property Insurance offers.
Bonus tip: Lots of Insureon customers are eligible for a Business Owner’s Policy, a policy that bundles Property Insurance and General Liability. It’s usually less expensive than buying the policies separately. (To receive Business Insurance Policy quotes, check the «General Liability and Business Property» box when you apply.)
Insurance Policies that Cover Vehicle Risks
Small-business owners are often unclear about the coverage they need for their vehicles. Many think they can drive their personal auto for business because it’s insured, but that can be a costly mistake if you or your employee gets in an accident. Vehicle claims average $45,000 for small-business owners, according to that same study by The Hartford.
That’s why it’s smart to carry coverage if you drive for work, especially if…
- You have a business-owned vehicle. Whether you have a fleet of delivery vans or a single automobile, a vehicle registered in your business’s name requires Commercial Auto Insurance.
- You ask employees to drive their personal vehicles for work errands. Your business can be liable for their en-route accidents, and when that happens, Hired / Non-Owned Auto Insurance can help cover lawsuit expenses.
For more information on these two policies, check out “Commercial Auto Insurance vs. Hired and Non-Owned Auto Insurance.”
How Much Does Small Business Insurance Cost?
It depends on the type of policy and your business’s characteristics. We realize that can be an unsatisfying answer, so let’s take a look at what Insureon customers pay for their commercial insurance.
On average, our customers spend…
- $48.75 per month for $1 million in General Liability coverage.
- $86 per month for $1 million in Professional Liability coverage.
If those prices sound low to you, you’re not alone. Before seeing actual quotes, a lot of small-business owners mistakenly think business insurance is too expensive for them. For a more detailed cost breakdown, check out our Business Insurance Cost Analysis page.
And even if you’re counting every penny, coverage is usually a better deal than paying for lawsuits on your own. According to Tort Liability Costs for Small Business [PDF], small business paid $35.6 billion in lawsuit costs out of pocket in 2008.
Don’t get stuck with a legal bill that runs your bank account dry. Learn how to find company insurance you can afford.
If we had to pin down the most common question we hear from our small-business clients, this question wins by a landslide. Many small businesses have tight budgets to contend with, so why wouldn’t they worry about insurance costs?
So we pulled the pricing data and crunched the numbers from some of the thousands of businesses we’ve insured in 2014. The result? We created several resources to help shed light on this tricky question.
Small Business Insurance Cost Guides
Before you take these numbers as gospel, here are a few disclaimers: the average and median policy prices represented on the following pages are not quotes. These numbers are based on data and are intended to give you an idea about how much insurance may cost. Your actual rates depend on your business’s exact characteristics.
Check out these resources for descriptive pricing analyses. There are charts and graphs for all our visual learners out there!
- Cost of small business insurance. Visit this page to get a general overview of how much small-business owners typically pay for coverage. You’ll discover that the average cost of one small business insurance policy in 2014 was $725.33 (and the median cost was $500), regardless of the size of the business, industry, or type of policy. However, the number of policies is the biggest cost factor (more policies = more money spent).
- Cost of General Liability Insurance. Visit this page to learn more about the typical pricing for a GL policy. According to our data, the average annual premium for General Liability Insurance was $575.16 with a median price of $425.
- Cost of Professional Liability / E&O Insurance. Visit this page to get some ballpark figures on the cost of coverage for professional oversights. For small businesses, the average annual cost of Professional Liability Insurance was $985.49 with a median price of $758.00.
- Cost of Workers’ Compensation Insurance. Check out our resources on the typical cost of Workers’ Comp policies. These vary considerably by state and profession, so the breakdown is pretty interesting to see.
Looking for a more detailed, industry-specific breakdown of insurance costs? We have resources for that, too. Check out the sample cost analyses / sample quotes on our dedicated microsites below:
- Architects & Engineers.
- Contractors, Builders & Other Construction Professionals.
- Insurance Agents & Agencies.
- IT Businesses, Consultants & Subcontractors.
- Janitors, Maids, and Other Cleaning Businesses.
- Restaurants, Bars, Catering & Other Food Services Businesses.
Again, the figures represented on these pages are just to give you a sense of typical premium rates. To give you a better idea of how your premiums are determined, let’s recap some factors that affect the price of your coverage.
Behind the Price of a Small Business Insurance Policy
Small business insurance costs depend on several factors, including…
- Type of policy a business purchases. For example, General Liability Insurance is one of the least expensive policies we sell, whereas Employment Practices Liability Insurance tends to be the priciest.
- Size of the business. Your physical building affects your General Liability and Property Insurance needs.
- Industry. This plays a key role in your risk profile. Businesses in high-risk industries may have slightly higher insurance rates.
- Location. Your location impacts the value of your commercial real estate, the state insurance laws you must comply with, and geographical risks that can jeopardize your physical assets. Learn more about how your location affects your insurance needs in our guide «Small Business Insurance by State.»
- Revenue. Generally, the more money you make, the more you stand to lose in a lawsuit.
- Number of employees. The number of employees affects your Workers’ Compensation Insurance rates.
If you want to get an actual quote for your business – one that accurately accounts for all these nitty-gritty details – you’ll need to fill out an online insurance application.
What types of risks does your business face? Could everything you worked for go up in flames tomorrow? Will a disgruntled employee accuse you of unlawful employment practices? Could a customer sue you for an injury that occurs on your premises? All of these scenarios are real possibilities for many New Holstein area business owners. If you are faced with an unexpected loss, how will your small business insurance stand up to the costs? Here at Erica Boll Insurance, we help small business owners like you find insurance that reduces risk exposures and fills in coverage gaps to ensure you are well-protected against the hazards and perils that threaten your day-to-day operations.
Types of Small Business Insurance Coverage
Your small business is unlike any other. That means your coverage needs are unique, too. We aim to carefully assess the details of your business to find the insurance solutions that are right for you. This includes evaluating:
- business size
- the number of employees you have
- cash flow
- the number of locations you have
- your industry risks
- your plans for future growth and development
- and more
Depending on your company’s distinct risk profile, we can recommend a wide range of coverage options, some of which include:
General Liability Insurance
Third-party injuries and property damages can cost your business tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars in legal fees and judgments. General liability coverage financially protects your business against these types of claims and expenses, covering your costs up to the limits of your policy.
Workers Compensation Insurance
In addition to third-party injuries, your business can also be held responsible for the injuries of your employees. Workers compensation insurance is designed to protect your company against financial liability when a worker is injured on the job. It can cover the cost of medical bills and rehabilitative costs, as well as lost wages if the employee needs to take a leave from work to recover.
Employment Practices Liability Insurance
If you have employees, EPLI can help shield your business against claims of discrimination, harassment, and other unlawful employment practices.
Errors and Omissions Insurance
E&O Insurance is often recommended for businesses that provide professional services or advice, such as real estate agents, financial consultants, and legal advisors. It protects your business against financial liabilities and defense costs if you are sued for giving bad services or wrong advice.
Property insurance is important to protecting the physical structure, equipment, furnishings, and inventory of your business against damage or loss due to a covered event. This typically includes coverage for damage caused by fires, smoke, ice, falling objects, theft, vandalism, and more.
Business Interruption Insurance
If a covered event prevents your business from operating at full capacity, business interruption insurance can help cover your operating expenses until you can return to normal operations.
Commercial Umbrella Insurance
Commercial umbrella insurance is extended liability protection that helps pay your financial responsibility when your liability exceeds the limits of your primary coverage. Commercial umbrella insurance typically comes with very high limits worth several million dollars. Without it, a major lawsuit could force your business to shut its doors for good.
New Holstein Small Business Insurance Quotes
If you own a small business in the greater New Holstein area, we here at Erica Boll Insurance want to help you get the coverage you need. Call us today to request your professional consultation and quotes. We look forward to serving you soon.
Small Business Insurance in Whitinsville MA & Grafton MA
Your small businesses needs many types of coverage in order to adequately secure itself against losses in the event of certain common business casualties. Common elements of small business insurance include:
- General Liability Insurance: This policy covers a business against claims arising from problems like libel, slander, medical expenses, property damage, medical expenses, and the cost of defending against a lawsuit.
- Product Liability Insurance: If you deal with a product — whether it’s manufacturing, retailing, wholesaling, or just distributing it — you may be responsible for keeping it (and people in the area around it) safe. The amount required depends mainly on the products involved — the larger and/or heavier the products are, the more coverage is needed.
- Professional Liability Insurance: Similarly, if you provide any kind of professional service, you may need coverage for errors, malpractice, and negligence. Some companies are required to have this type of coverage (especially, though not exclusively, those in the medical field).
- Commercial Property Insurance: If your small business owns any kind of physical property (an office, a retail store, a warehouse, etc.), this coverage insures it against a wide variety of natural and man-made forms of damage. If your business is particularly vulnerable to a certain type of damage (flooding, vandalism, etc.), you may need additional coverage for that specific problem.
- Home-Based Insurance: If you’re running a business from your home, then your homeowner’s insurance probably doesn’t cover any of your business operations. You may need to purchase additional coverage separately, or as an extension of your existing plan. Speak to a Gaudette Insurance Agency, Inc. agents to find out.
Many other industry-specific forms of coverage are available. For more information about what policies are the most important for your business, talk to one of our agents and ask for a full risk assessment. You can research forms of insurance through reputable sources—this information is available for free online, courtesy of groups like the National Association of Insurance Commissioners.
INSURANCE REQUIREMENTS FOR SMALL BUSINESS
All small businesses are required to have Workers’ Compensation, Unemployment Insurance, and sometimes Disability Insurance. Other requirements for small business insurance vary by industry, as well as local, state, and federal law.
WHAT CONSTITUTES A SMALL BUSINESS?
The exact definition of a small business varies by industry, but according to the Small Business Administration, it’s usually 500 employees or less for mining or manufacturing, and $7.5 million or less in revenue for other industries. Note that there are many exceptions to this rule, and they are listed in detail on the Small Business Administration’s website.
Insurance gives you peace of mind
Insurance may seem like an unnecessary additional expense. But the right small business policy can mean the difference between the survival or demise of your business in the event of something catastrophic happening.
Insurance can provide coverage against accidents in the workplace, harm to clients through oversight or error, medical expenses, fire, malpractice, data breaches and much more.
The risk of anything like this happening to your business might seem small, but the consequences if it did happen could be severe. You could find yourself on the wrong end of costly legal action and you might lose all your assets.
Insurance offsets that risk. In exchange for a small fee, you are covered for much larger pay-outs if the worst should happen. There are many considerations when deciding which type of coverage is best for your small business. Here are some points to bear in mind.
It’s important to be aware that policies will vary from state to state. This guide provides a general overview and you should read all documents carefully before buying.
What are the legal requirements?
If you’re an employer, there are some types of small business insurance that you are required to have, by federal law.
The US Small Business Association states that, “Businesses with employees are required by law to pay for certain types of insurance: workers’ compensation, unemployment, and depending on where the business is located, disability.”
Other requirements vary from one state to another. Those are just the basics, though. The actual types of coverage you’ll need will depend on the type of business you want to insure.
What type of business do you run?
What’s suitable for one company won’t be suitable for another. If you make a living as a self-employed computer programmer for multiple financial institutions, you’ll need a different policy than someone who employs five people to make craft beer. So make a list of your business operations:
- Where do you conduct business?
Where is your head office, where are your other offices, which states and countries do you operate in? Different locations have different insurance needs.
- How many people do you employ?
The number of employees at your company will affect your premium: larger businesses pay more, though not always on a per-employee basis.
- What do you own?
Which assets are yours outright, which ones are leased, which ones have other debts outstanding on them? This will affect your policy cover.
- Who do you do business with?
The size of your clients and their areas of operation may have an effect on how much you are charged for insurance.
- What type of work do you do?
This is an important one. Different areas of work have different risks associated with them and different levels of pay-out in the event of a claim. Insurance companies need this information so they can analyze the risk and charge you the right premium.
It pays to shop around
Talk to a few brokers to get a feel for the type of coverage available to you and how much it’s likely to cost. If you don’t know which brokers to choose, ask for recommendations from friends and business associates. Make sure you give the brokers all necessary information, including:
- Your business operations (as described above)
- Name and address of your company
- How long you have been in business
- Corporate structure (such as S-Corp or LLC)
- Annual sales
- Number of employees
- What property belongs to you and what belongs to your employees.
Some companies, particularly smaller brokerages, specialize in different market sectors. This can be useful when shopping around. For example, if you’re running a farm you will want to talk to someone about coverage that’s specific to your needs and not general small business insurance.
Decide whether you want a Business Owners Policy (BOP)
This will come up in your discussion with brokers. A BOP meets the needs of small offices, retail stores and small service businesses. But it doesn’t cover professional liability (claims arising from wrongful practice by professionals), auto, worker’s compensation, health or disability. These would all need to be purchased separately.
Discuss with your broker whether a BOP is suitable for you. If your budget is tight you could perhaps insure just a few vital aspects of your business and save money. But a policy that’s tailored specifically to your own business might be a wiser choice.
Consider the different types of coverage available
There’s a wide range from which to choose. Some of the more common forms of policy include:
Many businesses start from home, and different states handle this in different ways. So check if your Homeowner (HO) insurance would be void if you were running a business from home. If so, upgrade your policy to home and business. HO usually provides coverage for fire or flood, but not for computer data loss or other business risks.
- General liability (also known as slip and fall)
This is important because of potential accidents or claims of negligence. It will protect you against claims relating to injury, property damage, defending yourself in a lawsuit and medical expenses.
- Product liability
Important if you sell products where safety could be an issue, such as where a product defect could lead to bodily harm or injury. That might include electrical equipment, food production or almost any kind of manufacturing.
- Professional liability
Also known as errors and omissions insurance, this protects the business against malpractice or issues occurring from the level of service you provide to your customers.
- Commercial property
This covers loss or damage related to your property, usually as a result of fire, water, vandalism or related causes, though it might not always include more dramatic events such as earthquakes or hurricanes.
- Workers compensation
This provides coverage to employees who are injured on the job. It makes up for lost wages and covers medical expenses, in return for which the employee usually gives up the right to sue their boss. In most states this is a legal requirement for W-2 employees, so don’t skimp on it or the state may penalize you heavily.
- Data breach (also known as cyber liability insurance)
Important if you store sensitive information such as payment data or credit card information. It provides coverage after the theft or loss of both first-party and third-party data. So that means you’re covered regardless whether the data breach happens directly to your company or to a company whose data you are working with.
- Auto liability
If you do business using your vehicle, make sure you’re covered for injuries while you are using your car for business. If your employees use their own cars, consider getting employer’s non-owned liability insurance, because it protects you against injury or damage caused by your employees when they are driving their own vehicles for your business operations. This would be in addition to any liability coverage carried on the employee’s vehicle.
- Inland marine insurance
This includes loss to movable or specialized types of property, historically as an addition to ocean marine insurance. It may include options for tools, equipment and merchandise while they are in transit, in the business vehicle or at a job site. It also includes property coverage for construction equipment, medical diagnostic equipment, fine arts, solar panels and wind turbines, cameras and movie equipment, musical instruments and a wide variety of other types of property.
Quiz the brokers: Six questions to ask
Once you’ve worked through all the options with different brokers, you’ll be offered a selection of their small business insurance products that they believe are best suited to your business. Now is the time to ask a few questions of your own:
- What are the broker’s qualifications, as a business and as a team?
- What is their experience with similar companies (number of employees, revenue, industries)
- Will you be working with the same contact or do they rotate their staff?
- Why they are better than the competition?
- What resources are available?
- Will you have online access to your account and all policy details?
Be sure to get all bids and cost estimates in writing so you can compare them in your own time.
Review the products and make your decision
You’ll have a lot of information to take in once you’ve collected all the offers from your prospective brokers. Review their bids carefully and consider these points:
It’s not the most important factor, but it certainly does matter.
- Level of coverage
Make sure you’re happy with this, in all areas of your business.
- Costs and consequences if you are sued
How much would you have to contribute before the coverage kicked in?
- Stability of the company
Is the broker backed by a financially secure insurer?
Are you happy with the level of service you’ve received so far? If not, walk away.
- Understanding of your business needs
Their awareness here will tell you a lot about how well they know your business.
- Packages and discounts
There are many variables that can impact costs, but you could consider package deals (such as BOP) and ask for discounts when buying multiple forms of coverage.
- Additional options
Experienced agents will mention other items you should insure. Don’t think of this as aggressive selling, but rather useful information about the available types of coverage for small businesses.
Get the coverage right
It’s always advisable to get the most appropriate form of small business insurance, whether you’re selling to consumers, other businesses or the public sector. Coverage is available for almost any kind of risk, so if you shop around you should find one that works well for you.
Do your homework before buying. Understand federal and state regulations and make sure you know which parts of your business are vulnerable and might need coverage.
Writing this all down, or recording it in your accounting software so you can access it more easily, will help you figure out what kind of insurance you need. It will also help you see what you might lose if you don’t get the right coverage.
RISK-FREE SMALL BUSINESS INSURANCE IN ST. JOHN’S AND PROVINCE-WIDE
Risk management is an essential part of every business. While large companies can afford the services of a full-time risk manager, risk management for smaller companies is more difficult to cram into a busy business day. However, the need for small business insurance is just as important for a small company as it is for a large one.
As the owner or operator of a small business in Newfoundland, you will know instinctively that a program to manage risk is essential for your business to prosper in today’s competitive economy. The trick is to find the time to do something about it – we can help. With offices in St. John’s, Bay Roberts, Labrador City, Clarenville, Gander, Springdale, Corner Brook, Grand Falls, Stephenville, and Port Aux Basques, we’ll be here to find a plan that provides you with the protection you need, no matter where your business is located.
WE’LL HELP CONSIDER YOUR RISKS
Some risk exposures are obvious while others, which could be just as serious, go undetected. Our small business insurance plans cover all aspects of risk: we assess operations, inspect premises, and recommend options for safeguarding employees, buildings, and goods. In many cases, we provide essential engineering and safety services.
If your place of business is rented or leased, you may be responsible to your landlord in the event of fire, explosion, vandalism, or water leaks. If you own your business premises, you will need insurance to protect your interests, as well as those of your mortgage holders.
There seems to be almost no upper limit to the size of loss that could result in some areas, such as legal liability. High losses could arise from defective products or services. Potential losses could result from embezzlement or the loss you might experience during an extended shutdown.
One of our insurance brokers or agents will provide you with a loss-exposure checklist that will help make sure you haven’t forgotten anything.
WE’LL HELP PREVENT LOSS
Take a few positive steps on your own to protect your company from loss and reduce insurance costs. Here are a few loss prevention ideas you may want to consider:
- Install intruder alarms, fire alarms, and sprinklers
- Secure windows, doors, storage, skylights, and low-traffic areas
- Dispose of waste materials properly
- Isolate flammable materials
- Leave windows clear and some lights on so police patrols can view the interior
- Back up computer files frequently (store copies off premises)
- Register with your local police and fire department so they know who to call in an emergency
- Consider hiring a security guard
Police, firefighters, and insurers do a great job after damage has been done. The key to the security of your business is prevention.
As new risks arise, old ones will subside – insurance coverage should be reviewed at least once a year. Reviewing your insurance gives you a chance to fix past mistakes, assess new types of coverage, adjust your coverage and deductibles to suit new market and regulatory conditions, adjust for changes in the type and volume of your business, and shop for competitive quotations.
WE’LL HELP YOU SAVE
Almost anything is insurable for a price, but full coverage in most areas is not always cost-effective. By offering small business insurance in St. John’s, and across the province of Newfoundland, we think it pays to assume a part of the loss in connection with even essential coverage. Deductibles will free up dollars for other worthwhile coverage and loss prevention investments. It makes little sense to skimp on capital investment that may help your business flourish, in order to buy more insurance than you really need.
Still unsure whether you need small business insurance? Consider this: adopting a risk management program gives a small business the opportunity to use the same loss reduction and cost control mechanisms that large companies use to save money and be more competitive.
Our dedicated Steers Insurance team knows the ins and outs of small business. We are willing to invest the time and effort to study your business with you; you are familiar with the operation of your company, Steers is familiar with cost-effective ways of handling risks. Take the first step: talk to a Steers Agent to get an insurance quote today.
What Business Insurance Do I Need? A Guide for Small Businesses
Choosing the right insurance depends on the type of business you operate, how big it is, and what needs protecting. Read on to find out more.
Making sure that you have the right level of insurance for your business is crucial.
Not only will it cover your business against loss or damage to your equipment or working premises in the event of a fire, flood or other unforeseen circumstance (in a similar manner to home insurance policies), but certain types of business insurance will also cover the cost of any compensation awarded to a third party as the result of your business activity.
The right type of business insurance can even provide cover any potential loss of profit that you might suffer as the result of an insured event. For example, if you have to temporarily reduce your trading due to a fire or flood damaging either your business premises or stock. So it could help get your business back on its feet.
But although making sure that you have the right cover in place for your business is critical, it can be very difficult to know the exact types of insurance that you need to take out for your business.
Here, we give you a rundown of all the major business insurance products that you need wherever you’re working. Read on to find out more, or click on the links below:
- Why do I need business insurance?
- What insurance do I need for my business?
- Working at home?
- Working away from home?
- Do you have employees?
- Are you responsible for the office building?
- Responsible for the office equipment?
- Do you provide a service or product?
Why do I need business insurance?
As the title suggests, business insurance is specialist insurance that’s designed to cover businesses from losses or damages that may occur during the course of their business activity.
So if, for example, your business computer is stolen or damaged, the right business insurance policy will either cover the cost of the computer or arrange a replacement.
You can also get cover for claims made by a third party against your business and any professional advice that you may provide (for example, if you’re an architect or designer).
Without the right insurance policy in place, businesses would have to cover the cost of any damage to their equipment or premises, any compensation that may be awarded from any claims brought against the business as well as any loss of income due to an insured event such as a fire or flood from their own pocket.
All of which could have a devastating impact on many smaller businesses and sole traders.
An insurance policy can also act as a kind of credential in a business to business setting.
By making sure that you have a high level of cover for your business you will also be demonstrating that you take important issues such as health and safety very seriously, which will almost certainly reassure potential customers and business partners alike that you’re worth trading with.
What insurance do I need for my business?
There are a lot of different business insurance products available, but it’s very important to bear in mind that not every business will need every one of these products.
For example, a smaller home business or sole trader won’t need the same cover as a bigger company that has employees.
So before you take out an insurance policy, it’s important to take some time to think about what it is that your business does to avoid paying for insurance that you don’t really need.
So before you take out a policy, you should take some time to consider these questions:
- Will you be working from home?
- Will you be working away from home?
- Do you have employees?
- Are you responsible for your business’s premises, or the equipment in the office?
- Do you provide a service or a product?
Let’s take a look at each individually to help shed some light on the types of insurance that your business may need.
Working at home?
Flexible working hours, no daily commute and less stress are just some of the reasons that running your business from your home could be a good idea.
But whatever the reason is behind running your business from home, you need to make sure that you have the right insurance in place to cover your business activities at your home address.
This means making sure that your business has adequate cover for:
- Business contents — for example computers, stock and equipment
- Any products that you sell or supply
- Business interruption – in case you have to reduce trading, or temporarily stop altogether following an insured loss
- Building insurance
Home business insurance insures business activities that take place at your home address (provided that you’re allowed to do so under the terms of your rent agreement or mortgage). So if a customer or client trips and injures themselves while visiting you at your home, you’ll be covered.
Home business insurance will also cover your business contents such as computers, stock and equipment against damage and theft.
Many new entrepreneurs assume that they’ll be covered for their business activities under their home insurance policy.
However, the reality is that the majority of insurers will not cover your business if it’s based at home because of the additional risks that present themselves in this context.
While the actual task of working from home isn’t necessarily one of them, the introduction of stock, office equipment and potential injury to any visitors while at your home office will all put you at risk of your policy becoming invalid. So be sure to take out specialist home business insurance before you begin trading.
Working away from home?
If your business isn’t based from your home there are a couple of other insurance options that you will need to consider to ensure that your business is adequately covered.
Public liability insurance is perhaps the most important of these as just about every small business will need this cover, regardless of where they work.
Public liability provides cover against claims made by members of the public who have been injured or had their property damaged by your business (where the business being claimed against has been found legally liable for the damage or injury caused).
For example, if you’re attending a trade event such as a summer fair or festival and a member of the public gets injured while visiting your stall, any compensation awarded as a result could be claimed from your business. Not necessarily the organisation that arranged the event.
It may also be worth taking out professional indemnity insurance, depending on the nature of your business.
Professional indemnity insurance (also known as professional liability insurance) covers your business against claims made from clients or customers who feel that professional advice that you’ve given them has been negligent, or has caused reputational damage or financial loss to their business.
Although this cover isn’t required for businesses that sell products, it’s a crucial insurance product for architects, consultants, accountants and estate agents, where consultancy and design work play a crucial role.
Many potential clients, especially local authorities or large companies, will even ask you to provide proof of professional indemnity insurance before they agree to work with you.
Do you have employees?
If you have employees, then you’ll need to take out employer’s liability insurance to ensure that they’re covered while working for you.
Employer’s liability insurance will provide cover against claims made by employees who have suffered an injury or illness during the course of their employment with you.
Having at least £5million worth of employer’s liability insurance is a legal requirement for all employing businesses. Any employers without this cover can be fined up to £2,500 a day.
You can even be fined up to £1,000 if your certificate of insurance isn’t made readily available to your employees. So make sure to display your proof of employer’s liability clearly! Or make it readily accessible to every employee.
Are you responsible for the office building?
Making sure that you have the right insurance in place for any office premises that you own is crucial.
If your office is hit by an unforeseen circumstance such as a fire or flood and you’re not covered for it, the consequences could be devastating to your business.
Not only would you be without an office to work from (which could severely hamper your ability to trade), but you would also need to pay for any rebuilding or refurbishment work to the building from your own pocket.
By taking out an office insurance policy you’ll be covered for any loss of income that has resulted from an unforeseen event such as a fire, flood or theft. Many insurers will also provide buildings cover for offices and surgeries as an optional extra which can be added onto your policy for an additional premium.
Responsible for office equipment?
Very few, if any businesses could function without the use of office equipment such as computers, printers and photocopiers.
So when arranging cover for your business, you’ll need to make sure that all of your office equipment is insured against damage and theft.
Many companies that lease this type of office equipment out to other businesses often specify that the equipment being rented out needs to be insured in the lease agreement. So you may need to get the right cover arranged, even if you don’t yet have any office equipment to insure!
Both home business insurance and office insurance can provide this cover, but the type of cover that you’ll need will depend on your working location.
Do you provide a service or a product?
Selling products online is becoming an increasingly popular choice for small businesses as platforms such as eBay, Amazon and Etsy continue to expand.
But there are a range of risks that come with selling your products online, even if you do so through a trusted retailer.
So if your business sells products using these channels or others like it, you need to make sure that the products being sold are adequately insured. This means making sure that you have cover for:
- Property damage or bodily injury caused by one of your products
- Physical loss of or damage to your products while in transit
- The products themselves while being stored on your business premises
Product liability insurance covers your business against any injury to members of the public, or damage to their property that has been caused by the products that you make or supply.
For example, you’ll be covered for claims brought against your business as the result of a product that your business has sold, if it causes injury or damage to a customers property.
When it comes to insuring your business, there are a number of options available including:
- Home business insurance – which covers businesses that are run from a home address
- Public liability – which insures your business against third party claims for personal injury or property damage
- Professional Indemnity – covers your professional advice
- Employer’s liability – provides cover for your employees
- Product liability — insures your business against claims for bodily injury or property damage caused by a product that you sell or supply
- Office insurance – which covers businesses which are run from a high street address
For example, a small home based business won’t need to take out an office insurance policy, but will need to ensure that the home from which the business runs is covered against theft of their stock or damage to their property or work equipment.
The exact cover and level of insurance that you’ll need will depend on the particulars of your business. So make sure to take some time to consider what it is that your business does before you get a quote or take out a policy.
“Risk Management” is one of the most frequented terms in business and with good reason; being a small business owner is synonymous with accountability and responsibility. Even if you are diligent in the way you operate your business and provide your customers with the best of quality goods and services, you are still subject to clients believing you are in the wrong. Which, should they choose to take action, can cripple a business.
Identifying the threats to your business is half the battle. The real work comes with developing strategies to confront and minimize those risks. Then protecting yourself and your business with the right liability insurance.
Who Needs Business Liability Insurance?
General liability insurance is a must-have for every business. A common misconception is that an owner of a limited liability partnership (LLP) or an incorporated company is always protected from personal liability. But, just like a sole proprietorship or partnership, you may be personally liable if:
- You have signed a personal guarantee for a loan
- You have personally injured someone
- You have acted in an irresponsible or illegal manner
- You do not operate your business as a separate entity
What is Business Liability Insurance?
Business liability insurance protects your small business from negligence that may cause injury to others, such as a customer or employee. It also protects your company if someone is injured as a result of using your product or service. It will usually cover the damages from a lawsuit as well as the legal costs. Depending on your business needs, liability insurance may be purchased in many forms, some of which are outlined below.
Types of Business Liability Insurance
- General Liability Insurance protects your business from liability arising from negligence that may cause injury to others, such as a customer or employee.
- Product Liability Insurance for businesses selling manufactured or assembled goods.
- Professional Liability Insurance for professionals such as doctors, lawyers, architects, computer consultants, and realtors. Consult your local professional organization about what kind of liability coverage is needed in your province.
- Employee Insurance providing employee benefits such as medical, dental, and disability benefits. This will not only help keep your employees healthy, but will help keep them contented and willing to continue working for you.
- Business Interruption Insurance protecting against loss of revenue if your business is forced to close down.
- Business Disability Insurance protecting against loss of revenue if you, the business owner, become disabled or unable to run the business.
- “Buy-Sell” Life/Disability Insurance for partnerships. In the event one of the partners becomes disabled or dies, this insurance provides the surviving partner with money to purchase the disabled or deceased partner’s share of the business.
- Key Person Insurance to compensate for financial losses resulting from long-term disability or death of a key employee.
Have You Heard the News?
TruShield Insurance have joined with Small Business BC to offer you an Ask the Insurance Expert service.
Come talk to Mike Gaba, about reducing your business risks, different ways to protect your business, and choosing the right policy and coverage for your business.
Gain the insight you need from an insurance expert without the pressure of a sale. These 30 minute sessions are booked in advance on a first come, first served basis.
Commercial Insurance, Small Business Insurance & Small Business Liability Insurance
Zurich North America understands your commercial insurance and small business liability insurance needs. This understanding comes from providing commercial and small business insurance solutions such as small business liability insurance to our clients for more than 100 years and is reflected in the strong products and services we provide.
Commercial Insurance and Small business insurance and Small Business Liability insurance from Zurich North America is backed by our outstanding service. In addition to trouble-free claim service, we offer a wide range of commercial and small business insurance services to help lower the risk of loss. Our commercial and small business insurance customers can choose from a variety of payment options including check, credit card or even through the Internet.
Commercial Insurance and Small Business Liability Insurance Solutions
Our Commercial Insurance and Small Business Liability Insurance Solutions are designed with small business owners in mind. For more than 100 years, we have provided business owners with products and services to meet their commercial and small business insurance needs.
Commercial and Small Business Insurance Solutions Portfolio
You’ll find a complete portfolio of price-competitive small business liability insurance products we can tailor to the precise needs of your business. This small business insurance portfolio includes property insurance, small business liability insurance, builders risk insurance, commercial auto insurance, umbrella insurance and, in some states, workers compensation.
Online Commercial Insurance and Small Business Liability Insurance Services
Zurich North America is the industry leader in automation. We use the Internet to help our agents better serve our small business liability insurance customers. The web-enabled processing and underwriting systems we have created position us like no other small business insurance company to take advantage of new technology. That’s why more than 12,000 independent agents across the country have chosen our small business insurance products and services to present to their customers.