No matter the size of your business, there are certain coverages every business needs. One of the most critical business needs is business insurance, though it is often overlooked. What is business insurance? It is insurance specifically designed to cover issues businesses face, such as natural disasters, accidents, equipment breakdown, and lawsuits, all of which could spell the destruction of your business without insurance. Here are the types of business insurance and what they cover to make the best decision on the coverage that works for you and your business.
General Liability Insurance
General liability insurance protects you against financial loss if there are bodily injury and medical expenses, property damage, libel, slander, lawsuits, liens, settlement bonds, or judgments. Every business should carry general liability insurance. While you can run your business as professionally as possible, there are unforeseen disasters or human reactions you have to protect your business against. Without insurance, your business could be wiped out with just one disaster, accident, or lawsuit.
Product Liability Insurance
Product liability insurance protects against financial loss due to a defective product that causes injury or bodily harm. If your business creates any product or products, this is a must in addition to general liability insurance. There is no prediction about how some products will be used or how the people using them may be vulnerable to some aspect of them. Your business is protected from financial loss with product liability insurance, no matter what happens with your product(s).
Professional Liability Insurance
Professional liability insurance protects against financial loss as a result of malpractice, errors, and negligence. This insurance is specifically designed for businesses that offer a service instead of a product. Several things can happen when performing a service for a customer. With professional liability insurance, you and your business will be protected from financial devastation. Some businesses that offer services also have products. In that case, you would need to carry both product liability and professional liability insurance.
Commercial Property Insurance
Commercial property insurance is coverage that protects your business against loss and damage of company property due to a wide variety of events such as fire, smoke, wind and hail storms, civil disobedience, and vandalism. It also covers injuries a person may have suffered while on your property. This coverage is specifically designed for businesses with property or physical assets. There are so many events that can occur, causing damage to your property, this coverage ensures that if the unthinkable happens, your business will come out intact.
Home-based Business Insurance
Home-based business insurance is added to the homeowner’s insurance and protects your business and home from liabilities. These liabilities include the same thing general liability covers, but your business AND home are protected since your business is run out of your home.
The Business Owner’s Policy
The business owner’s policy is coverage that protects your business by combining all the coverage needs you have in one bundle. This bundling simplifies all the coverage you need and makes it more affordable. There is often more than one coverage a business requires. For example, a home-based business offers service and has a product that would need product liability, professional liability, and home-based insurance and general liability insurance. Bundling all four under one business owner policy will save money and confusion.
Before You Buy
Before you buy any business insurance, you need to take the following steps.
- Assess your risks. As the business owner, you need to consider types of accidents, natural disasters, or lawsuits you could be facing with your business. If you need help, the National Federation of Independent Businesses (NFIB) helps assess your risks and choose the right insurance for your company.
- Find a licensed agent. Commercial insurance agents specialize in policies that match your specific business needs.
- Research and compare. Prices and benefits can vary significantly from company to company, like any insurance. Research your needs and shop to compare rates, terms, and benefits for your specific insurance needs.
- Re-assess every year. As your business grows, so do your liabilities, so what worked this year may not work next year. Get with your insurance agent to adjust as needed.