Small business insurance Small Business Insurance Guide is a comprehensive overview of the need for and the types of coverage necessary for a small business.  It covers why a small business needs insurance, what kinds of insurance coverages are available, what risks and liabilities such insurance policies include, how to obtain insurance coverage, and from whom should they buy the insurance.

Small Business Insurance Guide:

We live in a risky world and a litigious society. As a business owner, you’ve built your company one product or service at a time. You’ve worked hard. Whether it is a brand new startup or a growing, successful company, every operating business needs high-quality, customized insurance to protect it from risk. Like personal insurance, small business coverage offers a layer of financial protection to mitigate the risks of operating. Comprehensive coverage can protect every facet of the business including the company’s assets, employees, and liability risks.

Small Business Insurance Guide: Types of Insurance a Small Business Needs

Here’s a breakdown of the most common insurance most of today’s small to medium-sized businesses need to maintain. Keep in mind; all enterprises need insurance. You should have the policy to meet any of the needs listed here.

“Insurance is like marriage. You pay, pay, pay, and you never get anything back.” – Al Bundy of the Married with Children fame.

Protecting Assets

As a business owner, you likely have some assets essential to your operations. The assets may include:

  • Owned or leased building or another real estate
  • Vehicles used by owners and employees
  • Equipment
  • Inventory including raw materials and finished products
  • Computer and electronic assets

Property insurance is necessary for protecting real assets. Various forms exist to cover the specific types of assets you own. Commercial auto insurance can protect delivery vehicles, sales professionals’ vehicles, business owner vehicles, trucks, and so on. Property insurance for buildings helps minimize risks associated with fires, theft, and vandalism. It can also protect the contents of those businesses such as your inventory and equipment.

Liability Risks

Businesses also face liability risks just by opening their doors. Liability occurs when a business’s products or services, operations, or employees create some situation in which someone else (a customer or another person interacting with the company) suffers some loss. Common types of liability risks for small businesses include:

  • Customers slipping on wet floors
  • Product failures
  • Cyber threats such as theft of sensitive customer data
  • Employee harassment or discrimination
  • Poor results during a project

Liability insurance is one of the most important types of financial protections because it aids in covering any settlement or judgment levied against a company in a court, such as-as a result of a lawsuit, as well as your legal defenses. Most common, it can pay for medical or other losses by the injured party as a result of negligence on the company’s part.

Employee-Related Coverage

There are two specific types of coverage most small businesses need that relate to employees. Employees in virtually any kind of job can be injured. If that occurs, workers’ compensation insurance, purchased by the company, will cover the employee’s medical bills, lost time at work, and other expenses. This type of insurance is often a requirement under state laws.

The second option is health insurance. Depending on the size of your company, the type of employees you have, and the hours they work, you may be required to offer health insurance. This coverage is a benefit to employees in that it helps them to pay for their medical needs.

Small Business Insurance Guide: Types of Risks

Small business insurance guideThese types of protections can be invaluable, especially for small businesses that do not have a significant amount of money set to the side to pay for such risks. Overall, business insurance is affordable when compared to paying out of pocket for hazards such as lawsuits, accident losses, and even fires. Insurance companies are available to meet all of these needs.

Take a look at some key risks you face:

  • An estimated 55% of small businesses in the U.S. have had some data breach, and 53% have had more than one.
  • Nearly 20% of all businesses have had some level of reportable theft or burglary in the last five years with an average claim of $8,000.
  • General liability claims suffered by small business owners can average more than $75,000 to defend and settle, according to The Hartford.
  • The average cost for a fire-related claim is $35,000, and about 10% of business owners have suffered this type of claim in the last five years.

As you can see, there are clear risks for today’s business owners. A fire can occur in any building. If it does, you can pick up the phone and call your business insurer to get help paying for those damages and even paying for your lost revenue during cleanup and rebuilding period.

There was a very cautious man
Who never laughed or played
He never risked, he never tried,
He never sang or prayed.
And when he one day passed away,
His insurance was denied,
For since he never really lived,
They claimed he never really died.

(Anonymous poem)

Today’s business insurance market is extensive. There are numerous insurance companies available to meet your needs. While this guide provides you with necessary information and some of the top insurers in the country, be sure to learn more at the U.S. Small Business Administration website or turning to the Insurance Information Institute’s comprehensive website.

How Do You Purchase Business Insurance?

Small business insurance is versatile. The most common option for companies is to purchase a basic policy – typically called Business Owners Policy or BOP. It covers the basic needs of a company and can be customized to meet the requirements. Most BOP includes building insurance, commercial auto insurance, and liability insurance. Workers’ compensation is often an add-on.

Also, businesses can extend coverage further than the bare bones policies. For example, a professional liability insurance or umbrella liability insurance can offer more coverage (by providing a higher limit) and cover risks other plans may not. Today, with the high value of settlements from lawsuits, higher amounts of liability are nearly always necessary.

Where Do You Get a Policy?

Generally speaking, the best place to start is with an insurance agent. This professional will work with you directly to learn about your company and then help you to assess your business’s specific risks. This type of scenario is essential since agents have industry knowledge that can allow for tailoring policies to meet particular risks scenarios based on other companies like your own.

You can obtain an agent’s help in various ways:

  • You can turn to someone local. Most of the largest insurers provide local agents across the country.
  • You can turn to an insurer’s website to find an agent or to work through online agents to secure the policy you need.
  • You can turn to a third-party website that represents multiple insurers and allows those agents to help you to find the best policy for you.

The key to getting an insurance policy for your business is to talk about your business, your industry, your assets, and your overall risks. Your agent can offer a customized quote for you. Keep in mind that you can speak to numerous insurance companies and obtain a free quote from them. Prices do vary from one company to the next. No specific cost can be pinpointed since insurance is generally proportional to what it covers, the risks in the local area, the average pricing in a local area, previously filed claims by your company, and much more.

To get started, learn more about the individual types of business insurance available and discuss your needs with an insurance agency. You’ll quickly see that it may be straightforward to find a policy that fits your budget and protects your business adequately. Insurance is a cost of doing business, just like buying a building to operate out of or paying for marketing. View it as valuable to your organization’s success.

Business Health Insurance

Small businesses are one of the most critical sectors in today’s economy. There are 27.9 million small businesses in the country today, and they make up 99.7% of US employer firms, according to the US Small Business Administration. With more than 52.6 million people working for small businesses, it is no wonder that these companies need to provide for employee needs including health insurance. But, coverage has gotten confusing due to the Affordable Care Act.

Insuring America’s Employees

This law put in place requirements for some businesses to provide health insurance to their employees. And, even if a company does not meet the criteria for having to provide coverage, it is nearly always seen as an excellent thing. Employees need this service, and they will go to whichever employer offers coverage. Many businesses worry they cannot get affordable insurance, but tax incentives do exist for many companies. The Small Business Health Options Program, called SHOP, is also a tool that allows owners to find affordable plans from the leading insurers.

How You Provide Health Insurance for Your Employees?

Employers should begin by considering the types of insurance plans available. Consider these features of programs that are consistently ranked as highly valuable to employees:

  • Coverage needs to be affordable. Employers can elect to provide full coverage or partial in many cases, allowing the employee to pay the remaining amount.
  • Choose a plan that offers the most flexibility in doctors, hospitals, and services as possible.
  • Consider additions to the basic policy such as those that offer dental and vision coverage.
  • Look for plans that offer low deductibles.
  • Ask employees about their needs.

Employers can elect to provide coverage for just the employee or their entire family and often as much as they desire.

Using the SHOP portal is just one option. In addition to this, employers can also secure insurance through top-rated employer insurance providers. Again, the most critical factor when considering these plans is to look at how much coverage is provided and at what cost. Work with your employees to find the balance that fits their individual needs.

Top-Rated Health Insurance Providers for Small Business

These are a few suggestions on the best health insurance providers for small businesses. Other options are available as well:

Professional Liability Insurance

Small business insurance guideProfessional liability insurance, also called Errors & Omissions Insurance or E&O insurance, is an essential form of business insurance. It helps to protect situations in which a professional faces a lawsuit for malpractice or negligent services. It is often necessary for those who provide a professional service, offers advice to clients, or is requested to complete service through a contract.

What Does Professional Liability Insurance Cover?

Professional liability insurance does not provide for all types of negligence claims. However, it does cover the following coverage in most cases:

  • Defense costs related to negligent charges
  • Alleged or actual negligence
  • Requests that come from providing a service in the past
  • Personal injury, libel, and slander claims
  • Copyright infringement claims
  • Temporary staff and independent contractor claims
  • International and domestic coverage

Professional liability insurance can help to cover claims and defense against most types of negligence coverage such as when someone makes a mistake or provides inaccurate advice that leads to an individual suffering loss. Professional liability insurance includes failure to perform a service. It covers the defense costs associated with claims as well as lawsuit settlements and judgments.

Who Should Purchase Professional Liability Insurance?

Many types of service providers can benefit from this type of liability insurance. If you provide a service or advice, either personal or professional, you should consider this insurance. The range of professionals include:

  • IT professionals
  • Personal trainers
  • Real estate agents
  • Property managers
  • Travel agents
  • Beauticians and salon owners
  • Career coaches and trainers
  • Mental health counselors
  • Family medical providers
  • Management or business consultants
  • Therapists
  • Medical provider

In general, this type of business insurance is in addition to other types of coverage for your business. Many companies will wrap it into a Business Owner Policy.

Additionally, it does not replace general liability insurance. That coverage helps to protect business operations. It is important not to confuse these type types of coverage.

Protecting your business from liability issues should be a priority for most companies, as the Insurance Information Institute notes. You can purchase these policies from most commercial insurance providers including the following:

Business Property Insurance

Most of today’s businesses operate out of a location. This structure is generally one of the most important investments a small business will make. You’ve likely taken a lot of time to pick the right location and to invest in a mortgage or lease for it. Even the most well-maintained of these locations, though, can suffer significant loss due to a fire, theft, vandalism, or other risks. Business property insurance provides financial coverage to the company for minimizing such potential losses. As a business owner that owns or leases real estate to operate your company in, you need property insurance.

What Does Property Insurance Cover?

Most property insurance is customized to meet the specifics of the commercial real estate. Additionally, it usually wraps in some of the additional policies that fit some business needs. The main component of these policies is coverage for the building itself. The property might be the retail store, the factory, offices, or other facilities used to operate the business. It also includes (when listed on the property) the additional structures the company uses such as storage areas, signage, and parking structures. It can also help to protect the contents of these buildings such as cover equipment, inventory, software, and other valuables belonging to the company stored within it most of the time.

Most property insurance can extend further than this. For example, a standard component of business insurance is business income. If a covered incident like those described here occurs, and you cannot operate your business out of that location for some time until you get the repairs done, it will pay the revenue your company would generally generate during that time. This is called business interruption insurance as well.

Who Needs Property Insurance Coverage?

Any business operating out of a structure, whether leased or owned, should have coverage. Even if you rent, this type of coverage still protects your company’s inventory and equipment, making it vitally important.

What Are Covered Claims?

Most property insurance will provide coverage for claims such as:

  • Fire
  • Theft
  • Vandalism
  • Smoke
  • Wind

It may not cover employee dishonesty or flooding. However, most businesses can select additional coverage for these types of losses.

You can obtain commercial property insurance from nearly all commercial insurers. It is often the base of most Business Owner Policies as well. You can customize it to fit your needs. Some of the companies offering this coverage include:

“The best we can do is size up the chances, calculate the risks involved, estimate our ability to deal with them, and then make our plans with confidence.” – Henry Ford

Business Interruption Insurance

Business interruption insurance can be a safety net for many of today’s small businesses. When a claim occurs, it can help to provide financial assistance to help you to continue to meet your financial obligations even if your company is unable to operate. Business interruption service is often a vital component of a commercial property insurance plan or Business Owner Policy. If your program does not offer it, you can also purchase it as a standalone policy or an add-on (rider) to an existing insurance plan. Doing this can help your business to withstand a significant event that takes a long time to overcome otherwise.

When Does Business Interruption Insurance Apply?

If a fire occurs at your business and damages your building, stock, inventory, and equipment, could your business overcome this loss right away? With business interruption insurance, it has a better chance of doing so. When a covered claim occurs on a commercial property insurance plan, this coverage will apply if the damage cleanup and repair will take an extended period.

If your business must close for a period while the property undergoes repairs, you may suffer financial loss. You are likely still responsible for your mortgage payment, employee payments, vendor costs, and so on. Additionally, you may incur a loss of business to your competitors that may not return after you are back open. With business interruption insurance, coverage includes some or all of those losses. The coverage covers explicitly the estimated revenue you would have earned had the incident not occurred. It can cover operating expenses as well.

Consider Extra Expense Insurance

A secondary type of cover provided with business interruption coverage, or one that you may wish to add on to your existing policy, is extra expense insurance. This is a higher level of financial protection that will help you to pay for sums of money that you spend over and above ordinary operating expenses to avoid having to shut down during the repair timeframe. This may help to minimize the amount of time you need to use business interruption coverage.

Buying Business Interruption Insurance

Purchasing business insurance for this purpose is not difficult to do. Generally, it is already a component to a property insurance policy, but don’t assume that. Instead, verify the details of your plan and, when necessary, consider these additional commercial insurance providers who also offer business interruption insurance. Programs are generally inexpensive, though policies with extra expense insurance may be slightly more.


Key Person Insurance

Small business insurance guide - key person insuranceIn most businesses, there are a few people that are the heart and soul of the company. Without these people, the company would struggle or even shutter. The key persons could be the founder, the CEO, or other leaders within it. As a business owner, it is important to identify anyone that is that value to the company and label them as a key person. If that person were to suddenly no longer be present, what would happen to the company? Key person insurance helps to provide some level of protection from this by giving a life insurance-like product to the company.

What Is Key Person Insurance?

This form of life insurance is on a partner, proprietor, or an employee that is necessary to ensure the continued operational success of the business. Generally, the life insurance policy will list the company itself as the beneficiary. For example, there is one person in the company capable of performing a task. That person dies suddenly. The company would financially suffer. With this life insurance in place on that key person, the proceeds could be used to support the company’s needs while a new person is found to fill that highly valuable or difficult-to-fill role. The funds can be used to pay off debts, distribute money to investors, or to pay severance pay to employees if the business cannot move forward.

Who Needs Key Person Insurance?

Many businesses may wish to consider investing in this form of business insurance especially if they believe their company could not function without a specific person in the same manner (or at all). If a company is owned and operated by a sole proprietor and no one else is employed or dependent on that business, there is no need for this type of insurance. The company would close, but no one else would be hurt. Keep in mind that key person insurance is not personal life insurance and offers no benefit to an employee’s family even in a situation where he or she is the sole proprietor. It only works to support the business.

How Can You Obtain Key Person Insurance?

Most of today’s business owners can obtain key person insurance easily if there is a person that is vital to the company’s ongoing success. Keep in mind that this policy will be specific to that individual (especially when it comes to pricing matters). Some top providers of key person insurance include:

Insurance is the only product that both the seller and buyer hope is never actually used.

– Uknown

Commercial Auto Insurance

Small business insurance guide - Commercial Auto InsuranceCommercial auto insurance is necessary for any business operating a vehicle as a component of the company’s operations. Generally, commercial auto insurance is essential no matter if an employee or owner drive one car or if there are dozens of vehicles. It helps to protect in two ways including providing property insurance as well as providing liability insurance. It’s important to choose a customized insurance plan that meets your specific company’s needs.

How Does Commercial Auto Insurance Protect You?

Like personal auto insurance, commercial policies protect the company’s investment. If your vehicle was stolen, vandalized, or otherwise damaged and became no longer functional for your business, would your business suffer financially? With the right type of commercial auto insurance, you can safeguard from these types of risks. Also, most companies should consider a package of coverage that minimizes all kinds of hazards such as:

  • Liability insurance that can help to pay defense costs and settlements when the vehicle is involved in an accident and causes damage to another person or his or her property such as in a crash
  • Collision coverage to protect from damage to the vehicle itself when prompted by the driver
  • Coverage for multiple cars in situations where a fleet is present
  • Comprehensive coverage from damage from fires, theft, and vandalism
  • Coverage for the contents of the vehicle

Do you need commercial auto insurance if your vehicle is used infrequently for business matters? It is crucial for businesses to minimize as much of the risk as possible to their operations. To do this, it becomes vital to insure any vehicle driven by an employee or business owner if he or she is conducting business. In some cases, such as less than a few times per year, an employee’s vehicle could be protected from loss without specific coverage. However, it is always beneficial to carry a policy designed to protect the company.

How Can You Buy Commercial Auto Insurance?

Commercial auto insurance is one of the most commonly available types of business insurance. It is widely available for all kinds of vehicles including passenger vehicles, delivery trucks, trailers, and specialized vehicles. It is essential to have a policy designed to meet the specific goals of the company, though, based on how the business uses the vehicle. Some key providers include:

Workers’ Compensation Insurance

Worker’s compensation insurance provides business owners with financial protection from costs related to employee injuries or illness caused by their work. Many businesses see workers’ compensation as an expense, but it is one of the most important ways to minimize your liability in situations where employees get hurt on the job. A practical, well-designed policy can help to reduce many of the risks your business faces.

What Is Workers’ Compensation Insurance?

Workers’ compensation is a state required insurance program that most employers must maintain. It provides benefit to employees when they suffer illness or injuries directly related to their job. Each state carries its laws on the type, amount, and other requirements for this type of insurance. In most cases, though, it helps to cover the losses an employee suffers from illness or injury that occurs as a direct result of working. The damages may include medical bills, lost time at work, pain and suffering, disability, and chronic care. In some cases, it will continue to pay out to the employee for a period whereas in others it pays out a settlement.

Why Do You Need Workers’ Compensation Insurance?

It is quite common that individuals get hurt on the job. The event may happen because the individual is performing a work task and get hurt. Slips and falls can occur. Exposure to chemicals or toxins can lead to long-term disease development. When this type of insurance product is in place, the employee’s financial loss is covered by the policy, up to its limits. If this policy was not in place, it could mean the employer will have to pay the costs out-of-pocket, which would be very expensive.

There are a few things to keep in mind.

  • Not all employees will have this coverage.
  • Not all employers will be required to carry the insurance; some small businesses may not be required under state laws.
  • Coverage is higher for those who work in more top risk positions.
  • Some types of workers may be excluded such as farm workers, seasonal workers, casual workers, and domestic employees.

Because this is a complex type of business insurance, companies need to work closely with their insurance agent to secure the best policy customized to meet their specific needs. Generally, these policies will be less expensive if the workspace is kept safe and claims are few. Some companies to consider are as follows:

General Liability Insurance for Businesses

Most businesses will need a basic level of liability protection. General liability insurance is the most common first level of security. With this coverage, companies can protect from most risks. The liabilities include bodily injury, personal injury, property damage, and most types of claims related to business operations. It is also a part of the Business Owners Policy (BOP) that is the foundation of most insurance policies for small to medium-sized businesses. It is also important to consider adding to this coverage with additional plans that further minimize risk.

How to Choose General Liability Insurance

Like most business insurance policies, general liability is customized to meet the company’s individual needs. For example, contractors need policies that are better suited to their risks working on third-party locations. If the business does not operate out of a specific place, general liability may be the only coverage the company needs. This policy can help to cover medical expenses, damages, attorney fees and other costs related to legally defending against and settling such claims. They may include protections for product failures, customer falls, and much more.

What Should You Add to Your General Liability Plan?

It is also important to consider additional protections. Many general liability plans have an upper limit. Once a business exceeds liability limits, it can be hard to gain extra protection. Umbrella insurance or professional liability insurance extend that level of protection further, adding more security. These additional policies can also provide more protection against some of the risks general liability plans cover. Other enhancement types of policies for small to medium-sized businesses include employment-related practices liability insurance, product and completed operations liability insurance, and hired and non-owned auto liability insurance. Most companies also benefit from medical payments cover, premises liability, employee benefits liability, and employer’s liability.

How Do You Purchase General Liability Insurance?

Today’s business owner needs to have a comprehensive liability policy. Start with a general liability insurance plan and increase from there to minimize specific risks. For example, if you operate a restaurant serving alcohol, specialized liquor liability can be added to extend your protection and safeguard your business from those types of claims. Working with a liability insurance agent is essential to ensure the right kind, and level of coverage is in place for your business. Consider these professional providers:

Cyber Liability and Data Breach Insurance

Small business insurance guide - cyber insuranceThough it is one of the newest forms of business insurance today, cyber liability and data breach policies are growing in popularity. Most companies accept payment and personal information from employers in the general course of business. You receive payments through credit cards, for example. You may also gather information about your customers’ or clients’ finances, personally identifying information such as Social Security numbers, and other details. By obtaining it, your business risks exposing that information to thieves. Coverage against cybercrime has become one of the most difficult to protect against serious liabilities.

What Does Cyber Liability and Data Breach Insurance Protect?

Cyber liability insurance protects from Internet-related risks, such as thieves hacking into your databases to obtain your customers’ credit card numbers. Data breaches like this can expose thousands of people for identity theft. Most cyber liability and data breach insurance will protect against the most common risks associated with these actions such as:

  • Notification to customers of the theft
  • Identity protection solutions so they can monitor their identity for potential exposure
  • Public relations matters surrounding such instances
  • Legal defense against or representation on such issues
  • Liability risks associated with these losses

Depending on the insurance company you select and the amount of coverage it provides, you can see a great deal of support from the insurer if you have these types of policies in place. For example, they can help you to have a fast response when such instances occur, providing a quicker reduction of exposure. They can also help you to prepare for such threats and help you to overcome your potential losses. By submitting this type of protection, small and medium-sized businesses can minimize costly lawsuits and various risks associated with:

  • Bank account information
  • Social security numbers
  • Medical histories
  • Patient records
  • Customer records
  • Credit card information

How Do You Buy Cyber Insurance?

Cyber liability and data breach insurance is a substantial investment and one that requires a great deal of attention to your specific areas of risk. Today’s business should add on this type of coverage on top of other general liability insurance they may have. Keep in mind that most general liability policies rarely provide enough or any coverage for these risks on their own. Consider these providers:

People who live in glass houses should take out insurance.

– Unknown

Employment Practices Liability

Any business that employs people needs to have liability insurance to protect against risks associated with those individuals. If your employee makes a mistake and it impacts a customer, your general liability insurance will cover those costs. If your employee is hurt, workers’ compensation will cover those risks. However, employees can also be impacted by employer negligence, such as violations of employment. Employment practices liability insurance protects against those risks.

What Does Employment Practices Liability Insurance Cover?

This type of business insurance will cover claims may be employees about their legal rights related to the employment with the company. Employees can file a lawsuit or a claim against a company, for example, claiming that their rights as employees were violated. Previously, only larger companies commonly suffered these types of risks, but small businesses are more vulnerable than ever. Some Business Owner Policy packages that offer necessary levels of coverage to businesses will not provide employment practice liability endorsements (or add-on coverage). However, even when there is no coverage for all risks, the policy should be considered by all businesses.

This type of insurance can be an add-on to an existing policy or a stand-alone policy. In both cases, it can provide comprehensive coverage for risks such as:

  • Sexual harassment
  • Wrongful termination
  • Discrimination
  • Negligent evaluation
  • Breach of employee contract
  • Deprivation of career opportunity
  • Wrongful discipline
  • Failure to employ
  • Failure to promote
  • Mismanagement of employee benefit plans
  • Wrongful infliction of emotional distress

The policy will likely cover the settlement costs as well as legal defense of such claims. If you face this type of lawsuit, on the other hand, chances are high you would suffer significant financial loss even as a small business owner.

How Can You Buy Employee Practices Liability Insurance?

Purchasing employee liability insurance is often done by adding it to your existing or new Business Owner Policy. You can also buy it as a stand-alone policy. These policies are straightforward and do not require a great deal of customization. However, the larger the company is, the more risk is present. You may need a higher claim limit if you are an employer of a large number of people. Some of the top insurers in the employment practices liability sector include:

Product Liability Insurance

Small business insurance guide - product liability insuranceProduct liability insurance is a necessary type of business insurance for any company that designs or manufacturers, as well as those that sell or distribute any physical product. There are many types of products that fit into this type of insurance protection. It can include business supplies, toys, food products, and much more. The goal of this form of commercial insurance is to reduce the liability risks the company takes in providing a product to a customer.

How Can Product Liability Insurance Help You?

Product liability insurance, which also usually includes recall insurance and contamination insurance, aids in protecting a business from claims that the product damaged or led to some injury or death. Even if your product is very safe, sold by other companies, and not manufactured by your business, you still need this type of business insurance in place. It provides a more specific and higher level of coverage than general liability insurance. In most cases, it is an addition or endorsement to an existing general liability insurance plan, but it can also be a stand-alone policy.

This type of insurance can protect from some product-related risks. The product liability coverage includes:

  • Product design, assembly, manufacturing or packing perils
  • Direction mistakes
  • Lack of warnings
  • Flawed or false marketing
  • Partner and investor relations
  • Affiliate-related liability matter

This insurance also provides (in most cases) product recall support. If a recall of your product becomes necessary, this type of insurance can help with related costs including:

  • Reputation repair and management costs
  • Advertising costs related to the recall
  • Shipping costs to get products back
  • Product destruction and disposal fees
  • Business interruption costs
  • Payments related to distributors, retailers and wholesale companies involved

And, when contamination occurs, another type of common risk associated with products, the insurance will cover costs related to:

  • Lab analysis and product movement to recall the product
  • Announcements fees
  • Costs related to third-party recalls
  • Loss of profits (this will range in length of time, but is usually about 18 months)
  • Rehabilitation costs
  • The price of the contaminated product
  • Extortion costs
  • Higher fees related to operations as a direct result of the recall
  • Crisis response fees

If your company sells, distributors or manufacturers products, selecting a comprehensive policy is necessary. The insurance should include, at the least, a product liability policy. Most policies can also include recalls and contamination insurance as well, but this may need to be added explicitly to the plan.

How to Buy Product Liability Insurance

Purchasing product liability insurance is possible through most business insurance providers. The costs of these policies will differ significantly from one company to the next based on the type of business and products. Insurance agents can help enterprises select the appropriate level of coverage for their needs. Some leading insurers in this industry include:

Employee Benefits Insurance

A less common form of insurance that may help many small and medium-sized businesses is employee benefits insurance. Employment Benefits insurance is a type of liability insurance. It is in addition to commercial liability insurance products, such as general liability. This type of insurance covers explicitly error or omissions specifically related to a company’s employee benefits program. If your company employs individuals and you offer any employee benefit program, including programs such as health insurance, retirement benefits, and other coverage, you should consider the value and importance of having this type of insurance.

What Does Employee Benefits Insurance Cover?

This type of insurance is obtained by the employer to provide for financial protection against liability claims made against the company. Many risks can be exposed here. For example, if you fail to tell an employee about a benefits program or you fail to provide the information requested, and the employee suffers some level of financial loss. As a result, this type of insurance can be beneficial. It is essential to keep in mind that this coverage does not take the place of general liability, but it does extend the coverage further and offers more protection for employers.

This type of insurance can help you to retain and hire employees because it allows employees to know the company has taken the necessary steps to minimize risks associated with the benefits program. Specifically, it provides protection related to errors or omissions related to the administering of the plan this may include:

  • Lapses in employee coverage
  • Not providing employees with information about a program
  • Factors related to enrolling and terminating benefits programs
  • Cancellation of benefits programs
  • Inaccuracies

It can impact a wide range of coverage types including workers’ compensation, unemployment cover, employee stock plans, group health, group life, and profit sharing plans. If your company offers these, it may be necessary to select this type of business insurance.

How to Buy Employee Benefits Insurance

Before buying this form of business insurance, companies should first ascertain if their general liability insurance offers the coverage. If this is the case, you can extend the blanket with a new plan. You can also purchase this policy as an endorsement or as a stand-alone policy. The following are some providers offering this type of financial protection:

Umbrella Insurance

Umbrella insurance is a form of liability protection that most businesses will need to carry. It does not replace commercial liability insurance but can add to it. Umbrella insurance is necessary for many of today’s business owners because of the high cost of litigation. This is a growing concern throughout much of the US for small business owners who could not remain operational in such situations. One substantial claim like this can often lead to businesses closing their doors as a result.

What does Umbrella Insurance Provide Coverage?

Commercial umbrella insurance is often an additional policy on top of general liability insurance. Most insurers offering this coverage will expect businesses to have primary insurance coverage first. When an accident occurs, primary liability insurance starts to provide financial protection. These policies then run out of coverage, when claims reach the upper limit, umbrella liability insurance then covers the rest of the claim. Primary insurance generally includes:

  • General liability insurance
  • Employers liability insurance
  • Workers’ compensation
  • Commercial auto insurance

Umbrella insurance, then, can cover claims related to most of these areas when they extend beyond the primary coverage provides. It can also help when the type of exposure or claim is specifically excluded from the primary policy. For example, the workers’ compensation plan may not cover seasonal workers, but umbrella insurance may provide this coverage. Keep in mind that some umbrella insurance policies have their exclusions, which should not be overlooked when obtaining these policies.

Who Should Obtain Umbrella Insurance?

Small business insurance guide - Umbrella insuranceMost small businesses face the risk of claims that are liability related. However, this type of liability insurance has become more critical than ever for today’s small business owners. While primary liability insurance is essential, it may not provide enough protection from higher frequency and higher claims made today. More importantly, most umbrella insurance policies are significantly less expensive than most others, providing a much higher level of financial protection without a lot of costs. And, for companies that have had liability insurance claims previously, it is even more important that they extend coverage with this coverage.

How Do You Buy Umbrella Insurance?

Work closely with the insurer to learn about the amount of a policy that is necessary. Discuss current exclusions on existing policies and coverage limits. In addition to this, it may be required to consider the value of umbrella insurance when other policies have limited legal defense protection. To find options, look closer at these providers:

Important Note: Small Business Insurance Guide is for informational purposes only. While we strive to provide accurate and up to date information, we cannot guarantee the accuracy of the data. As a savvy business owner before you make any insurance related decisions, please consult your tax and legal advisors and possibly an insurance agent to seek professional guidance.