Painters

Painters or painting, staining and decorating contractors fill a great role within the construction industry. As the economy continues to recover the need for painters continues to grow. With the growth in this industry comes an increase in risk and a need for more insurance coverage. The risks in this industry are much different than if you run an auto repair shop or an HVAC company.

There are certain types of information you will need for a general liability and workers compensation quote. Here are 5 policies every painting contractor needs to secure in order to completely cover them and their employees.

Find the best info about insurance coverage for painters at My Insurance Question.

 

General Liability

General liability insurance is normally the first coverage any small business purchases. This is no different for a painting contractor. In most states this coverage is required by law to be in business. General Liability coverage will cover your liability to third parties for accidents that occur as a part of normal business operations. For painting contractors who work at remote locations, it is important to speak with your independent insurance agent about what exactly is and is not covered when you are operating on the premises of a third party. If you interact with a general contractor who has many contractors operating at one location it is important for you to make sure all of the other contractors have the proper insurance required for the work taking place.

Inland Marine Coverage

Inland marine coverage will cover any specialized equipment you or your employees use as part of your daily operations. This is an important coverage to secure, especially if you have expensive specialized equipment, because most basic policies will not cover this equipment when it is damaged. For instance if you have a van or a vehicle with a trailer carrying extra tools, when a wreck occurs your commercial insurance policy will cover your liability to the other person hurt in the accident and to fix your vehicle, but it will not pay to cover your specialized equipment. This is a coverage your agent can help you determine if you need it or not. Depending upon how much the equipment costs, you may be able to do without this coverage.

Commercial Property Insurance

Commercial property insurance is different from your personal home owners insurance policy. It is different primarily because it is sold one of two ways: Replacement cost or on an agreed upon value of the property. It may be tempting to go with an agreed upon value to save on premium, but this is almost always a mistake. This is because the agreed upon value is usually what the property is appraised at currently. This amount does not include the cost to tear down the dwelling and remove all the debris after a disaster occurs. This additional cost can be extensive.

Commercial Auto Insurance

Commercial auto insurance is also different from a personal auto policy. Commercial auto can be purchased for vehicles your business owns, but it can also be purchased for employees who drive their own vehicles or rented vehicles while on the job. This type of policy is called hired and non-owned auto coverage. Again, with this coverage it is important to take some additional time to speak with your agent about the daily operations of your business. If you are honest with them about what you do on a daily basis they can do their best to prevent occurrences from taking place where your business or your vehicles are not covered.

Workers’ Compensation

Workers compensation insurance is the second coverage a business purchases because like general liability insurance it is required by law in most states. Workers compensation is like general liability, but it applies only to your employees and not to third parties. If your employees are injured at work as a part of what would be deemed normal business operations, workers compensation coverage will pay them for some of their lost wages (typically 60%) and medical expenses. Depending upon the state in which you operate in and the accident occurs, there are time limits on how long the employee can collect workers compensation benefits. Having adequate safety programs and a strong return to work program will help your business from experiencing excessive damage to your experience modification rating.

 

Here at My Insurance Question you can find the best advice on the insurance policies all painters need.

Recommended Insurance Programs for Painters

Minimum recommended coverage:

•   General Liability

•   Inland Marine Coverage

•   Property Insurance

•   Commercial Auto Insurance

•   Workers’ Compensation

Other coverages to consider for Painters:
Business Personal Property, Employee Dishonesty, Contractors’ Equipment (Inland Marine), Umbrella Liability, Commercial Auto Liability, Goods in Transit, Environmental Impairment Liability, Stop Gap Liability and Employment Practices Liability Insurance (EPLI).

Business Interruption Insurance

Business Interruption Insurance is the key when disaster strikes your business.

Business Interruption Insurance is the key to protect your business when disaster strikes.

Having good commercial insurance is essential to the long term stability of your business.  It is a product that is necessary for you business, but a product you hope you never have to use. When there is a disaster that strikes your business, the quality of your coverage can mean the difference between a bump in the road and the end of your business.  One key policy to help your business whether the storm when a disaster strikes is business interruption insurance.

According to the Insurance Information Institute, “Business interruption insurance compensates you for lost income if your company has to vacate the premises due to disaster-related damage that is covered under your property insurance policy, such as a fire. Business interruption insurance covers the revenue you would have earned, based on your financial records, had the disaster not occurred. The policy also covers operating expenses, like electricity, that continue even though business activities have come to a temporary halt”.

This policy is normally offered as part of a Business Owners’ Package, but not always.  It is important to confirm with your agent if this is included in your package.  If it is not they will more than likely bring it to your attention as an add-on.  It is a policy to strongly consider for your business.  This business can help you pay necessary bills, retain key employees and may just be the difference between success and failure when a claim occurs.

In most states general liability and workers compensation insurance is required by law, but those are the bare minimum coverages any business should secure. Most businesses need several additional coverages to properly protect the organization.  If you own property or vehicles their is a need for commercial property and auto coverage.  If you own specialized equipment there may be a need for inland marine coverage.  The one frequently forgotten coverage is business interruption coverage.  Many small business owners fail to anticipate how they will pay their bills in the event a claim causes their business to be closed for a period of time.  When this occurs the bills keep coming and payroll has to be met.  If you are a cash strapped company, failing to secure this coverage may cause the ultimate failure of your business.

HVAC Contractors

Heating and Air Conditioning Contractors ( HVAC Contractors ) are those business that provide services for and repair heating and air conditioning units.  They provide these services for both commercial and residential clients.  They have to be knowledgeable about both duct and vent work, the different types of fuel sources for heating equipment, which can be natural or LP gas, electric, steam, solid fuel, coal, or fuel oil.  Many contractors also install, service, and repair air conditioners. While air conditioning units are normally electric-powered, they are charged with different coolants, some of which may be hazardous.

All of these different types of work bring their own unique risks to the contractor. For this reason, it is very important for you to have an extended conversation with your insurance agent about all of the types of work you do and do not participate in.  It is equally important to inform your agent if there are certain types of work you do not partake in. There are more than one classification code for this industry and the types of risks you take on can dramatically impact what you pay in premium for a number of commercial insurance policies.  Below are 6 policies most HVAC Contractors need to secure in order to protect their business properly.

•   General Liability

•   Property Insurance

•   Hired and Non-Owned Auto (full commercial auto if vehicles owned)

•   Inland Marine

•   Business Income with Extra Expense

•   Workers’ Compensation

General Liability Insurance

General Liability Exposures at the contractor’s office or shop are generally limited due to lack of public access to the premises. Retail sales increase the possibility of customers slipping, falling, or tripping if customers visit office to view products.

Property Insurance

Property exposures at the heating contractor’s own location are generally limited to those of an office, shop, and storage of materials, equipment, and vehicles. Operations may also include retail sales. The fire exposure is generally light unless repair operations involving welding take place on premises. Welding involves the use of tanks of gases that must be stored and handled properly to avoid loss. The absence of basic controls such as chained storage in a cool area and the separation of welding from other operations may reflect a greater risk.

Commercial Auto

Automobile exposures are generally limited to transporting workers, equipment and supplies to and from job sites for HVAC Contractors. Hazards depend on the type and use of vehicles and radius of operation with the main hazards being upsets. Vehicles may have special modifications or built-in equipment such as lifts and hoists. Large heating systems may be awkward and require special handling and tie-down procedures. Age, training, experience, and drivers’ records, as well as the age, condition and maintenance of the vehicles are all important items to consider. If employees utilize their own personal vehicles for work related tasks then Hired and Non-Owned Coverage should be purchased.

Inland Marine Coverage

Inland marine exposures include contractors’ tools and equipment, including ladders and scaffolding, hoists, and portable welders, the transport of materials, and installation floater. Goods in transit consists of tools and equipment as well as products purchased by the customer for installation at the job site. HVAC units can be of high value and susceptible to damage in transit; they frequently require expertise in loading to prevent load shift or overturn.

Workers’ compensation

Workers compensation exposures vary based on the size and nature of the job. Both residential and commercial work involves lifting, work with hand tools, wiring, and piping. Cuts from the fabrication and installation of sheet metal for ducts and vents are common. Lifting injuries such as hernias, strains and sprains plus back injuries may occur. Electrical burns are common; electrocution can occur from the use of high-voltage lines. Any time work is done above ground, injury or death from falls and being struck by falling objects can occur. Slips and falls, foreign object in eyes, major and minor burns, and inhalation of fumes are all potential hazards.

Food trucks

How much insurance do owners of food trucks need?????

  • Food Trucks are a booming industry.  In 2015, the industry represented more than 1.2 billion in annual sales. This booming industry has contributed to an annual growth rate of more than 12% over the 5 previous years. Because of this popularity many more business owners entering the market. As they enter the market there are many risks that come to this industry. Many business owners in this industry got their start in the traditional restaurant industry. There are many more risks that come with a restaurant that is mobile and processing many transactions at a remote location. Those risks are much different from a traditional restaurant, a non-profit organization or even a home health care agency. For this reason, food truck owners need to have a strong relationship with an independent insurance agent who can help them properly protect their investment. Here are 5 coverages most food truck owners need to secure, in order to properly protect their business.
  •  •   General Liability

•   Commercial Auto

•   Inland Marine

•   Cyber Insurance

•   Workers Compensation

Food Trucks

    General Liability
    General Liability is the first and most essential coverage a food truck owner will need to secure in order to protect their business. It is required by law in most states depending on the way in which your business is classified and how much revenue you generate.
    Commercial Auto
    A Commercial Auto Policy will be essential to food trucks.  This will cover the main body of the vehicle if it is damaged in an accident.  It will also cover your liability to the other vehicle in the crash if the accident is the fault of you or your employee. A commercial auto insurance policy is not all encompassing.  The equipment kept inside your vehicle or pulled behind a trailer is not covered by a commercial auto policy.  These pieces of equipment will be covered by an inland marine insurance policy.
    Inland Marine
    An Inland Marine Insurance Policy is designed for specialized equipment that is meant to be in transit. The very nature of the food truck industry makes this coverage essential. One key to making sure all of your equipment is covered, is to have a detailed conversation with your independent insurance agent about what types of equipment you have and exactly how you use that equipment.
    Cyber Insurance
    Cyber Insurance is a necessary coverage far too many food truck owners do not realize they need. Even at a mobile workstation like a food truck, a majority of the purchases will be made with a card or mobile device. Depending upon what type of mobile Point of Sale software you use this can open up your business to becoming a victim of a data breach.  If you secure the proper coverage it can help you recover from the damages your business faces as a result of a data breach. The coverage can help you make your customers whole again and it can help you restore the damaged image of your business as a result of a data breach.
    Workers Compensation
    Workers Compensation insurance is required by law in 48 out of 50 states. Each workers compensation system is regulated by the individual states and each states’ system has specific exclusions based on how many employees you have, the revenues of your business and certain industries.  You may not be required to secure this coverage depending upon your specific state. Even if you are not required to secure this coverage it is more than likely beneficial to you to secure this coverage once you hire an employee not in your immediate family.

Find in-depth information about the best insurance for food trucks at MyInsuranceQuestion.com

Florist

I only own a small florist, how much insurance do I really need?

 

Here are 6 insurance coverages every floral business should have.  

How much and what types of insurance coverage a floral business needs really depends on the size, type and scope of your business.  If your business only sells flowers at one location than you may not need all of these coverages, but if your business designs flower arrangements or provides delivery service it opens up your business to an enormous amount of additional risk.  Here are 6 insurance coverage’s all floral businesses should strongly consider securing.

General Liability

General Liability Insurance will protect your business from property damage and bodily injury claims of third parties.  Third parties can be anyone not associated with your business that is harmed by the actions of your businesses operations.  Included in this group of people can be customers, vendors delivering products to your facility or even a plumber who comes to work on your toilet.

Professional Liability

If you are designing floral arrangements for special occasions like weddings, funerals, Valentines Day or Christmas you can be sued if the designs are not up to the expectations of the customer.  The lawsuits do not have to be founded to cost your business immensely in legal fees and reputation management.  This coverage will help your business withstand the costs to defend your self in court and for missed time at work spent defending you and your business.

Commercial Auto/Hired and Non-owned Auto

If your business uses vehicles as a part of normal business operations than you need to secure one or both of these coverages. If the business owns a vehicle and that is the only vehicle used for business purposes than a commercial auto policy should suffice your business, but if you have employees who use their own vehicle or rented vehciles for any part of their job than you need to secure the addition of hired and non-owned auto coverage.

Commercial Property 

A commercial property insurance policy is needed if your business owns and operates any property as a part of your operations, no matter the size. It is different than a traditional home owners policy.  Commercial property policies are sold on a replacement cost or on an actual value basis.  It is usually best to purchase a replacement cost policy.  This type of policy will cover the cost to tear down, haul off and replace the property that is damage.  An actual value policy will pay you an agreed upon value of what the property is worth.  In most cases this will not pay the entire amount to make your business whole again.

Inland Marine 

If you own any specialized equipment or equipment that is designed to be in transport frequently, you have a need for Inland Marine Coverage.  A commercial property will cover your facility.  A commercial auto policy will cover your vehicles.  If you have specialized equipment you use to design and maintain the arrangements or an attachment to your vehicle like a trailer it will not be covered by either of these policies. This is where an inland marine policy can be added to cover this specific equipment. Taking additional time with your agent to explain all the details of your business can make sure you secure all of the policies your business needs.

Workers Compensation

Workers Compensation Insurance is required by law for most businesses in 48 out of 50 states. The system is managed by the individual states, so it is important for you to check with the proper state governing agency to ensure you are compliant with your states laws and regulations. Even if there is an exclusion for your business to not carry the coverage, it is usually in your best interest to still secure workers comp coverage. This insurance policy will protect your business from being sued for most injuries that occur as a part of normal business operations. It also provides medical coverage and reimbursement of some lost wages for workers injured as a part of normal business operations.

Beauty Salons

How much insurance coverage do Beauty Salons need?

 

There are many Beauty Salons all across the country. Each one has their own unique set of risks depending upon the scope and scale of their operations. THe risks facing a beauty salon are very different from the risks of a real estate agency, a day care center or even an electrician.  All of these industries have their own individual needs and that is why each need their own package of insurance protection.  Here are four insurance coverages’ every Salon should have in order to properly protect their business. There may be more coverages that may be needed based on the actions of your employees. For this reason, it is extremely important to spend additional time speaking with your insurance agent about what exactly your employees do and do not do on a daily basis.

Beauty Salons

 

✓ General Liability
✓ Professional Liability
✓ Inland Marine
✓ Workers Compensation

 

 

General Liability

General Liability Coverage will protect most beauty salons from property damage and bodily injury claims to third party.  Because of the high amount of traffic coming in and out of the business there is a likelihood to have more than average claims due to slips trips and falls.  Keeping the premises clean and not cluttered can go a long way towards limiting these types of claims.

Professional Liability

Professional Liability Coverage is a coverage specifically designed for businesses that provide specialized advice or services.  The need for this coverage will be higher the more high end your business is or if you work with customers around special occasions like weddings, birthdays, religious celebrations, proms, etc.  This policy will cover most legal fees if your business is sued by a customer for not providing the proper service for their occasion.  The lawsuit does not have to result in a judgment against your business to rack up an enormous cost. Even if you are innocent, you still have to hire a lawyer to defend yourself in court and you may have to take time away from your business to defend your reputation.

Inland Marine

Inland Marine Insurance Coverage will protect your property that is highly specialized or frequently in transit.  Exposures to this equipment may come if employees provide their own tools.  If they do, there may be an employees, tools and equipment exposure. If your stylist goes to the client’s premises to perform services, there may be goods off premises or in transit. There may be a bailees exposure with wigs or other hairpieces, or from storage of customers’ goods at all-day events offered by some high-end salons.  If any or all of these exposures exist than your business needs to add this coverage.

Workers’ Compensation

Workers’ Compensation Insurance is required by law in 48 out of 50 states. Depending upon the rules and regulations of your state, you may or may not need to secure this coverage.  How your business is structured and whether or not your employees are W-2 or 1099 employees can impact the requirement for this coverage as well. Workers Comp Coverage will cover your business for most lawsuits that occur from injured workers who were hurt because of a normal business activity. It will provide your employee with medical costs and some lost wages while they are hurt and not able to work.

Electrical Contractors

Insurance needs and concerns for Electrical Contractors

Electrical contractors carry unique risks that many other businesses in the construction industry do not face.  With those risks come additional types of insurance needs.  Each electrician is unique in the scope and capacity in which they operate their business.  Depending upon the type of work each electrician partakes’ in, there may be a number of types of coverage an electrician needs to secure in order to properly secure their business.  Here is a list of 5 commonly carried coverages most electricians secure.

 

  • General Liability
  • Commercial Property
  • Commercial Auto
  • Inland Marine (Tools and Equipment)
  • Workers Compensation

General Liability

Exposures at the contractor’s office are generally limited because of the lack of access to the premises. Storing materials outdoors may create vandalism and attractive nuisance hazards.  Electrical voltage is always a risk for electricians.  This is due to the risk of electrical burns or electrocution to employees or other third parties.  An electricians’ employees can cause damage to the client’s property and can cause bodily injury to members of the household, the public, or employees of other contractors.  These are risks that are covered by a general liability policy.

Commercial Property

If you own a property; no matter how small, your business needs to secure commercial property coverage. Property exposures at the contractor’s premises typically are fairly low for electricians.  This is generally limited to those of an office and storage for supplies, tools, and vehicles.

Commercial Auto

Automobile liability exposure is higher for electrician than other brick and mortar businesses.  Most electrical contractors are in transit to transport workers, equipment and electrical supplies to and from job sites.  A driving hazard is a huge risk for insurance companies to insure.  The more time your business spends driving the higher the likelihood of claims.  Those claims tend to rise in both frequency and severity.  Implementing a safe driving program and keeping up to date driving records for all employees can help limit what you pay in premium.  Age, training, experience, and drivers’ records, as well as the age, condition, and maintenance of the vehicles, are all important items to consider.

Inland Marine

Inland marine is also commonly called ‘Floaters’ coverage.  It is meant for specialized equipment that is frequently in transit as a part of business operations. The exposures often include owned or rented equipment, building materials, as well as materials being transported to and from the job site.  This is commonly needed for businesses that transport their equipment to a third party site for use delivering a service.  The most basic example of an industry that needs this coverage is a landscaping company.  It can also include any business that takes equipment away from the premises for use as a part of normal business operations.

Workers’ Compensation

Workers compensation insurance is required by law in 48 out of 50 states.  Each state has their own specific exclusions depending upon the number of employees and the scope of your work.  It is important to check with the proper governing agency in your state to determine if you are required to purchase this coverage. Even if you are not required to purchase this coverage in many cases it is still beneficial to your business to secure it.  The coverage provides you with protection from lawsuits that may result from injured employees who are injured as a result of normal business practices.  Employees give up the ability to sue for normal injuries, but get back coverage for their medical expenses and some portion of their wages while they are hurt and not able to work.  Typically they are reimbursed 60 percent of their normal wages for the time they are not able to work.

 

Real Estate Insurance Needs

5 Types of insurance every Real Estate Agency should have.

 

Real Estate Agencies take on a unique set of risks compared to other traditional businesses.  Many businesses, like a restaurant for example, have a brick and mortar location where a majority or all of the business takes place.  Real Estate Agencies, while most do have a physical address, have a majority of their work taking place at a third party location.  These locations frequently are at the property they are helping to sell.  For this reason, real estates agencies have to secure a unique group of coverages in order to adequately protect their business.  Here are 5 recommended coverages most real estate agencies should secure.

 

  •    General Liability Coverage
  •    Errors and Omissions (Professional Liability)
  •    Property Insurance
  •    Hired and Non-Owned Auto
  •    Workers’ Compensation Insurance

 

General Liability Insurance

For most real estate agencies, the risks related to general liability coverage are often minimal.  This is primarily due to not much business occurring at the physical location.  A majority of their work is done over the phone, by electronic mail or at a third party location.  Off-Premises risks can be extensive for this industry. These risks typically arise from sales visits, inspections, open-houses and similar work done at the customers’ home or other buildings.  In some cases, there is an agent representing both the buyer and the seller.  Any damage that occurs during joint operations, like an open-house, can cause a dispute between all parties involved. Monitoring of keys is another risk that must be dealt with carefully.  Documenting every time, you access a facility is highly recommended to limit the risk you face regarding access to the facility.

Errors and Omissions Coverage (Professional Liability)

Exposure associated with errors and omissions (E&O) may be the most significant risk a real estate agency faces.  This is because a majority of the work you do is highly specialized and you are giving advice.  If you give the wrong advice, it can cause the business to be liable to the client in the future. To limit these risks the agency can make sure all employees have the proper credentials, experience and has the proper ratio of professional employees to clerical employees. Thorough background checks are essential to limit E&O Claims.

Commercial Property Insurance

If your agency owns physical property, you need to secure Commercial Property Insurance.  There are two ways these policies are sold.  They are sold on a replacement base or on an agreed upon value of the property.  In most cases, it is better to secure a policy at replacement level.  This will include the cost to tear down the facility, remove all debris and build a new facility.  If your policy is an agreed upon value it typically does not include these additional costs.

Commercial Auto/Hired and Non-Owned Auto Coverage

If you own vehicles for your employees to use when they are away from the office than you need to secure a Commercial Auto Policy.  Most real estate agencies do not own vehicles specifically for company use, but they do have agents who use their personal cars for business purposes.  When these employees are using their personal vehicles for business purposes the business is liable for any accidents that may occur.  The business is not liable for the damage to the employee’s car. This is covered by the employee’s personal auto insurance policy.  The business is liable for damage to the car and any bodily injuries that may occur to third parties.  A Hired and Non-Owned Auto Insurance Policy will take care of most liability a business faces resulting from accidents that occur when employees drive their personal cars or rented vehicles for business purposes.

 

Workers’ Compensation Coverage

Workers’ Compensation Insurance is required by law in 48 out of 50 states.  Each state has their own rules and regulations regarding the administration of this system.  Each state has their own exceptions for some small or family owned businesses.  Workers Comp is similar to general liability, except that it covers employees and not third parties.  When an employee is hurt on the job, work comp coverage will cover some of their lost wages (typically 60%) and medical costs incurred as a result of the injury.

Garage Liability vs. Garagekeepers

The difference between Garage Liability coverage and Garagekeepers coverage is the difference between liability insurance and physical damage insurance. The first covers the insured’s liability for operations and autos and the other covers damage to customer’s vehicles. All garage risks need both coverages to properly insure their loss exposures.

A typical garage business has an auto exposure (owned, non-owned and hired) as well as premises/operations, contractual and products/completed operations exposures. Rather than writing two separate policies, the Garage policy allows you to combine the coverages into one Policy. Garage Policy is a combination Business Auto Coverage form and a Commercial General Liability Coverage form. Garage liability insurance is an absolute necessity for the owner of a car dealership, a local mechanic, a tire dealer or a company doing oil changes. These policies are for employers who make a living working on cars. These programs are also for companies installing stereos or satellite radios. Do not make the mistake with the assumption believing Garage Liability Insurance would cover the loss of a customer’s auto while in your care. A separate Garage Keeper’s Policy or addendum to the garage (service center) policy already in place must be in place. Under the Garage keeper’s Coverage, there are two options for the auto service operator to consider. One is called direct excess coverage that pays up to the value of the destroyed vehicle above the owner’s coverage, and the other is direct primary coverage in which the service owner’s carrier shares the loss with the car owner’s insurer.

If you have a repair center that has a fleet of tow trucks or dispatched repair vehicles, those assets are covered under Garage Liability Insurance. However, the customer cars sitting outside waiting for service, or inside on that lift are not covered and this is the reason why you need the keeper clause for your protection. Please note that most Garagekeeper’s Policies excludes loss to non-factory installed sound equipment,.

Garage Liability Insurance providers may become extremely discriminatory regarding the requirements for getting the insurance, such as strict loss prevention or risk management efforts by the auto service owner. To cut costs and keep premiums lower, indemnity companies are often refusing to underwrite such things as wind and hail damage for company and customer vehicles. And tolerance by insurers for multiple incidents at a garage is limited.

Make sure every employee and officer of the company is on the policy. Coverage is usually only afforded to the locations and drivers listed on the coverage. Employees that get a DUI or go over their point allowances may be excluded from driving privileges and non-company drivers need to be discussed with the agent.

Getting and keeping garage liability insurance can be daunting. Proper night lighting, well landscaped grounds, well maintained signage and windows as well as a freshly painted exterior as well as clean floors and bathrooms inside can make or break a policy being approved.

 

 

New Business- Starting from scratch

Ideas for Start-up Business Plans

So you have decided to (or maybe you are still considering) taking a leap most of us only dream of.  That leap is to start your own business. Perhaps you have worked for someone else in your trade for several years and want something of your own.  You may be fresh out of school (or still in school) and want to get started early.  Maybe you just have a unique opportunity to start your own business. If this is you than you are probably looking at what you need to start:

  • Start up capital
  • Supplies
  • Office/shop space
  • Sales opportunities

These are things all first time business owners are looking for. One thing many new businesses put off until last moment is insurance. You will spend thousands of dollars just to start up your dream of owning your own business; you don’t want one accident to take it all away from you. Below are several insurance policies that can protect you from claims that could easily ruin your dream of owning your own business. Here we will go over the basic areas that you want to look at for starting your own business, and when you want to start looking.

First, Why is this important? Claims with new businesses can be more devastating for a few reasons.

  • The controls that are in place to prevent/reduce the extent of claims/liabilities are less established. Many of these types of firms can be started in a home office.
  • New businesses are many times less defined in their operations, which can bring the operations in to areas the business owner may not be as familiar with. These areas they may not have as much experienced in. This can bring up more risks a
  • Some businesses do not have an established LLC or Corporation established. Regardless of the insurance policies you have, it’s important to work with your attorney and CPA to make sure you choose the business entity type that works best for you. This separates your business liabilities from impacting your personal assets. It is bad enough if the incident you could have protected closes your business, but it is a much worse situation if the same incident causes you to lose your house or your savings.  

 

Here are a few policies we recommend you start out with pretty early on:

Commercial Auto – Commercial auto is a topic in itself and oftentimes one of the most overlooked policies by a new business owner since many people just use their personal auto’s and don’t see this as something they need. This might not be the first new policy you look to get, it should be the first insurance policy you likely already have that you will want to look at changing though. If your using your personal vehicle for business purposes, at the very least you want to make sure your agent and insurance carrier is aware of that and that you have business use on your policy, upgrading your personal auto policy to a commercial auto policy might be a couple bucks more, but in many cases the difference is a lot less than you may expect, plus, a less expensive policy that doesn’t cover what you need isn’t really that valuable anyway.

General liability –  Starting a business, general liability is the first policy most companies look for. If you’re a retail store its sometime referred to as “slip and fall coverage” to cover liability from bodily injury on your premise. Keep in mind, some of these policies only do that and might not cover all/any off premise damages. These policies come in a variety of forms and coverages and the pricing typically reflects that, that’s not also to say you cant shop to make sure you’re getting the best value. This for some business types can be packaged into a Business Owners Policy that can cover property and other additional coverages your company needs like Data Breach, EPLI and Hired/Non owned auto liability.

Workers Compensation –  For starters let me clear a couple things up first: Workers Compensation is not automatic; it’s not something automatically gets taken out of payroll without you getting a policy in place first. This policy covers employee injuries when hurt on the job for medical expenses and a portion of lost wages. For some high risk businesses like heavy manufacturing, construction and transportation this can be one of the most expensive and hardest policies to get competitive quote’s on and can be frustrating for businesses owners that just want to buy the policy. The key in the beginning is getting a policy in place, pay your bill on time, and keep continuous coverage. Once you have a prover record, especially for 3 years with coverage in place the market is a lot easier to get coverage for companies that have established. If you are a labor intense business the pricing can seem very high, the expense for covering a claim out of pocket, and fines from many states can be just as expensive if not more than your premium would be anyway. This normally isn’t needed until you hire an employee, but sometimes contracts can still require it which can open up more business opportunities for your company.

Professional Liability –  For some companies your biggest risks aren’t necessarily a customer slipping and falling, or an employee injuring themselves. Many professional firms have what can be equally as damaging of risks to them. The obvious ones are your Physicians Medical Malpractice, your insurance agents and accounts have Errors and Omission’s insurance to cover mistakes or professional errors made. Little mistakes can make huge claims but there are some companies you don’t think of needing this like Printing companies, Website Developers, IT Companies, Bookkeeping and Marketing Firms. Website Copyright infringement, or a faulty code in a software program that causes a glitch or even worse a breach could be a huge expense and could mean huge liability on your company.

 

Every business owner is worried about protecting what they own. The property you own can be devastating if its lost, damaged or stolen. However, the liabilities you take on during the everyday course of your business operation can be even worse and costlier. Even if you don’t own any property. There are insurance policies to cover the obvious, but also many things you wouldn’t think of. If there is a chance of an injury, fire, something stolen, or decreasing in value for something other than every day wear and tear (heck maybe there’s a policy for that too) there is likely an insurance policy for it. Working with a Professional Insurance Agent that can give you options and help guide you on the coverages that would be most important to you.