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Business Insurance Buyer's Guide

Every business carries an element of risk, be it theft or work-related injuries and therefore needs to be protected with insurance. Businesses, small or large, are vulnerable to consequences of such incidents and require adequate protection. Business insurance can protect your business against losses. Depending on the state you live in, your state insurance department will have certain insurance requirements that you need to fulfill. They may include property insurance, worker’s compensation, general liability, and umbrella insurance. Depending on these factors, you can decide on the type of insurance coverage you require.

Things You Need to Know

You ought to understand your state, local, and federal laws for businesses when you need to buy business insurance. Prior to launching your business operations, it is recommended that you contact a commercial insurance broker who will be in a better position to determine what insurance regulations you need to fulfill. You will also get to know the type of insurance you require and the kind of protection available. If your business is considered high risk, an attorney who specializes in insurance law will be able to determine the coverage you require. Upon hiring any employees, you need to carry workers compensation insurance immediately. For detailed information on these issues, you may visit your state’s department of commerce website.

Vehicle insurance is also essential to cover employees that may be injured while at work. All vehicles, which include trucks, cars, vans, etc. need to be insured for third party liability. You need to furnish the details of every employee that uses these vehicles for business purposes, the nature of business, and how it is to be used. All their licenses should also be in order.

Types of Business Insurance

Most types of business insurance cover every possible need including healthcare and other benefits that might be passed on to your employees.

Property Insurance - This type of business insurance covers loss or damage to business property due to theft, fire, natural disasters, and vandalism. For all practical purposes, you ought to cover your building and all its content, stock, and fixtures. Computers and communication equipment are often not included as they are considered special property, so check with your insurance provider in advance. In case you rent a property, you can review the landlord’s insurance policy for the level of protection.

Public Liability Insurance - In the event of anyone suing you for negligence, liability insurance will cover any legal costs that may arise. This is essential if you have a large number of non-employees visiting your premises as well. The insurance cost varies according to the size of your premises and the products you sell.

Product Liability - Any claims that arise from faulty products manufactured, sold, or installed by your company can be covered by product liability insurance.

Professional Liability - All professional in the field of management, computer consulting, medicine, law, accounting, and financial services need to be covered by professional liability insurance, also known as malpractice insurance. Coverage includes a variety of issues including breach of confidentiality, loss of documents, breach of professional duty, and breach of copyright, and more.

Life and Disability Insurance - Life and Disability Insurance will protect your business against death or disability that may befall any employee. In the event of disability, a percentage of the salary is paid during the period of incapacity. After a deferred period, the policyholder receives tax-free benefits until retirement, recovery, or death. In case of death of a partner in a partnership business, the policy can be used to buy out the shares held by the deceased partner.

Business Income/Extra Expense - Any extra costs or revenue lost due to disruption such as fire can be covered by this type of insurance. Any damages to your office can be claimed as extra expenses. It includes temporary offices, removal expenses, and increased rentals.

Key Man - Key employees of your organization ought to be covered by this type of insurance. This can include top level management, business partners, and other personnel. This will cover loss due to death, and incapacity also. This will not only help your main employees resume work as soon as possible, but also keep them motivated since they will have a sense of belonging to the company.

Other policies include computer and engineering systems, which covers breakdowns and other related factors, and directors and officers insurance that protects directors and officers who may be sued personally over any business matters.

Choosing Your Insurer

You can engage the services of a business insurance broker or agent. An agent normally acts on behalf of a particular insurance company, and can provide you with comprehensive details and packages only that particular company. An insurance broker on the other hand can negotiate with various insurance companies in order to get the best possible coverage at the best possible price. You can save your time and money by comparing business insurance quotes online.

To begin with speak to an insurance agent or broker, and seek help from your local Chamber of Commerce. The agent or broker must be experienced enough in business insurance. After all, you would want the best deal that suits your needs.

Issues You Need to Avoid

The idea is to research well and make sure you do not underinsure your business. This will be detrimental in case of any mishaps, thefts, damages, and lawsuits that may be filed against your business. Failure to obtain the right kind of coverage can be disastrous, so make sure the stock, plant and machinery etc. are all protected with the right coverage. Make sure that any deductibles in your policy are appropriate; otherwise, you will end up paying higher premiums.

Some Money Saving Business Insurance Tips

- Make your insurance objectives clear and provide accurate information to your insurance representative.

- Obtain bids from insurance brokers and insurance agents as well.

- Compare quotes with various insurance companies online.

- Make sure that there is no duplication or overlapping of policies, which will only result in you paying extra premiums for no reason.

- Insurance is a business too, so make sure your insurance company is an "admitted insurance company". In this way, you will be protected in case the company turns insolvent.

- Make an annual assessment of your insurance needs, so that you remain covered in spite of business growth.

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