Small Business Insurance – What? Why? How Much?
If you have a small to medium-sized business, you may feel overwhelmed with the number of risks you face and unsure where to even start when it comes to your business insurance. The risks you face as a business owner are very different than the risks you face in your personal life.
You need an experienced independent commercial insurance agent to assist you in identifying and transferring the risks your business faces. We are here to help. We’d love to sit down with you, understand your operations and custom tailor an insurance program to meet your distinct needs.
As a small business owner, your “To Do” List and your “To Have” List are never ending. What you need is some advice from a trusted professional to protect not only your business, but your wallet too. Read these Top 8 Tips preferably before (but if need be after) you get your small business insured.
- Find an agent you know, like, and trust. My recommendation would be an independent agent because they have more products, markets, and flexibility. In fairness, there are also great captive agents, but they will be tied to a small number of insurance companies. Bottom line: If you know, like, and trust your agent, anything that comes up – claims, accidents or lawsuits – your agent will have your back and advocate for you throughout the process.
- Tell your agent all about your business operations. Don’t hold back because you’re afraid she won’t cover you if you drive elderly people around or deliver pizzas after hours. I’m not going to turn you in to the insurance police. I’m a counselor and adviser to my clients, but I can’t properly protect what I don’t know about. It is far worse to find out after a loss that something wasn’t covered because it wasn’t disclosed up-front.
- Set up your business properly. Form that LLC and get good legal advice on what contracts, if any, you should be using. Wrap yourself in that corporate blanket and snuggle in. Don’t risk exposing your home, cars, and life savings because you wanted to save a few dollars. If you haven’t done this yet, it’s not too late….unless you were just served with papers. In that case, I’ll take you out for a drink and buy the first round because you need a friend right now.
- Start with “commercial general liability”. This protects you from all manner of liability, personal injury and property damage. Someone slips and falls, someone gets injured by your product, someone claims you slandered them . . . I could go on for days, but I sense you may be bored. The best part about liability coverage is the insurance company has a duty to defend you against claims involving a covered loss. They hire an attorney and pay for it.
- If you are giving professional advice or doing consulting, look for a policy that can wrap “Professional Liability” and “Commercial General Liability” together for a cost savings. Most will.
- Insurance is not meant to be cost prohibitive, but it’s not one size fits all. Usually, “Commercial General Liability” is rated by reference to either payroll or gross sales. Small operations don’t pay as much as large operations because they don’t have the same exposure.
- If you occupy space – retail, restaurant, or manufacturing – make sure you’ve got business income coverage. You may already have building and contents coverage to recover your inventory and rebuild after a fire. But can your business survive for 3, 6, or even 12 months with no revenue coming in during that rebuilding time?
- Tell your agent what’s going on throughout the year. Did you just hire your first employee? Congrats on your success! Now let’s talk about employee-related coverage, such as employment practices, employee theft, stop gap, and hired and employee non-owned auto. The more information you give me, the better I am able to protect your business.