Business insurance includes a broad range of policy options designed to protect a business from financial loss. Every commercial operation has its own unique set of risks, which means a commercial insurance policy must be tailored to the business. Many factors, from the size of your company, to the number of workers you employ, the materials they handle and whether you have business vehicles, will determine the specific coverage you need to mitigate risk and protect your company’s financials.
Many business owners find that they must turn to a number of different insurance companies to get all of the coverage needed to cover their risks. If you work with an independent agent in the Trusted Choice® network, you can get all of your business insurance policies from one office.
Business insurance coverage for a commercial operation can include the following and more:
Business insurance is a contract between the insurance company and the business. The insurance company agrees to share the business risk with the business entity in exchange for premium payments. In the event of a covered loss, the insurance company pays for the financial losses the business incurs up to the limit of the policy after the deductible amount is paid by the business filing a claim.
At the time of a loss, the business will typically file a claim. If a fire destroys a portion of the business premises, for example, the company will file a claim against the property insurance policy. An adjuster will assess the damage and process the claim. The company will then receive the appropriate amount of compensation for the loss.
There are many different scenarios with regard to business risk and how insurance claims are filed. For example, in the event that the incident is a loss suffered by a customer of the company, the injured party will likely file a claim against the businesses’ liability policy. How the claim is processed depends upon the size of the claim, whether the matter can be settled with an insurance payment, and if the claim results in a lawsuit.
The cost of business insurance varies. A number of factors affect how much business insurance costs, because it depends on the type of business and the types of coverage appropriate for that commercial operation. Cost also depends on the size of the business. A small, home-based business can often be adequately insured for $500 per year, while insurance for a large company with many employees and a wide range of business risks could $500,000 per year.
The costs of business insurance can be reduced with effective risk management practices, and by comparing costs from several different insurance carriers. An independent agent in the Trusted Choice network who specializes in commercial insurance can help with this process, and can manage a company’s complete business insurance portfolio through one office.
Business insurance is tax deductible, as long as the coverage is for the purpose of operating a business, profession, or a trade. Businesses may not deduct their business insurance premiums if the coverage is for the purpose of a self-insurance reserve fund or a loss of earning insurance policy.
Business insurance is required by law, but only under certain conditions. The following business insurance is required by law if it is applicable to your situation:
Unemployment insurance: Applies to a business that has employees and may be obligated to pay unemployment insurance taxes under prescribed conditions; if these conditions are applicable to your business, then you must register your business with the state work force’s agency.
Workers compensation insurance: If your business has employees, you are most likely legally obligated to carry workers’ compensation insurance, either on a self-insured basis or through a commercial insurance carrier or a state worker’s compensation program. Workers compensation laws vary by state.
Professional liability insurance: Some states require specified professionals to carry insurance against professional liability.
Disability insurance: Several states require that a business have partial wage replacement insurance coverage for employees eligible for non-work related injury or illness. These states include California, Hawaii, New Jersey, New York, Puerto Rico and Rhode Island.
Depending on the nature of your business and any insurance which you are legally obligated to carry, the following types of business insurance should be considered essential:
Because commercial insurance needs to be tailored to each business based on risks, it is critical to work with an agent who will get to know your company and ensure that your coverage adequately protects your business investment.
If your business carries commercial crime/theft coverage, your business insurance will cover employee fraud and embezzlement.
There are several different forms of employee dishonesty coverage. For example, you can purchase several types of fidelity bonds, either to protect the business in the event of dishonest acts by all employees, or by named employees.
In order for your business insurance to cover flood damage, your company must carry a separate flood insurance policy or endorsement. The typical commercial property insurance policy covers specific water damage situations but excludes flooding. The wording and water damage exclusions vary from one insurance company to another. Be sure to review your policy carefully and discuss your specific risks and concerns with an independent agent in the Trusted Choice network who can help you get the coverage you need.
Business insurance covers lawsuits as long as you have the appropriate business liability insurance for your situation and enough liability coverage to pay your legal costs. To ensure that enough liability coverage is in place for extreme circumstances like a lawsuit that exceeds $1 million in damages, many businesses buy a commercial umbrella liability policy.
Certain liability exclusions also apply, such as if an injury or damage was expected, or was caused intentionally. Some policies also have something called a “workmanship” exclusion, and some exclude coverage of punitive damages. Liability insurance is available in many different forms, including:
General liability insurance provides insurance protection for a company’s assets, financial obligations, legal defense, and any settlements or judgments awarded to an injured party. It may also include claims for copyright infringement, false or misleading advertising, or libel and slander. If a patron is injured in some way in the course of doing business with your company, your general liability insurance will provide coverage.
Errors and omissions insurance (or "E and O") covers a business for a service rendered which did not have the expected or promised results, or which results in a loss or personal injury suffered by the person receiving those services. It also covers situations where the individual or company failed to render service at all. These are known as errors and omissions. As an example of errors and omissions insurance, if a financial advisor provided investment advice that resulted in a client’s financial loss, those circumstances could result in an errors and omissions liability claim.
This type of insurance is also known as malpractice insurance (for medical practitioners) and professional liability insurance for practicing lawyers and other professionals.
A business owner’s policy or “BOP” is insurance coverage designed specifically for small or medium-sized businesses. Depending upon the insurance company, the size of business that qualifies for a business owner’s policy may be based on revenues or number of employees. A BOP combines several types of insurance coverage in a packaged format, and can be customized to suit a particular business. Generally, this type of policy includes both property and liability coverage.
Policies may also provide coverage to include the following:
There are a variety of ways to purchase business insurance. You can shop online, or call an insurance company representative. However, business insurance policies vary a great deal between companies, as do the cost of premiums. Therefore, your best course of action is to talk with an independent insurance agent who can check rates from several different insurance company to find you the best quote available.
An independent agent in the Trusted Choice network who specializes in commercial insurance can design a policy specifically for your business. Independent agents have access to numerous insurance companies, which means they can customize your commercial insurance policy and meet all of your business insurance needs out of one office.
Find a local member agent in your area, and get the business insurance you need to protect your company’s bottom line.