There are about 396,400 small businesses operating in Alabama, with nearly 5,000 in the city of Decatur. Health care, construction, and educational services are at the most common industries in Decatur, but the city is home to a wide range of business types, both large and small. No matter their size, Decatur business owners need business insurance to protect their assets and their employees.
Business insurance is not a single insurance policy; rather, it is a comprehensive set of policies and customized endorsements tailored to the unique risks of every business. Decatur business owners need to understand the unique risks they face, and then work with an independent insurance agent to find the right policies and coverage to protect their assets.
Liability Insurance for Small Businesses in Decatur, AL
If your business were sued for injuring someone because of an error, negligence, or a faulty product, how would you pay for attorney fees, court costs, and any judgments levied against you? Many small businesses would be forced to declare bankruptcy in the face of these kinds of claims. But with liability insurance, you can have the coverage you need to defend yourself, pay the injured party, and continue to focus on your business. A commercial general liability (CGL) policy offers broad protection from lawsuits. It covers your legal costs, medical expenses and other damages for the injured party, and other expenses related to a liability claim against your business.
A CGL policy has two major coverage components:
- Premises liability insurance: covers third-party damage, injuries, or illnesses that occur due to an accident on your business property.
- Product liability insurance: Covers third-party damage, injuries, or illnesses caused by a defect in a product your company produces, sells or promotes.
It’s important to understand that CGL policies typically exclude coverage for certain types of lawsuits and claims. Many businesses need additional liability policies or endorsements that specifically cover other exposures they might have. An independent insurance agent can help you assess your need for additional liability coverage, such as:
- Professional liability insurance, or errors and omissions (E&O) insurance: Covers lawsuits arising from rendering negligent professional services or failing to perform professional duties. It is often recommended for people in professional positions, such as lawyers, accountants, architects, and IT professionals, but it is becoming more common for a variety of business types.
- Commercial auto liability insurance: Covers your vehicle fleet and drivers if an employee causes an accident while driving a business-owned vehicle.
- Liquor liability insurance: Protects businesses that serve, sell, or otherwise furnish alcohol to patrons if an intoxicated patron causes damages to others.
- Employment practices liability insurance: Covers your business against accusations of harassment, discrimination, wrongful termination, or other illegal business practices.
An independent agent can help you assess your risks and determine if these or any other tailored liability policies are right for your Decatur business.
Cyber Liability Insurance for Decatur Businesses
Almost every business has at least some cyber risk exposure that needs to be addressed. There are numerous potential liability exposures that can occur while using, storing, or transferring data electronically for business purposes. Some examples include:
- Failure to protect personal or corporate information that is stored on computer systems, networks, smartphones, laptops, and even paper files.
- Personal injury claims stemming from your website, blog or social media accounts.
- Business interruption and loss of income for a client or partner because of a hacker, security breach, or power outage that affects your computer system, network, or website.
Any business that handles electronic data—especially personally identifiable information about its customers—is particularly susceptible to cyber threats. Data can be breached in many ways, from stolen laptops and other portable devices to rogue employees, theft of digital assets, human error, and more.
- Number of identity theft complaints in Alabama per year: 3,770
- Ranked 22nd highest for identity theft complaints in the US
- Only 22% of businesses have a cyber/data breach response plan
If you are sued because of a data breach or other cybercrime, your business is responsible for paying legal fees, court-ordered judgments or settlements, and any other court-related costs. You will also need to notify your customers of the breach, provide them with credit monitoring services, and undertake extensive public relations efforts to repair your public image. These expenses could be insurmountable for a small business.
Cyber liability coverage protects your business assets by paying for your legal defense, settlements and judgments, and even PR and other related expenses. The cyber insurance market is still evolving, so finding the right policy can be challenging. Be sure to ask an independent agent about how cyber liability insurance can help you protect your Decatur business.
Property Insurance for Small Businesses in Decatur, AL
Severe weather, including tornadoes, high winds, hail, and lightning, can wipe out your business when you least expect it. What’s more, every Decatur business is susceptible to fires, break-ins, or vandalism that can cause serious damage and jeopardize your ability to operate.
- Number of federally declared disasters in Alabama since 1953: 93
- Most common reasons for declared disasters in Alabama: Severe Storms
Commercial property insurance ensures Decatur businesses that they can repair, rebuild, or even relocate if disaster strikes. Property insurance covers your company’s physical assets, including buildings and office space, merchandise, inventory, tools, machinery, computers, office furnishings, and more when physical damage occurs.
Just like commercial liability insurance, commercial property insurance doesn’t cover everything in every situation. Business owners often need additional coverage for specialized equipment and machines, or for materials, inventory, or tools that are in transit or in use at job sites. Ask your insurance agent about equipment breakdown coverage or inland marine coverage to supplement your commercial property insurance policy. And be sure you discuss how to properly value your business property so you have the right amount of coverage to rebuild after a disaster.
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Business Interruption Insurance for Decatur Businesses
Events like severe storms, tornadoes, or fires can force you to close your business while you make repairs or rebuild your building, warehouse, factory, or other commercial property. The lost income and ongoing expenses during the rebuilding process can be impossible to overcome without the right insurance coverage.
Business interruption insurance can be your financial lifeline during this critical period. It protects your earnings if your business is temporarily unable to operate because of physical damage after a covered event. It helps you pay for ongoing expenses like rent and employee salaries, and it also reimburses you for lost income and even relocation fees. Business interruption insurance is typically part of a commercial property policy or a business owners policy (BOP). A local independent insurance agent can help you assess your risks and help you get the coverage you need for your Decatur business.
Workers’ Compensation Insurance for Decatur, AL Businesses
Worker injuries and illnesses are costly for everyone. Employees who are injured on the job often have medical bills to pay and may even have to take time off from work while they heal. Keeping your employees safe from work-related injuries and illnesses is important for their long-term health and satisfaction, as well as your company’s financial viability.
Workers’ compensation insurance provides insurance coverage for work-related injuries and illnesses. It ensures that the injured worker gets medical care and income protection while unable to work. Most businesses in Alabama are required to carry workers’ compensation insurance. For example, all employers in the construction industry with one or more employees must purchase workers’ comp coverage. There are some exceptions:
- Employers with less than five employees
- Sole proprietors and partners are not required to be covered but can elect to cover themselves
- Coverage is not required for domestic employees, farm laborers, or casual employees and municipalities having a population of less than 2,000
Your independent insurance agent can help you learn more about the workers’ compensation laws in Alabama.
Employee Benefits for Small Businesses in Decatur
Employee benefits are an important component of your comprehensive business insurance plan. A good employee benefits plan that includes health insurance, life insurance, vacation and sick time, and more, helps companies attract and retain top employees. What’s more, employee benefits are linked to a decrease in absenteeism and improved employee morale.
- Average amount spent per year on healthcare coverage by Alabama businesses: $639,311
- Ranked 21st for the highest medical insurance costs in the U.S.
- Average annual cost of health care in Alabama: $5,754/person or $13,477/family
There are many different health and life insurance policy types and options available for you to choose from, as well as numerous laws and regulations that you must comply with. A local independent agent can help you find suitable coverage at a competitive price.
Why Work with an Independent Agent?
Shopping for business insurance can be overwhelming, even if you own a small business with a simple business model. That’s why working with an independent insurance agent is the best way to make sure you get all of your questions answered, and you find the best policy for your needs and budget. Independent agents can get quotes from multiple insurance companies, so you’ll be able to compare coverage and rates and make the best choice. Contact a local agent today to get started.