There are over 1.1 million businesses operating in Illinois, with around 8,400 in Evanston. Evanston is home to Northwestern University. The education industry, as well as numerous businesses that serve the University and its students, play a dominant role in the city’s economy. The city is also home to a wide range of business types, both large and small.
Whatever their size, Evanston 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. Evanston 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 Evanston, IL
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. Ask your agent if you need commercial auto liability coverage, professional liability insurance, or any other types of tailored liability coverage.
Cyber Liability Insurance for Evanston 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 is 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 Illinois per year: 12,317
- Ranked 12th 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, cyber liability insurance protects your business assets by paying for your legal defense, settlements and judgments, and even PR and other related expenses. Be sure to ask a local independent insurance agent about how cyber liability insurance can help you protect your Evanston business.
Property Insurance for Small Businesses in Evanston
Fires, floods, and severe storms can cause serious damage to your Evanston commercial property. Severe property damage can put your ability to operate in jeopardy.
- Number of federally declared disasters in Illinois since 1953: 60
- Most common reasons for declared disasters in Illinois: Severe Storms and Floods
Commercial property insurance helps Evanston businesses make repairs, 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 Evanston Businesses
Events like severe storms 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 Evanston business.
Workers’ Compensation Insurance for Evanston, IL Businesses
Workers’ compensation insurance makes it possible for workers to pay their medical bills and be compensated for lost wages if they are injured at work. The Illinois Workers’ Compensation Act requires employers to purchase workers’ compensation insurance that provides benefits to injured workers regardless of fault. Illinois law requires employers to provide workers' compensation insurance for almost everyone who is hired or whose employment is localized in Illinois. If you have just one employee, even if that person is a part-time employee, you must purchase Illinois workers’ compensation insurance.
Sole proprietors, business partners, corporate officers, and members of limited liability companies may exempt themselves from Illinois workers’ compensation coverage. There are several tricky exemptions to the Illinois workers’ compensation requirements. It’s important to consult with a knowledgeable local professional who can help you learn about how the statute applies to your business.
Employee Benefits for Small Businesses in Evanston, IL
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 Illinois businesses: $2,923,024
- Ranked 6th for highest medical insurance costs in the US
- Average annual cost of health care in Illinois: $5,872/person or $16,928/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 insurance agent can help you find suitable coverage at a competitive price.
Why Work with an Independent Agent in Evanston?
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. Local 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.