More than half a million small businesses are currently operating in Maryland, and more than 5,400 of these businesses can be found in the capital city of Annapolis. Businesses in the professional, scientific, and technical services industries do especially well in this city, but companies in a wide range of industries have found success. If you are among the many entrepreneurs who have started a business in Annapolis, you will want to be sure to protect your investment with a comprehensive commercial insurance plan. A local independent insurance agent can help you identify the specific risks your company faces and can recommend the appropriate business insurance solutions to cover against those exposures.
Liability Insurance for Small Businesses in Annapolis
A majority of liability lawsuits against small businesses end in judgments of $1 million or more. That is why liability insurance is extremely important. It is designed to cover court costs, legal fees, and damages if your company is sued. Every business insurance policy includes commercial general liability insurance (CGL), which covers your company against many of the liability risks most businesses face. CGL includes two major components:
- Premises liability insurance: This covers third-party injuries and damage that occur on your business property.
- Product liability insurance: This covers third-party injuries and damage caused by a product your company produces, sells, or promotes.
Many businesses need to buy additional liability insurance products in order to be fully covered. There are several commercial liability products available so you can customize your coverage to the specific needs of your business. Some examples of other commercial liability products include:
- Pollution liability insurance: This provides coverage for damage and clean-up costs if toxic substances used by your business pollute the environment.
- Professional liability insurance: This covers individuals in professional positions if they make a mistake or error in judgment that causes third-party damages.
- Employment practices liability insurance: This covers your business against charges of harassment, discrimination, wrongful termination, or other illegal business practices.
- Commercial vehicle liability insurance: This covers damage if an employee causes an accident while driving a company-owned vehicle.
An independent agent can help you review the many liability insurance options available to you, and can help you determine which are right for your Annapolis business.
Cybercrime Insurance for Annapolis Small Businesses
Cyber-liability insurance is a relatively new liability product, and it is one that merits closer attention. It was created to meet the growing needs of businesses affected by cybercrime.
- Number of identity theft complaints in Maryland per year: 5,734
- Ranked 10th highest for identity theft complaints in the US
- Only 22% of businesses have a cyber/data breach response plan
If your business electronically stores your customers’ personal and financial information, hackers may be able to access this data and then use it to commit identity theft and fraud. Businesses that experience a data breach can be held liable for covering the resultant damages as well as for providing credit monitoring to all potentially affected customers. This can be very expensive. Savvy hackers are always finding ways to get around firewalls and other data security. If your Annapolis business is at risk, be sure to ask your independent agent for more information about how cyber-liability insurance can be beneficial.
Property Insurance for Small Businesses in Annapolis, MD
Commercial property insurance is included in all business insurance policies. It is designed to cover assets such as supplies, merchandise, furniture, tools, computers, and more. Some business property requires specialized coverage, such as inland marine insurance or boiler and machinery insurance, so be sure to consult your independent agent.
- Number of federally declared disasters in MD since 1953: 32
- Most common reasons for declared disasters: Floods and Hurricanes
A major disaster, like a structure fire or hurricane-force winds, can cause extensive damage to your business-owned property. It is therefore important that your property coverage levels are high enough to enable you to replace lost or damaged items without experiencing a large financial loss. Also, many Annapolis businesses are at risk of damage caused by flooding, which is common when hurricanes roll through. Although hurricane damage is covered, flood damage is excluded by most business insurance policies. Fortunately, your local independent agent can help you secure a commercial flood insurance policy through the NFIP.
Business Interruption Insurance for Annapolis Businesses
When it comes to natural disasters, property damage isn’t the only exposure business owners have. In some cases, disasters can force you to close down your business for a long time while repairs are made. For example, Hurricane Isabel created a storm surge in Annapolis that damaged many area businesses, some of which were closed for several weeks. Business interruption insurance provides a continuation of income during the times that your business is forced to temporarily halt operations because of a disaster. This insurance enables you to continue to pay employee salaries and monthly expenses so that your company can remain solvent. Coverage is typically limited to twelve months.
Workers' Compensation for Annapolis Businesses
It is unfortunate, but sometimes workers are injured on the job. Whether an employee suffers a physical injury, such as a herniated disc, or becomes ill, such as from exposure to noxious fumes, that person’s employer is responsible for providing medical treatment and paid time off. Workers’ compensation insurance covers these costs. Workers’ compensation insurance (often referred to as “workman’s comp”) is beneficial to employees and employers alike. It shields employers from potential liability lawsuits and ensures that workers have the compensation and medical care they need if they are hurt while working. It can even pay death benefits to surviving family members if a workplace injury is fatal.
Most businesses in Maryland are required to carry workers’ compensation insurance. Exceptions are made for sole proprietors, certain agricultural employers, independent contractors on farms, and owner-operators of large tractor-trailers. An independent agent can help you purchase coverage through a commercial provider or through Maryland’s state-administered fund.
Employee Benefits for Small Businesses in Annapolis
If your Annapolis business has at least 50 full-time employees, you are required to provide them with subsidized health insurance coverage. Even if your business has fewer than 50 employees, you may want to consider investing in employee benefits like life insurance and healthcare coverage because, as studies by human resource specialists have shown, it can make you a more competitive employer and improve employee retention rates.
- Average amount spent on healthcare coverage by MD businesses: $944,612
- Ranked 33rd for highest medical insurance costs in the US
- Average annual cost of health care in MD: $5,654/person or $15,820/family
Health insurance is expensive, but a local independent agent can help you find the most affordable, suitable coverage for your employees. These local insurance professionals can review your various options with you so you can make an informed decision when you choose your coverage.
Why Work with an Independent Agent?
There are many different insurance products and options available to you as you build a customized commercial insurance policy for your Annapolis business. This can make shopping for coverage complicated. That is why many business owners opt to work with a local independent insurance agent. These agents help prevent accidental coverage gaps by identifying the various risks your business is exposed to and recommending the right coverage types to shield your company against them. They can then help you find the best and most affordable policies.
Find an agent in or near Annapolis to compare quotes for comprehensive business insurance plans.
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