More than 50,000 small businesses can be found in the port city of Baltimore. This city was once a major manufacturing center but has shifted toward a more service-oriented economy over the years. Businesses in a wide range of industries are thriving in this bustling Maryland city. If you own one of them, a comprehensive business insurance plan can protect your investment.
Maryland businesses collect about $2.4 billion in business insurance claims annually. Make sure that your company gets the compensation it needs if disaster strikes. Talk to a local independent insurance agent for help identifying which of the many available commercial insurance policy types are right for your Baltimore business.
Liability Insurance for Small Businesses in Baltimore
Liability lawsuits against businesses frequently result in judgments that exceed $1 million. Liability insurance can, therefore, prove quite valuable to your company. It is designed to absorb the court costs, legal defense fees, and damages associated with covered liability lawsuits. All business insurance policies include commercial general liability insurance (often referred to as CGL). Your company’s CGL has two main coverage components:
- Premises liability insurance: Covers associated costs if an accident on your business premises results in third-party injuries, illness, or property damage.
- Product liability insurance: Covers associated costs if a product your business produces, sells or promotes causes third-party injuries, illness, or property damage.
For many companies, CGL alone is not enough to cover against all potential liability lawsuits. An independent agent can identify your business’s other liability risks and can recommend the right liability products to protect against them. Some examples of other liability insurance products that may be appropriate for your Baltimore business are:
- Errors and omissions insurance (E&O): This professional liability insurance covers individuals in professional positions against charges of negligence, mistakes, and errors in judgment that cause third-party damages.
- Commercial vehicle liability insurance: This auto insurance is required if you have a business-owned vehicle. It covers liability costs if an employee is in an accident.
- Employment practices liability insurance: This covers your business against lawsuits related to perceived illegal business practices such as discrimination and wrongful termination.
Learn more about your liability coverage options by talking to a local independent insurance agent.
Cyber-Liability Insurance Protects Baltimore Businesses
Cyber-liability insurance is yet another liability product and one that deserves a closer look. This coverage can protect your business in the event of an electronic data breach. This may happen if hackers manage to break into your business’s computer system and access stored customer information such as financial and personal data.
- 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
Even if your business protects its computer system with strong firewalls and passwords, determined hackers can often find ways around them. They can then use or sell the data they acquire for the purpose of committing identity theft, fraud, and other crimes. A large data breach can result in an overwhelmingly expensive liability lawsuit against your business. If your Baltimore business stores sensitive data electronically, be sure to talk to your independent agent about the benefits of including cyber-liability insurance in your coverage portfolio.
Property Insurance for Small Businesses in Baltimore, MD
All business insurance policies include commercial property coverage. It is designed to provide compensation for loss or damage to business-owned property. Covered assets include computers, furniture, inventory, display cases, outdoor signs, and more. Some business property requires specialized coverage, like inland marine insurance, so be sure to consult your independent agent. Baltimore businesses are at risk for property damage caused by hazards such as structure fires, property crimes, and severe weather events.
- Number of federally declared disasters in MD since 1953: 32
- Most common reasons for declared disasters: Floods and Hurricanes
Many Baltimore businesses are at risk for damage caused by floods, particularly during hurricane season. However, flood damage is rarely covered by business insurance policies. If your company is at risk, your independent agent can help you supplement your coverage with a commercial flood insurance policy through the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP).
Business Interruption Insurance for Baltimore Businesses
A major disaster, like a hurricane, can do more than just damage your business-owned property. It can also result in your company remaining closed for an extended period while repairs are made. This can be financially devastating for a small business. This is why, in times of catastrophe, business interruption insurance is vital. Business interruption insurance can provide your company with a continuation of income so that you can continue to pay monthly business expenses and employee salaries until you are once again able to resume normal business operations. A local independent agent can explain more and help you review quotes for this important coverage.
Baltimore Businesses Need Workers’ Compensation Insurance
If your employees suffer injuries or illness on the job, your business is responsible for covering their medical expenses, lost wages, and other associated expenses. Workers’ compensation insurance (commonly referred to as “workman’s comp”) is designed to provide this coverage. The cost of your workers’ compensation policy will be based on your company’s overall payroll and the types of jobs your employees do. It would cost much more to cover building construction employees than to cover workers in a medical billing office. Maryland state law requires most businesses to carry workers’ compensation insurance. There are a few exceptions. Those that are exempt from purchasing workers’ compensation include:
- Sole proprietors
- Agricultural employers with fewer than three full-time workers or that have an annual payroll of less than $15,000
- Agricultural office workers
- Independent contractors on farms (other than migrant laborers)
- Owner-operators of large tractor-trailer vehicles
Your independent agent can help you determine whether it is more cost-effective for you to purchase a policy through a commercial provider or through Maryland’s state-administered fund.
Employee Benefits for Small Businesses in Baltimore
Baltimore businesses with at least 50 full-time employees are required to offer them subsidized health insurance coverage. There are many different healthcare products available, and this can make it difficult to determine which policy is the best choice.
- 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 can be expensive, but providing it to your employees can be beneficial. Studies by human resource management groups have demonstrated that offering employee benefits such as life insurance and healthcare coverage can actually help your business attract and retain ideal employees. Your business may even qualify for a tax credit for buying this coverage. Your local independent agent can help you review a wide range of competitively priced policies. That way, you will be equipped to make an informed decision when purchasing health and life insurance for your employees.
Why Work with an Independent Insurance Agent?
When you work with an independent agent, you can be sure that your business insurance plan does not have any unintentional coverage gaps. These professionals can help you identify your company’s various risks and can guide you in your search for the best insurance policies to cover against them.
Find an independent agent in or Baltimore to learn more. You will soon discover how easy it can be to build an all-inclusive commercial insurance plan.
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