Bethesda, MD is an unincorporated area just northwest of Washington, DC. The community has around 63,000 residents. Professional, scientific, and technical services dominate the local economy. In addition, public administration and educational services are prevalent industries. If you’re a Bethesda business owner, you’ll want to protect your investment with a comprehensive business insurance plan. A local independent insurance agent can help you identify the unique risks your company faces and can recommend the commercial insurance products you need to cover them.
Liability Insurance for Small Businesses in Bethesda, MD
One of the most important components of any business insurance plan is commercial liability insurance. When you purchase a commercial general liability (CGL) policy, you gain protection from lawsuits and claims of negligence. These types of lawsuits happen when your business is responsible for damage or injuries to third parties. Even if the claims against you are unfounded, you still have to defend yourself. Any legal defense can be extremely expensive. But with a CGL policy, you can recover. It will reimburse you for court costs, attorney fees, and even any settlements or judgments that you are required to pay to an injured party. 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.
CGL policies cover a lot, but not everything. Certain types of liability claims are specifically excluded from general liability coverage. Fortunately, several additional types of commercial liability policies are available. And in some cases, the additional coverage you need can be added on to your CGL policy with an endorsement. You can customize your overall business liability insurance coverage to include the following, as needed:
- Employment practices liability insurance: Covers your business against accusations of illegal business practices such as discrimination and wrongful termination.
- Environmental liability insurance: Covers your business if an accident results in your company polluting the land, water, or air.
- Liquor liability insurance: Covers businesses that sell or furnish alcohol in the event that an intoxicated person causes injury or property damage to others.
- Professional liability insurance: Covers individuals in professional positions if errors in judgment or other professional mistakes cause third-party damage.
An independent agent can help you determine which commercial liability products are right for your Bethesda business.
Cyber Liability Insurance for Bethesda Businesses
Any business that handles electronic data—especially personally identifiable information about its customers—is susceptible to cyber threats. Electronic 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 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 is sued because of a data breach or other cybercrime, you’re responsible for paying legal fees, court-ordered judgments or settlements, and any other court-related costs. You’ll 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.
Cyber liability insurance protects your business assets by helping you pay for many of these expenses. Cyber liability coverage can be added to a business owners policy (BOP) or commercial general liability policy, or it can be a stand-alone solution. Even if your Bethesda business uses firewalls and passwords to protect sensitive customer data, your computer system could still be at risk. Be sure to ask an independent agent about how cyber liability insurance can help you protect your business.
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Property Insurance for Small Businesses in Bethesda, MD
Commercial property insurance is another basic building block of a comprehensive commercial insurance program. It covers your company’s physical assets, including buildings and office space, merchandise, inventory, tools, machinery, computers, office furnishings, and more when physical damage occurs due to fires, severe weather, theft, vandalism, and so on.
- Number of federally declared disasters in Maryland since 1953: 32
- Most common reasons for declared disasters in Maryland: Floods and Hurricanes
Major disasters, like structure fires, severe storms, or hurricanes, can cause extensive damage to your business property. Talk to your agent about the appropriate coverage limits for your unique business, so you can make repairs or rebuild without taking a major financial hit. Be sure to talk to your agent about your need for flood insurance for your Bethesda business, too. Flood insurance is only available through the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), but your local independent agent can help you purchase the coverage you need for your unique circumstances.
Business Interruption Insurance for Bethesda Businesses
Heavy rains can cause flooding, and catastrophic events like hurricanes can easily damage your building, your suppliers’ buildings, local utilities and more, leaving you unable to operate for some time. Fires can destroy your entire operation, and even a small fire can create widespread damage and force you to close in order to rebuild. If you couldn't afford ongoing expenses during the time you need to make repairs, would you be forced to close for good?
Business interruption insurance, or business income insurance, reimburses you for lost revenues when your business is unable to operate after a disaster. It pays for certain ongoing expenses and allows your company to stay afloat until you are able to reopen. Business interruption insurance is usually a part of your commercial property policy or a business owners policy (BOP). An independent insurance agent can help you assess your risks and help you get the coverage you need.
Workers’ Compensation Insurance for Bethesda, MD Businesses
No matter what kind of business you own, your employees can be injured or become ill on the job. Regardless of fault, your company is responsible for covering the costs of work-related injuries or illnesses. Workers’ compensation insurance is designed to cover medical treatment, lost wages, and other miscellaneous expenses for injured employees.
Every employer in Maryland with one or more employees is required by law to provide workers’ compensation coverage for their employees, with very few exceptions. Certain owners and officers (sole proprietors and partners) may elect to exclude themselves from coverage, but must still provide coverage for their employees. Your independent insurance agent can help you obtain appropriate coverage through a commercial provider.
Employee Benefits for Small Businesses in Bethesda
While offering employee benefits is optional for small employers, these benefits can have a major impact on a workforce. Employee benefits like group health and life insurance serve a critical purpose for many employees. The positive impact of offering employee benefits tends to far outweigh the costs. Employee benefits, in general, are linked to a decrease in employee absenteeism and improved morale. What’s more, a good employee benefits plan that includes health insurance, life insurance, vacation and sick time, and more, helps companies attract and retain top employees.
- Average amount spent per year on healthcare coverage by Maryland businesses: $944,612
- Ranked 33rd for highest medical insurance costs in the US
- Average annual cost of health care in Maryland: $5,654/person or $15,820/family
There are many different health and life insurance policy types and options available for you to choose from. A local independent agent can help you find suitable coverage at a competitive price.
Why Work with an Independent Agent?
There is no such thing as a one-size-fits-all business insurance policy. The wide variety of insurance products and options available to business owners allows you to cover your assets against the unique risks you face. Independent insurance agents can help you find the right policy for your needs and budget. Independent agents can work with multiple insurance companies, so you can compare competitive quotes and make an informed choice.
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