There are over 530,000 businesses operating in Maryland, with over 10,000 in Columbia. Many Columbia residents work for the federal government, but a diverse group of small and large businesses also call Columbia home. Columbia business owners face a variety of risks, from severe weather and fires to the financial devastation that a single lawsuit can bring. A comprehensive business insurance program can help you repair and rebuild damaged property after a disaster, and it can help you stay in business and pay for your defense if you are faced with a lawsuit.
An independent insurance agent is the best place to turn to understand the unique risks you face as a Columbia business owner. Independent agents can help you review policy options from multiple insurance companies so you can make an informed and affordable choice.
Liability Insurance for Small Businesses in Columbia, MD
Many small businesses would have a hard time recovering if they were faced with a lawsuit. That’s why you need liability insurance. Commercial general liability (CGL) insurance offers protection from many types of negligence claims, from simple trips and falls on your premises to major product liability cases. It covers your legal costs, medical expenses and other damages for the injured party, and any settlements or judgments that you are required to pay.
Be aware that CGL policies do not protect you from every type of lawsuit. You likely need additional liability policies or endorsements that supplement your CGL policy and eliminate any gaps in your protection. An independent insurance agent can help you assess your need for additional liability coverage, such as:
- 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.
Talk to an independent agent to learn more about liability risks and how to protect your business from lawsuits.
Cyber Liability Insurance for Columbia Businesses
Any business that handles electronic data—especially personally identifiable information about its customers—is particularly susceptible to cyber threats.
- 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 a breach of your computer systems leads to identity theft or other privacy concerns for your customers, you’ll likely have to contend with many unexpected expenses, from notifying your customers of the breach and providing credit monitoring services to extensive public relations costs. And you can probably expect to be sued for additional damages.
Cyber liability is a relatively new insurance product that is becoming increasingly important for all kinds of businesses. While policy specifics are evolving and vary among insurance companies, cyber liability insurance typically pays for your legal defense, financial damages to injured parties, and even PR and other related expenses. Talk to an agent in or near Columbia about your need for cyber liability insurance.
Property Insurance for Small Businesses in Columbia, MD
Commercial property insurance covers your buildings and office space, merchandise, inventory, tools, machinery, computers, office furnishings, and more when physical damage occurs. Your Columbia business can sustain physical damage after a fire, when severe weather strikes, or when you are targeted by thieves or vandals. Columbia business owners can experience threats to their commercial property at any time.
- Number of federally declared disasters in Maryland since 1953: 32
- Most common reasons for declared disasters in Maryland: Floods and Hurricanes
While commercial property insurance covers most of your business property, you might still require some special policies or endorsements. Ask an independent agent about your need for inland marine coverage, equipment breakdown coverage, or special flood, windstorm, or earthquake coverage.
Business Interruption Insurance for Columbia Businesses
Business interruption insurance can mean the difference between recovering after a disaster and closing your doors for good. It pays for certain ongoing expenses and allows your company to stay afloat if you must close to make repairs or rebuild due to physical damage. It helps you pay employee salaries and reimburses you for lost income, enabling you to make repairs and reopen with confidence. Business interruption insurance is usually a part of a 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 Columbia, MD Businesses
Your company is responsible for covering the costs of work-related injuries or illnesses, regardless of who is at fault. Excessive workplace injuries can be costly for everyone involved. That’s why you need to ensure a safe workplace and purchase workers’ compensation insurance. It 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 learn more about the workers’ compensation laws in Maryland and find a policy that fits your needs.
Employee Benefits for Small Businesses in Maryland
Employee benefits are an important component of your comprehensive business insurance plan—and one of the most complex and expensive.
- 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
Employee benefits play a major role in employee satisfaction, retention, and loyalty. As you design your employee benefits plan, remember that many of the most successful employee benefits packages revolve around choice, flexibility, and customization in order to appeal to a diverse and multi-generational workforce. There are many different health insurance 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. It’s important to get expert advice and to shop around for quality, affordable coverage.
Why Work with an Independent Agent?
There are a wide variety of insurance products and options available to Columbia business owners. The best way to be sure you are getting the appropriate coverage for all of the risks you face is to work with a helpful and knowledgeable independent insurance agent. Get started by contacting a local agent today.
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