There are more than 2,500 registered businesses in the city of Takoma Park. From the many shops and restaurants that line Carroll Street to sole proprietorships run out of people’s homes, each plays an important role in the local economy. Business insurance helps these companies avoid bankruptcy in times of disaster.
Independent insurance agents make it easy to find the best policies to cover your business. These agents work for you, not for a particular insurance company, so they can shop around to find the policies your business needs at the most affordable prices. Contact an insurance agent near you to learn more.
Why Do Businesses in Takoma Park Need Liability Insurance?
We live in a litigious society, so every business owner in Maryland should be prepared for the possibility of a liability lawsuit. These lawsuits can often result in judgments exceeding $1 million. That is why liability insurance such an important part of every business insurance policy packages.
Business liability insurance is designed to cover the various expenses related to liability lawsuits such as court costs, legal defense fees, settlements, judgments, and other financial damages.
All business insurance policies include commercial general liability insurance (or, “CGL”) as a standard part of their coverage. This insurance is designed to cover many of the common liability hazards businesses can face. The coverage offered by CGL includes, but is not limited to the following.
- Premises liability insurance: This is designed to cover third-party injuries, illnesses, and damage that occurs due to accidents on your business property for which your company can be deemed responsible.
- Product liability insurance: This is designed to cover third-party injuries, illnesses, and damage that is caused by products your company produces, sells, or promotes.
- Advertising liability insurance: This is designed to cover against accusations of illegal marking practices such as copyright infringement, deceptive pricing, false advertising, and other marketing mishaps.
CGL insurance on its own is not enough to cover most businesses against all of their liability exposures. Purchasing additional liability products may therefore be necessary. Some supplemental policies your insurance agent may discuss with you include the following.
- Cyber liability insurance: This is designed to cover your company if its computer system is hacked and cybercriminals steal sensitive data like your customers’ credit card details, social security numbers, or personal information. It can pay for related expenses such as the requirement to provide restitution and credit monitoring services to affected individuals.
- Employment practices liability insurance (EPLI): This is designed to cover businesses that have employees. It can cover your company’s defense and damages if a current, former, or prospective employee accuses your business of engaging in illegal employment practices like discrimination, harassment, or wrongful termination.
- Professional liability insurance: This is designed to cover workers in professional positions if they make errors in judgment or other professional mistakes that cause their clients to experience financial losses, injuries, or other damage.
- Commercial vehicle liability insurance: This is required if your business owns and operates motor vehicles. It can protect your business against its increased liability risks if one of your drivers is responsible for an accident while driving a company car, truck, or van.
Talk to a local independent insurance agent to learn more about these and any other commercial liability insurance products that may be right for your Takoma Park business.
How Does Property Insurance Protect Takoma Park Businesses?
Commercial property insurance is designed to cover loss or damage to your company-owned property including things like computers, furniture, supplies, tools, and inventory. This coverage is a standard part of every business insurance policy.
Businesses in Takoma Park are most at risk for damage caused by accidental fires, property crimes, and severe weather events like hurricanes, tropical storms, electrical storms, windstorms, hail, heavy snows, and freezing temperatures. Fortunately, these hazards are all covered by commercial property insurance.
You may also want to consider supplementing your commercial property insurance by purchasing additional policies such as the following.
- Commercial flood insurance: This is important because commercial property insurance does not cover against flood damage. Takoma Park businesses located in flood zones near Sligo Creek are most at risk, but when hurricanes and tropical storms bring heavy rains to the area, flash flooding can happen just about anywhere. An independent insurance agent can help you obtain an affordable flood insurance policy through the National Flood Insurance program (NFIP).
- Earthquake insurance: Earthquake damage is not covered by commercial property insurance. Though the risk of earthquake activity in Takoma Park is 57% lower than the national average, it is significantly higher than the Maryland average so this insurance may be worth looking into.
- Inland marine insurance: This is designed to cover your business’s portable property whenever it is in transit or is being stored off-site, such as in a warehouse or at a job site.
- Boiler & machinery insurance: This is designed to cover repair costs and business losses related to mechanical malfunctions of your well-maintained essential business equipment and machinery.
- Bailee's insurance: This is designed to cover your customers’ valuable property whenever it is in your business’s custody, care, or control. You may want to strongly consider this coverage if your business performs services such as alterations, maintenance, or repair work on expensive items.
A local independent insurance agent can help you rest assured that all of your company’s valuable assets are appropriately covered.
Is Business Interruption Insurance a Good Idea in Takoma Park?
Though the risk of tornado activity in Takoma Park is only 12% greater than the national rate, it is a hazard that business owners should be prepared for. One of the worst to strike in the area was an F3 twister that touched down just 3.7 miles from the Takoma Park city center in 2001 causing more than $100 million in damages to area homes and businesses.
Disasters in Maryland
- Number of federally declared disasters in MD since 1953: 36
- Most common reasons for declared disasters: Floods, Hurricanes, Severe Storms
- Average number of tornadoes in MD per year: 10
- Amount paid out in business insurance claims in MD in 2019: $7,567,341,000
If a major disaster like a tornado or an accidental fire affects your businesses, property damage isn’t the only expensive risk you need to worry about. If your company experiences significant damage, it may need to remain closed for several weeks while repairs are made.
Business interruption insurance offers a solution to this problem. This optional insurance is designed to provide the funds necessary for your company to continue paying regular expenses like rent payments, monthly bills, loan installments, and employees wages while it is not generating any revenue.
This insurance can continue to provide coverage until repair work is completed and your business is able to resume normal operations. A local independent insurance agent can help you determine whether business interruption insurance is a good fit for your Takoma Park business.
Do Businesses in Takoma Park Need Workers’ Compensation Insurance?
With few exceptions, the state of Maryland requires all employers to carry workers’ compensation insurance. This coverage can be purchased through a commercial provider or, if your business is approved to do so, you may opt to self-insure.
If an employee is injured on the job or comes down with an occupational illness due to exposure to toxins at the workplace, workers’ compensation insurance can cover most of the associated costs.
This insurance can shield your company from potential liability lawsuits by paying for any necessary medical treatments, follow-up care, prescription medications, and other medical expenses and by providing injured workers with disability pay while they are recuperating.
Workplace injuries are more common than you may think. According to the Maryland Workers’ Compensation, in 2019 alone, workers in Montgomery County filed 2,247 workers’ comp claims.
Rates for workers’ compensation coverage are based on your company’s overall payroll, the number of employees you have, and the types of jobs they do. The more dangerous the job is, the more your coverage will cost. Therefore, it would cost more to insure a nurse in the emergency room at Washington Adventist Hospital than it would to cover a professor at Montgomery College.
A local independent agent can help you compare policies and quotes from a few competing providers that specialize in covering businesses like yours.
What about Employee Benefits for Businesses in Takoma Park?
Good, long-term employees are the lifeblood of most businesses. You may therefore be considering making your company more attractive to highly qualified workers by offering a competitive employee benefits package that includes perks like an employer-matched 401(k) plan, paid vacation time, sick time, life insurance, and health insurance.
There are several different kinds of health insurance products available. These include HMOs, PPOs, and managed care plans as well as policies with different deductibles, copays, prescription plans, and coverage limits. This can make it difficult to decide which policies are best to include in your employee benefits package.
You may therefore find it beneficial to have the assistance of a local insurance professional. An independent agent can help you find the right health and life insurance policies to subsidize for your employees.
Why Work with an Independent Insurance Agent in Takoma Park, MD?
Because of the many products and options that are available for you to choose from, you are able to fully customize your company’s insurance coverage. However, these many choices can also make building a comprehensive policy package complicated if you try to do it alone. You can simplify the process by asking a local independent agent for help.
These experienced insurance professionals are available to offer guidance, advice, and support as you navigate through your many options. Your agent can also obtain customized quotes from a variety of top-rated insurance companies on your behalf. That way, you can be sure you are purchasing suitable coverage at a competitive price.
Set up a one-on-one consultation with an insurance agent near you to get started.
TrustedChoice.com Article | Reviewed by Jeffrey Green
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