More than 9,000 small businesses can be found in Buffalo, NY. Because of its close proximity to the Canadian border, this city is a major gateway for international commerce and travel. It therefore comes as no surprise that businesses in the retail trade, manufacturing, and accommodation and food services industries do best here. However, any business that fills a need in the community has the potential to find success here.
As a business owner in Buffalo, you will want to be sure to protect your investment with a comprehensive business insurance plan. Talk to a local independent insurance agent for help identifying which of the many available commercial insurance products are right for your company.
Liability Insurance for Small Businesses in Buffalo
Even if the courts produce a judgment in your favor, a liability lawsuit against your Buffalo business can be exceedingly expensive. Liability insurance covers the various expenses (e.g., court costs, legal defense fees, and damages) associated with covered liability lawsuits.
All business insurance policies include commercial general liability insurance. Also called CGL, this insurance has two main coverage components: Premises liability insurance, which covers third-party injuries and damage that occur on your business property; and product liability insurance, which covers third-party injuries, illnesses or damage caused by defects in products your company produces, sells, or promotes.
For many of Buffalo’s businesses, CGL alone is not enough. An independent insurance agent can identify any additional liability risks that are not covered by CGL, and can recommend the right liability products to protect against them. Examples of some other liability products your agent may discuss with you include:
- Errors and omissions insurance (E&O): This is designed to cover individuals in professional positions if negligence, errors in judgement, or other mistakes cause third-party damage.
- Commercial vehicle liability insurance: This is required if you have business-owned vehicles. It is designed to cover your business against its increased liability risks when these vehicles are involved in collisions.
- Liquor liability insurance: This is designed to cover businesses that serve, sell, or otherwise furnish alcohol in the event that an intoxicated patron causes third-party damage or injuries.
- Pollution liability insurance: This is designed to cover clean-up costs and damage if an accident results in your business inadvertently polluting the environment.
Learn more about these and other commercial liability coverage options by talking with a local independent insurance agent.
Cyber Liability Insurance Protects Buffalo Businesses
Cyber liability insurance is a relatively new type of coverage, and it is one that business owners should be aware of. It was designed to protect your business in the event of an electronic data breach. This may happen if hackers find a way to break into your company’s computer system and access sensitive information, such as your customers’ financial and personal data.
- Number of identity theft complaints in New York per year: 15,959
- Ranked 17th highest for identity theft complaints in the US
- Only 22% of businesses have a cyber/data breach response plan
Even if your computer system is backed up with firewalls and secure passwords, determined hackers can frequently find ways around these safeguards. They can then use the data they have stolen to commit identity theft, fraud, and other crimes. If this happens, your business can find itself on the wrong end of a very expensive liability lawsuit.
If your Buffalo business electronically stores customer data, be sure to talk to your independent insurance agent about how cyber liability insurance can offer a layer of protection.
Property Insurance for Small Businesses in Buffalo, NY
In Buffalo, hazards such as property crimes, accidental fires, and severe weather events like strong winds and snow storms can lead to property damage. Your business coverage includes commercial property insurance. This is designed to provide you with compensation for loss or damage to your business-owned property.
Certain kinds of business property require specialized coverage, such as boiler & machinery insurance, contractors equipment insurance, or inland marine insurance. Your independent insurance agent will be able to help you find the best and most appropriate coverage for all of your business assets.
Also, lake-effect precipitation from Lake Erie can frequently cause flash flooding in the area. It is important to keep in mind that flood damage is typically excluded from commercial property insurance coverage. Fortunately, your insurance agent can help you supplement your coverage with a commercial flood insurance policy so that your business is suitably protected.
Business Interruption Insurance for Buffalo Businesses
A major disaster, like a fire or severe weather, can do more than just damage business-owned property. These events sometimes force companies to remain closed for an extended period while repairs are made. This can be financially devastating for a small business that does not have business interruption insurance.
- Number of federally declared disasters in NY since 1953: 93
- Most common reasons for declared disasters: Severe Storm, Flood, Heavy Snow
The biggest risks to businesses in Buffalo are severe storms and heavy snowfalls, which can sometimes make roads to businesses impassable. Tornadoes are also particularly destructive. Though rare in this area, they can happen. An F2 twister struck the Buffalo suburb of Cheektowaga in 1987. This tornado damaged area homes and businesses, including the Holiday Showcase Restaurant.
Business interruption insurance is designed to provide your company with a continuation of income during times it must remain closed due to damage caused by a covered event. With this coverage, you can continue to pay necessary business expenses until you are able to reopen and return to normal operations.
Buffalo Businesses Need Workers’ Compensation Insurance
If your employees are injured or become ill on the job, your business is responsible for covering their medical treatment, lost wages, and other associated expenses. Workers’ compensation insurance (commonly referred to as “workman’s comp”) is designed to provide this coverage.
New York state law requires most businesses to carry workers’ compensation insurance. Exceptions are made for sole proprietors and partners with no employees. It is also not required that you cover the following types of employees:
- Domestic workers who work fewer than 40 hours per week and residential workers, such as someone who is doing yard work, painting, or making repairs
- Municipal employees
- Longshoremen and harbor workers
- Railroad employees
Failure to carry workers’ compensation can get your business penalized $2,000 for every 10 days you have been without coverage. Also, depending on the severity of your offense, it can result in misdemeanor or felony charges. Your independent insurance agent can help you get coverage through a private insurer or through the state insurance fund.
Employee Benefits for Small Businesses in Buffalo
Research done by human resources management professionals has demonstrated that offering employee benefits such as paid vacation and sick time, life insurance, and healthcare coverage can help your business attract and retain some of the best employees.
- Average amount spent on healthcare coverage by NY businesses: $1,568,586
- Ranked 3rd for highest medical insurance costs in the US
- Average annual cost of health care in NY: $6,086/person or $17,530/family
There are a large number of policy types and coverage options available to you when you are shopping for health insurance for your employees. Your local independent agent can help you review a variety of policies and quotes and can offer advice when you are selecting the best health and life insurance to include in your employee benefits package.
Why Work with an Independent Insurance Agent?
When you work with an independent agent in Buffalo, you can rest assured that your business insurance plan does not include any unintentional coverage gaps. These local professionals can help you identify your company’s various risks and can guide you in your search for the best commercial insurance policies to cover against them.
Find an independent insurance agent with an office in or near Buffalo to learn more and discover how easy it can be to build an all-inclusive business insurance portfolio.
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