According to the US census, there are more than 2.1 million businesses operating in the state of New York. About 4,000 of these businesses can be found in the upstate city of Utica. Once an industrial city, the economic downturn in the Rust Belt has forced Utica to move in a different direction. The main industries are now manufacturing and health care.
Regardless of the industry you operate in, as a Utica business owner, you can protect your investment with comprehensive commercial insurance. A local independent insurance agent can help you build a customized business insurance plan that will cover all of your company’s various exposures.
Liability Insurance for Small Businesses in Utica, NY
Lawsuits can be very expensive. That is why liability insurance is a crucial part of every commercial insurance policy. It can cover the various expenses related to liability lawsuits, including court costs, legal defense fees and damages. All business insurance policies include commercial general liability insurance (CGL). It has two main coverage components: premises liability insurance, which covers third-party injuries, illness, and damage that occur on your business property; and product liability insurance, which covers third-party injuries, illness, and damage caused by products your company produces, sells, or promotes.
Most businesses need additional policies in order to be fully covered against all of their liability risks. Your independent insurance agent can review the many other liability coverage products that are available to you and can make recommendations about which are right for your business. Examples of other commercial liability policies your agent may discuss include:
- Commercial vehicle liability insurance: This covers the increased liability risks that go along with having a company-owned vehicle or a fleet of vehicles.
- Pollution liability insurance: This covers against accidental environmental damage if a toxic substance used by your company pollutes the land, water, or air.
- Employment practices liability insurance: This covers against accusations of illegal practices such as discrimination and wrongful termination.
- Professional liability insurance: This covers individuals in professional positions if negligence, errors in judgment or other mistakes lead to third-party damage.
Talk to your local independent insurance agent to learn more about these and other commercial liability insurance products.
Cybercrime Insurance for Utica Small Businesses
No discussion about commercial liability coverage is complete without mentioning cyber liability insurance. This relatively new insurance product was created to protect businesses that use computers against the growing threat of cybercrime.
- 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
If you electronically record your customers’ personal and financial information, it is at risk. Even if you protect your data with firewalls, cryptographic keys, VPNs, and other security measures, determined hackers can sometimes find a way to break through and access this sensitive information. These criminals can then use the data to commit identity theft and fraud.
Companies that experience a data breach can be held liable for the resultant damages, and this can be extremely expensive. If your Utica business collects and stores customer data using computers, be sure to ask your independent agent for more information about how cyber liability insurance can add a layer of protection.
Property Insurance for Utica Businesses
Business insurance policies also provide you with commercial property coverage. This is designed to reimburse your business for loss or damage to your company-owned property.
A major disaster, like a fire or a severe storm with hurricane-force winds, can cause extensive destruction. It is important to make sure that your coverage levels are high enough to enable you to repair, rebuild, or replace damaged property without your Utica business experiencing a large financial loss.
Some commercial property requires specialized coverage such as contractors' equipment insurance or inland marine insurance. Also, if your business is at risk for flood damage, you will need a supplementary flood insurance policy in order to be covered. Your insurance agent can ensure that your business assets are covered by the right policies when you are building your commercial insurance portfolio.
Business Interruption Insurance for Businesses in Utica
Sometimes, major weather events are severe enough that they are declared federal disasters.
- Number of federally declared disasters in NY since 1953: 101
- Most common reasons for declared disasters: Severe Storms
You need to be prepared for more than just the destruction of your business-owned property. In some cases, a major disaster can force you to shut down your business for weeks, or even months, while the damage is repaired. Business interruption insurance provides your company with a continuation of income during such times.
Business interruption insurance enables you to have the income you need to pay your employees’ salaries and other expenses until you are able to resume normal operations. That way you do not need to worry about losing key employees or defaulting on loan payments while you are closed down. Most policies limit this coverage to twelve months. Talk to an independent agent in Utica to learn more.
Workers' Compensation for Utica Businesses
From physical injuries like lacerations that require stitches, to illnesses that may occur after exposure to toxic substances, if your employees are hurt while doing their jobs, your business is responsible for covering the associated costs.
Workers’ compensation insurance (sometimes called “workman’s comp”) is designed to cover the costs of medical treatment, lost wages, and other related expenses if an employee is injured on the job. Rates for this coverage are based on the risks associated with the work your employees do. A construction worker would cost far more to insure than a receptionist at a medical facility.
The state of New York requires most businesses to carry workers’ compensation insurance. There are a few exceptions, such as for sole proprietors with no employees, but for the most part, if you have employees, you need this coverage. A local independent insurance agent helps you secure an appropriate and competitively priced policy through a commercial provider or through the State Insurance Fund (SIF).
Employee Benefits for Small Businesses in Utica
Residents of Utica rely on the Mohawk Valley Health System, which operates St. Elizabeth Medical Center and Faxton St. Luke’s Healthcare. Of course, without health insurance, the use of these facilities would be cost-prohibitive for many. As an employer in this city, you can provide your employees with the health insurance coverage they need.
- 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
It can be to your advantage to offer benefits like vacation time, health insurance, and life insurance. Studies by human resource professionals have demonstrated that businesses that offer good benefits packages are more likely to attract and retain ideal employees. It has also been shown that workers who have access to healthcare call in sick less often.
A local independent agent can help you find suitable coverage at a competitive price. There are several different policy types for you to choose from, so you may find it beneficial to have guidance and assistance from a local insurance professional when you are shopping for employee benefits products like life insurance and healthcare coverage.
Why Work with an Independent Insurance Agent?
Every business is different and therefore each has its own unique coverage needs. That is why when it comes to business insurance, there is no such thing as a one-size-fits-all policy.
The wide range of insurance products and policy options available to business owners enables you to fully customize your commercial coverage. A local independent agent can help you navigate through your many choices so you can select the policies that are best for your particular business. Contact an insurance agent in or near Utica to get started.
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