Whether you own an established business in Fargo or you have just opened up shop in Williston, business is booming in North Dakota. As any business owner knows, many risks are associated with running your own operation. From the small company to the large firm, business insurance is a must-have to protect your commercial interests. Before you search for business insurance, however, there are several factors to consider.
How North Dakota Does Business
Here are some North Dakota facts, according to census data and market surveys:
- North Dakota has the fastest growing economy in U.S. by GDP, with a growth rate at about 8.3%.
- The economy of North Dakota had a gross domestic product of $36.8 billion in 2013.
- According to Gallup data, North Dakota led the U.S. in job creation in 2013 and has done so since 2009.
- With an unemployment rate hovering around 2 to 3%, the lowest in the nation, many employers are struggling to fully staff their workforce.
- Agriculture, energy (including the oil and natural gas booms) and tourism make up most of North Dakota's economy.
What Is Business Insurance?
Business insurance covers a wide range of policy options designed to protect a commercial entity from financial loss. Every company, big or small, has its own unique set of risks, which means a commercial insurance policy must be custom-made for the business. Many factors such at the size of your company, the number of workers you employ, the materials workers handle and the business vehicles you have will determine the specific coverage you need in order to mitigate risk and protect your company’s financials.
Many business owners find that they must search for a number of different insurance companies in order to get the coverage they need for all their risks. Some prefer to do this legwork on their own, while others let independent insurance agents do the work for them.
What Does Business Insurance Cover?
Most North Dakota insurance providers will provide you with a number of business coverage options from which to choose as you build your policy or policies, including these:
- General liability insurance: This can help pay for costs associated with injuries or property damage a third party may experience while visiting your business.
- Professional liability coverage: This can help pay for costs due to negligent professional duty, wrongful acts, and advice and services that lead to another person’s loss or injury.
- Product liability coverage: This can help protect manufacturers against damage, illness, injury or death that may occur from using a faulty product.
- Property damage coverage: This can help pay for loss and damage to your commercial business property due to fires, severe weather, theft, vandalism and other causes.
- Commercial vehicle insurance: This can help pay for physical damage and liability involving your commercial vehicles.
- Loss of income: This can help cover business expenses such as your rent and employee wages if you can’t operate your business.
- Key person insurance: This helps cover the loss of income that may result if the head of the business or other key personnel become incapacitated or die.
- Cybercrime insurance: This provides protection for risks due to Internet use and online communications.
- Records retention policies: This covers loss of important data and financial records.
- Specialty coverage: This insurance covers specific business risks such as one-day events (seminars, concerts) put on by landlords, farmers and commercial operations.
It's a good idea to speak with a qualified, independent insurance agent who can help identify your business's risks and suggest coverage options that you should carry.
Are You Required To Carry Business Insurance in North Dakota?
North Dakota law requires business insurance in certain cases. It's important to check with the authorities to find out if your business must carry any of these coverages:
- Unemployment insurance: Businesses that have employees may have to pay unemployment insurance taxes under prescribed conditions. If these conditions are applicable to your business, then you must register your business with the state's workforce agency.
- Workers compensation insurance: If your business has employees, you are most likely legally obligated to carry workers compensation insurance via self-insurance, commercial insurance or a state workers compensation program.
- Professional liability insurance: Some professionals, such as attorneys and doctors, may have to carry this type of insurance.
What About Insurance for Your Employees?
As ND business owners struggle to find qualified employees to fill their many positions, it's important to offer attractive benefits and insurance options as you compete with the employer next door. A competitive employee compensation package should include these benefits:
- Medical insurance: With the Affordable Care Act in near full effect, you may have to provide health insurance for your employees. Be sure to find out if the ACA mandates this type of insurance for your business.
- Life insurance: If your employee dies, this benefit will provide financial payments to the employee's named beneficiaries; these benefits can help that person's family cover funeral costs and ongoing living expenses. Some life insurance policies will even compensate you, the business owner, for the loss of a key employee.
- Disability Insurance: You can choose to offer short-term and/or long-term disability insurance. In the event that your employee suffers injuries or a lengthy illness, this benefit will provide payment during the period of time your employee cannot work.
- Retirement Benefits: The most common type is a 401(k), which allows employees to save a certain amount of each paycheck for retirement. Some businesses choose to match that deduction amount.
How Much Is Business Insurance?
Just as businesses differ, so do business insurance quotes. The cost of business insurance widely varies. Most ND insurance providers take several factors into consideration when they calculate your quotes, including these:
- The type of business
- The types of coverage you need
- The size of the business
A small, home-based business can often find quotes for as little as $500 per year, while a large company with many employees and a wide range of business risks could see quotes for around $500,000 per year.
It's important to compare several quotes from a variety of insurance providers to ensure you are receiving the best rates available. Always ask about any discounts available, as there are ways you can mitigate your risks and save large sums on your business insurance premiums.
Where To Find Business Insurance
Owning and operating your own business is hard work and time-consuming, so you should probably leave the task of finding business insurance coverage to an insurance professional. Knowledgeable, independent insurance agents in the Trusted Choice® network are always available to answer your questions, suggest coverage options best suited for your business and identify ways you can save on your premiums.
Contact a Trusted Choice member agent near you to find out how you can obtain the perfect business insurance for your needs and budget.