Whether your Vermont business is big or small, retail or wholesale, manufacturing- or service-orientated, finding the right insurance policy to protect your investment, your employees and yourself is a daunting task. The Green Mountain State is home to all types of businesses that require different types of coverage for their unique business needs. Before you search for commercial insurance quotes, be sure to take stock of what you need to look for in a policy.
Doing Business in Vermont
According to the 2010 U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis report, VT's gross state product was $26 billion. Not accounting for size, this places the state 50th among the 50 states, but it ranks 34th in per capita GSP.
Businesses that make up a large percentage of VT's GSP include the following:
- Real estate, rental and leasing – $2.6 billion (11.6%)
- Durable goods manufacturing – $2.2 billion (9.6%)
- Health care and social assistance – $2.1 billion (9.4%)
- Retail trade – $1.9 billion (8.4%)
- Finance and insurance – $1.3 billion (5.9%)
- Construction – $1.2 billion (5.5%)
- Professional and technical services – $1.2 billion (5.5%)
- Wholesale trade – $1.1 billion (5.1%)
- Accommodations and food services – about $1 billion (4.5%)
- Information – $958 million (4.2%)
- Non-durable goods manufacturing – $711 million (3.1%)
- Other services – $563 million (2.4%)
- Utilities – $553 million (2.4%)
- Educational services – $478 million (2.1%)
- Transportation and warehousing – $484 million (2.1%)
- Administrative and waste services – $436 million (1.9%)
- Agriculture, forestry, fishing and hunting – $375 million (1.6%)
- Arts, entertainment and recreation – $194 million (0.8%)
- Mining – $100 million (0.4%)
- Management of companies – $35 million (0.2%)
No matter what your company does for Vermont's economy, protecting it with comprehensive commercial insurance policies will ensure your business can contribute to tomorrow's financial forecast as well as today's.
What Types of Business Insurance Does Vermont Require?
Vermont state law, depending on the circumstances, requires some types of business insurance. The following business insurance is required if the circumstances apply to your company:
- Unemployment insurance: This applies to a business that has employees and may be obligated to pay unemployment insurance taxes under prescribed conditions. If these conditions are applicable to your business, then you must register your business with the Vermont workforce agency.
- Workers compensation insurance: If your business has employees, you are most likely legally obligated to carry workers compensation insurance on a self-insured basis, through a commercial insurance carrier or through the Vermont workers compensation program.
- Professional liability insurance: Vermont requires professionals such as accountants, financial advisers and other consultants to carry insurance against professional liability.
What Does Business Insurance Cover?
Various business insurance policies are available to cover just about any eventuality. Here is a snapshot of the insurance coverage a Vermont insurance provider can provide:
- General liability insurance: This covers third-party liability claims for injuries to other people. If a customer slips on a recently cleaned floor, this coverage can protect you from paying the full cost of medical bills or legal fees following a lawsuit for bodily injury
- Professional liability and malpractice insurance: This covers professionals such as accountants, doctors or lawyers against loss due to negligence in professional duties, wrongful acts, and advice and services that lead to another person’s loss or injury.
- Product liability insurance: If your company produces tangible goods, this policy option covers against faulty products and damage, illness, injury or death that may occur from using a faulty product.
- Property insurance: If you own the building in which you do business, this option covers loss and damage to your commercial business property due to fires or severe weather events.
- Commercial vehicle insurance: Does your business employ the use of company cars? This option covers commercial vehicles and drivers for collision, liability, property damage and personal injury.
- Loss of income: In the event you can no longer operate your business due to covered circumstances, this option helps recover your business expenses such as rent and employee wages.
- Key person insurance: This covers loss of income that may result if the manager of the business or other key personnel become incapacitated or pass away.
- Cyber-crime 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.
What About Insurance for Employees?
As a Vermont business owner, you know the importance of developing a skilled and reliable staff. You rely on your employees to keep your business strong, and in return, they rely on you to provide for their families. A comprehensive insurance package for employees not only protects those who work for you, but it builds a strong foundation for the future of your company.
Business owners should consider the following types of employee insurance:
- Medical insurance: A healthy workforce produces more than a sick one. When your employees become ill, you want to make sure they receive the care they need so production can continue without disruption.
- Life insurance: If your employee dies, this insurance benefit will provide financial payments to the employee's named beneficiaries; this insurance can help that person's family to cover funeral costs and ongoing living expenses.
- Disability Insurance: You can choose to offer short-term and/or long-term disability insurance. In the event that your employee is injured or has a lengthy illness, this benefit provides payment during the period of time your employee cannot work.
- Retirement Benefits: The most common type is a 401(k), which allows employees to deduct a certain amount of each paycheck for retirement. Some businesses choose to match that deduction amount up to a certain percentage.
Most of these insurance options are tax deductible.
Is a BOP Right for You?
If you own a small to mid-sized Vermont-based business, the number of insurance options available may seem excessive. Fortunately, insurance companies have simplified this process in the form of a business owners policy, or BOP, which provides both property and business liability insurance in one packaged policy. The cost of the combined coverage is typically less than it would cost to purchase each of the included coverage types separately.
A typical BOP includes these basic coverage options:
- Real property coverage (if you own your own building)
- Business personal property insurance
- Loss of income (business interruption)
- Equipment off premises
- Employee dishonesty
- General liability coverage for the premises and operations
- Medical payments
The following optional types are also available:
- Hired and non-owned autos (if you have a separate auto policy this is better included there.)
- Loss of money and securities
- Loss of electronic data
- Employment practices liability
A BOP can be ideal for small, one-location businesses, rather than for large, multi-site companies with the need for a complex insurance program.
What Does Business Insurance Cost?
Due to the vast differences between Vermont's industries and companies, it is nearly impossible to calculate average quotes for commercial insurance.
The quotes you will receive from a Vermont insurance company will depend on a number of factors, including these:
- The type of business
- The policy options you choose
- The size of the business
A small, home-based business can cost $500 per year, while insurance for a large company with many employees and a wide range of business risks can cost $500,000 per year.
You can reduce the quotes you receive for commercial insurance if you use effective risk management practices. You would also do well to compare quotes from several different insurance carriers. It's important to shop around and work with an agent who has experience in business insurance.
How To Find Business Insurance Quotes
You could spend hours, days or even weeks finding the right business insurance policy at an affordable quote. However, you probably have a business to run, so let a knowledgeable Trusted Choice® agent do this research for you. You can continue to lead your company while your agent works to find you the perfect insurance policy that meets your needs and budget.
Contact an independent Trust Choice insurance agent near you to find out how you can start saving on a comprehensive business insurance package.