Whether your Virginia-based business is in retail or wholesale; manufacturing or professional services; food service; or consulting, finding the right business insurance to protect your commercial investments can be complex. Before you search for quotes on a commercial insurance policy that meets your needs, there are a few things to keep in mind.
How Virginia Does Business
The state GDP of Virginia was $383 billion in 2007, with Virginia ranking 11th in the nation. In 2006 and 2007, Forbes Magazine voted Virginia as having the best climate for business in the United States, citing economic growth, business costs/incentives and quality of life. Here are some of the top industries contributing to those stellar rankings:
- Professional and technical services: These services come in second only to governmental agency services, adding $52 billion to Virginia's GDP. The professional and technical services sector was responsible for 13 percent of the Virginia economy in 2008. The professional and technical services sector has grown by more than 10 percent year over year in Virginia since 2000.
- Real estate and manufacturing: These industries accounted for nearly 12.6 percent of the economic output with a contribution of $50 billion.
- Finance and insurance: These industries ranked as fifth biggest sector, contributing $23 billion to the GDP.
What Is Business Insurance?
There are as many varieties of business and commercial insurance policies as there are businesses that call Virginia home. Business insurance includes a broad range of policy options designed to protect a business from financial loss. Every company has its own unique set of risks, which means you should be able to tailor your commercial insurance policy to your needs. Many factors, including your company's size, the number of employees you have, and the materials and business vehicles you use will determine the specific coverage you need in order to mitigate risk and protect your company’s financial goals.
Does Virginia Require Certain Business Insurance Coverage?
Virginia law requires business insurance under certain circumstances. The following types of policies may apply to your business:
- Unemployment insurance: It is necessary to carry unemployment insurance if your business has employees.
- Workers compensation insurance: If your business has employees, you probably are legally obligated to carry workers compensation insurance on a self-insured basis, through a commercial insurance carrier or through Virginia's workers compensation program.
- Professional liability insurance: Virginia requires specified professionals, including medical and law professionals, to carry insurance against professional liability, also known as malpractice insurance.
What Does Business Insurance Cover?
Most Virginia insurance companies offer the following types of coverage options:
- General liability insurance: Covers third party liability claims for injuries to other people
- Professional liability and malpractice insurance: Covers professionals against loss due to negligent professional duty, wrongful acts, and advice and services that lead to another person’s loss or injury
- Product liability insurance: Covers against faulty products and damage, illness, injury or death that may occur from using a faulty product
- Property insurance: Covers loss and damage to your commercial business property due to fires, storms and other causes
- Commercial vehicle insurance: Covers commercial vehicles and drivers for collision, liability, property damage, personal injury, and comprehensive coverage for severe weather events, theft or vandalism
- Workers compensation: Covers your employees if they become ill or injured while working on the job
- Loss of income: Covers your business expenses, such as rent and employee wages, if you can’t operate your business
- Key person insurance: Covers loss of income that may result from the head of the business or other key personnel becoming incapacitated or passing away (also known as key man insurance)
- Cyber-crime insurance: Provides protection for risks due to Internet use and online communications
- Records retention policies: Covers loss of important data and financial records
- Specialty coverage: Covers specific business risks such as those of landlords, farmers and commercial operations that put on one-day events such as seminars or concerts
What About Insurance for Your Employees?
As a Virginia business owner, you probably know the importance of developing a skilled, reliable staff. Comprehensive employee benefits packages including insurance for your workers, help create the workforce your business needs to remain competitive and strong. Consider these options when looking for quotes on your business insurance policy:
- Medical insurance: These plans can cover hospital visits, doctor visits, surgeries, prescriptions and possibly vision and dental. As the employer, you could cover the majority of the premium as part of the wage packages you offer.
- 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 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 to put toward retirement savings. Some businesses choose to match that deduction amount up to a certain percentage.
What Would Your Business Insurance Quotes Look Like?
The quotes you receive will vary considerably from the quotes your business-owner neighbor may find. Virginia insurance companies use a number of factors to calculate specific business insurance quotes. The quotes also depend on the size of the business. A small, home-based retail operation might pay $500 per year for adequate insurance. While a large consulting firm with many employees and a wide range of business risks could pay $500,000 per year for its policies.
You can reduce your business insurance costs by using effective risk management practices and by comparing quotes from several different Virginia insurance carriers. Some insurance providers offer discounts based on eligibility. For example, businesses owned by veterans are eligible for business insurance in VA, which is often less expensive than a policy for one who has never served in the military. Ask your agent about the many discounts available to find out if you qualify.
How Can You Find Business Insurance Quotes?
Independent agents in the Trust Choice® network are available to answer any questions, suggest coverage options, help you find business insurance quotes and even assist you in filing a claim.
Contact a Trusted Choice agent in your area to find out how your Virginia business can be better prepared for what tomorrow may bring.