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What Should I Know About Small Business Insurance?

No matter what industry you're in, protection is key.  With the right insurance in place, you can help protect your business from sudden, catastrophic expenses that come from natural disasters or nasty lawsuits.

Why Do I Need Small Business Insurance?

Every business, big or small, needs some form of insurance. Yes, certain types may not be required or seem relevant to you, but if an unexpected event were to cause your business to close for several months, would you be okay financially? Even more, if a third party were to sue your business, would you be able to cover the cost of the lawsuit? 

Even a low-risk business might be susceptible to some ill-fated events. 

  • You could lose your stuff: Damage or loss of your property, equipment, and inventory
  • You could be sued: Product or service causes damage or bodily harm to a customer
  • You could make a mistake: Professional error that causes emotional distress

How Much Does Small Business Insurance Cost?

The cost of business insurance policies depends on the coverage and a number of other factors like the size, location, and materials used in your business. A strip mall bakery might only pay $200 a month, whereas a chainsaw-carving wood sculptor could pay $2,000 a month. Basically, the safer and smaller the company, the cheaper it is.

Is Workers' Compensation Insurance Mandatory for a Small Business?

Depends. Every state but Texas requires workers' comp coverage. And, every state has its own laws and requirements. In some, if you have only 1 employee, you need coverage. In others, you have to have three or more. No matter what, you'll want to make sure you're familiar with the local requirements in your state.  

Even if workers' comp isn't required where your business calls home, it’s relatively inexpensive and completely worth it. After all, you wouldn’t want one little whoopsie to crush your big small business dreams, would you?

Am I Covered for Liability as an LLC (Limited Liability Company)?

Being classified as an LLC definitely helps protect your business, while also shielding your personal assets in the event that your company is sued. But, the protection of an LLC doesn't completely eliminate your personal liability. Many small business owners mistakenly believe that a limited liability corporation status is like insurance for their personal assets. But in fact, there are a number of circumstances in which your assets can be at stake, like:

  • Your company is sued due to your personal negligence.
  • You sign a contract as yourself, essentially providing a personal guarantee, rather than signing the contract as the business.
  • You keep poor records regarding business activities, and it is thus impossible to separate them from your personal activities.
  • You do not have directors and officers in place, or do not maintain your LLC documents.

Some of these activities and errors fall into a category called "piercing the corporate veil," which essentially means that a business owner in some way failed to keep a complete separation between personal and business activities. Whether knowingly or accidentally, neglecting to keep your business records straight can put you at risk, even with an LLC in place.

What is a Business Owners' Policy (BOP)?

A Business Owners Policy is insurance that allows a small business (that meets certain criteria) to combine coverage from multiple policies into one convenient package. These days, there’s a BOP for most mainstream businesses, from hair salons to hardware stores, which makes the process easier.

The standard BOP will include:

  • Property insurance: Covers loss or damage to your stuff due to fire, storms, and other causes
  • General liability: Covers claims for injuries to other people
  • Business income insurance: Covers the loss of income if operations are interrupted

A Business Owners Policy is a great starting point of coverage that can always be added to, with the help of an independent insurance agent, who can tailor your protection specifically to your business' needs.

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