Card and gift shops can be found in nearly every shopping mall in the United States. They provide a convenient place where people can find the perfect greeting card or pick up a last-minute gift for a friend or loved one. If you own a card or gift shop, you have likely invested a lot of time and money into opening your business. Be sure to protect this investment by purchasing an appropriate commercial insurance policy.
A major disaster, such as a fire, flood or a roof collapse, has the potential to completely wipe out your entire inventory. Without sufficient property insurance, this can mean a huge financial hit for your business. Your card and gift shop insurance policy will include property coverage, which can provide compensation for the loss of your merchandise, shelving, décor and other items kept in your shop.
Some perils, however, may not be covered by your property insurance. For example, coverage against flood damage is typically excluded from commercial insurance policies, so if your business is at risk, you will want to look into obtaining a flood insurance policy through the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). Other exposures for which you may not be covered include hurricanes and earthquakes. Fortunately, there are supplemental policies you can purchase to protect your business from the hazards that are germane to your location.
Be sure that your coverage limits are at levels that will enable you to replace your entire inventory if a major disaster does strike. If your gift shop has an increased inventory at certain times of year, such as during the months leading up to Christmas, you may want to ask your agent about purchasing a rider that enables you to have increased coverage limits during these peak times.
Card and gift shops do not pose a high liability risk, so this type of coverage should be relatively inexpensive. The biggest risk faced by these types of businesses is injuries to members of the public while they are in your retail space. Premises liability insurance covers your court costs, legal fees and financial damages if your business ends up on the wrong side of a liability lawsuit. Additionally, your policy's product liability insurance will protect your business if you are sued for selling a faulty product that causes injury to another.
You will also be responsible for covering medical treatments for injuries sustained by your employees while they are on the clock. Workers' compensation insurance, which most states require employers to carry, can provide this coverage.
Every business is unique, so it is possible that your store has other liability risks. An independent insurance agent can help you identify these risks if they exist and can recommend the appropriate coverage.
A major disaster could force you to close your business for an extended period of time. This may be due to damage to your store; damage to the shopping mall where your store is located, causing its forced closing; or damage to infrastructure such as roads, making them impassable. If the root cause of your necessitated closure is a covered event, business income insurance can provide your business with a continuation of income until you can resume regular business operations. This coverage is typically limited to one year.
When you have employees, you face additional risks. An employee who perceives having been wronged due to sexual harassment, discrimination or any other illegal business practice can sue your store. Even if your business is found to have acted appropriately, you may suffer a large financial loss due to court costs and legal fees. If your policy includes employment practices liability insurance, you may be able to get compensation for these losses.
Finally, if you have opened your store with a business partner or partners, you may want to looking into key-man life insurance to protect your interests if a business partner passes away suddenly. There are additional insurance options that can protect those in business partnerships, so be sure to discuss your concerns with your insurance agent when working on building your policy.
If you choose to work with an independent agent in the Trusted Choice® network, purchasing a suitable commercial insurance policy for your card and gift shop can be an easy and pleasant endeavor. These agents are knowledgeable about insuring retail businesses and can work with a number of different insurance companies to build a policy portfolio that makes sense for your particular store. Find an agent near you, and schedule an appointment to discuss your commercial insurance needs.