Cost-effective, eco-friendly, and full of old-fashioned charm: there are all kinds of reasons why your customers (and you) love used and antique furniture. They’re counting on you and you’re counting on their business. Small business insurance is the definitive way to keep your doors open and their homes furnished.
If fire, theft, a lawsuit, or other disasters strike, insurance is there to help you reopen faster. Here’s everything used furniture store owners need to know about small business insurance — and how independent insurance agents can make the process of getting it easier than ever.
Small Business Insurance for Used Furniture Stores: What You Need to Know
Used furniture stores need small business insurance which isn’t a one-size-fits-all kind of thing. It’s more like a blend of different types of coverage designed just for your business.
An independent insurance agent can match you with companies that are already experienced in insuring used furniture stores. They may even offer premade furniture store or thrift store insurance packages, making shopping for insurance a snap.
Here are the types of coverage you’re likely to encounter while shopping for used furniture store insurance.
The Four Major Building Blocks of Small Business Insurance
All small businesses, no matter their niche, need to consider buying business liability insurance, commercial property insurance, and commercial auto insurance. If you have employees, then you also need to buy workers compensation insurance.
Not having these types of coverage can spell disaster and even drive your business into bankruptcy. Here’s how they work:
- Business liability insurance: This covers the cost of legal representation and any damages if your business is sued. Lawsuits are one of the biggest threats small businesses face, and a frivolous lawsuit can easily drive you out of business. Business liability insurance ensures you can afford to fight the case. This is especially important for used furniture stores that sell children’s furniture.
- Commercial property insurance: This covers your business’s buildings, equipment, and inventory from theft, vandalism, fire, and other disasters. If these things are damaged or destroyed, commercial property insurance pays to replace them, so you can reopen as soon as possible.
- Commercial auto insurance: Personal car insurance policies will not pay for accidents that happen while you’re using a vehicle for business. If you or your employees are driving a vehicle on behalf of your used furniture store, to deliver furniture to customers, for example, then you need commercial auto insurance to be fully covered. Don’t drive for business without it.
- Workers’ compensation: Workers' compensation pays for medical care and related expenses for employees injured on the job. If your employees will be lifting heavy furniture, workers' compensation will be especially important for your store. Workers' compensation requirements vary widely from state to state. An independent insurance agent can help you navigate the specific requirements your business needs to meet.
Coverage Boosters: Inland Marine Insurance, Umbrella Insurance, and Business Income Insurance
These four types of insurance fill in common gaps in vanilla small business coverage. They make your insurance more thorough and effective. Here’s what they’re for and how they work:
- Inland marine insurance: This is a type of insurance designed to cover things that are otherwise hard to insure, especially equipment or inventory that moves around and is exposed to extra risk. For example, a forklift may be better insured by inland marine insurance than regular commercial property insurance.
- Umbrella insurance: This is a “bonus” insurance type, typically very cheap, that covers any extra costs if you exceed the limit of your other business insurance policies. For example, if you fight a high-profile legal case that costs more than what your business liability insurance will cover on its own, umbrella insurance kicks in to pay the difference.
- Business income insurance: Also called “business interruption insurance,” this type reimburses you for lost income if your business has to close temporarily after a disaster. If your used furniture store business is your primary source of income, this type of insurance helps you avoid bankruptcy during a long interruption.
The Nitty-Gritty: Specialized Business Insurance Just for Used Furniture Stores
The following types of coverage are more fringe than the others, but they’re crucial for used furniture store owners to consider:
- Processor’s floater or bailee’s policy: A processor’s floater and a bailee’s policy are two different types of insurance with nearly identical purposes. Both cover your customers’ items while you’re storing them. If you repair used furniture in addition to selling it, then these policies will pay to reimburse your customers if their property is damaged in a disaster.
- Coverage designed for irreplaceable inventory: If your used furniture store deals primarily in unique antiques and other irreplaceable furniture, then you’ll need to work with your insurance company to ensure that you’ll be fully covered. You’ll need to keep good inventory records and possibly add extra riders or endorsements to your commercial property insurance policy. An independent insurance agent can help.
Cyber Insurance: Why It’s Growing in Importance for Retail Stores
Cyber insurance is a relatively new type of insurance that covers incidents of hacking or other malicious online activities. If your system is hacked and your customers’ credit card information (or other sensitive information) is exposed, then you could be on the hook.
Cyber insurance will pay to replace customer credit cards and make them whole for any other damage they might have experienced as a result of the hack. Many cyber insurance policies also include access to cybersecurity experts who can help you design more secure systems to prevent a hack from happening in the first place.
Even if your business is low-tech, if you’re dealing with credit cards, you need to consider cyber insurance.
Children’s Furniture: A Major Liability for Used Furniture Stores
Used furniture stores aren’t difficult to insure, with one major exception: stores that sell or repair children’s furniture. If your inventory includes cribs, bunk beds, toys, and other items intended for use by children, then it’s critically important that you get the right business liability insurance.
That’s because lawsuits involving children get expensive, fast. If a child injures themselves on furniture you sold, then that’s a massive liability for your store. This is especially true if you also repair children’s furniture. Even if a lawsuit is baseless, you’ll need resources to defend yourself. That’s what business liability insurance is for.
An independent insurance agent can demystify the process and help you shop for the right business liability coverage for your store.
How Much Does Used Furniture Store Insurance Cost?
The cost of business insurance depends on the value of your business and the unique risks it faces. Factors that will affect the cost of used furniture insurance include:
- Your store’s location, especially its crime rate and natural disaster risks
- Whether or not you sell children’s furniture
- The type of furniture you sell (modern used furniture or antiques?)
- The value of your inventory
- The value of your equipment
- Whether or not you operate special company vehicles (e.g. delivery trucks)
- Whether or not you provide repair services or other extra services
- How many employees you have
Small business insurance for a used furniture store will cost at least several thousand dollars per year, spread out over monthly, quarterly, or yearly payments (called premiums). A chain of stores or a particularly large business will pay significantly more. Expect that your business liability insurance will make up a significant portion of this cost.
Used Furniture Store Insurance Discounts
All insurance is based on educated guesses about risks. The insurance company calculates the risk of you making a claim and decides how much they’ll need to charge you in premiums to offset those risks. This means that anything you do to minimize risk can also discount the cost of your premiums.
Here are a few easy ways to make your used furniture business safer and potentially lower the cost of insurance:
- Consider using waivers for repair jobs and taking other legal steps to reduce the possibility of a lawsuit
- Consider choosing not to sell children’s furniture
- Install sprinklers and take other fire prevention measures
- Install a burglar alarm, security cameras, and other loss-prevention equipment
- Take regular inventory and ensure you know the value of all items in your store at all times
- Maintain stringent safety standards; ensure all your employees are well-trained, and keep customers out of hazardous areas
- Make sure that anyone who drives on behalf of your business has an excellent driving record and do spot-checks to make sure they’re driving safely
An independent insurance agent can help you find even more discounts. Many insurance companies offer trainings and other resources to help business owners improve safety. Taking advantage of these resources can also reduce your insurance costs.
How to Buy Used Furniture Store Insurance
It’s easier to buy small business insurance than you might think. The process goes like this:
- Connect with an independent insurance agent: Unlike captive agents who are bound to work for only one company, independent insurance agents will help you shop between multiple companies, so you can get the deal you actually want — not just the best deal one company offers.
- Fill out applications: With the help of your independent insurance agent, you’ll fill out at least one application and possibly multiple ones. You’ll answer questions about your business’s value, risks, and more, so the insurance company knows what coverage it can offer you and what price to charge.
- Choose a quote: After filling out your application(s), insurance companies will get back to you with offers of coverage, called quotes. Don’t go for the lowest price right away — it’s important to make sure your coverage is thorough and a good match for your business. Your independent insurance agent can help you decide.
- Finalize coverage: Sign on the dotted line. Congratulations, you’re insured!
Once you’re covered, you can run your business with confidence, knowing you won’t be left high and dry if disaster strikes. Be sure to stay in touch with your independent insurance agent afterwards too. They can help you update your coverage as your business grows, keeping the insurance part running smoothly so you don’t have to.
Why Online Quotes Aren’t Always the Best Way to Shop
Getting your insurance quotes online can be tempting. Sure, it’s fast and easy, but are the quotes you're getting actually accurate? And are you getting quotes for all the different types of coverage your business needs?
Online quotes cannot give you the whole picture. They often omit important coverage, which may result in you being unable to get compensation if something disastrous happens. And they can leave out cost-saving opportunities such as discounts and bundling opportunities that an independent agent can help you take advantage of.
Instead of getting an online quote, find an independent insurance agent near you, and schedule a one-on-one consultation to discuss your options for the best coverage for your used furniture store.
How Independent Insurance Agents Can Take Your Small Business to the Next Level
Independent insurance agents are small business owners just like you. They’re industry experts who handle the red tape for you, so you can focus on running your business. They’ll help you through every step of your insurance application. After you buy insurance, they can even help you file claims if disaster strikes, making a tough time for your business a little smoother.
Shopping for small business insurance with an independent insurance agent is shopping smart. Period.
TrustedChoice.com Article | Reviewed by Paul Martin
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