Protecting your business is crucial, but do you know what your insurance policy covers?
We put together a solid guide on business insurance.
This means that you will be better informed to make better decisions.
Sound good? Let’s dig in.
Business insurance is a must-have for any size business, but what does business insurance cover, and how does it help you specifically protect your business?
If these are questions you’ve been asking yourself, you’ve come to the right place.
In this guide, you’ll find an in-depth overview of what’s included in most commercial insurance policies and how insurance companies will get you covered. You’ll understand precisely how to protect your business with the right coverage, and yes, The Allen Thomas Group can help walk you through that step by step if you need it; more on that in a bit.
What is Business Insurance?
Firstly, let’s get a proper definition of what business insurance is so we all know the ground rules.
Business insurance is a risk management policy used to protect organizations and their stakeholders from potential financial losses resulting from unfortunate incidents or events.
Business insurance commonly protects entrepreneurs (that would be you) in the case of claims related to injury, damage, lawsuits, product liability, and any other loss that could disrupt regular operations.
Most Important Highlights
Business insurance is a type of risk management policy that can protect organizations and their stakeholders from unexpected financial losses.
Supporters believe it is worth the expense. However, opponents argue that premiums surpass any potential benefit. Ultimately, business insurance coverage has pros and cons, and it is essential to consider the different types of policies available to choose the best one for an organization’s needs.
Types Of Business Insurance Policies
When determining the type of business insurance that is right for your company, it is crucial to understand the various types of policies available.
Below we detail 12 of the essential types of Business Insurance policies:
- General Liability Coverage – This coverage helps shield your company against claims alleging bodily injury or property damage to someone else due to doing business with them. Should anyone file a suit claiming they experienced harm from doing business with your firm, General Liability Coverage could cover legal costs and damages awarded against it.
- Professional Liability Insurance – Also referred to as errors and omissions (E&O) coverage, professional liability insurance provides coverage against lawsuits alleging mistakes in your services provided. Should a client or customer file suit alleging errors on your part, this policy can assist in covering legal fees and damages associated with that lawsuit.
- Business Owner’s Policy (BOP) – A BOP combines general liability and commercial property coverage into one policy to help safeguard against various risks to your business, such as property damage and bodily harm.
- Workers’ Compensation Insurance – These policy benefits employees injured on the job or suffering illness-related illness while in your employ and covers medical bills and lost wages associated with claims filed against your business by employees who allege you caused them harm at work. If an employee sues, Workers’ Compensation can cover medical bills and lost wages associated with job-related injuries/illness claims filed against your business.
- Commercial Property Insurance – This policy offers your owned or rented building and equipment protection from damage or loss if someone sues your business, alleging damage to their property caused by you. If they sue you and win their case against you, this insurance can cover legal fees and damages awarded against your business.
- Cyber Liability Insurance – Cyber liability insurance offers your business the protection it needs against data breaches and cyber-attacks. Should one occur and someone sues your company, alleging the exposure of sensitive data by your actions, this policy provides legal fees and damages coverage in case they sue.
- Employment Practices Liability Insurance (EPLI) – EPLI provides essential protection from lawsuits alleging discrimination or wrongful termination against your business, should any employees file suit alleging these practices against it. Should an employee sue, legal fees, and damages could also be covered under this coverage policy.
- Commercial Auto Insurance – This policy helps protect your business against liabilities associated with accidents involving company-owned vehicles. Should anyone file suit alleging your vehicle caused an accident, this insurance can cover legal fees and damages to keep your operations running smoothly.
- Umbrella Insurance – Umbrella policies extend the coverage limits of other liability policies to cover claims exceeding those limits, helping protect any discrepancies between them and what might happen. If a claim exceeds them all, an umbrella policy may help cover any shortfall in coverage that occurs.
- Directors and Officers (D&O) Insurance – This policy helps safeguard the personal assets of directors and officers of your business from legal liabilities related to their decisions or actions, should they become targets of lawsuits related to these decisions or actions that cause harm. Should someone file suit against your directors or officers alleging such decisions caused injury, D&O insurance can cover their legal fees and damages.
- Liquor Liability Insurance – Businesses that serve alcohol can use this policy to safeguard themselves from liability associated with accidents and incidents caused by intoxicated patrons. Should someone sue your establishment claiming the damage was caused by alcohol consumption, Liquor Liability Insurance provides coverage against legal fees and damages awards that may arise due to litigation brought against your establishment.
- Product Liability Insurance – Businesses who manufacture or sell products can benefit from purchasing product liability insurance as it helps shield them from liability claims related to defects and failures of their products. Should someone sue your business alleging harm caused by one of its offerings, this coverage can assist with legal expenses and damages awards.
Many people will debate which type of business insurance is best for their company.
Some argue that a BOP provides the best value and most comprehensive protection because it includes multiple types of coverage under one policy.
Others may disagree, stating that individual policies provide more flexibility in coverage types or allow for higher limits than what is typically offered by a BOP.
Both sides have valid points to consider when making an insurance decision. Ultimately, what is best for your business depends on your specific needs and operations and should be determined through conversations with an experienced insurance broker and/or agent. That is where we can help.
A Key Section Takeaway And A Few Stats
So, no matter what type of business insurance you decide to purchase, adequate coverage is essential to protecting your company’s assets in case of an unforeseen event.
- According to the New York Times, 40% of small businesses in the United States do not carry business insurance.
- A 2018 survey conducted by Hiscox Ltd. found that 66% of small businesses report being uninsured or underinsured for cyber liability.
- According to the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB), 35% of small business owners will eventually experience a lawsuit.
Now that you know more about common coverages, we can go into more detail about some of the specifics. Let’s start with Building and Property Coverage.
Understanding Building and Property Coverage
Building and property coverage is a type of business insurance policy that can take many forms.
This is particularly useful for businesses that own physical structures or properties, as they protect against financial losses caused by damage or destruction to the building.
While building and property coverage typically includes protection from natural disasters and accidents, it may also have specific coverage for certain events, depending on the policy.
For example, if a nasty snowstorm damages the roof of your building, property insurance may cover the cost of repairs. Additionally, some policies may cover vandalism and theft as well.
These policies can be expensive; however, at The Allen Thomas Group, we can shop around for you and help you get the lowest deductibles and premiums in a policy without sacrificing any coverage.
At the same time, there are certain limitations to keep in mind when it comes to building and property coverage.
For instance, flooding may not always be covered by certain insurers due to its unpredictability.
Additionally, business owners should take particular precautions when choosing a carrier, as some policies may exclude risks associated with separate geographic locations or industries. Ultimately, when it comes to selecting a policy, businesses should carefully read all fine print and make sure they understand what is included and excluded in their coverage.
Our agents can review these policies more in-depth with you because we understand which carrier will give you the best coverage for your property needs.
Having the right kind of building and property coverage can help protect a business against significant financial losses associated with unforeseen damages to physical structures or properties.
Now that you know how this type of insurance works, let’s look at financial liability coverage—an equally important form of insurance that can help protect your company from financial losses in the event of legal claims.
Liability Coverages And What To Know
Liability coverage is an essential consideration for businesses as it protects from claims against the business’s financial ruin or bankruptcy due to negligence and other issues.
Financial liability insurance can cover legal and medical bills, loss of wages, and settlements, which can be very costly in personal injury cases.
Business owners must decide if they need additional coverage beyond the basic scope offered by their policies.
Those who opt for additional coverage may want to consider purchasing a separate policy covering professional services such as accounting advice, legal advice, or consulting services—all of which could result in liability claims if something goes wrong.
Businesses may also want to consider errors and omissions insurance, which protects them from customer claims related to inadequate service or misrepresentations of products.
This type of coverage helps protect businesses from reputational damage due to any financial liabilities…even those not covered by traditional policies.
For some businesses, the cost of purchasing these types of additional policies may seem like a burden.
However, without appropriately protecting your business with proper liability coverage, potential lawsuits could cause severe financial stress and even bankruptcy.
Therefore, having comprehensive liability coverage is essential for any business with higher exposures to these risks.
With the right combination of building and property coverage plus liability coverage, businesses can have peace of mind knowing they are prepared for any unexpected losses related to events caused by property damages and the costs associated with settling lawsuits arising from defective products or negligence.
Let’s take an in-depth look at another vital element of business insurance: employee protection.
Protecting Your Employees
When it comes to employee protection, business insurance can provide a layer of security that may be necessary for the success of a business.
While the type and cost of coverage vary depending on the needs and size of your business, most forms of business insurance include components specifically related to employee protection.
For example, worker’s compensation insurance is an essential component that covers medical expenses and lost wages if an employee were to become injured while working.
This helps protect employers against legal liability claims if an employee decides to file a lawsuit due to their injury.
Furthermore, disabled employees could also consider filing for disability income insurance which helps replace income in case of their inability to work with their pre-existing injury or illness.
Employee protection is an essential aspect of business insurance as it not only helps protect businesses from financial losses but also gives employees peace of mind that they have adequate coverage if something were to happen.
An unexpected illness or injury can significantly affect an individual’s livelihood and even potentially drag down the performance of an entire organization should something happen to one of its key members.
Planning ahead for these scenarios through responsibly choosing a suitable plan for your business can help keep things running smoothly in times that require this kind of support.
As far as protecting your team and your business as a whole, many critical legal considerations need to be addressed when deciding what type of coverage works best for you and your employees.
Important Legal Considerations
It is important to consider the legal implications when it comes to employee protection in business insurance.
There are specific laws, depending on your state, that an employer must abide by when it comes to providing coverage for employees.
Some states have stricter regulations than others, so employers should familiarize themselves with their specific requirements. Working with a qualified agent, like someone from our team, can help get you up to speed in your state.
Employers may also be legally obligated to provide coverage for workers’ compensation or disability insurance.
This coverage typically pertains to the reimbursement of wages if a work-related injury or illness occurs. Employers can be held liable if an employee files a claim or sues by not providing adequate coverage in these ways.
On the other hand, small business owners should understand that they are not required by law to provide their employees with health insurance, depending on their number of employees.
However, this can benefit both employers and employees as it can attract top talent and lower hiring costs. Still, business owners must weigh the pros and cons of what providing healthcare benefits would mean for their bottom line.
No matter what legal considerations business owners must consider when protecting their employees, it is essential for employers to familiarize themselves with all applicable laws and ensure they are compliant with them.
Next, we will discuss risk management coverage—a necessary consideration when protecting businesses from various risks.
Having A Solid Risk Management Plan
Risk management is an essential component of business insurance, and it helps protect companies from liability risks.
Risk management is the practice of evaluating potential threats and formulating plans for mitigating or avoiding those risks.
While general liability insurance protects businesses against liability claims arising from accidents or damages caused by employees, risk management coverage takes a proactive approach to help companies best plan and prepare for broader risk categories.
Risk management coverage can protect against potential losses from hazards such as natural disasters, security threats, and data breaches.
Risk management policies usually cover the cost of identifying vulnerabilities and developing a comprehensive plan to address them, as well as any third-party experts needed to assess and respond to the identified risks, such as consultants or technicians.
The debate surrounding whether risk management coverage should be part of a comprehensive business insurance plan centers around two primary considerations:
The cost associated with premiums for risk mitigation versus the cost associated with unmitigated risks.
On one hand, investing in risk mitigation strategies that can reduce the likelihood of damage from possible hazards can save money in the long run.
On the other hand, outlaying high upfront costs for prevention can be costly in its own right, especially for small businesses on tight budgets.
Ultimately, business owners need to weigh their individual risks against the cost associated with protecting against those risks before deciding.
Developing a comprehensive risk analysis framework can help business owners identify areas of vulnerability that could be exposed without proper protection, allowing them to make an informed decision about whether they should invest in the added layer of protection offered via risk management coverage.
It can also be beneficial to utilize data-driven research tools to examine case studies involving similar organizations to help assess potential outcomes if adequate protections are not implemented.
This type of scenario forecasting can help business owners better understand the risks associated with their operations and make well-informed decisions based on available evidence regarding whether they need to invest additional money in risk mitigation policies and procedures.
Frequently Asked Questions and Explanations
What are the types of coverages most businesses should have?
All businesses should have several types of coverage to protect themselves from unseen issues.
Businesses should consider purchasing General Liability Insurance to protect against third-party claims of bodily injury and property damage.
In addition, businesses can also protect themselves by purchasing professional liability insurance to cover potential claims resulting from errors, omissions, or negligence while providing services to customers and clients.
Business Interruption Insurance is another type of coverage all businesses should have to protect against any loss of income due to unexpected events or disasters that may temporarily force a company to cease operations.
Finally, Worker’s Compensation insurance is necessary to protect both the employees and employers from any workplace injuries or accidents that occur on the job.
What are the most important types of coverage that most business insurance should include?
The most important types of coverage that business insurance should include are property & casualty, liability, and workers’’ compensation.
Property & Casualty Coverage: Property & casualty insurance protects a business from losses due to fire, theft, and damage to a physical location. This kind of coverage helps pay for repairs or replacements of damaged items and covers legal costs in case of a lawsuit.
Liability Coverage: Liability insurance offers protection if someone makes a claim against your business for bodily injury or property damage they suffered due to your negligence. It will also provide legal defense in the event of a lawsuit.
Workers’’ Compensation Coverage: Workers” compensation coverage helps cover medical bills and lost wages for employees who become injured or ill on the job.
Most states require this kind of coverage and ensure that businesses are held accountable for providing their employees with safe working conditions free from hazards.
Just A Quick Recap
Business insurance typically covers property damage, third-party liability, worker’s compensation, and other potential risks associated with operating a business.
Depending on the type of policy, some business insurance plans may include additional coverage options as well.
How can businesses determine which type of coverage they need?
The best way to determine which type of business insurance coverage is needed is to assess your company’s risks; you can do this by considering what kind of activities your company carries out and the potential consequences of these activities, both internally and externally.
For example, if you are an office-based business, you may want to consider general liability insurance to cover accidents that occur in the workplace and slip and fall injuries, as well as professional indemnity insurance to protect against any legal claims related to negligence.
Conversely, if you have a retail business, you may need stock insurance to cover losses due to theft or damage caused by events such as fires or floods.
Also, speak with a qualified insurance agent, like the ones from The Allen Thomas Group, that knows the intimate details of your industry, your business operations, and how to connect you with a suitable insurance carrier.
By considering all these factors, businesses can determine the type of coverage they need to be fully protected at the right price!