Business Insurance

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Running a business out of your home is a popular choice in the United States. It is estimated that there are approximately 32 million home based businesses which include people operating their business on a part-time and full-time basis. There are a number of insurance issues that arise from running a business out of home including the business property in the home as well as liability issues. There are other insurance issues to take into consideration as well such as commercial auto insurance, professional liability, and workers compensation if you employ others in your business.

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All businesses are going to need commercial insurance of one type or another. Whether it's to cover their liability, their property, or life insurance, having the proper insurance and coverage limits is vital to running an effective company and protecting the business owners assets and interests. There are several lines of commercial insurance policies in order to cover all types of business activity.

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Commercial auto insurance is a type of policy that provides protection for vehicles that are used for business purposes. A commercial insurance policy can be written for anything from a single vehicle to an entire fleet of vehicles. Similar to a personal lines auto insurance policy, a commercial auto policy includes several types of coverage with the main ones being liability, uninsured motorist, comprehensive, and collision coverage. Commercial auto insurance policies also offer higher limits of liability than a personal lines policy typically does.

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A Commercial General Liability policy protects a business against financial loss if it is held legally liable for third parties who suffered bodily injury and/or property damage due to the business’s operations, employees, products, or location. Every business needs to have this coverage in order to protect the company’s assets in the event of a large claim. Some businesses are required to have this coverage by the state in which they operate, such as contractors like plumbers, electricians, and handymen. Often times clients can also require this coverage as a requirement to do work for them. It is in every business’s best interests to have a commercial general liability policy regardless of whether they are required to have one, however.

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A professional liability policy is a type of insurance policy which provides coverage if a professional provides a service or advice to a client which the client feels didn’t meet what they were led to expect or if the professional makes a mistake that others in their profession wouldn’t ordinarily make. These are also called errors and omissions (E&O) policies because the professional that is covered by the policy either made a mistake and/or omitted doing something they should have done by the professional standards of their industry. There are two types of professional liability policies. Medical professionals like dentists and physicians carry what is called malpractice insurance. Other types of professionals who give advice and services such as architects, insurance agents, lawyers, engineers or similar professions carry errors & omissions policies. While depending on the profession it might be called one or the other type of professional liability policy, they both essentially cover the same things.

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Commercial property insurance is designed to help businesses recover from covered events which result in the loss of its property. This can include the value of the building the business owns and the cost to repair or rebuild it. Commercial property insurance also covered the businesses property such as computers, equipment, furniture, inventory, and other things used in a business. This coverage also covers the company’s outdoor signs as well as any fencing or landscaping that exists on the property. The businesses property is covered both at the business location and away, such as a laptop that is taken to client’s homes. Additionally, if the business has the care, custody, and control of a customer’s property that is also covered under this type of insurance policy if it were to be damaged or destroyed in a covered loss.

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A business owners policy, commonly called a BOP, is a package of insurance policies that most small businesses need coverage for. What’s included in a BOP is general liability insurance, business property coverage for the businesses property and building if applicable, and business interruption insurance. The advantage of buying a BOP is that it’s usually a more convenient and less expensive option to buy these types of policies bundled together as a BOP rather than buy each type of insurance policy separately.

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A commercial umbrella policy is a type of policy that provides financial protection for a business above and beyond the liability limits of its other policies. If a business faces a massive claim that exceeds the limits of one of their other insurance policies, such as a general liability or commercial auto policy, the umbrella will kick in and extend the limit up by the face amount of liability there is on the umbrella. Umbrella policies start with a face amount of $1,000,000 and increase in $1,000,000 increments from there.

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There are a couple of different types of life insurance that a business owner may be interested in. If the business owner is looking to protect their dependents should they die then the business owner should be interested in life insurance on themselves. There are three main types of life insurance to look at, term, whole life, and universal life insurance. Business partners might also agree to buy a combined life insurance policy called a buy-sell agreement in case one of the partners dies. This type of policy will provide the money needed to buy the shares of the deceased partner should they die prematurely. There is also key person insurance which is used to cover a person that would be very difficult or expensive to replace if they were to die or become otherwise incapacitated. The last type of life insurance policy a business owner should consider is offering it as an employee benefit.

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Many people who want to start a small business choose to open a restaurant or bar. After choosing what they will serve and where the location of their new business will be the next item on the agenda should be getting the insurance on the business in order. Restaurants and bars are unique from other types of businesses because many of them serve alcohol unlike any other business which is its own special hazard. Patrons of their business can drink too much and have a car accident on the ride home, or two people that have imbibed too much might start a fight in the middle of the bar. Insuring against these risks is an important part of owning just this type of business.

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