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Business Insurance Basics

Monday, September 25th, 2017

If you’re just starting your new business, or have recently been wondering if your current commercial insurance coverage is enough, it can be frustrating trying to educate yourself about business insurance options.

At CommercialInsurance.net we specialize in qualifying businesses over the phone and connecting you with the agent most appropriate for your needs. You don’t have to know exactly what you’re looking for when you call, since we walk you through the process of discovery, but it is helpful if you have a general knowledge of what some of the most common commercial insurance coverages are, so that we can expedite the process as much as possible.

General Liability

This is a foundational policy that will cover your business’s most common exposures, such as property damage or bodily injury caused by you during the normal course of operations. A certificate proving you have general liability business insurance may be required when you contract with other businesses, and we can usually provide that certificate within a business day.

Workers Compensation

If you have employees, this coverage will provide their health benefits for work-related injuries. Your state may require workers compensation coverage if your business has employees, and the specifics about what you’ll need will vary. The carriers we work with provide a range of options.

Business Owner’s Policy

If you need business personal property coverage, as well as general liability and insurance for your building, a Business Owner’s Policy, or BOP, can provide a reasonable commercial insurance solution by packaging all of these together.

Commercial Auto

Vehicles used in the course of your business may qualify for commercial auto coverage. When looking for a quote, be sure to have the license numbers of any potential drivers, and VINs for the vehicles.

Commercial Umbrella Coverage

For areas that fall outside of these specific policies, you might consider a commercial umbrella policy. This is written in addition to foundational business insurance policies like those listed above, and is intended to cover catastrophic losses.

Risk management is an art, and our business is helping you protect your business.

Call one of our professionals today at 1-877-907-5267 for help building a commercial insurance plan for your company. Quotes are quick and easy once you’ve supplied some basic information about your business.

June is National Safety Month…Are You Safe at Work?

Monday, June 19th, 2017

Journey to Safety Excellence
Provided by the National Safety Council

Will You Business Insurance Protect Your Business In A Natural Disaster?

Tuesday, December 3rd, 2013

Often, business owners believe their property insurance will cover damage from any type of disaster. That is a myth which costs many owners who don’t understand their coverage. In fact, many disasters may not be covered at all.

In general, your property insurance will cover you from a loss of a common risk like an accident, theft, or vandalism.  Fire is normally covered under you property insurance but flooding may not be.  In fact, even disaster insurance may not cover flooding.  Talk to your commercial agent regarding damage from flooding, winding, and other natural disasters.

In the world of insurance today, there are various packages available to cover a multitude of risks.  The key is to maximize coverage without duplication.  Work with your commercial insurance agent to figure out specifically what coverage(s) is needed to protect your business property. Meet with your agent or broker and determine what coverage and risk your particular business could face.

You’ll need to compare policy coverage, premiums, risks, deductibles, and many factors in selecting your final property insurance coverage.  Like many business people, after weighing the options, you’ll want to choose the most coverage you can afford.

Obviously, get the coverage(s) in place as most likely to least likely if affordability is an issue.  Even with disaster insurance, look at the details of the policy and coverage options.  Your state department of insurance may track types of disasters and losses for your area.  This information may help you decide on types of coverage.

It’s also important to remember the effect of any type of disaster.  Loss of income insurance should be discussed.  Often, we forget about the down time a disaster will bring to the business.  Loss of income insurance can cover the liabilities and owner’s income while reopening the business after a disaster.  Check with your agent about this important coverage.  Often, it is added as an option and sold as a separate policy.

In closing, also consider all the coverage with one insurance company.  Generally, multiple policies are afforded discounts whether personal or business insurance.  Don’t hesitate to ask your commercial broker if discounts are available.

How To Determine Business Risk

Tuesday, September 18th, 2012

We are asked from time to time how to determine business insurance needs, and we tell those who ask that in the end, that determination rests with the owner.

All too often, we hear from people after a disaster, “I thought it was covered under my business insurance.” This is exactly the kind of surprise we do not want people to experience. And it is an easy thing to get with your licensed insurance professional to make sure coverage is adequate.

All businesses need some kind of business insurance in order to be fully protected, and there are many kinds of coverage available.

Some kinds of insurance are mandatory in many states. Vehicle and workers compensation insurance are examples of mandatory insurance. But do not be fooled into thinking that those are the only kinds of coverage which are mandatory, or that those are the only kinds of coverage your business will need.

Below is a list of kinds of insurance available to businesses. For purposes of this list, we assume that property, general liability, and workers compensation are already part of your present package.

Business interruption insurance: This covers losses and expenses due to fire or other incidents.  The policy covers salaries, rent, utilities, and even lost profits.

Directors and Officers Liability: This protects the officers and board members from suits brought against the company and its officers.

Employment practices liability: This covers against lawsuits of sexual harassment and wrongful termination.

Errors and Omissions: Also known as professional liability insurance.  This insurance protects against legal claims of malpractice or failure to perform to professional standard.

Health insurance: Major medical insurance offered to employees.

Product liability insurance: This protects both sellers and manufacturers against defects and injury as a result of product use or components.

Web site insurance: This covers a variety of claims relating to the company website.  It includes copyright infringement, and data breach.

Take this list and compare it to the kinds of coverage you now have. It might be a good idea to talk to your licensed insurance professional about whether those on the list but not currently used by you are important to your business.

Types of Business Insurance

Tuesday, January 17th, 2012

Besides property and casualty insurance, are there any other types of business insurance?

We often discuss the basics of business insurance which includes general liability, property insurance and worker’s compensation insurance. Just like there are numerous types of businesses and industries, there are numerous types of insurance coverage available beyond the basics. As a business owner, you should consider whether your business may need to consider any other types of coverage which may not be included in your basic business insurance policies. Here is an alphabetical listing of some other types of coverage:

  • Business interruption insurance will provide income to cover costs if the business in closed or unable to operate for a period of time;
  • Crime insurance will protect against burglary, theft, and robbery from outside parties and employees.
  • Commercial umbrella policy will kick in if cover limits are exceeded for further protection of business assets;
  • Debris removal is generally not covered in business property insurance;
  • Directors and Officers Liability Insurance is for protecting the officers and directors from lawsuits;
  • Disaster insurance such as flood insurance generally isn’t covered in the property insurance policy;
  • Employment practices insurance deals with hiring and employment issues such as wrongful termination, sexual or other discrimination, privacy issue and more;
  • Equipment breakdown insurance will protect from losses suffered if machinery or equipment vital to the business breaks;
  • Glass insurance is for protection against broken store and plate glass windows repair and replacement;
  • Kidnap and Ransom insurance is designed to protect individual and companies working around the globe; and
  • Professional liability insurance should be considered if you recommend and advise or offer a service such as accounting or law.

In addition to the list above, there are many types of coverage options available. Check with your licensed insurance professional about options that may fit with your specific business and location. The department of insurance in your state can be a very good resource as well.

Voluntary Employee Benefits

Saturday, December 3rd, 2011

What are voluntary employee benefits?

These plans offer employees a benefit, generally with the employee paying 100% of the premium. They are voluntary but the employer will sponsor the plan and allow the premiums to be deducted through payroll then paid by the employer to the company.

As far back as the 1950’s, employers have sponsored forms of voluntary employee benefits. These were payroll deducted so the employee had an out-of-pocket expense for insurance and investment products.

With healthcare costs continuing to increase, employers are looking again to add value to their employee benefits package while trying to keep costs in check. Many businesses will add voluntary employee benefits to enrich their overall benefits package to attract and maintain good employees.

Life insurance continues to be the leading product in voluntary benefits. Short and long term disability, dental, and vision insurance are often products found in voluntary benefit plans. Some newer and growing types of coverage include cancer insurance and critical illness insurance.

Voluntary benefit plans are expanding products and services which included health related discount services, travel services, legal, and mortgage services. Product offerings will continue to expand as companies and employers look to offer new and different packages to their employees.

Volunteer benefit plans are helping businesses round out their employee benefits packages while maintaining costs in this extremely competitive economy. Work with your licensed insurance professional to review your employee benefits package and see if a voluntary employee benefit plan may be a good addition for your business.

Do I need Workers Compensation Insurance

Friday, September 23rd, 2011

Do I need workers compensation insurance?

As a rule of thumb, the simple answer is yes, if you have even one employee. Now, workers compensation requirements differ from state to state with varying options. However, it is also prudent to carry workers compensation with even one employee if not required.

Workers compensation insurance covers medical, rehabilitation costs, and lost wages due to a job related injury or illness. Workers compensation benefits today are quite comprehensive and in addition to those noted, it also includes a death benefit. Unlike other insurance, there is no maximum dollar limit for the employer’s coverage. Required or not, the cost of a serious accident could financially cripple a business and it owners.

While again comprehensive and varying state to state, when the business carries workers compensation, the business is protected from a lawsuit by the injured employee as a result. This ‘no fault’ coverage allows for immediate medical attention and relief for the employer to ligation.

Failure to purchase required workers compensation insurance can be extremely costly. A business would be held to pay all the expenses and also face large fines and penalties. No prudent business owner should expose his business to such high risk. It is also important to note the definition of an employee. If you use subcontract labor take the time to determine how your state defines an employee.

Workers compensation insurance is complicated. Your state department of insurance can offer plenty of guidance and useful information. Talk to your licensed insurance professional as well and make sure your business is covered.

Commercial Insurance Deductibles

Thursday, September 22nd, 2011

Can I raise my commercial insurance deductibles?

First, that question is way too broad. A business may have many types of insurance with many types of coverage and deductibles. Let’s narrow down the question as it relates to specific business insurance.

As a general rule, the insurance carrier who issued the policy will cover the loss up to the specific dollar limit less any commercial insurance deductible. This will save your company in some cases from a cash outlay which could disable or even close your business. The portion not covered by the deductible is what you are required to pay.

It makes sense to review each policy and determine what deductible makes sense today versus when the policy was issued. For instance, say a covered claim is $10,000 and your deductible is $2,500, then the insurance company pays $7,500 and your business is required to pay the remaining $2500. Whether the claim is $2,000 or $40,000, subject to coverage limits (the maximum a policy will pay) your deductible remains at $2,500. So, in the case of the $2,000, it is paid 100% by the business because the deductible was not met.

Commercial Insurance Deductibles can usually be negotiated or have a tier system to choose from. When first starting out, it’s quite possible your business could only afford a minimal deductible. Now, it’s possible that in fact you could cover substantially more for a deductible. Talk with your licensed insurance professional to determine what makes sense. It’s also a good time to review coverage limits as well. If your business has grown, it’s possible your coverage needs to as well.

Property insurance deductibles can also be figured by an individual claim basis or an aggregate basis. Typically, small companies with no or few claims will find the individual claim basis attractive. However, if your company or industry has a large number of claims annually, it may be prudent to look at the aggregate basis.

The best possible way to reduce costs is work with your licensed insurance professional. Review each business insurance policy and together determine what commercial insurance deductibles make sense and offer the protection needed in the event of an incident.

Startup Business Insurance

Monday, September 19th, 2011

Business insurance for the start up company.

Many people have found themselves either totally out of work or, to use a new buzz phrase, underemployed.

This trend has caused many of these same people to look at becoming self-employed and starting a new business. Whether full-time or part-time, it is important these new business owners consider the new risk exposure their venture will bring.

You cannot and should not assume or consider that a homeowner’s policy will cover any of this new risk uncovered by being a business owner.

Most Americans today who are starting a business do not have a large amount of assets such as vehicles and equipment, machinery and a large number of employees. Without being a large business, your insurance needs should be fairly easy to determine.

This is where a Business Owner’s Policy can be a good decision. Sometimes known just as a BOP, this type of business insurance policy can reduce or eliminate a lot of that new risk.

A Business Owner’s Policy normally covers all the basics for your new start up or existing small business. This includes basic property and liability protection for your small business. More often than not, your Business Owner’s Policy can be added to and coverage(s) extended as your business grows.

In addition you also may have the option of adding some additional coverage like business interruption insurance. This coverage will pay normal expenses like mortgages and vendors in the event your business is closed as a result of a fire or other catastrophe.

Review this type of business insurance with your licensed insurance professional and see if it makes sense for your business. Make sure to understand what is covered and any exclusion written in the policy. It’s important to protect both your personal assets and those of your new business.

Business Insurance Basics

Friday, September 16th, 2011

Besides basic business insurance, what other coverage should I consider for my business?

Often, we discuss basic insurance needs for businesses.  These types of insurance include general liability insurance, property insurance, and workers compensation insurance. However, there are a variety of coverage options either available through a rider, or a separate insurance policy which a business owner may wish to consider for their specific business and needs.

Here are some available options in alphabetical order and not in order of any importance.

Business interruption insurance will provide income to cover costs if the business in closed or unable to operate for a period of time.

Crime insurance will protect against burglary, theft, and robbery from outside parties and employees.

Commercial umbrella policy will kick in if cover limits are exceeded for further protection of business assets.

Debris removal is generally not covered in business property insurance.

Directors and Officers Liability Insurance is for protecting the officers and directors from lawsuits.

Disaster insurance such as flood insurance which generally isn’t covered in the property insurance policy.

Employment practices insurance deals with hiring and employment issues such as wrongful termination, sexual or other discrimination, privacy issue and more.

Equipment breakdown insurance will protect from losses suffered if machinery or equipment vital to the business breaks.

Glass insurance for protection against broken store and plate glass windows repair and replacement.

Kidnap and Ransom insurance is designed to protect individual and companies working around the globe

Professional liability insurance should be considered if you recommend and advise or offer a service such as accounting or law.

There are many types of coverage options available. Ask your licensed insurance professional about options that may fit with your specific business and location. The department of insurance in your state can be a very good resource as well.