As a small business owner, you have worked hard to build your business, attract clients, and become a solid part of your community’s economic growth. You need to protect your standing, your business, and any employees you may have. The law requires some degree of protection. However, you shouldn’t stop at just what is required. It’s wise to protect yourself and your business with the specific type and level of insurance that is appropriate. Here, we will go over what types of insurance for small business are available, what they protect, and why you might consider them.
Florida law requires every business with any number of employees to have some insurance. The requirements vary based on the type of business, the amount of employees, and the equipment used for the business.
- Construction businesses with one or more employees must carry worker’s compensation insurance. This protects you and your employees from costs incurred by on the job injuries.
- Any business that is non-construction and employs four or more people must have worker’s compensation insurance.
- Any business, construction or otherwise, must have commercial automobile insurance for vehicles used in the business.
- Florida state law requires the above; however, particular cities and counties around the state may have additional coverage requirements.
- Aside from legal requirements, various lenders may require business owners to carry other insurance as part of contract agreements.
There are many different types of optional insurance coverage that small business owners should carefully consider.
- Professional liability insurance (also called errors and omissions insurance) protects businesses in such cases that a client sues the business for negligent performance. Care providers such as doctors and dentists use this insurance for protection in malpractice claims. Lawyers, accounting professionals, and engineers also commonly carry this insurance. Any (including small) business owner who provides services or products to clients in exchange for a fee will benefit from having this insurance. Even if you are not at fault, legal defense fees pile up quickly, and this insurance protects you from that.
- General liability insurance protects businesses from claims of injury or damage. This includes accidents such as slips-and-falls, injuries caused by products, and damage to a client’s property that is a result of using a service or product.
Property insurance is another optional insurance and comes in a wide range of options dependent on your business and its assets. The best way to choose which type of property insurance your small business needs is to evaluate your business, assets, and risks. Then, have a look at several plans and what they have to offer. Consult an insurance provider to guide you through those options. Below is an overview of different levels of property insurance for businesses.
- Machinery insurance provides coverage for property damage that is a result of the malfunction or breakdown of a piece of equipment. Say you own a small coffee shop, and the cappuccino maker explodes. Perhaps it blows a hole through the wall and dumps hot liquid all over your computer/register system. Such incidents, more or less exaggerated, are what this insurance is for.
- Business or income interruption insurance covers loss of income if you are unable to operate due to property damage. If you have to close down your shop, and lose business, to repair that hole in the wall or replace your computer system, this insurance helps.
- Comprehensive property insurance is a broad insurance that cover most non-specific property damage incidents. These could be any number of situations that may include such things as leaky roofs. This is similar to homeowner’s insurance. It may not include specific incidents such as flood, fire, or storm damage.
- Peril-specific insurance is what covers those specifics not included in comprehensive property insurance. If your business suffers damage from a fire, smoke, or a flood, this is the insurance you will be glad to have. It covers structure as well as assets.
- Windstorm insurance is another specific coverage insurance. Hurricanes in Florida are a major concern, and this is an important insurance for small business owners with brick and mortar, as well as home-based, locations to consider.
For Small, Home-Based Businesses
If you have a small business that you run out of your home, you may think these insurances aren’t for you. Whether you have an employee or partner or are the sole employee, you still need insurance for your business. Most homeowner’s property insurance doesn’t cover business expenses. In fact, many specifically exclude business-related property damage. Likewise, certain automobile insurance policies may have regulations regarding incidents while using your vehicle for business related purposes.
Working by and for yourself inside or outside of your home means liability insurance also applies to you. If you work for clients, you need to protect yourself. This includes website start ups, event planners, virtual assistants, and bakers. You name it, and if it includes providing product or service, it needs coverage.
For any small business owner, insurance is necessary. The right type of insurance and level of coverage should fit your business as well as comply with any business insurance laws. When it comes to insuring your business, there are lots of factors to consider, which can be overwhelming and possibly confusing. Check out another article that I wrote “Three Things to Look For In Business Insurance”.
We can help by guiding you through your options and help decide what will work best for you and your business. For more information, or to discuss your needs and options, please contact us today.