4 Things You Probably Didn’t Know About Business Insurance

By Cathy Habas

Business insurance is a monthly expense that you may often grumble about, but it has saved countless small business owners from financial ruin.

Unfortunately, we live in a litigious society; you never know when an unhappy customer may decide to take you to court. Then there’s the matter of worker’s rights and providing worker’s compensation when an accident happens in the workplace.

In short, insurance is a necessity that prevents your business from toppling over at the slightest gust of wind. There are a range of business insurance options to suit your needs, regardless of your industry.

Here are four surprising things to keep in mind while you shop around for the best policies.

1. Liability Insurance Has Strings Attached

Let’s talk about product liability in particular for a moment. If you manufacture a product, even one that is seemingly benign, there is a chance that someone could get hurt while using your product. And in some cases, the finger might be pointed directly at your company.

Liability insurance protects you from lawsuits that might be related to your product. Sounds great, right? Unfortunately, if the crux of the problem is a workmanship or quality error, you might still be held liable for paying the defendant.

Sometimes additional policies can be purchased to give you extra liability coverage. For those who sell a service instead of a product, an errors and omissions liability policy protects you from being sued for failing to provide the correct advice, or for accidentally damaging a client’s property.

Still, exceptions abound. Make sure you know the exact limits of your particular liability insurance policy so that you know whether you need to purchase additional, specialty coverage.

Related: Do Business Owners Need Identity Theft Insurance?

2. If Your Claim Is Rejected, You Can Push Back

If you have the correct coverage for an event, the insurance company should accept your claim with little fuss. For example, if your business has flood insurance and your business is affected by a flood, the insurance company has a responsibility to fulfill the promises made in your flood insurance policy.

Consider consulting an attorney if the insurance company hassles you in any of the following ways:

  • Denies payment or coverage
  • Delays payment without just cause
  • Does not adequately investigate your claim before denying it

The insurance industry refers to insurance companies that basically scam customers as acting “in bad faith.” Before you buy a business insurance policy, research the company thoroughly. Ask for recommendations from other business owners whom you trust.

3. Non-Owned and Hired Auto Insurance Isn’t Strictly Necessary—But Your Employees Will Love You For It

What’s so special about non-owned and hired auto insurance? It covers any vehicles that aren’t owned by your company and yet are used for company business. Even something as mundane as driving to the office supply store to stock up on printer paper is a business-related task.

If you don’t have this insurance and your employee gets into an accident while out running an errand, their personal insurance will pay for any damages. So why should you bother?

Buying a non-owned and hired automobile policy is a great gesture of good-will toward your employees, because it keeps their personal insurance records clean. Auto accidents, or even speeding tickets, can cause a driver’s insurance premium to rise. It can take years of incident-free driving to lower that premium again, and with some companies, a clean driving record may never again be attainable.

But when your business insurance handles an auto claim, even if it applies to an employee’s personal vehicle, your employee’s insurance premium shouldn’t be affected. This simple policy shows your employees that you have their best interests in mind.

4. Business Insurance Is Beneficial Even if You Are Self Employed

If you are self-employed and your business is unincoporated, you may think that your personal insurance will provide enough protection in the event that you get sued. But if you have any employees whatsoever, your personal insurance policy isn’t enough to cover their actions in the event a claim is filed against your company.

And even if you primarily work out of a home office, your homeowner’s insurance may not cover any business-related losses that happen outside the home, like at a conference or in a co-working space.

Seek Advice to Know Exactly What You Need

The world of insurance may be confusing to the uninitiated, but there’s just one important rule to follow: Always consult someone who truly knows the ins-and-outs of insurance before making a purchase. You can avoid paying for policies that don’t apply to your business, and you can be sure to get adequate coverage. In many cases, insurance quotes are free. Don’t hesitate to shop around!