What Kind and How Much Commercial Insurance Do You Need?

Every business needs commercial insurance of some kind or another, depending on the nature of the business, and in sufficient amounts to protect it from serious, if not fatal, losses and liabilities. Only a serious, thoughtful review of business operations and assets can determine the kinds and amounts of insurance needed for a particular business, though commercial insurance agents should be able to offer some guidance.

In assessing the need for property insurance like commercial building insurance, a business needs to make a thorough review and valuation of its assets. These include real estate, buildings, fixtures, equipment and everything a business owns as tangible property or what accountants term “fixed assets.” The business’s accountants can aid in this review and prevent overlooking assets that otherwise might not occur to the business owner. Once this has been firmly established, then the business needs to weigh the advisability of insuring it for “actual value” or “replacement value.”

A commercial insurance policy for “actual value” means losses to property would only be covered for the actual cost of the property, such as a building or piece of equipment, less depreciation. Insuring the property for “replacement value” would mean the insurance would cover the cost of replacing the loss at current market costs. That is, taking a building as an example, “replacement value” coverage would pay for replacing it at current construction and outfitting costs, whereas “actual value” coverage would only pay for the loss incurred for the original cost of the building less depreciation. The two are very different, have different payouts and carry different price tags, so this issue deserves careful consideration.

Commercial life insurance can cover the lost value of high-producing and valuable employees, and commercial umbrella insurance can provide extra coverage over and above the normal policy amount for only a small incremental cost for additional risk management purposes.

As for liability insurance, other factors require review and consideration. The areas of activity the business is engaged in, and their attendant potential liabilities, need to be assessed. The business owner needs to weigh potential losses that might be incurred through accidents or oversights resulting from the conduct of the business itself. In which areas is the business open to customer or client lawsuits? Which circumstances or activities could result in injury or loss to third parties on the premises of the business or through the conduct of its business operations? These would be quite different for a physician than for an air conditioning/heating repair service, to use just one example.

Again, an experienced, well informed commercial insurance agent can provide invaluable input and advice in these matters. He or she can often identify areas of the business that might not be included in customary policies and which may require special riders to fully protect a business from huge potential losses which the owner, and even the accountant, may miss. Also a good commercial insurance agent can help in finding the most economical coverage for a particular type of insurance important to the business.

Commercial Insurance – What Is The Use?

Every business owner needs commercial insurance of some kind or other. It is definitely classed as one of the most vital purchases for any business. Commercial insurance protects the business and its stock holders against a wide variety of events such as theft, damage to property and liability lawsuits. Any business without commercial insurance is asking for trouble.

The most frequently used types of commercial insurance are property, liability and worker’s compensation.

Property insurance is there to cover the cost of repairing damages to the physical property of the business such as buildings. It can also include coverage for things like machinery (for accidental breakdowns of machinery), debris removal (should your property be hit by an act of God that leaves a huge mess to clean up), builder’s risk (in case damage is caused while construction is taking place), glass (all windows etc), inland marine (for property in transit or other people’s property that is store on your land), business interruption (for recovering lost income and paying expenses while business is unable to continue), ordinance (if you have to tear down a building that is not compliant and then rebuild it), tenant (covers damages to improvements made that were caused by employees), crime (for criminal activity, obviously) and fidelity bonds (losses due to theft by a bonded employee) insurances.

Should you or your business cause injury to a third party, you need liability insurance to cover the expenses laid on you by a lawsuit. This commercial insurance includes errors and omissions (inadvertent mistakes that cause injury), malpractice (damages caused by a professional failing to adhere to the professional standard of conduct), car (for all automobiles used by the business) and directors or officers (for lawsuits directed at representatives of the company) insurances.

If you have any employees involved in the day to day running of your business, especially if the business has a high risk of injury to its employees, the it is a good idea to take out worker’s compensation insurance. This type of commercial insurance covers the expenses incurred by an employee getting hurt through a work related incident. It may also protect you against a law suit by said employee since they will be receiving compensation for their injuries.

When a business owner is looking to start up a new business, the first thing they should do after drawing up the business plan and scouting property is investigate commercial insurance. There is no telling how soon they will need it. However, they also need to bear in mind that a new business is a high risk for insurance companies and so they will get a higher premium than a similar business that has been in operation for years. This means that they should review their policy every year and try to work it down as low as they can. Every good business person is about making the most profit that they can after all and unnecessarily high commercial insurance premiums cut into profits in a big way, but then, so do lawsuits.

Getting Cheap Commercial Insurance

In order to get cheap commercial insurance, you have to know exactly what coverage you need and don’t need. You should also know how to get agents to offer competitive bids rather than attempting to do your comparison shopping online. Using the internet for price comparisons is often recommended, but while this is an effective strategy for retail products, it’s not the best practice for insurance quotes. Before getting into the specifics of lowering your premiums, let’s step back and define what exactly commercial insurance is.

Commercial insurance is a generic term that, depending on package you purchase, offers coverage options ranging from office buildings to the contents of delivery vehicles. Most small and medium size business will purchase a business owner’s policy, or BOP. A BOP typically contains coverage for the building itself, coverage for borrowed and rented vehicles, and business interruption and contents insurance.

Business interruption insurance is designed to cover any loss of income due to loss or damage of assets, while business contents insurance compensates for equipment and assets inside of an office, as opposed to the building itself. The latter two types of coverage are available as add ons, while property insurance is always the default.

Additionally, you can purchase some type of commercial vehicle insurance, such as fleet van insurance or pickup insurance. If the vehicles in your business are used for deliveries rather than just transporting employees in a service business, opt for cargo insurance. A regular commercial vehicle insurance policy will take care of the employees, and any liability to other motorists involved in an accident, but if the items that are being delivered to clients are lost, damaged or compromised you stand to lose future business with your clients.

Talking to several agents over the phone or in person is the most important tip for getting the lowest commercial insurance premium possible. Insurers expect prospective customers to do their pricing on the internet to be reluctant to ask for special discounts. For instance, if you talk to an insurance agent, you can ask if a discount is available if you go a certain amount of time without filing a claim, and you can ask what security measures qualify for discounts.

Most importantly, you can mention quotes you received from other agents, and ask if the one you’re currently talking to can make a better offer. Once they know that you’ve done your homework, and that you’re taking the issue seriously, they’ll be more inclined to offer you Cheap Commercial Insurance.