Proper Business Insurance Coverage
Trying to determine coverage without the help of a commercial insurance professional can be a daunting task. You need to take the time to meet and discuss insurance needs with the proper information to get maximum value and protection in coverage. Here are some ways to simplify and maximize your time and efforts in determining the proper coverage needed for your business with your broker. Here’s a list of items and documents you should have with you when you meet with your insurance professional:
Business Location(s) Information
Copies of all leases and landlord information
Construction and building types
Square footage / floors
Additional locations where employees may be contracted
Equipment and materials inventory
Vehicles and Equipment
Make, models and color
Mileage and title(s)
Titles and registrations to any trailers and road equipment.
Approved drivers list with drivers license information
Owners, Officer’s and Employee Information
Spouses and children
Date of birth
Social security numbers
Banking and Financial information
Cash flow/Profit and Loss statements
Present insurance declaration pages
Attorney and CPA contact information
Putting together this information and updating it annually will save you time when meeting your insurance agent it will also serve as a great review for your business. Taking the time to meet and discuss insurance needs with this proper information will get you the maximum value and protection in coverage.
By: Niklas Almström, Insurance Advisors, Inc.
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A typical homeowners policy only provides $2,500 of coverage for business equipment, which is most cases is not enough to cover all of your business property. You may also need coverage for liability and lost income. There are three basic choices to insure your home-based business depending on the insurance company and the type of business you have.
- Homeowners Policy Endorsement
You may be able to double your standard coverage for your business equipment such as computers by adding a simple endorsement to your preexisting homeowners policy, you can raise the policy limits from $2,500 to $5,000 for as little as $25. Some insurance companies allow you to increase your coverage up to $10,000 in increments of $2,500. There is also the option to buy a homeowners liability endorsement to cover in the event a client or delivery personnel gets injured on your premises. These policies are usually only available to businesses that have few business related visitors.
- In-Home Business Policy/Program
This provides more comprehensive coverage for liability and business equipment compared to a homeowners policy endorsement. These policies vary significantly depending on the insurer. These policies most often reimburse you for the loss of important papers and records, accounts receivable and off-site business property in addition to the protection for your business property. Some will pay for the loss of income in the event of a fire or other disaster where your home can’t be used for a period of time. Some in-home policies allow up to three full-time employees as well.
- Business Owners Policy (BOP)
These have been created specifically for small to medium sized companies and could be the perfect solution for you if your home-based business operates in more than one location. A business owners policy like the in-home business policy covers business equipment and property, extra expense and liability, and loss of income, but on a much broader scale than the in-home business policy. If you do have employees it does not include workers compensation, health or disability insurance so you would need separate policies to cover those aspects if necessary.
How to prepare your business for extreme winter weather.
With winter right around the corner many businesses are unprepared when normal winter weather turns to extreme winter weather. Many events can occur that could result in devastating losses. During severe cold water or sprinkler pipes can freeze and burst, thus affecting paperwork, records, computers, and machinery. A broken or open window in an un-insulated area can let in enough cold to set off a chain of events, freezing nearby piping and major setbacks. There are some things that you can do to prepare for the winter ahead to avoid these costly problems.
- Update your Emergency Response Program for winter emergencies to include proper procedures for severe cold conditions. Also have someone monitor the weather forecast to plan ahead for these conditions, and procedures for loss of heat or electricity.
- Determine which company processes depend on building heat or electricity for safety and need special attention.
- Identify processes, equipment, and piping that contain or use water or other liquid that is susceptible to freezing, those might need to be drained in the event of loss of heat or electricity.
- Locate building areas that are more difficult to heat, install an ordinary thermometer to monitor temperature during times of severe cold.
- Service the heating system before the winter season begins to insure that everything is working properly.
- Inspect the exterior of your buildings to minimize unnecessary openings, fix windows and doors so that they close tightly. Insulate and weather strip as needed.
What Does a Business Owners Policy (BOP) Cover?
Your business is an extension of who you are and a reflection of all you’ve accomplished so don’t let things damage to the property or injury to others harm it. A BOP combines essential insurance coverage’s, and it also allows for the flexibility to purchase optional, additional coverage to help protect your assets so you can concentrate on what matters most to you, running your business.
The BOP combines coverage for all major property and liability exposures into one package policy suitable for most small businesses. It can be compared to the same way that a homeowner’s insurance policy protects your home and personal belongings. BOP’s combine two of the most important coverage’s for small businesses: Business Liability and Property. This allows you to save money while also protecting your property and belongings.
- Property insurance for buildings and contents owned by the company. There are two different forms, standard and there is special which provides more comprehensive coverage.
- Business interruption insurance, which covers the loss of income resulting from a fire or other catastrophe that disrupts the operation of the business. It can also include the extra expense of operating out of a temporary location.
- Liability protection, which covers your company’s legal responsibility for the harm it may cause to others. This harm is a result of things that you and your employees do or fail to do in your business operations that may cause bodily injury or property damage due to defective products, faulty installations and errors in services provided.