You’ve worked hard to purchase strong, comprehensive insurance for your business because you know that it is as important as are the brakes on your car. One day, it might well be the safety net that saves you from the disaster of property damage, theft, injury or other liability. But how do you know if your coverage is gap-free?
If you are like most entrepreneurs, you have already purchased general liability coverage, most likely in what is known in the industry as a Business Owner’s Policy or BOP. In most cases, your BOP will cover you in the event of injury or property damage to others. Many of these comprehensive packages also cover libel and slander and even injuries or damage caused by a defective product you may have manufactured or sold. In your discussion of coverage and business insurance rates with your agent, you probably went over all of the contingencies covered by your BOP. However, you might not realize that this is only the beginning of the protection you should get.
The exact additional policies you need will depend on the type of business you run. For example, if your company provides advice, counseling or other expert services to clients, you will also need errors and omissions coverage, known in the medical field as malpractice insurance. Should the advice or services you provide cause injury or other harm, you could be facing a massive lawsuit that could bankrupt you, making this type of insurance a must.
If your company has employees, you also need to have workers compensation insurance. This protects you from being sued by one of your workers if he or she is injured on the job. It also helps your employees by assisting with the payment of costly medical bills, physical therapy and other treatments. Failing to have this coverage can be very costly, and it is actually illegal in many states not to possess it.
Even though you probably have general liability coverage through your BOP, you may also need professional liability insurance. This protects you if you are accused of making a mistake or being negligent on the job. If a customer wants to sue you for causing financial or intellectual harm, you need this more specific type of coverage in addition to your general liability.
If you use your personal vehicle for work, your individual auto insurance may not be enough either. Consult your auto insurer to see about business insurance rates that would cover your car or truck, making sure that the coverage you already have is not sufficient before you spend additional dollars on more.
Finally, you should think about the insurance needs you will have even after your business closes its doors. Believe it or not, you could be the target of a lawsuit even after you have retired or your operation has shut down. To minimize this possibility, consider investing in “tail coverage” while you are still in business and your general liability policy is in effect. This coverage will protect you long after your company has ceased to exist or you have retired.
You already know the importance of comprehensive coverage. Now, it’s up to you to discuss business insurance rates and types of additional protection with an agent you trust. It will be one of the best business decisions you ever make.