Business Insurance FAQ's
I'm just getting my business started. Do I need insurance right away?
Yes, because the chance that you could suffer a loss begins with the first day of business. You can’t get help after the fact. If you suffer a loss and have no insurance or have improper or insufficient coverage, there is very little, if anything, your agent can do to help you. You must be prepared for the risks that are inherent in any business and the losses, sometimes catastrophic, that they can cause.

Also, many states and local jurisdictions require that businesses be insured to begin operating. And if you rent space for your business, your landlord probably requires that you be adequately insured as well.
I don't have any major business assets. Why do I need insurance?
Every business has some property. And, when you think about it, your business is your property. Just like your home and your car, your business needs to be protected from loss, damage and liability. In addition, your business is your source of income, so you need protection from the potential loss of that income.

Generally, there are two types of insurance—property and liability. Property insurance covers damage to or loss of the policyholder’s property. And if somebody sued for damages caused by you or your possessions (other than a vehicle covered by your insurance policy), the cost of the suit—both defending it and settling it, if necessary—would be covered by your liability insurance.
Is insurance coverage different for different businesses?
It can be. Many small businesses are now insured under package policies that cover the major property and liability exposures as well as loss of income. A common package policy used by many small businesses is called the Businessowners Policy (BOP).

Generally, these package policies provide the small business owner more complete coverage at a lower price than separate policies for each type of insurance needed. Your agent can help you decide which policy or policies are right for your business. Additional coverage for property, liability or perils or conditions otherwise excluded (e.g., flood protection) can be purchased as endorsements to a standard policy or as a separate, second policy called a difference-in-conditions (DIC) policy.

Because businesses vary, it is impossible to have a standard policy to cover all contingencies. Also, some businesses, regardless of their size, do not fit the profile of a standard businessowners policy. For example, restaurants, wholesalers and garages have special liability needs that are not met in the standard businessowners policy. We can provide you with information so you can choose the right policy (or policies) to protect you and your business.
What types of property do I need to insure?
Your business may not possess all the following types of property, but you can use this list to make sure that you have considered all the property categories and any insurance coverage that may be warranted:
What types of property insurance should I consider buying?
The best thing to do is to take a complete inventory of all your business property, determine all of its value and decide if each is worth insuring. Then check to see that the items on the inventory list are included in the basic business property policy and covered for the correct amount. If not, ask us about the cost of purchasing additional coverage to meet your needs.

You also need to consider your business situation. Are you planning a major expansion? Does your inventory have a decidedly peak season (like a toy store in December)? Or does it fluctuate throughout the year (like a clothing store)? Is your liability limit high enough in light of the new job contract you just signed? Business policies are designed to be added to or subtracted from to meet your needs. Be sure to discuss changes to your business with us so that we can help you ensure your policy still provides adequate coverage.
How much property insurance do I need to buy?
There is no one answer to this because each business is different. You can consult with your Trusted Choice® agent on the monetary limits needed to cover your potential for loss. Obviously, a one-person accounting firm will need to purchase less insurance than a store with a substantial inventory. But each will need to make sure that all necessary business property is covered, that the limits of liability are sufficient to protect the owner and the employees and that loss of income is protected.

In addition, each business has unique needs and situations that must be handled. If the store happens to be located on a flood-prone area, the owner should invest in flood insurance. The accountant may wish to purchase reconstruction-of-accounts-receivable insurance to cover the loss of accounting records. The costs of reconstructing those records, money borrowed because of delayed payments due to the records being lost, and lost payments from those clients whose records cannot be reconstructed are all covered.

Liability protection also will vary from business to business. A retail business is more at risk for potential suits than a business that is not open to the public. Also, in some states, courts tend to respond more positively to lawsuits, increasing both the likelihood of successful lawsuits and the amount of damages awarded. In today's lawsuit-conscious society, higher liability limits are extremely important and relatively inexpensive. We can help you decide how much coverage is needed for your particular business.
Who decides how much my business property is worth?
Property insurance can be purchased on the basis of the property’s actual value, on its replacement cost, or on an agreed amount. The differences among the three are:
Actual Cash Value
The replacement cost of the item minus depreciation. For example, a new desk may cost $500. If your 7-year-old desk gets damaged in a fire, it might have depreciated 50%. Therefore, insurance would pay you $250.
Replacement Coverage
This coverage pays the cost of replacing an item without deducting for depreciation. So today’s cost for a desk of a size and construction similar to the 7-year-old one damaged by fire would determine the amount of compensation. If it costs $500 today, that would be the replacement coverage.
Agreed Amount
Art objects, antiques and other unique items are usually insured at an amount agreed upon when the policy is being written. An appraiser values the goods to be insured and the business owner and the insurer agree upon an amount that the insurer will pay if the goods are destroyed due to a covered peril.

Check your policy. If you prefer replacement coverage and do not already have it, this coverage can be added to your policy. Inflation-guard coverage, which automatically increases your insurance amount a certain percentage, protects against rising construction costs. We can tell you about the costs involved.
 
Everybody seems to be suing everybody else these days. What if someone sues my business?
No business can afford to be unprepared for a lawsuit. Liability insurance protects your business assets when the business is sued for something the business did (or failed to do) that contributed to injury or property damage to someone else. Liability coverage extends not only to paying damages but also to the attorneys’ fees and other costs involved in defending against the lawsuit—whether valid or not.

The standard businessowners policy provides liability coverage, as does a separate policy known as a commercial general liability (CGL) insurance policy. Generally, commercial liability insurance, whether purchased in a separate policy or as part of a standard businessowners policy, will cover bodily injury, property damage, personal injury or advertising injury. The medical expenses of a person or persons (other than employees) injured at the business or as a direct result of the operations of the business are also covered.

Usually excluded from both types of liability insurance policies are suits by customers against a business for nonperformance of a contract and by employees charging wrongful termination or racial or gender discrimination or harassment.

Check with your agent for help finding liability protection covering the situations that may arise in your business.
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710 North Brittain St. * Shelbyville, TN 37162
Phone 931-684-3323 * Fax 931-684-0907
www.HBCowan.com