Small business insurance helps you protect your building, business personal property, your employees and your own liability.
In today’s world, there is no two business alike. In fact, many small business owners do not have a brick and mortar place to do business. A lot of small business’ operate out of their home or even wherever they are at the time. If you have a smartphone you can run many businesses from anywhere. In short, what I’m saying here is one size does not fit all. You need to buy the type of insurance that is custom tailored to your business. I’m going to give you a very brief outline of the type of small business insurance you may need to purchase depending on how you run your business.
If you are renting or you have bought a space to run your business from, you will need property insurance. Property insurance covers you for loss or damage of the actual building where your business is located. There are several kinds of property insurance. The building itself, signs and your business personal property, which usually consists of desks, chairs, supplies etc. The best description I have of business personal property is if you picked up the building and shook it, all the stuff that would fall out because it’s not attached to the building is business personal property.
Mobile equipment comes in many forms, shapes and sizes. It can be anything from a backhoe to small hand held tools.Yes, it is business personal property, but it’s mobile and usually is not covered under a business property policy or your business auto insurance. I have a full discussion under the resource area on this page on what constitutes mobile equipment and how it is covered.
Every business owner needs General Liability (GL). General Liability covers you and your employees if your business causes bodily injury or property damage to a customer, employees or the general public. If you own or rent a building it will cover you if a customer slips and falls and hurts themselves while at your place of business. If you are a contractor and someone comes out to the job site to see what you are doing and they get hurt, your General Liability policy will respond. If you damage property of others there is coverage under your GL policy. Every GL policy has exclusions and many of them are written with a specific class of business in mind. My best advice is to read your policy and pay attention to the exclusions and endorsements on the policy. Exclusions take coverage away, they never add coverage. Endorsements, on the other hand, normally add coverage. You need to read both the exclusions and endorsements and ask a lot of questions. Make sure your business exposure is covered.
Many small business owners and even midsize business overlook this important coverage. Yes, you specifically need to add the coverage to your policy. Loss of business income can come in many forms. A good example is recently here in Bend we had a large fire, businesses were shut down and their employees evacuated from their offices and premises. A few of the restaurants were shut down for 3 or 4 days. They not only lost business income, but many of them had to throw away food that they no longer could serve in their restaurants because now it was not fresh. If the power was turned off they lost refrigeration and everything in those refrigerators. Many small businesses could not take new orders during that time and the ability to serve existing customers was hampered. In short, they lost income and in some cases had to spend extra cash getting the word out to customers why they were closed down for operation. This is just one example, there are many reasons why you may not be able to conduct your business as you normally would.
If you drive a business car and it’s owned by the business then it should be insured on a business auto policy. There are additional coverages that business owners need and you do not need on your personal business policy. An example is non-owned and hired coverage. If you send an employee to pick something up so you can finish a job and they hop into their car and while they are on their way to the bank, post office, hardware store, you name it, and they have an accident, your business will be held liable. Why,? Because the employee would not have been in the car at that time unless they were working for you. It was during the course of business and they were performing their job as per your request. I discuss in more detail under the resources on this page.
If you hire employees in the state of Oregon, you’re required to buy Workers Compensation Insurance. There are a few exceptions to this rule. One of them being if it’s a family run and operated business you may not be required to provide Workers Compensation. However, because of legislation in Oregon Workers Compensation is very inexpensive comparative to other states and I normally advise owners to buy it and cover their employees if they get hurt on the job.
Business Owners Insurance policy is a package policy written for small businesses. It normally includes your property coverage for both a building and your business personal property. Plus General Liability insurance and you normally can add business income insurance as well. Many insurance companies tailor these policies to fit certain industries, like hair dressers, veterinarians etc. Often times these policies have a lot of extra coverage thrown in as an added benefit and are priced competitively. If your business will fit into a BOP program that can be the way to go.
However, if you a unique business you may need to tailor your insurance program to fit your risk exposures. Don’t worry many agents or brokers know how to package coverage so that you will be given discounts for buying more than one policy from the insurer. If you have any questions please do not hesitate to give Bancorp Insurance a call at 800-452-6826 or fill out the quote form on the top of this page and we will call you. We’ll be happy to help you find the right business insurance plan that will fit your needs and budget.
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— Conner Ross, Ross Roofing, Brookings, OR
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— Doug & Jana Johnston, Denove Construction & Design Co. Inc., West Linn, OR
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