Understanding Your Small Business Insurance Needs with CoverWallet

 

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I have been working for myself for nearly a decade, but I have only recently started to think of myself as a small business owner. As a freelance writer, I thought I could opt out of many of the expensive aspects of traditional entrepreneurship.

I thought I had no need for things like small business insurance. After all, I have no employees and an office that is not is open to the public. I always assumed there was no need for me to carry insurance for my one-woman business.

Unfortunately, that attitude could have gotten me into some pretty hot water. And I’m very lucky that my belated realization that I need to treat my business like a business never caused a financial disaster.

The fact is that every business owner–no matter how small–should protect themselves with insurance. But it can be tough to know exactly what kinds of insurance you need and when you need it most. Every small business has different insurance needs based on its industry, location, and size. And getting the right coverage package can feel confusing.

CoverWallet is an online small business insurance platform that can help you figure out your coverage needs and find the policies that will make the most sense for your business. CoverWallet makes researching and buying business insurance as simple as any other internet shopping.

Here’s what you need to know about getting the small business insurance coverage you need:

Why You Need Small Business Insurance

The law requires some businesses to carry certain types of small business insurance. For a cash-strapped entrepreneur, skipping the optional insurance may seem like an easy way to reduce overhead. This was my belief for the first few years of my freelancing career. But skimping on your insurance needs means you might be flirting with disaster.

What kinds of disasters might you face? First, are legal types of disasters. Dealing with a lawsuit costs time and money your business can’t afford. Getting appropriate coverage will help you and your business weather any potential lawsuits without it affecting your continued success.

Then there are natural disasters. The hurricane that leaves your showroom hip-deep in water. The fire that destroys your warehouse. The earthquake that cuts off your internet service for weeks. Having the right insurance will mean you are prepared to rebuild after a fire, flood, or act of God.

Finally, there are man-made disasters, such as theft or vandalism. Your small business insurance will cover you in case of stolen inventory or broken windows.

The good news is that your business insurance premiums are tax-deductible. The insurance you need may not be as expensive as you fear since it will reduce your overall tax burden.

See Also: Small Business Mistakes to Avoid

Common Kinds of Business Insurance

Some small business insurance is required by law. Some may be required by your lender or investors. And some is just a good idea for your protection. It’s important to know about all of these types of insurance. That way, you can determine the best package for your budget and needs.

Legally Required Business Insurance

The legal requirements for business insurance can vary from industry to industry. However, most common legally required insurance policies you may need for your business include:

  • Workers compensation insurance: If you have any employees, you must carry this insurance to cover their income and pay their medical expenses in case they are injured on the job. This kind of insurance also protects you as a business owner. That’s because many worker compensation statutes do not allow an injured employee to sue their employer for most injuries that occur at work.
  • Unemployment insurance: This insurance requirement for employers will guarantee a portion of your employees’ wages if they lose their job. Unlike others on this list, you do not need a specific insurance policy for unemployment insurance, as you pay into federal and/or state unemployment benefits through your payroll taxes.
  • Disability insurance: Depending on which state you live in, you may be legally required to carry disability insurance for your employees. This insurance covers partial wage replacement for eligible employees (generally only full-time employees) if they get sick or injured outside of work. This is only a legal requirement in California, Hawaii, New Jersey, New York, Puerto Rico, and Rhode Island.
  • Commercial auto insurance: If driving is part of your business, then you will also need to carry commercial auto insurance. Remember, this isn’t just for delivery, taxi, or courier business. Real estate agents who sometimes ferry potential clients in their cars will also need to purchase commercial auto insurance to cover themselves. Your personal auto insurance does not cover vehicles you drive as part of your business.
  • Commercial property insurance: Whether you rent or own the commercial property where you conduct your business, carrying this insurance will cover both the building and its contents in the event of a fire, flood, vandalism, theft, or other major covered incident.

Common Additional Business Insurance

Of course, just getting the bare minimum coverage required by law may not be enough to protect you from financial emergencies. That’s why it’s important to look into other types of insurance that can cover your specific small business insurance needs:

  • General liability insurance: While this kind of insurance is not a legal requirement, it’s an important type of coverage that every small business owner needs. This covers the costs of claims made against your business for property damage or bodily harm. For instance, if a customer slips and falls inside your store, breaking her glasses and giving herself a concussion, your general liability insurance will help cover the costs of replacing her glasses and getting medical attention.
  • Professional liability insurance: This kind of insurance helps protect businesses from claims stemming from errors that your business committed. For example, if a client claims that the shampoo that you use as part of your dog-grooming business was used incorrectly and ended up dyeing the pooch bright green instead of ridding it of fleas, your professional liability insurance can help cover the costs to settle the claim.
  • Commercial umbrella insurance: Just like your personal umbrella policy, a commercial umbrella insurance policy extends the limits of your liability coverage and can potentially cover losses that are not covered by other insurance.

See also: The Real Reason You Need Umbrella Insurance

  • Cyber liability insurance: Any small business that may be vulnerable to a data breach that could leak sensitive customer information (such as credit card numbers) should get cyber liability coverage. This insurance will help cover expenses for such an event, including notification costs, credit monitoring for affected customers, fines and penalties, and any losses due to identity theft.
  • Business owners policy (BOP): This type of policy packages together several different types of small business insurance. Usually, BOPs include commercial property insurance and general liability insurance, along with some other types of insurance. Bundling several different necessary insurance policies together in a BOP can sometimes be a cost-effective way to get all the coverage you need without buying several individual policies.

These are the most common types of business insurance. However, there are a number of policies that can get quite specific to your industry and needs. While most small business owners will have their bases covered with some of the above policies, it’s always a good idea to read up on what industry-specific policies experts recommend for your business.

Related: How to Find the Most Profitable Service-Based Small Business for You

CoverWallet Has You Covered

If just looking at the list above has you hyperventilating–after all, needing insurance usually means you need to talk to an insurance agent–there’s no need to worry. The online small business insurance platform CoverWallet has taken the sting out of shopping for small business insurance.

CoverWallet describes itself as a concierge service to help business owners manage their commercial business needs all in one place.

The company partners with insurance carriers to cover 30 different types of business insurance. CoverWallet does not provide the insurance themselves but instead matches business owners with insurers who can offer them the coverage they need. Their partners include many heavy hitters in the insurance industry, including Liberty Mutual, Berkshire Hathaway, Progressive, and AmTrust, among others.

In addition to their coverage options, CoverWallet also has excellent resources for small business owners. You can read through their insurance guide and tips for business owners to better understand your coverage needs.

From there, the site will ask you for some basic information about your business. These questions include:

  • What industry you are in
  • Your history of business earnings and losses
  • How long you have been in business
  • The number and type of employees you have
  • Your business assets
  • Tax filing information

With this information, CoverWallet will then send you quotes from compatible carries who can cover your insurance needs. In general, CoverWallet will get you quotes within one to two business days.

Since CoverWallet does the legwork for you of finding multiple quotes, you can easily comparison shop for the right policy without having to spend days on the phone or in insurance agents’ offices.

CoverWallet can be especially helpful if you need multiple policies for your business. All of your information will be conveniently located on the company’s platform. That means you can access any information you need, view your policies, file any necessary claims, and make your premium payments all from the My CoverWallet dashboard.

CoverWallet also stores all of your insurance certification information on your account. That makes it very easy to get those certificates if you need to submit proof of compliance.

While the CoverWallet online interface is easy-to-navigate and intuitive, you also have the option to speak to a representative via email, chat, or over the phone. Chats and phone calls are answered during business hours (until 6 pm ET on business days), and you can schedule a time for a representative to call you back.

Get a free quote from CoverWallet today!

Make Sure You Are Adequately Covered

For a long time, I thought my business wasn’t big enough for business insurance. But if I want to ensure the continued success of my business, adequate coverage is a must. Every small business owner needs to recognize that not only are they legally required to carry some forms of insurance, but that their future may depend on getting the right coverage.

Previous generations of entrepreneurs could have been excused for procrastinating on finding the small business insurance they needed. Back then, shopping around would take days, if not weeks, and it could be difficult to know exactly what you need.

But now that CoverWallet offers a one-stop-online-shop for all of your small business insurance needs, there’s no reason not to get the coverage that will protect your business. You can learn what you need, get a quote, ask questions, purchase policies, pay your premiums, file claims, and store your insurance certification all in one place.

That kind of peace of mind, all in one place, will help small business owners sleep well at night.

CoverWallet Price: Free quote Everything you need to keep your company protected, at a competitive price. All online, in minutes. Receive customized advice and get free online quotes, in no time. Buy Now CoverWallet We earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase at no additional cost to you.

Do you own a small business? What kind of insurance policies do you carry? Tell us about it in the comments!

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About Emily Guy Birken

Emily Guy Birken is a former English teacher and respected personal finance blogger. She lives in Milwaukee, Wisconsin with her engineer husband and two high-energy little boys. She has written four books: The Five Years Before You Retire, Choose Your Retirement, Making Social Security Work For You, and End Financial Stress Now. Emily's thoughts on parenting and life in general are found at The SAHMnambulist.