Before we delve into the various types of coverage that the small business owner should have, let’s cover a few of the basics. You can use these steps to assess what types of insurance are best for your business and how to best secure the coverage that you’ll need to provide you and your business with adequate protection, as well as minimize risks.
The first thing that you’ll need to do is to access your risks or what’s known as your business’s “level of risk”. Insurance companies determine the “level of risk” that they’ll accept when issuing policies. This process is called underwriting. The insurance company reviews your application and determines whether it will provide all or a portion of the coverage that you are requesting.
Each underwritten policy carries both a premium and a deductible. A premium is the price that you pay for the requested insurance coverage. Premiums vary widely among insurance companies and depend upon a number of risk factors, including things like your business location, building type, local fire protection services and the amount of insurance that you want to purchase.
A deductible is the amount of money that you agree to pay if you make a claim. Generally, the higher the deductible that you agree to pay, the lower your premium will be. However, when you agree to take on a high deductible, you are taking on some financial risk. So, it’s important to assess your own risks before you go shopping!
When it comes to shopping for your insurance coverage, the National Federation of Independent Businesses provides information for choosing insurance, to help you assess your risks and to make sure that you’ve insured every aspect of your business. You can check them out on their website at nfib.com.
If you prefer to do things face to face, like we do, then you would want to seek the advice of a licensed, professional, independent insurance agent!
The extent and costs of coverage vary from company to company. Some brokers specialize in insuring specific types of business, while others can connect you with policies specific to your business activities.
For example, if you operate a tow truck service, you’ll want to find an agent that can help find policies that specifically cover automotive service businesses. Often specialist brokers can get you the best coverage and the best rates.
We’ll find out even more next time in Part 2 of Tips for Buying Business Insurance!