There is no way around it. As soon as you operate a business, you are open to exposure. What is exposure? In the general sense, it is your liability as a business owner or proprietor as you must deal with clients, workers, visitors, guests, and possibly subcontractors, architects, or engineers. Planning ahead, you need to know the right kind of insurance coverage necessary to protect your business in the event of legal issues.
The Comprehensive Business Owners Policy
You could consider the standard business insurance policy one that establishes the basics. In particular, property, general liability, and business income coverage are typically covered. This package combines coverages to both help save money on insurance premiums and for convenience. The policy is tailored to your specific type of business as each classification is different and presents risks unique to each operation.
You can examine your specific exposure and add more lines of coverage to your policy until you are satisfied that you have the best protection to anticipate any possible legal issues that could arise from running your business. Natural disasters, intentional fraudulent acts, and automobile accidents are not typically covered under a standard policy. For those, you would seek to add additional coverage.
Commercial Vehicle Insurance
Just about anything can be tailored to meet your business insurance needs. A commercial motor insurance policy allows you to insure all the vehicles used in the process of conducting your business.
Some key benefits to having commercial vehicle coverage are the high-limit liability available, cover for hire car costs, countrywide exposure, and mechanical breakdown, just to name a few. The fleet of vehicles is usually covered under one policy with the ability to choose between comprehensive coverage, third party fire, and theft or third party alone for each vehicle on the plan.
It is important to recognize that even if you are operating your own personal vehicle assuming it is already covered by your personal auto insurance, this is not sufficient to protect your business in the event of an accident occurring while driving the vehicle as part of the business operations. These are aspects you best go over with your insurance agent or broker to be sure you are not leaving anything to chance.
General Liability Insurance
General liability coverage protects your business if a member of the public or a supplier sustains either bodily injury or property damage resulting from your negligent business activities. While every business has a duty to take all reasonable steps for the safety of others and the community, there can be unforeseen claims that could come your way.
This is often referred to as public liability insurance and is intended to cover loss to third parties because of the business owner’s negligence. Such liability claims could be due to injury, death, or damage to the property of others. Any time you or your employees interact with other people in the course of doing business, you have exposure.
Third-party coverage is not something anyone can afford to go without. A single claim can be enough to put one out of business. Consult your trusted commercial insurance agent or broker to learn more about this exposure.
Cyber-attacks have become almost commonplace in the world of technology these days. The threats can come from anywhere on the globe straight to the systems that you rely on to conduct business. Such attacks can severely impact your business income, cause damage to your systems or result in liability exposure from loss of data or privacy breaches.
Cyber liability is key to protecting a business when the need for reputational repair may come in the form of reimbursement of costs associated with libel, slander, defamation, or possible invasion of privacy. Costs could also be incurred as a result of governmental or regulatory penalties imposed due to breaches of data protection laws. The costs for legal assistance relating to formal investigations by authorities may also be covered under this line of insurance.
A business does not have to do anything wrong to find it is faced with legal issues. Having a lawyer on retainer is a wise move. Having a trusted and reliable insurance company to help and advise you is the best way to anticipate all the possibilities. Part of the package is having a policy underwriter provide you with an engineering report that outlines your operation so that you can learn what the inherent risks are for your particular business classification. That way, you can be prepared by taking on the duty of answering to your specific responsibilities regarding public exposure.
Brooke Chaplan is a freelance writer and blogger based in New Mexico. Her first passion is journalism, but she also loves hiking and gardening. Brooke recommends protecting your business with public liability insurance. Find her on writer and Facebook: @BrookeChaplan; https://www.facebook.com/brooke.chaplan