America. The land of dreams and opportunity so they say. And ‘they’ are correct because nearly 543,000 new businesses open every single month. Statistically speaking, 7 out of 10 new employer firms survive at least 2 years, half at least 5 years, a third at least 10 years and a quarter stay in business 15 years or more. That’s amazing. There is so much that comes with running your own business, but there are three important people every business owner should have – a good lawyer, a good CPA, and a good insurance agent.
If you’ve never bought commercial insurance before, it may sound crazy, but people will typically refer solely to price! Did you know that different companies have different policies and cover different things. While you may think you’re getting a great deal finding out in the middle of the claim that you bought wrong is a hard pill to swallow…Uncovered insurance losses is one of the top 5 reasons business close today. To help you avoid that here’s a couple of steps to help you buy insurance to protect your business.
- Assess Your Needs – No two small businesses are the same so insurance needs won’t be the same either. Ask yourself these questions – “Do I have employees?” “Am I providing health insurance” “Do I do work in an office, offsite, or both?” “Do I own a building?” “Is there equipment that is important for me to perform my job?” “Does anyone have an contract requirements of me?” “Do I give advice or draw plans where I have a professional exposure?” “Do I drive a commercial vehicle or one titled in the business name?” This is a good starting point to pinpoint what types of policies may be important.
- Choose What Types of Policies You Need – The top most common policies for businesses are General Liability, Workers Compensation, Property, Equipment or Inland Marine, Commercial Auto, and Professional Insurance. Each policy does something different. General liability protects a business from damages resulting from their work or defends them in the matter of suits. Workers compensation pays for injured employees. Property policies cover the building, property inside the building, and the potential loss of income if you couldn’t operate within the building for a set period of time. Equipment covers any tools, leased/rented equipment, or large equipment you may use or transport for jobs. Commercial auto could cover your vehicle or pay for bodily injury or property damage that you cause. Professional gives you coverage when your field is an advisory position like a lawyer, personal trainer, or even an insurance agent. There are other policies as well that’s why it’s important to sit down with an insurance professional go over your specific needs.
- Customize It To Your Needs – The days of the one-shoe fits all is long gone. Every single policy mentioned above can be personally tailored to cover what is important to you and not cover what isn’t. If you drive an older vehicle it may not be important to have comp or collision to you; customize the policy to be written that way. This is where a good agent can help. As an agent, it’s important to me to know my customers needs. While I may suggest coverage, ultimately it comes down to what is most important to my customer and that’s how it should be.
- Learn How To Use Your Insurance – When disaster strikes sometimes it’s confusing to figure out what the next step is. Typically one call to your agent can help. They can give you clear directions on who to contact or depending on the company, can even file it for you. The other hard item is deciding WHEN to file a claim. We tell our clients to use their best judgment. If you’re a plumber and cause a pipe to leak and damage $500 worth of clients’ items, but your deductible is $500 it’s probably advisable not to file a claim. Know that if you file too many claims a company may decide that they don’t want to insure you anymore or may charge a pretty penny to do so. How many is too many claims? There is no magic number and it is at the discretion of each individual company.
If you have questions regarding your Oklahoma City business insurance, ECI is always here.