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Business & Commercial Insurance Information
Business property insurance policies – sometimes called commercial property insurance – protect your property, as well as inventory or assets, against loss or damage caused by theft, an accident or some other means. Your business property insurance protects you even if the property is away from your place of business when it is damaged or lost. The policy covers your costs to replace or repair the property and, in some instances, compensates you for items that cannot be replaced.
Companies frequently purchase commercial property insurance as a part of a Business Owners Policy, which offers a way for low-risk companies to purchase two of the most valuable types of insurance - business property insurance and commercial general liability insurance – in a single, affordable package.
Commercial property insurance is one of the first types of insurance you should look into when you open a new business. This coverage protects you from some of the risk that the property your company owns could be lost, stolen or damaged.
If you don’t own the building where you do business, you'll only need to cover the building’s contents. The basic commercial property insurance policy protects your investment in fixtures, furniture, office equipment, inventory and the supplies that you store either at your business location or off-site.
Business property insurance premiums will vary depending on whether they cover replacement cost or actual cash value (ACV). A replacement-cost policy ensures that your settlement is based on what you will have to spend to replace the items at current market prices, while an actual cash value policy reimburses you for the property’s depreciated value.
Replacement-cost small-business property insurance policies have higher premiums, but because they allow you to replace all lost or damaged property with new items, such policies can help your business quickly recover from a loss. Also, if you are leasing any equipment, your leaseholder may insist that the property be insured for its replacement value. That’s why most property insurance coverage is written on a replacement-value basis.
However, if your business owns its own equipment, and you could easily replace lost equipment with comparable used goods for the depreciated market value, an ACV policy’s lower premium may be more cost-effective.
We can help you secure the best commercial property insurance for your small business’s budget and needs – whatever those needs may be.
As a business owner, you need the same kinds of insurance coverages for the car you use in your business as you do for a car used for personal travel -- liability, collision and comprehensive, medical payments (known as personal injury protection in some states) and coverage for uninsured motorists. In fact, many business people use the same vehicle for both business and pleasure. If the vehicle is owned by the business, make sure the name of the business appears on the policy as the "principal insured" rather than your name. This will avoid possible confusion in the event that you need to file a claim or a claim is filed against you.
Whether you need to buy a business auto insurance policy will depend on the kind of driving you do. A good insurance agent will ask you many details about how you use vehicles in your business, who will be driving them and whether employees, if you have them, are likely to be driving their own cars for your business.
While the major coverages are the same, a business auto policy differs from a personal auto policy in many technical respects. Ask your insurance agent to explain all the differences and options.
If you have a personal umbrella liability policy, there's generally an exclusion for business-related liability. Make sure you have sufficient auto liability coverage.
Unfortunately for every business owner, the chances of getting sued have dramatically increased in the last decade. General Liability insurance can prevent a legal suit from turning into a financial disaster by providing financial protection in case your business is ever sued or held legally responsible for some injury or damage.
General Liability pays losses arising from real or alleged bodily injury, property damage, or personal injury on your business premises or arising from your operations. The Hartford's liability programs extend far beyond the provisions of typical policies, with broadened coverage and increased limits in over 30 areas.
Broad Range of General Liability Protection
- Bodily Injury, including the cost of care, the loss of services, and the restitution for any death that results from injury
- Property Damage coverage for the physical damage to property of others or the loss of use of that property
- Products-Completed Operations provides liability protection (damages and legal expenses up to your policy's limit) if an injury ever resulted from something your company made or service your company provided
- Products Liability is a more specialized product liability insurance that protects your company against lawsuits from product-related injury or accidents
- Contractual Liability extends to any liability you may assume by entering into a variety of contracts
- Other coverage includes: Reasonable Use of Force; Borrowed Equipment; Liquor Liability; Non-Owned Vehicles (such as aircraft and watercraft); Fire, Lightning or Explosion Damage; Water Damage Liability Protection; Legal Defense Costs; Medical Payments; Personal Injury; Advertising Injury; and specialized liability protection for specific business types
Workers compensation laws were created to ensure that employees who are injured on the job are provided with fixed monetary awards. This eliminates the need for litigation and creates an easier process for the employee. It also helps control the financial risks for employers since many states limit the amount an injured employee can recover from an employer.
Workers Compensation Insurance is designed to help companies pay these benefits. As a protection for employees, most states require that employers carry some form of Workers Compensation Insurance. Workers Compensation Insurance is not health insurance. Workers Compensation is designed specifically for injuries sustained on the job.
In most states, if you have employees, you are required to carry Workers Compensation coverage. Even in non-mandatory states, it can be a very good idea, particularly if you have many employees, or if they are engaged in hazardous activities.
Do I need workers compensation insurance?
Employers have a legal responsibility to their employees to make the workplace safe. However, accidents happen even when every reasonable safety measure has been taken.
To protect employers from lawsuits resulting from workplace accidents and to provide medical care and compensation for lost income to employees hurt in workplace accidents, in almost every state, businesses are required to buy workers compensation insurance. Workers compensation insurance covers workers injured on the job, whether they're hurt on the workplace premises or elsewhere, or in auto accidents while on business. It also covers work-related illnesses.
Workers compensation provides payments to injured workers, without regard to who was at fault in the accident, for time lost from work and for medical and rehabilitation services. It also provides death benefits to surviving spouses and dependents.
Each state has different laws governing the amount and duration of lost income benefits, the provision of medical and rehabilitation services and how the system is administered. For example, in most states there are regulations that cover whether the worker or employer can choose the doctor who treats the injuries and how disputes about benefits are resolved.
Workers compensation insurance must be bought as a separate policy. Although in-home business and business owners policies (BOP) are sold as package policies, they don't include coverage for workers' injuries.
Umbrella Liability Insurance
Umbrella liability insurance for business, also known as excess liability insurance or commercial umbrella insurance, provides additional protection when your business exceeds insurance limits on an underlying policy such as commercial auto or general liability.
For a single premium, umbrella liability or excess liability policies add another layer of protection to any of several other policies that you might hold, including general liability, employer's liability and auto liability to mention a few. For instance, if you have $1 million in general liability coverage and a $1 million umbrella policy, a covered claim settled for $1.5 million, your small business’s umbrella liability insurance policy would pick up the additional amount over the $1 million general liability policy if the particular exposure is not specifically excluded from the umbrella policy.
Excess liability insurance is generally the most affordable way to get higher policy limits on several other small business insurance policies. However, you should note that umbrella liability insurance does not extend the coverage limits on an an errors and omissions or professional liability policy.