The road to a successful business is never without twists and turns. How do you prepare for the unexpected? Joan M. Kelley, of Ameriprise Financial Services, offers a few ideas for keeping your finances safe while navigating unseen waters.
If you own a small business, you know the importance of maintaining its financial stability. But even businesses with pristine balance sheets can be impacted by events outside their owners’ control. That’s why it’s imperative that the entrepreneurs running them have proper protections in place.
There are steps you can take today to safeguard your company and your livelihood. Here is a primer to get you started.
The Basics of Business Insurance
Different types of insurance can provide different protections for your business. Some of the more common types include:
General liability: This type of insurance provides coverage for legal issues ranging from injuries on your property to claims of libel or slander.
Product liability: Product liability insurance can provide protection against claims relating to defects in the products you manufacture or sell. The level of coverage you would need to cover your risks will depend on the types of products you supply and their potential to do harm.
Professional liability: Professional liability coverage pertains to firms that provide services. This coverage, often referred to as “errors and omissions insurance,” protects against mistakes that could occur.
Commercial property insurance: Just as you need insurance on your home, the same is true for your business property, even if you rent your business space. This insurance can protect the valuable assets in your company from risks such as fire, flood damage, vandalism or theft.
Specialized Types of Insurance
Beyond the basics, there are specialized types of insurance that can provide coverage for the unique aspects of your business.
Business insurance for the home: If you run your business out of your home, it is likely your standard homeowner’s insurance will not cover risks associated with the business. Check your policy to see if separate or additional coverage is needed.
Worker’s compensation: If you have employees, you will likely need to have a worker’s compensation policy in place to cover injuries or deaths that could occur while doing business.
Auto insurance: Vehicles specifically owned by the company require full insurance. Employees using their own cars can be covered by personal insurance policies in most cases but be sure to check with your insurer.
Business interruption insurance: A natural disaster or other catastrophic event could disrupt your business operation for days, weeks or even months. This form of coverage can compensate businesses for income lost during such periods. Generally, it is most suitable for a business that operates from a specific location, such as a retail store.
Cyber or data breach coverage: If sensitive information about employees, vendors or clients is stored within your computers and other devices, there may be a financial impact if your business is subject to a cyber-attack.
Employment practices coverage: Employers can be subject to legal actions from employees and others, including accusations of discrimination, harassment or wrongful termination. Policies are available to protect against these costs.
Directors’ and officers’ liability: This coverage protects individuals in positions of authority in the company if they are sued over business decisions or actions taken.
Life insurance: If you share ownership of the business, think about what might happen to the firm if one of you passes away unexpectedly. Life insurance can be a key part of your company’s succession plan.
Look for Solutions That Are Suitable
There is no “one-size-fits-all” solution when it comes to business insurance. Working closely with financial and insurance professionals can help you assess your needs and determine an appropriate protection strategy.