This well-known instance is a great illustration of why companies need business insurance. McDonald’s was able to cover the settlement’s expenses, but any business—regardless of size—could face dire financial repercussions if it were to be sued.
Businesses may also be held accountable for a range of incidents, including property damage, auto accidents, and employee injuries. These things do happen, and business insurance can help you protect your company when they do.
What does business insurance entail?
Businesses are protected by business insurance from the financial losses caused by unforeseen events, such as property damage, lawsuits, lost income, theft, employee sickness and injuries, and workers’ compensation. Simply put, your business insurance reimburses your company for the costs incurred in the event of loss or damage, either completely or in part. Think of business insurance as an extra line of defense.
What does business insurance cover?
The phrase “business insurance”—also known as “commercial insurance”—refers to an overarching concept rather than the name of a potential company insurance policy. In fact, if you research business insurance, you might discover that there are virtually as many distinct plan types as there are businesses. Depending on the level of coverage you choose and the type of insurance you need, business insurance can cover a range of things, including:
- Property damage, liability coverage, and lawsuits
- Vehicle insurance
- Loss of income, employee illnesses or accidents, workers’ compensation, and consumer injuries
- Another choice is a business owner’s policy (BOP). It is an insurance package that includes general liability, business income, and commercial property insurance under a single policy.
Here are three common types of business insurance and the protection they offer:
- Commercial property insurance
The most common types of commercial property insurance policies include business personal property, business income, commercial auto, commercial flood, and home-based company insurance.
The following situations may make buying commercial property insurance necessary. Your store gets burgled and stolen. The cost of inventory replacement and repairs may be covered by commercial property insurance.
The wildfire destroys your property. Property insurance may provide coverage for both income loss and the potential future acquisition of new real estate.
Liability protection plans provide legal liability coverage for all potential legal actions brought against your company. This includes physical injury, property damage that your business creates (as opposed to damage to your business’s property), injury through advertising, unethical hiring practices, and errors or omissions. Common liability policies include general, commercial umbrella, directors and officers, and professional liability insurance.
Liability insurance may be required in the circumstances, such as: a customer slips and falls on your property, becoming harmed. This situation, often known as a “slip and fall,” may result in legal action and medical expenses.
Your accounting company makes a mistake. Your customer must pay hundreds of thousands of dollars in back taxes as a result. Professional liability insurance, also referred to as errors and omissions insurance, may cover these costs.
A phishing email deceives an employee. Private client information is successfully stolen by the criminal. With the help of cyber liability insurance, you can pay for victim compensation, legal costs, and public relations to repair your reputation, and credit monitoring for harmed customers.
- Compensation for workers
Even small business owners need to have commercial insurance policies. Businesses in the US with three or more employees are required by federal law to have workers’ compensation and disability insurance. When an employee is wounded at work and unable to work, workers’ compensation usually replaces legal action and pays your employees for lost wages. Employer’s liability insurance kicks in if neither of those two alternatives leaves enough money to cover an employee’s expenses.
Disability insurance policies may have a short or extended term. Long-term disability insurance is only provided to the wealthy or by the government, whereas short-term disability insurance is provided by the company. It is used for incidents that require more time off work than those covered by workers’ compensation but usually last less than a year. Outside-the-workplace illnesses or injuries may also be covered.
Employee insurance may be necessary in the following situations:
A worker destroys a forklift. They were ignorant of the flat tire. Workers’ compensation may be able to cover such an industrial injury.
Your delivery person is hurt in a car accident. After the accident resulted in them fracturing their leg, they decided to sue you for further compensation. Workers’ compensation and your auto insurance cover the initial costs, but the employer’s liability insurance can help with additional costs relating to the litigation you are facing.
Cancer strikes the front desk employee. Short-term disability insurance may cover 80 percent of their earnings for three to six months.
When do businesses want insurance?
No matter how big or what your company does, having business insurance is a very wise decision. Accidents, natural disasters, and legal actions can happen to any organization, no matter how small or large it is. It’s a regrettable reality of doing business.
You should make sure you are safeguarded in the following situations:
You have employees. Employees are helpful, but they also introduce a whole new realm of potential liability. Make sure you have workers’ compensation, disability, and employer’s liability insurance.
Your business has grown. As your small business grows, so will your need for a business insurance policy. Perhaps you have new property, more employees, or more resources. Update your insurance policies to reflect changes to your business.
You invested in a car for your company. A brand-new automobile, van, or work truck? You should buy auto insurance for the same reasons that you cover your personal automobile.
You require insurance created for your industry. Some industries provide specialized insurance coverage to cover catastrophes that are more likely to occur in a given industry’s line of activity. For example, a photographer’s needs are likely very different from those of a shop or an auto technician.
Your lease recently came to an end. General liability insurance should be purchased every time your company contracts a lease. In fact, many landlords require it.
Local law in your area mandates that you do so. Most US states need some kind of business insurance, whether it is workers’ compensation insurance or commercial auto insurance. Standards for workers’ compensation, unemployment insurance, and disability insurance are also set by the federal government.