Commercial Auto Insurance
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 if 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.
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 (BOPs) are sold as package policies, they don't include coverage for workers' injuries.
Commercial Property Insurance
Commercial Property insurance is a policy for businesses and other organizations that insures against damage to their buildings and contents due to a
covered cause of loss, such as a fire. The policy may also cover loss of income or increase in expenses that results from the
property damage (PD). Commercial property policies may be written on standard or nonstandard forms.
Do you or your business provide professional services or advice to other businesses or individuals? Could your counsel or service
lead to losses by your client for which you could be held responsible? If so, you’ll likely want to purchase professional liability
insurance, also known as errors and omissions insurance (E&O). Claims not covered by general liability insurance that are covered by
professional liability insurance include negligence, misrepresentation, violation of good faith and fair dealing, and inaccurate advice.
In some states, professional liability insurance is required, especially for attorneys and doctors. Legal and medical malpractice insurance policies are special types of professional liability insurance.
There are two types of professional liability polices: claims-made and occurrence. Most professional liability insurance policies are “claims-made,” meaning that the policy must be in effect both when the event took place and when a lawsuit is filed for a claim to be paid. If, however, you change careers or retire, you may want to purchase an “occurrence” policy that will cover any claim for an event that took place during the period of coverage—even if the suit is filed after the policy lapses. Professional liability insurance will pay the cost of legal defense against claims and payment of judgments against you, up to the limit of the policy. In general, coverage does not extend to non-financial losses or losses caused by intentional or dishonest acts. Other fees, such as licensing board penalties, may also be included. Policies will generally have a deductible ranging from $1,000 to $25,000. The amount of professional liability insurance you will need and how much it will cost depends upon the size of your business and the level of risk it poses.
Commercial Umbrella Insurance
An umbrella can help protect against catastrophic lawsuits or judgements. It can also help cover legal fees, libel and slander allegations and may even provide some coverage if you are on a not for profit board of directors. An umbrella or excess liability policy is one that adds that extra layer or blanket over your standard policies. An umbrella usually extends coverage worldwide as well.