So, how can you be sure that your commercial insurance policy is the best fit for your business? Here are eight steps you can take to feel like the confident and successful business owner you are.
1. Meet with an expert – Your local, independent insurance agent
An independent insurance agent understands your business needs because they run a business too. One of the best things you can do is contact your local, independent insurance agent. The reason this is first on our list is because of all the advantages that working with an independent agent provides business owners. To name a few:
- Local support from somebody you know. If you need to file a claim you will know whom to call. Not to mention, if you have questions about your policy you can call your agent rather than waiting on hold for what feels like forever.
- Local-area expertise. They understand the insurance needs specific to your area because they live and work in your community.
- Expert advice and guidance. An independent insurance agent will review your business’ operations to find you the best coverage.
- Support your community. You are supporting a fellow local business when you work with an independent insurance agent.
2. Evaluate all your business’ services
You’d be surprised how many business owners forget to consider all the services they offer when shopping for their insurance. For example, a restaurant that also has food trucks. While they may only use their food trucks for part of the year, it’s important that the trucks and equipment are properly insured. A policy that only accounts for their restaurant may not cover a claim for their food trucks. The restaurant and food trucks require unique coverages that need to be included in their policy.
So, take the time to evaluate the services you offer. Nobody wants to file a claim and discover that their policy didn’t account for part of their business’ services. Talk it over with your independent agent. In some cases, your agent will be able to get your business’ services accounted for in the same policy.
3. Factor in replacement cost to set your policy limits, rather than the market value of your business’ property
Many business owners buy insurance with limits that are the approximate market value of their business’ property. Remember, you are not insuring your building’s market value. Instead, you want your insurance to cover the cost to rebuild your building after a covered loss. This is called replacement cost.
Replacement costs can be higher than the market value. So, it’s important to select a limit that will cover the replacement cost. Otherwise, you may be underinsured. Your local, independent insurance agent will be able to walk you through these limits or evaluate your current policy.
4. Don’t forget liability coverage for your business
Liability coverage is crucial for businesses. Injuries and false advertising are just a couple situations in which your business will be grateful to have liability coverage. It’s hard to put a price tag on this because of how much these situations and legal proceedings can vary. So again, we recommend discussing your potential liability risks with your independent agent.
For contractors, your liability limits are often required by contract with set limits. However, it may be worthwhile to consider additional coverages like Voluntary Property Damage to Others and Errors & Omissions.
5. Be aware of the environment that surrounds your business
Is your state prone to lawsuits? Does your area flood often? What kind of storms and big weather events come your way? Knowing the environment can help you objectively evaluate what additional coverages and limits may be best.
6. Consider cyber liability coverage even if you don’t sell your goods or services online
Generally, your commercial general liability policy will not cover a data breach. Even if your business doesn’t sell goods or services online, you have valuable personal information that hackers may want. Many network hacks start with some sort of phishing scam to infiltrate your network, often through your employees. Imagine if a client’s personal or financial information is stolen from your network – you may be responsible! Consider the cost of losing all the credit card numbers in your business’s database, not to mention the cost to your business’s reputation.
Cyber liability insurance is a coverage you want to have before a data breach occurs.
7. Take advantage of multi-policy discounts
Most insurance companies offer a discount when you purchase more than one policy with them. For example, we offer multi-policy discounts for commercial policies and personal policies. Beyond the cost savings, a multi-policy discount streamlines your bills and renewals. Who doesn’t love a little more time in the day? It also helps you avoid gaps and overlaps that can happen when you have policies with multiple insurance companies. Bonus: You can manage your Auto-Owners policies with our Customer Center app.
8. Check the financial stability of the insurance company
Your insurance policy is only as good as the insurance company behind it. You want a company that is established and will not go out of business after the next big storm. Financial rating services, like AM Best, evaluate and then rate insurance companies’ stability. Did you know we are ranked A++ with AM Best? Now you do!
If you didn’t notice, we highly recommend talking with your local, independent agent. They know what it’s like to work hard to grow a business and how important it is to protect it. To get started, you can find a local, independent agent near you with our Agency Locator.
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Eli Richardson says
I found it interesting when you explained how to find the right insurance plan for you! The other day, my aunt said she wants to invest in opening a coffee shop. My aunt wants to start exploring her insurance options, so I do think your article will help her! Thank you for the advice on assessing your business’s services before buying insurance!