Learn which types of insurance you need to protect your business from damage or liability
Running a small business is no easy task. You'll face a steady stream of competitors who want to snag your customers. You'll need to adapt to the changing tastes of consumers if you want to keep your sales strong. You'll constantly struggle with hiring the best employees.
But what if you overcome these hurdles only to watch as a customer slips and falls in your store and sues you for the resulting medical bills? What if a cybercriminal steals customer credit card information – a crime that could result in lawsuits from angry patrons? These incidents, and a host of other crises, could wipe out your savings and shut down your business.
This is why it's essential that small business owners invest in the right insurance protection. At a minimum, it must include general business liability and property insurance to protect you financially and help keep your business open.
But that is just the start. Depending on your business, you might need everything from a commercial auto insurance policy to business income insurance to an overall umbrella policy that will protect you from the most expensive lawsuits. If you're worried that your business isn't adequately protected, call your insurance agent. He or she can study your business and determine just how much insurance you need.
Here's a brief look at some of the coverage options small business owners might need to keep their doors open, should the unexpected happen.
Business general liability insurance
All small businesses must invest in general liability insurance. This policy covers any financial damages you suffer if someone is injured while visiting your business and sues you for the resulting medical treatment. It also protects you if your business's products or services injure customers or make them ill.
For instance, say you are using a ladder to stock cans of paint on a shelf at your business. If a can falls and injures a customer, and the customer sues you and wins, liability insurance would pay for the costs of any medical treatments that customer receives. Or, as another example, consider what might happen if a defect in a lawnmower that you sell sends a rock into the eye of a customer. If that customer sues you and wins, general liability insurance would cover the costs of the customers' medical expenses.
Worker's compensation insurance
Worker's compensation is another key type of insurance that your business absolutely needs. It protects your employees if they are injured while working for you, providing them with health benefits and payouts while they are unable to work.
Employees who receive worker's compensation give up their rights to sue you should they injure themselves while on the job. This provides important protection for your business.
Don't try to skip out on this insurance. Every state requires that business owners provide worker's compensation insurance for any W-2 employees. If you don't adhere to this regulation, you can face expensive penalties.