There are a lot of fun and exciting things to plan out when you want to start a small business, but figuring out your insurance needs is not usually one of them. For some businesses, professional liability insurance could be all you need. That’s a common choice for online-only businesses like coaches and consultants. But even if your business doesn’t have a typical physical office or storefront, there are some common risks insurance can help protect your small business from.
Please note: This is a contributed post, but all opinions are my own. View full disclosure policy.
Slip And Fall Incidents Involving Non-Employees
Even if you operate your business out of your home, there is a risk for slip and fall incidents you could be liable for. Clients, customers, delivery services, partners, or any third party could file a lawsuit for any injuries sustained on your property. They could demand payment for damages including medical expenses for injuries, “pain and suffering,” and lost wages if their injuries prevent them from working.
Maintaining general liability insurance can help pay these costs, but you should also identify and fix any potential slip and fall hazards to reduce the likelihood of needing to use it. Wet flooring, slippery or icy walkways, carpet, tile, or floorboard damage, and other similar conditions can all pose a risk of injury. Some of these jobs, including clearing snow and ice from walkways and parking lots, can be outsourced to contractors if you’re unable to resolve them yourself.
Breaking, Entering, And Stealing
Theft and break-ins cost businesses of all sizes a lot of money. Each theft, whether large or small, has a cumulative effect on a business. FBI and US Department of Justice Data reports find that 34% of burglaries that happen each year in the US affect small businesses. The loss of a computer or phone alone could be devastating for a business owner.
Simple measures, like installing a security system, can help reduce your risk of theft. Sturdy locks on all doors and windows are a basic necessity. You can also upgrade your system to include motion detectors, video monitoring, an alarm system, and exterior flood lights. If you feel your business is still at a higher risk for a break-in, you can look into a business owner’s policy (BOP) that includes burglary coverage.
Destruction Caused By Water
Water damage can be devastating to any small business. You can lose product materials, inventory, any paper records—or computers with digital records—and even your workspace. Replacing anything damaged or destroyed costs time and money. Without the funds or insurance to cover those costs, your business might not survive.
A variety of things can lead to water damage besides flooding, such as excessive rain or snow, or burst pipes. Pipes can burst unexpectedly, but there are a few things you can do to reduce the chances of that happening. During colder months, aim to keep the thermostat around 55 degrees Fahrenheit. Quickly clear your roof of accumulated ice and snow. Ensure any gutters are cleaned regularly to prevent clogs. Know how to shut off the water main so you can minimize damage if a pipe does burst.
Several types of property damage caused by water are typically covered by a BOP. However, it’s important to note damage caused by flood waters is usually covered under a different insurance plan. If you do unfortunately suffer damage, using commercial restoration services can help you get your business back up and running.
Figuring out your business’s insurance needs might not be the most exciting part of making your entrepreneurial dreams come true. But monitoring your potential vulnerabilities and establishing the right protections not only helps you save money but also keeps you focused on running a successful business.