Once they've run a company for a while, many entrepreneurs believe they have covered their business insurance bases. After all, most jurisdictions take a direct approach regarding the coverage they expect companies to carry by passing laws mandating such policies. This leaves business owners thinking they’ve fully protected themselves. Unfortunately, they’re often wrong.
General and professional liability insurance policies are a great place to start. They may even be the only coverage type your company needs. This is a pretty big gamble to take, though, so you must know for sure. While you may have never heard of the business insurance policies listed below, not having them when you need them can be disastrous.
1. Policies for Home-Based Businesses
By the time June 2020 rolled around, more than 40 percent of Americans worked from home full time. Those who work for employers rarely have to worry about insurance costs, but what about budding entrepreneurs who start home-based businesses? Will their homeowner’s policy double as a business insurance provider?
Unfortunately, the answer is “no.” Insurers create these policies without considering potential commercial losses. If you contact your provider, though, they may have options that can help. A simple call could lead to an added coverage area or new policy that covers your work inventory and equipment if problems were to arise.
2. Data Breach Insurance
Computer crimes have long been a serious issue for companies around the world. Unfortunately, the problem seems to be on the rise. Statistics show data breaches exposed over 37 billion private records in 2020. This is the largest number seen since 2005. While small and medium-sized business owners may think they’re safe, they could actually face bigger risks.
Major corporations are certainly more likely to land in the spotlight over data breaches, but they typically already have business insurance to cover such issues. Most times, smaller companies don’t even realize they need such a policy. Since 60 percent of small businesses go out of business within six months of a data breach, though, it’s apparent that this is a serious risk.
Regardless of your company’s size, having coverage for potential data exposure and theft is vital. It only takes a single security flaw or lapse to result in major financial liability, irreparable reputational damage, and even the failure of a business.
3. Commercial Property Insurance
Even with all the commercial resources available to modern businesses, many of them still exist without commercial property insurance. These policies protect you from losses related to damaged or destroyed property and equipment. Why would someone not invest in this business insurance type? It turns out that many entrepreneurs think their general liability insurance covers them.
Unfortunately, that’s not the case. In fact, you can typically expect a general policy to only cover the following issues:
- Harm to reputation.
- Intellectual property infringement.
- Advertising injury.
- Physical harm.
- Property damage.
Keep in mind that a general business insurance liability policy only protects you when others make these claims against you. If your business causes damage to another person’s property, your general policy will help. If damage occurs to your property or equipment, though, you may be out of luck without commercial property insurance.
4. International Insurance
Companies around the globe are increasingly engaging in commerce across international borders. The easy availability of shipping partners and the global access provided by widespread internet access has made this possible. Unfortunately, it has also created new liability issues for companies who may be unprepared for the risks they’re undertaking.
If you intend to expand your commercial footprint or have already done so, international business insurance is an absolute must. When you buy, sell, import, export or engage in any other act of commerce in multiple countries, you’ll encounter varying policies, regulations, and even cultural norms. You also run into novel risks such as foreign product recalls and licensure issues.
If you’re conducting international business, it’s time to reassess your insurance needs.
5. Disaster Insurance
Many companies also lack appropriate business insurance for potential natural disasters. This is another understandable oversight since most believe their commercial property policies will cover them. Unfortunately, that's rarely the case. In fact, basic policies almost never cover floods and earthquakes. Take a moment to assess the potential risks your business faces and check to see if you’re covered.
6. Cargo Insurance
Most companies mail out their items with USPS, FedEx, or other shipping services. If your business ships freight, though, you’re taking on a variety of risks. While shipping via freight is far more economical in many situations, a single incident during transport can cause millions of dollars in lost products and materials.
This is why marine and cargo business insurance has become so essential. If your company plans to ship freight any time in the future, consider getting an insurance quote so you understand potential costs. This is one of the many growing pains of a successful business, but as they say, it's a good problem to have.
7. Product Liability Insurance
Do you sell merchandise on the general market? If so, it’s likely that you need product liability insurance. No matter how stringent your safety measures are, the possibility always exists that a product could harm someone. And even if your items aren’t at fault for an injury, it doesn’t mean your company won’t get named in a lawsuit. Frivolous litigation is a major problem in America, but product liability insurance can still protect you.
Get the Business Insurance Policies You Need
Whether your business is a quaint hometown favorite or you have aspirations of global market dominance, it’s vital that you don’t overlook your company’s insurance needs. Even if you have the policies mandated by law, these are typically only a bare minimum requirement. Failure to understand potential risks and all your coverage needs could prove detrimental to your business.
At Varas Insurance Brokerage, our goal is to ensure your company’s business insurance needs are fully covered. From domestic services to international policies, we offer risk protection for all your organization’s contingencies. Contact us today to learn how we can help you defend your hard work from liability issues.