Insurance is good business

Your insurance broker is one of your key business advisors.

Home-based business

General liability
Auto insurance for businesses
Your insurance broker is a key advisor

While entrepreneurship means that you can "be your own boss", it also means increased responsibility to your patrons, employees and community.
There are many types of business insurance that you can purchase to minimize the impact of a loss:

  • Business income
  • Accounts receivable
  • Commercial general liability
  • Property
  • Crime
  • Commercial automobile
  • Errors & Omissions
  • Directors & Officers

Business owners should meet with their insurance broker at least once per year or any time there are changes in the business or organization that might affect the insurance policy. Keeping your policy up to date will keep you adequately covered.

Home-based business
If you own a home business you will require a policy that your insurance broker can tailor to your specific needs.
It's all about managing risk. You could have more exposure to risk when your business assets are also at your home address. A typical home or condo policy will only cover personal contents, and may not cover the more expensive and specialized items you need to run a business. For example, tools and data, if lost due to a fire, vandalism or theft, would not necessarily be recovered under your home's contents insurance, especially if these items weren't disclosed to the insurance broker at time of policy issuance or renewal. How quickly could your home business recover if you lost supplies, data or items? Here are some examples that would require additional insurance for home-based business:

  • Business contents such as computers, special equipment, tools and commercial products waiting to be shipped would all require special coverage.
  • Hairdressers, aestheticians and massage therapists in home-based salons often have specialty sinks, tables and chairs and expensive products that would not be covered by a regular home insurance policy.
  • Trades-people such as plumbers and auto mechanics sometimes work around the clock and bring their work vehicles and tools to the home.
  • Mini-businesses that some people do as a sideline, such as selling cosmetics or candles, are considered home-based business and may require separate insurance.
  • Home-stay programs or operating a bed-and-breakfast expose owners to risks for which brokers can provide special coverages.
  • Keep in mind that contents used for the business that are mobile, such as a laptop computer, may not be covered in home contents insurance if they are damaged or stolen outside the home.

General liability
Home insurance includes third-party liability, which covers damages if, for example, a guest slips on your door step and is injured. But what if the same misfortune befalls a client who visited your home-based business? If someone who is conducting business or seeking a service from you suffers an injury, your home insurance will not protect you if the injury was work-related. Talk to your insurance broker about how to protect yourself and your home-based business from liability.

Auto insurance for businesses
If you use your car for both work and personal use, you need to insure it for both purposes and this information should be disclosed to your insurance broker. For instance, individuals who engage in a side job that requires delivery of items may find that the products are not insured if stolen from the vehicle. Without the appropriate coverage, in the event of a loss and a claim, and depending on the situation, you could find that you have insufficient coverage. Using your vehicle for work may significantly increase your risk.

Your insurance broker is a key advisor
Commercial insurance policies are designed to indemnify against risks to which businesses may be exposed, but homes and personal property are not likely to be. Specialized coverages, such as business interruption insurance, are available that may make the difference between success and failure for your business venture. Consider your insurance broker as one of your key business advisors, along with your accountant, lawyer and banker.

Additional resources for Business Insurance