Commercial Insurance to Consider when Opening a Business

Linda Jenkins, September 14 2017


opening a business

If you’re opening a business, you have a lot of planning to do. When you’re calculating your business expenses, don’t forget to get quotes on various types of insurance. This article takes a look at both insurance you are required to have as a business owner and other types of insurance that you should consider to prevent loss from employee injury, theft, fire, identity, check fraud, or other major catastrophes.




Workers’ Compensation Insurance

If you have any employees besides yourself working in your home or place of business, you are required by law to have an active workers’ compensation policy. For some business owners, the cost of this policy will be rather inexpensive. This is true for businesses that have few employees and are located in a low-risk office space or other environment in which the surroundings and daily activities pose little risk of bodily injury. Even in these cases, though, workers’ compensation insurance is still required.

If you have a restaurant, a service business in which travel is required, a construction business, or another type of business in which the risk of bodily harm or injury is elevated, you may need to set aside much more for workers’ comp (depending on how many employees you have). The cost of workers' comp is based on risk factors and percentage of payroll. Therefore, a low-risk business may pay 20 cents per $100 of payroll, but a high-risk business may pay $30 per $100 of payroll or more.

The cost of not having workers' comp is high. If you get caught operating a business or if a claim is filed against your uninsured business, you could be fined up to $100K and still be responsible for restitution. Working with a payroll provider can make meeting the specific demands of this requirement much easier.


Employee Health

The laws on employee health insurance are changing. What once was a choice is quickly becoming mandatory.  Visit eHealthinsurance to research your options online. The fees for PPO, HMO and Health Savings Accounts vary widely by state. 


Key Person

This is life insurance which covers the owner or other employees key to the operation of the small business. This is important to have from day one as it protects the value of the business until an employee can be replaced or the business itself can be sold or closed following an insured's death.


Flood, Natural Disaster and Fire

Your business should have at least enough fire, flood and natural disaster coverage to cover the replacement value of your business building and contents. This may seem like a high expense for a new business, but imagine being caught up in an electrical fire, earthquake, hurricane, or some other random act of Mother Nature, faulty wiring or plain malice and being forced to start over without any financial help whatsoever. Would you be able to do it? If you plan on getting any business loans, you may be required to have this type of insurance. You should also be very careful that you understand your policy's treatment of floods, as this is often considered separate from other disaster insurance policies.


Identity Theft and Check/Credit Card Fraud Insurance

You may be an entrepreneur working alone on your home based internet business and don’t feel the need for these different types of insurance plans. Have you considered identity theft and check/credit card fraud, though? Guess what happens if you process a credit card with proper credentials and make good on the order only to realize in 6 weeks that the credit card information was stolen.

Here’s what will happen: The credit card company will reimburse the owner of the credit card, but it won’t take the loss; it’s going to deduct the value of the transaction right from your merchant account. You will not only have paid the credit card processing fees, you will have essentially given away product or services. Plus, you may have experienced a particularly bad week or month with a lot of expenses and find that your account is overdrawn by the untimely withdrawal by your merchant account provider.


Business Property and Assets Insurance

Your sellable product isn’t the only thing at risk of damage. You may also have valuable furnishings, equipment, and décor that all need to be insured. Make sure that all your business’ possessions are considered when insuring your business and getting quotes.


Business Owner's Policy

A BOP is an excellent choice for many owners as it combines general liability insurance and property insurance into one policy. Depending on your unique business, you may need to extend or tailor this policy to fit your needs. For example, a dermatologist will need to add a Professional Liability policy in order to protect against claims of negligence. If you are in a high-risk category you may want to consider adding Umbrella Insurance to extend your liability coverage in the event of a lawsuit.


You shouldn’t guess at what plans you will need or how much your insurance will cost. Get insurance quotes from various commercial insurance providers, and be sure to account for all of your anticipated inventory and assets. Hiscox, founded in 1901, is now the #1 online small business insurer and an excellent place to research your insurance needs and get an insurance quote.

 




How to Find Affordable Group Healthcare Insurance

Linda Jenkins, March 30 2015

If you are a small business owner, one of your top priorities should be finding affordable health insurance for you and your employees.

Small group policies insure organizations with two to 50 members that are organized as a corporation, LLC, or partnership. Group policies are usually cheaper than individual plans, and have the flexibility to add members should you take on more employees, partners or otherwise expand your business.

lower healthcare insurance costs

A great way to find the best combination of pricing and coverage is to research your options on an insurance comparison website. You may be asked to submit information about your insurance needs, and can then get free online quotes for your business to find the best rates and coverage. You can also complete the process by submitting an application online. 

One of the best comparison websites is eHealthInsurance. This is the only group insurance site that allows you to compare over 150 companies and 10,000 products at once, allowing you to save both time and money while researching major medical and dental plans from leading companies. Visit eHealthInsurance for affordable Small Business Health Insurance Quotes.

 




How to Lower Health Insurance Costs

Linda Jenkins, January 10 2015

cartoon about health insurance costs by Andertoons

 

Health insurance costs just keep going up. To survive, small business owners must be savvy about how to get the most from providers, spend the least, and still protect their employees. Here are a few quick tips: 


1. Get a High Deductible Policy with HSA
To make the biggest impact in reducing health insurance costs, consider a high-deductible policy. This will dramatically reduce your premiums - up to 50% in many cases. To shield employees from the new deductibles and pharmacy costs, set up a Healthcare Savings Account through a provider such as HSAResources.com. To have the maximum effect, both employees and employers should contribute to the plan on a quarterly basis, and each employee should receive a debit card to be able to pay for costs as they occur.

2. Challenge Your Current Provider
Has your company experienced annual increases to premiums? If so, you must challenge your provider. Let them know that you noticed and are not a happy camper. Review coverages on an annual basis. Threaten to switch providers, if necessary. This simple act alone can often reduce your premiums by up to 15%.

3. Invest in Employee Wellness Programs
Encourage your employees to live a healthy lifestyle and lead by example. The easiest and often most cost effective way to do this is through offering discounts on memberships to fitness clubs. For maximum effect, look for clubs that offer affordable personal training and nutrition classes.

4. Use a Health Insurance Agent or Broker
Health insurance agents and brokers can help you navigate the confusing world of healthcare insurance, and can help negotiate premiums and renewals. To find one near you, visit www.nahu.org and use the "Find an Agent" widget.

5. Compare Group Policies
Use an insurance comparison site to compare the price of multiple policies and group features at once. Read our blog post on finding affordable small business health insurance to learn how to do this.