Whether you are planning to start a business or are currently establishing the foundation of a new one, small business insurance can help you secure the future of your venture. Starting a business is a significant financial investment, which is why you should devote all of your resources to protecting it. Small business insurance can protect your venture from a complete shutdown if a disaster occurs.

Here is a guide to help you protect your small business with the right insurance policy.

Small Business Guide to Commercial Insurance

You have to navigate many risks and challenges as you operate your business every day. You have to oversee your equipment, furniture, supplies, and inventory. Business insurance covers you if something goes wrong. Perhaps your building is damaged due to a fire, explosion, or extreme weather. Someone may also try to vandalize your property or steal your inventory. The right small business insurance policy will protect you against such catastrophes.

Once you start researching business insurance, make sure to contact a licensed broker who has a track record of providing excellent service. When you set up a meeting, the broker will ask you for more information regarding the type of business you have and the industry you work in. If you have an existing policy, the broker will review it. They will check to see if you have any gaps or errors in your policy. The goal is to help you find the best coverage for your unique business needs.

Types of Small Business Insurance Policy

Business Owners Policy

A Business Owners Policy provides property, liability, and business interruption coverage under one policy. As a small business owner, this is an efficient way to add multiple coverages at once. Keep in mind that most Business Owner Policies have strict guidelines that you must follow.

Liability Coverage

Liability coverage is an important part of your business insurance policy. Commercial auto liability coverage protects your vehicle in multiple ways. Premises liability coverage protects your business if someone gets injured on your property. Product liability coverage protects you if someone gets injured from trying one of your products. If you perform work on a contract basis, you are covered if damages occur as a result of your completed work

Workers’ Compensation

Workers’ compensation protects your business if any of your employees are injured on the job. The injured employee receives benefits, which prevents your business from dealing with a potential lawsuit.

Umbrella Insurance

Umbrella insurance covers your business when you are dealing with a serious liability issue and are at risk of exceeding your policy limits. It can also fill in your coverage gaps to help you avoid potentially huge financial losses.

Guide to Property Insurance For Businesses

Regardless of the type of business you have, you must protect your base. Whether you operate your business in a large building or an office, accidents can happen at any time. Property insurance prevents you from suffering huge losses by covering your business if your office or building is damaged, vandalized, or completely destroyed.

Commercial property covers all of the personal items used to operate your business. All of your equipment, supplies, furniture, and inventory are covered if they are damaged due to a natural disaster or extreme weather. You can amend your policy to cover exterior parts of your property, such as the fence or any landscaping, if they are damaged. Because your business may have a limited budget, you must try to minimize potential risks. Commercial property insurance covers you if an unforeseen issue arises. You also risk damaging the reputation of your business if you don’t have the necessary coverage in place.

You’ll still have to add extra coverage to supplement your commercial property insurance policy in the event of an emergency. For example, you’ll need flood insurance to cover your business if your building or inventory is damaged due to heavy flooding. In the unfortunate event of an earthquake, you will also need coverage to protect your business. You can also amend your policy to cover you against the natural erosion of your inventory and building. Business interruption coverage protects your business if you are unable to operate due to a power outage or another type of natural disaster.

What Does a Commercial Property Insurance Policy Cover?

Commercial property insurance covers any buildings that you use to operate your business. This also includes any equipment and other fixtures. The personal property of others that is stored at your business is also covered.

Commercial Property Insurance Quote

You want to find a policy that fully covers your business in the event of a disaster. On average, a commercial policy will cost you around $2500 annually. You may have to pay a little more to include coverage for disasters such as wind, water damage, and fire damage.

Who Needs Commercial Property Insurance Coverage?

If you own commercial property, you need coverage. If you have a work from home business, you will still need commercial coverage for your property. You will also need coverage if you lease some space to other parties.

Commercial property insurance policies are considered complex because there are so many layers to them. Relying on a guide to small business insurance can help you make the right decision. If you have additional questions about business insurance, contact the experts at First Insurance Solutions today. We are eager to help you with all of your coverage needs.

Allegations of negligence may cause your business to be involved in a serious liability dispute. To be prepared for any situation, you must learn about the different types of negligence accusations. Ordinary negligence and professional negligence accusations can lead to expensive litigation disputes, which may cost you a lot of time and money. Even if you are innocent, your business’s reputation may be damaged and result in you losing customers.

Here is a closer look at negligence in business.

● Professional Negligence

Professional negligence occurs when your business doesn’t provide a suitable amount of care. Professional negligence differs from ordinary negligence because your clients are hiring you to do a specific job. That means that you have a higher duty to provide care. The stakes are much higher than if you damage someone’s property by speeding or someone accidentally slips and falls on your property. The majority of professional negligence claims involved lawyers, doctors, and consultants. However, any business that provides a service is at risk of being sued for professional negligence. While you may be innocent, your business could lose a lot of money going through the litigation process.

● Handling Allegations

The court will assess your Negligence & Business Duties. Your case will be examined through a foreseeability test. This test will determine if you knew that your actions would hurt your clients. The court will also use a multi-factor test. A multi-factor test looks at the extent of the damages and whether you could have used another option to prevent the damage from happening. If the court decides that you used foreseeable actions that lead to a loss, you will be charged with professional negligence.

● Preventative Methods

It is in your best interest to avoid a negligence lawsuit. Even if you are innocent, simply being accused may cost you future revenue and existing clients. You have to make sure that you keep your clients happy. Provide timely service and always adhere to the best practices in your industry. Memorize all of your state’s duty of care laws. Try to document all emails and other forms of communication between you and your client.

● Insurance Company & Negligence

Mistakes can happen at any time. Professional Liability Insurance helps protect you against liability risks. It will cover any work-related errors, missed deadlines, and unacceptable service and also cover your legal defense costs if you are sued. In most cases, your clients will want to see proof of your professional liability coverage before you start on a project.

● Cyber Liability Coverage

Cyber liability coverage protects your business if you suffer a data breach. Third-party coverage is especially important because you will be protected if a client sues you for failing to prevent a data breach that causes them damage.

● Common Liability Coverage

Common Liability coverage helps protect your business if your negligence leads to someone getting injured or having their property damaged.

Negligence in business can happen at any moment. However, the right insurance coverage will help you navigate these risks and avoid being found guilty of negligence. If you have additional questions about business insurance, contact the experts at First Insurance Solutions today. We are eager to help you with all of your coverage needs.

While 40% of small businesses don’t resume operations after a catastrophe, those with a continuity plan reopen more easily, as reported by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). Some of the ways to create a business continuity plan include identifying the biggest potential risks, purchasing the right business insurance coverage, and protecting your data in the cloud, as per the Small Business Administration (SBA). Lawsuits and property claims can cause a significant drain on tight finances. An appropriate business insurance policy can help mitigate some of the risks of owning a small business.

Here’s a quick look at four insurance policies that can boost your business.

Professional Liability Policy

If you run a service-focused business, such as a consultancy, real estate, or architecture, your clients may sue you if the project does not go as planned. For example, breach of contract and alleged dismal performance are some of the issues for which you can be sued. A professional liability policy protects you against such lawsuits, per the International Risk Management Institute (IRMI). Take note that you don’t actually have to be in the wrong to be the subject of a professional liability lawsuit. Having professional liability coverage protects you whether you are at fault or not.

Property Insurance

Every year, U.S. businesses lose a lot of money due to disasters such as wildfires, hurricanes, and earthquakes. For example, in 2018 alone, the U.S. economy lost more than $50 million worth of insured property to natural calamities, as reported by the Insurance Information Institute (III). Other causes of property damage include vandalism and theft, which often significantly affect small business finances. The right property insurance can help your business bounce back after property loss.

Workers’ Compensation Insurance

On average, about 2.8 per 100 workers get injuries or contract illnesses on the job in the U.S. annually, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). That’s why all states other than Texas require  employers with one or more employees to purchase workers’ compensation insurance policies for their employees. This policy covers the medical costs and lost wages for employees who suffer work-related injuries or illnesses, protecting your business from exorbitant claims and financial harm, says the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC).

General Liability Insurance

Over half of small businesses in the U.S. get sued at least once, as reported by the Small Business Administration (SBA). Causes of lawsuits include third-party injuries, breach of contract, employee harassment and discrimination, and intellectual property rights. Litigation not only hurts the business’ finances but also affects the business’ reputation and causes mental hardship to the owner. If you are subjected to a lawsuit, you may have to pay legal fees, claims, and compensation costs out of pocket, and this is what general liability insurance covers.

Consider the preceding four business insurance policies to boost your small business. If you have additional questions about business insurance, contact the experts at First Insurance Solutions today. We are eager to help you with all of your coverage needs.

Data from Statista show that Americans bought more than 6 million cars by the end of 2018, and more than 270 million vehicles were traveling on American roads, including, among others, trucks, buses, motorcycles, and passenger cars. Take note that the majority of these vehicles run on gas or diesel fuel, which means gas is a major business in the US. To give you an idea, per the National Association of Convenience Stores (NACS), more than 122,000 convenience stores are currently selling gas and diesel fuel in the US, generating more than $200 billion sales every year.

This is in addition to over 11,000 stand-alone gas stations across the US that also sell gas and diesel fuel. Still, like any other business, gas stations, too, require insurance coverage to protect themselves from business-related risks. Read on to learn more about insurance plans for gas stations.

General Liability

Under the law, general liability insurance coverage is optional. However, as the owner of a gas station, you should carry this type of insurance because, as the name suggests, general liability coverage protects your gas station against everyday events and hazards including, among others:

• Medical expenses
• Third-party property damage and medical expenses
• Legal costs

As you’re probably aware, there are many potential hazards at a gas station. For example, at no fault of a customer, a pump can malfunction and spill fuel, igniting a fire that damages the customer’s vehicles. In such a situation, your liability insurance coverage would pay for the resulting third-party property damage and medical expenses, if any.

Business Owners Policy (BOP)

Consisting of general liability and other types of asset protection policies, a BOP is usually a particularly important coverage because it covers your business against financial challenges and losses of business assets. Some of the named perils on a typical BOP include:

• Equipment Breakdown – In the event your gas station equipment breaks down, a BOP will cover the repair or replacement costs.

• Buildings and Contents – A BOP covers both movable and immovable assets. In other words, it covers both the building structure and the property inside the building, including interior furnishings. This means that if a named peril, such as an accidental fire burns your gas station store to the ground, your BOP policy will cover both your property and building losses. If the extent of damage forces you to close your business till the repairs are finished, both your repair cost and loss of income are covered by BOP.

• Loss of Electronic Data – If you use digital technology to run your gas station, such as an inventory management system and accounting software, there is a risk you may lose your data due to cyber attacks or hardware failure. This can force you to spend a significant amount of money to recover or restore your data. However, with a BOP, you wouldn’t necessarily have to pay for these costs out-of-pocket.

• Employee Dishonesty Coverage – At a gas station, employee dishonesty comes in many different forms ranging from stealing money from the cash register to fuel theft. Employee theft accounts for nearly 40% of all retail losses, as reported by Retail Knowledge. Fortunately, a BOP can protect your gas station from losses related to employee theft.

Workers’ Compensation

In addition to liability insurance and BOP, you also need to carry workers’ compensation insurance to cover the medical costs related to workplace injury or illness as well as to comply with the law.

Investing sufficiently on your insurance for gas stations can protect you from incurring heavy losses in the future. Do you have additional questions about gas station insurance? Contact the experts at First Insurance Solutions today. We are eager to help you with all your coverage needs.

Whether you are an established business or a small start-up, having a business insurance policy is a must. Business insurance can provide coverage for your company against property damage, employee-related risks, legal liability, and damages caused by theft and natural calamities. Despite knowing the importance of having business insurance, some companies refuse to buy it due to the high premium rates. Business insurance rates won’t be expensive for all companies and vary for every company depending on several factors.

Here are the factors that influence business insurance rates:

Your Property

Your business insurance rate differs depending on your property’s location and what you do on and with your property. The former helps determine your surrounding, and the latter enables the evaluation of associated business risks. Insurance providers will also assess the condition of your company’s building before calculating your premium rate. You will need to pay higher premiums if your roof is not in good condition or live in an area that is more likely to cause weather-related damages.

However, you can lower your premium rates by switching to a different location, outsourcing any risky tasks, or fixing your property.

Workers’ Compensation

Having workers’ compensation insurance is essential to compensate your employees for work-related injuries and deaths. Your premium rates may vary based on how much you pay for your employees and what they do for a living. Your insurance provider will also verify your payroll statement.

To lower the premium cost, take the necessary actions that can prevent workplace injuries and accidents. You can train your employees on the rules they need to follow for safe working. Make sure your employees drive safely and wear personal protective equipment if required.

You can appoint managers to monitor your employees and make sure they are safely carrying out all tasks. Screen your employees’ health regularly and replace or repair old equipment and machines to avoid workplace accidents and injuries.

Business Liability

Your liability varies depending on the type and size of your business. Carpenters, hotels, and computer programmers have different liability classifications on their insurance policies.

Insurance providers will verify your sales and payroll statements. Higher sales result in higher liability. More sales mean more customers will come to your company or site. Even if one thing goes wrong, it affects all of them, so your premium rate increases.

You can lower your premium rates by hiring experienced workers, having safety policies in place, and training your employees on safety standards.

One of the crucial factors your insurance provider will look for is how safe your company is. If you run your business without frequent interruptions or losses, insurance providers will consider you less risky and oblige to offer coverage.

Run your business with best practices, work on these factors, and save some cash on your business insurance rates. Are you looking for an affordable business insurance policy? Contact the experts at First Insurance Solutions today. We look forward to assisting you with all your insurance needs.

Your business might have commercial auto insurance to protect your employees and company vehicles from accidents, collisions, theft, and vandalism. However, do you know your employees’ driving record and experience can impact your premium rates and reject claims in certain situations? Many companies hire employees randomly and experience personal injury lawsuits or pay higher premiums. When hiring a new employee for operating your company vehicles, check everything about their driving, including:

Experience or Driving Record

It is essential to thoroughly check the employee’s driving record and experience and make sure their driving history is clean or does not feature any serious violations. If they are inexperienced or faced warnings for violating the traffic or driving rules, your insurance claims might get rejected, or you may end up paying higher premiums.

Contact Previous Employers

You can contact the employee’s previous employers and ask about their driving record while working with them. Such communication will help you get some handy information about the employee, and you can decide accordingly.

Prior Experience

Check if the employee has any prior experience in operating any other vehicle than their own.
Besides these, you must watch out for these red flags as well before hiring a new employee:

Speedy Driving

Going beyond the speed limit is illegal and can result in penalties and suspend the driving privileges for up to one year. Two or more tickets a year on the driving record for speedy driving is a sign of violation you must consider.

DWI/DUI

Either driving while impaired by drugs (DWI) or driving under the influence of alcohol (DUI) is a crime and results in penalties. If your prospective employee has been warned or penalized for this reason, you should reconsider hiring them or ask the reason behind that incident.

Excessive Acceleration

Accelerating too quickly or fast can be dangerous, as it causes unwanted noise, which can disturb or divert others and may result in accidents or collisions. Excessive acceleration is illegal and considered a violation. Check if your prospective employee has got previous warnings related to such issues.

Lost or Inactive Driver’s License

You must check whether the employee has a valid driver’s license. As per the law, every driver should have a valid driving license. If an employee involved in a car accident does not have a license, your insurance won’t cover the accident and pay for the damages.

Accidents

Check for any accidents on the employee’s driving record, both professionally and personally.

If you want to avoid paying higher premiums, being liable for the damages, or any unnecessary hassles, make sure to check these things before hiring a new employee.

Hiring an employee who has a clean driving record ensures that you are hiring a responsible person to operate your company vehicles, which can save you time and money in the long run. Are you looking for the best affordable commercial auto insurance? Contact the experts at First Insurance Solutions today. We are ready to answer all your insurance-related questions and help you with your coverage needs.

After going through the repercussions of the pandemic, it’s time to rebuild your small business. However, rebuilding your small business after COVID-19 can involve several risks, from liability issues to threats of physical damage. Re-imagining the way you do things is key to business success.

Take Stock of the Books

It is important to understand the level of damage in terms of losses, deficits, and debt, so you can design a concrete plan to move ahead. Analyzing the books can also help you uncover any payments owed to you or costs you can cut back on, giving you the power to make decisions that benefit your business.

Does Your Business Model Need to Evolve?

The cultural shifts that come with COVID-19 are forcing businesses to evolve fast. For example, you may have to sell your products or services online if you were not doing so. There are several ways to rebuild a small business and see how yours can respond to changing community needs.

Funding the Future of Your Business

With a plan in place, you may also need some capital to kick-start things. Your financial forecast must be well-thought-out, with a solid repayment plan to back it. If you can raise funds from friends and family, consider designing an appealing pitch.

Set New Goals and Timelines

Putting timelines to every task and deciding who it will be assigned to is key to rebuilding a small business after COVID-19. Many small businesses also get family members to pitch in. So, be open to asking for help. Delegation and doing things on time is key.

Design a Crisis Strategy

Since small businesses are vulnerable, developing more than one business model is a good idea. Having lean teams with diverse skills, building a remote work plan, and having some form of insurance to mitigate such disasters will help you rebuild your small business after COVID-19 faster.

Follow these tips to help your business overcome the challenges. Also, get the right business coverage to protect your company during a crisis. For assistance, contact the experts at First Insurance Solutions. We will help you get the best insurance plan for your business.