If you are a business owner, an independent professional or self-employed, business insurance can help to protect you against unexpected costs.
Business insurance can be purchased to cover nearly every risk encountered by your business, but whatever your business, pub, shop, office, guest house etc, there are some basic covers that everyone will need. From there, you can tailor the policy to your individual business and add extras to your business insurance policy.
Some insurance is required by law – if you are an employer you are legally obliged to have employers’ liability insurance to cover the cost of compensating employees who are injured or become ill through work. If your business uses vehicles you are legally obliged to have commercial motor insurance.
Other types of business insurance are optional, such as commercial property insurance, eg for buildings and contents – insure your building against fire and flood and other unforeseen circumstances. It covers the bricks and mortar of a property plus permanent fixtures and fittings. It can also cover against storm damage, subsidence, burst pipes and vandalism, and some insurers will include cover for temporary accommodation should it be necessary. The amount you insure your property for should be based on the rebuild value, rather than the market value, which covers the cost of repairing or rebuilding your business premises. (If you rent, check with your landlord if he holds the insurance cover). Insure contents against damage, theft or loss – the costs of repair or replacement of your stock or equipment will be covered. If you are responsible for items owned by someone else, check they have insurance.
Also optional is liability insurance, which covers the cost of compensation claims following fault or negligence brought against you or your business by customers or members of the public. Employers’ liability covers against claims arising from injury to employees, public liability covers accidental injury to any person or damage to their property, and product liability covers personal injury or damage to property caused by your product.
Use these covers as a base from which to talk to a broker – you will need to add relevant covers for your own business.
You have put a lot into your business – you do not want to pay for covers that are not required, but it’s not worth trying to to save a few pence if you find that you cannot claim for something in the future.