By Rebecca Hosley
One element of business that is often overlooked is business insurance. The following five business changes mean it’s time to update your policies.
1. Moving to a New Office
If you went from working at home to leasing an office downtown, more than your address changed. Your insurance needs may be different, too.
When you move to a rented space, your landlord may require you to purchase a certain amount of general liability coverage. Review your commercial property insurance, too. Make sure your policy lists your new address and that it covers big-ticket items you purchased since the move.
2. Hiring an Employee
If you hired new employees last year, you probably need to add them to your workers’ compensation insurance policy (if you haven’t already). Most states require employers to extend this coverage to each employee, but the laws vary depending on where you live.
For example, Georgia requires workers’ comp coverage for companies with three or more employees. New York requires it as soon as you hire one employee. Texas doesn’t require employers to purchase workers’ comp at all. Always check the laws in your state to ensure your business’s compliance.
3. Adding New Services
A new service is another opportunity to serve customers, but it’s also another avenue for lawsuits. An unhappy client can easily accuse your business of incomplete work, professional mistakes, or unfulfilled promises. Defending your business against those claims can be expensive.
If you make a living off your services and advice, you probably already have professional liability insurance. This policy can cover lawsuit costs when you’re sued over flawed service. But if you add new services, you may need to update your policy to explicitly describe what you do.
4. Landing New Clients
Your insurance needs may grow as you serve clients in different industries. For example, let’s say you’re hired to install the network for a new credit union in town. It may require you to purchase a fidelity bond, which is basically a guarantee that if one of your employees steals from the bank, it will get its money back.
5. Driving for Work
If your business owns a vehicle, you usually need a commercial auto insurance policy to cover it. But you might need a commercial policy for your personal vehicle, too.
A personal policy may not protect you if you get into an accident while driving for work, such as traveling to meetings or running business errands. Check with your insurance agent to learn what your policy does and doesn’t cover. They’ll let you know if it’s time to purchase commercial coverage.
If your employees use their own vehicles for business errands, you might want to consider a hired and non-owned auto insurance policy. It can cover accidents that happen during work trips.
The takeaway: Take advantage of opportunities and changes that support your business’s growth. Just make sure your small business insurance keeps up.