Business insurance is a broad description that can be broken down into a list of nine types of insurance policies and here I will briefly explain the coverage and expand on these as individual topics. For now, these are general descriptions so that we are talking about the same thing when I use these terms in later articles.
Types of Business Insurance Policies
Property insurance insures against loss or damage to the location of the business and its contents. It can also insure the property of others in your control when the loss occurs. Property insurance can be for a specific risk. For example, a fire insurance policy insures only against a fire loss to the location. A tornado is not a fire and, therefore, that loss would not be covered. The insured location can be owned, leased or rented.
Some insurers will lump property and casualty insurance together and refer to the coverage as “property and casualty” insurance. In fact, “packaged” policies of property and casualty are often the best purchase a business owner can make. However, to have an understanding of the difference between the coverage, I will discuss this as a separate type of insurance. Casualty insurance insures against loss or damage to the business.
The Commercial General Liability program provides protection against claims of bodily injury or property damage for which your business may be liable. Bodily injury or property damage can result from conditions on the premises or operations. Damages can also be caused by a product manufactured or distributed by your business.
Your personal automobile policy does NOT cover vehicles used by your business. If your business uses vehicles or anything that is required to be titled by your state, then you need a commercial auto policy. Commercial auto coverage insures against property damage to vehicles and damage caused to others by those vehicles.
The Workers Compensation program is designed to cover medical expenses and lost wages of employees due to work related injuries or illness. Typically, employer's liability insurance is included in a Workers Compensation policy to provide coverage for the employer against claims from an employee that the injury was caused by the employer's negligence or unsafe working conditions.
In almost every state, businesses are required to buy workers compensation insurance.
Business Interruption Insurance
Business interruption insurance insures against loss or damage to the cash flow and profit of a business caused by the business being unable to operate because of interruption. The easiest example is to think about a critical piece of machinery being struck by lightning. The repairs to the machine may be covered by other coverage such as property or casualty insurance. But, if you can’t make widgets for three months, then there is no replacement of that income without this coverage.
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