What types of questions should I ask a commercial insurance agent?

UPDATED: Aug 19, 2013

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Asked August 19, 2013

1 Answer

Each business has different insurance needs. Some will require higher liability coverage, while others need to protect merchandise or cover services. No matter what type of business you are going to operate there are some basic questions to ask a potential agent. Protecting your business with adequate insurance could very easily mean the difference between success and failure.

How much property and casualty insurance do I need?
Sometimes grouped together as liability insurance, property and casualty coverage protects you against damages caused through your company. Typically, a company will own a General Liability or Professional Liability policy to cover these needs, based on the type of business.

Does my company need Business Interruption Coverage?
Business Interruption protection is bundled into many commercial insurance packages, and plays the same role as Loss of Use protection in a homeowner's policy. Not only does it provide you with assistance in keeping your business afloat after a catastrophe, it also helps pay the company expenses related to the loss of business operation.

What does the government require?
You may be required to carry a minimum of general liability insurance in order to get a business license. You may also need to have unemployment insurance, Workers Comp, and any policies required by state or local jurisdictions. As Obamacare goes into effect, you will also have to make health insurance available to your employees or face potential penalties.

What other types of coverage do I need?
If your business has a company vehicle, you will need to have commercial auto insurance. If you sell products, you should carry product liability insurance to protect you from damages, injuries or lawsuits related to your products. If you will use rented equipment on the job, it needs to be insured, and if you are renting equipment out, your potential losses have to be protected. Talk to your agent about your company specifics and in return he can put together a Business Owners Policy that combines the coverages you need into a single policy.

What about life insurance?
If you have key employees who would cause an economic loss to the company if they died, you can protect against that loss by insuring the person, even if that person is yourself. Life insurance is never a requirement for your business to operate, but insuring key employees can offset the impact of losing significant employees or partners.

Answered August 19, 2013 by Anonymous

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