Just started a small business? Liability insurance should be high on the to do’ list. First, what qualifies as business/company?
*A commercial activity engaged in as means of livelihood/profit.
Second, what does liability mean?
*An obligation legally binding a company to settle debt. When liable for a debt, responsibility is for the debt or settling a wrongful act they may have committed.
*Company: liability is recorded on the balance sheet and include accounts payable, taxes, wages, accrued expenses, and deferred revenues.
*Current liabilities are debts payable within one year.
*Long-term liabilities are debts payable over a longer period.
Liability is the basis of civil or criminal suits against a business for product, service, or related wrongs/damages. In view of this, insurance can be broad or industry specific.
*General liability insurance coverage
o Will vary by plan chosen and by insurance firm providing coverage, but in general, protects business against financial loss resulting from claims of injury or damage caused to others by you or your employees.
o Related optional coverage on a general form includes (but is not limited to):
*Automatic Additional Insured-Coverage is automatically provided when required in a written contract, agreement or permit.
*Personal and Advertising Injury. Covers certain offenses you or your employees commit in the course of your business, like libel or copyright infringement.
*Employment Practices Liability-Covers claims, legal defense costs, for certain lawsuits brought by your employees or job applicants
*Defense Costs-legal expenses for certain liability claims brought regardless of who’s at fault.
*Medical Expenses- Pays applicable medical costs if someone is injured.
*Premises and Operations Liability-Provides coverage for bodily injury and property damage sustained by others on premises or resulting from business operations.
Owner(s) may need to investigate the needs of their specific profession when applicable. For instance, is your business providing counseling or other psychological services? Psychologists and counselors have applicable liability insurance for employees, patients, and clients seeking retribution for perceived wrongs. Contractors are another example of a profession needing specific types of coverage: property, equipment, and employee liability packages. Are you a doctor interested in starting a private practice? A computer technician looking to start an incorporation of networking solutions to the public?
Seller/manufacturer of a specific or various products?
Product liability can become an issue in considering coverage.
*Product Liability: Legal responsibility of the manufacturers,retailers to the buyers for damages or injuries caused by the use of defective products including: contamination of food,improper label warnings,defective parts in automobile industry etc.Compensation can be claimed on the basis of negligence,absolute responsibility,breach of guaranty.
The list of business types, services, and products does continue, of course, so it helps to keep a few things in mind as you search for adequate coverage. A useful checklist when shopping for liability insurance would include:
____Will you need a package of different policies to cover the territory covered by your industry?
____Find a specialist broker who can help you determine industry/field/product/service specific needs and applicable coverage
____Subscribe to membership in a professional association wherein colleagues and peers in the same profession/field/industry have located to establish general best practices’ and have recommended coverage-this also a prime opportunity for comparing and contrasting to others in the same boat
____Compare rates from various insurers and recognize there are differences ranging from national insurance providers to state.
Once you procure the right liability insurance you can put you mind at ease as you begin or continue to operate your small business.