With a continued weak economic outlook, protecting one’s business, assets, and employees from damage, liability, and sickness has never been more important. Insurance takes a large chunk of profits to cover, but it is necessary, and in some cases, mandatory for the business to have insurance. If you’re running a business in 2012, here some tips on recommended coverages, including updated information about the new American Affordable Care Act that was recently upheld as constitutional.
Property Insurance: Property insurance is necessary to insure the property against customer claims. If a customer is injured on your property, for example, in a slip and fall, you will need insurance to cover that customer’s claims. Depending on your policy, property insurance may also cover break-ins and other theft. You may be required to meet certain requirements for the insurance to cover the incident. For example, if an auto mechanic has a tool box full of thousands of dollars in tools and computer equipment, the insurance company may require that the box stay locked while no one is on the premises. If tools are stolen and the box is not locked, the insurance company may not cover the loss.
Disaster Insurance: Disaster insurance covers events such as fires, floods, hurricanes and other disasters. A property insurance policy may or may not cover these items. If it doesn’t, you should have disaster insurance, especially if you live in an area that is often hit with natural disasters or if you are in a questionable neighborhood. Places along the coast should definitely have flood and hurricane insurance. Places in questionable neighborhoods need insurance against arson and other criminal disaster events.
Employee Heath Insurance: As of early 2012, employee health insurance is not required, but should President Obama’s healthcare act stay in force, even small businesses will be required to provide health insurance for their employees. This is another expense for a small business and another insurance to keep track of. If a business does not obtain the required health insurance for its employees, the business could be “fined” via a tax.
When a business provides employee health insurance, it can also charge employees a small fee for partial premium payment. Employees come and go, so the business must have administrative people to manage the policies. Furthermore, the insurance may not take effect until a certain amount of time after the employee is added to the policy. An insurance tracking company with a certificate of insurance tracking can help handle the administrative work adding health insurance for employees creates.
Specialty Insurance: Some businesses need specialty insurance in addition to property insurance, disaster insurance and employee health insurance. For example, auto repair shops need to have garagekeepers’ insurance. Depending on who writes the policy, it may cover customer who get hurt on the premises, theft of equipment, theft of customer vehicles, and employee injuries. Garagekeepers’ also covers accidents that may occur when a technician is test driving a customer’s vehicle or the shop’s vehicles.
No matter the type of business you are in, check the regulations to determine all types of insurance you may be required to carry. Be sure all of your premiums are paid up to date and that your insurance is in full force, as you never know what could happen. Business equipment is generally expensive enough so that the business owner cannot just go out and purchase stolen or damaged equipment. Hiring a company to manage your insurance policies is often the best idea so you don’t inadvertently miss a premium and cause the insurance to be cancelled.