Most people come to me when they’re in trouble, when something in their life or business has gone very, very wrong. They expect us, as attorneys, to make it all better when in reality, had they done some advanced planning, they could have prevented much of the situation. Specifically, this week brings to mind the various types of insurance available to shield small business, or any business for that matter, from some of the uncertainties of life.
Many of you would not think twice about having homeowners insurance, even if it wasn’t required by your mortgage bank. That’s just one of those “duh” decisions we all make. Afterall, your home is your biggest asset, much of the time. Well, then, why don’t you protect your business with the same foresight as your home, because if you lose your business you could very well wind up losing your home? Now, let me explain but not without complete transparency in that I don’t practice insurance law nor am I affiliated with any insurance entity trying to sell you something. I am simply an attorney offering up one of those “duh” suggestions for business owners.
General Liability Insurance offers asset protection for many aspects of your business which you probably take for granted, possibly because you rent your office space rather than own it. However, this type of policy generally offers broad spectrum coverage not just for personal injuries which may occur at your place of business or in a transaction related to it, but protection for the business itself. Here are some of the items which can be included in such a policy:
- business personal property – your furniture, inventory, computers
- money or securities stored both inside and outside the premises
- loss of business income and extra expenses
- equipment breakdown
- identity theft protection
- computer fraud
- employee dishonesty
- fine arts
- salesperson samples
- sewer and drain back up or sump pump issues
- loss for temperature change
- unauthorized business card use
- valuable papers both on and off the premises
- valuation changes in stock/inventory
- damage to the premises rented by you
- This so-called umbrella policy may even protect you if your business suffers a loss due to a recognized act of terrorism. (Sadly, this is the world we live in now.)
As a small business owner or sole proprietor, I understand that you try to cut costs whenever and wherever possible but not investing in a business general liability and umbrella policy exposes you to potential economic disaster. The premiums are relatively affordable, especially when weighed against the potential financial exposure you risk in the event of a catastrophe, either manmade or through an act of God.