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Insuring your business in South Florida is an important part of being a responsible business owner. Having the correct policies can help protect you and your new company from costly accidents and incidents. However, when it comes actually to getting insurance, you may be confused about what kind of policies you need and how much coverage you should get.
No need to worry, though, because today, we will discuss the ins and outs of business insurance so that you can be fully prepared for an accident or lawsuit.
Most insurance policies for business owners are optional and, therefore, not required by the law. However, SOME policies are a must depending on the state you are located in. For example, almost every state requires businesses to have worker’s compensation insurance in the event that an employee gets injured on the job.
Short-term disability is also another insurance policy required by the law in several states, including New York. These insurance mandates ensure that the company can protect its employees if something disables them from working.
Looking at your specific state laws can help you narrow down what is and is not required for your business. This can help you make smarter and more responsible decisions for yourself and your company.
Now, let’s go into detail about your options as a business owner regarding insurance. We will also discuss the benefits of each coverage type and how much you should consider getting.
Sometimes also referred to as business liability insurance or commercial general liability insurance, this type of coverage protects your company from accidents that occur to an individual’s body or property while on company land. Suppose you refuse this type of liability insurance and an accident happens. In that case, you will be forced to pay out of pocket for the expenses.
General liability insurance in Florida is a basic starting point for new business owners. The law does not require general or business liability in any state. Although, if you are only going to opt for the basic amount of insurance for your company, you should strongly consider getting a general liability policy. If an accident does occur and you are found liable, it can result in some hefty out-of-pocket expenses.
According to Harford, the average slip and fall can cost a business owner $20,000 in medical and lawsuit expenses. Therefore, it is recommended that companies purchase a minimum of $50,000 in general liability insurance, this way, they are completely protected in the event of a very bad accident.
Worker’s Compensation insurance in Florida is one of the few insurance policies required for businesses by the law. Therefore, business owners must provide this type of insurance to their employees and can not expect any worker to contribute to the costs of it.
Worker’s compensation ensures that if an employee is injured or becomes ill due to the work environment, they will be compensated for their medical expenses and the cost-of-living expenses while they are out of work. Additionally, if an employee passes away because of their job, worker’s comp can help aid the victim’s family with the costs of their loss.
The amount of coverage you will be required to supply to your employees depends on how risky of a job your workers are participating in. Other factors include the state you are located in and the overall number of staff members you have.
Commercial property insurance is similar to any other type of property insurance; however, it covers your place of business. You will not need this type of coverage if your business functions 100% online. Still, it is recommended if you have a physical location.
You can expect a commercial property policy to protect your building and the equipment inside of it in the event of a natural disaster, fires, thefts, and more. When a disaster destroys your company’s building and the inventory inside, the cost of replacement can be insanely high. Therefore, purchasing an insurance policy BEFORE an unfortunate event happens is a wise and highly recommended decision.
The cost of a commercial property insurance policy will vary depending on your type of business, where you are located, and your company’s value. Each of these factors plays into your estimated risk factor. For example, you will pay less each month if you have a sprinkler system installed and are located in front of a fire hydrant rather than if your building is at higher risk of fire damage.
If your business requires vehicles to operate, such as delivery drivers, transport companies, etc., you will need to purchase a commercial auto insurance policy. Commercial auto insurance will protect your vehicles and those driving them at the time of an accident.
The law mandates that anyone operating a vehicle must have an auto insurance policy. However, many insurance agencies will not provide coverage to your vehicle if it is used for commercial purposes unless you register it as so.
The type of vehicles you have, how many miles are driven, driver history, and the purpose of the automobile will determine how much you’ll pay for commercial auto insurance.
Professional liability insurance in South Florida protects businesses against lawsuits that may arrive due to a negligent employee. For example, some states require lawyers, accountants, and doctors to get professional liability insurance.
You are going to want to consider purchasing this type of liability insurance if your business involves taking on clients. With professional liability insurance, you can be financially protected in the case of malpractice and client neglect.
Many business owners choose to offer short-term disability insurance as a benefit to working at their company. However, there are a handful of states where it is required for employers to provide this type of insurance to their employees. Among these states are New York, California, Rhode Island, New Jersey, and Puerto Rico.
Although it may not be required in your state, choosing to opt-in for short-term disability can greatly help your workers get back on their feet if they become disabled. It is important to understand that there is a difference between worker’s compensation insurance and short-term disability insurance.
To recap, worker’s compensation covers injuries and illnesses that occur to employees while they are clocked in on the job. Short-term disability covers non-work-related injuries, accidents, and illnesses that prevent the employee from working.
Like most homeowners’ insurance policies, you need to purchase a separate policy if you hope for your business to be covered during a flood event. However, a business owner in many high-risk flood areas can purchase a commercial policy through a private insurance agency or opt to get one through the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP).
Remember, if you are in an area with a relatively high risk of flooding, such as in South Florida, you should strongly consider protecting your business with a commercial flood insurance policy. Even if you have a commercial property insurance policy, you will not be covered in the event of water damage due to a flood. This is especially true if the cause of a flood was a storm surge, hurricane, levee breaking, or another outside force.
However, you MAY be covered by your commercial property policy if the flooding occurred from a broken pipe within your building. It is best to speak directly to your insurance provider to gather the full extent of your policy and what it covers.
This type of insurance can help business owners recover lost income if they cannot continue operating their company due to property damage. Your policy will help pay your utility bills, payroll expenses, and other operating costs until you can begin making money again. For example, if you’re business building is shut down due to a fire or other destruction, you will have your policy as a temporary financial solution while you are getting ready to boot up again.
Business income insurance in Florida is not a policy many small business owners consider. Nevertheless, it can be very helpful to those at high risk of experiencing property damage. In addition, it can prevent you from losing your business due to not being able to afford the general costs during a shutdown.
Insurance may seem like an additional expense you just do not want to concern yourself with, but it comes in handy and saves you loads of money when something does happen to hurt your company. So, more often than not, it’s better to play it safe than be sorry when you have to pay out of pocket for property damages or employee/guest injuries.
That said, most business insurance policies are completely up to the business owner’s discretion. Speaking with an insurance agency and familiarizing yourself with the laws in your state can help put you on the right track to protecting your business.
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