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Business Insurance - What is it? Do I need it?

Anybody running a business, no matter how small, needs to consider business insurance.

Whether you are self-employed or run a small or medium sized business you need a good insurance policy that protects you, your business and your sources of income.

Business insurance comes in many forms, including tradesmen insurance, buy to let insurance and liability insurance, though many business insurance packages will cover all your needs with minimum fuss. No two businesses are the same. For example, the insurance needs for a one-man home business will be different to those of a small hardware shop. For this reason, you need to consider your options carefully.

For most businesses, at least some amount of insurance is compulsory. For example, if you have employees you will need, by law, to have compulsory employer’s liability insurance.

But let’s start with the insurance basics.

The most important thing with any business is to insure your major assets against fire, theft and disaster. In most cases this will be your business premises or your home if you work from home. This should also include vehicles, machinery and other expensive equipment. While this is not strictly compulsory it is essential. If you own premises where you deal with the public, you should have public liability insurance which will cover the cost of any injury or harm to someone on your premises.

Beyond that, you will have a number of business insurance options. For example, you could also avail of product liability insurance, legal expenses insurance and more.

Compulsory business insurance

There are a number of types of insurance that you must have by law, depending on your type of business. In truth, most businesses will need at least one of these. Arguably, the most important is the aforementioned employers’ liability compulsory insurance. This is compulsory if you have staff and will cover you against the cost of claims resulting from injury to your employees while working.

If you use vehicles as part of your business you will legally be required to have motor insurance. If you are using your own vehicle for business purposes make sure you have cleared this with your insurer.

Finally, businesses working in certain areas such as accountancy and law may be required by their professional bodies to have liability and professional indemnity cover. This is a complex area, but to put it briefly, it covers the business’s liability for damage or loss caused by the business or its products or services. It is also possible to purchase a business insurance policy that will provide cover for the directors and officers of a company against their liabilities arising out of running the business.

It is always worth bearing in mind that as your business grows and changes, so too will your business insurance needs. You should periodically check that your business insurance is adequate in terms of what you do, who you employ and the value of your assets. Also, be sure to check if there are any significant changes to your business.

In modern business, a good insurance policy is essential. At the very least it will provide peace of mind and it could save your business.

This article has touched on the basics of business insurance and why it’s needed. But all businesses, no matter how small, should have insurance of some kind. The insurance market has opened up significantly in recent years both in terms of the number of products on offer and the transparency of products. It can be easily arranged but the key is to ensure you get the insurance cover that you need and perhaps the best way of achieving this is to rely on the expertise of your insurance broker.