BY: ANDREW STEWART
So, you’ve decided to vacate the stability of your thankless, boring and stressful 9-5 job to become an entrepreneur and venture out on your own. Obviously, you believe you have a higher calling or that you can make a bigger difference doing what you love or what you’re naturally good at. Maybe you’ve always loved cooking or baking and now is the time to start open your food truck or niche market bakery. Maybe you’ve always been athletic and have had an interest in health and fitness, so you’ve decided to become a personal trainer. Whatever calling it was that finally made you say enough is enough and face the fear of failure but with thoughts of freedom and success, kudos to you! because it takes a special type of person to not only start that journey but to see it through all the way to what vision they had in the first place.
Now if you speak with any intelligent business person they are always evaluating the risk of any business action taken against the possible reward of that action. From the day an entrepreneur starts a business, he exposes himself to certain risks. Even before the first employee is hired, a business is at risk, making it important to have the right insurance in place. One lawsuit or catastrophic event could be enough to wipe out a small business before it even has a chance to get off the ground.
Why should you have business insurance? Your business may have many assets: vehicles, office space and equipment, inventory, an indispensable employee or partner and, most importantly, yourself. To protect these assets and to protect your business from potential risks, you should consider getting insurance. Fortunately, business owners have access to a wide range of insurance types to protect them against these dangers. Here are some insurance types that a business must have in place as soon as possible.
Mistakes happen. You, your employees, your equipment or your suppliers could be the cause of mistakes that ultimately end up hurting your customers, your employees or other people who are involved in your business. To protect your business from being sued, you should consider these types of insurance to limit your liability:
- General liability — Covers injury to clients or employees on your premises
- Product liability — Provides protection in the event that your products are defective or cause serious harm to those using them
- Professional liability insurance — Provides protection if you are sued by a client for errors, omissions or negligence when performing professional services
Insurance for Business Property and Earnings or Business owner’s policy (BOP)
A business owner policy packages all required coverage a business owner would need. Based on your company’s specific needs, you can alter what is included in a BOP.
- Property Insurance: If you own your building or have business personal property, including office equipment, computers, inventory or tools you should consider purchasing a policy that will protect you if you have a fire, vandalism, theft, smoke damage etc.
- Business Interruption Insurance: If you need to shut down your business temporarily due to a fire or other peril, business interruption insurance will cover your loss of earnings until you are back in business.
Insurance for Owners, Partners, Professionals
These types of insurance can help protect your business and your family from potential risks:
- Life insurance — Protects your family in the event that something happens to you. This is especially important in the case of a sole proprietorship because the owner is personally liable for all the debts of the business.
- Disability insurance — Will provide you with income for a specified period of time, if you are unable to work due to an injury or illness.
- Partnership insurance or buy-sell insurance — If your business partner passes away, partnership insurance will allow you to purchase the shares and continue running the business.
- Critical illness insurance — Provides you with a lump sum benefit, if you are diagnosed with a critical illness.
By having the right insurance in place, a business can avoid a major financial loss due to a lawsuit or catastrophic event. Speak to your accountant to find out which of these are deductible as business expenses and which ones you will need to pay for yourself as an individual.