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Business & Commercial Insurance Information
As a business owner, you need the same kinds of insurance coverages for the car you use in your business as you do for a car used for personal travel -- liability, collision and comprehensive, medical payments (known as personal injury protection in some states) and coverage for uninsured motorists. In fact, many business people use the same vehicle for both business and pleasure. If the vehicle is owned by the business, make sure the name of the business appears on the policy as the "principal insured" rather than your name. This will avoid possible confusion in the event that you need to file a claim or a claim is filed against you.
Whether you need to buy a business auto insurance policy will depend on the kind of driving you do. A good insurance agent will ask you many details about how you use vehicles in your business, who will be driving them and whether employees, if you have them, are likely to be driving their own cars for your business.
While the major coverages are the same, a business auto policy differs from a personal auto policy in many technical respects. Ask your insurance agent to explain all the differences and options.
If you have a personal umbrella liability policy, there's generally an exclusion for business-related liability. Make sure you have sufficient auto liability coverage.
Unfortunately for every business owner, the chances of getting sued have dramatically increased in the last decade. General Liability insurance can prevent a legal suit from turning into a financial disaster by providing financial protection in case your business is ever sued or held legally responsible for some injury or damage.
General Liability pays losses arising from real or alleged bodily injury, property damage, or personal injury on your business premises or arising from your operations.
Broad Range of General Liability Protection
- Bodily Injury, including the cost of care, the loss of services, and the restitution for any death that results from injury
- Property Damage coverage for the physical damage to property of others or the loss of use of that property
- Products-Completed Operations provides liability protection (damages and legal expenses up to your policy's limit) if an injury ever resulted from something your company made or service your company provided
- Products Liability is a more specialized product liability insurance that protects your company against lawsuits from product-related injury or accidents
- Contractual Liability extends to any liability you may assume by entering into a variety of contracts
- Other coverage includes: Reasonable Use of Force; Borrowed Equipment; Liquor Liability; Non-Owned Vehicles (such as aircraft and watercraft); Fire, Lightning or Explosion Damage; Water Damage Liability Protection; Legal Defense Costs; Medical Payments; Personal Injury; Advertising Injury; and specialized liability protection for specific business types
Workers compensation laws were created to ensure that employees who are injured on the job are provided with fixed monetary awards. This eliminates the need for litigation and creates an easier process for the employee. It also helps control the financial risks for employers since many states limit the amount an injured employee can recover from an employer.
Workers Compensation Insurance is designed to help companies pay these benefits. As a protection for employees, most states require that employers carry some form of Workers Compensation Insurance. Workers Compensation Insurance is not health insurance. Workers Compensation is designed specifically for injuries sustained on the job.
In most states, if you have employees, you are required to carry Workers Compensation coverage. Even in non-mandatory states, it can be a very good idea, particularly if you have many employees, or if they are engaged in hazardous activities.
Do I need workers compensation insurance?
Employers have a legal responsibility to their employees to make the workplace safe. However, accidents happen even when every reasonable safety measure has been taken.
To protect employers from lawsuits resulting from workplace accidents and to provide medical care and compensation for lost income to employees hurt in workplace accidents, in almost every state, businesses are required to buy workers compensation insurance. Workers compensation insurance covers workers injured on the job, whether they're hurt on the workplace premises or elsewhere, or in auto accidents while on business. It also covers work-related illnesses.
Workers compensation provides payments to injured workers, without regard to who was at fault in the accident, for time lost from work and for medical and rehabilitation services. It also provides death benefits to surviving spouses and dependents.
Each state has different laws governing the amount and duration of lost income benefits, the provision of medical and rehabilitation services and how the system is administered. For example, in most states there are regulations that cover whether the worker or employer can choose the doctor who treats the injuries and how disputes about benefits are resolved.
Workers compensation insurance must be bought as a separate policy. Although in-home business and business owners policies (BOPs) are sold as package policies, they don't include coverage for workers' injuries.
Liquor Liability Insurance
Serving liquor to patrons is an innately risky activity. No matter how careful you are and how well-trained your staff is, you always run the risk of accidentally serving alcohol to an underage minor, or being sued when a patron of your establishment causes problems after having a drink.
Liquor liability insurance not only helps pay for the cost of defending yourself and your staff during a lawsuit, but it can also pay some or all of the claims (depending on policy limits and deductibles) if your establishment is held responsible.
While liquor liability insurance will not cover cases of willful neglect, it can be utilized for general liquor related claims received by bars, pubs, restaurants, and even for private events. Policies may be designed to include coverage to pay for additional damages to the patron, such as mental distress.
This policy doesn't just cover events that occur when your patrons leave your establishment, but can also cover events, including assaults and batteries, that occur within your bar or club. Policies can be tailored to meet the needs of your individual establishment so that your protection and premium is appropriate for your risk. For example, a restaurant serving wine with food may need different protection than a nightclub serving liquor and no food.
Policies feature a per incident limit as well as a per policy limit. The per policy limit is the aggregate limit for all incidents in the year while the per incident limit restricts the claims payable on each individual incident. Make sure to check the minimum requirements of your state before securing your coverage.