Business Insurance for Small Business

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Whether you’re a sole trader with one employee (you) or run a construction site with a 20 employees, getting the right insurance cover is crucial for every small business. You never know when things might go wrong, so it’s better to be safe than sorry.

So where do I start?

Business insurance doesn’t have to be confusing and difficult. Business Insurance Finder™ offers tools and guides to explain how it works and help you save money on cover.

What is business insurance and why do I need it?

Accidents can happen and any business runs the risk of losing its reputation, cash flow and ability to survive if disaster strikes. On top of all that, you could even have to dig into your own personal finances.

Let’s say you’re a plumber and you incorrectly fix a pipe for a restaurant which forces it to stop operating for a month. You could be forced to pay out what the restaurant would have earned in that time – all because of a genuine mistake.

This is why business insurance exists. It’s protection for a range of things like getting sued and much more.

Types of risks businesses could face

Injuring someone

You’re a retail owner and someone slips on your premise.

Damaging someone’s property

You own a car wash and one of your employees spills chemical into a car’s interior.

Getting sued for a faulty product

You accidentally sell fruit which is contaminated and your customers get sick.

Giving incorrect advice or service

You’re an architect and you provide a client with a flawed design that needs to be fixed after the building has already been built.

Financial penalties for mismanagement

You could be penalised for breaching occupational health and safety regulations.

Business-specific accidents and damages

Some businesses will need to cover against theft, while others will be concerned about natural disasters like fire.

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Types of business insurance

What type of business insurance do you need?

Make sure you cross these off your list. We’ve made a table to help you determine which of the three main types of business insurance you may need:

If your business…You run the risk of…Insurance can help with…
Product liability insurance
  • Designs, produces or manufactures a physical product (eg, assembly, design firm or takeaway food)
  • Supplies or installs a physical product (eg, electrician, online distributor or retailer)
  • Your product causing damage or loss to people or property
  • Your product failing to fulfil a promise or responsibility
  • Claims of faulty installation
  • Court & legal fees
  • Compensation & damages costs
Public liability insurance
  • Has publicly accessible premises (eg, supermarket, dentist or restaurant)
  • Performs services in public spaces (eg, road workers, personal trainers or event organizers)
  • People injuring themselves on your premises
  • Property being damaged or stolen
  • Claims of negligence or dereliction of duty leading to financial loss
  • Court & legal fees
  • Property damage and loss costs
  • First aid expenses
  • Advertising liabilities
Professional indemnity insurance
  • Gives advice (eg, consulting or medical)
  • Provides a service (eg, building surveyor or IT professional)
  • Claims of incorrect, misleading or damaging advice
  • Accusations of poor or fraudulent service
  • Court & legal fees
  • Public relations fees to protect your reputation
  • Cost of investigation into the claim
  • Compensation & damages costs
Cyber liability insurance
  • Web-based businesses
  • Businesses that rely on digital data
  • Cyber breaches
  • Data theft
  • Business interruptions
  • Court & legal fees
  • Lost business revenue
  • Public relations fees
  • The cost of theft
Management liabilityCompanies with:
  • Team of managers
  • Directors
  • Corporate boards
  • Employee claims for wrongful dismissal
  • Financial penalties for occupational health and safety breaches
  • Financial penalties for directors breaching their duties
  • Court & legal fees
  • Public relations fees
  • Fines
Construction insurance
  • Builders
  • Renovators
  • Construction businesses
  • Site being damaged by natural disasters or other causes
  • Employees being injured on site
  • Physical loss, destruction or damage to the property
  • Legal liability for third-party injury or property damage
  • Expediting expenses
  • Transit of construction materials

In addition to the basic insurance detailed above, there are a number of options available to deal with your specific needs.

These are covered in much greater detail further down, but here are a few examples:

  • Fire and theft cover. If your business is especially susceptible to loss by theft or fire, such as a private theatre or a retail outlet, this can help cover the costs of restoring the building and replacing whatever was damaged or stolen.
  • Management liability. This can protect you from claims arising from your alleged mismanagement of the company, rather than any direct fault of a product or service. These claims often affect your personal wealth as well as that of the business.
  • Construction insurance. This is public liability specifically for situations where you’re building, renovating or extending a home and covers on-site accidents, vandalism and damage from natural disasters.
  • Cyber liability insurance. Cyber risk is a rapidly increasing problem for businesses. If you have any digital assets, such as online finances or confidential data, or you use digital devices heavily for your business, this can help.

How much will business insurance actually cost?

Factors that affect cost

Like most insurance quotes, it depends on circumstance. The amount you pay for cover depends on what type of business you’re running, how many people you employ and what sort of extra risks you run. Chances are if you’re running a light team of four or five librarians, your insurance will cost less than if you have fifty architects planning homes across the country.

What can I do to reduce how much I pay for cover?

The following are some key steps you can take to avoid overpaying for cover you don’t actually need:

Is business insurance worth it? Consider the following scenarios

You’ve worked hard to get where you are. Maybe you built your business from the ground up or you’ve taken it and turned it into something to be proud of. So why risk it? No matter how careful you are, accidents happen, mistakes get made and people file complaints out of anger or spite. Without insurance, one bad situation can put you out of business for good.

What would you do if someone got really sick or a worker was injured on your site? How would you cope if a flood ruined your building or a thief made off with thousands of dollars of stock or private data? These are important questions you’ll need to answer.

Here are a few situations where business insurance just might save you:

You’re running a small medical practice

A patient who sought advice from one of your doctors concerning a medical procedure files a legal complaint against you when the procedure goes poorly. Even though the doctor’s advice was sound and the procedure was botched by someone else, you’d still have to pay thousands of dollars in legal fees to settle it, which insurance would cover.

You own a restaurant

In the course of an evening, one of your waiters trips and spills boiling hot soup on a customer. Business insurance can help you with recompense for the injured person and cover any possible legal fees that you otherwise could face.

You’re the owner of a retail outlet that sells expensive jewellery

Despite the extensive security measures you’ve wisely invested in, a thief manages to break in and get away with thousands of dollars of stock. Without business insurance, you’d either have to accept the loss of whatever unique and pricey pieces the thief got away with or pay to replace it out of your own pocket.

How do I find the best business insurance

When shopping around for insurance, you need to know what you want in order to get the best deal. Here are some simple checks to consider when browsing:

1. Figure out your business risks

Every business is different. Depending on how your business works, you’ll naturally have different risks. Determine the most likely issues to come up and which would be most damaging without insurance. If you have employees, what would happen if they were dishonest or got injured? Do you have a product or service people might be unhappy with? How vulnerable are you to theft or disasters?

2. Compare policies that cover your risk

Once you’ve figured out the risks, you can pick a policy. You might need one of the three main kinds of business insurance or some combination of them. Figure out what special circumstances apply to your business. Are you building homes or moving merchandise? This determines which extras you may need.

3. Picked a policy? Now look at what you are covered for exactly

Ensure you understand the policy you’re taking out. Are you covered for the worst situations? Is your insurance limit high enough to cover your most valuable assets if they get damaged or stolen?

4. Check what’s not covered

This is almost more important than what you are covered for. Every insurer places caveats on claims. These are situations and circumstances where they won’t acknowledge a claim. Investigate these carefully before taking out a policy. We’ve listed some of the most common in the “Exceptions” section below.

5. Consider an insurance broker

Using an insurance broker to choose the best policy for you can save you money overall. Finding the perfect policy can take a long time and can cause a ton of stress. Even after all this, you might end up with an inadequate or an over-the-top policy. Insurance brokers can walk you through the process, assess the biggest risks your business is likely to face and choose the best policy for you.

Small business insurance

Run a small business? Here’s why cover is essential

If you run a small business, you likely don’t have to worry about many of the same problems that a much larger business would face. But this doesn’t mean that you’re home free. Small businesses have a number of unique risks that a larger company doesn’t.

These can include the following:

Frequently asked questions

Does business insurance cover loss of income?

Under business interruption insurance, a business will be covered for loss of revenue that it suffers following an unforeseen event. This means that while the business is being repaired, cash will be provided to account for the loss of revenue but not for personal income.

This typically includes the following:

The benefit will be paid until the end of the business interruption period, which is determined at the time of application. This is known as the indemnity period.

Still not sure? Some final questions you might have

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