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Businesses face many risks from physical damage to lost revenue to personal injury court cases. To stay afloat after losses, businesses can purchase many types of business insurance that cover liability and direct damage as well as protection for employees. Consider which types of insurance work best for your company.

What types of business insurance are available?

Your business can buy a range of insurance to protect against both general and specific types of damage. Coverage to consider:

General business policies

Many different businesses purchase these types of coverage for everyday operations:

  • General liability. Covers injuries or damage caused by a company’s negligence that are unrelated to the business or profession. It also covers personal injury cases like false accusations and injuries to visitors or customers no matter who’s at fault.
  • Commercial property. Protects you from damage or loss to buildings, contents or inventory caused by covered events or accidental damage.
  • Commercial vehicle. Safeguards liability for car accidents with company vehicles along with options for vehicle property, theft or weather-related damage.
  • Business interruption. Covers lost income because of damage from an insured interruption, such as flood damage to office buildings.
  • Machinery or equipment breakdown. Repairs or replaces machinery and equipment that experience mechanical breakdowns.
  • Inland marine. Protects your goods or equipment from theft or damage during shipment over land.
  • Commercial umbrella. Extends coverage for any liability coverage you have if a claim goes beyond your policy’s limits.
  • Business owner’s policy (BOP). Packages common types of insurance into one policy, including commercial property, general liability and business interruption insurance. You may still need other types of insurance.

Employer policies

You may also need insurance to protect your business from risks as an employer while covering your employees. Types of employer insurance:

  • Workers’ compensation. Pays for employees’ work-related injuries and illnesses to avoid liability court cases.
  • Employee benefits liability. Protects you from accidental errors in your employee benefits program.
  • Employee fraud or crime. Covers financial or physical damage suffered as a result of dishonest employee actions.
  • Employment practices. Protects you against claims that you’ve violated an employee’s personal rights, including harrassment or discrimination.

Specialized risks

Because different industries involve special risks, insurance companies have developed policies to protect those businesses. These include:

  • Professional liability. Protects you if a client suffers an injury, damage or financial loss while following your advice or receiving your services. This coverage is also known as errors and omissions (E&O).
  • Public liability. Covers your liability for injuries that happen because of your company’s negligence, typically on your property. This liability is also covered under general liability.
  • Product liability. Pays for legal defense if a person suffers injuries or damage caused by one of your products.
  • Product recalls. Covers your financial losses when recalling a product.
  • Cyber liability. Protects your business from online risks like fraud and data breaches.
  • Environmental liability. Covers the liability and damage when toxic chemicals or materials get released into the environment.
  • Kidnap and ransom. Pays expenses related to kidnappings for your C-suite or company president, such as negotiations and financial demands.

What insurance is required for businesses?

Although businesses have many options for insurance, only a few types are required, depending on the state. Types of insurance that are commonly required:

  • Commercial auto liability. If you own or use company vehicles, you need liability protection if your vehicles injure other people or damage their property in an accident. Your state may also require personal injury protection or uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage.
  • Workers’ compensation. If you have employees, you’re likely required to buy this insurance to protect against work-related accidents and illnesses.

Which types of insurance does my business need?

The right insurance for your business will depend on several factors, including your business’s industry, size and structure. To narrow it down, ask yourself a few questions about your business:

Key questionsAnswerCoverage you may need
Do you make or sell goods to customers?YesProduct liability insurance
Do your customers come to your business in person?YesPublic liability or general liability insurance
Do you give professional or medical advice?YesProfessional liability insurance
Do you have employees working for you?YesWorkers compensation, employment practices, employee fraud or benefits liability
Do you own business property or equipment?YesCommercial property, equipment breakdown or inland marine insurance
Do you perform business online?YesCyber liability insurance

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