When you're on the market for business insurance for your store, you'll find there is no shortage of options available to you. In fact, the amount of information and offers you encounter may be daunting. After all, how do you differentiate between a legitimate offer and an exaggerated sales pitch? What insurance does your business really need to protect you from liability and manage risks? Which type of coverage will safeguard your inventory against theft — both from customers and employees?
Before you let feelings of overwhelm set in, rest assured that the process doesn't have to be a stressful foray into the Internet abyss. At Insureon, we want to make your business insurance experience a streamlined and straightforward one. So before you begin your search, take a look at the seven things you should consider before you sign off on a policy.
Business Insurance Tips for Retail Business Owners
Retail storeowners know that in order for their business to be a success, a business protection plan must be in place. No matter how solid your business practices, customer service, or inventory may be, the fact is that too many circumstances and situations lie outside of your control as a storeowner. That's why business insurance is a necessary investment to protect your store, your inventory, and yourself.
As you explore the different business insurance policies available to your retail store, consider these seven tips for finding a policy that meets your protection needs:
1. Know your insurance needs and risks.
It's time to consider the worst-case scenario in every aspect of your business. It's these vulnerabilities that can leave the best-run businesses on the losing end of a lawsuit. Assess which assets are integral to your business. Consider the risks your customers and employees face while in or working for your store. Remember that seemingly innocuous accidents, like slips or cuts, can result in lawsuits. When you have considered and prioritized all risks, you'll want to find an insurance policy that accounts for them.
In the process of issuing your business an insurance policy, the first thing your carrier will determine is the level of risk it is willing to accept and cover (this is called "underwriting"). Because your premium (what you pay for coverage) will be based on these risks, it's important to know what protection you need. As your business grows, your insurance needs may change, so be aware that you may want to reassess and adjust your coverage on a yearly basis.
2. Choose an A-rated insurance provider.
When it comes to business insurance, you'll quickly discover that not all policies are created equally. In fact, differentiating between exaggerated sales pitches and legitimate information may even prove to be challenging. Your best defense when shopping online for insurance for your retail business is to check for proper licensing. State governments regulate the insurance industry and license insurance brokers, so you can consult your state's directory of licensed agents.
Additionally, when hunting for a trusted insurance provider — that is, one with an "A" rating — the challenge lies in finding the time to sift through your options. You can save time and energy when you work with an agency that maintains relationships with top-rated insurance providers. These agents do the legwork of getting multiple quotes from trusted providers and sending them your way for comparison.
The licensed agents at Insureon are happy to help make your life easier and send you quotesfrom A-rated insurance carriers whose products match your business needs. Talk to one of our licensed insurance agents today!
3. Prioritize coverage over cost.
Though it may be tempting to buy the cheapest business insurance policy you find, it's important to first understand that coverage is a necessity — not a luxury — for any successful business. Should your business need to rely on its coverage in the event of a covered claim, you don't want to be left high and dry or surprised by how little a less expensive policy may provide in compensation.
Another consideration is that a policy may be less expensive due to the fact that the provider resorts to unfavorable or unreliable practices, such as dragging its feet on payouts or offering a policy that starts out with low premiums, only to significantly raise them later. Your best course of action is to prioritize the coverage and the carrier over the cost of your policy. When you work with an agent, they can guide you to a more cost-effective choice offered by a trusted provider.
Depending on your business, you may be eligible for a Business Owner's Policy (BOP) that bundles General Liability Insurance and Property Insurance together. The premium is typically less than the cost of purchasing each type of coverage separately. Note that not every type of insurance is included in this policy, but if your business has unique risks, you can usually add on specific endorsements or policies to your BOP.
4. Work with a company that knows your industry.
One way to ensure your business receives adequate coverage against its unique risks is to work with agents who work with other small business owners in your industry. These industry experts — such as the ones at Insureon — can help you find the appropriate coverage at affordable prices. That's because specialist agents already know the risks associated with your business, and they already have connections with insurance providers that offer reliable coverage.
Typically, retail business owners will want to carry…
- General Liability Insurance.
- Property Insurance / Business Owner's Policy (BOP).
- Workers' Compensation Insurance.
- Hired and Non-Owned Auto Insurance.
5. Read the policy thoroughly.
It's important you understand the exact terms of your insurance coverage before you sign off on a policy. Each policy comes with its own set of exclusions, and you don't want to be caught off-guard when it comes time to file a claim only to find your policy doesn't cover it. Don't be afraid to ask your insurance agent for clarification. You want to be sure you are agreeing to the terms of a policy that you actually want.
6. Consider the deductible.
The amount you are responsible for paying in the event of a covered claim is your deductible, and most business insurance policies will have one. Though a policy with a higher deductible may be tempting because it is usually offered with lower premiums, it's imperative to realize that you could be financially burdening yourself in the long run. On the other hand, policies with a lower deductible tend to come with slightly higher premiums. The lesson here is to not take on a deductible that will put your finances at risk. One way to assess which approach to take isto consider how frequently you might actually incur a covered loss, and how much of that loss you can afford on your own. As a rule, your deductible should never exceed the amount of loss you could afford out of pocket.
7. Aim high with your coverage needs.
To secure your business against financial devastation, it's always best to overestimate your coverage. If a liability lawsuit is brought against your business, you may be surprised by how quickly the expenses add up. For example, the attorney's fees alone can be thousands of dollars — and if a settlement is awarded, any amount past your policy limits will be your responsibility. If you're concerned that your policy limits are not enough, you may consider purchasing Umbrella Insurance. This policy can extend your General Liability, Employer's Liability, and Hired and Non-Owned Auto policies, and can generally be purchased in increments of $1 million.
Insurance Tailored for Your Retail Business
The Retail Specialist agents at Insureon understand the unique risks of your retail business, and can take the guesswork out of finding a policy that meets your needs. Ready to get started? Get a quote from A-rated insurance carriers today!