Small Business Guide – Events, Employee Benefits and Automobiles

What kinds of events does business insurance cover?

Basic property insurance policies generally cover losses caused by fire or lightning and the cost of removing property to protect it from further damage (e.g., removing inventory or equipment from a damaged building so it won’t be stolen). “Extended perils,” including windstorm, hail, explosion, riot and civil commotion, and damage caused by aircraft, automobiles or vandalism, are usually covered in a standard policy. Other important perils, often not covered and considered “optional” in almost all standard policies, include earthquake and flood damage. Property insurance can be written as either “named peril” policies or so-called “named exclusions” policies. A named peril policy provides coverage for those perils specifically named in the policy. A named exclusions policy covers loss by any perils not specifically excluded in the policy. The term “named exclusions” is often referred to as “special form” or “special causes of loss” coverage.

Check with The Van Dyk Group, a Trusted Choice® independent agent, on the perils covered by your policy. If you wish, additional coverage can be added. Return to Small Business Index

Everybody seems to be suing everybody else these days. What if someone sues my business?

No business can afford to be unprepared for a lawsuit. Liability insurance protects your business assets when the business is sued for something the business did (or failed to do) that contributed to injury or property damage to someone else. Liability coverage extends not only to paying damages but also to the attorneys’ fees and other costs involved in defending against the lawsuit – whether valid or not.

The standard businessowners policy provides liability coverage, as does a separate policy known as a commercial general liability (CGL) insurance policy. Generally, commercial liability insurance, whether purchased in a separate policy or as part of a standard businessowners policy, will cover bodily injury, property damage, personal injury or advertising injury. The medical expenses of a person or persons (other than employees) injured at the business or as a direct result of the operations of the business are also typically covered.

Usually excluded from both types of liability insurance policies are suits by customers against a business for nonperformance of a contract and by employees charging wrongful termination or racial or gender discrimination or harassment. Many other exclusions, from use of autos to pollution liability, are included so it is important to carefully review the policy.

Check with The Van Dyk Group about the best liability protection covering all types of situations that may arise in your business.Return to Small Business Index

What about the cars and truck that I have in my business? Is the coverage like what I have on my personal car?

Yes, the coverages are similar and can be purchased to insure vehicles owned or leased by your business. In addition, your business can be protected against claims arising from the use of vehicles
owned by your employees. Be sure to review your auto exposures with your Trusted Choice® independent agent. Return to Small Business Index

Will I need to protect my employees in the event they are injured on the job?

Yes, and in most states there are legal requirements that must be met, and for which you may be responsible. State laws vary, but most states require that employers provide workers compensation benefits to employees injured on the job. The most efficient way to accomplish this is by purchasing a workers compensation policy. This protects the employee and also offers you the business owner a degree of immunity from lawsuit by an injured employee. Return to Small Business Index

I keep one auto strictly for business. Do I need a separate policy?

Yes. Whether you have one vehicle or several, you will need a business automobile policy. Such a policy covers any motor vehicle used in your business including cars, vans, trucks and trailers pulled by trucks, and offers coverage if they are damaged or stolen. It also covers liability if the business vehicle is in an accident and the driver is at fault. This policy is not for truckers or commercial garages. They have special liabilities and must secure special policies that deal with their different needs. Businesses that have a fleet of vehicles will of course have different needs than a business with one or two, and their policies will reflect these differences.Return to Small Business Index

I just signed a 3-year lease to open my business. Do I need to address the insurance requirements with my agent?

Whether the business lease is for a building or for equipment, the agent needs to be advised who is responsible for insuring what leased items – you or the lessor. For leased buildings or building space, there are other factors to be considered, such as who is responsible for plate glass or equipment coverage and whether your landlord requires tenants to carry minimum amounts of liability insurance, and the extent of a hold harmless agreement. These and other situations covered in the lease affect the amount and kinds of insurance you need. Therefore, you or your legal counsel should advise your insurance agent as to your insurance requirements. Return to Small Business Index

My business requires that I store gasoline on the premises. Do I have to have special insurance?

Yes, if your business transports, stores or uses toxic materials, you may be required by law to have a special pollution liability policy. If these materials should be discharged accidentally into the water or leak onto the ground due to a covered peril like fire, the cost of extracting the pollutant from the business premises is covered up to the dollar amount set forth in the property section of your policy.

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