Business Insurance Center

Question 4 of 61 in Basics
Business insurance and risk management: what to know before you buy a policy

Whether you have a large multi million dollar business or a small business you operate from home, you probably have risks that could be managed with a good business insurance plan. These risks could range from any of the following:

  1. Fire or loss to personal property or building.
  2. Loss of Intellectual Data or Computers.
  3. Theft of property or equipment.
  4. Business Liability such as customers or employees getting hurt on your premises.
  5. Business product liability used to manage risk arising out of a product you produced causing injury or harm.
  6. Business Auto Liability from business owned automobiles.
  7. Advertising slander or personal injury.
  8. Loss of business income.

A realistic analysis of the risks you face and a business insurance plan to manage them will protect a company from unanticipated losses and disruptions to its flow of income.

Risk Management Techniques

Even if a company has business insurance, the best way to stay safe is to avoid losses all together. There are several ways to keep the company safe and avoid using the insurance policy:

  1. Find ways to avoid risks such as eliminating potentially hazardous products or procedures--Organizations such as OSHA and other risk management companies can inspect your business and make recommendation on risk management techniques that can make your business safer.
  2. Reduce the frequency or severity of risks that cannot be eliminated-this includes using equipment such as back straps and life trucks, implementing control procedures over inventory and money deposits, and protecting important business data by backing it up. Such equipment or risk management techniques can not stop injury or loss from happening, but it can mitigate your losses.
  3. Transfer the risk to another party by means of legal agreements that your business will be held harmless. Contractual transfers of risk are used frequently in business. In some states and in some lines of business, these have been found void by court of law. If you are thinking of using this as a risk management technique, consult with a business attorney first.

Even if you are diligent with risk management techniques, you cannot avoid the danger to your business and income. Business insurance covers the unexpected occurrences that you cannot prevent. You can control how much business insurance you need by managing the company's risk of loss, but you cannot be so careful as to forego purchasing a policy.

Business Owners Insurance as Risk Management

Business insurance includes a wide variety of coverage that can reduce, mitigate or compensate for exposure to business risks. You can protect against loss of property, loss of income while the business cannot operate, lawsuits by employees or customers, theft or vandalism, and any other potential risks to the success of the company.

The risk assessment process is the basis for determining how much business insurance you need, and what you need your plan to cover. The type of business you own or the service you provide and the inherent risk associated with your particular business will determine the exact kind of business owners insurance you need to manage those risks.

Many agents or insurance companies can provide you with a risk management assessment. This would include visiting your business, talking to you about the business or service you provide, reviewing your inventory, and reviewing any business protocols to find all the risks your business is exposed to.

Insurance companies provide a wide variety of business owners insurance and most can be tailored with riders and endorsements for extra coverage to fit any company's needs. There are some risks, however, that cannot be insured against. For example, you cannot insure against many business cycles such as loss of business to competitors or rising prices of supplies. However, a good risk assessment plan can even help with some of the trends or cyclical effects of your particular business.

Shop for the best business insurance plan by analyzing your risks, knowing what you need to manage them, and comparing quotes across multiple companies before you make a decision.

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