Life isn’t easy for small businesses, but if you want your business to succeed, you have to stay on the right side of the law and that means complying with costly insurance legislation.
Very often, when planning a new company, insurance is the last thing you think about. But, once you’re up and running, it’s something you can’t avoid. Despite the pressures involved in getting a new business off the ground, if you ignore your legal responsibilities, you could find yourself in real trouble. Yet, many small business owners and part-time entrepreneurs still fail to take out insurance despite the legal consequences.
However, the unfortunate reality is that the legal implications of business insurance apply just as stringently to small SMEs as they do to large multinational corporations. Fail to comply and you will be penalised, which could lead to the downfall of your company and even the repossession of your personal assets.
Look on the bright side
One way of dealing with your insurance obligation is to view them as a business asset. Regardless of the legal implications and the cost, the right insurance package could be a lifesaver for your business. After all, what would you do if your business were affected by fire, a major theft or even accidental damage? In business, anything can happen and usually does. Insurance is there to protect you if it does.
Review your insurance needs
Business insurance exists to protect all parties involved within a business. Your first step should be find out exactly what insurance you are required to have by law and what insurance your business could benefit from. Legally, insurance regulations can vary from region to region, so a good place to start might be your local small business centre. The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills should be able to point you in the right direction too.
One thing is certain, if you employ staff, you’re legally obliged to have employer liability insurance. In certain cases, you’ll need public liability cover too. Furthermore, if you’re a sole trader with a need for expensive specialised equipment you might want to include cover for theft, loss or damage of that equipment.
Cut costs, not corners
Once you’ve ascertained the cover that you need, you next stop will be to look at ways to keep your insurance costs down. Insurance premiums may have risen steeply in recent years, yet there are a few ways in which you can cut costs and still stay within the confines of the law.
- Look at the company’s activities. Are there certain activities that contribute to your insurance costs that you can do without? Anything that costs the business more than it brings in should go in the short term.
- Examine best practice in health and safety. Taking advice in respect of a health and safety audit, for example, could cut your costs even further.
- Review security. Is your business property alarmed properly? What could you do to improve security that would be reflected in your insurance quote?
- Compare quotes from different insurers, but don’t forget to take in the small print. Excess could make a huge difference to the value of your policy.
Look at all of these aspects and you’ll be able to give yourself two choices when it comes to your insurance bill. You could choose a lower level of cover, effectively cutting your premiums. Or, you could be able to afford a higher level of cover, which would offer your business better levels of protection. The choice is yours.
As your small business grows, so do your liabilities towards it. Don’t get caught under insured should the need arise. If you have purchased new equipment or replaced equipment, increased your operation or opened new branches, you should call your insurance agent, sit in the drawing board and discuss necessary changes in your insurance coverage.
There’s no harm in shopping around for lowest possible premium. The more you try better result you would get.
Public Liability says
Like the above poster mentioned, you need to find out if your profession requires insurance by law, and even if it does’nt having insurance is a must in todays world where people love to sue to make a quick dollar, the ammount of liability they sue you for is infact less then the legal defence you will require, and having insurance will take car of the liability and legal defence whether your in the wrong or not. nice post 🙂
There is also another way to Insure your small business. There are many Insurance Brokers either locally or nationally (I prefer local) out there that will work to find the best Business Insurance available. The unfortunate thing is that everything is going up and you can get audited for everything. Though there are some policies that are non auditable and that might be the way to go for some small business owners.
One other useful type of insurance is key man life insurance. Key man life insurance provides coverage for key employees of your business, for example, a partner, CEO, or President. In case something happens to a key employee whose death would materially impact your business, the insurance company would compensate you to find, hire, and train a replacement.