Finally, your dreams of opening your own business have come to fruition. You have a brilliant idea, a solid business plan, and the perfect store location secured. But before you launch your business, you have to protect it and all the hard work you’ve done.
You’ll quickly realize that purchasing insurance for your small business isn’t so straightforward—you have to worry about countless legal requirements and a wide range of liabilities. As you start looking into your policy options, you may discover that you don’t know as much about small business insurance as you thought.
If you find yourself in this situation, you aren’t alone; many new business owners have the same questions as you. Before diving deeper into comparisons and contacting providers to get a small business insurance quote, it may do you well to recognize and reconsider a few common misconceptions about small business insurance.
Myth #1: Family-only Businesses Don’t Need Workers’ Comp Coverage
Workers’ compensation laws vary according to the state that you’re in, and your family members may not always be exempt from coverage. Don’t take it for granted that you and your family members don’t need coverage because you have health insurance; you need to take the time to research the laws in your state and determine whether it’s a requirement for your business.
For example, California law requires all employers to have worker’s comp insurance for all employee labor, including family members. Failing to do so is punishable by a year in a jail or a hefty fine. In Illinois, not having workers’ comp coverage is a felony and may result in six to seven years of jail time or a fine of about $15,000.
Also, even if workers’ comp coverage isn’t required for business owners and family members, it still may be in your best interest to purchase an insurance policy.
Myth #2: Only Commercial Vehicles Need Commercial Auto Insurance
Personal vehicles require personal auto insurance, and commercial vehicles require commercial auto insurance, right? Not exactly—the insurance you need for a particular vehicle is determined by how it’s used, not who technically owns it.
If you or an employee use a personal vehicle for business purposes, such as deliveries, a personal policy may not cover accidents that occur during work operations. If you frequently use personal vehicles for company use, if your company owns any regular vehicles, or if your company uses commercial vehicles (such as vans or trucks), you likely need commercial auto insurance to cover all your bases.
Myth #3: Homeowners Insurance Policies Usually Cover All Home-based Business Property
If you run a home-based business, your homeowner’s insurance will protect your home and your personal belongings. However, it likely won’t cover all of your business property and assets.
For example, you may have sensitive documents stored on a computer or work-related equipment a standard homeowner’s insurance policy doesn’t cover. For complete coverage, you either have to add endorsements to your homeowner’s policy or purchase separate coverage for general liability insurance and property liability insurance.
Myth #4: Only Professionals in the Legal, Financial, and Medical Fields Need Errors and Omissions Insurance
It’s true that some industries, such as law, finances, and medicine, have higher risks for professional liability—but that doesn’t mean other businesses are off the hook for errors and omissions insurance (also known as professional liability insurance). If your business provides any form of service, you could face a lawsuit for negligence, inadequate work, or breach of duty.
Myth #5: Small Businesses Don’t Need Cybersecurity Insurance Because They’re at Low Risk for an Attack
You may think that small businesses don’t need cybersecurity insurance, but they do. In 2018, 58 percent of all cybercrimes targeted small businesses, and 60 percent of small business victims close within six months of an attack.
Hackers specifically target smaller businesses because they know that they have weaker security and a smaller organization that cannot keep up with cybersecurity measures. A cyber liability insurance policy can cover financial losses that occur from cyberattacks or data breaches. They may cover first-parties, as well as third parties, depending on your policy.
Making More Informed Decisions
With these common misconceptions cleared up, it’s time to start your search for the best coverage for your new small business. Keep in mind that not all small businesses have the same needs—evaluate your unique risks and liabilities as well as your local laws before deciding which coverage to include and which to forgo.