Do You Need Insurance For Your Home Business?

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Well, do you? Ever thought about it at all? You’ve got a Homeowners Insurance Policy. Right? Well, years of experience tell us that most people think their home business is covered with just their Homeowners Insurance. And that is fine for your 12 year old daughters’ lemonade stand. But when the “hobby” becomes a business, things can change!

Sure, you would not be the first one to have a stolen business computer covered by Homeowners, but understand this… It is a flip of the coin! If it was taken together with the TV, some jewelry, and other valuables, you may have won.

Typically, Homeowners Insurance excludes a business and all business property and liability. Want the good news first? OK. Many times coverage may be added inexpensively with just a couple endorsements to the policy, but it wholly depends on the underwriting stance of the insurance company. And the even better news is that SOME Homeowners Insurance already include an endorsement for a small amount of business personal property, typically $500-$2500. These are intended for the person who takes their work home with them. If all you wanted was the good news, you can stop here. If you want to understand the bad, read this:

Let us consider the example of a small home eBay business. There are several around these days and you probably know of one or may be such a business. For this example, assume that you have an inventory of about $10,000. and there is a small fire, damaging the inventory.

The insurance adjuster comes out and comments “Boy, you sure had quite a few fancy widgets!”

To which you respond, “Yeah, we sell them on eBay.”

Strangely, the adjuster is interested. “Oh really? My wife collects fancy widgets, and we talked about selling a few on eBay ourselves. How is that going?”

Now you are in business, and one of the first things you ever heard about advertising was that word of mouth was great and free.

In this case you will find, that word of mouth is not so great and certainly, is not free.

That smell of smoke is not from the fire a couple days ago. Your goose has been caught, slaughtered, plucked, basted, skewered, and is turning nicely on the rotisserie as you speak.

Now the really bad news. What we have been talking about thus far, is the property angle. Do not forget you also have your Liability situation to think about. While this article cannot get into all the nuances, just understand that Liability is your legal responsibility to others for damages to their person or property. Translated – what you owe someone, because of something you did, or did not do, that caused them injury in some way.

For instance, in a Home business related situation, a gentleman stop by our house to pick up an eBay purchase he had made from us. Had he slipped on ice and fallen, we probably would have been liable for his injuries. Heck, we WOULD have been – he was an attorney! But his presence, being business related (picking up a purchase, even if it was “only” eBay), changes the degree of care owed to him legally.

It is recommend you endorse your Homeowners Insurance for an office exposure, should something of this nature be possible in your business situation. The premium is only about $15. and it covers PREMISES Liability. There, that was easy to take care of, wasn’t it!

But read on, it gets worse again. Let’s suppose that the gentleman who so innocently stopped by my house had gotten hurt using his eBay purchase. He is an attorney, remember – just my luck! He had bought a collectible from the Worlds Fair in Buffalo, NY, but let’s suppose he had bought a small antique machine or utensil. The sale intended that it be hung on the wall and admired. Friends come in and ask, “Hey, what the heck is that thing?”

But this guy decides to see if it still works. Not an unusual or unpredictable event. No one ever thought to put that in the auction bill, not that it would matter. Heck no one even knew it SHOULD have had a guard on it! He loses a finger trying it out. Do you know what an attorney’s finger is worth? You are about to find out!

Let’s not even imagine his seven year old child is the one injured. She was going to be a brain surgeon. Guess she will have to settle for being an attorney now. Would you want a surgeon without all their fingers? Wouldn’t inspire confidence, would it? No matter how they really lost it.

This is where you are starting to wonder if your business is really worth it all. You find out that your Homeowners Insurance has an exclusion for PRODUCT Liability. Yesterday you had never heard of it and today you are quickly becoming an expert. You actually start reading the forms that came with your policy, the ones that you filed away ten years ago.

Lucky you! They weren’t put in the trash like so many others have done. You are looking for that famous loophole, as described in so many movies. You think there is the slightest possibility that this has never happened to anyone else and the insurance companies may have not thought of excluding such an event. Silly YOU!

The story could go on, but you have suffered enough. And if you don’t get the picture now, you may never anyway.

Now you wish you had Business Insurance. You tell everyone you are in business, don’t you? Why, you had business cards printed, just last week! Did you go into the print shop and ask for personal cards?

Just what sort of insurance should have been carried? Go ask your Independent Agent for a Business Owners Policy, aka BOP. You can often get one for small businesses for a minimum premium of $250. The companies that offer them at that price are getting to be fewer in number, but they are still available. If you are in New York City, it’s going to be higher, certainly. But it should not be higher than a $500 minimum premium, unless your small business has really grown. Have your agent fill in the blanks to best tailor it to your specific situation.

So there you have it ladies and gentlemen. Don’t you wish you had just read the last couple paragraphs first? For $250 you can go to sleep and forget about fires and product liability what-cha-ma-call-it.

Oh, did you say that you have an employee (or volunteer labor)? Can’t you just hear it now, “Oh boy, something else I hadn’t thought of to loose sleep over.” Watch for the next in our series for the home business. Try to think of these as a natural pep pill.

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Home Based Business Insurance – Is it Really Necessary?

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Starting a home based business is rarely an easy decision. If you are contemplating or have already started a home based business, you need to seriously consider purchasing business insurance.

The main positive aspect in the decision process is the fact that you will be working at home. If you own your own home, you most likely believe that by having home insurance your business will be protected under the same policy. That could not be further from the truth. Your home owners insurance covers your house as a “home”. Depending on the type of business you are operating, the simple actions of running your business could actually nullify your home owners policy. Filing a claim on your home owners insurance based on your home business activities most likely would render it void and could lead to charges of insurance fraud being brought against you.

Business insurance is designed to protect your business activities as well as all equipment owned, or used, by the business. This would include any specialized equipment, computers and accessories, office furniture and any other required materials or products needed for your business. If the total value of these items exceed the coverage of your home owners insurance for the contents of your home, you need business insurance.

If your business brings customers or clients to your home, you should, at the very least, have general liability insurance. With this type of policy, if your client or customer is hurt or injured while on your property, the claim will be against the business not your home.

If your home based business involves consulting services or any type of professional advice, professional liability insurance should be considered. With this type of policy, should a client bring a claim against your business to recover losses due to your advice, you personal property will be protected.

Another item to consider is your vehicle. If you use your personal vehicle for business purposes, it should be covered as such. The last thing your business needs is for you to get in an accident while making a delivery only to have your claim denied or worse, be accused of a fraudulent claim.

Lastly, if your business has you as its only employee or simply cannot function without you at the helm, disability insurance is a must. This type of policy provide coverage for any wages you would lose should you become disabled and not be able to work.

Starting your home based business was a big decision. Protect it.

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Home Business Medical Plans – Find Affordable Small Business Health Insurance

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The only small and home business owners who are not worried about health insurance, usually have some other form of coverage. Some are covered through a spouse’s group health plan, and some already have a retirement plan from earlier employment or military service. However many small business owners have made their career out of what they do now, and so they must rely on themselves to provide a medical plan for themselves, and their family.

If you do not have employees, you need to look at individual coverage. If you have a couple of employees then you have a choice to make. A small business group plan is a great benefit, and it tends to attract and retain qualify people. However, premiums for small groups are expensive and risky. Since their is only a small pool of people to spread the risk, and since federal law mandates that insurance companies have to accept everybody, expect to pay for a policy!

Now you will be able to deduct some of this expense from your business taxes. You can also expect your employees to share some of the cost. Also, remember that employees do like group health insurance as a workplace benefit. So consider this option, but keep in mind, that costs and extra paperwork can be daunting.

On the other hand, individual health insurers get to underwrite everybody they accept. Younger and/or healthier people will get a cheaper rate. Older people, or especially those with health conditions, will either get charged more, or they may not be able to get a plan to accept them at all! Of course, every state has some sort of high risk plan for people who cannot obtain their own plan, but expect to pay for this.

Employees must pay for the premium themselves, but some companies will let you pay a list bill. You withdraw the amount from each worker’s paycheck. Because you will not have the burden of carrying the plan yourself, maybe you can afford to pay your employees a bit more to make up for it. The advantage for the employees is that their policy is portable, and so they can take it with them even if they leave your company. Another advantage for healthy employees, is that the premium should be lower. However, less healthy employees, may have a hard time, and you should probably consult with an experienced agent for options.

Now, if you do not have any employees at all, or if you only employ your spouse, then you must get a family plan. If premiums seem to high, I suggest looking at very high deductible major medical with Health Savings Accounts (HSA). You can offset the deductible with the money in the HSA, and those contributions have tax advantages. Plus, if you retire and join Medicare with any money left in your account, you can add it to your retirement savings without a penalty!

I cannot tell you how to find cheap medical coverage, but I can tell you how to protect yourself from the risk of huge bills or having trouble finding the right care while saving some money on your monthly bill.

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Small Business Insurance Tips and Information

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Creating your very own small business is such an exciting endeavor. It takes a lot of time away from family and friends to get your business started and turning a profit. Then your business may take the next step and you will start to hire employee’s and grow your company. It is this growth that can usually make or break a company depending on how it is handled. During this growth period, some business owners may look at getting insurance for their business and get a few quotes in order to protect what they have built.

Small business insurance quotes can vary widely depending on who is giving you these quotes and what the policy is covering. Before you go out asking for quotes, it is a good idea to sit down and really think about how much coverage you need and what the most important things are that you would like to be covered. Talking to your CPA may help as well or even a small business lawyer can give you some good ideas. You never want an insurance policy with coverage in it that you will never use just like you never want an insurance policy that does not cover the key important items.

Especially when you have employee’s it is even more important to have insurance for your business to protect your retirement package and other employee benefits. There are even some legal requirements that may vary by state that stipulate different types of policies that your company must have in order to be a fully legal operating business. Check with your state to ensure you are compiling with all of the local laws and regulations.

In today’s world, there are quite a few insurance companies that will offer some very attractive plans for business quotes for insurance. Search around your area and look for those that promote working with small businesses. The last thing you want it to try to get a policy for your business from a company that works with large corporations. If this happens, you may be getting a policy that is much more than you actually need as well as a lack of personal attention because you will be such a small account for that company. Ask some other small business owners who they use and you can also check out your local better business bureau to look for companies as well. Overall, you are doing the right thing when looking for quotes for your small business and your business will be healthier because of this next step you are taking.

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The Need for a Business Owner’s Insurance Policy

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A business owner’s policy (also known as a BOP) is specially tailored commercial insurance offering protection against law-suits claiming your business for bodily injuries or property damages.

Such lawsuits can be very costly or bankrupt a business even if your not liable. For this reason, you need adequate protection.

The article contains reasons to invest in a well suited business owner’s insurance policy.

1. Protection of Employees

Usually all types of businesses have employees, and need a business owner’s policy for the protection of employees. This policy will shield them if they get hurt on the job. In addition to protection, they will also guard your finances in case your employees sue you over their illnesses, injuries or wounds. You can get guidance from an insurance agent or broker to provide you with adequate coverage.

Protection of Core Business Activities

A business insurance policy reduces your stress. The coverage gives peace of mind to work and focus on your core business activities. You do not need to worry about getting sued for various situations your company or business may encounter. The better the policy, the more you will be able to concentrate on your business operations. Good business coverage can be lucrative for your company.

2. Protection from Future Law-suits

You can never predict your business’s future regardless of any business type. All of us wear seat belts in our cars to secure ourselves from unexpected accidents. We may not necessarily have an accident, but still we wear them for our safety.

Similarly, it’s smart to invest money to protect your business. You may not get sued by every client you encounter but it is always safe to shield your business. You should always keep in mind that a claim from a single client can put you into losses and may even bankrupt your business.

3.Chance of Opportunities

You might be willing to take on more risk knowing you have adequate insurance coverage. This insurance policy gives you a chance to take risks keeping in view the safety procedures and best practices. You can peacefully go for the lucrative opportunities by managing your risks prudently.

But it is imperative to ensure that the business practices you decide to take are covered first. You need to maintain a good relationship with your insurance company keeping them up-to-date about all the ins-and-out of the new business activities.

4. Make Your Business Trustworthy

The BOP makes your business trustworthy in the eyes of the clients. They find your business safer because the insurance policy ensures to compensate them in case anything goes wrong.

Your insurance company can pay for the settlement in case they sue you. With this insurance policy, your business can provide a safety net to all your clients making your business more credible and trustworthy.

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Does My Homeowner’s Insurance Cover My Home Business?

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Many American’s today are relying on their talents and special skills to make ends meet, a phenomena we are seeing more and more as unemployment rates continue to rise. The decision to start a home-based business is one that most people did not make lightly. Many families today are being supported on the income generated from these types of businesses solely.

If you are one of these entrepreneurs that decided to risk starting your own home based business, you may have overlooked one risk factor that could make or break your business, and your family’s well being, in the event of theft or fire. Insurance. Every homeowner has some sort of insurance policy, and it is very easy to assume that because your business is in your home that your business assets are covered under the blanket of “possessions” covered in your insurance policy. Sadly, in many cases this is not true.

The same goes for liability insurance. Your insurance policy will most likely cover hospital bills if a child spending the night at your home falls and breaks an arm, but if a client comes into your home for business purposes and breaks his or her arm, the same hospital bills would likely be denied.

If you own a home based business it is very important that you check with your insurance agent, as each company will have different ways of handling home businesses. Some may cover electronic equipment that would normally be found in a home without a business, such as computers, televisions and office furniture. But most will not cover things like inventory or equipment specific to your type of business that a general homeowner would not own.

The line between a home business and a home is very blurred at times. Only someone from your insurance company can explain to you the specifics of your current policy. Before you call, be sure to look over your current policy and see if it has specific clauses about business activities and business supplies. If it does not clearly explain what is and is not covered, double-checking with your agent is the best bet.

If you find that your insurance coverage does not give you the business protection you need, see if your current insurance company offers the add ons that will be necessary to ensure you are protected. Often by bundling these add ones with your current policy you will save more than if you purchased insurance from a company that specializes in insuring businesses. But like any type of insurance, be sure you do get some quotes from other companies before you sign any plans. All it takes is one accident that the insurance company can blame on your business and you can find yourself at the receiving end of a lawsuit that costs you all you have worked so hard to achieve.

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Home Based Business Health Insurance

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Home based business health insurance is always a hot topic on the internet forums related to the subject. Health insurance companies do cherry pick applicants on individual plans, and the rates are expensive. Some people are just skipping a medical plan, but this is a risky choice. An illness or injury could bankrupt your new company and your family. Look into your options, and then take a deep breath and choose one!

Let me mention that the type of small business medical plan you choose may depend upon the state you live in too. Health insurance is regulated at the state level, so plans will differ. However this general overview should give you a good starting point for your search. Of course, an experienced local agent is an invaluable resource. Try to find an independent professional who will work to give you the best options for your own needs, and not just try to sell you on the particular company he or she represents.

Association medical plans may be available for your business or location. Now I have seen these referred to as group plans in some articles, but in my state, they are different. As I said before, state rules vary. However, a large association may have strong buying power to negotiate rates, keep premiums from raising to quickly, and obtain better benefits. Your trade group, Chamber of Commerce, or business association may have a plan. If nothing comes to mind, go search the internet for business groups with health insurance.

Group medical plans are available to small businesses with a few employees. However very small plans are considered risky by insurers because there are so few people to spread the risk between. One unhealthy employee out of three can really impact everybody’s rates. Of course, group health insurance plans are very attractive to employees, so if you want to attract and retain high quality people this is a great benefit to consider. If you can afford a group health plan, and if you plan to expand your business, you should look at this option.

Of course, the most common option these days are probably individual plans. If you are healthy, then private or family medical coverage is probably the simplest option. If you, or somebody in your family is unhealthy, you may have to research high risk options in your state. Keep in mind though, that even if your state has rules about guaranteed issue, that still means you will have to pay a substantial premium.

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Florida Small Business Health Insurance

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Florida small business health insurance policy is easier to qualify for than an individual health insurance policy, even if you are not in the best of health. There are different health insurance laws concerning Florida small businesses. These laws require Florida health insurance companies to sell any small business a group health insurance policy. The State of Florida defines small groups as firms with at least 2 employees but not more than 50.

In order to qualify for Florida small business health insurance, an employee must meet certain eligibility requirements. The employee should be employed under an employer who runs a legitimate company. Government rules prevent health insurance firms from denying insurance coverage to individuals within small group policies. Additionally, as a security for groups insured under Florida small business health insurance, the state health insurance rules do not permit plans to be canceled as one among the insured individual’s might require it.

A small business medical insurance policy has countless advantages. In addition to providing the best medical care for business owners and members (employees), Florida small business health insurance plan lowers the financial risk of individual members. Lower premiums and widespread coverage are some of the salient features of these types of policies.

The price of Florida small business health insurance is based on a standard rate, which is an average of the risk associated with each individual in the group. Within a small business health insurance plan, individuals can pay up to 15 % more or less the standard value, depending on their medical conditions. Healthy individuals could end up paying more in a small business health insurance scheme than on an individual health insurance scheme. This is because the composition of the whole group determines the rates.

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Small Business Insurance – Who Needs It?

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Who Needs Small Business Insurance, Anyway?

You do! Small business insurance is one of the most critical components of planning for your new venture. Whether your business involves working in a high-risk environment like heavy construction, or a relatively low-risk one such as running an in-home consulting business, you are continually exposed to liabilities that can put your business and your future at risk.

Some business owners are required to maintain insurance coverage. Restaurants, hotels, health care facilities…they all have minimal limits that are imposed upon them by their industry, municipal entities, or their landlords. But what about your small business? You may be retired or just starting out, maybe you’re considering using your knowledge of antiques or your talent as an artist to start your own shop or gallery. How risky can that possibly be?

Assess the Risks

In today’s world, risk management is no longer the exclusive domain of large corporations. Every small business is different, with a unique set of risks. An experienced small business insurance agency can advise you on what your present and future needs may be, and keep you up to date on any Federal, State, or Local regulatory requirements you may be subject to.

A good insurance agent will review your company needs; an excellent one will take the time to visit your company and discuss your requirements with you directly.

Be Prepared!

As your business grows, your small business insurance coverage should grow with you. It’s easy to get caught up in the excitement and activity as success begins to take root, and insurance is the LAST thing on your mind…until you need it. Make sure when you choose an agent, you are getting someone with your best interest in mind, who will continually monitor where you are and make suggestions when necessary.

Are you taking on employees? Opening another shop or office? Considering additional human resource programs? Taking on additional risk? You may need to look at several types of coverage:

  • Workers’ Compensation
  • Contractor’s Liability
  • License Bonds, Court Bonds, Performance or Fidelity Bonds
  • Employee Benefit Administration

The Benefits – Because Things happen

The benefit of having good small business insurance is most obvious when the unexpected happens.

Don’t be caught off guard…without proper coverage your business liability can extend to your personal life as well. Knowing you have the right coverage up front offers you both peace of mind and security. When and if you have a loss or a setback, you will be able to continue moving forward with confidence, and the tools you need to stay in business!

There is no doubt about it – Insurance can be complicated. There is so much to understand and so many details that it can quickly become overwhelming! The very best option? Find a qualified small business insurance agency you trust – one that is familiar with you, your local community and is respected within the insurance industry as well.

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Home Business Insurance – The Basics

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However, if you work from home and you have some office equipment in there, will those still be covered by your basic home insurance policy? If you think they are covered then you are mistaken. Even if you do own those items and they are located inside your home, they are used for commercial purposes which will disqualify them from being covered. If you want to have coverage for such items, you will have to take out a separate home business policy.

Home business is basically what the phrase suggests – it is an insurance policy that covers business-related items that are found within your home. But that’s not all it is. Home business has a lot of advantages over the traditional home policies and here are a few reasons why.

1. Typical home plans will not cover any loss or damage of an item if the loss or damage occurred outside the premises of your home. With home business insurance on the other hand, these away from home accidents are all covered. So if you bring your laptop to a meeting somewhere and it gets damaged or stolen, you can file for a claim with your insurance company.

2. Most home insurance policies have a built-in personal liability cover. This is useful especially if your business entails that you have your business partners, clients and customers come over frequently for meetings and conferences in your. In the event that someone decides to sue you for accident that happens within your property, the personal liability will be able to protect you from any charges.

3. On top of everything that is covered by your existing home insurance policy, home business insurance policies have a wide coverage that also includes business cards and accounts. In case your accounts are stolen or damaged, you do qualify to gain back your entire account or the maximum allowable claim according to the home business insurance policy, whichever is lower.

4. The maximum claimable value for losses or damages is much higher with a policy than a traditional plan. To give you this higher claim though, insurance companies do charge a higher premium amount for home business insurance policies. This is just a small increase though and is very much worth the additional benefits.

If you are currently holding an existing Homeowner Insurance policy, you can ask your insurance agent if they can offer you the option of simply upgrading to a home business insurance plan. This will save you the trouble of applying for a new plan altogether.

But if your insurance company does not offer this option, you can always look around the internet for other insurance companies that do have home business insurance policies.

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