Purchasing Business Insurance for the First Time? Things You Need to Know

Having adequate business insurance is primary to every business, regardless of its size, geographic location or product it offers. While running a business you need to deal with complex issues that may rise when your business is in operation. The most important ones are the risks associated with your business. You can reduce risks by purchasing a comprehensive insurance coverage.

If you are purchasing insurance for the first time, you need to be very careful as it can make or break your business. This article discusses things you need to know when purchasing business insurance for the first time.

Know how much coverage your business requires:

Before purchasing insurance for your business, you need to know how much coverage your business requires and for that you need to understand the severity of risks that your business may face. There are several factors that you need to identify and evaluate before purchasing insurance for your business. Assess the risks to your business to protect it from them.

Do thorough research:

Different businesses have different insurance needs. Therefore, before purchasing an insurance policy, you need to list the needs of your business and research thoroughly the type of insurance cover for your business. It depends on the size and nature of your business.

You need to check certain things before purchasing business insurance like the type of coverage that is ideal for your business, where to purchase insurance policy, etc.

Take the help of experienced people:

Insurance coverage required by your business is unique, so it should be tailor-made according to the specifications of your business. For that, you need to talk to experienced and knowledgeable people in the industry. Get their advice to get an idea on the several risks that may affect your business operations, so that you will have a clear picture in your mind on which policy to purchase for your business.

Basic things to look for in a business insurance policy:

As you are planning to purchase business insurance for the first time, you need to consider the basic things while purchasing business insurance policy. Make sure you look for options such as minimum liability, property coverage, stock and equipment coverage, auto coverage, business interruption, etc. You need to opt for primary coverage and create a check-list, so that you are sure you have enough coverage that suits your business needs.

Understand what you are buying:

Firstly, you need to understand what type of policy to buy and how it will help your business. There are several factors associated, including the risks of losses and liabilities while buying business insurance. You need to make sure that you are getting enough coverage for your business – all the risks and events are covered under the policy. Also avoid buying unnecessary coverage, as you may have to pay an extra on the premiums.

Shop around:

If you are looking for the best price when purchasing business insurance, you need to shop around and check out with several insurers, as the cost of the coverage differs across insurers. To get the best quotes at a reasonable price, take help of brokerage firms, as they are experienced and knowledgeable, and they will help you out in purchasing the best coverage that suits your business.

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Mistakes to Avoid While Purchasing Business Insurance

Every business, whether small, medium or large, is exposed to risks. You can rule out these risks by purchasing business insurance which covers for the loss of revenue. You should, however, choose the right insurance which is suitable for your business. This article discusses mistakes that you should avoid, while purchasing business insurance.

Right insurance protects your finances:

Irrespective of the size and type, every business has the possibility of facing risks; they can either be man-made or natural. Natural risks include floods, heavy rains, violent winds (storm, gales, hurricanes and the like), lightning and the manmade risks include vandalism, theft, accidents at workplace resulting in casualty, loss of business data, inadvertent leakage of data and so on.

To choose the most suitable insurance for your business, taking into account the nature of your business is very important. While purchasing business insurance, you need to consider things like products/services you offer, the customer base, availability of raw materials, whether the product needs new design/method, or any other issue that may potentially be a risk factor for your business.

Purchasing business insurance is a sensible decision in favour of your business. It is also important that you should avoid the following mistakes while purchasing the insurance.

Underestimating the importance of business insurance:

Every business has its own risks. You should not underestimate the risks your business may face. However small the risk is, you should purchase the right type of insurance for your business. Purchase the insurance even if your company finances are good enough to withstand the risk.

Getting attracted to low priced policies:

Don’t mistake low priced policies for cost effective policies. The low premium might be because the risk it covers is low. If this is the case, it might be troublesome to you in the event the expenses of compensation exceed your policy cover. You need to take an insurance cover that is, sufficiently more than the probable claim for compensation.

Avoid purchasing a smaller cover for your business. In case of higher deductibles, you will have to spend a huge amount from your pocket. A deductible is an amount that the policy holder has to pay before getting compensation from the insurer. The deductibles are small and lead to lower premiums.

As a thumb rule, check out for all the aspects such as, the cover for building (where your business is located), Employers Liability Insurance, as per rules of government from time to time, regardless of your size, type, hazardous nature, location of your business.

Under or over insuring:

Avoid under insurance, it may lead to considerable loss to your business. This is because under-insurance cannot cover all the expenses that you have to bear in the event of claim. Purchase an insurance cover that is adequate for your business.

Over insurance will also not help you. It leads to more expenses. At times you might be tempted to buy business insurance that seems less expensive. But, in reality the insurance cover that is less expensive may not cover the type of risk that your business may face.

Buying insurance from brokers/agents with no/less knowledge:

Purchasing insurance is not an easy task. It requires great deal of research. Choose brokers/agents who specialise in business insurance. Ensure you choose the ones that have good track-record in claims settlement and servicing the users.

Consider purchasing insurance from brokers. Look out for an insurance broker with great experience and repute, and who can provide you the best service at optimal costs. You should avoid brokers/agents with lower credibility.

To forge an optimal deal for your business, choose a reputed brokerage firm. Such brokerage firms deal with a range of insurance products, and are knowledgeable. Brokerage firms deal in insurance products of all insurers, claim settlement, application and submission procedure.

While purchasing business insurance, it is important to avoid the mistakes just discussed.

Is Going Direct Really Cheaper Than A Broker Or Price Comparison For Small Business Insurance?

The UK media is currently awash with advertising slogans from direct commercial insurance companies targeting small business owners in an attempt to make them switch their provider of business insurance.

‘Get 12 months cover for the price of ten’ and ‘You won’t find us on price comparison websites’ are typical of the slogans emanating from these companies, in a language more akin to the selling of car insurance than the traditional professional and almost stoic approach to the selling of business insurance cover.

In the current recession, price has become the determining factor in winning the war of market share for all goods and services and insurance is no exception. Prudent small businessmen and women are looking to cut costs in all areas of their business and the large direct insurance companies are well aware of this.

The large insurers are also aware that the UK market has over five million small businesses of which a fifth are sole traders, self-employed and people working from home, many of whom are familiar with purchasing their personal insurance direct with the provider, either by phone or on the Internet.

There are three types of provider in the current market for business insurance in the UK.

Intermediaries such as insurance brokers and agents, price comparison sites and direct commercial and business insurers.

Each has their own advantage and disadvantages, however whether one distribution channel is cheaper than another is often a subjective view from a particular trade, or dependent upon factors many of which cannot be quantified in price.

Direct Insurance companies claim to be able to offer cheaper polices because the cut out the costs of the middleman. It is certainly true that direct insurers do not have to pay an intermediary for the cost of the lead or introduction, however it is questionable whether this cost saving is actually reflected in the prices offered to the public.

Certainly there are economies of scale to be made by centralising the life-cycle of a policy from sales point to claim and renewal, however all those functions that are performed by an intermediary still have to be carried out in-house by the direct company and these have a cost.

Many large composite insurers often have distinct direct divisions with their own target market and premium rates. The same company may also have a broker or intermediary division or channel.

It is quite often the case that a large broker with a large book of business of, for example, small builders liability, will receive much more preferential rates then the same companies direct channel, because that insurance company wishes to retain that brokers clients.

Commercial Insurance brokers then are often able to offer preferential rates because they have more flexible schemes and arrangements than the direct channel.

One of the main benefits of using an insurance broker or intermediary in purchasing commercial insurance for small business, cannot be quantified in price and is worth the commission or fee that they may charge. That is advice, market and product information and knowledge, access to various markets such as Lloyds and some human help if the worst happens to a business and a claim is needed.

A commercial or business insurance broker is often able to negotiate far better claims settlements than if an individual were to deal direct with the insurer. The main reason for this is once again the insurer wishes to retain that brokers share of the total risk pool and will often pay out to a broker on an ex-gratia basis. This cost of this service is not quantifiable at the quote stage where small business cover may well just be valued for the price paid or the covers bought.

The third major way in which small business owners can purchase cover is by visiting a price comparison website. All the major UK comparison sites have recently begun to offer online cover aimed particularly at the small business sector, with under 50 employees. This is in direct competition with the direct insurers for television and media advertising space, aimed in particular at self-employed tradesmen and women who require business liability insurance and perhaps commercial van cover.

The comparison price proposition is that they can compare the market or at least a small section of it, to find the cheapest business insurance. They often do not provide any assistance in the purchasing decision-making process and the reality often is, that the cheapest commercial and small business insurance can be found in one of the other distribution channels.

It is therefore important that a small businessman shops around and takes some time to compare offerings including premiums, covers and services from all three sales channels. Prices tend to vary immensely by trade across the direct, broker and comparison markets and often it is a case of finding the provider or supplier who is the industry leader for a particular business type or trade in order to make large savings.