Just because a business isn’t a traditional brick and mortar establishment doesn’t mean it can go without business insurance. Even a home-based business needs insurance. Many people assume they are already covered under their homeowners policy when they are working out of their home. Unfortunately it’s not that simple as most homeowners policies contain a business exclusion in the standard policy provisions. Instead, they should consider the liability aspect for both general liability and professional liability the small business may have.

I recently attended a Small Business Expo that included a panel of local experts. Even after working in insurance for 14 years, it still amazes me to consider the needs a small business has beyond everyday supplies – all of those behind-the-scene things that set the foundation for a successful business: creating an entity, branding, marketing, and of course insurance. Social media has also made it very accessible for many people to turn a hobby into a business very quickly. For example, I’m sure there is someone you know who peddles crafts at vintage markets, festivals or community gatherings, or maybe they sell online. Have they stopped to consider the risks their business exposes them to? What their insurance needs might be?

A speaker from the panel offered some advice to those who own or are looking to start a small business. He explained that the exposures a small business might face are unique and different for each enterprise. And just like every business is a little different, there isn’t a cookie cutter solution that fits every small business’ needs. If you, or someone you know, own a small business, it’s strongly recommended to make an appointment with an independent agent to discuss the business exposures and coverage needs. Here are just a few “what if” questions to consider that can help guide that discussion:

  • What if my tent or awning collapses on a customer?
  • What if my display blows over onto another vendor?
  • What if my product breaks a copyright law?
  • What if my product injures somebody?
  • What if someone trips or falls when they are picking up goods from my home?

Regardless of size or industry, all businesses face potential risk and we can help you find the right coverage to fit your unique needs.

The coverages here are described in the most general terms, and are subject to the actual policy conditions and exclusions. For actual coverage wording, conditions, and exclusions, refer to the policy or contact your agent.

Post authored by Michelle P Gorman. Originally published January 7, 2016.