Do You Know What Your Business Needs For its Next Commercial Insurance Renewal?
Familiarize yourself with the jargon
Buying commercial insurance is something a small business owner has to do once a year. It is not something most business owners think about on a daily basis. When interacting with employees within the industry, there may be an awful lot of small business insurance jargon that is not exactly common knowledge to the general population.
Is the Address Still the Same?
The insurance agent will need an accurate and up to date address for the business. If the business has moved, it is necessary to inform the carry of the new address.
How many employees do you now have?
The insurance agent will need to have an accurate count of employees. Employee turnover is common in most industries. If you can provide your agent with the number of employees now, the average number of employees throughout the past year, and the man hours worked for each employee classification code; it will help your agent get a more accurate quote.
Have you purchased any new equipment, including vehicles?
Informing your insurance agent of new equipment purchases is important for a number of reasons. Ideally you should inform your insurance agent when you purchase the vehicle or the new piece of equipment. The value of the new vehicle will impact the premium rate for either the commercial auto or inland marine insurance policy.
Does your Business offer any new goods or services?
If your business started selling new products or offering new services, it may change the classification of your business. This is especially important if your business begins offering anything with a driving risk. From an insurance perspective driving is an activity that significantly increases the frequency and severity of insurance claims. Because of this, business that have employees who drive as part of their daily routine will pay more for commercial insurance.
Assess Your Risk
It is important to periodically assess the risks your business faces. Prior to renewing all commercial insurance policies is a good time to think about any accidents that occurred throughout the year including any near misses.
Speak Long and Honestly with Your Insurance Agent
After you have assessed the risks of your business internally, it is important to schedule an adequate amount of time to talk over an concerns you have with your insurance agent. If anything has changed, they need to know about it. If anything concerns you, your insurance agent can act as a wealth of knowledge to prevent accidents from happening and for properly protecting your business from the risks you actually face.
Make sure you have all required coverages
Workers compensation and general liability insurance are required by law for most businesses in most states. You will need to check with the state governing body within your state to see if their are any additional coverages required. If your business sells or serves alcohol, it is usually a requirement to carry liquor liability insurance.
Ask About Additional Coverages
Do not try to skimp by on only the bare minimum coverage. This is typically a recipe for disaster when a claim occurs. Most businesses need additional coverages than just GL and WC. Speaking long and honestly with your insurance agent can help you make sure your business is properly protected. Remember they are not just there to sell you an additional product, they are there to help you determine how much coverage you need and if there are any types of coverage you may be able to do without.
Every few years, it is a good idea to shop around your policy with multiple carriers. Partnering with an independent insurance agent is a good way to do this efficiently. An independent insurance agent can shop your policy out for you and get quotes from multiple carriers are in one stop. This should be able to get your business better coverage at a lower rate. Additionally, because an independent agent is not tied to one carrier, they can give you unbiased advice about the coverages you are considering. margins within the insurance industry are extremely tight. When one carrier offers a noticeably lower rate, there usually is a reason for it. The reason for the lower rate is rarely because the policy provides more coverage or the carrier offers better service throughout the life of the policy.