Business Insurance  06/22/12 10:44:39 AM

Business Insurance covers a range of things, just as there is a wide range of business types, from long haul trucking through the various types of contractors, to the small business office.  Most obvious business insurance types are coverage on your property (including buildings and personal property like office furniture, tools and equipment), vehicles, and liability. 

Business insurance, also known as Commercial Insurance, uses mostly standardized forms, but in some areas and for some endorsements, nonstandard forms are used that differ between insurance companies.  It is important to know what coverages your particular business requires, which is a role we take very seriously as agents at First Express Insurance.

It is hard to generalize about Business insurance, but most businesses will need policies that include coverage for Property, General Liability, Vehicles, Machinery (like diggers, bulldozers etc), Workers Compensation, and an Umbrella.

As with most forms of insurance, your goal is to offset large financial losses that would be difficult to cover out-of-pocket.  In some cases, State of Iowa law influences what you have to do; the prime example is Workers Comp. State law says you are almost always liable for medical bills incurred by your employees while on the job. This can be some serious dollars, so most folks buy a Workers Comp policy to offset the potential burden. Related to this is the issue of "employee" vs. "contractor", and potential premium savings. We will be happy to advise you regarding this, but generally it is difficult to prove that a person is a "contractor" rather than an "employee".

Regarding Umbrellas, these policies provide additional liability coverage over and above your General Liability policy.  Most General Liability policies are written for $1,000,000 per occurrence, and a lower-cost way to increase this is to buy an Umbrella policy that adds $1 million or higher amounts. Thus you could have your General Liability policy at $1 million, plus an Umbrella for $2 million, for a total for a given liability claim of up to $3 million.

One point about business property coverage: the policy is set up by location, and so at Location #1 you might have a building, and stuff in the building. These are covered (you must list a coverage amount for each), but only within 100 feet of the premises( Location #1 in this case).  So if you take property (usually tools and equipment) away from the premises to a job site, you need coverage called Inland Marine or an Equipment Floater. Both of these cover stuff that is moved around.  These coverages are not done on standardized forms and differ from company to company, so it is very important to know what coverage you are getting from which company. Again, as agents at First Express we take this role seriously.
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