With so much to think about as a new business owner, insurance may be the last thing on your mind. However, business insurance is vital for protecting your company from financial losses and liabilities.
Although business insurance may initially seem like a challenging subject, it’s really quite straightforward. In this guide, we’ll cover what insurance you must have for your startup or small business, and the policies you should consider for your business. Let’s get started.
What business insurance is mandatory?
Let’s begin with what the law requires. There is just one type of business insurance you are legally required to have as a business, and that is employers’ liability insurance.
As soon as you become an employer, you must get employers’ liability insurance from an authorised insurer, covering you for at least £5 million. This stands even if you only hire staff on a casual basis.
If an employee claims that they have sustained an illness or injury while working for you, employers’ liability insurance helps to cover the costs of legal defence, as well as any compensation that may be awarded to the employee in the event that the claim is successful.
Without this necessary insurance, your business could be subject to fines of up to £2,500 for each day you go unprotected.
Other types of insurance policies to explore
Although employers’ liability insurance is the only cover that is legally required as a business, there are other policies you should seriously consider if you are to offer your company the best protection possible from unforeseen circumstances.
This is common practice for all businesses, but it has become even more important in today’s unpredictable climate. Let’s take a look at some of the most popular types of insurance policies below.
Public liability insurance
This is one of the most popular types of business insurance. It provides coverage for businesses in case they are held liable for third-party injury, illness, or property damage resulting from their business activities or operations.
Public liability insurance (PL) is critical for businesses that interact with the public, such as restaurants, shops, and service providers, as accidents or incidents can happen at any time and may result in costly legal claims.
For example, if a customer is injured on your business premises, or if your business activities cause damage to someone else’s property, PL insurance can help cover the hefty costs of legal defence and compensation payouts if a lawsuit is filed against your company.
Not only this, but having PL insurance also gives customers and clients peace of mind, as it demonstrates that you take responsibility for your actions. In fact, some clients and suppliers, particularly in the trades industry, may request that you have this cover in place before they agree to work with you, meaning it could be crucial for your business.
Professional indemnity insurance
If you are a business that offers professional services and advice – this includes accountants, lawyers, consultants, and architects – you should strongly consider taking out professional indemnity insurance (PI).
With a duty of care to your clients, you can be held legally liable for any mistakes or omissions that may result in a client’s financial loss or damage. Mistakes are easy to make, so this insurance could prove to be a vital lifeline for your company.
PI insurance will cover the legal fees, compensation claims, and other expenses that may arise if a lawsuit or legal claim is made against you.
Again, similarly to PL insurance, some customers may insist you have PI insurance in place before they will agree to do business with you. So not having it could result in lost sales.
Directors’ and officers’ liability insurance
Directors’ and officers’ liability insurance (D&O) is also an important consideration, if you are a director or company founder.
Since directors are at risk of being held personally liable for their decisions, they can be at risk of being sued by shareholders, employees, or stakeholders for any damages relating to alleged wrongful acts, errors or omissions. This could include things like breaching health and safety laws, misadministration of the company pension, or mistakes in financial reporting.
D&O insurance protects the individuals rather than the business as a whole, helping you mitigate penalties, including significant fines, disqualification, and even prison time. D&O insurance will help in your legal defence and settling payments, as well as other expenses that could occur.
When it comes to taking out D&O insurance, make sure to find a policy that includes cover for insolvency, as many insurance providers tend to exclude this from their terms.
Business equipment and office contents insurance
No matter the size of your company, contents cover could prove vital to the smooth running of your business.
Damage, theft, or loss of business equipment and office contents can disrupt operations and result in lost revenue. Having this insurance in place ensures business continuity, by protecting the physical assets belonging to your business that are instrumental in your day-to-day work, such as computers, smartphones, tablets, cameras, desks, and photocopiers.
You can find cover to include portable equipment, ideal when working remotely, as well as the standard cover which will protect all of the items you keep on-site.
Commercial building insurance
If you own the building in which your business operates, then this type of insurance is a must.
Commercial building insurance gives you the peace of mind that if your property becomes damaged – for instance in the unfortunate event of flooding or fire – then your building is protected.
Although this is not strictly a legal requirement, you’ll find that most mortgage providers will not grant you a loan without it.
It’s also crucial to note that commercial building insurance protects only the physical structure of the building, such as the walls, roof, floors, and foundation, as well as fixtures such as plumbing, electrical and HVAC systems. It doesn’t cover the contents inside, which will need to be insured separately with contents insurance, as mentioned above.
Cyber liability insurance
As firms deal with an increasing amount of data, cyber liability insurance has become even more important to businesses of all shapes and sizes.
If you deal with sensitive or confidential information, then you are at an increased risk of data breaches and cyber-attacks, which can have disastrous consequences, putting both clients and employees at risk.
Cyber liability insurance is designed to minimise the impact a cybercrime could have on your organisation, including cover for any legal claims, compensation costs, and potential fines relating to GDPR. In fact, some policies can even help support you with a PR response plan, which can be extremely helpful for recovering reputation and customer loyalty.
Hopefully, this blog has provided you with a clearer understanding of the different types of business insurance and how they can be beneficial for your company.
When it comes to purchasing your insurance, be sure to choose a policy that’s tailored to your business’s needs and provides you with flexibility should your circumstances change.
You can find an insurance broker online who can support you in choosing the policies best suited to your needs.
If you have any questions, please leave us a comment below and we’ll come back to you as soon as possible.