If you’re starting a business in Florida you are probably caught up in the details of finding a commercial building, creating branding and marketing materials, and hiring a team of people. AKA all of the fun parts about running a business.
But one of the first things you need to consider, before doing any of those things, is how to protect your Florida business. More importantly, you need to know which type of insurance coverage is required by law in Florida, and which are optional.
While you should get every type of applicable small business insurance, you at least to start off right the mandatory policies. Keep reading to learn how to operate your business in the clear, while protecting the future of your company.
Worker’s Compensation Insurance
One of the most important policies you need to get as a new business is worker’s compensation insurance. That is if you plan to have employees.
If you don’t have any W-2 employees working for you, then you wouldn’t need it. So if it’s just you, you and a partner, or independent contractors, you can skip this policy.
For all other companies, however, worker’s comp is a legal requirement.
This type of coverage protects both your employees and your business in the event of an accident. For example, if an employee is injured while performing work duties, and requires medical attention, that is going to cost money.
Along with medical expenses, this employee will likely not be able to work for a period of time while they recover. But not earning any income for weeks, if not months, would be detrimental for anyone.
It wouldn’t be fair for your employee to have to pay these expenses and miss out on their regular income, because they were injured on the job. But you don’t want your company to pay for this out of pocket, do you?
That’s exactly what workers comp covers. If you file a claim, it goes before the Florida agency that governs workers comp. They then can direct your insurance provider to release funds to cover medical bills and lost wages.
Not having this policy in place could set your company up to receive fines or experience a lawsuit. Neither of which are going to help you. Check out these requirements for getting a worker’s compensation policy for your Florida business.
Commercial Vehicle Insurance
The only other commercial insurance policy required by law is a commercial vehicle policy. If your company owns a vehicle that is used exclusively for business-related activities, it needs to be insured through a commercial policy, rather than a personal policy.
The policy needs to include a minimum of $10,000 in liability coverage and $10,000 in personal injury protection. As you can guess, you shouldn’t use commercial vehicles for any personal use.
But what about personally owned vehicles that are occasionally used for business-related purposes? While not required, you could choose to get an additional insurance policy to cover the car during work-related use.
If you were performing work-related duties in your personal vehicle, and get in an accident during this time, your personal auto policy may not cover the cost.
Recommended but Not Required Policies
Just because most other policies aren’t required by law doesn’t mean you should pass on them. You are more likely to file a claim related to one of the policies below, rather than the ones listed above. Here are some additional policies you should strongly consider getting.
Liability insurance is extremely important. If a customer or pedestrian walks into your building and slips on a wet spot where a wet floor sign wasn’t present, you could face a lawsuit.
Or, your business activity may cause damage to someone else’s property. In either case, your company could be held liable for these damages.
But liability insurance is intended to protect you in any of these instances.
Business Owner’s Policy
A business owner’s policy is a combination policy that provides both general liability insurance with commercial property insurance. It saves time and money by combining multiple policies in one, as these are the two most common policies that businesses need.
Commercial property coverage will generally cover damage the cost of damage to your property, as well as equipment and supplies, stored on-site that may sustain damage or be stolen.
Depending on your insurance provider, you may be able to add other types of coverage to your BOP to make your business insurance easy.
Professional Liability Insurance
If you offer professional services, either in the form of financial advice, medical advice, or home-based services like roofing, you’ll need professional liability insurance. This will cover you should you face a lawsuit, in case a client takes your advice and experience any sort of damage or loss.
This is also known in some states as errors and omission insurance. Even professionals aren’t perfect and occasionally make a mistake. You don’t want to go out of business as the result of a mistake.
Cyber Liability Insurance
Every business these days handles sensitive customer information. This information is very valuable to hackers who would try to steal identities, funds, and proprietary information.
With more and more cyber attacks happening every day, and even some of the largest companies in the world experiencing data breaches, it’s only a matter of time before you are targeted by malware in some shape or form.
Cyber liability insurance will protect you should your company ever suffer an attack that leaks private customer information.
Alongside this policy, you should invest in cyber security and managed IT services, so that your data is protected by professionals. It’s unlikely that you know how to properly protect information online, so it’s much more effective to hire this out.
Protect Your Florida Business
Claims and lawsuits against businesses happen every single day in this country. And it’s only a matter of time before you, or someone you know, is the next target, whether the incident was your fault or not.
If you want to ensure your Florida business is around for a long time, able to provide an income for you and your employees then make an effort to properly protect your business on every side.
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