What Should You Know About Your Small Business’s Liability?

If you're the owner of a small business, you already know that your commercial insurance should help cover the costs of any slip-and-fall lawsuits or other customer injuries on business premises. But what happens if one of your employees engages in an illegal act while on the job? What if you or your business is sued for copyright infringement, slander, or libel? And what if you suffer a sewer backup that causes you to close your doors during the busy season?Will your commercial policy still cover any damages? Read on to learn more about your potential liability for other types of situations, as well as how you can help shield yourself against legal action by finding the right business insurance

What type of coverage do you need?

There is a nearly infinite number of different insurance products, and you should be able to find a product that meets your needs -- however, anticipating these needs may be the difficult part. In most cases, the most probable types of claims you may experience can be predicted based on your business type, making this a good starting point for your coverage determination.

  • Retail businesses

Whether you sell toys, electronics, bicycles, or something else, your status as a retail owner brings with it a unique set of risks when compared to other businesses. However, you may be able to purchase an insurance policy specifically targeted toward the retail business -- this will ensure that your costs are covered without having to shop around for a set of overlapping policies. Most retail insurance policies cover incidents like sewer backup (which can ruin merchandise as well as require you to shut the store down until repairs can be made), loss of income from an unexpected road or sidewalk closing, employee theft, and compromised credit card or other personal data.

  • Manufacturing businesses

Like retail businesses, manufacturing companies carry their own specific risks. In addition to some of the coverages needed for retail businesses, manufacturers may also want to purchase coverage that will protect employees from accidental death or dismemberment, as well as coverage to defend against a product liability or defect lawsuit. Defending yourself against even a frivolous lawsuit can cost you thousands, but you may be able to purchase coverage that will help pay your legal fees and any eventual settlement or judgment awarded.

  • Service businesses

Service businesses often use equipment that undergoes more wear and tear than normal products. Fortunately, business owners are able to purchase coverage that will help pay repair or replacement costs of work equipment that is rendered unusable. Service-based companies are also the most likely to receive libelous online reviews, and may want to consider purchasing insurance coverage that will help remove these comments from the internet or go after those who are deliberately making false or inflammatory statements.

How can you choose a specific policy?

Even if you have a good idea of the type of coverage you need, finding a single policy that meets each of those needs can be a challenge. Your best bet is to contact a licensed insurance agent who specializes in insuring the specific type of business you own. In addition to the categories listed above, this agent should be able to work with you to determine whether your business has any unusual traits or characteristics that could make additional coverage a good idea.

Finding an agent in your area can be fairly simple. Each province has its own insurance regulator, who provides licensing and continuing education to insurance agents who reside within the province. You should be able to look up an agent and check the status of his or her license by visiting your province's insurance licensing website.