Wisconsin Small Business General Liability Insurance Information
Your small business insurance requirements are unique to your business, and we know that not one sized insurance policy fits all. It's our dedication to find the right insurance policy with the right amounts of coverage for your business that helps our clients feel confident that we place as much effort in protecting our business insurance clients as our clients do.
There are several types of insurance that may be appropriate for your business. Let's look at a few that you'll likely want to consider.
General Liability (GL) Business Insurance
Often simply referred to as GL or commercial general liability (CGL), protects you and your clients against injuries your business or employees acting within their scope of employment may cause. Also usually included is legal defense coverage. An insurance policy's legal defense coverage is often the most valuable part of business insurance because if your business receives a claim of injury to another party that states your business caused, your general liability insurance coverage will provide a legal defense. With the high cost of attorneys and the often high willingness of people to file a lawsuit against a company they feel wronged them, knowing you don't have to lawyer-up on your own dime can spell the difference between staying in business, and going out of business, even if you've done nothing wrong.
General liability covers injuries that include Bodily Injury. Bodily Injury claims can come from slip and falls, ladders or something else (like tools) falling on someone, a kid climbing on your ladder, or a whole host of things (but not including a motor vehicle which is covered under commercial auto). Due to snow conditions one month, and rain during other parts of the year, slips and falls are unfortunately all too common for both the victim and businesses.
Property Damage covers the property of another. Sometimes, I get questioned from people if this covers their own business property, and the answer is no. This coverage is a liability type of coverage, so it covers the damage caused to another's property. For example, using a ladder again, if a ladder falls on someone's car, and puts a large dent in the roof, the insurance property coverage will pay for the repair (less the policy deductible, if any). If you're inside a client's home and knock over an expensive piece of art work, that is likely covered also.
Personal injury is often included as part of a general liability insurance policy. This covers you against claims against people that aren't physical. For example, if an employee makes a statement that's later found to be libel or slanderous. Once again, the legal defense is often the most valuable part of this coverage.
Advertising Injury. This is becoming more and more important in the world of online advertising. What happens if the person you hired to work on your website uses a picture that s/he didn't get copyright permission to use and you get sued for copyright infringement?
As mentioned, the coverage isn't just for you the owner. The actions of your employees are usually covered within the scope of employment.
Professional Liability Insurance
Unlike general liability insurance coverage, professional liability isn't for damage or injury caused to another's property or physical harm to a person. Professional liability is economic in nature. Often called errors and omissions (E&O) insurance, it's for an error and/or an omission when acting in a professional capacity that requires judgment and/or an opinion. When the judgment is clearly wrong and below the standard expected of one in any given profession, the party injured may seek a remedy by suing you for the loss. Examples of professions that typically have errors and omissions include insurance agents, real estate agents, doctors, nurses, accountants, attorneys, property inspectors, counselors, and many others.
Commercial auto insurance protects a business against auto accidents while in the scope of business.
Commercial auto means is a term used to describe any highway motor vehicle (with wheels anyway) for a business and may include everything from large tractor trailers with 53 foot trailers, to party buses, to a contractor's pickup truck. Often not considered as part of commercial auto is the delivery of food and other items. Many personal auto carriers don't cover claims from accidents the owners thought they would be covered from because the vehicle use was part of employment delivering pizzas or sub sandwiches. A good rule of thumb is if there's any advertising on the side of a vehicle, you should not think of that vehicle as a personal auto, and think of it as a commercial vehicle. Of course not having advertising doesn't mean it's personal use, just that once you cross the line of advertising, any doubt is usually removed.
Another rule of thumb is if the vehicle is pulling any trailer as part of the business. This doesn't only mean semi-trucks pulling large and long trailers. A contractor pulling an open or enclosed trailer filled with tools and equipment should likely have commercial auto coverage. Wisconsin requires vehicles on the road to have liability insurance, and that includes business vehicles too.
Workers' Compensation Insurance
Workers' comp covers your employees for injuries while on the clock. Workers' compensation insurance is a combination of two other types of insurance. The first is medical insurance and covers the costs of medical professionals including doctors and nurses, along with emergency room visits, hospital stays and operations if required. The second type of coverage is If an employee gets hurt and can't come back to work while recovering from the work-related injury. Workers' compensation will provide money to help pay the bills and make up for lost income. It also covers final expenses for employees that are killed in the course of work. Workers' comp insurance policies are almost always audited and the premium is based on how much payroll was encountered. The rates vary widely between just a few cents per $100 in payroll, to over $30 (or 30%) per $100 in payroll for roofers. Because Wisconsin sets the premium for workers' compensation, you won't save money on premium by shopping around, albeit there are other ways to save money on your overall workers' compensation
Wisconsin Small Business Insurance
As you can see, there's many types of coverage for your business, and actually, there are many others including business interuption coverage, disability income insurance coverage, and a whole host of other types of protection available for your small business in Wisconsin. As an agency that covers the entire state with clients in all four corners and inbetween, we have clients of course in Eau Claire, Madison, Green Bay, Superior, Milwaukee, and tons of small towns across our great state.
Give us a call or fill out our contact form for a small business insurance quote and you're likely going to find the level of service is higher than anticipated.
Robert Weinstein is a husband, dad, stock market junkie, real estate broker, and of course…Insurance agent. Interests include my family, economics, marketing, technology, real estate, finance/investing, history, and Asia.
Robert’s insurance expertise includes having the designation of Certified in Long-Term Care (CLTC) and assist in asset protection for families with members entering retirement.
Robert is also an accomplished syndicated writer whose work can be found in TheStreet, MainStreet, CNBC, Forbes, Yahoo Finance, Seeking Alpha, MSN Money, The Money Show, Stock Saints, Motley Fool, Fidelity, Minyanville, RealMoney Pro, and many national and international newspapers.