Business insurance can be problematic for any small business owner: conducting thorough risk management takes time, deciding which policies can best protect your business sometimes gets confusing, and actually purchasing the right cover can be complicated and potentially expensive. But once you’ve got insurance in place and you’re all paid up, you can relax, right?
Unfortunately, that may not be strictly true. There are a handful of common oversights that many small business owners make when it comes to their insurance. These simple slip ups could come back to haunt you in the future, so make sure you don’t fall victim.
Read the policy. Twice.
This sounds obvious, but you would be surprised at how many business owners fail to properly read all the wording on polices they take out. Often, this leads to them thinking that they are covered for something that isn’t actually in their policy. Make sure you thoroughly and properly read every single word on your insurance policies – this includes the terms and conditions and small print. Make sure you fully understand everything, and if you have any questions, raise them with your insurer before buying. Then, read it all again – just to make sure.
Inform your insurer immediately.
If an unexpected event should ever leave you in the situation where you need to make a claim on an insurance policy, make sure that you inform your insurer immediately. Regardless of how many other matters may need your attention at the time, it’s important that you tell your insurer as soon as you can. The more time that goes by, the more chance there is that your insurer may have reason to reject your claim. For example, imagine that a thief smashes the windows of your business, breaks in, and steals valuable equipment. If you do not tell your insurer straight away of both the damage and the theft, then they may be able to argue that the theft was caused due to the premises not being properly secured, and only reimburse you for the cost of the initial damage. However, if you inform the insurer immediately, then there will be less room for doubt that both damage and theft occurred at the same time, and you should be able to claim for both.
Damages claims: document the loss.
If your business suffers severe damage, for example if a flood or fire badly damages your building or contents, then you’ll probably be thinking about putting in a claim with your insurance providers to fund repairs and replacements. Make sure that you document the damage caused as soon as you possibly can – and before you touch or move anything if possible. The easiest way to do this is to take plenty of photographs. This helps to ensure an accurate representation of the exact damaged caused, so that there is no dispute later in the claims process. It could be that your insurer rejects part of your claim if there is not crystal clear, solid evidence to prove that the damage caused was insured.
You may also want to email the photographs to yourself as further evidence of the date that they were taken on. You may also want to consider keeping any damaged items, although your initial instinct may be to dispose of them. This all contributes to evidence of the extent of damage caused, making sure you don’t miss out on your pay out.
All in all, the main thing to remember when it comes to business insurance is to take your time. Business owners are busy people who have to stretch their attention and efforts across a number of things – but your business insurance is something that you should take a little time to understand, makes sure the cover you’re getting is right for your business, and ensure you don’t fall victim to an accidental slip up that could leave your vulnerable in the future.
About the Author
Hannah Corbett is a writer for Make It Cheaper, and a small business enthusiast. To connect with Hannah, you can follow her on Twitter or add her on Google Plus. Or, to find out more about small business insurance, visit MakeItCheaper.com.