Many small business owners purchase a business package policy called a "BOP", a business owner's policy. A BOP typically includes property insurance, business interruption/continuation insurance and liability insurance. Often it is a less costly option for small businesses than buying a set of individual policies. Many insurers customize BOPs for specific types of businesses.
However, a BOP does not cover professional liability (liability claims arising from wrongful practice by professionals), auto insurance, workers' compensation, health or disability insurance, all of which need to be purchased separately.
Not all businesses qualify for a BOP. For example, a factory or jewelry store would probably not qualify for a BOP. Those businesses because of their unique risks usually require more customized coverage than what's included in a standard BOP.
A home-based business or a company with only a few employees may start out with a BOP and then expand its coverage as it grows.
As a small business owner, you can take steps to minimize risk in the workplace, thereby helping to lower your insurance premiums. Here are some tips that could benefit your business, employees, customers and clients:
• Install fire and security alarms.
• Plan and train employees for an emergency on the premises, such as fires and evacuations.
• Have employees keep wallets and other personal items in a secure place. Keep the business' cash and other valuables in a safe.
• If employees work with machinery, provide goggles, gloves and other recommended safety gear to help prevent injuries.
• Keep office space in good physical condition. Maintain carpeting and railing on stairs. Make sure telephone and computer wiring is in good working condition and does not create any hazards.
• If your employees operate a company car, make sure they have clean driving records and are trained properly.