You make that familiar paw, change the old neighborhood, and instantly sense something is wrong. Call it intuition. As you round the last corner of your street, the red flashing lights confirm your worst fears. Firemen are watering the last of what is left.

A few wisps of white smoke mark the site of a spectacular three-alarm fire just an hour ago.

Fortunately, all of your loved ones are with you in the car. But if you own and operate a

home-based business. Are you covered by insurance? Are you now bankrupt?

If you’re just like the majority of home-based business owners, you’re in serious trouble.

I’m surprised at the number of people I talk with who don’t have enough to shield their homes.

business operations and equipment from theft, damage, or loss. Many even assume they’re

covered once they aren’t.

Although it is often overlooked by home entrepreneurs, insurance should be a critical component.

is a part of any business plan. Minimal insurance coverage brings peace of mind and will

Save your business in the event of a fire, flood, theft, or other uncontrollable occurrences.

Ask yourself this question: if your home was completely destroyed by fire today, would

Do you have a business tomorrow?

Insurance Problems for Home-Based Entrepreneurs

Home business owners face nothing but an “under-insurance” crisis. The biggest problem could be a

It is a mistaken belief that existing insurance policies automatically protect home businesses. In

In fact, many homeowner policies contain language and clauses that explicitly exclude

coverage for business use and business property. samples of other insurance problems.

Some home business owners include:

Business use of an automobile: Accidents while on a business trip or business property

A car stolen from a car might not be covered under existing property and automobile policies.

Theft or damage to office equipment—often not covered under homeowner or renter’s

apartment dweller policies, which usually cover only material possessions.

Healthcare-Inadequate or lack of coverage altogether, in higher proportions than the

non-home business population.

Disabilities-Lack of coverage to guard income just in case you become disabled

Coverage: Not getting the proper types.

Existing homeowner policies are voided because of a business being operated from the house. special coverage lacks for computers and software.

No coverage for those that visit your home for business purposes or for liabilities that result from business activities conducted outside the home.

Partnerships—There is no liability coverage for the actions of the partners.

Home Business Interruption: Almost a wholesale lack of coverage by home business owners

Home offices—separate and/or detached structures not covered under the homeownership

policies

Do any of those sound familiar?

Bad Assumptions about Insurance

The explanation is that too many home and business owners neglect to get the correct amount of insurance.

They run the gamut of excuses, some completely irrational. Many aren’t even alert to the risks.

they take when operating a business from their home. Bad assumptions lie behind these excuses.

These misconceptions include:

A belief that it can’t happen to you, which chances are high is correct. They then regret not

They have insurance when the chances turn against them.

A belief that business operations are covered by existing non-business policies. The basics There is a common misconception regarding home business owners.

Special insurance policies cover every possible related occurrence. Not true. Policies only cover what’s within the fine print. The risk is just too small to justify the value of insurance. Insurance costs, however, are based on characteristics of risk

For costs that exceed the budget if you can’t afford to exchange your business out of pocket, then Insurance must be a part of that budget.

The belief that the prices are excessive amount of A particularly competitive insurance market should mean you. You only pay what’s reasonable.

Existing homeowner policies allow a part-time operation. Wrong again. To an insurance firm, any level of endeavor is enterprise.

Common activities associated with your business don’t represent the heading of business.

activities, For instance, this might include a delivery man visiting your home. These forms of

activities are business activities.

Home-based business owners don’t think they will obtain business insurance. Yes, you can!

What proportion of insurance does one need?

Meet with an insurance agent to gauge your business needs; everyone’s different.

Many brokers represent more than one underwriter. Allow them to do the checking.

Review carefully the various forms of insurance policies and what they cover, as follows:

Homeowners’ property and possessions are damaged thanks to fire, theft, and flood.

and vandalism.

Automobile-Damage thanks to collisions, uninsured motorists, theft, vandalism, and liability.

associated with personal use. The extent of usual business coverage is transportation to and from

work. An automobile might have to be declared as a business vehicle so as to take care of

coverage.

Health: Preventative health care and illness

Computer: Additional coverage beyond homeowner policies for software, hardware, and

data.

Damage or loss of business equipment within the headquarters

Small Business: More extensive coverage for damage or loss to business inventory and computers.

equipment. can include basic coverage for business liabilities, loss of earnings, and errors.

and omissions.

Liability -Visitors to your property for business purposes Basic liability covers a slip

fall, dog bites, etc.

General Liability: Injuries to you or another party while conducting business.

from home. more extensive coverage than basic liability. can provide special liability.

coverage to shield against claims and damages that result from the rendering of services or

the sale of products.

Loss of income and earnings if you are unable to work for an extended period of time.

because of illness or injury.

Business Interruption: Losses resulting from the inability to conduct business as a result of a fire, flood, or other natural disasters. Disaster, most frequently requires that you simply close or relocate your main office. Covers cut-backs in business revenue while you recover. can provide funding to satisfy income obligations.

Malpractice-Damages and claims that result from providing products or services. Covers

injury or loss to the client. can include errors and omissions and merchandise insurance.

Workers’ Compensation: Work-related injuries for workers. highly influenced by the state.

regulations.

Automobile business-business property in a car or claims and losses that result from

the vehicle for business use. situation other than transportation to and from work

transport goods and merchandise. It is a way to keep insurance costs affordable.

Insurance should be phased in as your home business moves through the first phases.

of start-up, growth and expansion, and long-term stability.

Business Start-up: As maximum capital is required and income is minimal, maximize the

use of existing policies. Computer equipment–often the most important investment is often

covered by riders to existing policies. Floaters and endorsements for homeowners and auto insurance

Policies will provide limited protection for business activities within the home or vehicle, as well.

as an expansion of non-public liability if you do business activities away from home.

Consider declaring one of your vehicles as a business vehicle and adjusting its policy to hide

business activities. Additional annual coverage might run from $250 to $1,000.

Growth Phase: As the business expands, income begins to catch up. You will at this point

want to contemplate-particularly if over 25 percent of your house is used for business-

separate policies for business property, small business, and general liability.

Separate insurance for commuters is highly recommended. Additionally, annual coverage

It might run from $1,000 to $1,500.

Long-term stability: Your home business is established and successful. Future growth will

be more predictable. Make a long-term assessment of your insurance needs. Carefully

We will review it previous expansions to existing coverage are still sufficient. If you’ve formed a

Consider a successful account with one or more sole proprietors.

insurance. If you have got any employees, review the necessity for workers’ compensation.

insurance. If the business could be a full-time endeavor, consider social insurance. For more

If you’ve established operations that entail considerable business services, you’ll want to get

malpractice and errors and omissions insurance. Full-time home-based businesses may

require business interruption insurance. General insurance is often added to small

business policies HBM.

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