Protecting Your Home Business Ass-ets Hagerstown MD
Protecting Your Home Business Ass-ets
Don’t Make the Fatal Assumption That Your Business is Covered by Your Homeowners Policy
By Richard Maturi
As a home-based business owner, you work hard to establish your market, attract customers, and generate a profit. Don’t let the mistake of assuming that your homeowners insurance policy adequately covers your business operations, resulting in your losing all you have worked to create. Another common mistake home-based business owners make is relying on an umbrella policy to cover their business operations for both property and liability coverage. Most personal umbrella policies exclude business-related activities and leave you vulnerable.
“It’s important to evaluate your insurance needs in light of your particular home-based business. Work with an insurance broker or advisor that understands your business and the unique nature of your exposure,” says Ms. Erin Plaziak, director of Product Management for Met Life Auto & Home in Rhode Island.
Begin with Property Insurance
First, you need property insurance to cover your assets such computers and other office equipment and inventory. Depending on the type of business, you may also need coverage for machinery, shop supplies and raw materials.
Most homeowners policies have a small amount of business property coverage ranging from $1,500 to $3,000. Some insurance companies offer specialty riders with higher coverage limits for certain types of home businesses. For a nominal amount, you may be able to increase your property coverage to up to $10,000 in increments of $2,500. For example, my homeowners’ policy carries a specialty rider with $5,000 on the premises property coverage and $1,000 off the premises property coverage for items in transit. Since my business also includes buying and selling rare movie star items on EBAY, I also carry a specialty collectibles insurance policy specifically for those items.
“Businesses have special issues, and the insurance agent needs to have worked with businesses like yours in order to give you the best advice. If you store inventory, carry replacement insurance on it. Make sure that computers are not excluded from coverage since replacing damaged computers can represent a large uncovered exposure,” advises Christine Moriarty, a Bristol, VT financial expert with over twenty years experience coaching small business owners.
Next, you need liability insurance to cover someone getting hurt on your premises in connection with your business. For example, a delivery person, supplier, or client could slip and fall in your office or shop and leave you open to a lawsuit. Standard homeowner polices do not provide liability coverage for business-related operations, and an endorsement specialty rider may only provide a limited amount of liability coverage.
“In general, homeowner polices don’t do the job for a home-based business. The limited property coverage provided by the typical homeowner policy, ev...