by Rob Mason

You invest a great deal into starting and growing a business, so it makes sense to protect it. Many types of insurance are available, but not every business needs the same type of coverage. What’s more, your needs may change as your business grows.

Here are some of the most common types of small business insurance:

  • General liability insurance.

Business owners purchase general liability insurance to cover legal hassles due to accident, injuries and claims of negligence. These policies protect against payments as the result of bodily injury, property damage, medical expenses, libel, slander, the cost of defending lawsuits, and settlement bonds or judgments required during an appeal procedure.

  • Product liability insurance.

Companies that manufacture, wholesale, distribute, and retail a product may be liable for its safety. Product liability insurance protects against financial loss as a result of a defective product that causes injury or bodily harm.

  • Professional liability insurance.

Business owners providing services should consider having professional liability insurance (also known as errors and omissions insurance), which protects your business against claims of malpractice, errors and negligence. Depending on your profession, you may be required by your state government to carry such a policy. For example, physicians are required to purchase malpractice insurance as a condition of practicing in certain states.

  • Commercial property insurance. Property insurance covers everything related to the loss and damage of company property due to a widevariety of events such as fire, smoke, wind, and hail storms, civil disobedience and vandalism. The definition of “property” is broad, and includes lost income, business interruption, buildings, computers, company papers, and money.
  • Home-based business insurance. Homeowner’s insurance policies do not generally cover home-based business losses. Depending on risks to your business, you may add riders to your homeowner’s policy to cover normal business risks such as property damage. However, homeowner’s policies only go so far in covering home-based businesses. You may need to purchase additional policies to cover other risks, such as general and professional liability.

Making wise insurance decisions is easier when you work with a reputable and qualified broker agent or consultant., created by the Independent Insurance Agents and Brokers of America, will help you find qualified professionals in your community with special expertise in small business needs.

Rob Mason is a SCORE volunteer mentor.

For more guidance on business insurance matters, visit

SCORE — which originally stood for Service Corps of Retired Executives — is a nonprofit organization whose volunteers provide free, confidential business mentoring and training workshops to small business owners.

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