Common FAQs About Commercial Insurance
Running your own business can be challenging, and you likely have many questions about all aspects of it, including commercial insurance. Here are some common FAQs about commercial insurance:
What is professional liability insurance?
This coverage provides liability protection for claims made against your services or products, such as failing to perform work or causing losses as a result of mistakes in these services or products.
Are employees’ personal autos covered under commercial auto insurance policies when they use their cars for business?
Usually a company’s commercial auto insurance includes an endorsement that covers employees using their private vehicles for business. However, the employee’s personal policy would still be the primary insurer and would pay for any damage to an employee’s auto, even when it’s used for business purposes. The endorsement would apply only after the personal coverage is used up.
When should you buy workers compensation insurance?
Most state laws require businesses to carry workers compensation if there’s more than one employee. This varies from state to state, so ask your insurance agent.
What coverage is needed for home-based businesses?
Homeowners insurance usually doesn’t cover home-based business losses. Sometimes commercial insurance can be added onto homeowners insurance, but coverage may be insufficient. Consider a business-owners policy, which covers liability for yourself, employees, buildings, and more.
HOT BIZ TOPICS
The Art and Science of Being a Great Salesman
A lot has been written about how to sell, and a lot of trainers have made a lot of money helping people do just that. But to be successful in selling, you have to pair the art of communication with the science of psychology.
A recent article in Inc. by Steve Cody, who co-founded Peppercomm, a strategic communications firm, breaks down what any individual needs to turn great products into a sales win.
Entitled, “Tips From the Best Salespeople I’ve Ever Met,” the article underscores listening as a pivotal skill. Cody notes that his “uber-sales” people “don’t utter a sound until they’ve processed exactly what they’ve seen and heard.”
Processing the signs your client is sending out involves knowing how to read people. Dr. Paul Ekman, an American psychologist and pioneer in the study of body language and micro expressions, has revolutionized how we read people.
Ekman believes that most people tell you exactly what they think through the tiniest changes in their expressions – each change can tell you exactly what the person is thinking, often before they’ve even realized it themselves.
Although they work in different industries, Cody’s three top salespeople appear to be intuitively connected to Ekman’s research. For them – and Cody himself – selling is done one-on-one, probably not by email, or even phone, although sometimes it will have to do.
To them, it’s not until you make eye contact that you can really tell what the client wants and how you can sell to him or her based on that.
How to Avoid ‘Survey Fatigue’ and Gain Valuable Feedback
Many consumers have become jaded about customer response surveys – call it “survey fatigue.” They have come to the conclusion surveys are a waste of their time and that, in most cases, the survey taker will not follow up and doesn’t really care about their opinions anyhow.
How can you solicit feedback from your customers without hitting their survey fatigue buttons? Here are some tips for surveying your customers effectively:
- Make your surveys short and to the point. Focus the questions on areas that you know need attention.
- Don’t ask vague or general questions. Use direct, clear, concise language that leaves no room for misunderstanding.
- Do not ask questions filled with jargon, technical language, or double-speak.
- If you solicit feedback via social media, be timely in responding to the comments you receive.
- Make sure the “contact us” or feedback page of your website works. Check for comments frequently.
- If you use written comment cards or survey forms, consider them as part of the customer experience. Make sure they are free of spelling and grammar errors.
- Explain why you want feedback and what you will do with the input you receive.
- Thank your customers and assure them that you value their opinions.
- Don’t over-survey; that will hasten survey fatigue. If you send out too many surveys too close together, you also may find you haven’t got sufficient resources to follow through on what you’ve learned.
Customer surveys can help you understand the drivers of customer satisfaction and cement customer loyalty. They can aid in spotting trends and identify areas of weakness. And finally, instead of being upset about a complaint, consider it a gift that tells you where to focus your efforts to improve.
Do You Need Equipment Breakdown Insurance?
As a savvy business owner, there’s no doubt that you’ve looked into basic commercial insurance coverage and its cost. So you may recognize the two most common business insurance policies: general liability and property damage.
Depending on the type of business you own, there’s one important thing you may have missed in reviewing the options available. That is, unless your electrical and/or mechanical equipment is damaged by one of the general perils specifically listed on your property damage policy, you won’t be covered if you have to replace or repair it.
A few examples of commonly covered perils are events such as fire, wind, hail, smoke, and civil unrest. However, the average policy usually doesn’t include any coverage for mechanical breakdown. And not having the proper endorsement to properly protect your equipment could shut down your business for days or weeks, during which time your income and profits could all but cease.
Who needs it?
If the extent of your business’s equipment is a small cash register and a phone, and/or if you rent a space where the owner provides maintenance, heat, and air, you may find that you’re not going to need mechanical breakdown coverage as an essential part of your commercial insurance coverage, providing, of course, you have saved up the money towards replacing or repairing your cash register and phone in the event of a non-covered loss.
Those business owners who should be especially concerned about equipment breakdown coverage are companies that have any or all of the following: manufacturing equipment; more than one computer; refrigeration; boiler systems; cooking equipment; generators; motors; fire and security systems.
Equipment breakdown coverage is important whether you own or lease the equipment. To protect themselves, leasing companies will often require you to carry this protection, not unlike an auto lender that insists you carry comprehensive and collision coverage on your auto insurance policy when you’re financing a car.
This policy will cover labor and other costs of repairing equipment, not just replacing it. There are other residual losses that may occur due to the breakdown that are also covered. For example, if you own a restaurant and your freezer breaks, causing you to lose thousands of dollars’ worth of frozen food, that would be covered.
Clean-up services may also be covered if the breakdown causes a mess. One of its greatest benefits is that it will also cover any loss of business you experience while getting the equipment repaired or replaced.
Some insurance companies will offer equipment breakdown as a separate policy, or it can be added as an endorsement – a special addition – to your existing commercial insurance policy.
Ask your insurance professional if there are differences in the coverage limits and options, so you can make a well-informed decision about which option would be better for you.
Prepare and protect the flow of your business to ensure minimal interruption if something or, as sometimes happens, everything breaks down. Your business account (and your personal checking account) will thank you.