Business insurance is a must for any type of business, large or small. Chances are that you have enough responsibilities already without having to worry about the financial impact of a customer injury, a product liability issue, or damage to a client’s property.
But figuring out what type of insurance you need and how to navigate the claims process can seem like a complicated undertaking. Some types of business insurance only cover damages to third parties, not to your own premises or employees, so you’ll need an additional insurance policy to cover theft, vandalism, and workers’ compensation claims.
Here’s what you need to know about business insurance — also called general liability insurance — and how to go about filing a business insurance claim.
What Is Business Insurance?
Business insurance, or general liability insurance, is an insurance policy that protects your company if you’re liable for certain types of damage due to action or neglect. This type of policy covers bodily injury, property damage, and even libel or slander arising from your business operations, advertisements, or products.
For small businesses in particular, a single liability claim can result in financial losses that can threaten the viability of your business. Small business insurance is an extra expense, but it can protect you in the event of a liability claim or lawsuit.
Business liability insurance may be bundled with other types of insurance as part of a business owner policy or a commercial package policy. It’s important for small business owners and other policyholders to be familiar with the specifics of their insurance coverage so they are aware of any exclusions, coverage limits, and deductibles before filing a claim.
Who Needs General Liability Insurance?
The type of insurance you need is determined by the size and nature of your business. In some cases, you might be required to show proof of insurance before another company will do business with you or before a property owner will rent space to you.
Most businesses that are open to the public, have a social media presence, or provide products or services to customers should have liability insurance. This includes:
- Real estate agents
- IT companies
- Retail stores
- Marketing agencies
Some businesses will need additional coverage depending on their assets or location, such as commercial auto insurance to protect a vehicle fleet or commercial property insurance to cover business property in the event of a natural disaster.
Common Types of Business Insurance Claims
Let’s say you have general liability insurance and are considering filing a claim with your insurance company. What types of business claims are covered? Below are some of the most common types of claims covered by general liability insurance.
Business liability insurance covers damage to a client’s or customer’s property while in the course of doing business. If you or one of your employees causes damages while performing a work-related task, such as installing an appliance or catering a wedding, you’ll be able to file a property damage claim with your insurer.
Remember, this type of insurance only covers property claims related to a third party; you’ll need a separate insurance policy to cover your own business property.
If a customer slips and falls at your place of business or is injured as a result of your services, your business insurance policy should cover their medical costs. It will also protect you if the customer files a lawsuit to claim additional damages.
As with property damage, this doesn’t cover injury to an employee as the result of a workplace injury, only to third parties.
Business liability insurance also protects you if one of your products injures a customer or damages their property. For example, if an appliance overheats and causes severe burns or if a customer becomes sick after eating your product, you’ll be covered.
Defamation refers to both libel (written statements) and slander (oral statements) that contain false or misleading claims about a customer or competitor. This could take the form of an advertisement or even an offhand statement made by an employee while being interviewed or appearing in promotional materials. General liability insurance should cover court costs and settlements related to these kinds of claims.
Business liability insurance can also protect you from copyright infringement claims. If you’ve released a product that’s similar to a competitor’s or you’ve used a trademarked image in your advertising, you could be at risk of a lawsuit. Business insurance policies typically cover legal costs in this category.
Other Types of Business Insurance Coverage
General business insurance covers a wide range of likely scenarios, but it doesn’t cover everything. Many small businesses will need to purchase one or more of these additional policies.
- Business owner’s policy: A business owner’s policy includes liability and commercial property coverage in the same package. It usually includes business interruption coverage, which covers lost business income if you need to pause operations due to theft, natural disaster, or closure by a civil authority.
- Workers’ compensation insurance: Workers’ compensation insurance covers partial lost wages and medical costs if any employee is injured on the job.
- Employee benefits liability insurance: Employee benefits liability insurance protects you if your HR team makes a mistake in administering benefits.
- Professional liability insurance: Also known as errors and omissions (E&O) Insurance, this covers claims arising from mistakes or negligence. It’s common for lawyers, accountants, and consultants to maintain this type of policy.
Use Automation to Streamline Business Insurance Claims
Filing a commercial insurance claim involves several steps and needs to be handled in a timely manner to avoid issues: Most policies have a time limit after which it’s too late to file a claim. To streamline the process, you can use insurance automation to make claims reporting more efficient and accurate.
Follow these three steps to improve your claims management process:
1. Standardize Incident Reports
When it comes to business insurance claims, everything comes down to evidence. You need to be able to prove that an incident happened the way you say it did in order to satisfy the insurance company that you have a legitimate claim.
That means having a system in place for reporting workplace incidents. Make sure your employees know how to write an incident report, and use a platform like Pulpstream to standardize and streamline the documentation process.
As soon as you become aware of an incident, take photos, interview witnesses, and gather any other evidence you can to back up your business insurance claim.
2. Streamline Communications
After making a business insurance claim, you’ll need to work with your claims adjuster to determine the outcome. They may need to visit the location of the incident, review purchase receipts and other documents, and assess the value of your losses.
If there’s a criminal investigation or a lawsuit involved, you may also need to consult with a law firm or file a police report.
By using a cloud-based platform like Pulpstream to facilitate communication during the claims management process, you’ll ensure that everyone’s on the same page and that you don’t miss any steps or overlook any important communications.
3. Track Claims in a Central Location
For small businesses, filing an insurance claim may be a rare occurrence. For larger companies that might have multiple insurance claims to track at one time, you’ll need a centralized database and a comprehensive claims management system.
Pulpstream can track all of your business insurance claims in one place, from workers’ compensation insurance to general liability claims. You can initiate a claim from any device and attach photos, notes, and other relevant documentation.
Plus, you can run detailed loss reports and use custom analytics to track how many claims you’re filing each month, or to sort claims by type or status. Use Pulpstream to manage the entire process, and avoid common claims processing pitfalls.
Streamline Claims Processing With Pulpstream
Business liability insurance covers everything from damage to a customer’s property to lawsuits arising from copyright infringement or defamation. But you may need additional insurance to protect against other risks, such as water damage to your own property, HR errors in employee benefits administration, and workers’ compensation claims.
Track all of your insurance claims in one place using Pulpstream’s cloud-based claims management system. Our no-code platform makes it easy to customize your workflows, automate repetitive tasks, and eliminate data silos, even without having advanced coding knowledge. Request a demo today to see how it works!