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What is commercial insurance?

Commercial insurance provides protection for a company’s owners, business assets and employees. And because each company is different, there are a variety of commercial policies available. Anyone who owns a business, no matter how large or small, should get a commercial insurance quote before opening the company’s doors.

Commercial insurance offers coverage in the areas of general liability, business income, commercial property, commercial auto, workers compensation coverage, and more. As an independent agency, Alchemy searches multiple trusted brands to find the best and most affordable policy to match your business needs.

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What are the different types of commercial insurance?

There are numerous types of commercial insurance available to business owners. Below are examples to consider:

Commercial insurance for property: Covers the physical property as well as computers, equipment, tools, technology, inventory, and other goods.

Business income: When a natural disaster, fire, robbery or other unexpected events force operations to shut down, this type of policy offers protection.

General liability: Covers areas such as at-work injuries and various types of property damage. Most commercial insurance quotes include this type of coverage.

Business owners: Provides protection coverage for liability, business interruption, property damage, and other major liability and property issues.

Commercial auto: Protects company owned, rented, or leased vehicles from claims related to property damage, bodily injury, collision and more.

Errors & omissions: Often covers losses that are not provided for under a general liability policy.

Directors & officers: Protects the personal assets of corporate directors and officers. It offers specific coverage not provided by general liability insurance.

Workers compensation: Offers coverage for medical care, illness, lost wages, and a number of work-related injuries.

A commercial insurance quote may include some or all of the above types of commercial insurance. It depends on the needs of the business owner.

What is commercial property insurance?

Commercial property insurance coverage is for business-owned property. It typically protects against natural disasters, theft, and damages that result from fires (both accidental and arson-related blazes). Many types of businesses carry this type of insurance.

For companies whose largest assets include high-tech, expensive equipment and very large machinery, commercial property insurance is essential. So, when writing these policies insurance companies look at the value of all of the assets a company owns.

The cost of a commercial policy is affected by a number of factors. A few factors are the location of the main building, how many people occupy the building during a work day, the building’s construction material, the location of the fire hydrants, sprinkler system, security/alarm system, and more.

Policies in this category often cover important company documents and records, office and manufacturing buildings and equipment, landscaping, signs, fencing, inventory of all kinds, satellite dishes, and other items of value.

What does a business owners policy (BOP) cover?

A business owners policy (BOP) includes coverage for most major liability and property risks in a single package. The good news for business owners is that bundled insurance products are usually offered at a discounted price, compared to the cost of purchasing all of the components separately.

Business owners policy coverage is popular among companies in the “small to medium” size categories because of their affordability. They typically include many components, like coverage for business interruption. BOPs are usually constructed around three primary components: liability protection, property insurance and business interruption insurance.

Liability protection: Covers a company’s legal responsibility for the harm it may cause to others.

Property insurance: The property coverage for a BOP will routinely list the particular areas of coverage, naming them specifically. Examples include “vandalism, fire, storm damage,” etc.

Business interruption: When a disaster or adverse event causes business operations to stop, this part of the policy covers loss of income and sometimes the expense of renting a temporary facility.

What are the key benefits of having commercial auto insurance?

Policies that cover commercial auto risks are important for any company that uses vehicles in its daily operations. These policies include advantages that individual auto policies do not offer, such as higher coverage limits. There are also other reasons why vehicle commercial coverage makes sense.

In addition to providing high coverage limits to reimburse for attorneys’ fees, possibly very large medical expenses and punitive damage awards, commercial auto policies can offer protection for “employee-drivers.”

As a part of day-to-day operations, owners often need to put employees behind the wheel of company vehicles. That means exposure to liability beyond what a standard auto policy would cover. Commercial auto policies can insure against the cost of accidents, whether it’s your employee or a third-party who gets injured.

Sometimes commercial vehicle coverage is a mandatory requirement for business owners who want to rent a fleet of cars or trucks. In most places, it’s nearly impossible to rent a fleet of vehicles unless the business owner has a commercial policy for the fleet.

Why choose Alchemy Insurance?

As an independent insurance  agency in pennsylvania, Alchemy can shop multiple brands at once to find the insurance that best suits your needs. Protect your family (and your wallet) with a FREE quote today!

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Frequently Asked Questions

1. What is commercial liability insurance coverage?

Also known as commercial general liability (CGL) coverage, this kind of insurance offers a wide range of protection to businesses (primarily for property damage and personal and bodily injuries) for things that can happen in the day-to-day operations of a company.

CGL policies also routinely covers bodily, personal and property damages that can arise from the use of one of a company’s products or from an accident that takes place on company property.

Commonly used terms and typical coverage types include “premises coverage,” a type of protection against a wide category of claims arising from occurrences on company property during routine hours of operation. Property damage and bodily injuries that arise from the use of a “finished product” made by a company might also be part of a CGL policy.

Some people refer to commercial general liability policies as being “comprehensive,” however,  that is a misnomer because it only covers certain types of risks, not “all” risks. Like most types of policies, there are varying levels of coverage in CGL insurance.

Company owners can also purchase excess coverage to cover contingencies that are not included in a standard CGL insurance policy.

2. Is it mandatory to have business insurance?

In some instances, it is mandated by law that business owners carry certain kinds of insurance, depending upon what the company does and where it operates. For example, in many states, companies that hire people must have a workers compensation policy in effect before they can bring on new personnel.

A standard workers compensation insurance policy covers your employees if they hurt themselves on the job. These mandatory policies also protect a company’s interests by prohibiting workers from suing the employers when a workers compensation policy is in effect.

For companies that have paid employees, the law also requires unemployment insurance. The same goes for vehicles that are used in the business. All vehicles must be insured according to the laws of the state in which the company operates. Some owners mistakenly believe that their personal auto policies will cover company vehicles.

Of course, there are many kinds of business policies, most of which are not required by law. Owners need to keep an eye on state regulations that pertain to the types of insurance that are mandatory and on the specific amounts of insurance that have to be purchased.

3. What type of insurance do I need for my small business?

It is important for business owners to know what kinds of insurance coverage offers the best protection, based on unique aspects of the company. In addition to some of the legally mandated forms of business insurance, there are dozens that are completely optional.

Unemployment and workers compensation insurance are mandated by either federal or state laws in most cases, while some states also require business owners to carry disability insurance policies.

Non-mandated business insurance coverage types include general liability coverage, commercial property policies, coverage for professional liability, key person coverage, liability policies for employment practices, standard coverage for product liability, and many more.

Surveys of U.S. business owners have revealed that more than 40 percent of companies have nothing more than state or federal mandated business insurance. This means that millions of organizations are exposed to high levels of risk and have no policy in place to address these concerns. The most common reason for being under-insured is the mistaken notion that a company can save money by foregoing insurance coverage.

It is important for every business owner to purchase insurance based on the unique needs of the company, no matter how small or new the organization is.

4. Who needs commercial auto insurance?

As a general rule, business owners who use vehicles to conduct their day-to-day operations need a commercial vehicle policy. There are four common questions to ask to determine whether this type of coverage is needed. They include:

Who operates the vehicle?
Are there legally-required liability limits?
How is the vehicle used?
What is the weight/type of vehicle in question?

In some cases, like a sole proprietor who uses a car both for business and personal purposes, an individual auto policy may be okay. But answering the four questions will usually help offer a clearer answer.

If a vehicle is used exclusively for business, is considered a “commercial vehicle” by the state (dump trucks and big rigs are common examples), is owned by the company, exceeds certain weight limits, or needs to have coverage limits that exceed personal auto policies, then you’ll likely need to obtain a commercial auto policy.

Sole proprietors have a little bit of wiggle room on the requirement in some cases, but for larger enterprises that use vehicles to conduct business, a commercial policy is ordinarily an absolute necessity, for legal and practical reasons.

5. What does commercial general liability insurance cover?

Three categories a commercial liability policy typically covers include claims made against a company for property damage, personal injury and advertising injury. Slip-and-fall injuries are common types of personal injuries in this category. Another area of concern is reputation harm, which results when another business or person sues your company for something you said or did that can be shown to have injured their commercial image.

General liability coverage can include many other categories of protection, including expenses you incur to settle claims of property damage, attorneys’ fees associated with any legal work on your behalf, court costs, any judgments issued by a court against your company, and much more.

There are several instances of loss and risk that are typically not covered by a general liability policy. They include expenses associated with damage to a business property you own, and any of your actions including those that may be considered malicious, intentionally harmful, or illegal. Additionally, a general liability policy won’t cover at-work injury claims made by your company’s employers or auto accident expenses that are determined to be your fault, or your employee’s fault.

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