If you have started your own business, then you would have likely purchased a business insurance policy that covered the needs of your startup. But what do you do if your business is starting to grow? Maybe time has passed and because of your business’s success you have begun to hire more employees, you may be adding to your inventory, opening a new location or expanding the services that you offer. If your business is growing in such a manner, then you will likely need to review your policy and make some adjustments. Just as you should expand your insurance coverage in the event that you start growing a family, the same goes for you business, and is a great reason why you should keep your insurance up to date with any big life or business changes.
If your business is growing, that’s a good thing! But with the expansion of your company and its overall growth, you will want to make sure that all of the new aspects of your business are properly protected. You will certainly want to make sure that your business has the coverage that it needs. But how do you know what changes might warrant a change in insurance?
Opening up a new location
It’s common for successful businesses such as retail stores and restaurants to open up one or more locations in order to help boost their business and their brand. Whether you are opening up a new location in a neighboring town or in a new state, you will need to make sure that you have all of the right insurance required for that location. Once you open up a second location, you are more likely to be familiar with what coverage you may need. If you are opening a new site in a different state, however, you will want to be sure to check with state regulations and get some advice from your small business insurance agent to learn about any requirements or laws specific to that location. Different states may have different requirements, so you will need to be thorough. There may even be different rules for different neighborhoods, counties and areas.
Adding more commercial vehicles to use at your company’s disposal
In addition to alerting your insurance agent as to when you open up any new locations, you need to make sure you obtain commercial auto insurance if you add another vehicle to your fleet and inform your insurance agent of this change. If you are not sure if commercial insurance is necessary, here are a couple of questions to ask yourself:
- Do my staff members use these vehicles?
- Is the vehicle registered in the business’ name?
- Does the vehicle have decals or other markings denoting my business’ name?
- Do I use the vehicle for business-use only/primarily?
While some of the questions listed above may be obvious, others may not be, and it is always good to double check before looking at new insurance policies. The bottom line is : if your staff members are driving a vehicle for commercial use at any time, whether they are company owned or not, make sure you have business auto insurance.
Making any additions to your store, warehouse or place of operations
When it comes to making sure you have enough coverage, it is a bit more difficult making sure that your business possessions are adequately covered than the business property itself. You will need to take everything into account: inventory, equipment, buildings, etc. Going over everything with your agent will definitely help, especially when it comes to items you may not have considered getting coverage for. It is up to you to let your business insurance agent know the contents your business owns and uses in order to get the coverage that you need for everything inside your business property.
If you are adding new machinery, software, equipment, or anything else to your place of operations, make sure you are covered for those new additions as well, and preferably before they are put into use. You’ll want to be sure if anything happened, such as a robbery or a hurricane, that you would have coverage for everything no matter what was lost. In order to insure that you will have as close to 100% in replacement costs for everything in your building, no matter the incident, you must be sure to keep your insurance agent updated whenever you make any changes.
Hiring new employees
If you are expanding your staff, the first thing you will want to do is make sure to update your payroll on your existing workers comp insurance. As a business in Massachusetts or Connecticut, you will be required to have workers comp insurance by law. Even if you aren’t required, workers comp is essential to protecting you and your employee should accidents occur on the job. If you already have an existing staff in place, it is very likely new staff members will be covered. Updating your agent about new staff members may not required, but it can help reduce the size of your audit at the end of the year. If your payroll doesn’t include several new members of your staff, come the end of the year you may be making up for more money. If you update it as you add new members it could make your life easier. Lastly, if your new employee is going to be operating any commercial vehicles you have, you’ll want to also let your agent know about this.