Ask SCORE: Five types of insurance that help protect small businesses

Published 8:00 am Tuesday, April 24, 2018

No matter what type of business you own, you operate under some degree of risk.

Sadly, no business is completely immune to lawsuits. Fortunately, however, a variety of insurance options exist to help protect small businesses.

Among the most common types of small business insurance are:

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General liability insurance

Also known as commercial general liability insurance, this type typically covers claims associated with accidents or injuries on your property or your clients’ premises. General liability policies offer financial protection in the event of bodily injury, property damage, medical expenses, libel, slander and the cost of defending lawsuits.

Home-based business insurance

Because homeowner’s insurance policies don’t usually cover home-based business losses, you might consider adding riders to your policy if you run your business from your home. They can help protect you against financial loss due to normal business risks, such as property damage. Realize, however, that coverage may be limited, and other forms of insurance might provide better protection.

Professional liability insurance

This type of insurance is generally geared toward professional services providers. It’s also commonly known as errors and omissions insurance, and protects your business against claims of damages that your advice or services caused through malpractice, errors or negligence.

Product liability insurance

If your company manufactures, sells or distributes products, it may be liable for its safety. Product liability insurance offers protection against claims that a product caused bodily injury or harm.

Commercial property insurance

Commercial property insurance can help you recover financially if disaster strikes, and damages things like your computers, furniture, inventory, equipment, office building and other property. Covered events might include wind, hail, fire, theft or vandalism. Some polices also include business interruption insurance that helps make up for lost income for a period of time if loss of your commercial property prevents you from conducting business.

As you explore if your company may need any of these types of business insurance or others, visit the SCORE website for tips on how to make an educated decision. Also consider talking with a mentor at your local SCORE chapter who can guide you to trusted, knowledgeable insurance resources.

If you would like help with this process, or other aspects of your established or start-up business, the volunteers at SCORE are available to help. SCORE is a nationwide network of over 13,000 experienced volunteer executives offering free assistance to small businesses looking for mentoring, counseling, tools and workshops. You can read about SCORE at The Polk County Branch of SCORE can be reached at 828-351-9003 or via email at