Let's be honest. Which shop owner wants to think about insurance? It's an added expense on top of the problems of Covid, labour shortages, transport issues and all the heap of problems sent to harass us. Howevewr one fine day that insurance could make all the difference between finishing the year with a nice profit or going out of business completely. So, let's look at some of the risks you might face and what insurance can do to help you.
Employee liability insurance
This is an easy one to decide on; if you employ just about anyone you have no choice about having it because if you don't you could end up in the magistrates' court. However, on the flip side, injuries to employees do happen and this insurance has benefits for both you and your employees; you won't be bankrupted if an unfortunate employee is seriously injured at work, and that employee can at least be sure that there would be adequate money available to pay reasonable compensation. So, it's a win – win.
Public liability insurance
I really wonder why this is not obligatory too – it is possibly the most useful insurance that any company can have. It covers compensation from people who are (at least allegedly) injured either physically or financially by the negligence (again alleged) of yourself or any of your employees. Let someone slip inside your shop or trip over a box and before you know it you could be facing massive payouts as well as eye watering legal costs. Just what you could really do without. A good public liability insurance policy, though, can take all the worries off your shoulders.
Buildings and contents cover
It is a well-known fact that the majority of uninsured businesses that suffer from fires or floods are out of business within two years. You may not of course actually own the premises that your shop is in; but if a fire is shown to be caused by something you or your staff did the owner of the property, or the insurance company that covers it, could well look to you to pick up the bill. Nasty.
Personal accident insurance
This could be the saviour of your business if you had an accident and were unable to work for a while! Think about it.
Business interruption cover
The theory behind business interruption insurance is that if you were forced to close your shop for a while because of circumstances beyond your control you could claim for this under your policy.
Be careful though. Perhaps you should get somebody who specialises in commercial insurance to look very carefully at the policy for you before you sign on the dotted line! An awful lot of shopowners who lost heavily because of the Covid epidemic forcing them to close their shops have found that the small print in their policies meant that they were getting nothing back.
You may think that business interruption insurance is worthwhile for your own particular business. I'm certainly not suggesting that you don't, but as ever make sure you look carefully at the policy; or better still get a specialist to do that for you!
A standard policy is all very well and good for the average shop. It may be, though, that yours has particular risks.
For instance: if you are a jeweller or deal with high value items you may find that you standard conditions and payouts are unsuitable, and that you need a more tailored policy.
Similarly, if you prepare or sell ready to eat food there is always the risk that someone will claim that they have had an allergic reaction or even food poisoning from something they have bought from you. This could not only cost you an eye watering amount of money but could also cause you reputational damage as well; but a good insurance broker could advise you on ways of minimising your risk.
Shopowners who provide personal services such as hairdressing, manicuring or beauty treatments are also at risk of unexpected reactions to chemicals in regular use. You can hardly do a complete DNA check on every client but this will not prevent huge claims if one of them has an unexpected adverse reaction to something, particularly if this is a cosmetic issue. Don't worry about it, let your insurer do that.
So to sum up:
Yes, thinking about insurance is a chore but a necessary one if you are to avoid any one of innumerable potential disaster scenarios. Take a bit of time off to sort yours out; and you can begin by clicking the quote button now!
How it works
- You fill in a simple form, giving some details of what you are looking for.
- You will receive broker quotations to compare.
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