Commercial insurance, also known as business insurance, protects your company against potential financial losses in the event of unexpected circumstances. These general terms include various insurance coverage forms for your business.
Different types of business insurance are designed to protect your company from various risks. Your business might need more than one type of insurance or only one, depending on what your company does.
The most common types of business insurance are:
If your business only requires one type of insurance, you can buy individual policies; however, typically, most enterprises need multiple insurance policies. You can get most of the insurance coverage your business needs by choosing a combined or packaged policy that suits the size and nature of your business.
Packaged commercial insurance policies are designed to meet the needs of the majority of small businesses.
A packaged policy is a single contract that offers a “full package” of cover under one policy.
Typically, a packaged business insurance policy will include cover for:
Most business insurance policies provide these types of cover as standard; however, providers can also include additional cover depending on your company's needs.
Packaged policies are available for several different types of businesses, such as:
Packaged business insurance is created to address the most frequent risks faced by each trade and meet the requirements of most small businesses. These policies have set limits for liability and restrictions on coverage for a fixed price.
Commercial combined policies are suitable for limited companies, medium-sized businesses, and large enterprises. They also offer a customised approach to business insurance.
Combined policies bundle several individual policies into one comprehensive business insurance policy.
Combined business insurance allows you to choose which type of coverage you want and how much you need. Usually, you need to select at least three types of coverage. This type of insurance is ideal for businesses that require more than one type of coverage.
Commercial combined insurance can save you up to 10% compared to buying separate policies. It can also make the process of getting business insurance simpler.
Different types of business insurance provide coverage for various incidents or risk your company might face. The types you require depend on the risks that your company is exposed to.
Here's a simple summary of the primary types of business insurance and their coverage:
Employers liability insurance covers your business for any sum you may be legally liable to pay to employees. This could be in the case of injury, disease, illness or death caused during their employment.
Public liability insurance protects your business from legal liabilities if someone, like a member of the public, makes a claim against you. This type of insurance usually covers injuries or property damage caused by your business or on your premises.
An example of this would be if a member of the public were injured slipping on a wet floor whilst visiting your premises.
Product liability insurance shields your business from liability arising from the sale or supply of goods that cause injury or damage to your customers or their property. For example, if you sell cooked meat, that makes a customer sick.
Just like home insurance, you can often get property and contents insurance either as a combined policy or as separate policies.
Business building insurance protects your premises from damage caused by fires, floods, or burst pipes. Commercial contents insurance covers your business's furniture, fixtures, fittings, stock, money, and glass (like windows and doors) in case of damage or theft.
Like home insurance, the building owner is usually responsible for ensuring business building insurance is in place. Therefore, if you rent your business premises, it’s likely you'll only require business contents insurance.
Professional indemnity insurance, also known as professional liability insurance, provides coverage to your business for claims where your clients have suffered financial losses due to errors in your services.
This type of insurance covers any legal expenses in case a third party files a claim against you and the compensation you’d have to pay if the claim is successful. Typically professional indemnity insurance covers your business against claims for:
Business interruption insurance safeguards your business against the loss of income or profit that may result from damage or loss to your property.
It covers the actual loss of earnings, expenses for moving to and from temporary premises, additional costs incurred to minimise the interruption or to keep working, and the employees' wages necessary for the business's recovery.
The types of small business insurance you need will depend on several factors, such as the nature of your business and the risks you’re likely to face. Although most types of business insurance are not a legal requirement, it's crucial to consider the risks your business may encounter and the potential consequences of not having insurance in case of an unexpected event.
There’s no special insurance required for working from home, but it’s a good idea to check if your home or contents insurance covers any business equipment you have.
If you have people coming to your home for business, it can be a good idea to ensure you’ve got public liability insurance.
If you work from home and run your own business, you may still need business insurance, depending on the nature of your business and the risks involved.
For example, if you provide professional services, such as accounting or legal advice, you may need professional indemnity insurance to protect you against claims of negligence or errors. If you manufacture and sell products, you may need product liability insurance to protect you against claims of injury or property damage caused by your products.
It's best to speak with an insurance provider to determine what business insurance you may need for your specific situation.
The only type of business insurance that’s a legal requirement is employer liability insurance, as long as you have employees. A few exceptions exist, such as unincorporated family businesses that only employ family members or employees based abroad.
All other types of business insurance aren’t legally required, though this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t consider them.
If you don’t have employers’ liability insurance when you have employees, you could be fined up to £2,500 every day you’re not insured.
For all other types of business insurance, whilst there are no fines for not being insured, it could still cost you, especially as a small business.
Imagine someone gets seriously hurt in your shop and sues your company, or your premises is damaged due to a fire, and you need to replace all your equipment or even move to a new location.
Whilst these things are worst-case scenarios, they’re still possibilities, and not being insured could potentially bankrupt your business.