Business Owners Policy: Everything You Need

It takes one unfortunate event to shutter your business. The first thing to remember, according to the U.S Small Business Administration , about 40% of small businesses fail following a disaster. Smaller companies are even more vulnerable, as 90% of them fail within two years following a disaster. But you can better prepare with a Business Owners Policy (BOP).

A BOP is a comprehensive policy that takes care of your company’s financial health following devastating events.

In this blog

Debunking the Misconception  

Misconception

A general liability policy will cover losses due to damages to property caused by an unfortunate event.

Reality

In essence, your general liability insurance only covers losses that you or your employees cause to a third party. Also, it does not cover damages to your property. However, a BOP covers such losses to your property and that of others, keeping your finances intact in the process.

What Is a Business Owners Policy?  

Seeing that a BOP is a bundled insurance package specially designed for small and medium-sized businesses. Generally, a standard BOP covers property damages, general liability, and losses due to business interruptions. However, you can customize your bundle and pay for the coverages that your business needs most.  

How Does a Business Owners Policy Work?  

So, consider this example: Your office building catches fire. The fire burns a unit of the office building, bringing operations to a halt. Unfortunately, the fire also damages a client’s car parked in the office area. After a one-month hiatus, you’ve now arranged a temporary workspace to resume operations, but are having to pay rent for the new space on top of your existing space.

You’ll be amazed by what your BOP covers during such a crisis. A BOP covers losses pertaining not only to damage to your properties but also to that of third parties. By and large it provides compensation for repairs to your office building, furniture, etc., and the customer’s damaged car. What’s more, a BOP covers losses due to business interruption. Adding to your delight, a BOP also pays for rent expenses for temporary workspaces.

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What Does a Business Owners Policy Include?  

So far, the best thing about a BOP is that you can tailor-make the policy package to fit your needs and affordability. A standard BOP includes commercial property, general liability, and business interruption insurances. However, below are the coverages you may want to include in your BOP:

Commercial Property Insurance

Commercial property insurance covers your business from losses to your commercial properties, including the physical building, furniture, documents, etc. I.e., it covers building structures and company-owned content. Hence the insurance compensates for repairs and replacements if your property is damaged, lost, or stolen.

General Liability Insurance  

General liability insurance provides protection when your product or your employees injure a third party or damage a third party’s properties.

Business Interruption Insurance 

Business interruption insurance covers income loss when events such as fire, theft, vandalism, or any other covered catastrophe disrupt your business’ operations.

Cyber Liability Insurance  

Cyber liability insurance indemnifies your company from internet-based risks. It covers you from the liability of data breach or data loss due to cybercrimes such as malware, Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks, ransomware, and many more.

Commercial Auto Insurance  

Commercial auto insurance covers your company vehicles and your employees in case of accidents or any insured events. Please note that a personal auto policy does not cover any losses to commercially-used vehicles.

 

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Workers Compensation Insurance 

On the second thing to remember, according to the Congressional Research Service, workers compensation insurance is mandatory in all states, except Texas. It covers expenses for disease, disability, or death of employees at work.

Professional Liability Insurance 

Professional liability insurance covers defense and settlement costs due to lawsuits against your business. Under this insurance are e&o insurance, malpractice insurance, and negligence coverage.

Inland Marine Insurance 

Does your business operation include transportation of materials, products, or equipment via trains or trucks? If yes, consider including inland marine insurance in your BOP. It covers losses to cargo while transporting or temporarily warehousing.

These are only a few of the coverages that you can include in your BOP. You can add other coverage such as commercial umbrella insurance, flood insurance, event insurance, and so on. Talk to your insurance agent and decide the best package for your business.

What Are the Common Endorsements? 

Endorsements help you personalize your BOP. It helps to add, modify, or remove coverages to better suit your unique business needs. Here are some common endorsements that you may want to consider:

  • Additional insured
  • Computer equipment and gadgets
  • Equipment breakdown
  • Accounts receivable
  • Hired/non-owned auto
  • Medical and dental office
  • Fine arts and valuables
  • Earthquake
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Are There Any Exclusions? 

As vital as it is for you to understand the various available BOP coverages, you should know the exclusions too. Here are the perils that your standard BOP does not cover:

  • Pollution
  • Nuclear hazard
  • An explosion of engines, boilers, or other equipment
  • Decay, rust, or corrosion
  • Military actions
  • Ordinance of law

Apart from these, there are other exclusions such as power failure, loss of market, wear and tear, nationalization, etc.

Cost of a Business Owners Policy  

Several factors influence the cost of a BOP including:

Coverage Limits 

Usually, the coverage limit of a BOP for a small business is $2 million. It compensates up to $1 million per claim and $2 million over the lifetime of the policy. The more the coverage, the higher the cost of insurance.

Industry 

High-risk industries such as construction, manufacturing, health services, etc., are charged a higher premium. The greater the risk, the higher the premium.

Claims History 

A higher claims history suggests higher risks. Hence, businesses with frequent claims pay a higher premium than ones with no claim history.

 

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Business Size 

The number of employees and revenue determines the size of your business. You may require more comprehensive coverage depending on its size.

Property Details 

If the properties in your business are high-valued, they require greater coverage. Similarly, if any property you want to insure is challenging to replace, the BOP cost is more likely to increase.

Business Location 

Business location significantly impacts your insurance cost. For example, if your business is located in a high-risk flood area, you will need to pay a higher premium.

Replacement vs. Actual Cash Value 

Replacement value means that the compensation amount equals the cost of replacing damaged properties with new ones. Under actual cash value, you get reimbursement after factoring in depreciation of the property. Comparatively, replacement value insurance costs higher than an actual cash value policy.

Is a Business Owners Policy Necessary?

Even though no state law mandates that businesses have a BOP, certain insurance policies for businesses are mandatory like workers compensation and commercial auto. Instead of taking separate policies, you can bundle them under a BOP and get insurance at comparatively lower prices.

In its regular dealings, a business faces potential risks such as damages to a building, business interruptions, data losses, litigations from a third party, and so on. You never know when a disaster might hit your business. The best way to deal with such unforeseen events is to manage risks beforehand through a BOP.

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How Can I Choose the Best Business Owners Policy?  

Choosing the right BOP can be overwhelming for two reasons: Firstly, you may not fully realize your business needs, also secondly, the many available coverage options flooding the market.

This is to say, our handy tips below will give you a head start.

Understand Your Business Needs 

One thing which is important to realize, assess the potential risks of your business. Is your office building located near a gas station or in a high flood-risk area? Sketch out any patterns of data loss, cybercrime, company product-induced client injuries, or any other risks your business is susceptible to.

Shop Business Owners Policies 

Forthwith, the more you know about a policy, the better. Talk to an insurance agent or surf through insurance providers’ websites to learn about the various policy options available to you. In light of instant accessibility, you can get quotes online to get an idea of the cost.

Evaluate Your Options  

To evaluate alternatives, you can consider the following:

  • Firstly, see the types of losses covered by a BOP
  • Secondly, understand the alignment of coverages offered by insurers to your business needs
  • Thirdly, be familiar with coverage amounts and deductibles
  • Fourthly, the premium amount
  • Lastly, the credibility of the insurance provider

Contact an Insurance Agent 

As experts with broader networks with insurance carriers, your insurance agent can provide you with a BOP at great rates. To clarify, the intricate terms in an insurance contract can be tricky. With the help of an agent, you can make an informed decision when buying insurance.

 

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Keep Prices at Check 

Most important, filter the risks you want to cover as you don’t need to cover them all. That will only cause the premium to soar. Decide the significant risks and their probabilities of causing a loss to your business. Then, talk to your insurance agent to bundle those coverages in your BOP.

Adapt to Changing Needs 

For one thing, growth in your business or changes in environmental factors may introduce new risks. Monitor the changing needs of your business. See if you need additional coverage for your business or discontinue existing coverage.

Types of Insurance That Includes a Business Owner Policy 

FAQs

When can I request endorsements?

For this purpose, you can request endorsements at any time. While shopping for a new policy, renewing the existing one, or at any point in your ongoing policy – you can ask for an endorsement. Talk to your insurance agent, and they will do the rest.  

What do you mean by named and open perils?

Perils refer to causes of loss. A named-peril is explicitly mentioned in your insurance contract, such as fire lightning, vandalism, falling objects, etc. Your insurer does not cover any losses due to perils not mentioned in the policy.

On the other hand, in case of open peril, your insurance covers all reasons for losses except for those explicitly excluded. Usually, standard exclusions are flood, seepage, earthquakes, fungus damage, etc.

What are the coverage limits of a BOP?
So far, the coverage limits for each element of a BOP differ:

  • In first place, a general liability insurance limit is categorized in either per occurrence or per year limits. A per occurrence limit is the maximum amount paid out per covered event. A per year limit is the maximum amount paid out annually.
  • Similarly, a commercial property insurance limit depends on your company-owned properties’ value.
  • Lastly, a business income insurance limit is calculated by adding net profit and any fixed expenses incurred.
Does my BOP cover accidents that have occurred on or in my business premises?

Your BOP covers financial losses due to lawsuits brought by a third party. Such as, a potential customer slips inside your business premises without anyone’s fault. The customer proves that they got hurt inside your business and sues you. Yes, that is considered a fair lawsuit. In any event, your BOP will cover the expenses of dealing and settling the lawsuit.  

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