Just as other industries-from coffee to computers-are letting customers customize, the insurance industry is offering more specialized coverage for business owners. Whether you're a bathing-suit designer, a barber, an accountant or an auctioneer, there are insurance policies geared to you.
But before picking from the growing number of policies to cover specific professions and incidents, entrepreneurs should look at policies offering broader coverages, says Madelyn Flannagan, director of research and information for the Independent Insurance Agents of America. She points to the following:
Employment practices: This coverage protects you in case of lawsuits by employees charging any type of discrimination or sexual harassment. It pays defense costs and damages of up to $15 million.
Electronic data processing: This covers the cost of replacement after computer hardware, software and mechanical breakdowns; it also compensates for lost income during downtime.
Valuable papers and records: Imagine the horror of losing key records and documents related to your business. This policy reimburses the holder for the cost of software and staff assistance required to recreate the documents.
International medical: Should you be injured or fall ill abroad, or if that happens to your international clients or suppliers in the States, this policy would pay for the care.
Tax audit: Sutter Insurance Co. offers policies paying for additional tax assessments and interest, says Glenn. But cheaters beware: The policy excludes fraud and intentional misrepresentation. Check out www.taxinsurance.com for details.
Homebased business: A number of insurance companies offer policies for homebased businesses that cover all equipment in case of damage on- or off-site. Policies are also available to cover damage that occurs affecting your additions or improvements made when you set up your home office.
If you need help choosing coverage for your business, consult an independent insurance agent who can create a customized policy from the many products available. "Forge a personal relationship with the best possible agent," Achille advises. "It's the one-to-one interaction that will come through for your company, in good times and in bad."