From the December 2003 issue of Entrepreneur

Insuring your personal car? Getting a quote is easy. Insuring your business? Not so simple. Don't be surprised if the insurer wants to take a look at your facilities before making a quote. Carriers conduct pre-quote loss-control inspections to be sure they understand a prospective client's operation and potential risks, as well as to offer the most accurate, competitive quote, says Dick Vaughan, executive technical consultant with investment and insurance firm The Hartford in Hartford, Connecticut.

Typically, after you've applied for coverage, a loss-control consultant will set up an appointment for an inspection, which may include:

  • Interviews with key staffers to verify the information the carrier has and to get other details about the company that may affect coverage
  • A physical tour of the facility, accompanied by someone qualified to answer questions
  • A review of pertinent records like a written safety program, OSHA logs, fleet records and accident reports

If the consultant doesn't specify, ask whom he or she wants to speak with and what documents you should have ready. The better prepared you are, the more efficient and accurate the inspection process will be. A bonus, says Vaughan, is that consultants may make recommendations on safety and risk management issues during the inspection.

This type of inspection may also take place after a policy has been issued so the carrier can be sure the policy has been issued correctly.


Jacquelyn Lynn is a freelance business writer in Orlando, Florida.