Getting insurance for your business and business property has never really been an easy undertaking, and it's still one of the most important start-up tasks you'll face. Due to the aftermath of 9/11 and the continuing slow economy, it's also gotten more expensive.
According to Gary W. Eberhart, former executive vice president of the National Association of Professional Insurance Agents, "Some of the policy provisions, some of the coverage that every business used to have, may or may not be available anymore." Generally, you can expect higher premiums, higher deductibles and leaner coverage. And if you're in a high-profile building, such as a landmark or a city center, you won't be likely to get terrorism insurance.
It's not all bad news, though. As Eberhart notes, insurance coverage moves in business cycles-the marketplace and the cycle are down right now, but when the economy shoots up, you can expect property and casualty insurance to rebound in a similar fashion. Until then, Eberhart advises start-ups to plan on getting insurance coverage very early in your business plan, secure a trusted insurance agent who can also act as a business advisor, and be very honest with your agent about your business needs to get the most targeted coverage.
"The thing that so many small businesses fail to do is to buy coverage for loss of income due to business interruption," says Eberhart. "You can have fire insurance and liability insurance, but if the building burns down, those six months that you're not in business, you're going to need some income."