Alaska Book Store Insurance Policy Information
Alaska Book Store Insurance. Booksellers sell new and used books, magazines, newspapers, and periodicals. Many have expanded their stock to include a wide variety of media including CDs, DVDs, and computer software. Others offer gifts, novelties, and on-premises coffee shops or snack bars.
Operating a book store can be a dream come true if you're an avid connoisseur of the written word. However, it's not all fun and games; as any business owner, you still put yourself at risk of liability every time you open your doors for business. You are subject to the same litigious exposure that other stores and businesses face, whether you're a small mom-and-pop book shop with one location or a larger business with several stores.
Because of the risks you face from liability from customers and others, having Alaska book store insurance in place and protecting you and your business is an essential part of putting out your 'open' sign.
Alaska book store insurance protects your shop from lawsuits with rates as low as $47/mo. Get a fast quote and your certificate of insurance now.
Do You Need AK Book Store Insurance?
Book stores are not a thing of the past, despite the tendency for some folks to get their books delivered electronically. But you know as well as anyone that you face lowered sales and a declining market; many small booksellers are just one lawsuit away from having to shutter their doors forever. Because of the less-profitable nature of the business, there has never been a more important time for you to protect your business from the 'what ifs' that can be the demise of your business. Alaska book store insurance insurance can help.
Danger? At the Bookstore?
Although marketing and consulting both seem like innocuous professions, the truth is that marketing consultants face a variety of perils in their everyday operations. Some of the risks that you encounter on a daily basis include:
While you may think that your profession is a fairly innocuous one, anytime you do business with the public you're subject to claims that go far behind the occasional paper cut while flipping through the latest bestseller. Book store patrons can slip, fall, trip or tip over items and become injured, racking up serious medical bills for which you would be responsible. Readers and fellow book lovers often 'hang out' at book stores; perhaps you have a local crowd that does just that. This is usually good for business, but it can also increase the risks you face when it comes to potential injuries. Vendors can also become injured when making deliveries.
There are umpteen scenarios of things that can go wrong and that often do. Your business could become damaged due to weather or fire, causing you to have to throw in the towel or find a new location. In the case of these types of events, you're often left with damaged or destroyed inventory, and absent a policy that pays you to replace that inventory, you're left holding the bag - replace it or accept the loss. Fortunately, there are Alaska book store insurance policies geared toward all of these scenarios.
What Should You Consider When Buying Coverage?
Protecting the contents of your bookstore with a viable policy is a smart business decision, whether you mainly stock trade paperbacks or you're dealing with antiquarian volumes. Inventory in your store is mainly paper based, so it is super vulnerable to damage from fire, smoke and water. Keeping a full inventory list is an important step; you should also make sure your contents coverage covers actual cost of replacing the entire inventory of your store if the worst case scenario actually comes to fruition.
Liability Issues for Book Store Owners
AK book store owners face the same liabilities that other retailers face. With the constant influx of customers, patrons, vendors, and others into your business, accidents are going to happen. No matter how hard you strive to make sure that your store is safe, sometimes things go awry. If your store caters to children, such as by holding special events targeted at young readers, then you're even more vulnerable. General liability insurance can help protect you from potential financial ruin if someone becomes injured on the premises. This protection is even more vital if your bookstore is also home to a coffee shop or cafe, since this type of business model opens the door for more liability from foodborne sickness.
You should also consider that if you sell a book that becomes the center of a libel or other suit, you could be included in the suit. This is even more likely if you endorse the book in any advertising and promotions or host the author for a book signing. Although the risk of such a suit is tiny, it is very real. General liability insurance for book stores should come with policy limits that are high enough to sustain such a claim.
Do You Need Retail Theft Insurance?
The short answer is no. Shoplifting has become a problem in all retail environments, including book stores, and specific insurance to mitigate the damage from book store theft exists. However, most instances of theft are so small and insignificant in the scheme of things that they don't warrant a full Alaska book store insurance policy to pay for the loss, not to mention the time it takes to file a claim. Investing in a loss control system may be a better use of the money spent. Discuss theft in your store with an independent agent to weigh your options and find out if theft insurance is a necessity for your particular retail model.
Alaska Bookseller's Risks & Exposures
Premises liability exposure comes from slips and falls due to public access to the premises. Books and other media should be kept on easily accessible and well-supported shelving. Aisles must be adequate and free of debris. Floor covering must be in good condition, no frayed or worn spots on carpet and no cracks or holes in flooring.
Steps and uneven floor surfaces should be prominently marked. Sufficient exits must be provided and be well marked, with backup lighting systems in case of power failure. If food and drink are offered, spills must be cleaned quickly to prevent slips and falls. If book signings or special events are conducted on premises, there should be adequate security on hand to control crowds.
Parking lots and sidewalks need to be in good repair with snow and ice removed, and generally level and free of exposure to slips and falls. If the business is open after dark, there must be adequate lighting and appropriate security for the area.
Personal injury exposure can arise from apprehending and detaining suspected shoplifters. The use of closed-circuit camera systems prevents such incidents from evolving into a "he said, she said" situation. Employees must be trained to deal with such delicate situations properly.
Products liability exposure for this type of operation is normally low.
Workers compensation exposure is from lifting which can cause back injury, hernia, sprains, and strains, and from slips and falls. Employees should be provided with safety equipment, trained on proper handling techniques, and have conveying devices available to assist with heavy lifting. Shelves should be easily accessible for storage. Stepladders should be available.
Housekeeping in storage areas, especially during peak times, is vital to prevent trips and falls. Snack bar and coffee shops may have burns or cuts. As with any retail operation, hold-ups may occur. Employees should be trained to respond in a prescribed manner.
Property exposures are generally limited to electrical wiring, heating and cooling systems, but books and other media are highly susceptible to loss from water, smoke or fire. Even when the items are not directly affected, any increased moisture in the air can cause tremendous damage. Suppression systems must be evaluated both on the ability to control fire and to limit damage to contents as it controls the fire. Snack bars and coffee shops should be separated from the book storage areas.
Books and other media are generally small and easy to steal. The higher priced, rare, or heavily desired items can become target items due to market demand. Appropriate security measures should be taken, including physical barriers to prevent entrance to the premises after hours and an alarm system that reports directly to a central station or the police department.
Business interruption is a concern since sales may peak at particular times during the year.
Crime exposures are from employee dishonesty and loss of money and securities either from holdup or safe burglary. Background checks should be conducted on all employees handling money. There must be separation of duties between persons handling deposits and disbursements and handling bank statements. Money should be regularly collected from cash drawers and moved away from the collection area, preferably to a safe on premises.
Bank drops should be made throughout the day to prevent a buildup of cash on the premises. Shoplifting detection devices in packaging, video surveillance and requiring customers to leave bags at the front door when they enter the store help reduce thefts by customers. Two employees should be required to confirm the accuracy of deliveries from vendors.
Inland marine exposures are from accounts receivable if the store offers credit; computers used to transact sales and monitor inventory; and valuable papers and records due to customers' and vendors' records. Backup copies of all records, including computer records, should be made and stored off premises. If the bookseller carries out-of-print or rate books, fine arts coverage may be needed as well as valuable papers.
Business auto exposure is generally limited to hired and nonowned with an occasional service vehicle for errands and pickups. Drivers should have a valid license and acceptable MVR. Any owned vehicles must have regular maintenance performed and documented.
AK Book Shop Coverage
There are a few other recommended insurance types for your bookstore in additon to maintaining inventory, building, general liability and property insurance. You may also want to buy flood insurance, business income insurance, and employment practices insurance. Employee dishonesty insurance, worker's compensation, and cyber liability insurance may also be wise investments.
Speak with a licensed agent about your insurance needs. Operating your bookstore is your livelihood; having bookstore insurance in place protects your finances and ensures your financial future.
Alaska Economic Data, Regulations And Limits On Commercial Insurance
If you're an entrepreneur who is thinking about starting a business in Alaska, it's important to have a basic understanding of the state's overall economy before you set up shop. Regardless of how high-quality the products and services you are planning on offering may be, if the location where you open your organization doesn't offer a target market that your products and services will appeal to, chances of success are slim. Furthermore, if a workforce isn't available to support your business, you'll have a hard time staying afloat.
With that said, it's important for business-minded individuals who are thinking about starting a company in Alaska to familiarize themselves with the state's economy; it's also a good idea to have an understanding of the commercial insurance requirements.
Following is an overview of economic trends and commercial insurance policies that business owners are required to carry in The Last Frontier.
Economic Trends For Business Owners In Alaska
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the unemployment rate in Alaska was 6.1% in December of 2019. While that's significantly higher than the national unemployment rate, which was 3.4% in December, 2019, it's lower than it was one year prior, when the rate of unemployment was 6.5% in December of 2018. Though the workforce is growing slower than it is in other states, economists do predict that the rate will continue to decline in the coming years.
Despite Alaska's remoteness and cold climate, it's actually a great start to start a business. According to the Tax Foundation, Alaska is the second most tax-friendly state for business owners in the United States, as there's no individual income tax or state sales tax. Additionally, Alaska has the second highest rate of new business owners, as well as the second highest percentage of available employees (as per 2016).
As in most states, the best spots to start a business in Alaska are the state's biggest cities and the surrounding areas. This includes Anchorage, Juneau, and Fairbanks. Other key areas that are seeing a boost in business development in recent years include Homer, Sitka, Prudhoe Bay, and Ketchikan.
While there are several industries that are experiencing growth in The Last Frontier, specific sectors thrive more than others. Businesses that are related to the following industries are booming in AK:
- Fishing, which is also one of the largest contributors to the state's economy.
- Mining, which provides more than 4,500 jobs in Alaska.
- Petroleum, which is responsible for 34% of jobs in the state. In fact, Prudhoe Bay is North America's largest oil field.
- Tourism is the second largest private sector employer in the state. Each year, millions of people from around the globe travel to Alaska to marvel at the numerous natural wonders that can be found here.
Commercial Insurance Requirements In Alaska
The Alaska Division of Insurance regulates insurance in AK. Alaska mandates very few forms of insurance coverage by law. They enforce worker's compensation.
Alaska requires you to have worker's compensation insurance if you hire even one employee on a regular basis. This includes part-time employees, family members, minors, and immigrant employees. It is not required for independent contractors or domestic employees, though you should check to make sure any contractors you have are true contractors, and not employees.
Alaska also requires all business-owned vehicles to be covered by commercial auto insurance. Other types of business insurance that business owners should carry depend on the specific industry.
Additional Resources For Retail Insurance
Read valuable small business retail insurance policy information. In a retail business, you need to have the right type of commercial insurance coverage so that your store, employees, and inventory are protected.
- Adult Novelty
- Antique Dealers
- Appliance & Electronics Store
- Army Navy Surplus Stores
- Art Dealers
- Art Gallery
- Arts & Crafts Supply Stores
- Bicycle Shop
- Boat Dealers
- Book Store
- Bridal Shop
- Candy Confectionery Store
- Carpet Store
- Cell Phone Stores
- Clothing Store
- Collectibles Memorabilia Store
- Consignment Stores
- Convenience Store
- Cosmetics Store
- Costume Stores
- Dry Cleaning
- Embroidery Services
- Equipment Rental
- Fabric Stores
- Fish Markets
- Flea Markets
- Funeral Home
- Furniture Store
- Gift Store
- Greeting Card Stores
- Hardware Store
- Harness & Saddle Shops
- Home Improvement Store
- Infant, Baby & Children's Clothing Stores
- Jewelry Store
- Lamp Stores
- Lingerie Store
- Luggage Store
- Meat Market & Butcher Shop
- Men's Clothing Stores
- Music Store
- Office Supply Store
- Paint & Wallpaper Store
- Pawn Shop
- Pet Store
- Pharmacy Liability
- Plumbing Supplies Fixtures Store
- Poultry Dealers
- Rent To Own Stores
- Scrap Metal Dealers
- Sewing Store
- Shoe Store
- Sporting Goods Store
- Stationary Store
- Thrift Store
- Ticket Agency
- Tire Store
- Tobacco Store
- Toy Store
- Travel Agency
- Trophy Stores
- Tuxedo And Formal Wear Rental Store
- Vending Machine Operators
- Wig Store
- Women's Clothing Stores
Retail stores are susceptible to premises liability claims because of customer traffic, but large department and specialty stores are more susceptible than most.
All retail stores have significant property exposures. The on-hand stock represents a considerable investment, but the amount on hand fluctuates seasonally. For this reason, physical damage insurance on this property must be arranged carefully. When the insured occupies a non-owned building, insurance coverage must be arranged for the insured's interest in extensive improvements and betterments made to the premises.
Crime insurance, in the form of employee theft and money and securities coverage, is also very important.
The businessowners policy was designed with retail exposures and operations in mind. For this reason alone, it should always be the first type of package coverage to consider. However, for those risks not eligible for the business owners policy program, the commercial package policy (CPP) is a practical and convenient way to combine a number of coverages into one policy.
Retail businesses generate income through interaction with customers. This interaction is also how a customer can sustain an injury and then sue the retailer for damages. Hazards, exposures and operations both on premises and off are important and must be covered, but liability the retailer may incur because of the merchandise sold must also be considered and insurance protection arranged.
Inventory or stock is the major property exposure for most retail operations. Because stock values tend to fluctuate or have significant peaks at certain times of the year, value reporting or peak season valuation options should be considered. Business income coverage, including business income from dependent properties coverage, may mean the difference between a retail operation staying in business or being forced into bankruptcy following a loss.
When the insured occupies a non-owned building, insurance coverage must be arranged for the insured’s interest in extensive improvements and betterments made to the premises.
Most retail businesses offer endless opportunities for a variety of criminal activities. For this reason, the coverages needed must be carefully evaluated. Holdup and robbery losses may be the most obvious concerns but employee theft, fraud and counterfeit money losses are also serious issues that cannot be dismissed.
Retail businesses are gaining greater exposure to international issues because of the growth in sales via the internet. As these sales increase, the added exposures faced by these retailers must be evaluated. While their operating horizons are expanding so are their potential loss exposures.
Minimum recommended small business insurance coverage: Business Personal Property, Business Income and Extra Expense, Equipment Breakdown, Employee Dishonesty, Money and Securities, Accounts Receivable, Computers, Valuable Papers and Records, General Liability, Employee Benefits, Umbrella, Hired and Non-owned Auto & Workers Compensation.
Other commercial insurance policies to consider: Building, Earthquake, Flood, Leasehold Interest, Real Property Legal Liability, Computer Fraud, Forgery, Bailees Customers, Goods in Transit, Jewelers Block, Cyber Liability, Employment-related Practices, Business Auto Liability and Physical Damage and Stop Gap Liability.
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Also find AK local small businesses by General Liability Class Code and learn about Alaska small business insurance requirements for general liability, business property, commercial auto & workers compensation including AK business insurance costs. Call us (907) 531-9001.