Montana Convenience Store Insurance Policy Information
Montana Convenience Store Insurance. Convenience stores sell perishable staples such as milk and bread and immediate need products such as coffee, condoms or tobacco to customers who are in a hurry and want to avoid traveling to larger retail stores. Convenience stores may also stock auto maintenance items, books, and magazines, canned or frozen food, household cleaning items, liquor products (where permitted), lottery tickets, newspapers, novelties, over-the-counter medications, personal care products, and snack items.
There may be microwave ovens available, so customers can heat their pre-packaged food items. Others have delicatessens on premises that offer sandwiches, pizza, and beverages to go. Other services may include car washes, gasoline, diesel fuel, kerosene, propane, and fuel oils. Many are located close to highways or other busy intersections and are open on a 24-7 basis.
Convenience stores are all around us, making our lives easier by offering products we need on the go. If you own a convenience store, you know just how lucrative the convenience store business can be. However, with business ownership comes responsibilities, including the need to have insurance that covers you and your business in the event that you are sued.
You must protect yourself and your business interests with the right levels of liability and property insurance as well as other Montana convenience store insurance types that are specific for your business.
Montana convenience store insurance protects your shop from lawsuits with rates as low as $57/mo. Get a fast quote and your certificate of insurance now.
Why Do Convenience Stores Need Business Insurance?
Around 40,000 convenience stores are operating in the U.S. as of 2014. Approximately 138,000 people work in convenience stores. Revenue from convenience stores amounts to around $35 billion each year. Because convenience stores are such diverse businesses, no two policies are alike, but many share the same bundle of different coverage types.
Your commercial broker can help you understand the nuances of the industry from a risk perspective, so you can be assured that you are fully protected, based on your individual risks and your tolerance to risk. Your broker will look at what you need to protect, your assets and your liabilities, when helping you choose the right Montana convenience store insurance coverage for your needs.
Commercial Property Insurance
Protecting your business against property damage is a big part of being a responsible business owner. Other than your building or storefront, the inventory inside your store is one of your biggest assets. Building insurance is an important part of you Montana convenience store insurance policy. It covers the damage that might occur to your actual store, the building, its canopies, and gas pumps, assuming you are the owner of the store and premises. If you rent your store, then you may be required by your landlord to purchase this coverage. Consult with your insurance agent to review your lease agreement and determine if you need to buy the coverage or if the landlord provides it for you.
The contents of your business should be covered by contents or business personal property insurance. This coverage provides protection for your inventory, shelving, fixtures, computers, and any equipment. Also consider boiler and machinery insurance. This Montana convenience store insurance covers the rental, repair, or replacement expense should your machinery necessary for operating your business go on the fritz. Perhaps your store sells food products that must be operational in order for you to do business. If your freezers or refrigerators break down, then your inventory goes bad. Spoilage insurance can be part of your boilers and machinery coverage, compensating you for this loss.
Commercial crime insurance is a good idea for all MT convenience stores, since they are oftentimes the target of robberies and burglaries. If your store is targeted, this insurance mitigates any financial losses that may result. This insurance is recommended in addition to risk management practices like installing cameras to monitor customer activity; this can reduce the rates you pay for your coverage.
Business Liability Insurance
General liability insurance should be a cornerstone of your coverage. This protects you in the event of slips and falls or other injuries to customers, vendors, and others on your property. It can also pay for defense costs if you find yourself faced with a liability claim in court. Premises liability coverage protects you from third-party claims for damage to property or bodily injury. This covers you from claims that may result from activity in your store, in its parking lot, gas area, and other locations around your business.
If you sell liquor, you may be required by the state in which you live to purchase MT liquor liability insurance. If an intoxicated person causes harm after buying liquor from you, this coverage handles any claims or awards up to the limits spelled out in your Montana convenience store insurance policy.
Cyber liability coverage is becoming more important for convenience stores, especially for those that sell gasoline. This is due to skimming devices that are sometimes planted on pumps in order to steal patrons' info. If this happens at your store, cyber liability policies can help to reduce the financial fallout for you.
Other Types Of Convenience Store Coverage
You may also need other types of Montana convenience store insurance coverage to fully protect your business and personal interests. Worker's compensation, for example, is required in most states. You may also need business income insurance to provide an income stream if your business is forced to halt for a covered peril. Employment practices liability coverage can provide protection for suits that may arise if someone feels as if you discriminated against them.
Montana Convenience Stores's Risks & Exposures
Premises liability exposure is very high due to public access to the premises. Trips, slips, and falls are major concerns, especially during inclement weather when customers track snow, mud, and water into the store. All goods should be kept on easily reached shelves so that customers do not pull items down on themselves. Customers can drop or spill items and may carry food or fountain drinks throughout the store, generating spills. Housekeeping should be excellent, and spills must be cleaned up promptly, with warning signs posted after mopping.
Floor coverings must be in good condition, with no frayed or worn spots on carpet and no cracks or holes in flooring. Steps and uneven floor surfaces should be prominently marked. There should be well marked, sufficient exits with backup lighting systems in case of power failure. Parking lots and sidewalks need to be in good repair, with snow and ice removed, and generally level and free of exposure to slip and falls. Customers can be injured or killed during a robbery. Security of visitors in parking areas is rapidly becoming the responsibility of the owner or operator of the premises. Outdoor security and lighting must be consistent with the area.
Products liability exposure due to the possibility of food poisoning, contamination spoilage, foreign objects in the product, and allergic reactions. Monitoring the quality of food received, posting lists of ingredients, and maintaining proper storage temperature can reduce this exposure. Accurate records must be kept of products and batches to monitor for recalls. There should be controls in place to prevent contamination from chemicals such as insecticides and pesticides used for pest control. The stock should be regularly rotated so that older stock is sold first. Out of date stock must be removed on a regular basis and discarded.
Liquor liability exposures are from selling liquor to underage individuals and those already intoxicated as there is no on-premises consumption of alcoholic beverages. Any failure to comply with state and federal regulations can result in the loss of a liquor permit. There must be a set procedure to check ages of anyone attempting to purchase alcohol. Employees must be trained to recognize signs of intoxication.
Workers compensation exposures are very high due to heavy lifting and robberies. Improper lifting can cause back injury, hernias, sprains, and strains. Floors may become slick, resulting in slips and falls. Anhydrous ammonia refrigerants are poisonous when leaked into confined spaces such as coolers.
Controls must be in place to maintain, check, and prevent such injury. Cleaning staff can develop respiratory ailments or contact dermatitis from working with chemicals. Employees should be provided with safety equipment, trained on proper handling techniques, and have conveying devices available to assist with heavy lifting. Injury or death during holdup is a major cause of loss. Employees should be trained to respond in a prescribed manner. Often, there are defensive tools available to the employees such as pepper spray, baseball bats, or guns.
Proper training in the use of implementations for self-defense that is provided or permitted is essential. Employee turnover may be high. Company incentives to encourage long-term employment are positive signs of management control. Workers must also be able to deal with unruly customers.
Property exposure is very high from electrical wiring, cooking equipment, refrigeration units, and heating and air conditioning systems. The wiring must be current and up to code. Due to its combustibility, an ammonia detection system should be in place if ammonia is used as a refrigerant. If there is cooking on premises, all grills and deep fat fryers must have automatic fire extinguishing protection, hoods, and filters. There should be fuel shut-offs and adequate hand-held fire extinguishers. Kitchen areas must be kept clean and grease free to prevent the spread of fire. Filters should be changed regularly.
Smoking can be a fundamental problem and should be prohibited on premises. Spoilage exposure is very high if refrigeration equipment malfunctions or loses power. A small fire or power outage of even moderate duration can render all fresh and frozen goods to be condemned as unfit for consumption or sale. Alarms and warning devices should be in place to alert the operation when there is a loss of power. Backup power, such as a generator, should be available. If there are gasoline sales, additional exposures include fumes and the potential for explosion.
Theft is a concern, especially when alcoholic beverages or tobacco products are available. Appropriate security measures should be in place, such as keeping more expensive items behind the counter and inaccessible to customers and having security mirrors prominently displayed throughout the store. Premises alarms should report to a central station or police department after hours.
Equipment breakdown exposures are high as operations are dependent on refrigeration equipment, cooking equipment, and fuel pumps if fuel is sold.
Crime exposure is severe for both employee dishonesty and theft of money and securities. The 24-hour or late night/early morning hours, the extensive number of cash transactions, plus attractive locations close to major thoroughfares and interstates, make convenience stores a target for a holdup. A bulletproof cashier's cage may be necessary for high-crime areas. Background checks should be conducted on all employees.
The inventory must be under the supervision of more than one individual so that there are checks and balances. All orders, billing, and disbursements must be handled as separate duties. Regular audits must be conducted. Money should be regularly stripped from the cash drawers and placed in a safe away from the front door. Irregular drops should be made to the bank to prevent a substantial accumulation of cash on the premises.
Inland marine exposures include accounts receivables from billings to customers, computers for inventories and sales transactions, signs, and valuable papers and records for suppliers' and employees' information. Backup copies of all records, including computer records, should be made and stored off premises.
Business auto exposure generally is limited to hired or non-owned liability exposures from employees running errands.
MT Convenience Store Insurance
The bottom line is that you need to review your coverage needs with a professional to ensure that you get the protection your store needs.
Montana Economic Data, Regulations And Limits On Commercial Insurance
Thinking about starting a new business? Already own a successful business and want to expand your operations? Whatever the case may be, if you want to experience as much success as possible, you are going to want to ensure you choose the best possible location for your specific industry.
No matter how outstanding your goods and services may be, if the area where your business is located doesn't offer a healthy climate that will support your company, chances are you'll struggle to succeed.
If you are thinking about opening up a business in Montana, being familiar with the state's economic trends can help you determine if it's a good location for you. It's also wise to know what type of insurance you'll need to invest in so that you can plan ahead.
With that said, below, we provide an overview of the economic trends in the state of Montana, as well as the commercial insurance requirements for business owners in the Treasure State.
Economic Trends For Business Owners In Montana
As of December, 2019, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that the unemployment rate in the state of Montana was 3.4%; that's 0.1% lower than the national average, which was 3.5% at the same time. This rate remained steady throughout the entire 2019 fiscal year, and it is expected to either continue remaining steady or improve in coming years, according to economists.
Unemployment rate is a vital statistic for business owners, as it indicates the job market of a location, which is a strong determining factor in the success of businesses in the region.
There are several areas throughout the state of Montana that are seeing economic booms and where businesses are flourishing. Among those locations include the following cities and the areas that surround them:
- Great Falls
Several industries are seeing substantial growth in MT; however, there are particular sectors that are really thriving in Montana. Among those sectors include:
- Advanced manufacturing
- Hospitality and tourism
- Information technology
- Oil and gas production
- Retail development
If you are considering opening a business in any of the above-mentioned areas, your chances of success in Montana are favorable.
Commercial Insurance Requirements In Montana
The Office of the Montana State Auditor, Commissioner of Securities and Insurance regulates insurance in MT. Montana mandates very few forms of insurance coverage by law. They enforce worker's compensation.
Montana 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.
Montana 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
- Appliance & Electronics Store
- Art Gallery
- Bicycle Shop
- Book Store
- Bridal Shop
- Candy Confectionery Store
- Carpet Store
- Clothing Store
- Collectibles Memorabilia Store
- Convenience Store
- Cosmetics Store
- Dry Cleaning
- Equipment Rental
- Funeral Home
- Furniture Store
- Gift Store
- Hardware Store
- Home Improvement Store
- Hotel Motel
- Ice Cream Shop
- Jewelry Store
- Lingerie Store
- Luggage Store
- Music Store
- Office Supply Store
- Paint & Wallpaper Store
- Pet Store
- Pharmacy Liability
- Plumbing Supplies Fixtures Store
- Scrap Metal Dealers
- Sewing Store
- Shoe Store
- Sporting Goods Store
- Stationary Store
- Thrift Store
- Ticket Agency
- Tobacco Store
- Toy Store
- Travel Agency
- Vending Machine Operators
- Wig Store
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 Montana insurance agents & brokers and learn about Montana small business insurance requirements for general liability, business property, commercial auto & workers compensation including MT business insurance costs. Call us (406) 637-8400.