Montana Hardware Store Insurance Policy Information
Montana Hardware Store Insurance. Hardware stores sell a variety of merchandise for professional or do-it-yourself maintenance and repair projects for homeowners, renters, handymen, and contractors. Products offered include tools, building materials and supplies, lumber, plumbing, heating, air conditioning and electrical fixtures. Some also sell sporting goods, bicycles, gardening supplies, lawnmowers, prepackaged fertilizers, insecticides, pesticides, outdoor furniture, plants, clothing, toys, and automotive supplies.
Some operations fill and refill LP gas for campers and grills or provide a pickup and dropoff point for an LP gas dealer. Many hardware stores provide for the rental of various types of equipment from carpet cleaners to yard and garden machinery, to chainsaws or other equipment.
Most hardware stores offer repair services for the items they carry. Some offer window glass and screen replacement services if the customer brings the frame to the store. Delivery and contracting services for interior design, painting, wallpapering, flooring installation, or other building projects may be available, either through their own employees or through independent contractors.
As the owner of a hardware store, you offer your customers and your community a necessary service. But are you also considering the liabilities you face - the same liabilities that all business owners face in today's economy? We live in an increasingly litigious society; there is a subsect of people who are continually on the lookout for reasons to be offended or to claim injury or damage.
And there are also many real perils involved in business operation that can cause injury or damage to those that you deal with on a daily basis. For these reasons, it is important to purchase the right level of Montana hardware store insurance for your business.
Montana hardware store insurance protects your shop from lawsuits with rates as low as $37/mo. Get a fast quote and your certificate of insurance now.
Why Do Hardware Stores Need Business Insurance?
As of 2014, there are around 16,000 hardware stores doing business in the U.S., providing jobs for upwards of 140,000 people. The hardware store industry accounts for around $24 billion each year in revenue. As you can see, this lucrative business leaves lots of room for potential liabilities that can cripple your business and leave you reeling financially.
Although any hardware store seems like a pretty innocuous place, the truth is that perils lurk around every corner. Some of these potential mishaps can really threaten your hardware store's finances and leave you in a bad position. For instance:
- A customer may slip and fall on a freshly mopped floor, becoming injured when they collide with the sharp edges of shelving, fixtures, or other items.
- Costly computer equipment may become inoperable because of a power surge or operator error.
- Your employee may cause a serious automobile accident while out making a delivery, and you'd be left on the hook for any damages arising as a result.
These are just a few of the examples of potential problems that could result in liability or damage claims against you. Discussing your potential hazards with a licensed agent makes senses. Your agent can review your individual risks and risk tolerance to determine which types of liability and property policies as well as other Montana hardware store insurance your hardware store may need.
Property Insurance for Hardware Stores
A MT commercial insurance policy is a necessary purchase for all hardware store owners. This Montana hardware store insurance policy is typically sufficient to provide the full coverage your store needs for its inventory and all of your equipment, including your computers, fixtures, shelving, cash registers, and more. Because inventory changes over time, it is invariably a good idea to sit down with an agent and review your existing coverage every few years to make sure you are still protected to the fullest.
Chances are good that your hardware store owns several pieces of expensive machinery such as paint shakers and key-cutting equipment. For this reason, protecting that valuable property with a supplemental Montana hardware store insurance policy known as equipment breakdown insurance makes sense. This type of coverage, sometimes referred to by the name "boiler and machinery coverage" can compensate you for any breakdown in this equipment. Air conditioning, fuse boxes, and other types of mechanical equipment in the store can be covered by this policy as well. It may even compensate you for the income you lose if this machinery is on the fritz and being repaired.
Bear in mind that almost all Montana hardware store insurance policies have an exclusion for flood damage. If your business lies in a flood-prone region, look into a supplement for commercial flood insurance.
Liability Insurance for Hardware Stores
A main component of any Montana hardware store insurance policy is commercial general liability coverage. This is a type of coverage that provides coverage for legal defense costs and any financial awards associated with bodily injury claims or property damage claims against your business. A common claim is 'slip and fall'. In addition, if your business is sued because of selling a product that causes property damage or bodily injury, this policy also usually offers product liability coverage.
Although a general liability policy is quite sufficient for some businesses, it does not cover all potential events that may lead to claims. You may need to buy some supplemental coverage types along with your Montana hardware store insurance insurance. Some to consider:
Pollution Liability Coverage: If your store sells a lot of chemicals, including fertilizers and other chemicals, you may need to look into pollution liability coverage.
MT Commercial Auto: Protect your company-owned vehicles with commercial auto coverage.
Hired and Non Owned Autos: If you rent trucks or if employees use personal autos in the course of doing business for you, this policy provides protection against any liabilities, damages, and injuries that may result.
Additional Policy Types
Beyond the purchase of property and liability policies, you may want to discuss your need for the following additional policy types with your agent. These include:
Worker's Compensation - Workers comp is required in most states by law for any non-owner or partner employees. MT workers comp pays lost wages and medical costs when an employee becomes injured or ill due to a work-related peril.
Business Income - If you experience a business stoppage due to a covered peril, then this Montana hardware store insurance provides income while you rebuild, move, or otherwise get your business up and running again.
Employment Practices Liability Insurance (EPLI) - Avoid the damage when someone claims you were unfair in your employment practices with this coverage.
Montana Hardware Store's Risks & Exposures
Premises liability exposure comes from slips and falls due to public access to the premises. Aisles must be adequate and free of debris. Flooring 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. Sufficient exits must be provided and be well marked with backup lighting systems in case of power failure. All goods should be kept on easily reached shelves so that customers do not pull down items on themselves.
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 should be adequate lighting and appropriate security for the area.
If employees make deliveries or install purchases for customers, there could be a property damage exposure to the customers' premises. If the store recommends independent contractors, certificates of insurance should be maintained to verify that the contractors carry adequate limits of liability.
Products liability exposure is normally low unless there is direct import of products or assembly and repair of equipment and bicycles. Foreign-made items should come from a domestic-based wholesaler. Any direct importer should be considered as a product manufacturer.
Environmental impairment exposure comes from the mixture of paints, disposal of insecticides or pesticides, and any potential for used oil, degreasers, solvents, and batteries. All disposal must meet EPA standards.
Workers compensation exposure is from lifting that can cause back injury, hernias, sprains, and strains, and also 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. Housekeeping in storage areas, especially during peak times, is vital in preventing trips and falls.
If employees are involved in processing, repair work or lumberyard operations, there is the exposure to cuts, puncture wounds, burns and eye injuries. Safety measures such as goggles must be in place. In any retail business, hold-ups are possible so employees should be trained to respond in a prescribed manner. Drivers of delivery trucks can be injured in accidents. Installers can suffer knee and foot injuries, and eye, skin and lung irritations from exposure to adhesives and other chemicals.
Property exposures can be high due to large amounts of combustible materials and the operations performed on premises, which can include repair services and LP gas filling, refilling, or storage. All flammables must be properly stored, separated, and controlled. If the store sells ammunition or loads black powder, the exposure increases significantly. Proper controls must be in place.
The electrical load may be heavy if electrical lighting, equipment and machinery is sold due to floor models being plugged into numerous outlets for customers to try out prior to purchase. Wiring must be up to date and meet current codes. There should be no smoking on premises.
If there are high-value or target items such as bicycles, sporting equipment, guns, ammunition and machinery, theft may be a concern. Appropriate security measures must 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.
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.
Inland marine exposures are from accounts receivable if the store offers credit, computers to transact sales and monitor inventory, equipment floater if forklifts are used in the warehouse, goods in transit if deliveries are made, 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.
Commercial auto exposure can be high if delivery services are provided. Drivers should have a valid license and acceptable MVR and be trained in handling unwieldy loads that may shift during transport. Vehicles must be regularly maintained with full documentation kept.
MT Hardware Store Insurance
These are just a few of the types of coverage you may need. Talk to your agent to get a full picture of the needs you have and how to best meet those needs when devising the right hardware store insurance package for your store.
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
- 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 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.