Every small business in San Francisco, CA has different needs and costs and coverages are different for each industry and CA region. Here is an easy risk assessment you can use to determine what kinds of insurance you may require.
While not an exhaustive list, to properly protect your San Francisco business against lawsuits - consider these additional policies that fall under commercial property and/or casualty insurance:
If you have a brick-and-mortar location in San Francisco
Then you need several kinds of basic commercial insurance policies at the minimum:
This protects you if someone gets hurt on your property. For example, if someone slips and falls because you didn't fix a stair railing fast enough then this policy will pay up to policy limits. It will also protect you if a criminal attacks someone on your property, since property owners can be sued for failing to provide adequate security.
While you will also want to keep your property in good repair while providing good security, the truth is anyone can be sued regardless of whether or not they do a good job of keeping their property in good condition.
You don't have any control over the ultimate cost of injuries to a person injured because of your operations, products, or services. The person injured may be a toddler, a contractor, an accountant, or a homemaker.
The cost of the injuries may be comparatively minor or run into the millions of dollars, depending on the person and the extent of his or her injuries. This is why you need the right amount of San Francisco California small business insurance.
Commercial general liability insures the bodily injury liability, property damage, and personal and advertising injury liability exposures of a variety of San Francisco commercial businesses, enterprises, and ventures.
What Is Covered - California general liability insurance protects your assets in several ways:
- Liability coverage for bodily injury and property damage insures your legal obligations that arise from an accident. It also includes the costs related to lawsuits and other legal proceedings. The limits of insurance should be sufficient to handle serious injuries and the injured person's loss of earnings.
- Liability coverage for damages due to personal and advertising injury insures your legal obligations that arise from an offense. It also includes the costs related to lawsuits and other legal proceedings. The limits of insurance should be sufficient to handle serious injuries and the injured person's loss of earnings.
- Medical Payments coverage pays the cost of medical care to persons injured on your premises or due to your operations, regardless of fault.
Each of these California small business insurance coverages is subject to certain policy exclusions, conditions, and definitions. Following a few examples of how a CGL policy can cover third-party bodily injuries, third-party property damage, and advertising injuries;
- A visitor slips and falls on a wet floor in your San Francisco restaurant.
- A tree trimmer accidentally drops a tree on a customers home.
- A competitor sues your business over an ad that was published that disparages them, damaging its reputation.
In San Francisco, many small businesses may find that CGL isn't enough. Many CGL policies will not cover certain types of lawsuits like those relating to professional errors, negligence and employee disputes.
That's why you'll need another additional piece of insurance that protects the other half of your business. An independent insurance agent is the best person to help you determine what type of liability coverage is needed.
This helps you repair your property after fire, vandalism, storm damage, or other calamities. You'll also want business property insurance. This is the policy that protects all of your furniture, fixtures, equipment, and inventory. It can be difficult to do business without these items, so make sure they're covered!
The primary goal of any small business insurance program is to protect the insured's real and business personal property. Tangible property usually represents a significant portion of its total assets, regardless of the size of the business.
Protecting your real and personal property is an important element of your insurance program. No matter the size of your business, a large percentage of your assets and resources are tied directly to your property. A commercial property program can provide the coverage you need if a loss should occur.
When there is a limit of insurance for building on the declarations, the building or structure in San Francisco listed and described is covered property. The following is also considered covered building property:
Covered Personal Property
- Additions under construction, alterations, and repairs that other insurance does not cover. The materials, equipment, supplies, and temporary structures that are on or within 100 feet of the premises and used to make the additions, alterations, or repairs are also building.
- Completed additions
- Fixtures. This includes outdoor fixtures.
- Permanently installed machinery and equipment
- Personal property the insured owns and uses to service or maintain the building or premises
When there is a limit of insurance for personal property on the declarations, coverage applies to the following property if it is inside the building or structure at the designated premises. It is also covered if it is outside the building or structure but within 100 feet of the building or premises. Such personal property outside can be either in the open or in or on a vehicle.
Covered Personal Property Of Others
- All other personal property the insured owns and uses for business
- Furniture and fixtures
- Labor, materials, or services the insured furnishes or arranges on personal property of others
- Leased personal property the insured has a contractual responsibility to insure
- Machinery and equipment
- The insured's interest in any improvements and betterments it made or acquired if the insured is a tenant
Personal property of others is covered when there is a limit of insurance on the declarations but only when:
- It is in the insured's care, custody, or control.
- It is either inside the building or structure at the listed and described premises or outside within100 feet of the building or premises in either the open or in or on a vehicle.
- The insurance company pays for loss or damage to personal property of others for only the account of that property's owner.
Business Owner's Policy
The BOP or Business Owner's Policy mainly combines business property and liability insurance into a single policy (similar to a homeowners policy but for businesses). The BOP is meant to help protect a business from various types of harm like burglary, fire and disasters.
Usually, businesses in San Francisco that have a physical location should consider this type of insurance if they qualify. Often Business Owner's Policies are cost effective because of the bundling of polices.
If anything, you can get sued by clients or customers if they get hurt in your place of business, which is why this policy is so important.
If you have employees in San Francisco CA
You will need workers compensation insurance in California. It's the law, and it prevents you having to engage in costlier personal injury suits later.
You required to get CA workers comp have more than three employees. But there are exceptions to this. That's why it is always a good idea to speak to a local insurance agent.
The Workers Compensation and Employers Liability Insurance Policy covers your statutory liability as an employer under CA workers compensation laws. It pays for medical treatment because of injuries and indemnity payments for employees disabled by work-related accidents.
It also provides tort liability coverage for legal actions brought against you for bodily injuries to your employees that fall outside state workers compensation laws.
Workers' Compensation is insurance coverage purchased by the employer/business that provides benefits for job-related employee injuries. Under a workers' compensation policy, employees are compensated for occupationally incurred injuries, regardless of fault. This coverage makes employers immune from some injury lawsuits by employees.
There are times when the employed worker's injury is not compensable under workers compensation or occupational disease laws. In those cases, Employers Liability coverage responds to the injured worker's allegations of negligence on the employer's part, subject to its terms, conditions, limitations, and exclusions.
The coverage the basic policy provides may be broadened, restricted, clarified, or made to comply with specific CA regulatory requirements by using a variety of available endorsements.
You will also want to look at Employment Practices Liability Insurance, or EPLI. This type of insurance will pay your claim if an employee successfully launches a wrongful termination, discrimination, workplace harassment, or retaliation claim.
You will also want liability that covers your directors, officers, and managers in the event that they engage in some form of wrongdoing. Each of these people can be personally sued, and they can take actions which trigger company lawsuits, too. This can include sexual misconduct liability insurance: the sad, yet true, reality is that this kind of abuse can and does continue to take place in the workplace.
If your business uses vehicles in San Francisco California
You'll need CA commercial auto insurance. Traditional passenger vehicle insurance doesn't pay for accidents when a vehicle is being used for business purposes.
In addition, business auto insurance policies can have much higher policy limits. This can make a big difference in a personal injury case. Lawyers tend to sense deep pockets when the vehicle in question was a commercial vehicle, and juries tend to be less sympathetic of corporate drivers. Thus, personal injury award amounts can be higher, and you might well need those limits.
Keep in mind you don't need to maintain a whole fleet of vehicles to need this insurance. You may well need it even if you are only using your personal vehicle for business purposes.
The person injured in a San Francisco auto accident may be a young child, a wage earner, a surgeon, or a homeless person. The costs of the accident may be relatively small or run into the millions of dollars, depending on the victim and his or her injuries. California commercial auto insurance helps protect your business if you hurt a person or damage their property.
What Is Covered - California business auto insurance protects your assets in several ways:
- Covered auto liability coverage insures your legal obligations that arise from an accident, including lawsuits and their associated costs. The limits you purchase should be high enough to handle the potentially serious injuries and loss of earnings a victim may sustain.
- Uninsured and underinsured motorists coverages protect you when you are involved in an accident caused by a driver who has no insurance or insurance with relatively low limits. The limits you select for this coverage should be the same as your liability limits.
- Physical damage coverage on vehicles directly protects your assets. Comprehensive, Specific Causes of Loss and Collision are the coverage options available. Deductibles should be as high as you can comfortably absorb to maximize the protection provided relative to the premium cost.
- Medical payments coverage and towing expense costs for private passenger vehicles are other optional coverages to consider
If you provide any kind of advice
Then consider Errors and Omissions insurance coverage alos known as Professional Liability. Doctors, lawyers, accountants, insurance agents, and even event planners can all benefit from having this type of insurance.
Anyone can make a mistake, but in some industries bad advice leads to disastrous financial consequences. If you are sued and the plaintiff wins, the E&O policy will pay your settlement up to policy limits.
Errors and omissions (E&O), is a type of professional liability coverage that protects your company against claims that a professional service you provided caused your client to suffer financial harm due to mistakes you made (errors) or because you didn't perform some service (omissions).
Professional liability can cover the legal costs of defending your company in a civil lawsuit and some damages if awarded, even if you haven't made a mistake. E&O coverage is not included in a general liability insurance policy.
If your business:
- Provides a professional service
- Gives advice to clients
- Is contractually required to carry
You should probably purchase an errors and omissions policy. Common claims that E&O covers are negligence, misrepresentation, violation of good faith and inaccurate advice.
In the medical and legal professions, professional liability is called malpractice insurance.
If you spend time interacting with client computer systems, or take personal data from your customers
Consider cyber liability insurance. Cyber liability helps with two problems. First, it will take care of any financial losses you suffer as a direct result of the cyber attack. The second will help you if you get sued for the hacker's actions.
We can't all be cybersecurity professionals, and most of us are as respectful with customer data as possible. Yet hackers are always coming up with new ways to cause problems for honest businesses.
Cyber liability insurance helps your San Francisco business deal with the costs of data breach and recovery by helping to pay for:
- Security Breach Expense - Loss that is the direct result of a security breach.
- Extortion Threats - Loss that is the direct result of an extortion threat.
- Replacement or Restoration of Electronic Data - Loss to stored computer programs or electronic data within a computer system.
- Business Income and Extra Expense - Loss that is the result of an interruption is covered when it is a direct result of a cyber incident or extortion threat.
- Public Relations Expense - Loss that is the result of negative publicity is covered when it is a direct result of a cyber incident or security breach.
- Security Breach Liability - Loss that is the result of a claim which is discovered during the policy period is covered if the insured is legally obligated to pay it and was due to a wrongful act that takes places before the end of the policy period.
Other San Francisco Business Insurance Considerations
The industry you are in can make a huge difference here. For example if you are a contractor in San Francisco you might want special contractor's insurance. If you run a daycare you might want childcare insurance.
The best way to make sure you get the right mix of coverages is to form a relationship with a licensed california insurance broker who you trust. That way you get insight into problems other SMBs like you have faced in the past, and can select the right policies to address these risks.
In addition, a CA broker can help you shop around and take advantage of discounts, lowering your overhead and ensuring insurance never takes too big of a bite out of your budget.