Frequently Asked Questions About
Commercial General Liability Insurance
How much does commercial insurance cost?
Costs can vary widely based on industry and are also determined by zip code and often payroll and/or gross sales. Request a free quote to get an exact number.
What kind of business insurance do I need?
Most business owners need General Liability Insurance at the very least. If you have any non-owner employees, you will need workers compensation insurance too.
What is a Certificate of Insurance?
A Certificate of Insurance is proof of coverage. It lists the type and amount of liability coverage you have and other policy information when a third party requests it.
Is business insurance tax deductible?
Yes. you can deduct the cost of commercial insurance premiums. The IRS considers insurance a cost of doing business as long it benefits the business & serves a business purpose.
Accounting Insurance. If you work as an accountant, CPA or financial specialist, then a business owner's policy or BOP policy is an essential part of doing business. This type of policy protects your business from liability and financial fallout caused by liability in a similar way that a homeowner's policy protects your home residence and the home's contents. BOP policies are relatively inexpensive and a part of the cost of operating an accountant business.
Accountants handle clients' financial records. Services are provided to the general public, a specific firm, or group of client firms. The accounting operation may provide general financial services, or specialize in a specific area such as taxes, real estate, or investments. An accounting firm may or may not carry the Certified Public Accountant (CPA) certification. The need for the CPA certification depends on the type of work the accountant will provide and the purpose or type of financial statements the accountant will prepare for the client.
If a CPA certification is required, the accountant must have knowledge and experience in working with generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP) or statutory accounting principles (SAP), depending on the client. Some accountants may also act as financial planners and offer investment advice. Due to the varied areas of knowledge or expertise needed for these activities, the background, education, certification, experience and professionalism are items to consider.
BOP policies combine several basic coverage types into one policy that provides your business with the protection it needs from potential perils and liabilities. Most small accounting businesses and people doing business in the financial services realm should own a accounting insurance policy. This includes accountants, financial advisers, financial counselors, and other financial-related business owners.
Accounting insurance protects your firm from lawsuits with rates as low as $27/mo. Get a fast quote and your certificate of insurance now.
What Is An Accounting Insurance Business Owner's Policy?
This accounting insurance policy can safeguard the business that you have established and spent your money and time to build. The standard BOP policy offers three basic coverage types, including:
- Business liability insurance. Financial special and accounting firms need business liability insurance to protect them from legal action when a third party claims they were injured or their property damaged as a result of the business' activities. For example, if a client who comes to your office is injured on the premises during a consult, or if you go to the person's home and cause damage during a meeting, this type of insurance provides protection. It may also help cover the damage that comes from allegations of libel or slander as related to your CPA business. It does not cover any liability that arise directly from the services that you provide, however.
- Business income insurance. This coverage provides you with some level of buffer against the loss of income. When you cannot run your financial services or CPA accounting firm due to property damage that's covered by your BOP policy, this insurance kicks in to provide you with reimbursement for lost income.
- Business property insurance. The premises where you conduct your business should be protected under a business property insurance policy. This policy protects the business' property, including your computer equipment, tools, and business machines, desks, furniture, and other items, from covered perils. This holds true whether you lease or own the property inside your business.
Additional Accounting Insurance Coverages
Although a accounting insurance policy is a good place to start when considering CPA business owner's policies for your small business, there are other optional accountant insurance coverage types to consider. Work with your insurance agent to determine the suitability of these common policies for your business. Your commercial agent might recommend some or all of the following:
- Errors and omissions (E&O) coverage. This type of accounting insurance policy is oftentimes recommended for accounting professionals because it gives you protection from liability due to errors you make in preparing clients' taxes and financial documents or from omissions you make during the process. For instance, if you overlook an expense while preparing a financial statement for a client, and the error results in financial loss and leads to a suit against you, this insurance kicks in.
- Data breach coverage. In today's digital age, data breaches are oftentimes in the news, and perhaps you think you're too small to become a target of information thieves. The truth is that no one is safe from this type of cybercrime, so a data breach policy protects you from the liability claims if the data you store in your files is compromised.
- Valuable papers and records coverage. As a CPA, you store valuable paperwork for clients, including ledgers, bank statements, financial statements, and more. Cover these items with valuable papers and records coverage to avoid the loss incurred when damage from fire, water, and other perils comes into play.
In addition to these industry specific coverage types, you may need other types of insurance for your accounting business that are not mentioned above. For instance, worker's compensation insurance provides insurance for employees when they become injured on the job. Commercial auto insurance provides insurance for any company vehicles used in the course of going to client job locations or meetings.
If you are running your CPA business from your home, then home-based solutions for your accounting business insurance can protect you from personal loss. In some cases, a business owner's policy is all that you need to fully protect your business, but a more extensive policy may also be recommended. Some home business owners rely solely on their homeowner's policies to protect them while doing business, which can be a foolhardy choice, since most homeowner's policies specifically state that they don't cover such activities. Work with an agent to determine if your home accounting business needs a business owner's policy or additional coverage types to be fully protected.
Whatever your situation, choosing an accounting insurance policy that meets your needs is a move in the right direction. Work with a licensed agent with experience in business insurance to find the right level of protection for your specific firm's risks.
Accounting Risks & Exposures
Professional liability exposure is extensive. Working with individual clients presents fewer professional exposures than working with corporate clients. The exposure increases if the firm fails to conduct thorough background checks to verify employees' credentials and education, if clerical workers are allowed to do tasks that only professionals should handle, or if error checking procedures are ignored or are inadequate. Very serious losses may result from failure to document decisions and actions or to secure client approval.
Premises liability exposure is often minimal since most client contact is done electronically or by mail. If clients visit the premises, they must be confined to designated areas so that they cannot view or overhear conversations regarding other clients' confidential information. To prevent slips, trips, or falls, all areas accessible to clients must be well maintained with floor covering in good condition.
The number of exits must be sufficient, and be well marked, with backup lighting 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 slips and falls. Off-premises exposures arise from sales visits, training sessions, and physical audits at the customer's premises. There should be policies and training as to off-site conduct by employees.
Workers compensation exposure is generally limited to that of an office. Because work is done on computers, potential injuries include eyestrain, neck strain, carpal tunnel syndrome, and similar cumulative trauma injuries that can be addressed through ergonomically designed workstations. Some accounting firms have significant off-site work for audits, training and similar activities. Workers can be injured by slips and falls at clients' premises or in automobile accidents.
Property exposure is generally limited to that of an office, although there may be some incidental storage or an area for meetings. Ignition sources include electrical wiring, heating and air conditioning systems, wear, and overheating of equipment. Computers and other electronic equipment may be targets for theft.
Crime exposure comes from employee dishonesty, which can be quite serious as accountants and their staff have access to clients' financial information such as bank records and investment accounts. Potential for theft, directly or by means of identity theft, is great. Hazards increase without proper background checks, along with monitoring procedures and securing of all records to prevent unauthorized access.
All job duties, such as ordering, billing and disbursing should be separate and reconciled on a regular basis. Receipts should be issued for any cash payments received. Bank deposits should be made on a timely basis to limit the buildup of cash on premises. Audits should be performed at least annually.
Inland marine exposures are from accounts receivable if the firm offers credit, computers and valuable papers and records for customers' information, which may be originals that are difficult to re-create. Power failure and power surges are potentially severe hazards. A morale hazard may be indicated if the insured does not keep valuable papers and disks in fireproof file cabinets to protect them from smoke, water and fire. Duplicates should be kept off site to allow for re-creation in the event of a loss.
Business auto exposure is generally limited to hired and non-owned. If vehicles are provided to employees, there should be written procedures regarding personal use by employees and their family members. All drivers must have appropriate licenses and acceptable MVRs. Vehicles must be maintained and records kept in a central location.
Small Business Economic Data & Insurance Regulations
Perhaps you have the next great idea for a product or service that you know will appeal to your local area. Maybe you want to contribute to the economic growth of your community. Whatever the reason is, if you're thinking about starting a small business, it's important to understand pertinent information relating to small businesses in the United States; namely economic information and insurance regulations. After all, if you want your small business to succeed, you have to understand the economic trends organizations of a similar size in your area.
Likewise, you want to ensure that your small business is well protected with the right business insurance and that you are in compliance with the rules and regulations that pertain to commercial insurance in your region.
Read up on economic statistics and insurance information that relates to small business owners in the United States.
Small Business Economic Data In The United States
Here's a look at some information that was compiled by the Small Business Association (SBA) regarding the economic data that pertains to small businesses in the United States:
- In 2015, small businesses in the United States employed an estimated 58.9 million American workers, or 47.5 percent of the nation's private workforce.
- Largest shares = fewer than 100 employees. The small businesses that employed 100 people or less had the largest share of employment amount small businesses.
- Employment increased by nearly 2 percent. In 2018, employment amongst small businesses increased by 1.8 percent, which is an increase of 1 percent from the prior year.
- Increase in proprietors. In 2016, the number of small business proprietors increased by 2.3 percent.
- In 2015, small businesses were responsible for creating 1.9 million net jobs. Organizations that employed 20 people or less had the largest gains, as they added an estimated 1.1 million net jobs.
- There were 5.7 million loans that were value less than $100,000 issued by lenders in the United States in 2016. These loans were issued under the Community Reinvestment Act.
- Small business owners that were self-employed at the incorporated businesses that they owned reported a median income of $50,347 in 2016.
- Small business owners that were self-employed at the unincorporated businesses that they owned reported a median income of $23,060 in 2016.
Small Business Insurance Information
In the business world, there are many risks faced by company's every day. The best way that business owners can protect themselves from these perils is by carrying the right insurance coverage.
The The National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) is the U.S. standard-setting and regulatory support organization. Through the NAIC, state insurance regulators establish standards and best practices, conduct peer review, and coordinate their regulatory oversight.
Commercial insurance is particularly important for small business owners, as they stand to lose a lot more. Should a situation arise - a lawsuit, property damage, theft, etc. - small business owners could end up facing serious financial turmoil.
According to the SBA, having the right insurance plan in place can help you avoid major pitfalls. Your business insurance should offer coverage for all of your assets. It should also include liability and casual coverage. The SBA recommends the following insurance plans for small business owners:
- Commercial Property Insurance: In the case of an unplanned disaster - fire, flood, vandalism, theft, etc. - this type of coverage will help you avoid paying for the damage out of your own pocket. Even if you rent the property, you should still carry commercial property insurance.
- Commercial Liability Insurance: In the event that a legal situation arises - a negligence lawsuit, for example - commercial liability coverage will provide financial protection. It will cover the cost of legal defense fees, court fees, and even moneys that may be awarded.
- Commercial Auto Insurance: If you operate a vehicle for any activities that are related to your business - transporting and/or delivering goods, or meeting with clients - commercial auto insurance is legally required for businesses of all sizes, including small businesses.
Additional Resources For Professional Services Insurance
Get informed about small business professional services insurance, including Professional liability, aka errors and omissions (E&O insurance), that protects your business against claims that a professional service you provided caused your client financial loss.
- Answering Service
- Attorney Lawyer
- Business Consulting
- Corporate Wellness
- Court Reporter
- Electrical Engineering
- Executive, Career & Life Coaching
- Executive Search Firm
- Expert Witness
- Financial Services
- HR Consultant
- Mediator - Arbitrator
- Medical Billing
- Music, Drama & Dance Therapy
- Project Management
- Temporary Staffing
- Tax Preparer
Let's face reality. People today are claims conscious, resulting in a significant share of malpractice lawsuits against professionals.
Liability resulting from the rendering of or the failure to render professional services is excluded in most liability coverage forms. This means that a policy covering a account's or lawyers' office will cover liability arising out of the maintenance or use of the premises, but specifically exclude liability arising out of the rendering of a professional service or the omission of such a service.
In addition to the professions in which actual physical or mental injury may be caused to clients, certain other professions are exposed to claims for malpractice.
Claims may be brought against lawyers, accountants, architects, and similar professional persons for errors or omissions in their professional capacity. Errors & Omissions insurance pays damages that might be awarded to a plaintiff alleging professional negligence.
Professional liability policies are made available to such risks, and these policies provide essentially the same protection as is afforded under the physicians, surgeons or dentists professional liability policy.
Quotes from leading small business insurance carriers including: ACE, AmTrust, Chubb, Cincinnati, CNA, Colony, Employers, Evanston, Fireman's, Foremost, Guard, Hanover, Hiscox, Liberty Mutual, LLoyd's of London, Markel, MSA, Nationwide, Penn America, Philadelphia, Prime, Progressive, Scottsdale, The Hartford, Travelers, USLI, Utica First, Western World, Zurich & others.