Business Insurance For The Self-Employed

business insurance for the self-employed text overlaying image of a mom working from homeMore and more Americans are leaving their cubicles to work on their own. Well, why not? You decide how to run your business. You decide when to work. Who is on your team is up to you. Those are some great perks. So it’s not surprising that there are 15 million self-employed professionals in the American workforce right now, and that number could nearly triple in the next two years.

 

But there are some things you can’t control or plan for in business or in life. What if something goes wrong on the construction site and one of your clients gets hurt? Or what if you get hurt in a freak accident and can’t work anymore? Those “what if” questions are enough to turn the dream of a self-employed entrepreneur into a nightmare. So, if you work for yourself, you need insurance to protect yourself, your family, and your business. You’ve worked too hard to leave anything unprotected. But how do you know which types of insurance for self-employed people need and don’t need? Let’s look at types of insurance that will make you feel safe.

Compare Commercial Insurance Plans

  • Compare The Best Commercial Plans For Your Business!

Self-Employed Business Insurance

Whether you’re a plumber or a freelance writer, there’s always a chance of something going wrong with your job. Some people are more likely to get hurt on the job, while others may be more likely to be sued. If you work for yourself, you need some kind of business insurance to cover the risks of your work. Here are the four most important types of business insurance to look into.

1. General Liability 

Liability insurance will protect you financially in the event that someone sues you for damages after slipping and falling in your coffee shop. Or breaking an expensive vase while cleaning a client’s home. Slander suits are also covered by general liability insurance. This sort of protection is available both as a separate policy and as part of a business owner’s policy.

2. Professional Liability

Listen, we all have our flaws, and everybody messes up sometimes. This is where professional liability comes in handy. It’s insurance that protects you in the event that a client is harmed as a result of a service you provided or advice you gave. It is also known by its more common name, errors and omissions insurance. Professional liability insurance covers financial losses in the event of injury or damage. While general liability insurance covers injuries and damages to property.

3. Business Owner’s Policy (BOP)

A business owner’s policy (BOP) gives your small business protection against a wide range of claims. It does this by combining two types of coverage. Commercial general liability insurance and Commercial property insurance are both parts of its coverage. 

 

The part of a BOP called “general liability” protects your business in case someone makes a claim against you or your business. General liability insurance protects you from lawsuits if something like a customer slipping on a wet floor. Or a faulty product causing damage to a client’s property. Or a claim that your products or services hurt someone. It can also protect you from libel, slander, and certain advertising lawsuits.

 

The property part of a BOP helps protect the buildings, equipment, furniture. And stock that you own, rent, or lease for your business. It helps pay to fix or replace things that are stolen, broken, or destroyed, even if they don’t belong to you but were in your care. It can also pay for things like rent, payroll, and other bills while your property is being fixed or replaced after a fire or other covered loss.

4. Workers’ Compensation

If you have employees, no matter the nature of your business, you are required by law to carry workers’ compensation insurance. Workers’ compensation insurance, also known as “workers’ comp,” is a mandatory type of coverage that will provide financial support to your staff if they sustain an injury while performing their job duties. It serves as a disability insurance pool that reimburses workers monetarily and/or provides medical care in the event of an illness or injury. If you want to learn more about the workers’ compensation laws in your state, you can visit the state by state guides on our site.

5. Cyber Liability

Physical dangers such as injury and property loss are ever-present in the business world. However, there are dangers associated with using technology that could affect your company. Data leaks and hacking are just two examples. Information about customers’ identities or medical histories that you store on company computers is a prime target for hackers. In order to quickly recover from a data breach or cyberattack, it is crucial that your company be covered by data breach or cyber liability insurance.

Compare Commercial Insurance Plans

  • Find The Right Commercial Plan For Your Business Needs!

Self-Employed Health Insurance

If you’re in business for yourself, it’s important to have a basic understanding of health insurance. As a first step, you should enroll in a health insurance plan. If you do not have health insurance this year, you could be fined by the government depending on what state you live in. More importantly, you and your loved ones are taking a serious risk if and when a medical emergency arises.

 

In addition, if you have been relying on your employer to provide health coverage, you may be in for a rude awakening when you compare prices. Since you no longer have an employer to split the cost of health insurance with, you must do so on your own. The good news is that self-employed professionals can reduce their tax liability by deducting the money they spend on health insurance premiums.

How To Reduce The Cost Of Self-Employed Health Insurance

A high-deductible health plan (HDHP) is a good option for those looking to save money on health insurance premiums. A higher deductible on your health insurance plan means you’ll have to pay more out of pocket for medical care before your policy kicks in. However, the trade-off is cheaper premiums every month.

 

Opening a health savings account (HSA) is an option with your high-deductible health plan, making it an even better value. The funds built up in a health savings account (HSA) are exempt from federal income tax, allowing you to save tax-free for future medical expenses. It’s a good idea to consult with an EZ agent, who can explain your options and guide you toward a policy that works for your finances and your loved ones. They will assist you in locating competitive rates and suitable protection.

Self-Employed Disability Insurance

If you’re self-employed and become ill or injured and unable to work, disability insurance could help replace some of your lost income. There are both public and private options for disability insurance. The government provides some options, such as the Social Security Administration and some state programs. 

 

When you’re self-employed, you can buy your own disability insurance policy rather than participating in a potentially more expensive group plan through your employer. You may still be eligible for a group policy through your spouse’s employer or a trade group. You may have more options with an individual policy, but the premiums may be higher. Policy features such as the waiting period, riders, and the definition of disability may be up for negotiation.  

Short vs Long Term Disability Insurance

Disability coverage comes in two flavors: long term and short term. Long term disability insurance typically has an elimination period of several weeks to months and a benefit period of several years up until retirement. There may be no waiting period or one as long as two weeks before benefits begin with short term disability insurance. Although long term disability insurance that pays out until retirement age is ideal, a short term policy could be worthwhile as well. In general, shorter waiting periods and longer benefits payout periods tend to come with higher premiums.

 

For an additional premium, you can secure coverage that the insurance provider can’t revoke for any reason (including your failure to pay premiums) with a noncancelable policy. With guaranteed renewable policies, the insurer cannot cancel your coverage. But they can raise your premiums along with other customers in your rating class.  Additional riders, such as cost-of-living adjustments (COLA), residual benefits in the event of a partial disability, premium refunds for going claim-free, premium waivers in the event of a disability, and so on, can be purchased for an additional cost.

EZ Can Help

Working independently or as a freelancer allows for more freedom and a better work-life balance. One disadvantage is that you will be responsible for arranging your own insurance. It’s essential that you do this. Since an accident or emergency can cause financial ruin if you don’t have the proper insurance.  As a result, self-employed people who don’t have insurance are taking a risk by not doing so. However, EZ can help! We offer free instant quotes on business insurance and we can even help you find the best plans for you. Enter your zip code in the box below or call one of our licensed agents at 877-670-3557 to get started.

Compare Commercial Insurance Plans

  • Compare The Best Commercial Plans For Your Business!

Who Is Exempt From Workers’ Compensation?

Who Is Exempt From Workers’ Compensation? text overlaying image of a woman holding out her handVirtually every employer has to carry workers’ compensation insurance. However, some state laws provide exemptions for particular types of employees and business structures. Only a few worker categories are occasionally exempt. This exemption also applies to certain business owners. However, even when workers’ compensation coverage is not required, it is almost always in the best interest of the employer to provide coverage. If an employee sustains an injury on the job the employer may be held responsible for medical expenses, ongoing therapy, and lost wages. 

 

Additionally, if you as the business owner are injured on the job, a workers; compensation policy can help pay for your medical expenses and compensate you for a portion of your lost wages. Your personal health insurance provider may deny your claim if your injury or illness is work-related, leaving you again responsible for these costs. Below we’ll look at the exemption laws in each state, if you’d like more information on the other workers’ compensation laws in your state, check out our state workers’ compensation guides here.

Compare Commercial Insurance Plans

  • Compare The Best Commercial Plans For Your Business!

Alabama

Any business with 4 employees or less does not have to carry workers’ compensation in Alabama, whether they are full or part time doesn’t matter. Alabama employers do not need to carry workers’ compensation for farm laborers, domestic laborers, or casual laborers including temporary or part-time employees hired for only an hour or a day.

Alaska

Alaska businesses with one or more employees have to have workers’ compensation coverage unless the Alaska Workers’ Compensation Board has approved the business for self-insurance.

Owners and business executives are exempt if they are:

 

  • Sole owners
  • Partners
  • LLC owners with at least 10% ownership interest in the company
  • Executive officer or municipal, religious, or legally registered nonprofit organizations.
  • Executive officers for for-profit corporations with at least 10% ownership.

As for employees who are exempt from coverage:

 

  • Part-time babysitters
  • Non-commercial house cleaning personnel
  • People who are hired to help a farm with harvest
  • Amateur event sports officials
  • Entertainers under contract
  • Commercial fishers
  • Taxi drivers under specific contractual arrangements
  • Anyone who has benefits through the Alaska temporary assistance program.
  • Professional hockey players and coaches, as long as they are covered under a health insurance plan.
  • Some real estate agents
  • Anyone defined as a transportation network company driver.

Arizona 

There are only 4 exemptions from Arizona’s workers’ compensation. Independent contractors and casual laborers do not need to be covered. As well as any employee who voluntarily chooses to not have workers’ compensation coverage. The only owners who do not have to have coverage are sole owners who have no employees. Beyond that, any business owner with one or more employees needs workers’ compensation coverage.

Arkansas

Employers with fewer than three workers do not have to provide coverage unless the workers are:

 

  • Agricultural farm laborers
  • Domestic workers in a private home
  • Gardeners, maintenance workers, remodelers who work in a private home
  • Employees of non profit, religious, charity, or relief organizations
  • Employees of newspapers, magazines, periodical vendose, sellers, or deliverers
  • Real estate agents

California 

All employers have to carry workers’ compensation insurance for themselves and their employees. The only exceptions to this are sole owners who opt out of coverage for themselves, or employers who have approval to self-insure.

Colorado

Colorado employers with at least one employee have to have workers’ compensation coverage. The exemptions to this are:

 

  • Casual maintenance or repair workers who performed less than $2,000 of work in a single year
  • Commission based real estate agents and brokers
  • Ski area volunteers
  • Part time domestic, maintenance, and repair workers for private homes
  • Drivers under a lease agreement with a common or contract carrier
  • Federal and railroad employees covered by workers’ compensation under federal laws
  • Some corporate officers and LLCs

Connecticut

Connecticut is another state that requires all businesses to carry workers’ compensation insurance with very few exceptions. The only employees that don’t need coverage are domestic workers who work less than 26 hours a week. Sole owners, corporate officers, and partners are allowed to opt out of coverage for themselves but they must have coverage for their employees.

Delaware

Farm laborers and household workers in a private home who earn less than $750 every 3 months do not need workers’ compensation insurance. Other than that every other business owner and employee needs to be covered.

Florida

Employers with four or more employees must carry workers’ compensation insurance, unless one of the following applies:

 

  • Farm laborers, unless there are more than 6 full time employees, or 12 seasonal employees.
  • Independent contractors

Georgia

The only exceptions are sole owners and partners in a partnership. Businesses with three or more employees have to carry coverage.

Hawaii

Any employer with one or more full-time, part-time, permanent, or temporary employees has to provide workers’ compensation coverage. Exemptions include:

 

  • Sole owners
  • Partners
  • Corporate officers
  • Domestic workers who earn less than $225 a year
  • Some stockholders who own 25% stocks
  • All stockholders with at least 50% stocks
  • Commission based real estate agents

Idaho

Every employer has to provide coverage. Exemptions to this law include:

 

  • Employees in a domestic household
  • Casual employees
  • Sole owners
  • Partners
  • Corporate officers
  • Family who works for an employer who is a sole proprietor
  • Real estate agents

Illinois

If you have a single employee, even a part-time worker, you have to purchase workers’ compensation insurance. Only sole owners, partners, corporate officers, and real estate agents are excluded.

Indiana

Exemptions for employees and owners for workers’ compensation insurance include:

 

  • Sole owners
  • Partners
  • Corporate officers
  • Independent contractors
  • Real estate agents
  • Casual employees
  • Farm and agricultural employees
  • Employees in a domestic household
  • Railroad employees

Iowa

Every employer has to provide coverage. Exemptions include:

 

  • Sole owners
  • Partners
  • Corporate officers
  • Independent contractors
  • Family employed by a relative for agricultural work
  • Casual employees in a domestic household

It’s important to note that some of these exemptions only apply if the employee earns less than $1,500 a year. 

Kansas

All Kansas companies must have workers’ compensation insurance with only a few exceptions. Some agricultural workers do not need to be covered. Sole owners, partners, corporate officers, and independent contractors with no employees do not need workers’ compensation insurance.

Kentucky

For Kentucky businesses all employers must provide workers’ compensation insurance unless their employees are:

 

  • Agricultural employees, or agricultural owners
  • Less than two domestic employees who work less than 40 hours per week each
  • Anyone working in exchange for aid (such as housing or food) instead of money for charity or religious organizations
  • Certain religious organizations

Louisiana

Exemptions for workers’ compensation insurance in Louisiana are:

 

  • Employees of private residences
  • Employees of private unincorporated farms
  • Musicians and performers
  • Airplane crews who fly for crop dusting or spraying operations
  • Uncompensated officers of board of directors of nonprofit organizations

Maine

Employers with at least one employee have to provide coverage. Exemptions include:

 

  • Sole proprietors, partners, and officers of corporations
  • Some domestic employees
  • Some agricultural employees

Maryland

Employers with at least one employee have to provide coverage. Exemptions include:

 

  • Sole proprietors
  • Partners
  • Officers of corporations
  • Certain agricultural employees

Massachusetts

All employers must provide coverage. Exemptions include:

 

  • Customers of an LLC
  • Partners of a limited liability partnership
  • Sole proprietors of an unincorporated business (employees must still be covered) have to carry insurance.
  • Domestic service employees working less than 16 hours per week

Michigan

Employers who regularly employ one or more employees for 35 or more hours per week for 13 or more weeks in the 52 weeks prior must provide coverage. Exemptions include:

 

  • Agricultural workers (fewer than three employees working less than 35 hours per week)
  • Domestic workers (fewer than three employees working less than 35 hours per week).

Minnesota

All employers must provide coverage. Exemptions include:

 

  • Sole proprietors, partners, and officers of corporations
  • Employers subject to federal liability statutes
  • Agricultural operations with some limitations

Mississippi

Employers with at least five employees have to provide coverage. Exemptions include:

 

  • Sole proprietors
  • Partners
  • Officers of corporations
  • Employers with five or fewer workers
  • Domestic laborers
  • Farm laborers
  • Independent contractors

Missouri

Employers with at least five employees have to provide coverage. Exemptions include:

 

  • Workers in the railroad, postal, and maritime industries covered by federal laws
  • Farm laborers
  • Personal servants in a private residence
  • Occasional workers performed in a private household.
  • Professional real estate agents
  • Direct sellers
  • Volunteers of an organization exempt from federal income tax
  • Non-event-sponsor-employed sports officials or contest workers for interscholastic activity programs or amateur youth programs.

Montana

All employers must provide coverage. Exemptions include:

 

  • Sole proprietors, partners, and officers of corporations
  • Domestic or household employees whose typical responsibilities include house cleaning and yard work
  • Casual employment
  • Only those working for assistance or sustenance
  • Officials of amateur athletic competition, such as a timer, referee, umpire, or judge.
  • Real estate, securities, and insurance salespeople paid solely on commission with no minimum earnings guarantee
  • Direct sellers
  • Those who deliver single or multiple newspapers and have acknowledged in writing that they have no insurance coverage.
  • Freelance correspondents who submit articles or photographs for publication are compensated for each submission but have not confirmed coverage in writing.
  • Barbers and cosmetologists who have contracts with cosmetology salons.
  • Petroleum land specialists
  • Licensed jockeys participating in a horse race, from the time the jockey reports to the scale room until the jockey is weighed out after the race.
  • Licensed trainers, assistant trainers, exercise persons, and pony persons on the premises of a licensed horse race meet.
  • Non-Montana residents whose primary duties are not performed outside the state. The employer must adhere to the coverage requirements in the location where the employee resides or works.
  • Officers or managers of a private, non-profit irrigation ditch company, water user cooperative, corporation, or organization.
  • A minister who is ordained, commissioned, or licensed by a church or religious order.
  • Individuals who provide companionship services or respite care to incapacitated individuals. The individual providing services or care must be directly employed by a family or legal guardian.
  • Excluding air search and rescue volunteers, volunteer reserve auxiliary law enforcement, and volunteer firefighters, volunteer workers are defined as:
  • Professional athletes who compete in contact sports for a team or club
  • Personnel of freight brokers and forwarders
  • A musician whose performance is governed by a written contract
  • a few agricultural employees

Nebraska

Employers with at least one employee have to provide coverage. Exemptions include:

 

  • Federal workers, railroad workers, independent contractors, and the majority of volunteers are exempt
  • Domestic servants
  • Agricultural laborers
  • Sole proprietors, partners, and officers of corporations

Nevada

Employers with at least one employee have to provide coverage. Exemptions include:

 

  • Employment associated with entities engaged in interstate commerce that are not subject to Nevada’s legislative authority
  • Employment covered by private disability and death benefit plans comprising compensation payments of equal to or greater amounts than those provided in NRS 616 and in effect for at least one year prior to July 1, 1947.
  • Temporary employees insured in another state who are brought into Nevada if extraterritorial coverage provisions are in effect with the other state.
  • Casual employment in the construction industry (employment lasting less than 20 days with a total labor cost of less than $500), if the employment is not in the course of the employer’s trade, business, profession, or occupation.

New Hampshire

Employers with at least one employee have to provide coverage. Exemptions include:

 

  • Sole owners
  • Limited liability company (LLC) with three or fewer executive officers and no other employees.

New Jersey

Employers with one or more employees have to provide coverage, with the exception of those covered by federal programs.

New Mexico

Employers with at least three employees have to provide coverage. Exemptions include Sole proprietors. However, sole proprietors are counted as employees when determining whether a business employs three or more individuals.

Compare Commercial Insurance Plans

  • Find The Right Commercial Plan For Your Business Needs!

New York

All employers must provide coverage. Exemptions include:

 

  • Volunteers who provide their services to nonprofit organizations without compensation
  • Ministers, priests, and rabbis duly ordained, commissioned, or licensed; sextons; Christian Science readers; and sects of religious orders
  • Customers of supervised amateur athletic activities operated on a nonprofit basis, provided that such s are not otherwise engaged or employed by any person, firm, or corporation participating in such athletic activity Educators in a nonprofit religious, charitable, or educational institution
  • Individuals employed in a nonmanual capacity by or for a religious, charitable, or educational organization.
  • Persons receiving charitable aid from a religious or charitable institution who perform work in exchange for such aid, but who are not under an express contract of hire, are considered unpaid volunteers.
  • People who are covered for specific types of employment under another workers’ compensation system, such as those employed in certain maritime occupations, interstate railroad employees, federal government employees, and others who are covered by federal workers’ compensation laws.
  • The spouse and minor children of a farmer-employer, provided they are not under an express contract of employment.
  • Certain foreign government and Native American Nation employees
  • Provisions of the New York State General Municipal Law that protect New York City police officers, firefighters, and sanitation workers
  • People, including minors, performing yard work or casual chores in and around a single-family, owner-occupied residence or a noncommercial organization’s property.
  • Certain real estate salespeople who sign a contract with a broker stating that they are independent contractors are considered independent contractors.
  • Certain media sales representatives who sign a contract stating they are independent contractors are considered independent contractors.
  • Certain insurance agents or brokers who sign a contract stating they are independent contractors are considered independent contractors.
  • Sole proprietors, partners, and certain corporate officers with no additional personnel providing essential business services.

North Carolina

Employers with at least one employee have to provide coverage. Exemptions include:

 

  • Sole proprietors, partners, and officers of corporations
  • Some railroad personnel
  • Casual employees
  • Domestic servants employed directly by the household
  • When less than ten full-time, non-seasonal farm laborers are regularly employed by the same employer, they are considered farm laborers.
  • employees of the federal government in North Carolina
  • Those who sell agricultural products for their producers on commission or for other compensation, provided the product is prepared for sale by the producer.

North Dakota

There are no exceptions in North Dakota. All businesses must have workers’ compensation insurance.

Ohio

All employers must provide coverage. Exemptions include:

 

  • Partnership Limited liability company that operates as a sole proprietor
  • LLC serving as a partnership
  • Directors of family farm corporations
  • Individuals with no employees incorporated as a corporation
  • A religious organization’s ordained or associate ministers

Oklahoma

All employers must provide coverage. Exemptions include:

 

  • Independent contractors
  • Some agricultural employees
  • Certain providers of services administered by the Oklahoma Department of Human Services who are licensed and compensated on a commission-only basis
  • Any employee of an employer with five or fewer employees who are all related to the employer by blood or marriage. Any employee of a tax-exempt youth sports league.
  • Sole proprietors, partners, and officers of corporations
  • Any individual who performs volunteer work and receives no remuneration other than meals, drug or alcohol rehabilitation therapy, transportation, lodging, or reimbursement for incidental expenses is considered a volunteer.
  • Owner-operators of tractor-trailer trucks
  • Drive-away sole proprietors

Oregon

Employers with at least one employee have to provide coverage. Exemptions include:

 

  • Sole proprietors, partners, and officers of corporations
  • Family-owned businesses with no employees in which multiple families are employed.
  • leased employees
  • Temporary employees

Pennsylvania

Employers with at least one employee have to provide coverage. Exemptions include:

 

  • Federal workers
  • Longshoremen
  • Railroad employees
  • Casual employees
  • Some agricultural laborers
  • The Workers’ Compensation Act does not apply to domestic workers Sole proprietors, partners, and corporate officers
  • Executive officers for whom the Department of Labor and Industry has granted a religious exemption
  • Real estate salespeople with a valid license or associate real estate brokers

Rhode Island

Employers with at least one employee has to provide coverage. Exemptions include:

 

  • Sole proprietors
  • Partners
  • Officers of corporations
  • Independent contractors

South Carolina

Employers with four or more workers have to provide coverage. Not a single exception exists.

South Dakota

Unlike most other states, South Dakota employers do not legally have to carry workers’ compensation insurance. To avoid civil lawsuits, however, the state encourages employers to have workers’ compensation coverage. 

Tennessee

Employers with at least five employees have to provide coverage. Exemptions include:

 

  • Farm laborers
  • Domestic laborers
  • Sole proprietors, partners, and officers of corporations

Texas

Except for private employers under contract with the government, Texas employers are not required to carry workers’ compensation insurance.

Utah

Employers with at least one employee are required to provide coverage. Exemptions include:

 

  • Sole proprietors, partners, and officers of corporations
  • Independent contractors

Vermont

All employers must provide coverage. Exemptions include:

 

  • Casual employees
  • Participants in amateur sports
  • Some agriculture employees
  • Volunteers

Virginia 

Employers with at least three employees are required to provide coverage. Exemptions include sole owners. However, sole owners are counted as employees when determining whether a business employs three or more individuals.

Washington

All employers must provide coverage. Exemptions include:

 

  • Certain executives of public corporations
  • a number of independent contractors
  • Volunteers

West Virginia

Employers with at least five employees have to provide coverage. Exemptions include:

 

  • Domestic staff
  • Casual workers
  • Employees of religious institutions Athletes in professional sports
  • Employers participating in federal programs

Wisconsin

Employers with at least three employees have to provide coverage. Employers with fewer than three employees who pay wages of at least $500 per calendar quarter must also carry workers’ compensation insurance. Exemptions include some farm laborers.

Wyoming

Employers with three or more workers must provide coverage. Employers with fewer than three workers who pay at least $500 in wages per calendar quarter have to carry workers’ compensation insurance. Exemptions include some farm workers.

Workers’ Compensation Made EZ

Most states require businesses to carry workers’ compensation insurance, which will not only protect your business but also your employees. Keeping your employees safe does not have to be an expensive endeavor for your company. There are numerous ways to promote safety routines and programs, all of which will help you reduce your workers’ compensation costs. If you use the best practices for claims management and follow them in a timely manner, your employees will be able to return to work as soon as they receive medical clearance to do so. Not only will production return to normal, but workers’ compensation costs will get cheaper as well. 

 

Come to EZ for free, instant quotes from one of our agents if you are looking for the best workers’ compensation policy. And if you already have workers’ compensation benefits but are looking for a better deal, we can assist you. Your EZ agent will be familiar with the local laws and able to guide you as you shop around for the best policy at the most affordable price. Enter your zip code in the box above or call us at 877-670-3538 to speak with one of our agents.

Compare Commercial Insurance Plans

  • Compare The Best Commercial Plans For Your Business!

How Independent Contractor Insurance Can Help Your Small Business

Once your business is up and running, you might come to the realization that you can’t do it all, and you’ll need more help. Instead of hiring a full-time employee to handle some projects, you might opt to go for an independent contractor, vendor, or other third party. This can be a great  choice for you as a small business owner, because you will save money while still getting the jobs done that will help your business grow. If you do decide to go this route, though, you need to know the possible pitfalls of hiring independent contractors without being properly insured. 

Insurance Optionshand with a pen in it offering it to another hand with papers in the other hand.

If you decide to expand your workforce with independent contractors, you need to be aware that you might have to upgrade your commercial insurance. If the independent contractor you hire is not insured and makes a mistake, it could end up costing you a lot of money, because your client can sue both you and the contractor for financial damages. It is important to be protected in these instances. So you have two options:

  1. Hire an insured contractor, so if something goes wrong and you are sued, you will be able to sue the contractor and recoup some of your losses. You can check if they have coverage by reviewing their certificate of liability insurance.
  2. Add your independent contractor to your general liability policy as an additional insured. This means that they are covered by your insurance for the duration of the job. Make sure you have the right commercial insurance policies that will cover temporary staff and independent contractors for any work they perform for your business.

Policies You Should Have

If you hire independent contractors, whether they have their own insurance or not, you should be prepared for the worst. There are a number of different commercial insurance policies to consider, including:purple umbrella with the word insurance underneath it and raindrops coming over the umbrella.

  • Contractors errors and omissions insurance (Contractors E&O) is an excellent option for protecting you against the cost of lawsuits related to any mistakes your contractor might make. While standard E&O policies will provide protection from any claims of negligence or failure to perform your professional duties, they often will not cover independent contractors.
  • General liability insurance is a policy all businesses should consider having. You can add a contractor to your policy as an “additional insured” so the policy will cover accidents, property damage and physical injuries that the contractor can cause you, your employees, or clients.

Compare Quotes

Considering the cost of court fees, medical expenses, and repairs that might arise from negligence or accidents, having the appropriate insurance coverage is less expensive than risking the financial strain of a large liability claim. To save money, compare free quotes with an EZ agent. We will provide you with one agent who will go over your businesses needs and compare all available commercial insurance quotes in your area to find you the policy with the most coverage and savings. To get free instant quotes, simply enter your zip code in the bar above, or to speak directly with one of our agents, call 888-615-4893. No hassle, no obligation.

Primary Insurance Vs Excess Insurance

One of the most important things you can do as a small business owner is make sure you have enough insurance coverage in case of a claim or lawsuit against you. Liability policies will go a long way in protecting you, but do you know if there are gaps in your current commercial insurance policy? There might be, so it’s crucial to know whether you might need excess insurance to supplement your primary insurance policies. 

Primary Insurance

gold medal with the number one on the front
Primary insurance first responds to a claim, but it might not cover the full amount of the claim.

A primary insurance policy is the first policy to respond to a loss or claim made against your business. Professional liability insurance and general liability insurance policies are considered primary insurance, and are great ways to protect your business against losses. But these primary plans might not cover the full amount of a claim if the claim amount exceeds the policy’s limits. 

For example, if a customer comes into your store and is injured slipping on a spill that was not cleaned up and had no warning sign, they can sue you for the cost of their medical bills. If you are found responsible for the claim against you, your general liability insurance will pay up to your policy’s limit – for example, $1,000,0000. But if the settlement is $1,400,000, what happens? You would have to pay the rest out-of-pocket, which could cost you your business.

Excess Insurance 

In order to avoid the above situation, you can choose to purchase excess insurance. When your  primary policy cannot pay a claim in full because it exceeds the limits of your policy, your excess  insurance kicks in. The primary purpose of excess insurance is to close gaps in coverage and offer another layer of protection. To get back to the example from earlier, if you had excess liability insurance in that case, the $400,000 you would’ve had to pay out of pocket would now be covered. Umbrella insurance is a common type of excess insurance policy.

Stacking

In certain states,  you can stack your primary and excess insurance policies together. What this means is that you can add them together to create a higher total amount of coverage. For example, if your primary policy has $800,000 worth of coverage and your excess policy’s limit is $1,000,000, then your total available amount for a claim would be $1,800,000. If you cannot stack  policies, you would first have to exhaust your base policy of $800,000, and then the total available coverage of your $1,000,000 excess policy would be $200,000.

map of the US with the states in different colors.
Some states will allow you to stack policies so you get more coverage for a claim.

The states that allow stacking are:

  • Alabama
  • Colorado
  • Florida
  • Georgia
  • Kentucky
  • Mississippi
  • Missouri
  • Nevada
  • New Jersey
  • North Carolina
  • Oklahoma
  • Oregon
  • Pennsylvania
  • Rhode Island
  • South Carolina
  • Texas
  • West Virginia

Need Help?

Do you have a primary policy and/or an excess policy? Do you need help finding policies that will completely protect your business? If you need a new plan or just more coverage, EZ.Insure can help. We will go over your business’s needs and make sure that it is fully protected in any eventuality. Our agents work with the top-rated insurance companies in the country and can compare quotes in minutes to find a comprehensive plan while still saving you money. To get free instant quotes on small business insurance plans in your area, enter your zip code in the bar above, or to speak to one of our licensed agents, call 888-615-4893.

What Is An ACORD Certificate?

If you’re a business owner who works with contractors or has clients perform jobs for you, you have probably requested a certificate of insurance (COI) – or perhaps businesses you have worked with have requested to see yours. This certificate is a document that proves that a business or contractor is insured. It details how much and what kind of coverage you have, and lets you and others know that you are protecting your business against any accidents or mistakes. One of the most popular and commonly requested types of COI is called an ACORD certificate, so let’s take a look at what this is and whether you need one. 

What Is ACORD Certificate?stamp next tot he word certified in red.

ACORD certificates are governed by the Association for Cooperative Operations Research and Development. This association is a non-profit organization that provides the standardized forms and certificates for almost 90% of US property and casualty insurance carriers. Before ACORD created standardized forms, insurance companies had their own policy forms, which made it confusing for agents and brokers. 

The standardized forms now make it easier for small business owners to review their insurance and prove to customers and partners that they are insured. If a document meets the ACORD’s standards, it will have “ACORD” stamped on the top left corner of the document. The insurance agency information will be located just below the stamp.

The ACORD 25 form, also known as a certificate of insurance (COI), is a type of liability insurance certificate that provides evidence of liability insurance, such as general liability insurance or professional liability insurance, and is the most commonly requested certificate of insurance. 

Benefits Of ACORD Certificates

When you purchase any type of liability insurance, ask your agent for an ACORD certificate so that you can provide it to any client or business partner that you want to work with. Having this certificate shows that you are covered, and that any business or client that works with you will not have to shoulder liability for any problems that arise. 

ACORD certificates are categorized by number, so you have a better understanding of the forms you need to send to prospects and receive from contractors. Some of the most popular forms used in the insurance industry are:

mans hands in a suit signing paperwork
When working with a contractor or client, you can make sure they have liability insurance by asking for an ACORD certificate.
  • Certificate of Liability Insurance (25)
  • Evidence of Property Insurance (27)
  • Certificate of Property Insurance (24)
  • Evidence of Commercial Property Insurance (28)
  • Additional Remarks (101)

If you are going to work with a contractor or another company, you need to make sure they have their own liability insurance. This will protect your business in the event that they make a mistake, damage a customer’s property, or cause physical harm through their negligence. The best way to do this is by asking them to send you an ACORD certificate. You should be able to do the same if asked for proof of insurance; when you quickly send an ACORD certificate, it shows that you are responsible, which will put people at ease and ensure that they will want to work with you.

If your insurance carrier does not issue ACORD certificates, it might be time to switch carriers to one who is compliant with industry standards. If you want to learn more about ACORD certification, or if you have any other commercial insurance questions, an EZ agent can help! One of our agents will assess your business’ needs, compare plans in minutes, and find a policy that’s right for you. To get free instant quotes, simply enter your zip code in the bar above, or to speak directly with one of our agents in your area, call 888-615-4893.

Protecting Yourself From Web Design Copyright Infringement

There are thousands of businesses out there making websites, all trying to create unique designs, logos, videos, text, and images. There is a danger that, when you create a website for your business, your design or logo might resemble that of another business. This could be totally coincidental, but it could still be a serious problem that ends in a copyright infringement claim. How will this affect your business? What steps should you take to protect yourself?

Copyright Laws

copyright logo in black and white with a red exclamation point
Copyright infringement happens when you recreate and display copyrighted work without the permission of the copyright holder.

You want people to notice your website, but what happens if another company notices that your website is similar to theirs? If your logo or design is similar to that of another company, you could face a legal copyright claim from that company. 

Copyright infringement means that a copyrighted work has been recreated and displayed without the permission of the copyright holder. Copyright laws protect creative and intellectual property against anyone copying or stealing the design. Intellectual property that is protected will include the words “all rights reserved” or “copyright.” The laws surrounding intellectual property protect:

  • The automatic right to your creative work from the moment of its creation.
  • The exclusive rights to use, copy, or modify your original content.
  • Any intellectual property without the need for the author, artist, or developer to publish or register their work.

Avoiding Copyright Infringement

If you decide to create your own web design, or hire a web designer to do it for you, you need to familiarize yourself with the laws in order to avoid copyright infringement. Copying a website, whether intentionally or not, will come with consequences. Here is what you can and cannot do:

  • You cannot duplicate copyrighted designs such as images, text, or source code.
  • It is illegal to use someone else’s logo or trademarked material.
  • You are allowed to use inspiration from different sites and incorporate them into your web design (as long as it is not the same exact material).
  • It is legal to recreate designs similar to those on another site using custom code.
  • If you use a website template, there will be thousands of other sites similar to yours and you have no rights to the source code.
  • A custom website gives you ownership of your unique design, and another site cannot legally copy it.illustration of a man with a suit juggling shields and a copyright logo

If the owner of the copyright can show proof of infringement, you will have to pay a penalty for each infringement. This is not the only consequence to copyright infringement: you will also have to pay attorney fees and will suffer damage to your business’ reputation.

Protecting Your Business

Accidents happen, and that could include accidentally copying another person’s design or image. Companies are constantly changing their logos or website designs in order to keep up with what is popular, and you could end up using a similar design or image. Protect yourself with a business owners policy that includes general liability insurance, which will cover your business property and intellectual property. You should also consider a professional liability insurance policy, or errors and omission (E&O) insurance. This will protect you from copyright infringement, covering:

  • Court costs
  • Legal fees
  • Damages
  • Alleged or actual negligence
  • Personal injury costs

Creating a website is vital for your business, but it can be difficult to create a design that does not seem similar to that of the thousands of other sites on the internet. The best thing you can do is protect your business and its reputation with the right commercial insurance policy. EZ.Insure understands just how important it is to protect your business from claims, as well as your designs from copyright infringement. We work with the top-rated insurance companies in the country in order to compare quotes and find the best plan for your business. To get free instant quotes, simply enter your zip code in the bar above, or to speak to one of our trained, licensed agents, call 888-615-4893.