Learn More About the Policy that Covers Every Business's Basic Needs
As your business grows, you’ll start hiring more people and expanding your service offerings. Before you know it, your current insurance policies aren’t going to provide the full coverage that they did in the past. If you’re looking for general liability insurance in Ohio, we’ll go through what you need to know.
If your business is really just starting to grow, you may still have the bare minimum of state and federal required insurance policies that you started out with. These policies will work for a little while, but eventually, they’re not going to be enough.
The best way to reassess your insurance is to evaluate what’s changed within your company every year. Why? The new additions to your business that have been included throughout the year might not fit under the coverage that you currently pay for. Insurance policies don’t work perfectly forever and should be a flexible part of your business just like everything else.
When you’re making the next step up as a small business in Ohio, one of the best policies you can pursue is a general liability. This policy is a common one for businesses around the state and around the country to obtain because it covers the basic need for insurance that businesses have.
In the event that you’re sued due to an injury to someone on your property, general liability insurance will make sure you’re covered. Just about every business faces this risk, but some more than others. If you’re in a high-risk industry like construction, general liability insurance in Ohio is an absolute must. A computer repair shop isn’t going to be facing the same heightened risk, yet if, for example, an employee drops a computer monitor on a customer's foot, a general liability insurance policy is going to protect the business if you are found legally liable.
Do You Know What Type of General Liability Insurance in Ohio is Right For Your Business?
General liability insurance in Ohio comes in two forms, and your coverage differs depending on which one you have.
First, there is an occurrence policy. This will provide coverage on claims that happen during the term of your policy, and they fully depend on the timing of the event. An occurrence policy requires that the accident or injury takes place during the policy period, not necessarily that the claim is also made during the policy period. This means an injury could occur during the policy period, but the claim might not actually be filed for a year or so after the policy has expired. This form of the Commercial General Liability policy is what’s most frequently used by small businesses.
The second option is a claims-made policy. This type of coverage can appear very similar to an occurrence policy, but the key difference is that claims are only paid if they’re made during the policy year, and sometimes, your policy may state that it has to have happened on or after the retroactive date. The retroactive date is defined as the earliest day that an injury or accident can happen and still be covered by your policy. For example, if your policy goes from February 2, 2018, to February 2, 2019, and your business receives a claim from June of 2017, it won’t be covered by your policy. If you have this type of coverage, you should avoid changing your retroactive date because it will decrease the amount of coverage you have.
It’s important to note that not all claims-made policies include retroactive dates, and you should actually look for one that doesn’t have one. You should also pay attention to the repercussions of switching between a claims-made policy and an occurrence because it can be bad for your business if you go from having coverage without a strict time period on it to one that does.
If you’re looking for general liability insurance in Ohio, you’ll also want to figure out how much coverage you actually need. There’s no “one size fits all” for insurance policies because every business has unique needs that may need coverage. Typically you’ll want to look at three things for identifying where your limit for your policy should be.
- Perceived risk - this is in regard to how much risk you face within your business’s operations and functions
- Where you operate your business - some states are known for rewarding high damages, in which case you might want to consider purchasing higher liability limits.
- The type of product or service you provide - what you offer is going to impact how much coverage you’ll need. Certain offerings are going to pose more risk than others
If you need general liability insurance in Ohio, the most important thing for your business is that you get the right coverage in order to be properly protected. Take a good look at the specific facets of your business to determine what liability limit would be in your best interest, and it always helps to talk to an insurance advisor to understand the whole picture. As long as you’re consistently reassessing and updating your insurance policies, your business will be on the right track.
About the author
Matthew T. Simon, CIC, CPCU
Since 2006, Matt has been a Licensed Insurance Advisor with Hill & Hamilton Insurance, an industry leading, independent insurance agency headquartered in Ohio. Prior to joining the team at H&H, he worked as an Underwriter with a regional insurance company located in Columbus, Ohio.
Matt is a Certified Insurance Counselor (CIC) and a Chartered Property & Casualty Underwriter (CPCU), having successfully completed the rigorous coursework and exams to earn these prestigious designations.
He’s the Vice President at H&H, serves on the Board of Directors for the Ohio Insurance Agents Association of Ohio and the Associated Risk Managers of Ohio. In 2013, Matt was awarded and recognized as the National Young Insurance Agent of the Year.