Shopping for business insurance

Whether you are looking to buy business insurance for the very first time or considering changing your existing policy, think carefully about the covers you actually need for your business. You do not want to pay for something you do not need, nor do you want to be caught by surprise when you have to make a claim. Remember that even after you purchase insurance, your policy can be upgraded later on to better meet your requirements.

What to consider when buying insurance?

Although price is important, it shouldn’t be the only factor that you take into account when purchasing your insurance. Make sure that your insurer is providing you with the covers that you have asked for. There may also be extra conditions or exclusions on your policy – so even though it appears cheaper than the others, it may not actually be covering you for what you need.

Also, remember to look at the “excess” values. The “excess” is the amount that you pay if you have to make a claim. This is the first part of every claim; so if you’re Excess is £250 and you have a claim for £200, you will have to cover the full £200. Some insurers give you the option to increase or decrease your Excess. If you increase it, then you will reduce your premium as you are covering less. However, if you decrease it, then your premium will go up, as you are asking for more insurance.

Many insurance companies, particularly on shop insurance, provide free additional covers as standard. It is worth comparing these to see if any of these are actually good for your business. For instance, most shop insurance companies offer free “frozen food cover”. This wouldn’t be useful for a florist, for example, but excellent for the local mini-market.

If you find an offer that you like but you are not very familiar with the company offering the insurance, it is worth researching the brand by reading customer reviews, visiting the official website and “about us” pages, and finding press coverage about the business. It is worth asking your friends and family whether they have had any experience with the company and what their impressions have been, as well as researching other people’s experiences of the claims process and customer service.

Reviewing your existing policy

Check your policy now and consider – “does it meet my needs today?” Do you actually need to have Employers’ Liability insurance? Have you got the value of your contents right?

Remember you do not have to get a whole new policy to get a specific cover. You are able to increase your insurance throughout your policy – so it is much better to pay a bit more and be safely covered than to lose out when you make a claim.

A good way to evaluate your policy is to examine the type of customers you are doing business with currently or planning to in the near future. Think of the potential liability you may be exposed to while performing services or selling products to the particular group of people or businesses.

To summarise, it is better to be properly insured than to save a few pennies now but lose out if you make a claim in the future. Your business is your livelihood, and we want you to look after it.

Robert Hartley is a Product Manager at Simply Business. He has worked in insurance for over 11 years, specialising in new product development and product innovation. His insurance expertise ranges from insuring day-to-day places such as homes, shops and offices through to bespoke risks such as skateboards parks and pyrotechnic displays.