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Getting the right business insurance policy

If you own your premises you will need to insure the building

You can include building insurance on your business insurance cover. You need to insure your business premises for the full rebuilding cost, rather than just the market value. This is because you will only be able to claim the cost of what you have insured – regardless of the amount of damage.

If you employ staff you must by law have Employers’ Liability

It is a legal requirement for every employer in the UK, to protect their employees against risks in the workplace.  Your employees may be injured at work or they, or your former employees, may become ill as a result of their work while in your employment. They might try to claim compensation from you if they believe you are responsible. The Employers’ Liability (Compulsory Insurance) Act 1969 ensures that you have at least a minimum level of insurance cover against any such claims.

Employers’ liability insurance will enable you to meet the cost of compensation for your employees’ injuries or illness whether they are caused on or off site. However, any injuries and illness relating to motor accidents that occur while your employees are working for you may be covered separately by your motor insurance.

For more information please visit www.hse.gov.uk

Public Liability is important to ALL businesses

If members of the public or customers come to your premises or you go to theirs (including if you work from home), you should think about taking out public liability (PL) insurance.

PL insurance covers any awards of damages given to a member of the public because of an injury or damage to their property caused by you or your business. It also covers any related:

  • legal fees
  • costs
  • expenses
  • hospital treatment, including ambulance costs, that the NHS may claim from you

Products liability insurance covers you against damages awarded as a result of damage to property or personal injury caused by your product. If damages are paid for personal injury, the NHS can claim to recover the costs of hospital treatment – including ambulance costs.

Products liability insurance also covers you against unforeseen circumstances, such as product faults your quality control system couldn’t trace. However, if you simply make an inferior product, you may be unable to make a claim, or even get insurance. Bad workmanship is not covered either.

Having quality control measures in place may help to reduce your premiums – and will certainly reduce the risk of compensation claims and protect your reputation in the marketplace.

Produce an inventory of materials

Write a list of all contents and consider stock both finished and stock in trade, i.e. materials you are working with.  Include any items of furniture or business equipment which you need to insure.

Fixtures and fittings , such as signage and displays should also be considered.  There are other covers such as money (currency/cheques) and goods in transit (products during transit) that can also be covered.

Assume the worst case scenario

Imagine that you have a fire or flood at your premises and your stock, contents and IT systems such as computers are destroyed.  You may also have damage to the buildings which requires repair and may require you to find alternative premises whilst these repairs are carried out. Consider how much it could cost you to rectify this damage to the same position you were in before the loss incurred.  The right level of business cover would also enable you to continue to trade while your premises are being repaired and your contents replaced.

To get this right you would be well advised to create a list of all your items to be insured including buildings, contents, fixtures and fittings, any improvements made to your building, stock, computers and other equipment and calculate what it would cost to replace the lot.

It’s advisable to review the accuracy of this figure just before your renewal and notify us of any change.   Keep this list up to date and when the value exceeds the sum insured notify us.

Choose optional covers wisely

Only select the options where you are sure that the cover would be beneficial.  If in doubt ask. For example, Goods In Transit is a common option but is pretty unlikely to be required by most accountants or solicitors.

Health & Safety

As an employer you are required by law to have a Health and Safety policy in place which sets out your company policy on health and safety and who is responsible.

Here is an example of a few things that you might want to think about when assessing your companies health & safety requirements.

  • What hazards are there
  • Who is at risk & evaluate the risks
  • Keeping a record of your findings & risk assessments
  • Reviewing your assessments

Important areas of health and safety you should be aware of:

  • Management of Health & Safety at Work Regulations 1999
  • Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 (PUWER)
  • Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations 1998 (LOLER)
  • Control of Substances Hazardous to Health 2002 (COSHH)
  • Pressure Systems Safety Regulations 2000 (PSSR)
  • Noise at Work Regulations 2005
  • The Electricity at Work Regulations 1989
  • Portable Appliance Testing

For further information you can visit www.hse.gov.uk/

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