For many people, the less they have to think about insurance, the better. And who can blame them? Insurance doesn't exactly have a reputation for being an exciting and fun adventure. If you see insurance as more of an obligation than a fulfilling quest to protect your business, there are still two compelling reasons to keep your small business insurance needs in the back of your mind, even after you obtain coverage:
- You may find opportunities to reduce your premiums.
- Your diligence ensures your business always has adequate protection.
So while you may only want to revisit your coverage when it's time to renew your policy then zone out until your premiums are due, let's take look at when you should update your coverage or seek out new business insurance quotes.
When Your Small Business Changes
As you may already know, your insurance policies are based on your business's unique traits. If something changes, your coverage needs may also change. When that happens, it's not a bad time to compare new insurance offers to make sure you're getting the most coverage at the best rate available. (To get a good reference for recent rates, see our Business Insurance Cost Analysis).
When your business experiences the following changes, call up your insurance agent to discuss your options:
- You hire or fire employees. Whether you're on a hiring spree or trying to trim the fat, changes to your staff mean you should expect changes in your coverage. For example, adding employees signals that it's time to update your Workers' Comp policy so your new staff will have protection for on-the-job injuries.
- You relocate your business. Say you run a home-based business, but as it grows, you decide to move it out of your home and into a commercial office. Even if you have a Business Owner's Policy to cover your business, you still need to make updates. After all, your policy is based on the square footage of your office space, security features, and exposure to natural disasters. Those factors may have changed when you relocated.
- You purchase new equipment. You probably already know that your Property Insurance rate depends on the type and amount of equipment your business uses. So if you invest in new gear, it's a good time to compare coverages – you likely have to adjust yours, anyway.
- You start offering new goods or services. If you introduce a new product or branch out to offer new services, be sure to check in with your agent about your Professional Liability (aka Errors & Omissions) policy or your General Liability's Products and Completed Operations coverage.
- Your revenue significantly grows or declines. The more revenue you generate, the more assets you need to protect. Similarly, if you pull in less revenue than you once did, it's still a good idea to talk about your coverage needs with your agent.
Note: remember, when you work with an insurance agent, they can adjust your existing coverage and compare it to other available offers. It takes the guesswork out of the equation and is one less thing for you to worry about.
When It's Time to Renew
If you want to see what other fish are in the sea, the best time to shop for insurance is about a couple weeks before it's time to renew your old policy. Your agent should send out a renewal notice that describes…
- Your coverage.
- Available discounts.
- Your premium amount and due dates.
You can use the information to compare new offers from other insurance companies. For best results, be sure to gather quotes from several insurance providers (and make sure those providers are reputable!). If you'd rather someone do that work for you, submit an application via insureon.
When You're Unhappy with Your Current Coverage
Maybe it's time to shop around if…
- You're unhappy with your current provider's customer service.
- You feel you're overpaying for coverage.
- You don't feel adequately covered.
Luckily, it's pretty easy to compare insurance offerings these days, and in most cases, you can fill out an online insurance application in about 10 minutes.
As a final word of advice: don't go canceling your policy before you have a new policy in place. You don't want to have gaps in your insurance coverage. Also, bear in mind that a cheaper policy isn't always a better policy. You want to ensure that low price isn't because essential coverages are missing.
For some pointers on how to compare quotes, check out the post, "Decoding Your Small Business Insurance Quotes."