If you are starting up a new business in Florida – or even if you’ve been in business in our state for some time – are you sure that you have the business insurance that you need? Do business owners in Florida require any particular business insurance?

Is your insurance adequate for your needs, or is your business at risk? Keep reading to learn those answers and more about business insurance in Florida.

For most entrepreneurs, starting up a new business is an exciting challenge. Being the boss means that things are done your way, and the final say about your work is yours.

However, owning a business also entails both legal and financial risks, so owners must take the necessary measures to protect themselves and their businesses.

Choosing the right insurance to protect your business is one of the most important choices that a business owner makes.

The phrase “business insurance” includes the various types of policies available to protect businesses, their owners, employees, and clients or customers.

If you are starting up a business, you might resist spending extra on insurance, but you must have some type of business insurance, and you should look at it as an investment that protects your future.

WHAT BUSINESS INSURANCE SHOULD A BUSINESS OWNER CONSIDER?

Most business insurance, frankly, is optional, and some types of coverage are appropriate only for particular kinds of businesses.

Although Florida law does not require it, it is nevertheless important for every business owner to purchase a property and casualty policy. If you rent space for the business, property insurance may also be required by your landlord.

Property and casualty coverage protect the physical location and the real estate that a business owns as well as products, equipment, and anything else of value to your business.

Before purchasing any particular insurance policy or set of policies for your business, be certain that you know what the policy covers.

For example, Florida business owners will need coverage for hurricane damage that business owners in Kansas or Montana will not need.

The best property and casualty insurance policies cover “all” risks and provide protection for a wide range of unanticipated and unpredictable catastrophes that can strike a business.

WHY DO BUSINESS OWNERS NEED GENERAL LIABILITY INSURANCE?

Business owners should also carry general liability insurance.

While a corporation’s or LLC’s owners are somewhat protected by their statutory limited liability, that liability protection only goes so far, especially if you own a smaller business.

General liability coverage protects both your personal assets and your business from being seized if a judgment is made against you.

If your business is a partnership or if you are a sole proprietor, you should not only have general liability coverage, but you should also purchase “umbrella” liability coverage.

An umbrella liability policy protects a business when other insurance policies do not. If you deal with high-risk products or services, an umbrella policy is imperative.

And if your business sells any kind of product, a product liability policy is also highly recommended.

Although most business insurance, legally speaking, is optional, a business owner will encounter situations that require purchasing some type of insurance.

For example, the state of Florida requires businesses that hire employees to carry both unemployment insurance and workers’ compensation insurance.

WHY IS WORKERS’ COMP INSURANCE REQUIRED IF YOU HAVE EMPLOYEES?

Workers’ comp insurance in Florida protects employees who are injured on the job (or who become ill due to conditions at the workplace), and it also protects the employers of injured employees from personal injury lawsuits and from any liability for personal injuries sustained on the job.

You may also need commercial automobile coverage.

In Florida, if your business has company vehicles, the business owner must purchase commercial automobile insurance for those vehicles.

In Florida, your personal auto insurance policy does not provide coverage to a vehicle that is used primarily for a business purpose.

Business interruption insurance, life insurance, and disability insurance should also be considered and can also help to protect businesses and owners.

Obviously, business owners want as much protection from as many risks as possible, so owners each year must calculate and balance the coverage they desire against what their budgets can afford.

As a business owner in Florida, when you consider your insurance needs – what is required and what’s optional – you should discuss risks and liability with an experienced central Florida business attorney and then with a business insurance agent.

They will help you determine what business insurance you need and are able to afford.

WHAT ARE THE COMMON RISKS THAT A BUSINESS WILL FACE?

Employee discrimination claims, wage and hour claims, product liability lawsuits, premises liability lawsuits, and environmental, zoning, and advertising regulations all potentially threaten a business and demand an owner’s constant vigilance.

For most of these risks, insurance is the best remedy. Purchase policies only from someone you trust, and read every word of a policy.

Risk is a part of life, which means that it’s also a part of business.

A Central Florida business attorney can assess all of a Florida business owner’s possible legal risks and help business owners put solutions to legal problems in place before those problems materialize to hurt your business.

Even the smallest business needs a business attorney to help owners deal with legal matters – from the very first day.

HOW CAN A BUSINESS LAWYER HELP?

Today, even routine business decisions seem to require the insights of a knowledgeable business attorney. If you own a business, it’s wise to develop a long-term relationship with a business lawyer you trust.

That, when you genuinely need an attorney, you’ll be working with someone who already knows you and understands your business.

A skilled business lawyer can help small- and mid-sized business owners obtain effective counsel on a limited budget.

A good business lawyer can provide a business owner with advice and perspectives on virtually every facet of business, from copyright and trademark advice to zoning compliance to incorporation, lawsuits, and liability.

It is important that you take action before any legal trouble arises, because by then, it might be too late.

No business owner likes to deal with legal matters, but it’s wiser to tackle legal matters before they emerge as legal problems. A Daytona Beach business attorney will work to protect your business, your rights, and your interests.

 

By: Melody Lankford
After graduating from Davidson College, Melody Lankford earned her J.D. from Florida State University’s College of Law in 2004 and was admitted to the Florida Bar that same year. Ms. Lankford joined Raydon Corporation as in-house counsel in 2004. She worked there until 2012, when she founded the Lankford Law Firm. She is an experienced Daytona Beach small business attorney who offers sound legal counsel and experience-based insights to her business clients.