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What business insurance MUST I have?

There is actually surprisingly little that you need to do to set yourself up in business.  However, there are various types of business insurance that you are obliged to have by law, as well as some others that you might do well to consider.  If you are an employer with premises, for instance, or an employer who runs vehicles, the required insurances are likely to include at least Employers’ Liability Insurance, and Third Party Motor Insurance.  We will now describe these two in further detail:

Employers’ Liability Insurance

A simple question.  Do you have employees?  If the answer is yes, then you will need Employers’ Liability Insurance.  This is not only a legal requirement, but one that could also cost you, if you attempt to avoid it.  The Health and Safety Executive is the body tasked with enforcing this law.  Not having this insurance could entail a fine of £2,500... for each day you are running your business without the right insurances. What does it cover?  Effectively it covers you for all employees, (including temps, work placements, contract, casual
and seasonal staff) and means that you will be covered against any injuries at work, or illness incurred as a result of work.  In essence, it really protects you and your business from any claims that might be made against you, including compensation and legal fees.  The law insists on coverage up to £5 million but in reality you’ll find most policies run up to at least £10 million a standard.

Third Party Motor Insurance

Of course this is only a requirement if you run motor vehicles, in much the same way you would need insurance when running your own personal car.  Such businesses are likely to be motor traders, garages, taxis, coaches, small vans, vehicles on building sites, farms and industrial sites. Again, the consequences of not having such insurance do not bear thinking about.  As with your personal vehicle, driving without insurance is a criminal offence.  In commercial terms, the police are entitled to seize and possible destroy the vehicle and you may be liable to a £5,000 fine, disqualification and up to 8 points on your license (when, that is, you get your license back). business vehicle insuranceWhat does it cover?  The insurance will pay out the costs for any personal or property damage (usually another car) sustained by a crash caused by you or any of your employees.  The policy must run to at least £1 million, by law, with an unlimited amount for personal injury, but many business take out extra cover, in addition.  This might include Third Party, Fire and Theft, for instance, which also has the benefit of covering you for the loss or damage to your vehicle as a consequence of those two eventualities.  Comprehensive cover includes all of that, but also includes things such as 24-hour accident recovery and use of courtesy vehicles, and also extends cover to accidental damage, personal property in the vehicle (including tools) and medical expenses covering loss of eyesight or even death. So, at the very least you need to consider these two forms of business insurance when setting up your company.  However, to really ensure peace of mind, many business also look to further kinds of insurance.  There’s nothing worse then time spent unable to trade, so it can really help to feel the security that comes from being fully covered.  If that’s you, consider using an insurance broker - firstly to identify risk, and then to help get your business back on track if issues do occur.

Published by Utility Helpline on (modified )