All businesses, regardless of industry, face risks that should be covered by insurance. The most common and comprehensive type of policy business owners invest in is general liability insurance (or CGL).
Some of the risks CGL insurance covers are:
- Bodily injury
- Property damage
- Medical payments
- Legal defense and judgment
- Personal and advertising injury
While businesses aren't legally required to carry general liability insurance, operating without it is extremely risky. If your business is sued, you could end up facing fees totaling hundreds of thousands of dollars (or more). Having a sufficient CGL policy in place to help compensate for these damages is the only way to prevent this type of event from devastating your business.
Learn more about the risks covered by general liability insurance.
COMMON SITUATIONS THAT GENERAL LIABILITY INSURANCE WOULD COVER FOR A INTERNET SECURITY COMPANY
Example 1: While updating a client’s security, you crash his computer system. Because the accident resulted in lost productivity and revenue while the client’s business remained offline for several hours, he sues you for damages. General liability insurance would cover your legal defense and any court-awarded payouts.
Example 2: When your new marketing manager launches a campaign, he uses several photos without obtaining permission and your company now faces two separate lawsuits for copyright infringement. General liability insurance would cover your legal defense and any court-awarded damages.
Example 3: In order to sign up for a booth at an upcoming convention, you must provide evidence of insurance — including at least $1 million in liability coverage. A general liability policy would fulfill that requirement.
Of course, this is not an exhaustive list of perils a general liability insurance policy will cover, and some conditions may result in a particular peril not being covered. It's always best to talk to your agent in-depth about the specifics of your policy to avoid blind spots in coverage.
On average, internet security companies in America spend between $350 - $900 per year for $1 million in general liability coverage.
Check out the chart below for a snapshot of average CGL expenditure across a variety of industries:
Several factors will determine the price of your policy. These include your:
- Number of employees
- Per-occurrence limit
- General aggregate limit
You may be able to acquire general liability insurance at a discounted rate by purchasing it as part of a business owner's policy (BOP) rather than as a standalone policy. A BOP is a more comprehensive solution that includes multiple forms of coverage, such as business interruption and property insurance.
While general liability is the most important type of insurance to have, there are several other forms of coverage you should be aware of. Below are some other types of insurance all internet security companies should obtain:
Professional Liability Insurance
While you strive to provide advice and services that help your clients enhance their security, there’s always a chance someone might decide you made a mistake and claim your professional services harmed their business. If a client sues your business for negligence, professional liability insurance would cover your legal fees and any required settlement.
Workers’ Compensation Insurance
Most states require businesses to carry workers’ compensation insurance for their part-time and full-time employees. This coverage protects your employees if they become injured at work or fall ill after a work-related accident. It not only covers an employee’s medical bills and lost wages if they need time to recover, but also any disability or death benefits stemming from a workplace accident. For extensive injuries resulting in lawsuits, this type of policy also covers a business owner’s legal defense costs.
Most insurers offer workers’ compensation insurance as a standalone policy.
In addition to the policies outlined above, there are a few other types of coverage your internet security company may require depending on certain aspects of your operations. Some of these might not apply to you, so be sure to ask your agent which policies are right for your business.
Home-Based Business Insurance
If you run your business from your home, you may need this insurance to safeguard your equipment and the space in your home devoted to your business. A typical homeowners insurance policy may not cover business-related items or client injuries on your property if you don’t disclose you use your home for business purposes. In the event of a lawsuit, this coverage would pay for your legal fees and other associated costs.
Data Breach Insurance
While you’re in the security business, that doesn’t mean you aren’t vulnerable to online hackers. This coverage — also known as cyber attack insurance — protects your business from liability if a cybercriminal hacks into your computer system, steals sensitive client data, and your clients sue you for damages. In the event of such a lawsuit, data breach insurance would cover your legal fees and any settlement payouts.
Although it's easy (and essential) to invest in business insurance, it should not be your frontline defense. Yes, insurance will compensate for your business' financial losses after an incident occurs, but it's much better to avoid losses altogether.
With this in mind, here are three things you can do to better protect your business:
- Use legally robust contracts and other business documents. (We offer free templates for some of the most common legal forms.)
- Set up a limited liability company (LLC) to protect your personal assets. (Refer to our guide for step-by-step instructions on how to form an LLC in your state.)
- Streamline your business' internal processes. This will remove unnecessary variables from common tasks and create a safe, consistent environment for conducting business.
What is included in a business owner’s policy?
A typical business owner's policy includes general liability, business interruption, and property insurance. However, BOPs are often customizable, so your agent may recommend adding professional liability, commercial auto, or other types of coverage to your package depending on your company's needs.
What is the difference between business insurance and general liability insurance?
"Business insurance" is a generic term used to describe many different types of coverage a business may need. General liability insurance, on the other hand, is a specific type of coverage that business owners need to protect their assets.
Do I need insurance before I start a business?
You should invest in coverage for your business before your first interaction with a customer. Although the cost of insurance may seem high for a brand new business, it's best to be proactive when it comes to protecting your assets. After all, you can't buy insurance to cover a loss that has already occurred.
Will insurance protect my business from everything?
Not necessarily. Certain exceptions may be written directly into your policy, and some perils may be entirely uninsurable. Be sure to discuss the scope of your policy in-depth with your agent to avoid being blindsided by holes in your coverage.