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Liability insurance

Liability insurance

You may be responsible for damage or injuries to another person or property caused by your business activities. Liability insurance can minimise the impact on your business. Typical cover includes: • public liability • professional indemnity • products liability Personal and workers insurance It’s important to ensure you have insurance to cover the costs of an unexpected illness, injury or accident including: • workers’ compensation insurance • personal accident, illness and life insurance • income protection insurance Based on your business type, activities, and industry, it’s your decision as to what other insurance you may need. Keep in mind that many insurance companies will require you to have business registrations and licences in place before they agree to provide insurance. Many insurance companies will provide policy packages specifically for small businesses. If you employ staff you should check if workers’ compensation insurance is included. You can receive significant financial penalties from WorkCover WA if you don’t have the correct insurance for your staff. Obtain quotes from a number of companies and ensure they are all based on the same information. The term ‘worker’ is very broad; it includes full-time, part-time, casual and seasonal workers; apprentices and trainees; and some contractors and subcontractors. If you are a sole trader or partner you are responsible for the liabilities of your business and you are not covered by workers’ compensation insurance. In the event of an illness or accident you may not be able to work and earn income. Workers’ compensation cover for working directors of proprietary companies is optional. If you are an employee of your own proprietary company, you will need to specifically request that your workers’ compensation insurance also covers you. A list of insurance companies approved to underwrite workers’ compensation insurance in WA is available from workcover.wa.gov.au Personal accident and sickness. This will compensate you for loss of income if you have an accident or suffer an illness that prevents you from working. This is especially useful for independent contractors who may not be entitled to workers’ compensation. Revenue. Also called ‘consequential loss’ or ‘business interruption insurance’, revenue insurance helps cover a business for reduced profits caused by interruptions like fire, flood, accident, burglary or major computer failure. Types of insurance explained Workers’ compensation. If you employ staff you must have workers’ compensation insurance to provide cover for their death, injury or illness caused during the course of their employment. This needs to be in place before your first employee starts work. Property and assets insurance Whatever the scale of your business, insuring fixed assets (eg. premises, products, vehicles, equipment) will help you to continue operating if they’re damaged, stolen or destroyed. Property and assets insurance includes:

Premises

Whether your business operates from a factory, warehouse, shop or your home, if you own the premises it’s likely to be your single largest busines asset. A variety of policies can help protect your premises against hazards like fire, storms, wind or water damage, explosions and vandalism. • Contents and equipment This cover can help you replace vital business equipment (such as computer systems, manufacturing equipment or tools) quickly and with minimal disruption to trade.

Goods in transit

If your business involves transporting goods you should consider insuring against damage that may occur once the product leaves your control and is in transit.

Professional indemnity

This protects professionals against negligence claims made by clients. It covers the costs and expenses of defending a legal claim and any damages payable. Professional contractors are often required to hold professional indemnity insurance if working with government bodies, local authorities or private consulting firms.

Public liability.

This is important for businesses that interact face-to-face with customers. It covers your potential liabilities to third parties for personal injury or property damage if you or your business is found to be negligent. If your business requires your customers or the general public to visit your premises, or for you to visit their premises, consider taking out public liability insurance. You will also need it if taking part in expos.

Product liability

If your business sells, supplies or delivers goods, even in the form of repairs or maintenance, you may need cover against claims of the goods causing injury, death or damage. Product liability insurance covers you if any of these events happen to another business or person through the failure of your product or the product you are selling.

Vehicle insurance for business

If your business uses motor vehicles it’s compulsory to insure them for third party injury liability. Policy costs depend on the type of vehicles you use, the goods they carry, and the frequency and type of use. For example, businesses transporting dangerous goods require a very different policy compared with document couriers. Make sure your policy covers commercial/business use. Cyber liability If you collect any kind of personal data that could be stolen by hackers, especially as an online business, you will need to look at cyber liability insurance.

Burglary

If you have property or stock that someone could steal it should be covered by a burglary policy. If relevant for your business, you need to make sure there are no exclusions for items such as liquor or cigarettes. You also need to check limits on cover and any requirements in relation to forced entry. Not all insurance types will be applicable to your situation. An insurance broker can help you accurately assess the risks of your business and buy the right insurance to meet your needs.
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