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Does Your Small Business Need Public Liability Insurance?

Fri, 11/09/2012 - 4:26pm | by Guest Contributor

No two businesses are exactly alike. Even amongst franchises there is some amount of flexibility when it comes to operations. So there is no one set roadmap for success when it comes to starting your own company. But you don't exactly have to reinvent the wheel when it comes to your small business; plenty of people have done it before and you can easily find guidelines to follow in order to ensure that you don't suffer hardship needlessly. Like every other situation in life, you will be presented with options and you will have to choose the course that you think is best. So when it comes to determining whether or not you need public liability insurance you might not be sure whether it is worth it or not. Here are just a few considerations to help you decide.

Imagine, if you will, a shiny and spotless lobby floor. The night janitor has swept, mopped, and polished your faux marble slab to a high shine, making your entrance fairly gleam so that every client who walks in the door is imbued with a sense of the bright future promised by affiliation with your business. And yet, this shining testament to the glowing health of your enterprise could pose an equal and opposite health risk to anyone unprepared to navigate the slippery surface that leads to your inner sanctum. In short, your floor could cause a nasty spill, especially if your clients wear the type of office shoes that are not too heavy on the tread. And if you don't have public liability insurance you could end up paying out of pocket for medical costs and even a lawsuit.

Okay, so perhaps you don't have customers or clients walking in the door. Maybe you don't even allow vendors on the property. If no one other than employees is coming in and out of your facility, perhaps you don't really need this type of insurance. But wait; there's more. It also protects you in the event of mishaps at other businesses. Suppose you have to visit clients, vendors, partners, and so on at their establishments. If you cause injury or property damage while on their premises it could also result in liability (with you as the guilty party). Public liability insurance would cover you in this instance, as well, paying not only medical costs or the price of repair, but also expenses like legal fees and settlements brought on by lawsuits.

So are there any reasons not to secure this type of insurance? Actually, yes, and you'll find out what they are when to start looking for liability insurance quotes. Like most forms or insurance, your peace of mind comes with a price tag. And if you don't have frequent interactions with the public, it may not seem terribly cost-effective. Plus, considering that most of these policies come with any number of conditions and exclusions, it simply might not seem worth the expense, especially for a small business that is struggling just to make payroll. Of course, the one time you need it you'll be glad you had the foresight to get it. In truth, you'll simply have to weigh your options and make the decision that's right for your company. But when it comes to the heavy burden of responsibility that a business owner bears, it's usually best to take a "better safe than sorry" approach.

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