Business insurance is important. But, can you trust an insurance company’s agent to devise an insurance program that truly protects your small business?
Can you trust your business insurance agent? Your insurance company? Insurance Company A tells you they are on your side. Company B is like your good neighbor. Company C has you in good hands.
The truth is that insurance companies are businesses that sell financial protection against risk. What you get is a promise of payment under the terms of the policy at some date in the future, if all the right conditions exist. In the end, you have a contract and nothing else.
Do you know what your insurance contract actually says?
Would you ever sign a contract without reading it first?
Or without understanding what the contract provides to you?
Most business owners have no clue what their insurance policies say. When you purchase or renew insurance, you should do at least these five things:
1. Meet with your business lawyer to determine your risks.
2. Understand what coverages are available.
3. Check the insurer’s financial strength
4. Check the claims history of the company.
5. Document and photograph the assets you are covering with insurance.
And… read your policy! Or, better yet, sit down with your business attorney and your agent and review the policy together.
If you make a claim on your own policy, you and your insurance company will be adversaries. I recently fought an insurance company for five months to recover $400,000 of insurance, when my client’s losses exceeded $600,000. Some insurance companies are notorious for paying claims slowly or fighting claims routinely. Do not buy insurance from those companies. Most importantly, buy the right type and amount of insurance, and prepare now to fight for coverage later, assuming that you will eventually have to make a claim.
Matthew Griffith is an entrepreneur, coach, business owner and attorney. He is a shareholder and director of the Indianapolis law firm of Thrasher Buschmann Griffith & Voelkel, P.C. He is also a principle, director and co-founder of the business consulting firm, Blue Marble Consulting Group, LLC.