Posted on May 19, 2014
No matter where a business is located in the state of Florida, adequate insurance coverage is imperative. As the 4th largest state economy in the U.S. with a sizable small business community, Florida also happens to be a state where lawsuits are prevalent and court awards are quite large. Business owners seeking to protect themselves from financially damaging lawsuits must make sure they have the appropriate type and amount of business insurance to fully protect their investment, customers, employees and property.
Florida Liability Coverage
The state of Florida does not require that businesses purchase general liability insurance; however, with its reputation as a litigious state, business owners would be wise to fully protect themselves by adding commercial liability insurance to their asset protection plans.
Companies must take reasonable care to keep patrons safe while they are on a business premises, but no matter how safety conscience a company may be, unexpected accidents can happen. General liability protects businesses from losses caused by injury, or damage caused by company products, operations or employees. This insurance primarily takes care of bodily injury, property damage, false advertising, legal costs and personal injury claims such as slander, copyright infringement or libel.
Having the right amount of liability coverage is equally important. Companies must evaluate their risks to determine just how much insurance should be purchased to provide enough protection from lawsuits. For companies with significant assets or those in high risk industries, an umbrella liability policy may also be needed. This extra liability coverage is usually purchased in amounts between $1 million and $5 million to give added protection over and above the basic general liability policy.
Workers Compensation Coverage
Florida workers compensation insurance provides benefits to employees for job related injuries or illness. Regardless of fault, employees receive medical treatment and wage payments while unable to work.
All Florida employers with 4 or more part time or full time employees must carry workers compensation insurance. Different requirements exist for the construction and farming industries. Contractors must carry workers comp if they have one or more employees. Farmers with more than 5 regular employees or 12 seasonal workers must have workers compensation coverage.
Commercial property insurance is designed to protect business buildings and their contents. When business personal property such as equipment and inventory is lost, stolen, or damaged, business property coverage pays to repair or replace that property.
Purchasing commercial property insurance requires choosing between two different property values. Florida business owners may obtain coverage based on actual value or replacement value. Actual value is determined by taking replacement cost less depreciation whereas replacement value is the actual value of the property in today's prices, or a set agreed upon amount when coverage begins.
Business property insurance contracts can also be written to only cover specific perils such as wind, fire or theft. All risk policies will provide coverage for any perils or hazards not specifically excluded from the policy.
For Florida businesses that produce less than $1,000,000 in annual revenue, a combined general liability and property coverage package may be obtained in what is known as a business owner's policy. This combined package offers affordability that is ideal for smaller businesses.
Windstorm Insurance for Hurricanes, Tornadoes & Hail
Florida residents deal with floods, tornadoes, hurricanes and severe storms pretty much every year so planning ahead is important in being safe and prepared when disasters strikes. Commercial property insurance does not usually include coverage for damage caused by hurricanes, tornadoes or hail. Florida business owners will need to purchase windstorm insurance to cover potential damage caused to business buildings and any furniture, equipment or inventory inside.
Commercial Flood Insurance for Florida
When hurricanes, tornadoes and severe storms arrive in Florida, they often cause extensive flooding. Many homeowners and businesses find out too late after a flood that property insurance does not provide insurance coverage for flood damage. Consumers must purchase separate flood insurance policies in order to have flood protection. Companies that purchase windstorm insurance for added protection from hurricanes will also need flood insurance since windstorm policies also do not cover flooding.
Businesses can apply for flood coverage through the National Flood Insurance Program. This federally backed insurance plan provides flood protection of up to $500,000 for buildings and $500,000 for building contents. There is a 30 day waiting period for policies to go into effect so companies should take care of applying for coverage before the threat of storms or hurricanes is imminent.
Additional Information on Florida Insurance