Posted on May 16, 2014
For businesses to thrive, they need the right combination of management and planning. Commercial insurance should be part of every business strategy as it protects hard working business owners seeking to grow their businesses. When something goes wrong, insurance plays a vital role in keeping a business operational and financially protected.
Oklahoma businesses have several options when it comes to insurance protection. While the state only mandates that employers carry workers compensation insurance, there are many types of coverage that can become part of an overall risk protection plan. General liability, property and commercial auto are just a few necessary coverages, and business owner packages offer the possibility of combining two or more different coverages into one policy for added savings.
Oklahoma Liability Coverage
Oklahoma liability insurance is designed to protect businesses from potential claims of bodily injury or property damage. For example, if someone claims that a business product made them ill, liability insurance would pay defense costs and then compensate the third party if courts upheld that the business was responsible for the injury. General liability coverage will also cover false advertising claims as well as personal injuries due to slander or libel. For the most part, it is a broad type of coverage that handles any type of risk that an insured business may encounter.
Workers Compensation Coverage
Oklahoma state law requires that all employers have workers' compensation insurance. The only allowed exemptions are for households with domestic employee payrolls of less than $10,000 per year, agricultural employees with total payroll less than $100,000 per year, real estate salespeople, brokers and federal employees.
Workers' compensation covers medical expenses for on the job injuries or illnesses. Employees begin receiving wage benefits after three days of being unable to work. Once disability is established, wage benefits are calculated at 70% of the employee's average weekly wage with a maximum weekly benefit of $683.
Oklahoma employers may purchase workers comp from private insurance carriers, the state established CompSource Oklahoma, or through self-insurance approved by the Oklahoma Workers' Compensation Court.
Employers without required workers comp insurance may face criminal penalties and civil fines of up to $10,000.
Business property insurance protects company assets such as buildings, equipment, computers, inventory and valuable records from many types of damaging losses. Whether damage is caused by fire, wind, lightning or even broken retail windows, commercial property insurance covers repair and/or replacement of the building or personal goods. Because property insurance does not typically cover equipment and other goods taken off property on a regular basis, inland marine policies are available to cover that equipment while it is in transport or off site.
Whenever a company must close for covered property damage repairs, business income coverage or business interruption insurance provides reimbursement to business owners for any lost profits and other fixed bills that accrue during the time the company is closed for repairs.
Commercial Flood Insurance
Oklahoma also experiences its fair share of flooding. What many business owners might not be aware of is that commercial property insurance does not cover damage caused by floods. Companies must purchase separate flood coverage through the National Flood Insurance Program. Coverage is available for up to one million dollars with $500,000 for buildings and another $500,000 for contents. Companies that rent their business space may also apply for flood insurance for their contents since landowner policies do not cover tenant's property. Because there is a 30-day waiting period until coverage goes into effect, companies will want to make sure to purchase flood insurance well in advance of any potential storms or flooding.
Wildfire Insurance for Oklahoma
Summer drought conditions can make conditions ripe for wildfires. Most property insurance policies will cover fire damage; however, it is always wise to review existing coverage to make sure that fire is listed as a covered condition and that there is adequate insurance amounts should building and personal property need replacement.
Earthquake Insurance in Oklahoma
Increasing seismic activity in Oklahoma has many residents and business owners contemplating earthquake insurance. In fact, 2010 and 2011 brought moderate earthquakes in the state, and should this pattern continue, adequate insurance is necessary to protect property. In most cases, an endorsement may be added to existing policies to include earthquake coverage. Should an earthquake occur, these policies will pay for repair or replacement up to the insured amounts on the policy.
Some carriers may introduce restrictions as to how soon to add earthquake endorsements to existing policies. There may anywhere from a 10 to 60 day waiting period for addition of this coverage depending on the insurance company.
Oklahoma Severe Weather & Tornado Insurance
Severe weather season in Oklahoma typically begins in the spring. The state also experiences unpredictable tornadoes that can cause extensive damage and sometimes complete destruction of buildings. Winter weather creates the potential for snow and ice that may also significantly damage buildings and property.
Business owners should make sure to purchase commercial property insurance or review existing policies to make sure they include coverage for tornadoes, winter weather, wind and hail. This type of insurance will cover the cost of repairs or rebuilding.
Additional Information on Oklahoma Insurance