Posted on May 16, 2014
South Dakota is known for being a business friendly state especially for small businesses. Finding time to stay abreast of the latest rules and regulations along with keeping a company running smoothly can present quite a challenge for today's business owner. Making sure a company has the appropriate commercial insurance policies in place will helps companies know they are protected in the event of weather, disaster, accidents or lawsuits.
While the state only mandates that companies carry workers compensation insurance coverage, the fact remains that every business owner needs additional insurance to fully protect their business investment. Whether facing a slip and fall accident in a retail establishment or an employee crashing into a customer's storefront, commercial insurance gives peace of mind to business owners so they know they are fully covered in the event of accidents outside of their control.
South Dakota Liability Coverage
General liability insurance policies enable companies to weather any type of injury or property damage that comes their way. If someone is hurt at a business location or an employee damages a customer's property, this coverage will take care of the expenses of repairing or replacing property along with paying for legal defense costs if the claim goes to court. Other liability benefits in policies can include coverage for defective products and services as well as slander and libel in advertising or publications.
Small to middle sized companies will benefit from business owner policies that combine the two most needed insurance coverages together into one package - commercial general liability and property. Besides offering an affordable rate, these plans provide standard coverage that is suitable for a broad range of companies. Any specialty or additional insurance coverage can be added by endorsement or separate umbrella policies designed to offer higher insurance limits.
Workers Compensation Coverage
The workers' compensation law for South Dakota requires every employer to provide workers comp insurance except for domestic household workers, farm labor, elected officials and independent contractors. This policy covers medical expenses and wage benefits for employees who were injured or became ill while working. Compensation for employees is equal to two thirds of their average weekly income with a maximum of $648 per week. Insurance cost is based on industry classification and experience. Many workers comp insurers offer discounts for safe work sites so having a written safety plan, holding regular safety meetings & training along with zero or very few claims can help in bringing down the cost of this coverage.
South Dakota is well known for summer storms. With raging thunderstorms, brutal winds and roaring tornadoes, the state experiences its fair share of extremely inclement weather. To protect business buildings and inventory, many business owners choose commercial property insurance to take care of any damage Mother Nature dishes out. When a business cannot operate due to bad weather, or shuts down after property damage occurs, business interruption insurance can be extremely helpful in paying bills and expenses that continue to surmount despite the closure.
Commercial Flood Insurance
South Dakota flood disaster areas were significant in 2011 due to the flooding of the Missouri River, which necessitated the evacuation of many homes and businesses. Because standard homeowner and commercial property insurance coverages do not include flooding, flood loss can be avoided simply by obtaining a separate commercial flood insurance policy to protect from these disasters.
FEMA administers the National Flood Insurance Program to provide coverage to high-risk areas of this state; however, there is a 30 day waiting period for flood insurance coverage to become effective. Those South Dakota business owners without flood insurance will want to apply well ahead of seasonal snowmelt and rain runoff to keep their buildings and contents protected from flooding.
It is important to review policy terms carefully as most standard flood insurance plans cover water damage from flood, but need separate endorsements added for contents of the building. Endorsements may also be needed for other forms of flooding such as damage caused from backed up sewers.
Farm & Ranch Owner Insurance in South Dakota
Farms and ranches have unique needs when it comes to commercial insurance coverage. The State of South Dakota does not require workers compensation insurance to protect farm labor while on the job, but many farmers seek some sort of protection for their workers. Commercial liability policies typically exclude employee claims. In such instances, it is prudent to add an endorsement for employer liability along with employer provided health insurance in order to protecting employees.
Other necessary coverage for farming include crop insurance, which is often a separate policy altogether and will cover weather related losses such as hail, fire and pests. Many South Dakota farmers also seek additional coverage for collapsed farm buildings, which may implode due to ice and snow weight.
Additional Information on South Dakota Insurance
Learn more by visiting the South Dakota Department of Labor and Regulation, Division of Insurance website at http://dlr.sd.gov/insurance/default.aspx or call (605) 773-3563.