Posted on May 16, 2014
Running a business in Wisconsin requires a significant amount of time and resources to be successful. Dealing with complex tax and insurance issues can become overwhelming for busy business owners as they try to stay competitive and make a profit. Protecting all of that hard work and investment necessitates have adequate and appropriate commercial insurance in place. State law requires that all employers have workers' compensation insurance, but that coverage alone is not enough to adequately protect every facet of a business. Learn more about the different types of coverages available along with additional information about insurance required for employers below.
Wisconsin Liability Coverage
When personal injuries or property damage occurs on your business property or that of a client's, having insurance protection in place prevents significant out of pocket expense to business owners. Commercial general liability insurance protects businesses for any type of liability that a court might uphold against a company including settlements, judgments and penalties. In addition to high legal fees and court costs, a significant court award can create quite a hardship and even bankruptcy for companies lacking sufficient liability insurance coverage.
While the State of Wisconsin does not require general liability coverage, the risk to business and even personal assets is great if a court requires payment of damages for a claim in addition to legal defense costs. Certain industries are required to maintain general liability insurance in order to maintain licensing. In the construction industry for instance, building contractors must show proof of and retain liability insurance in order to have a contractor's license issued or renewed.
Workers Compensation Coverage
All employers in Wisconsin must have workers compensation insurance coverage for employees. When an employee is injured or becomes ill while on the job, workers comp pays for medical expenses, lost wages for temporary or permanently disabled workers, death benefit & burial expense as well as vocational rehabilitation and retraining if needed.
The only exceptions to the workers comp requirements are for household domestics, certain farm employees, volunteers and religious sect members who qualify.
Severe penalties apply to those companies who do not obtain coverage as required by Wisconsin law. If an employee is injured, the company is liable for all medical expenses. The State Worker's Compensation Division may also order business operations to cease until company is compliant with workers' compensation law requirements. Employers without workers comp insurance may be subject to a penalty of twice the amount of insurance premium not paid during the uninsured status or $750, whichever amount is greater. Some employers can be subject to $100 per day that the company is not insured for up to seven days.
Commercial property insurance offers business owners the assurance that their building and business personal property is protected for fire, theft and other occurrences. These policies apply to a building's contents and include furniture, equipment, inventory, money, valuable documents and records. There are various levels of coverage available with the most basic form of property insurance covering such damage as fire and lightning. Insurance coverage can be extended to include other perils such as hail, explosions, riots, wind and vehicles that cause property damage. Additional endorsements for vandalism and theft can also be added. Your licensed insurance agent or broker can help you assess your property and possessions to determine the right amount of coverage needed for your business.
Commercial Flood Insurance
Wisconsin often experiences devastating floods and property damage from that flooding in various parts of the state. Many home and business owners do not realize until too late that their homeowners or business property insurance does not cover flood damage. Protecting your business and inventory from flooding requires purchasing commercial flood insurance from the National Flood Insurance Program. This federal program offers flood insurance to those businesses located within a flood plain where the community has voluntarily adopted the NFIP management ordinances. The NFIP provides insurance programs for businesses with up to $500,000 in coverage for buildings and $500,000 for building contents. With a 30 day waiting period to go into effect, business owners will want to apply as soon as possible rather than waiting until storms and flooding is imminent.
Commercial Auto Insurance in Wisconsin
Wisconsin has mandatory auto insurance requirements for all vehicles in the state including those used for business purposes. Under a recently passed act in November 2011, the Financial Responsibility Law changed the minimum liability coverage to:
Additional Information on Wisconsin Insurance