From the moment you opened your dental practice you’ve been making decisions. From your business location, the employees you hire, your practice’s state-of-the art equipment and even your patient’s electronic records. To ensure that all of your hard work isn’t negated by some unforeseen circumstance, you need to secure adequate business insurance to protect you, your business and your employees.
The main challenge is determining the best coverage for you. What coverages do you need? What limits should you carry? Are there any gaps in your current coverage?
Here are some basic types of business insurance that are essential to your operations.
This coverage protects a company’s assets and pays for obligations—medical costs, for example—if someone gets hurt on your property, or when there are property damages or injuries caused by you or your employees. Liability insurance also covers the cost of your legal defense.
General liability insurance can also protect you against any liability as a tenant if you caused damage to a property that you rent, such as by fire or other covered loss.
Finally, it can also cover claims of false or misleading advertising; including libel, slander and copyright infringement.
Building and Personal Property/Contents
The property insurance in a business owners policy helps protect your business’ building (if you own it) and its contents against covered perils (i.e. fire, wind, hail, theft). The business and personal property limit (contents) should include the items you own located at your scheduled premises, such as furniture, equipment, medical supplies and computers. If you’re not the building owner, but are responsible for any build-out that you installed (i.e. cabinetry, flooring, etc.), it’s important to discuss this with your agent to verify that these are included in your policy limit.
This coverage is designed to protect the insured for losses of business income it sustains as a result of direct loss, damage, or destruction to insured property by a covered peril (i.e. fire, wind, hail, theft).
Employee Practices Liability (EPLI)
EPLI provides coverage to employers against claims made by employees alleging discrimination (based on sex, race, age, disability), wrongful termination and sexual harassment.
Hired & Non-Owned Auto Liability (HNOA)
Any business that even occasionally uses a vehicle not owned by the business should strongly consider this coverage. Hired & non-owned covers liability expenses for accidents involving vehicles that your business uses for work purposes but doesn’t own. This includes vehicles that your business rents, as well as your employees’ personal vehicles that are used for work errands.
Say your employee is driving his or her car to drop off a business deposit at the bank. If he gets in an accident, the other driver can sue your business for expenses related to the crash (e.g., medical treatment and vehicle repair damages). HNOA insurance can cover these costs. However, it can’t pay for physical damages to the non-owned vehicle.
This coverage is to protect employers from lawsuits resulting from workplace accidents and to provide medical care and compensation for lost income to employees hurt in workplace accidents.
Texas, unlike other states, doesn’t require an employer to carry workers’ compensation coverage, so many go without it. However, a serious work-related injury can cost a considerable amount of money and expose you to lawsuits. The benefit to having workers’ compensation is that an injured worker loses his or her right to sue his or her employer in exchange for the certainty of recovering benefits from the injury. This is called “sole remedy.”
Natural disasters can be devastating to businesses. While damage caused by some types of natural events (such as lightning or wind) will usually be covered by commercial property insurance, you’ll need a special policy if you want flood protection.