Insurance, it would seem, is a necessary evil for most people. It comes in many different forms; some is mandatory, others optional and it is hard to decipher just what is necessary, what is precautionary and what is prudent.
Over the years dealing with many business clients, from sole proprietors to corporations and having operated my own business and managing others, insurance has always been a complex reality. Insurance comes in many forms and as our world becomes, what would seem is more volatile, risks seem more inevitable. With these added risks, there are more products available and understanding the nuances, of which insurance does what, is even more challenging.
Knowledge is power; it equips you so that when you approach an insurance agent you are able to inform them as to the type of insurance you are seeking. In order for an agent to assist, it is important for you to provide accurate information to the best of your knowledge and be clear about what insurance coverage you’re looking for and why. Tell them what you do, how you do it, what your fears are and ask what types of coverage and plans are out there that apply to you — this helps the agent to better assess your needs and provide you with the most appropriate insurance product options. You will also need to provide current financial information, projections, estimates, or assumptions about your personal information and business to get an insurance quote.
As a business advisor, I often am asked about business and commercial insurance. There are many different forms out there and it is important that you find a fit for you and your business. Insurance is dependent on your needs. As a sole operator of a business, I always ensured that I had disability insurance. The rationale; if I was unable to work, who would do the work, if not me? If I had to pay someone to do my job, there went my salary so; I needed insurance to pay my personal obligations. The other insurance, was business interruption insurance and loss of business income. If I were to have a fire, for example, it was important to have fire and peril. However, if it took a year to rebuild my business premise, it was imperative that I had an income to cover the payments associated with my property mortgage as I would not have the ability to generate revenues from my property.
Take the time you need to ensure you understand what you are buying. Review the information your agent has provided and ask as many questions as necessary to clarify what you are buying. If you don’t understand an acronym, have them explain it to you. I have been fortunate enough to have a daughter who has worked in the insurance industry and wow have I learned a lot from her. Probably the most beneficial learning was having my insurance agent explain my policy line by line so that I was aware of what I was purchasing, was it accurate and did it have everything I needed. Sometimes knowing what is not covered, is as important as knowing what is covered. That way you can inquire if additions can be added to the policy to ensure you are covered.
In the end, the best assurance is having the right insurance. So, take the time you need to ensure you understand what you are buying and don’t be afraid to ask the questions that create that assurance.
Jolynn Green is Executive Director of Community Futures Central Island. Jolynn can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 250-591-7499.