Small Business Insurance in New York

Although New York may be known for The Big Apple, the state also supports a large amount of small businesses. Common industries include healthcare, financial services, manufacturing, and retail trades. Whatever your needs are, we at Oyster have you covered in The Empire State. 

General Liability

A general liability policy covers your business against most legal claims arising from normal business operations. General liability coverage has set limits which are outlined in the policy and can be tailored to your needs. Most policies also include liability coverage resulting from products sold and completed operations as well as personal or advertising injury. Usually, general liability comes at an affordable rate to reduce or potentially eliminate the financial risks of a lawsuit.

Common Claim Examples

  • Someone slips in your retail store and sustains injuries. They decide to sue you for medical costs.
  • Someone accuses you of copyright infringement and they decide to sue for damages.
  • Your business damages someone's property by accident. They decide to take legal action to recover damages.

Who Needs General Liability Coverage? 

Generally speaking, it is a wise decision for most businesses to have general liability coverage. Lessors, creditors, and business partners often require businesses to carry liability coverage.

Commercial Property

A commercial property policy can cover your business' buildings, contents, and business income. Buildings and contents are covered as lost business income due to property damage subject to policy limits and provisions.

There are some common exclusions such as flood and/or earthquake as well as automobile accidents. There are standalone policies such as a flood or commercial auto policy that could supplement these exclusions in high risk areas like flood zones. It’s important to check your policy or check with your agent to know what is covered and what is excluded.

Common Claim Examples

  • Someone breaks into your business at night and steals your property
  • A fire breaks out and damages your property
  • Your pipes freeze and repairs cause the business to shut down for a certain time, your commercial property policy can help cover some of your business income in certain circumstances, subject to policy provisions, limits, and deductibles
  • There is a wind or hail storm that damages your property 

Who Needs Commercial Property Coverage? 

If your business owns or leases a physical location, or has significant physical assets that need to be protected from theft, damage, and disaster, a commercial property policy is a good route. You may have contractual obligations to your lessor or mortgagor to maintain property coverage up to a specified limit. 

Business Owner’s Policy (BOP)

A business owner’s policy combines liability coverage from the general liability policy and property coverage from the commercial property policy. Bundling this coverage may save you and your business time and money. 

Common Claim Examples

Since a business owner’s policy combines general liability and commercial property coverage, all of the above examples would apply to this type of coverage.

Who Needs a Business Owner’s Policy? 

A business owner’s policy is recommended for most small businesses as it provides the basic coverage needed for most businesses at an affordable rate. Depending on your business details, a business owner’s policy may not be available to you, at which point standalone policies may suit your needs better.

Workers’ Compensation

Workers’ compensation insurance covers your employees if they sustain work-related injuries subject to policy provisions and state statutes. Workers’ compensation usually covers medical costs, ​​vocational rehabilitation, as well as a certain percentage of lost wages when your workers are out of work due to an injury. 

In a worst case scenario, workers’ compensation typically comes with death benefits as well if a worker passes away due to a work accident. Workers’ compensation is typically bundled with employer’s liability insurance which can help offset the costs of an expensive lawsuit. 

Common Claim Examples

  • One of your workers is on a ladder during the normal course of work and falls injuring themselves. Workers’ compensation typically covers medical costs, rehabilitation costs, and a certain amount of lost wages for injured workers. 
  • One or more of your workers is exposed to asbestos on the job and was only exposed to asbestos while working for your company. Injuries related to this exposure would be covered as an occupational illness (asbestosis in this case).
  • You have an employee who works from home and over time they develop a repetitive strain or stress injury like carpal tunnel. Repetitive strain or stress injuries can also apply to workers who frequently lift boxes that develop back pain. 

Who Needs a Workers’ Compensation Policy? 

Workers’ compensation insurance is required in New York for all employers with some limited exemptions.

Commercial Auto

Commercial auto covers liability and physical damage for vehicles that are used for business purposes. There are set limits on a commercial auto policy

Common Claim Examples

  • An operator listed on the policy is involved in an auto accident while driving a business owned vehicle. Commercial auto insurance would cover damage and liability costs subject to policy terms, limits, and deductibles.
  • If your policy includes comprehensive coverage, similar to your personal auto insurance, you would be covered for flood, fire, theft, and other covered perils subject to policy terms, limits, and deductibles. 

Who Needs a Commercial Auto Policy? 

Commercial auto insurance for any vehicle used for business purposes is required in New York.

Cyber Insurance

Cyber policies can provide coverage in the case of data breaches and cyber attacks. Cyber policies come with a set limit of insurance and can come with some other perks like coverage for funds that were transferred as a result of your information being compromised on a computer. 

Common Claim Examples

  • Someone accessed your business data and stole social security numbers and/or banking information for your customers and employees. The information was sold on the dark web. Cyber insurance would help cover defense and damages resulting from the lawsuits subject to policy limits and deductibles (retention). 
  • An employee found out they were being fired and published personal details regarding your business clients online. These clients opened a lawsuit for invasion of privacy. Your cyber policy would help cover the defense and damages or settlement cost subject to policy terms, limits, and deductibles (retention).  

Who Needs a Cyber Policy?

Any business concerned about a potential data breach or cyber attack should obtain cyber insurance. With the rise of the ecommerce industry, the need for cyber insurance is increasing. Any business that collects and/or stores data over the internet typically has at least some exposure to this type of loss and should look into a cyber policy to reduce or prevent these losses. 

Other Types of Insurance

Although the above list may cover most businesses for all of their insurance needs. Depending on the details of your business you may not need all of the coverage types above or you may need a specialized policy that was not listed. It is always best to discuss your business and any concerns you may have with a licensed insurance agent who can present your options to you. 

Commonly Asked Questions

How much is small business insurance in New York?

Generally speaking, small business insurance in New York is affordable and can scale to fit the needs of your business. 

Do I need business insurance? 

Most businesses should have some type of business insurance. General liability, commercial property, and workers’ compensation (if you employ workers) are the most commonly recommended for small businesses. 

How do I obtain business insurance?

The best way to obtain business insurance is by reaching out to an agent or broker. This is because an agent/broker is a licensed individual who understands the market and your needs. Usually, purchasing an insurance policy includes an application, underwriting, binding the policy (an agreement to purchase the policy, usually includes signatures and/or payment), and then the policy is issued. 

If you have any further questions, it is always best to contact your insurance agent or broker directly. At Oyster, we strive to make insurance accessible. Please contact our experts regarding all of your commercial insurance needs.

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