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Small Business Insurance: What It Is, What It Covers and Why You Need It

Updated: September 2017

Small business insurance, sometimes called commercial insurance, helps cover a business' assets, property and income against certain losses. A business owners policy (BOP) offers three basic types of coverage to help protect a business: business property coverage, general liability coverage and business interruption coverage.

If you're a small business owner, you may be able to buy additional coverages to customize your policy based on your specific operation and needs.

Woman at small business.


An Allstate agent can answer coverage questions and help you find ways to protect what matters most.

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What Does Small Business Insurance Cover?

A business owners policy helps protect your business against financial loss and covered perils. Covered perils typically include theft, fire, wind, falling objects and lightning. It's important to read your small business policy carefully to understand which specific perils are covered by your insurer.

General Liability Coverage

A business owners policy typically includes general liability coverage. If someone is injured at your business as a result of your negligence, general liability coverage may help pay for their medical expenses. It may also help pay for legal costs if you're taken to court over an accident that occurred at your business.

Commercial general liability insurance is subject to a coverage limit. If an injured person's medical expenses exceed your coverage limit, for example, you may have to pay out of pocket to cover the rest.

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Business Property Coverage

The property insurance in a business owners policy helps protect your business' building (if you own it) and its contents against covered perils. For example, if your building is damaged by fire, your property coverage may help pay for repairs. Or, if your business' furniture is stolen, your property coverage may help pay to replace it.

Keep in mind that this coverage has a deductible and limits. The deductible is the amount you pay out of pocket toward a covered claim. You may be able to select your deductible amount when you buy property coverage. The limit is the maximum amount your insurer will reimburse you for a covered claim. You can choose your property coverage limits based on the estimated cost to rebuild, repair or replace your business' property. If your losses exceed the coverage limit you've chosen, you will have to pay out of pocket to finish repairs of your building or replacement of your business property.

Business Interruption Coverage

Business interruption coverage, sometimes called business income coverage, is typically part of a business owners policy. This coverage helps replace lost income and increased expenditures if your business is affected by a covered peril.

For example, if a fire makes your office uninhabitable, business interruption coverage may help pay for you to rent a new workspace during repairs. This coverage is subject to limits. The limit may include a dollar amount as well as a time period. Ask your agent about the types of limits on business interruption coverage.

Additional Coverage

You may be able to add additional coverages onto your business owners policy. Available coverages may include:

Talk to your agent about your specific business insurance needs, and he or she can help you choose the coverages to customize your policy.

How Much Does Small Business Insurance Cost?

The cost of a small business insurance policy depends on many factors. These factors may include the type of business you're insuring, the types of optional coverage you add to your policy and the deductibles and limits you select for each coverage. Get a small business insurance quote or talk to an agent to get an idea of what you might pay for a policy.

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This content is for informational purposes only and may not be applicable to all situations.

Coverage subject to terms, conditions, and availability. Policy issuance is subject to qualifications. Allstate Insurance Company, Allstate Indemnity Company, Allstate Fire and Casualty Insurance Company, Allstate Property and Casualty Insurance Company, Northbrook, IL. © 2019 Allstate Insurance Company, Northbrook, IL.
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