Self-employed: do you need business insurance?

Self-employed in Arizona? You probably need business insurance.

Do you have it?

One of the common myths I hear is that since someone is “just self-employed,” they don’t need business insurance. But nothing could be further from the truth.

If you are among the 400,000 self-employed in Arizona, you face risks, just like big companies. Let’s take a look at several common risks that you face.

Is your home your office?

Let’s start with the “home office.”

Most of you who work from home assume that your computer and other typical items related to your work are covered by your homeowners. In many cases… that may be so. (Always check with your agent though- never assume it is.)

However, your homeowners insurance won’t protect you if a client comes by your home to pick up some paperwork, and slips on the coffee you spilled an hour ago. He or she can sue you for negligence, and if you don’t have a home-based business rider on your homeowners insurance policy, or a standard Business Liability policy- you could be in trouble.

(And we won’t even talk about the extra risk of operating a daycare, massage therapy or hair salon out of your home without the proper insurance. If this is you- I will be writing a more detailed article about specific risks for home-based businesses. Watch for it.)

Your home is not a safe zone from business liability exposure.

Is your office your “home away from home?”

Many self-employed Arizonans spend a lot of time in their small offices. An oasis of productivity. A place to focus on getting stuff done.

But if your office is in a building, even though the building owner probably has liability insurance- you need it too. The minute a client walks through your door, you and your company become liable for their safety. Don’t assume that your landlord has you covered.

Also, unlike people who have a home-office, your property in the office is usually not covered by your homeowners insurance. Can you afford to replace your office furniture, printer, computer and desk? Even if you can, is it worth the risk?

​Your “office-oasis” still can suffer loss and exposure to liability.

Service work — you can get sued for almost anything.

If clients don’t come to your home, and you don’t have an office, you still are at risk.

​Many of the self-employed in Arizona, like roofers, carpenters, plumbers, electricians, landscapers, pool cleaners and repairmen of all types are in and out of customer homes all day.

Every time a self-employed service technician is “on-site,” they run the risk of damaging something expensive, or worse, accidentally causing physical harm due to simple oversight.

In addition, you face a risk for work not completed properly, and sometimes even for not completing your work on time. Your work is your product, and people can sue over it.

Bad things do happen- and people sue over bad things.

Simple handmade products- you can still be liable.

Thousands of self-employed in Arizona now make a living by creating beautiful and useful things and selling them online on places like eBay and Etsy. That’s awesome!

But your hand-crafted popular item can still find ways in the hands of some customers to cause harm. Yes, even the most harmless product, in the wrong hands, can create a lawsuit. And one frivolous lawsuit can cost you more than you made in profit for the whole year. Lawsuits are one of the most common reasons for small business failures.

There is no “safe from a lawsuit” product- not even yours.

Your car is also your company car — is it covered?

I saved the most overlooked risk to the self-employed for the end.

If you use your car for work, you need commercial auto insurance.

It’s that simple.

If you don’t tell your insurance company that you are driving your personal vehicle all over Chandler, Phoenix, and Scottsdale to deliver products or services to customers- you are at great risk of a claim being denied.

And this is an easy problem to fix.

Commercial auto insurance in Arizona can be very, very affordable.

And if your self-employment is driving for Uber or Lyft as a rideshare driver in Arizona- you’ve got a simple and truly affordable solution: Arizona Farmers Rideshare Coverage. I specialize in covering Arizona Rideshare Drivers.

Give me a call- I can answer any questions about rideshare coverage.

The “take-way.”

You’ve worked hard to get this far in your small business of one. You are more than just “self-employed.” You are a vital part of building Arizona’s economy.

What you do matters- to you, to your family, and to your neighbors.

Call me at (480) 940–0909, and I will take the time to answer any questions you have about what type of coverage you need as a self-employed business person. I’m a small business owner too, and I’ve been self-employed for many years. I’ll take the time to help.

photo by blue on flickr, cc licensed

Joe’s Insurance
 (480) 940–0909.

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