5 tips for getting the best out of your Business Insurance

Insurance is one of those things you pay a lot for, in return, you get reams of paper full of wordy jargon, a real bargain you might be thinking… ok possibly not. Insurance of any kind is viewed by many as a necessary evil, necessary perhaps but not evil…

Gone are the days when your renewal consisted of just one page, where you were only interested in two things, the basic details, terms, and conditions such as are excesses acceptable and of course the really important bit, the price.

Insurance, business, or otherwise is viewed by many as a bit of a con, you part with large sums of your hard-earned money, and what for, you get little or nothing in return. Being brokers we know the odd thing about insurance but knowing how insurance works, a con it certainly is not, ask all of our clients that have had their businesses saved by having the right insurance cover in place.

Having the right business insurance in place is essential and if you do need to make a claim, then it becomes one of the most valuable things you have.

Being active on many social media groups we see insurers coming in for some real flack about how bad they are and that they don’t pay claims. Insurers are like any other business; your opinion of them is as good as the experience you have with them.

Insurers are not bad when it comes to paying claims, seriously they are not!

Looking at how claims are dealt with, insurers generally are not bad, some however much easier to deal with than others, yes of course some will try to wriggle. But where is the problem?

And now for a bit of a shocker… it’s not always the insurers’ fault!! Pft, can you believe that? It could be the policyholders’ fault! Yes, I know what a ridiculous thought!

No 1 – Get the best out of your broker

This, therefore, brings us to Number 1 in the list of getting the best from your business insurance, whether that is for your business or personal insurance. Without a doubt number 1 has to be Use an Insurance Broker!

Forgive us for being a bit brash and a little biased here BUT, being brokers we know a lot about insurance. We know the markets, we understand your business, and its needs and when things become more difficult we are here to fight your corner, and insurers can’t pull the wool over our eyes either, we know as much as they do!

Whilst it’s tempting to use the large call centers or cheap online sites, all of which we agree to have their place, when things start to go wrong, you can find yourself out on a limb with no one to speak to or help you. This is where a broker is worth every penny of that little bit extra premium you might have paid.

As long as you have your insurance put together properly, that includes what you do in some detail, your sums insured and your turnover and wage details amongst other things, being correct, life will be much easier in the event of a claim.

A broker will put your information together in the best light, knowing exactly what an insurance company requires to get not only the best price but to ensure that someone has compared the options for you, provided you with a price, and recommended a particular policy that meets your needs.

No 2 – Information, Description, and a damn good story…

We all like a good story and insurance underwriters are no different, which brings us to Number 2 in getting the best from your business insurance. The stories have to be somewhat truthful, no, you can’t make it up, certainly when it comes to your business description and what you do, intentionally omitting vital information or being conservative with the truth won’t help you, what you think might be a bad point a broker will negotiate for you.

Not telling your broker or intermediary the truth to get your insurance cheaper is application fraud, don’t do it. There is something called Fair Presentation – Tell them everything, it’s better to provide more information than less.

No 3 – Keeping it sparkling

Insurers like nothing more than a good clean well managed business; so we reckon that this comes right at the top of the list, so Number 3 it is. Insurers just love businesses that are well managed; this means a thorough understanding of health and safety and actually implementing requirements, and ensuring that employees abide by them. Using external consultants is a good move, many are available that will hold your hand through setting up procedures, and whilst it’s still your responsibility it proves that you go some way to comply with your obligations.

When it comes to sparkling, you certainly don’t want your electrics to be doing things they shouldn’t, which usually results in flames and smoke. So, you need to have your electrical condition certificates up to date, you can find out more by visiting the NICEIC website or the HSE.

Sometimes people like to steal stuff from your business, yes, can you believe that!! Particularly if they are attractive, your goods that are, not the thieves. Make sure that you have things like Stock, Machinery, and particularly Electronic Equipment well protected, so getting a good grade of alarm installed is essential; you can find local installers at the NSI or SSAIB websites [Links].

Whilst having an alarm is a very good investment, right at the top is stopping the thieves from getting in, in the first place, good locks on doors and windows are essential, feel free to go overboard with these, if they can’t break into your premises they are likely to move on.

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, apparently. Images of your business and the premises showing good clean uncongested pathways, workstations that are uncluttered, waste removed, painted floors, tools secured in cabinets, and if they move fastened to the fabric of the building.

You don’t have to be a professional photographer either; just a selection of images covering your premises internally and a few outside is far more powerful than what words can say.

So, you probably get the idea, that not only are you keeping you, your employees, and your business safe, neat, and tidy you are showing prospective insurers that you are a good risk, this means that they could very well give you more discounts in premium.

No 4 – It’s all in the planning

No one plans to fail, they just fail to plan, at Number 4, of the top tips time is money right, the quicker you get back working the quick cash flow and profits get back on a level.  Business Continuity planning is something that isn’t necessarily at the forefront of every business owner’s mind; it can become rather confusing and where do you start anyway, and does it matter because it’s all in the MD’s head, he will know exactly what to do when the roof has blown off… That is of course as long as he or she is available.

A business continuity plan works alongside the insurance for your business, if you do have a claim which brings the business to a grinding halt then you need people to react very quickly, time is of the essence. At Real we can help you with this; we deal with people that can provide guidance in completing a robust continuity plan for your business.

Do the sums add up? Getting your Sums Insured right.

It’s debatable where this should come in the top 5, maybe it should be number 1, just assume it’s a priority and make up your own mind, we’ll keep it at Number 5. This is more about making sure things are right rather than getting the best from your insurance, get it wrong though and you certainly will not get the best out of your insurance cover.

Insurance can be complicated; we accept that people are mostly quite ignorant individuals on the subject, not in the sense of them being rude though.

Need to rebuild your business premises, what amount should you insure for? Like many, you might think you need to insure your premises for what you paid for them, your mate the builder can do you a really good deal, the pub surveyor who isn’t actually a surveyor thinks he knows better, and then there is the good old sticking finger in the air and going with the guess option.

Well, guess what, they are all going to be wrong.

See it’s not just your building that you have to get right, there could be demolition fees. Professional fees and fees for all sorts of things and after the premises have been rebuilt there is the replacement of tarmac areas and cleanups. We can help you get your building sums insured right by arranging a survey from a qualified RICS surveyor on your behalf; they will provide an accurate rebuild cost that beats the guestimate every time.

It’s not just your Buildings that you need to get right, Sums insured in general are very important, all the machinery you use, the fittings and the fixings you have, the stock, the computers, in fact, all of your contents and more.

Contrary to popular belief, when you have a claim your insurer just doesn’t give you a cheque up to the amount that you have as a sum insured – as you expect (or we hope you would) it’s not that simple.

Your contents and all sums insured should adequately reflect the value to reinstate or replace them, that three turret reciprocating spigot machine thing should be covered for the price it would be to replace it as new, yes, even if it’s getting on a bit.

And Finally

We could go on, but we have covered what we think are some of the 5 most important parts of making sure you get the most out of your business insurance.

Understand your insurance, and try to avoid treating it as that painful one-off annual event that gets in the way of doing other things. Running your business is important but if you get your insurance wrong it can have devastating effects on the future of that business.

Speak to us about your insurance, you will be speaking with experienced insurance professionals who are happy to provide advice and assist you with not only understanding your needs but making sure that you fully understand what cover you have and how it protects you.