Budgeting: right size your insurance expenses
Have you ever compared premium quotes only to discover the policies had different deductibles, limits, or even a different audit basis? Confusing, isn’t it?
Premiums do not compare easily, nor do they necessarily reflect costs of your risk profile. Lower premium is not always your best bet. If it were, going without any insurance would be every company’s default position. But, uncovered risk puts companies out of business every day. So, how do you know the right amount to budget for insurance? You don’t, so budget for risk, and from that, buy insurance.
As a business owner and entrepreneur, identify and assess your risks. Uncovered liability risks, like driving vehicles or manufacturing a product, can destroy your company. Running out of postage will probably not slow things down. You prioritize and decide what liabilities you want to assume and what liabilities you want to transfer.
For example: automobile physical damage. How large is your fleet, how predictable is this loss? If you have one executive new vehicle with financing, you’re going to buy insurance to cover it; just think deductible versus premium. If you have twenty similar vehicles, say panel trucks, and the fleet is paid for, you may consider not insuring the physical damage for collision or other perils. Why? Because you’re just paying a fee to bank the money while you do the claims legwork anyway. Your drivers can reduce your risk through defensive driving techniques and not drinking, texting or using cell phones. Keep the premium, accept the risk.
How about your products in transit? Is the value in one load big enough to ruin your company financially? Or do you ship relatively small amounts by common carriers. The former requires insurance, the latter, self-retain the loss.
Okay, you’ve thought through your process. Now, in plain English, tell the agents what you want covered. Employee safety and health, if my products cause harm, if my car hits someone, this type of list. Then, how much per incident are you willing to pay? First $1000 of any loss, that type of decision. Now, choose a number or some percentage of your annual gross and limit all claims to that amount; the most you’re willing to pay for all claims, including insurance premiums. Let the agents design around these parameters and compare these programs.
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