Many people mistakenly assume that just because you happen to operate your business from your home, your homeowners policy just follows along. I hear this a lot- “The homeowners policy protects my home and the stuff in it right? Why shouldn’t it protect everything that’s happening inside? It is in my home after all……..”
Valued Customer- please say Hello to another mistaken assumption. And a costly one at that.
Yes, you may get a few thousand dollars thrown in for business contents, but liability is non-existent. “Who cares?” you may say. “I only have a little bit in inventory and who cares about liability?”
Here’s why you should care:
Do any of the following apply to you?
You have customers come to your house, or you deliver product to your customers (doesn’t matter how often- 1 time is all it takes)
You attend craft/trade shows to sell your products
You sell online (could be through your own site, or a site like Etsy- which has become very popular)
What if a customer gets hurt while at your house? Or at your booth at a craft/trade show? Or you sell something online, and it injures the other party (called products liability)? And no, this isn’t science fiction- it happens. All. The. Time.
And with advances in technology, it’s now easier than ever to run a business from your home. You could have a home office, or be a crafter that works out of your basement. And if you’re in the land of direct sales (Tupperware or Avon anyone?) then the world truly is your oyster. I quickly came up with the following list of additional direct-sales companies; I’m sure you can add many more.
- Mary Kay
- Creative Memories
- Stampin’ Up
- Thirty One
The beauty is that insurance companies have seen this shift in home-based businesses and are developing solutions that are relatively simple and inexpensive. Two of our companies, Erie Insurance and Buckeye State Mutual, offer home-based business endorsements that simply attach right to the homeowners policy. These endorsements are designed for smaller ventures such as direct sales, home offices, crafters and the like.
And what if your business falls outside of what a home-based business endorsement will allow? No worries- that’s what business insurance is for.
Our website also offers a wealth of resources- Check out the article “Do you need home-based business insurance?” on our Ohio Questions & Answers page. For a real-life case study, along with helpful tips, check out “Make sure your home-based business is covered“- on our website.
My point is for you to stop, think and then have that important conversation with your insurance professional. Because chances are, if you’ve got something to sell, and you’re selling it, and you’re collecting money, you’ve got yourself a business. Don’t set yourself up for failure or an unpleasant surprise. Talk to your insurance person. We want to see you succeed, but can’t help you if we don’t know.