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Small businesses are the backbone of Georgia. An astonishing 99.6% of all Georgia companies are considered small businesses. By starting a small business in the state, you’re adding to a rich landscape of entrepreneurs who employ 1.6 million people.
Before you can start making an impact on your local economy, you need to sort out a few details. The Georgia State Guide to Starting a Business lists 12 steps in all. Today, we’re focusing on step 11: insuring your business.
Let’s get started.
You’ve heard of health insurance, car insurance, and maybe homeowners insurance. Paying a monthly premium toward a policy that could help cover the cost of your medical bills or accidents is common. Unless you’ve had business insurance previously, though, it can be a bit confusing.
After all, your business can’t break its arm, and your logo can’t be damaged in a flood. So what is business insurance? It’s a way to protect your company (and potentially your bank account) if your work leads to an accident, injury, or a claim that you were negligent. In the same way that your health insurance would cover some of your doctor bills, business insurance might help you pay for damages or legal fees.
At first glance, business insurance seems a bit bland. If you look a little closer, though, you’ll see that policies are as unique as business owners. There’s no one-size-fits-all rule or recommendation, so we need to explore all the options.
Here are the main types of business insurance policies you might need in Georgia.
If you’re interested in broad coverage that’s useful for most businesses, look no further than Georgia general liability insurance. This type of policy typically covers small business accidents that can spiral into big business bills, including:
When you have a general liability insurance policy, you may be able to get help paying for costly claims. The average customer injury claim is $30,000. Without coverage, you’d need to find a way to pay the damages in full, even if it meant sacrificing your retirement, college funds, or even taking on debt.
“But I have a spotless record!” you say. Unfortunately, it takes only one small mistake in your career to potentially face a claim.
Here are a few examples of scenarios where Georgia general liability insurance could protect a small business owner like you:
The homebuyer falls and breaks an arm and is furious. They want the realtor to pay for their medical bills and wages they lost from their time off work.
The concrete used was defective, and the contractor has to take the blame. While the contractor did their job correctly, they have to find a way to pay for the damages.
The homeowner realizes it was their grandmother’s favorite planter, they are upset and ask the business owner to replace it.
All of these stories illustrate how human errors can impact your business in a big way. We tend to think about insurance, whether it’s for your business or car, as protection you pay for but hopefully never have to use.
Your Georgia general liability insurance policy doesn’t have to just sit around and wait to be helpful, though. Showing proof of coverage with a Certificate of Insurance (COI) could help you grow your business.
Here are a few ways to leverage your business insurance policy:
Now that we’ve reviewed what Georgia general liability insurance can cover, let’s discuss who it could help. There’s no statewide business insurance law for all businesses in Georgia, but we always recommend general liability insurance.
Since different types of companies come with their own risk factors, Georgia's general liability insurance requirements usually depend on the type of work to be done.
For example, general contractors need at least $500,000 in coverage. If you want to start a contracting business in Georgia, we have an entire guide to licensing and insurance requirements here.
We’ll let you know where to look for insurance rules for your industry at the end of this guide, but here’s a list of businesses that benefit from having insurance. It’s a good idea to check for county- and city-level requirements, too.
Already feel a little overwhelmed? We have people ready to talk you through your unique insurance needs. Call 855-560-1391 to speak to a licensed insurance agent, or get a free custom quote by answering a few questions.
Some businesses face fewer physical accidents and are at risk of claims that arise from the decisions they make or the performance of their work.
Georgia professional liability insurance could come in handy if a customer claims you were negligent in providing your service. The keyword there is “claims” — even business owners who have done nothing wrong could end up on the other side of a lawsuit.
Professional liability insurance is useful for a wide range of professions, including:
Georgia professional liability insurance requirements depend on your occupation but aren’t as common as other insurance types. This means that many businesses could opt out of professional liability insurance, but they would be putting their business finances at risk.
Plus, in a state where business insurance rules are lax, having insurance becomes a competitive advantage. Businesses can say they stand by their work, but having a professional liability policy puts your money where your mouth is.
A Georgia professional liability insurance could sway a person evaluating two potential accountants to work with. After all, the policy gives the client confidence that if something goes wrong, the work is protected with coverage.
Growing your business is exciting, but there comes the time when you can’t do it all by yourself.
Georgia workers compensation insurance requirements are a bit different from other states. For the most part, if you have two or fewer employees, you don’t need a policy. Employees with three or more full- or part-time workers will likely need coverage, though. Determining the number of employees may depend on the type of business you run (i.e. sole proprietorship, partnership, corporation, etc.), but we’ll review this in more detail further down.
We’ve covered the “big three” of business insurance, but the options keep on coming. Here are a few other policies that may apply to you:
Property insurance. Do you have construction equipment, office tech, or other business property? You may want to insure it. Business property insurance could help you out if your company gear is damaged or stolen.
Motor vehicle insurance. If you use your car to conduct business, you may need additional coverage. Work trucks, catering vans, and even the vehicle a realtor uses to get to house showings could be eligible.
If your employees get injured on the job, Georgia workers compensation insurance can help employees recoup medical, rehabilitation, and lost income expenses.
Nearly every state has workers comp insurance requirements, but the rules vary slightly. In Georgia, companies with three or more employees need coverage. Under Georgia law, people that count toward this number are:
The first three types of people on the list are probably what you expect when you hear “employees.” Be aware that officers in your corporation (which may be you, the owner) also add to your employee count, even if they decide to exempt themselves from coverage. On the flip side, if you operate a sole proprietorship or partnership, Georgia law generally considers sole proprietors and partners to be employers and not employees in determining whether workers compensation is needed.
Since there’s no state fund for workers comp, you’ll need to buy a private Georgia workers compensation insurance plan to protect your employees in the event they get sick or injured on the job.
Growing a business is hardly ever cut and dried, and Georgia business insurance is no different. It might not come as a surprise, then, that the answer to “how much does Georgia business insurance cost?” is “it depends.”
We’ve made it too far to send you off with that vague answer, though. At Simply Business, general liability insurance quotes can start as low as $22.50 a month.*
So for the cost of topping off your gas tank, you could protect your new business against all sorts of accidents and mishaps.
Where does this number come from, you ask? Your insurance premiums usually depend on:
Since coverage provided by Georgia business insurance policies can be customized to your business needs, you can make it fit your budget. You can start with lower coverage, then expand your policy as your company grows.
Curious to know exactly how much to budget for insurance each month? Get a free custom quote here in under 10 minutes.
We’ve covered a lot of new terms, and now it’s time to put it all together and get to work.
To recap, here are the Georgia business insurance basics you need to know:
Having a policy could help avoid your having to pay tens of thousands of dollars in claims out of pocket. Some industries are required to have this policy, and we recommend it for everyone.
From damages a client says you caused and the legal fees to prove you didn’t, these claims could become costly. This policy usually isn’t required in Georgia, but having it can set you apart from competitors.
Before you go, we want to share some final tips for finding Georgia business insurance requirements and evaluating your options:
Make a list of your business assets, including property and vehicles. If you can’t easily replace them today, additional coverage for damage or theft could be in order.
Refer to the state’s Guide to Starting a Business to review the necessary steps you need to take before making your first sale.
Think about your insurance needs today and what they could be in a year. Your policies can grow with you, but it’s better to choose a policy that you won’t outgrow in a month or two.
Look for your occupation on the Secretary of State’s business licensing site. Click the link for your profession on the list of “Boards and Licensed Professions” to find licensing and insurance requirements.
Talk to business owners in your area to learn what types of policies they have, and pay particular attention to people in your industry.
Check for insurance requirements across all of your skill sets. For example, a handyman who knows multiple trades might have different insurance needs than a specialist.
Reach out to your local Georgia Small Business Development Center to talk to a business consultant about how to start and grow your business.
Compare multiple insurance quotes to find a policy and price that you’re comfortable with. You’re in control and have the final say
If you’re shopping for insurance on the Simply Business platform, feel free to reach out to our insurance agents to answer any lingering questions
Gaining momentum as a small business owner is tough. You don’t have an established reputation to leverage or a network of customers to gain referrals from. What you can do, though, is show your commitment to quality.
Finding and choosing an insurance policy proves you want to do things the right way.
Business insurance in Georgia also can give you peace of mind if you’re scaling your business to new heights. The bigger you grow, the more you stand to lose. Rather than crossing your fingers and hoping for no accidents, you can proactively protect everything you’ve worked so hard for.
We can’t wait to see what you create!
*Monthly payment calculations (i) do not include initial premium down payment and (ii) may vary by state, insurance provider, and nature of your business. Averages based on January - December 2020 data of 10% of our total policies sold.
This content is intended to be used for informational purposes only. It is not intended to provide legal, tax, accounting, investment, or any other form of professional advice.
*Harborway Insurance policies are underwritten by Spinnaker Insurance Company and reinsured by Munich Re, an A+ (Superior) rated insurance carrier by AM Best. Harborway Insurance is a brand name of Harborway Insurance Agency, LLC, a licensed insurance producer in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. California license #6004217.