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If you’ve ever wanted to be your own boss, there are plenty of ways to start a business. Maybe you want to be a handyman, hair stylist, or HVAC specialist. Or perhaps you’re interested in the Hawaii hospitality and food industry that accounts for half of all small business employment in the state.
No matter what type of Hawaii business you want to start, there are a few steps to take. Today, we’ll focus on a topic that can be overwhelming for entrepreneurs — business insurance.
By the end of this guide, you’ll know what types of Hawaii business insurance to consider, how to find your requirements, and what scenarios your policies could cover.
What is Hawaii business insurance? It isn’t so different from other insurance policies you’re familiar with, like health or auto insurance. Business insurance is a way to protect your company and finances if your company causes an accident or injury, or if a customer claims you were negligent.
By paying monthly premiums, you may be able to use your business insurance coverage to help pay for damages or legal fees. The average customer injury claim is $30,000. Without Hawaii business insurance, you may be liable to pay that entire amount out of pocket.
There are a few types of Hawaii business insurance available, so it pays to understand the different policies.
If you want a comprehensive policy that could cover a range of scenarios, look no further than Hawaii general liability insurance. This type of policy usually covers bodily third-party injury, property damage, accidents, and reputational harm.
Some occupations have Hawaii general liability insurance requirements. This means that certain business types need to carry coverage before opening their doors. In contrast, other companies choose if they want coverage.
For example, pest control operators need at least $300,000 in general liability insurance coverage in Hawaii. Similarly, general contractors need at least a $300,000 aggregate limit in coverage to run their business. If these businesses failed to maintain Hawaii general liability insurance coverage, they could lose their license to operate in the state.
Not sure if your business has insurance requirements? We’ll review where to search for this information later in the guide, or you can talk to a licensed insurance agent by calling Simply Business at 855-541-1004.
To get a better idea of how business insurance could impact your company, let’s review a few scenarios where general liability insurance could make a difference:
Imagine that a homeowner hires a handyman to clean leaves out of the gutters. All is going well until the handyman steps away to grab a tool from their truck, and the customer’s child walks by and trips over the ladder. The child falls and breaks an arm, and the family blames the handyman for leaving the ladder unattended.
If the handyman has business insurance, they might be able to use the insurance to pay for medical bills and legal fees up to the policy limit. Without insurance, the handyman must come up with the funds from their business or personal finances to pay for the medical expenses associated with the accident.
An employee at a beachside pilates studio starts a rumor that a competing instructor doesn’t clean their equipment. Unfortunately, someone from the competing studio hears the story in a class and reports back to their boss. The other pilates studio owner is angry and claims they've lost business resulting from the slanderous remarks made by the beachside studio’s employee.
The owner of the beachside pilates whose employee started the rumor is facing a lawsuit for reputational harm. Legal fees in Hawaii could easily be hundreds of dollars an hour, so the cost of a lawsuit could rise quickly. If they didn't have the money in savings, they might have to take out a loan.
Every dollar counts in a small business, and a simple accident can spiral into a hefty bill. While Hawaii general liability insurance can't protect you from having an accident, it could help you avoid losing everything you've built as the result of a lawsuit.
Having general liability insurance comes with other benefits, too. Some ways that a policy helps you grow your business are:
The next type of insurance to consider is professional liability insurance. This type of policy usually covers:
Professional liability insurance in Hawaii is usually not required, but we recommended it for many businesses. Entrepreneurs who could benefit from professional liability coverage include:
Let’s use a travel agent as an example. They could provide their best effort to plan and orchestrate a dream trip for a client, only to have a minor snafu unravel it all. Imagine that their clients try to check into the hotel after a long day of travel, only to find a booking error and their reservation is invalid.
If the travelers were upset enough, they might sue the travel agent for negligence, and the agent could be hit with a hefty lawsuit. Even if the agent could prove they weren’t at fault, they may need to pay legal fees for their defense.
Carrying Hawaii professional liability insurance also could help you stand out from your competitors. Potential clients who are scoping out their options may feel more secure choosing you if they know you have the added protection of business insurance.
Often, insurance policy requirements depend on the type of work you do and where you work. With few exceptions, Hawaii workers compensation insurance is required for any business with employees. A workers comp insurance policy ensures that employees injured on the job can recoup their medical bills and lost wages.
We’ll review what the state classifies as an insurable employee below. If you’re a sole proprietor, you likely don’t need to worry about this yet.
We’ve covered the three main Hawaii business insurance policies, but you have even more options. Additional policies are useful for business assets such as equipment, tools, vehicles, or home office space. Here are a few to consider:
Hawaii business owners with employees — this section is for you. If you have any temporary, part-time, or full-time employees, you probably need Hawaii workers compensation coverage.
Some of the few exceptions are:
If you have more questions about Hawaii workers compensation insurance requirements, refer to the state’s Disability Compensation Division’s website.
Let’s talk numbers. Business owners carefully consider each new expense, so it makes sense if you’re curious about the cost of Hawaii business insurance. The answer is (somewhat frustratingly) — it depends. This is a good thing, though.
Hawaii business insurance prices typically depend on the type of work you do, which policies you want, and how large your business is. As a result, you pay only for a plan that makes sense for your business.
At Simply Business, general liability insurance quotes can start as low as $29.95 a month*
Considering you could easily spend that in one trip to the gas station, the benefit of Hawaii business insurance could far outweigh the monthly cost. Each insurance quote is customized for your business, based on a few simple questions. In less than 10 minutes, you could be comparing free quotes from the nation’s top insurers.
There’s no pressure after getting a free quote or talking to a Simply Business licensed insurance agent at 855-541-1004. At the very least, you’ll walk away with a better understanding of how much to budget if you want to purchase insurance.Get your quote
Before we set you loose with tips on finding the right Hawaii business insurance policies, let’s recap the main plans to consider:
This guide has given you the bulk of what you need to know about Hawaii business insurance, but there may be a few details relating to your occupation that you need to be aware of. Here are some tips for finding your insurance requirements:
Review professional and vocational licensing requirements for your industry, since license applications usually list insurance requirements.
Talk to local entrepreneurs about what types of policies they carry.
Look for trade organizations or groups, like the General Contractor Association of Hawaii, to connect with like-minded business owners.
Compare insurance quotes from different companies to find a coverage level and price point you’re comfortable with.
Check with your county government to make sure there aren’t any local licensing or insurance requirements.
Talk to business lawyers and accountants in your area if you have any questions about the rules and regulations you come across on state websites.
Simply Business is an online business insurance brokerage, but we also have a blog filled with content to help you on your business journey. Our guides span from coming up with your business name to hiring employees and beyond.Get your quote
*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.