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When you open a business in Oklahoma, what comes next? For many business owners, the answer is simple: getting the right insurance coverage. But what does that entail?
In this article, we’ll explain what you need to know. We’ll address getting general liability insurance, professional liability insurance, and workers compensation insurance — that way, you’ll have a better idea of the type of coverage you may need in your state.
We’ll also talk about which policies might make sense for you. Finally, you’ll learn how to look for insurance coverage yourself. Here’s what you’ll need to know.
What is general liability insurance? Before we get to a few examples, let’s look at what this type of business insurance can potentially cover.
General liability insurance is business insurance that can protect your company from claims resulting from property damage or even bodily injury. In other words, it may help protect your business from risks that come up during the normal operations of a business.
This type of insurance can help protect you from the costs associated with these risks:
Why does this matter? After all, you may have run a business for several years without any property damage or bodily injury claims.
The truth is that it takes only one claim to change that stellar record. For small businesses, the costs associated with claims can be up to $150,000.
Even if you haven’t had issues like property damage so far, it doesn’t mean you won’t in the future. So general liability insurance could potentially help you reduce some of the risks associated with running a business.
Let’s look at some examples:
While renovating a customer’s kitchen, a contractor accidentally bumps into a ladder, which falls and damages the wall. The homeowner sues the contractor for the cost of the repairs. Without coverage, the contractor may have to pay for repairs out of pocket. Having a general liability insurance policy could help protect against claims like this and save the contractor from owing fees that could set their business behind.
While doing routine janitorial work, an expensive chandelier falls and shatters. The customer sues the janitor for the cost of the chandelier and the cost to wire and install a new one.
Without coverage, the janitor may have to cover the costs, as well as associated legal costs, out of pocket. General liability insurance can help ensure that the damages don’t all come out of a small business's bank account.
Without a liability policy to protect them, the landscaper may have to pay the customer’s medical bills out of pocket, putting them behind on overall business goals. Having general liability insurance could help to cover some of the medical expenses and associated legal fees (up to the policy limits).
Although general liability insurance may not necessarily be a requirement to do business in Oklahoma, it’s definitely not a good idea to be without it.
With professional liability insurance, the focus shifts. Now you’re concerned with protecting your business from issues involving negligence.
What does that mean exactly? It means professional liability insurance may help protect against issues resulting from the work your business provided.
Let’s consider a few examples:
A graphic designer creates new branding materials for a client, including a logo and a web banner. Unfortunately, a competitor believes that the logo is very similar to their own logo, and sues for infringement. The client then makes a claim against the graphic designer for damages. In this case, the graphic designer may have to foot their own legal fees if they don’t have professional liability insurance.
A wedding photographer takes care to make sure that every photo turns out right. But a technical issue gets in the way of a certain photograph and the wedding couple feels short-changed, so they go after the photographer with claims against the fee charged, plus damages. Having professional liability insurance could help cover costs associated with the legal defense.
A bookkeeper who inadvertently leaves a “0” off one line item can be under the risk of serious liability issues. If a client suffers damages because of this typo, they may decide to sue the bookkeeper for the error. With professional liability insurance in place, the bookkeeper knows that they’ll be protected from these types of issues now and in the future.
Don’t just assume that being careful is enough protection. You never know which issues can arise due to claims of negligence — even if you’ve done your best.
As with so many states, you’ll be required to have workers compensation insurance in Oklahoma.
What is workers compensation insurance? It’s insurance you’ll have in place to help cover costs associated with a worker who may have specific claims.
For instance, if a worker is injured on the job, workers compensation insurance can help them with benefits for medical costs, time off, and even rehabilitation.
Workers compensation laws in Oklahoma require that any company with employees must have it. However, it’s important to remember that independent contractors may not be covered. Additionally, there are some exceptions, such as the case for specific agricultural jobs.
However, even if your business doesn’t have these rare exceptions, it’s important to know that you do have to carry workers comp insurance in Oklahoma.
What other types of Oklahoma business insurance should you consider?
It depends on the type of business you run. And it may depend on what coverage you need. For example, you still have to carry auto insurance if your personal vehicle is being used for business purposes.
Let’s look at some of the other types of Oklahoma business insurance you may want to consider:
Data breach insurance. Because Oklahoma laws require certain businesses to carry specific data, data breach insurance is a good idea to have for companies that have a significant amount of customers’ personal private data.
Business interruption insurance. The COVID-19 pandemic highlighted the need to carry business interruption insurance. This insurance can help with business taxes, expenses, and other ongoing expenditures required to keep a company running.
Business property insurance. If you have expensive commercial property, such as farm equipment, you may want to make sure it’s covered. This is especially true when your productive capacity depends on how well the equipment and other business property runs.
If you have any employees in Oklahoma, with a few exceptions, you’re typically required to have workers compensation insurance. So it’s worth spending some time to better understand it.
First, know that workers compensation benefits both employers and employees.
Employees like knowing you have it because it means that they’ll be covered if they’re injured on the job or have a sudden illness while working.
Employers like it because it can help protect against liability lawsuits and claims that would otherwise go around the Oklahoma workers compensation system.
What happens if you don’t get the proper coverage? Then in addition to the legal ramifications, you may be subject to claims filed through the courts. And as the state of Oklahoma notes, “If the action is maintained in the district court, the limits on benefits under the workers’ compensation law do not apply.”
Which means that failing to get workers compensation insurance may expose you to serious legal liabilities.
That’s why it’s a good idea to protect yourself — and your employees.
Every small business has different insurance needs. That’s why it can be hard to find a solid answer to what Oklahoma business insurance will cost you!
The size of your company, the number of employees you have, location and the nature of your work can all affect your annual or monthly premiums.
The best way to learn what it will cost? Start getting quotes. To learn more about it, you can use our free online quote comparison tool or give us a call at 855-537-0123.
What’s next? Let’s demystify the process by breaking it down into some basic steps:
Whether you need general liability insurance in Oklahoma or professional liability insurance, your needs will determine your next steps.
The good news? When you review your options and know what insurance coverage you need, you’ll know more about your risks, what's available to you, and how to get started looking for a policy.
Your business isn’t just a way to earn money — it’s a livelihood. Make sure it’s protected, and you’ll have peace of mind in knowing that even in the face of risk, your business will have options in its future!
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.