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You can talk shop with customers all day, whether your specialty is tree-trimming, choosing a paint finish, handling plumbing emergencies, and more. You know how to be empathetic with customers, and you’re even figuring out the whole business website thing. But understanding Oregon business insurance is a different story.
Making sense of insurance rules and policy types can be overwhelming for any business owner. Some will face insurance decisions early in their career, while others might be looking to add protection to their growing organization.
No matter where you’re at on your Oregon entrepreneurial journey, we’re here to help.
Today we’ll cover the types of Oregon business insurance to consider, who needs a policy, and how to find the one that’s right for you. We’ll do our best to keep confusing insurance-speak to a minimum!
Our first order of business is understanding what business insurance is. Up to now, you’ve probably only dealt with insurance for your health, car, or home. Since a business can’t break its arm or burst a pipe, what good does insurance do?
Oregon business insurance could help you pay for damages and legal fees if your business activities lead to an accident or injury. Different policies cover a variety of scenarios, but the principle is generally the same. By paying a monthly insurance premium, your policy could help you manage a simple mistake or accident that spirals into a lawsuit or customer claim.
The first type of Oregon business insurance policy on our list is the most comprehensive. As the name suggests, general liability insurance is useful in a variety of scenarios.
General liability insurance in Oregon typically covers:
I realize that those terms can feel a bit vague, so let’s look at a few scenarios. These are simple accidents that business owners might want coverage for:
Since the damage resulted from the plumber failing to tighten everything properly, the homeowner decides to sue. They want the plumbing company to pay for the damages, and without business insurance, these costs could come out of the plumbing company owner’s pocket.
Even though the tree removal specialist was working as cautiously as they could, the accident still happened. Fortunately, they have a general liability insurance policy, which may help to pay for damages to the roof and legal fees, up to their policy limit.
Between the stress of the move and their ruined family heirloom rug, the homeowner is furious. They demand that the painting company pay for the replacement of their rug, and the painters wish to oblige in order to preserve the client relationship (and their reputation).
Without general liability insurance, the painter could be obligated to pay the requested fees out-of-pocket.
While these examples seem like minor incidents, they could lead to a big bill. Some of the most costly insurance claims could set you back, on average:
Now for the question you’re probably asking yourself — This sounds great, but do I need it for my business?
Some occupations have a legal requirement to have general liability insurance in Oregon.
This means every business is different, and you need to find the laws that apply to you. It’s also a good idea to look for any rules from your city and county.
We’ll review where to look for requirements based on your business at the end of this post, but here are some examples of occupations that usually need to be insured:
Also, there are currently 15 types of contractors who need to be licensed and insured in Oregon. There are requirements for general liability insurance in Oregon for:
If you want to start a contracting business, check out our guide to getting your contractor’s license in Oregon.
What about all the other businesses that don’t have legal insurance requirements? You still can choose to get general liability insurance in Oregon, even if the state doesn’t say you have to. Just because the state hasn’t made a law doesn’t mean you’re accident-proof.
Businesses with general liability insurance policies also can:
Build trust with customers. Displaying a Certificate of Insurance (COI) on your website or at your business shows potential customers that you’re a dedicated business owner. Anything that boosts your credibility and trustworthiness is useful for new business owners.
Set you apart from the competition (or scammers). Unfortunately, there are people out there who are eager to scam customers in your industry. What better way to set yourself apart from those players than showing customers your business has an extra level of protection?
Secure funding for your business. If your business needs extra cash to grow to the next level, insurance may help get you there. Some loans require proof of insurance because it shelters your business from certain risks.
If you want to learn if your business needs general liability insurance in Oregon, answer a few questions for free, personalized insurance quotes.
The second type of Oregon business insurance policy to consider is professional liability coverage. This type of policy typically covers:
Professional liability insurance is useful for companies in the business of providing advice or professional services. Unfortunately, you don’t have to do something wrong to face a negligence claim.
Even innocent business owners could rack up large legal bills defending themselves against negligence claims. Whether you were negligent or not, your Oregon professional liability insurance policy could usually help cover the costs.
Requirements for professional liability insurance in Oregon vary, based on the type of work a business does.
For example, attorneys in the state need professional liability insurance. Other types of professionals who may need this type of coverage include:
While the previous two types of Oregon business insurance policies have occupation-based requirements, Oregon workers comp is generally a requirement for most businesses with employees.
If an employee gets sick or injured on the job, workers compensation insurance could help cover the costs of lost wages, medical bills, rehabilitation expenses, and even death benefits. This is a win-win for both employers and employees.
Having a policy that could help pay an injured worker means the employer likely won't have to choose between finding the money in their business or personal finances to cover the accident, lawyer fees, and more.
Oregon workers comp insurance also ensures that employees are taken care of while they’re waiting to be able to return to work.
The three main types of Oregon business insurance apply to many businesses across a wide range of scenarios. Each business is unique, and some additional policies may be in order.
Business property insurance. The Oregon Small Business Guide to Insurance and Worksite Safety recommends business property insurance for companies with assets. This type of policy could cover damage or loss to business property, equipment, and more.
Surety bond. Surety or construction bonds aren’t insurance, but they are sometimes required for some businesses, like real estate marketers. Bonds are an agreement between the business, customers, and the bond insurer that damages to customer property will typically be covered.
Home-based business insurance. Did you know your home or rental property insurance doesn’t necessarily cover your home office? A home-based business insurance policy can cover gaps between homeowners and general liability insurance.
Most businesses with employees need Oregon workers compensation, but of course, there are exceptions. The state classifies someone as an employer if they:
This means that employing even one part-time worker classifies you as an employer. One of the only instances where you don’t need to carry Oregon workers compensation insurance for a worker is if they are an independent contractor. Three criteria define an independent contractor:
All of those phrases boil down to this — if a worker gets to decide how and when to do the job, they might be an independent contractor. These definitions would include freelancers. This also means that a homeowner who hires a contractor to work on their house likely does not need workers comp insurance.
If you have more questions about Oregon workers compensation insurance, check out the state’s workers comp site here.
Managing your business finances can sometimes feel like a full-time job, and you don’t take any expense lightly.
At Simply Business, general liability insurance quotes can start as low as $22.50 a month.*
Considering I’ve spent more than that on an impulsive snack haul from the grocery store, that’s not a bad price for protecting your business. Here's even better news:
Each Oregon business insurance policy is customized to your business, which means you don’t have to pay for more coverage than you need. Your ideal coverage typically depends on:
Getting a quote through Simply Business takes only a few minutes, and it’s free, so there’s no reason not to see the pricing for yourself.
To compare the price of Oregon business insurance, answer a few questions online by clicking the button below. Or, if you prefer humans to computers, give us a call at 855-559-0342 to talk to a licensed insurance agent.
Look how far you’ve come! You started reading this article with Oregon business insurance questions, and now you know the basics. Here’s a recap:
General liability insurance in Oregon is a requirement for some occupations, particularly contractors. Other businesses benefit from this coverage that could offset the cost of lawsuits and helps you stand out among competitors.
Professional liability insurance in Oregon could come in handy if a disgruntled customer claims you made a mistake. Some professionals, like attorneys, are required to have this policy when they start their business.
Oregon workers compensation insurance requirements usually apply to anyone with employees. This includes part-time and full-time help but excludes independent contractors.
Before you venture out into the world of business insurance, here are some tips on finding the coverage you need:
Search for your industry or occupation on the Oregon Business Xpress License Directory. Each listing has info about state requirements for education, exams, insurance, and more.
Write out all of your business assets to see where you might need extra coverage.
Talk to business owners in your area to see which policies and providers they use. It’s even better if you connect with people in your industry.
Review the Oregon Startup Toolkit to learn about the six steps to starting a business in the state.
If you’re shopping for insurance on the Simply Business platform, feel free to reach out to our insurance agents at 855-559-0342 to answer any lingering questions you may have.
If you perform multiple services, make sure to check requirements across all business activities.
Check out the Business Express Events Calendar to find training opportunities, community discussions, and networking events.
Find industry associations to connect with, as they’re likely familiar with state requirements.
Once you have your policy, download your Certificate of Insurance (COI). This proves that you’re covered, and the COI may be needed to get licensed, rent office space, and more
As an entrepreneur, there’s nobody as invested in your business as you are. You know exactly how much hard work and dedication has gone into your company, and what you’ll do to help it grow. When you’ve put so much into the business, you owe it to yourself to keep it secure.
Having an Oregon business insurance policy gives you peace of mind so that you can handle any curve balls that may come your way.
We’re here to help whenever you’re ready, so give us a call at 855-559-0342.
*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.
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*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.