Did you know that small businesses make up a whopping 99.4% of all Wisconsin businesses? There is 448,000+ small business in the state employing 1.2 million residents. Sounds like a great place for your small business to make a mark on the world, right?
But how should you protect your business? With the right insurance. So in this article, we'll shed some light on what the state of Wisconsin requires for insurance. Plus, we'll cover some additional business insurance policies you can get to protect your business.
What Insurance is Required in Wisconsin?
The state of Wisconsin requires that all businesses with three or more employees carry workers' compensation insurance. There are some exceptions, which you can learn more about at Wisconsin's Department of Workforce Development website.
Workers' Compensation Insurance
You can satisfy the requirement to carry workers' compensation insurance in a couple of different ways. You can either qualify to become self-insured or you can get coverage through a private insurance company.
But how does workers' compensation work? If an employee gets hurt at work or suffers an illness from a work-related exposure, workers' compensation will pay for their medical expenses and cover some of their lost wages until they're able to return to work. As the business owner, you can rest assured that providing this coverage limits the risk of being sued if an accident occurs.
Types of Wisconsin Business Insurance
There are a few business insurance coverages that all small business owners in Wisconsin should consider for an added layer of protection.
Wisconsin General Liability Insurance
General liability insurance (also referred to as casualty insurance) isn't required in Wisconsin. But we do recommend it for all business owners. Why? Because commercial general liability coverage is both comprehensive and affordable. Business liability insurance usually covers:
- Third-party bodily injury: This portion of your general liability insurance will pay for the medical bills of anyone who gets hurt on your property.
- Third-party property damage: Your general liability insurance company will pay to either outright replace or repair any third-party item(s) damaged on your property.
- Personal and advertising injury: This portion of your policy will protect you if you're accused of slander, libel, or copyright infringement. Your insurance company will provide you with a lawyer and cover legal costs if you're sued.
Accidents happen, so you want to make sure you're covered just in case. General liability coverage is a great commercial insurance option—check with an agent today to get a quote for coverage!
Commercial Property Insurance
Commercial property insurance (also referred to as business property insurance) is recommended for any WI business that owns or leases a physical location (i.e. office building). Property insurance protects assets like your building and its contents (think furniture, inventory, equipment, etc.) from covered perils. Damage from vandalism, theft, fire, and storms are usually covered.
However, damage from flooding is not covered by most insurance companies. So if your business is in a flood zone you'll want to consider purchasing a flood insurance policy. If you don't get this coverage and you're hit with flood damage, you're risking footing the entire repair bill yourself.
Business Owners’ Policy
A business owners' policy (BOP) is another great way to satisfy your business insurance needs. A BOP is a bundle of different insurances that insurance carriers offer to small businesses. A business owner's policy is an affordable way to get coverage your business needs.
A standard BOP includes property insurance, general liability insurance, and business interruption insurance. Some specialty insurance companies will add additional coverage options to a BOP that cover risks unique to your industry. It's a great way for a Wisconsin small business to get customized coverage.
Business Interruption Insurance
If your property is damaged by a covered peril and you can't open for business, business interruption insurance helps protect you from financial loss. This valuable coverage can help you cover payroll, pay your lease, and can reimburse a portion of your lost profits. Many lenders and leaseholders require this insurance policy, too.
Commercial Auto Insurance
Commercial auto insurance is required if you lease/own vehicles for business use. Commercial auto policies can cover things like third-party bodily injury and property damage. It also usually includes personal injury protection, comprehensive and collision coverage, and uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage.
Wisconsin businesses must carry a minimum of $50,000 of auto coverage per accident to pay for claims if someone is injured. The policy must also include $10,000 in coverage for any property damage incurred.
If you have a personal auto policy, check with your insurance agent to see if business use is covered. Many commercial auto policies will exclude accidents while you're working, so it's better to be safe than sorry.
Professional Liability Insurance
Professional liability insurance—also referred to as errors and omissions insurance or malpractice insurance depending on the industry—protects your business if you're accused of negligence, missed deadlines, professional errors, incomplete work, and libel or slander (similar to general liability insurance coverage).
Professional liability may offer you a lawyer if you're sued, pay your defense costs, and pay third-party claims or settlements that may arise. A professional liability policy comes highly recommended for anyone that offers professional services.
Cyber Liability Insurance
Cyber liability insurance—also referred to as data breach insurance—protects your business if you're hacked (or are the object of a cyberattack). If any of your customer data is compromised, your cyber liability insurer will help you notify affected customers. They'll usually cover the cost of credit monitoring, the cost to repair your damaged reputation, and ransom demands.
Wisconsin Business Insurance: Commonly Insured Professions
Some professions that are commonly insured in Wisconsin include:
How Much Does Wisconsin Business Insurance Cost?
Business insurance in Wisconsin doesn't have to break the bank! The cost of general liability insurance for a WI business can start as low as $29 a month. But you'll likely pay slightly higher monthly rates. Why? Because certain factors raise or lower premium costs:
- The industry you're in
- Where your business is located
- How long you've been in business
- Your claims history
- The policy limits and deductibles you choose
- The number of employees you hire
These are just a few things an insurance agent will need to know when assessing your small business's insurance needs.
Get a Free Quote for Wisconsin Small Business Insurance
We understand how difficult it can be to find the best commercial insurance for your Wisconsin business. Whether you are a construction contractor in Milwaukee, own a painting company in Madison, or a plumber in Eau Claire, we can help you find the perfect coverage for your specific needs. Our goal at Tivly is to help you get the right insurance coverage at the right price. The process is fast and simple! Complete the form at the top of the page and someone will reach out to you. Or, give us a call at 877-907-5267.