Whether you have a new business or you’re looking to beat a renewal price on an existing policy, looking for business insurance can be a confusing task. We’ll talk you through where to get quotes, what information you’ll need to have at hand and how to compare quotes once you have them.
Where to get business insurance for small business
There are essentially three sources for getting business insurance – contact a business insurance broker, get quotes from a direct insurer or submit your details through a comparison site. Comparison sites may connect you with brokers, direct insurers or both.
The advantage of using a broker is that a broker is technically working for you. That is, the broker will collect your details and try to find you a good policy that covers your business risks for a cheap premium. However, you’ll typically have to pay a commission or extra fees to the broker to pay for their time, advice and work for you.
Going to a direct insurer like Direct Line or AXA can be economical because there are no added commissions or fees to pay. However, keep in mind that any agent you speak with at a direct insurance company is technically working for the insurer, not you. They will only show you prices for their product line, which may not be the cheapest for you and your business.
Comparison sites have the advantage that you submit your details once and these details are then passed on to multiple providers. Some comparison sites can provide instant quotes online, with the ability to purchase a policy online as well. Other comparison sites send your details to their panel, who will then get in touch directly with you. In that case, you won’t see prices online right away.
Either way, comparison sites typically have a panel that consists of both brokers and direct insurers. But there are some insurers and brokers that you won’t find on comparison sites, so it can be useful to take the time to submit details via multiple sources to ensure you’re getting the best quotes for your business.
How do I get insurance for my small business?
To get insurance for a small business, you’ll first need to have certain information at hand. This is true whether you’re submitting details online or over the phone. For instance, you’ll need:
- Business name and address
- Industry and business activities
- Annual turnover
- History of any previous claims
- Number of employees
In addition, it will help if you have an idea of what types of cover you need. That is, what risks you are trying to mitigate. A bit of online research can help you learn more about the products available to a small business in the UK, but here is a very quick overview of some of the more popular types of cover:
- Public liability. Insurance against third-party personal accident or property damage claims.
- Employers’ liability. Protection if a worker is injured or becomes ill due to work.
- Professional indemnity. If a client claims they’ve suffered a loss due to poor or negligent professional advice or service.
- Business contents, equipment and tools cover. To protect your assets and tools needed to do your work.
- Commercial property insurance. Building cover and property owners’ liability.
- Directors & Officers insurance. To protect directors and managers against claims they’ve been negligent.
- Legal cover. To assist with some legal and tax issues.
Compare small business insurance quotes
Once you have received quotes from a comparison site, broker and/or direct insurance company, it’s time to compare the offers on the table. Not all policies are the same, but these factors can help you decide which might be best for you.
- What’s the excess (i.e., the amount you pay towards a claim)?
- What are the customer service hours in case you have a question or problem?
- Is the claims line open 24/7?
- Are the limits of insurance comparable?
- How do the exclusions compare, and are they acceptable to you?
- Are there online reviews to learn about customer experiences at TrustPilot or Google?
Small business insurance cheap
To get the cheapest small business insurance, it pays to compare prices from a wide selection of providers. Why? Each underwriter has a different appetite for risk and calculates premiums using a unique back-end model. An underwriter who was once very competitive on price for a product or industry may not be at the current time. It could be as simple as an underwriter already having enough of a certain type of risk on their books. If they don’t want more, they might price policies with a high premium to either discourage people from taking them up or, if they do, at least providing a higher amount of compensation.
Insurers need to balance the risk profile of their portfolio, it’s just a fact. For instance, in the wake of the Grenfell disaster insurers might decide they want to minimise their exposure to architects and builders. In the end, this is one reason it’s critical to compare prices when looking for business insurance.