If you own and/or run a smaller business, your insurance needs may be properly handled by a businessowner policy (BOP). A BOP is a single form that offers both property and liability protection. Retailers, wholesalers, small contractors, artisan contractors, dry cleaners, restaurants, offices and convenience stores (including those with gas pumps) are eligible for BOP coverage. All such operations may be insured by a BOP as long as they do not exceed the square foot or annual sales limits established for the program. Cooking operations, due to the higher fire and other accident exposures, have significantly more restrictive guidelines.

Property Coverage - BOPs protect buildings as well as the following:

buildingadditions (completed or being built)

indoor and outdoor fixtures

Clothes Dryers

machinery and equipment

landlord furnishings,

mowers, ladder, snow blowers, and similar maintenance property

outdoor furniture

floor coverings

Refrigerating appliances

ventilating appliances

Cooking appliances

Dishwashing/Drying appliances

Clothes washers

materials, equipment, and supplies

temporary structures located near the insured premises

The policy's protection for business personal property (such as office equipment, copiers, desks, etc.) applies whether the property is located inside or immediately outside the covered buildings. The category also includes property you own, lease or control (i.e., borrow or control) as long as the property is used by the business.

Liability Coverage - A BOP's liability coverage provides comprehensive protection for claims or suits made by other parties. Specifically it covers losses involving injury to other persons or damage to property that belongs to others. It also provides limited protection against personal injury (slander or libel), advertising injury and losses involving an operation's products or services.

Naturally, there are certain situations that are not covered by a BOP. For instance, there is no coverage for losses involving most vehicles, money and securities; illegal property (contraband), land, water, growing crops or lawns; or watercraft.

Enhancing Coverage - A BOP may be supplemented to provide additional protection. Property coverage options include adding insurance for accounts receivable, valuable papers and records, earthquake, spoilage, etc. Liability coverage can be expanded to handle additional business interests, limited vehicle liability, losses related to personnel situations, liquor liability and injuries to leased employees.

A BOP may be the answer to your company's coverage needs and it may be worthwhile to get more information on the BOP from the nearest insurance professional.

©The Rough Notes Company, Inc.

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