As a business owner, purchasing the appropriate commercial insurance policy is critical to protecting your company’s assets and ensuring its continuing viability. Property and casualty insurance protects business from financial loss due to unforeseen circumstances--including property damage and liability--thus mitigating the risk involved in running a business.

The first step in purchasing an insurance policy for your business is familiarizing yourself with the general nature of commercial insurance and the various coverage options. Insurance standards and policy fundamentals vary slightly from state to state but have the same general parameters. Commercial insurance covers two main areas: property and casualty.

  • Basic property insurance protects a company’s buildings, machinery, equipment, and furniture against loss caused by specified perils. In addition, businesses can purchase other lines of property insurance, including: inland marine insurance, which covers property damaged in transport; systems breakdown insurance, which covers business losses caused by malfunction of machinery; and crime insurance, which covers any loss caused by theft, larceny, etc.
  • Casualty insurance covers a business’ liability for the injury or property damage of a third party. Common commercial liability lines include: commercial general liability, which is basic, comprehensive insurance; commercial automobile liability, which covers automobile usage for your business; and commercial umbrella liability, which covers any costs that extend beyond the other lines of liability coverage.

Insurance companies also offer a business owner’s policy (BOP), which includes basic property insurance, business interruption, and liability coverage.  If you opt for a BOP insurance package, you may need to purchase separate policies to insure professional liability and auto coverage. 



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