Small Business Insurance Glossary
If you own and operate commercial vehicles, you should make sure that your fleet is appropriately insured. If
business use of a vehicle is minimal and limited to your personal vehicle, the necessary coverage can probably be included in your personal
policy. Best bet: Check with your agent to be sure.
Basic-hospital plans cover only in-hospital (inpatient) care, not other services. This benefit also may be limited
to an approved or network facility. Hospitalization in a different facility may qualify for less coverage or none at all.
If you're unable to run your business due to a covered peril (fire, storm damage, vandalism and so on), business interruption insurance will
replace lost income, pay ongoing expenses and pay costs involved in getting you set up in a temporary facility.
COBRA stands for Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1985, which requires companies with 20 or more employees to
offer separating employees the option to continue their group health-care coverage at their own expense.
Under Washington state law known as use-and-file, commercial property/casualty contracts negotiated between insurers and businesses
may go into effect immediately. The policy itself can be filed for state review later. Deregulation also has eliminated delays and red tape in
setting large-commercial rates. However rate deregulation does not apply to small businesses or personal lines.
This refers to a kind of business-interruption endorsement on a commercial policy that protects you from financial losses caused by problems
somewhere other than your business. Dependent property is defined as property not owned, operated or controlled by you but on which
you are dependent for normal business operations.
Destroyed or damaged records:
If your business records are destroyed or damaged by a covered peril, this insurance will compensate you for the inability to collect income and
for the cost of reproducing the records.
Quake coverage is available as additional coverage to standard commercial property and casualty policies. Earthquake coverage is available
throughout Washington state, although it is relatively expensive for masonry structures and business operations with high-risk inventory or
This kind of coverage will help defend against employment-related claims such as sexual harassment, age discrimination, or wrongful termination.
Some policies offer legal assistance; others may pay both legal costs and damages.
Exclusive Provider Organization (EPO): EPOs allow subscribers to visit any physician
within the contracted network without prior approval or referrals. Services received outside the network may not be covered.
This is multi-vehicle coverage that applies to businesses that rely on a number of vehicles and need to insure them collectively.
Coverage for damage caused by floods is not included in ordinary homeowners and commercial policies, but must be added as an endorsement. Flood
insurance, which also covers damage caused by mudslides, is available through a program run by the Federal Insurance Administration; contact your
agent or call (800) 427-4661 for more information.
This coverage applies to losses that occur because of difficulties involved in distributing or acquiring items that are manufactured by foreign
General liability and property coverage:
Liability insurance protects you if someone gets hurt while using your product or service or is injured while on your property. The insurer not
only pays the damages but also funds and handles your legal defense. Property insurance covers your physical assets building, equipment,
furnishings, fixtures, inventory and so on.
Commercial insurance packages also include the option of special glass-breakage coverage for operations that bear a special risk.
Health Maintenance Organization (HMO):
Managed-care insurers — known generally as HMOs — use a primary care physician as a gatekeeper to screen patients and see that
appropriate treatment takes place at the lowest level possible. In order to see a specialist or receive specialized care, patients must see the
gatekeeper physician first and be referred on. Note: Washington state law provides one exception to the gatekeeper, allowing an ordinary layperson
to define an emergency that may require skipping the gatekeeper step in order to receive immediate treatment.
Indemnity plans are also referred to as fee-for-service. Unlike managed-care plans, indemnity plans allow absolute freedom in
selecting physicians or medical facilities and permit self-referral to a specialist. Normally, subscribers must meet a yearly deductible
before receiving reimbursement for medical expense. Indemnity plans require the use of patient claim forms and reimbursement checks.
Various types of life insurance can be designed to protect your company. Key-man insurance pays the company upon the death of a key person,
usually an owner or senior executive, to help the company deal financially with the loss and replace those services.
Long-Term Disability (LTD):
Long-term-disability plans provide income for an individual who cannot work because of an illness, disease, or non-occupational injury. Most
plans require that the individual be a full-time employee for at least one year before the disability coverage applies. In many cases, employers
offer this coverage but employees bear the full cost. Short-term disability costs usually fall under health plans.
These plans are similar to an HMO. Like HMOs, POS plans rely on gatekeeper physicians to coordinate a subscriber's health-care needs.
Preferred Provider Organization (PPO):
PPOs are comparable to indemnity plans, although they require subscribers to choose their health-care providers and health-care facilities from
a preferred-provider list. Because the preferred providers have agreed to the plan's requirements, including discounted fees, subscribers have a
financial incentive to stay within the network.
Often called malpractice insurance or errors and omissions coverage, these policies protect professionals such as
accountants, lawyers, doctors, dentists, pharmacists, insurance brokers and agents, and consultants, for negligence that injures their clients.
Stand-Alone Dental: This plan type provides dental coverage but does not include any
This plan type provides life insurance but does not include any other coverage.
This plan type provides prescription-drug coverage, which generally means the insured person can obtain prescription drugs at a set price of a
few dollars, but does not include any other coverage.
Umbrella policy: Umbrella policies provide additional liability coverage after the
limits of your underlying policy are reached.
Most employers are required by law to provide workers' compensation insurance through a state system. Worker comp pays an employee's medical expenses and provides some income replacement when a worker is injured on the
The impact of weather on businesses is more complex than you might think. Weather obviously affects outdoor operations that depend on
fair weather — for example, events like fairs, festivals, concerts, sporting events or filming. But many other businesses are
weather-sensitive, too, and profits or losses may hinge on whether an area receives too much or too little rain, snow, heat or cold.