Money-Saving Tips: How to Get the Right Arkansas Small Business Insurance

Michelle Olvey
February 13, 2024
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Types of Business Insurance in Arkansas

There are several key types of business insurance policies that Arkansas companies need to be aware of. The right insurance coverage protects your company from financial risks and liabilities.

General Liability Insurance

This is one of the most common and important insurance policies for Arkansas businesses. General liability insurance helps cover costs if your business is sued for bodily injury, property damage, personal injury or advertising injury. It protects you against liability claims from clients, vendors, or other third parties.

General liability insurance will provide legal defense costs and damages awarded in a covered lawsuit against your business. It also covers medical expenses for injured parties.

Workers Compensation Insurance

Workers comp insurance is mandatory for all employers in Arkansas with even one part-time employee. This policy covers medical expenses and lost wages for employees injured on the job.

Workers comp protects employees if they get sick or hurt while working. This insurance will cover disability benefits, rehabilitation, and death benefits to families of employees killed in work-related accidents.

Commercial Auto Insurance

If your Arkansas business owns any vehicles that employees use for work purposes, you must carry commercial auto insurance. It covers liability and damage costs related to business vehicles.

Commercial auto policies protect against bodily injury, property damage, and medical payments resulting from accidents involving company vehicles. Talk to your insurance agent about the right liability limits and comprehensive/collision coverage.

Cyber Insurance

With data breaches and malware attacks on the rise, cyber insurance is an increasingly important option. It helps cover costs if your business faces a cyber attack, such as data recovery, lost income, ransom payments, PR crisis management, and potential legal liabilities or fines.

Professional Liability Insurance

Also known as errors & omissions (E&O) insurance, professional liability insurance protects Arkansas businesses that offer services to customers. It covers negligence or failure to perform your professional duties, protecting you from costly lawsuits.

Common professions needing E&O insurance include consultants, accountants, architects, doctors, lawyers, and therapists. But many other service businesses should consider this coverage.

Business Owner’s Policy (BOP)

A BOP bundles general liability insurance, property insurance, and business interruption insurance into a single convenient policy. This combines coverage while saving money over purchasing each insurance separately.

BOPs are a common solution for small to mid-sized Arkansas businesses. They provide broad protection for your physical business space, assets, loss of income, and liability risks. Your insurance agent can advise if a business owner's policy makes sense for your company.

Required Insurance Policies in Arkansas

As a business owner in Arkansas, there are two main types of insurance that are legally required, depending on your specific business operations:

Workers Compensation Insurance

If your business has any employees, you are legally required to carry workers compensation insurance in Arkansas. This policy covers medical expenses and lost wages for employees who suffer job-related illnesses or injuries. The exact cost of workers comp insurance will vary based on the nature of your business activities and claims history, but coverage is mandatory. Failing to carry workers compensation insurance can lead to stiff fines and penalties.

Commercial Auto Insurance

If your Arkansas business owns any commercial vehicles that are used for operations, you must carry commercial auto insurance. This covers liability and damage claims stemming from accidents involving your company vehicles. The state minimum liability coverage is:

  • $25,000 bodily injury per person
  • $50,000 bodily injury per accident
  • $25,000 property damage

However, higher auto liability limits are recommended for most small businesses to ensure adequate coverage. You must be able to provide proof of commercial auto insurance when registering vehicles.

Recommended but Optional Insurance

While not legally required, there are several additional insurance policies that can protect Arkansas small businesses from common risks and liabilities.

General Liability Insurance

General liability insurance covers costs if your business is sued for bodily injury, property damage, personal injury, or advertising injury. For example, if a customer slips and falls in your store, general liability insurance helps pay for their medical bills and protects you from expensive litigation.

It's an essential policy for many businesses, especially those that interact directly with customers. Restaurants, retail stores, salons, gyms, event venues, and other customer-facing businesses should strongly consider general liability coverage.

Professional Liability Insurance

Also called errors & omissions (E&O) insurance, professional liability insurance protects businesses that provide services to clients. Examples include consultants, accountants, architects, doctors, lawyers, and more. It covers negligence claims if you make a mistake that financially harms a client.

Most professional services businesses should carry E&O insurance. It provides peace of mind and protects your finances if sued for malpractice or errors.

Cyber Insurance

With data breaches and cyber attacks on the rise, cyber insurance is becoming a critical policy for small businesses. It helps cover costs related to data breaches, hacking incidents, ransomware attacks, and online fraud. Expenses like legal fees, customer notification, lost income, and ransoms can add up fast after a cyber incident.

Any business that collects customer data, handles sensitive information, or relies heavily on IT systems should consider cyber insurance. It provides affordable protection against very expensive cyber risks.

Umbrella Insurance

An umbrella insurance policy provides additional liability coverage beyond your existing business insurance. It kicks in when claims exceed the limits of your other policies.

Umbrella insurance is recommended for high-risk businesses or companies with substantial assets to protect. It provides an extra layer of coverage and higher liability limits at a relatively low cost. Most umbrella policies start at $1 million in additional coverage.

Average Cost of Business Insurance in Arkansas

The average cost of business insurance in Arkansas can vary significantly depending on the size of your company, industry, assets, payroll, and claims history. Here are some ballpark figures:

General Liability Insurance

For small retail shops or professional services firms, expect to pay $30 - $100 per month for a $1 million policy. Restaurants and contractors may pay $150 - $300 per month. For manufacturers, costs jump up to an average of $1,000 - $2,000 monthly.

Workers' Compensation

Rates range from around $15 per $100 of payroll for office jobs, to $100 per $100 of payroll for roofers. At $50,000 payroll, that equals $7,500 to $50,000 in annual premiums.

Commercial Auto Insurance

For a single vehicle, expect to pay $150 - $300 per month depending on factors like vehicle type and coverage selected. For a small fleet of 5 vehicles, budget around $800 - $1,500 monthly.

These prices can go up or down significantly based on your exact business details. Work with a qualified insurance agent or broker to get quotes tailored for your company. They can help you understand precisely what Arkansas business insurance will cost for your unique operations.

Saving Money on Business Insurance Premiums

Business insurance is an essential expense for most companies, but there are ways to control costs and get more affordable coverage. Here are some tips to save money on your small business insurance premiums in Arkansas:

Bundle Multiple Policies

One of the easiest ways to save is to bundle multiple insurance policies together with one provider. Most companies that sell business insurance offer discounts when you purchase multiple policies from them, such as general liability along with commercial property coverage. Ask your insurance agent about bundling options to maximize your savings.

Raise Your Deductibles

Choosing higher deductibles is another way to lower your premium expenses. A deductible is the amount you pay out-of-pocket before the insurance coverage kicks in. Selecting higher deductibles decreases the insurer's risk, so they charge you lower premiums. Just make sure to choose deductible amounts you can comfortably afford to pay if a claim arises.

Improve Workplace Safety

Premiums for workers' compensation insurance are directly tied to workplace safety. When you implement procedures and training to reduce employee accidents and injuries on the job, you can qualify for lower workers' comp premium rates in Arkansas. Document your safety initiatives to present to your insurance company.

Compare Quotes

One of the best ways to find affordable rates is to get business insurance quotes from multiple providers before purchasing or renewing your policies. Rates can vary significantly among insurers, so taking the time to shop around and compare quotes is crucial. Work with different agents and brokers to find the most competitive pricing.

Choosing the Right Insurance Company in Arkansas

Choosing the right insurance company is crucial for getting the coverage you need at an affordable price. Here are some tips when evaluating insurance providers for your Arkansas small business:

  • Get quotes from multiple companies - Don't just go with the first insurance company you find. Shopping around and comparing quotes from several providers is the best way to find the lowest premiums. Look at both local and national insurance companies.
  • Check the company's financial stability ratings - You want an insurance company that will be there when you need them. Review financial strength ratings from agencies like A.M. Best before purchasing a policy. Look for companies rated A or higher.
  • Consider local agents vs. national companies - Local insurance agencies often provide more personalized service and can offer recommendations tailored specifically for Arkansas small businesses. National insurers may offer lower base rates but less flexibility.
  • Review policy exclusions and limitations - Make sure you understand what is and isn't covered under the policy. Ask about any exclusions or coverage limitations that could impact your business's specific risks
  • Consider bundling for multi-policy discounts - Many insurers offer discounts when you purchase multiple policies like general liability, commercial property, and commercial auto from them. Bundling can help save money on overall insurance costs.
  • Compare claims servicing - Look at ratings and reviews for how well the insurer handles claims after accidents or incidents. You want great service if you ever need to file a claim. An insurer that is difficult to work with can make the claims process stressful.

Doing your due diligence when selecting an insurance company will pay off in the long run with comprehensive coverage at competitive rates. Partnering with the right insurer can provide peace of mind and financial protection.

Working with Insurance Agents and Brokers

One of the most important choices you'll make as a small business owner is selecting an insurance agent or broker to work with. There are two main types of insurance agents:

  • Independent Insurance Agents - Work with multiple insurance companies and can quote policies from different providers to find you the best coverage and rates. This allows them to shop around on your behalf.
  • Captive Insurance Agents - Represent a single insurance company. They can only sell policies from that insurer.

Independent insurance agents are typically able to provide a wider selection of options for your business. It's wise to find an established, reputable agent that specializes in small business insurance.

Here are some key questions to ask potential agents:

  • How many years have you been in business? Look for 5+ years of experience.
  • Do you specialize in small business insurance? Avoid generalist agents. Find one dedicated to your needs.
  • How many insurance carriers do you work with? More carriers means more policy options.
  • Can you explain the different coverages we'll need? They should educate you on insurance specifics for your business.
  • Will you review our policies at renewal? Good agents proactively monitor your needs.
  • How quickly do you return calls and emails? Find an agent that provides responsive, reliable service.

Take time to thoroughly evaluate prospective agents before selecting one to work with long-term. A knowledgeable, experienced agent provides immense value in navigating the complexities of business insurance.

Business Insurance Claims Process in Arkansas

Dealing with a loss or claim can be stressful for any small business owner. Here's what you need to know if you need to file an insurance claim for your Arkansas business:

Report Claims Quickly

It's important to report any incidents, losses, or liability claims to your insurance company right away. Most policies have strict notification deadlines, often within 24-48 hours. The quicker you report, the sooner your claim can be processed.

Gather Documentation

Insurance companies will require documentation to process a claim. This includes photographs of damage, repair estimates, police reports for thefts, and invoices for any emergency repair costs already paid by your business. Having thorough records prepared makes the claims process much smoother.

Complete the Claims Form

Your insurance company will provide a claims form to be filled out. Supply all relevant information like the date and location of loss, details of damage/injuries, and your policy number. Answer all questions completely and honestly.

Communicate with Your Adjuster

An insurance adjuster will be assigned to assess your claim. Keep in touch with the adjuster and provide any additional details requested in a timely manner. This helps move the claim towards resolution.

Understand How Claims Affect Premiums

Making frequent claims, even if covered by your policy, can cause premiums to rise at renewal time. Insurance companies view frequent claims as higher risk. Consider all options before filing smaller claims that will impact your rates.

Following the proper steps and procedures when filing an insurance claim is key to getting compensated quickly and accurately after a loss. Keep complete records and work closely with your adjuster to settle claims effectively.

Insurance Coverage Limits and Deductibles

When purchasing business insurance, you'll need to choose appropriate coverage limits and deductible amounts. The coverage limit is the maximum amount the policy will pay out for a covered loss. The deductible is the amount you pay out-of-pocket before insurance kicks in.

Setting optimal coverage limits and deductibles requires balancing costs versus risks. Higher liability limits and lower deductibles mean higher premiums but more protection. Lower limits and higher deductibles reduce premiums but increase your financial exposure if a claim occurs.

For small and medium businesses in Arkansas, recommended general liability coverage limits are:

  • $1 million per occurrence/$2 million aggregate for lower risk businesses like retail shops or professional services. This covers typical risks.
  • $2 million per occurrence/$4 million aggregate or more for higher risk businesses like restaurants, manufacturers or construction companies. This provides protection for more severe claims.

Deductibles typically range from $500 to $5,000 or more. Choosing a higher deductible of $2,500 to $5,000 can save 20% or more on premiums. However, it means paying more out-of-pocket for minor claims before insurance coverage kicks in.

Evaluate your business's specific risks and finances when setting optimal coverage limits and deductibles. An insurance agent or broker can provide guidance to help tailor coverages and costs to your business's needs and budget.

Business Insurance Regulations in Arkansas

Operating a business in Arkansas means complying with state regulations for insurance coverage. The Arkansas Insurance Department oversees and enforces these insurance requirements for companies.

The Arkansas Insurance Department aims to protect insurance consumers while ensuring a stable insurance marketplace. They license insurance companies and agents operating in the state. The department also reviews insurance policies and rates for compliance.

If your Arkansas business is found noncompliant, penalties may include fines, suspended operations, or even revoked business licenses. Some of the common violations are:

  • Failing to carry mandatory workers compensation or commercial auto insurance
  • Operating without a valid insurance license
  • Selling unauthorized or noncompliant insurance products
  • Making false or misleading claims to obtain insurance

To stay compliant, make sure you work with a licensed agent and secure the proper policies for your business type and operations. Review your coverage needs whenever expanding your business offerings or hiring additional employees.

The Arkansas Insurance Department website provides useful resources for insurance compliance. You can search approved providers, read regulations, file complaints, and get help maintaining business insurance compliance in Arkansas.


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