Chapter 1: How Business Insurance Protects Allied Health Practitioners
Part 2: Which Insurance Policies Meet the Needs of Sole Proprietors and Independent Healthcare Practitioners?
Property Insurance for Sole Proprietors and Independent Contractors
Property Insurance shields your commercial equipment from loss or damage due to fire, theft, windstorms, and power outages. Because you've invested a substantial amount of money into your equipment — be it MRI machines, excimer lasers, computers, or your office building — you need coverage that assures you won't have to start from scratch when disaster strikes.
Property Insurance is especially important for business owners because you don't rely on an employer to supply your equipment. That's why you should select a commercial Property policy that covers the assets you need to run your healthcare practice. You'll want a plan if you…
- Own commercial real estate. Your commercial property is an investment — and because you own the premises, you are responsible for making any repairs or replacements necessary after a storm or fire. But construction costs have increased significantly in the United States in recent years. That means even a small repair can result in unexpectedly high costs. Fortunately, Property Insurance can cover the cost of repairing your building and replacing its contents (e.g., tools, equipment, fixtures, and furnishing) after a covered event.
- Operate a home-based office. Are you an acupuncturist who treats clients in a home office? If so, you may have assumed that your Homeowner's Insurance would cover the cost replacing damaged or lost business property. However, most Homeowner's policies do not cover commercial items, and some won't cover the space you use in your home for business (an average of 250 square feet for most home-based entrepreneurs). You can include an In-Home Business rider to your Homeowner's policy, but you can receive broader coverage for your commercial property with a separate Business Owner's Policy. To learn more about what Homeowner's Insurance covers, check out the handy infographic "Is Your Home-Based Business Covered? " on insureon's blog .
- Rent an office or building. While it's true that most landlords protect their real estate with Property Insurance, it's essential to check your lease agreement to be sure. Chances are, even if the building is protected, your commercial furnishings, fixtures, media devices, and medical equipment are not. That means you need to find a plan that can protect the gear you depend on to serve your clients.
- Own expensive or specialty equipment. Medical equipment can be extremely expensive. For ophthalmologists, an excimer laser eye surgery machine alone can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars. Needless to say, after you've made such an investment, you don't want to shell out another hundred grand after a fire ravages your office building. When you have expensive equipment to protect, you'll want to pay close attention to whether your Property Insurance offers replacement-value or actual-cash-value coverage. Replacement-value coverage costs more, but it also pays out more, so you'll be able to replace or repair your items based on what they would be worth brand-new. Actual-cash-value coverage costs less, but only pays for the amount your depreciated items are worth at the time of the claim.
As mentioned earlier, many small-business owners underestimate their insurance needs and suffer the financial consequences when a disaster hits. To ensure your practice survives the unexpected, be sure to find an insurance plan that covers the essentials.
One final note about Property Insurance: you'll notice we didn't list hurricanes, flooding, or earthquakes as covered events. That's because most standard plans explicitly exclude water-related property damage. So what's a health practitioner to do if they live in a flood-prone area? Talk to your insurance agent. He or she can tell you about event-specific endorsements available to fill your Property gaps.
Next: Business Owner's Policies for Sole Proprietors and Independent Contractors