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If you are starting a small business, one of the most important things you will want to invest in is business insurance. Small businesses are often found liable in the court of law for any number of legal foibles from malpractice to sexual harassment. Because of the wide range of business practices, there are many different kinds of insurance products at your disposal, including:

General Business Insurance: purchased by nearly all businesses in some form or another, this protects businesses from liability resulting from property damage, bodily injury, false advertising and other common maladies.

Error & Omissions: protects legal practices, medical offices, accounting firms and architectural and engineering businesses from neglect.

Product Liability Insurance: protects manufacturers from lawsuits resulting from malfunction of their products.

Employment Practices Liability Insurance: protects businesses from wrongful behavior in the workplace, including sexual harassment, wrongful termination, and hiring discrimination.

You may need to purchase one or more of these products depending on the nature of your business.

Let’s say that you are an arborist, and need to purchase insurance for tree trimming business. What are you likely to be sued for in this case? Well, you will regularly be on other people’s property with a number of potentially hazardous tools, so you know you are running a risk of property damage. The work is very physical, so bodily injury is also at a somewhat high risk. False advertising is a potential risk, though it is much more easily averted than the other two for the purposes of this industry; make sure that you are not promising to transform people’s houses into a veritable palace of Versailles, and you will be much happier with the savings in this area of insurance.

For tree trimming businesses, few educational requirements and logical circuits exist, so it is not likely to need errors and omissions, unless your legal system seems to recognize asymmetrically trimmed tree branches accordingly. The size of your business will determine whether you should purchase EPLI as well; if it’s just you, you should know your own potential for sexual harassment and discrimination, but if you expand greatly, it may be a worthwhile thing to buy insurance for. Tree trimming businesses don’t usually market any physical products, so you certainly won’t need any product liability insurance. In general, you will be pretty safe with basic coverage. Simply make sure that your premium provides adequate coverage against bodily injury and property damage, and happy trimming.

This Business article was written by Mark Karavan on 12/11/2009