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7 Things to Know Before Purchasing Insurance

No two business insurance plans are the same — nor should they be. The best business insurance policies are customized to fit the unique needs of your accounting, tax preparation, or finance business. But before you can decide on the perfect policy for your firm, there are a few important things to consider. Use these insurance-purchasing guidelines to help you before you reach out to an agent.

1. Discover Available Insurance

1. Discover the Types of Insurance Available to Accountants, Tax Preparers, and Finance Professionals

Not all types of business insurance coverage are available or necessary for workers in your field. Below is a list of the coverage available to accountants, tax preparers, and finance professionals…

  • General Liability. This kind of insurance protects your business from claims of bodily injury or property damage — for example, if a client fell down in your office and broke a bone, or if an employee dropped and broke a client's computer.
  • Property Insurance. This type of business insurance coverage will reimburse your company for property that is lost, damaged, or stolen.
  • Business Owner's Policy. Otherwise known as a BOP, this plan combines your General Liability and Property Insurance plans into one discounted package.
  • Errors & Omissions. This kind of insurance kicks in when a client claims actions you performed in a professional capacity caused him a financial loss.
  • Workers' Compensation. This type of insurance helps pay for the expenses of employees who've suffered a work-related illness or who were injured on the job.
  • Umbrella / Excess Liability. This kind of insurance kicks in when claims exceed the limits of your primary policy.
  • Cyber Liability. This insurance policy protects your company from expenses related to data breach incidents.

These insurance policies can be altered and combined to form a business insurance plan that protects you from the unique risks of your business — nothing more, and nothing less.

2. Assess the Risks

2. Assess the Risks of Your Accounting, Tax Preparation, or Finance Business

Before you can choose the business insurance plan that is right for your company, you must understand the particular risks of your field. Accountants, tax preparers, and finance professionals may not work in the most dramatic professional environment, but that does not mean it's without risks. Below is a list that includes some of the most common risks faced by finance professionals and the risks most likely to impact your business insurance plan…

  • Miscalculations and Other Professional Errors. Accountants often handle the wealth of other parties — one small error could be financially disastrous to your clients and professionally disastrous employees. And though you are extremely careful in your work, you're only human — and humans make mistakes, which, unfortunately, can lead to costly lawsuits.
  • Data Breaches. Since financial companies often rely on the Internet and computer networks to get the job done, your company is particularly prone to claims of data theft and information mismanagement, which might spell out disaster for both your company's finances and its reputation.
  • Stress. Between the long hours and the work rushes so common in your field, you and your employees are often susceptible to the damaging effects of stress: fatigue, depression, and headaches, among other things. These symptoms increase the likelihood of errors and injury in your employees
  • A Sedentary Lifestyle. Your job often forces you and your employees to be inactive — and sitting at a desk is risky for your physical wellbeing. Hand-related injuries and back and neck strain are common Workers' Compensation claims among tax preparers and accountants.

Understanding the particular risks of the financial field can help you customize your business insurance plan to fit the needs of you and your business. If you're ready, an insureon agent can help you assess your company's risk.

3. Know and Trust

3. Know and Trust Your Insurance Agent

Finding a reputable, licensed insurance agent is just as important as finding a good accountant (though you don't have to worry about that!) or lawyer. And as a startup or small-business owner, it's even more important for you to be thorough in your search — not all insurance agents are knowledgeable about the particular needs of your company.

Make sure that your agent understands all the risks associated with the field of accounting, finance, or tax preparation. When you're ready, insureon can help match you to educated and specialized insurance brokers in your field.

4. Assess Regularly

4. Your Business Plan Should Be Regularly Assessed

No matter how accurately you analyze your company's liability risk or how dutifully you purchase your business insurance policy, your plan should be reassessed on an annual basis. This is because your business will continue to evolve, taking on different risks and needs as it grows. Especially if you have purchased new equipment or expanded certain operations, contact your insurance agent to make sure your plan still has your business properly covered.

5. Know Your Requirements

5. Know Your Requirements as an Accounting, Tax Preparation, or Finance Business Owner

As a business owner, your insurance obligations vary depending on which state you work in. Some state laws require that businesses carry Workers' Compensation Insurance, unemployment insurance, and / or disability insurance. The exact requirements of these individual insurance plans also vary by state. For example, if you are the sole proprietor of your business, you may not have to carry Workers' Compensation coverage. Further, you may or may not be required to carry coverage for independent contractors. Your insurance agent will have more information about your particular state's laws.

6. Keep Premiums Down

6. Know How to Keep Premiums Down for Your Accounting, Tax Preparation, or Finance Business

An adequate business insurance plan need not break the bank. Below are a few things you can do to keep your premiums down…

  • Shop Around. Since prices often vary from company to company, taking the time to get several quotes will most likely save you money. It's best to work with an agent who specializes in insurance for accountants, tax preparers, and other finance professionals, which will save you time. Then, compare prices of the quotes your agent sends you.
  • Choose the Higher Deductible (Within Reason). A deductible is the amount of money your company must pay before your insurance covers the rest of the claim. The higher the deductible, the less the policy will cost. However, don't choose a deductible that's so high you won't be able to pay it, should a claim arise.
  • Buy Bundled Policies. If your insurance agency considers your company "low-risk," you may be eligible for a discounted, bundled policy. One example of this is the Business Owner's Policy.
  • Find Out What You Can Do To Prevent Losses. Often, there will be actions you can take that might lower your premiums for certain coverages. These actions might include installing a security system or bolstering workplace safety. Ask your insurance agent for recommendations.
7. Know How to Make a Claim

7. Know How to Make a Claim

As the owner of an accounting, tax preparation, or finance firm, you hope that you'll never have to make an insurance claim. But should you need to file, it's good to know the procedure in order to prevent possible disputes with your insurer. Be sure to…

  • Keep Comprehensive Records. You should keep copies of all your business transactions, assets, and inventories. Make sure these files are updated, secure, and backed up on another platform.
  • File As Soon As Possible. If you wait too long to tell your agent you've been sued, you might lose coverage. That's because your insurance company can say the delay inhibited its ability to defend you.
  • Check In. After you've made a claim, follow up with your insurance company. Be sure to cooperate with the liability defense procedures, should they arise, and keep yourself up-to-date on case developments.
  • Understand Your Rights. As a business owner, be sure to read the Unfair Claims Settlement Practices Act, which sets insurance standards and regulates practices. You'll be better able to tell if you're being treated fairly once you do. In the event of a claim, it's necessary to understand how the process works, if for no other reason than to protect you and your business.
More Business Insurance Tips

More Business Insurance Tips for Accountants, Tax Preparers, & Finance Professionals

For more tips and tricks on how to protect your financial firm, check out "Five Ways to Protect Your Accounting, Tax Preparation, or Finance Firm" and "Six Costly Business Protection Myths for Accountants, Tax Preparers, and Finance Professionals."

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