Keeping Your Claims History Clean
Risk Management Guide for Janitorial, Maid, & Cleaning Services

Chapter 3: Finding Insurance for Your Janitorial, Maid, or Cleaning Services Business
Part 1: Finding Small Business Insurance on Your Own

If you enjoy handling paperwork and conducting research, perhaps finding business insurance on your own is the way to go. Finding insurance alone is an arduous, multi-step process:

1. Assess your risks to the best of your abilities.

Though we've given you a head start in this guide, take careful inventory of the risks in your industry. Remember that insurance is designed to protect your business from the unexpected scenarios and disasters that could bankrupt it. That's why you need to account for every potential liability and property loss situation. It's in these events that your policies can do the most for your business.

2. Make a list of potential providers.

When you're searching for business insurance on your own, you'll need to narrow the playing field. Draw up a list of providers that you feel are best suited to help your business. Be sure to look for providers that…

  • Have experience insuring small businesses.
  • Have experience insuring cleaning services.

Remember, not all insurers are familiar with the needs of every type of business — and not all insurers carry the same types of policies. Because small cleaning business insurance is such a niche area, you'll want to make sure your future insurer offers the policies you need.

3. Vet your list of insurance providers.

To determine which providers on your list are credible, check to make sure the company is licensed and backed by your state's guaranty fund, which pays the claim if your provider defaults. All this information should be available through your state's insurance department. You can find your state's information on this map from the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (http://www.naic.org/state_web_map.htm) (NAIC).

Once you've pinned down a list of credible providers, the next step is to assess their ratings. An "A" rating is the highest in the industry and denotes that the insurance company has a good reputation because it offers…

  • Industry-tailored products
  • Reliable terms.
  • Quick payouts.

Check out A.M. Best's website to begin comparing the ratings of your potential providers.

4. Request rates from multiple carriers.

Now you should have a definitive list of providers that you trust with the safety of your business. Call each one and ask for insurance quotes for the policies that fit your needs. Be sure to ask several companies for estimates so you can ensure you're getting the best coverage for your money.

5. Compare the coverage offerings.

Premium prices should not be the only consideration when deciding whether or not to purchase a policy. Typically, you want to prioritize the coverage you receive over the cost of the policy. You also want to assess each policy's…

  • Coverage limits.
  • Covered events.
  • Exclusions.

Make sure you don't take on a policy that will leave you underinsured when you need coverage most. Lastly, be sure to always read the fine print. If your policy excludes coverage for an event that could hurt your business, ask about possible endorsements that could fill that gap.

6. Carefully consider the deductible.

Though this is part of comparing coverages, it's one of the most overlooked decisions when purchasing an insurance policy. The deductible is the amount you pay out of pocket for a covered event. As we've mentioned, lower deductibles come with higher premiums, and vice versa.

It can be tempting to take on a high deductible if it means paying less for your policy's premium. However, this is a financial gamble. If the deductible is too high for you to comfortably pay out of pocket, you're out of luck. As a rule, your deductible should never jeopardize your finances.

Though small-business owners are known for their multitasking skills, chances are this process is more work than you have the time to take on. After all, your time is better spent serving your clients, managing your staff, and growing your business! If time is of the essence, you might fare better working with an independent insurance agent.

Next: Chapter 3.2: Finding Small Business Insurance with a Licensed Independent Agent

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