Filed Under:Markets, Commercial Lines

Top 6 insurable incidents small business owners faced in 2016

Many small businesses experienced insurable events in 2016, but didn’t file claims for them. (Photo: Shutterstock)
Many small businesses experienced insurable events in 2016, but didn’t file claims for them. (Photo: Shutterstock)

Insureon conducted a survey of more than 1,000 small business owners to find out what kind of insurable incidents occurred at their businesses last year, if any. More than one-third (35.2 percent) of small business owners surveyed reported experiencing an insurable event like employee injury or theft in 2016.

Despite experiencing these types of events, the survey found that many small businesses aren’t filing claims for them. Insureon cites the following possible reasons for this trend:

  • They don't have insurance or don't have the right policy to cover the claim.
  • The cost of the incident is less than their deductible, so they deal with it out of pocket.
  • They worry that filing a claim will cause their premiums to go up.
  • They prefer to handle the matter on their own rather than wait for resolution from an insurance company.

Related: 6 risks small business owners face when they grow

As a result, many small business owners are choosing to let their carrier know about an incident, but don’t file a claim. Instead, they pay for the incident out of pocket to prevent higher premiums in the long run. But how does the cost of a claim stack up against the cost of coverage?

Related: 10 insights into how small-business owners perceive cyber risk

What costs more: A single claim or insurance coverage? (Photo: Shutterstock)

Cost comparison


According to The Hartford, the 10 most expensive types of claims (and the cost per incident) are:

  • Reputational harm: $50,000
  • Vehicle accident: $45,000
  • Fire damage: $35,000
  • Product liability: $35,000
  • Customer injury or property damage: $30,000
  • Wind and hail damage: $26,000
  • Customer slip and fall: $20,000
  • Water and freezing damage: $17,000
  • Struck by object: $10,000
  • Burglary and theft: $8,000

In comparison, the median price Insureon customers pay for coverage is:

  • $428 per year for general liability insurance
  • $920 per year for professional liability insurance

Compared to a $20,000 bill for a customer slip-and-fall accident, most business owners would probably rather pay $428 for general liability per year, plus their deductible, to pick up the tab.

Related: Nationwide survey reveals small-business owners lack a disaster recovery plan

How do the most expensive claims compare to the top incidents small businesses experienced in 2016? Click next to read the most common insurable events for small businesses, and which coverage agents can offer clients for them.

(Photo: Shutterstock) 

Client complaint or contract dispute: 22.2 percent


Professional liability insurance can cover claims related to client dissatisfaction, including alleged work mistakes, undelivered work or negligence.

(Photo: iStock)

Employee injury: 10.6 percent


Workers' Compensation can pay for medical bills and partial missed wages when employees are hurt at work.

(Photo: Shutterstock)

Burglary or theft: 8.8 percent


Commercial property insurance can help pay to replace stolen business property.

(Photo: Shutterstock)

Fire, storm damage or cracked pipes: 6.6 percent


Property Insurance can also pay to repair property damaged by fire or certain weather events.

Customer injury: 2.4 percent


General liability insurance can help cover costs when customers are injured on business property.

Related: 10 strategies for acquiring small-business clients

(Photo: Thinkstock)

Product that caused injury or damage: 2.3 percent


The product liability portion of general liability Insurance can pay for legal expenses associated with damage from goods you sell.

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