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As a cleaning business owner, having cleaning insurance will help you manage your risk. In addition to protection from losses and claims, the other benefit of being bonded will increase the likelihood that clients will contract your services since they will feel more comfortable and secured any untoward incidences. What types of insurance do you need?
Some states will require you to be insured and bonded while other won’t. Check with your state to see what is required. If you are required to hold a license of some form, then most likely your business needs to get bonded and insured. Here are the main forms of insurance you should be familiar with:
If your business is aimed towards home cleaning, you may not be required to get liability insurance although there are still benefits to having one. Liability insurance is meant to protect you financially if you or a member of your staff inadvertently damages a client’s possession such as knocking off a vase or breaking a window. If you own a commercial cleaning business, there are more liability risks. For example, one of your crew members may have forgotten to lock a door which resulted in theft. If you have the right coverages, your insurer can help pay for any damages related to the incident.
Being bonded protects your business from theft. Being bonded protects your clients in the event that a staff member is arrested and/or convicted of stealing from them. The employee may be responsible for the crime but you could be held responsible for the loss. While this type of insurances is not mandatory, having it is an advantage when trying to sign up clients especially if your competitors do not have it.
If you own a vehicle for your cleaning business, it is recommended that you have insurance to covers the vehicle. This will protect you in the event of accidents especially if one of your crew was behind the wheels. If your crew drives from one home to another and is carrying cleaning equipment and tools, you could be held responsible if they cause an accident. One way to solve this is to endorse your auto insurance policy as “hired and non-owned autos” so that any liability that arises will be deemed to be on company business.
If you employ a cleaning crew, you will definitely need workers comp to cover your employees’ work-related injuries or illness. Check your state for statutory requirements. Some states require three employee while others may require four.
On a final note, before you sign up for any of the above types of insurance, talk to a local agent in your area who has experience writing insurance for small businesses. If you need help finding an agent, scour the internet or check your yellow pages under commercial or business insurance. The premium will vary from one company to another so make sure to call and get quotes. Discuss your needs and sign up for the minimum to get you started. Note that no standard carrier is going to write a liability policy on an entirely new business so you may need to call a local, independent agent who can access the excess market.Written by Cathy Sanders