From the Ozark Mountains to the Mississippi River to the Timberlands, Arkansas is a state teeming with life and opportunities. Whether you’re a new transplant to the “Bear State” or a long-time resident, it’s a fantastic place to own and operate a venture, particularly a small business.

According to Arkansas 2019 Small Business profile, the 249,907 small businesses account for 99.3% of the state’s economy and 47.9% of the workforce.1 And if you want to participate in this thriving sector, you’ll need the right type of insurance. In this guide, we’ll teach you everything you need to know about Arkansas business insurance—from what’s legally required, and what comes highly recommended.

Let’s do this.

In Arkansas, state laws require most business owners to have:

  • Workers’ compensation
  • Auto liability insurance

Arkansas workers’ compensation insurance

Do you have three more or employees working for your business on a full-time or part-time basis? If so, you’re likely legally required to carry worker’s compensation insurance.

This type of insurance can help protect your business from financial losses should an employee get injured while on the job or suffer a work-related illness. It can help cover the costs of:

  • Medical expenses
  • Death benefits
  • Lost wages
  • Permanent disability (total or partial)
  • Rehabilitation and retraining

What would happen if you fail to cover your employees with workers’ comp? It could expose you to expensive liability claims and subject your business to government-imposed fines or shutdowns. Put simply, it’s not worth the risk.

Auto liability insurance for Arkansas businesses

Driving is risky business. In 2014, the last year Arkansas had complete car accident data, there were 60,947 crashes. And even if it’s just vehicle damage, accidents can be costly.2 This is why all drivers are legally required to carry some form of auto liability insurance. And for small businesses, your personal auto policy may not cover business activities.

Depending on the vehicle ownership, the vehicle’s size, and whether it’s used to transport people or property for work purposes, you may be obligated by the state to carry commercial auto insurance instead.

For example, if you’re a home baker and you deliver your food to your customers, then may very well need commercial auto insurance coverage. Why? Because some personal auto policies exclude food delivery activities, meaning an accident that occurs while you are performing these activities, the accident likely won’t be covered by your personal auto policy.

On the other hand, if you’re a football coach who uses his personal vehicle to get to and from the university for practices and games, you’ll likely be fine with just a personal auto policy.

To that end, commercial auto insurance can help cover damages incurred during a car accident, such as those arising from the following:

  • Third-party medical bills
  • Third-party property damage
  • Injuries to you or your passengers caused by uninsured motorists
  • Collision damage to your vehicle

The policy could also provide comprehensive coverage which covers other losses to your vehicle that do not involve an auto accident. This coverage pays for repair or replacement of your vehicle if it is stolen or catches on fire!

Finally, if a vehicle is owned by the business, it will almost always need to be insured under a commercial auto insurance policy. Be sure to check with your auto insurance agent to make sure you have the right coverage.

Other types of Arkansas business insurance

For most Arkansas businesses, the only types of insurance that are legally required are workers’ comp and auto insurance. But they’re not the only types of insurance that a business owner should have.

When it comes to the other types of business insurance your Arkansas business should consider, the below help provide coverage for many risks you might face on a daily basis:

  • General liability insurance
  • Professional liability insurance
  • Inland marine insurance (aka equipment insurance or Business Equipment Protection)
  • Commercial property insurance

General liability insurance in Arkansas

General liability insurance can provide coverage if a client or other third party experiences physical harm or damage. It can help provide investigation, defense, and settlement for third-party claims relating to:

  • Non-employee bodily injury
  • Property damage
  • Personal and advertising injury

For example, if your Arkansas business regularly interacts with third parties (clients, bystanders, etc.), and someone incurs an injury or experiences property damage due to the work you’re rendering, they could hold you liable for the associated costs.

Although general liability insurance covers third-party property, it doesn’t protect your own equipment. That’s why we bundle Business Equipment Protection as an option with our Thimble Monthly coverage plans. With it, you can cover the tools you own and use for work.

Business Equipment Protection can shield your tools from damage, vandalism, or theft. And since some gear is more expensive than others, we provide two coverage limits of $1,000 or $2,500, both with a $500 deductible.

Professional liability insurance in Arkansas

Professional liability insurance, often referred to as errors and omissions (E&O), can help protect professionals who provide expert services or advice to clients. Should a client claim that your advice (or lack thereof) resulted in their financial harm, you could be held liable. Professional liability can help provide the investigation, defense, and settlement for claims of actual or alleged negligence arising out of your advice or services.

For example, if you’re a tutor, your clients may expect you to help their child get into a prestigious university. Should the student fail to get in, the family could claim that your poor instruction irreparably damaged their child’s financial future, resulting in their financial loss. Professional liability insurance can help cover some of the costs associated with this type of claim – even if it turns out to have no merit.

How to get Arkansas business insurance

Remember, if you’re a small business operating in Arkansas and you have three or more full-time or part-time employees, you’re probably going to need to obtain workers’ compensation insurance. Additionally, if you drive your vehicle for work, you’re going to need auto liability insurance. Depending on the types of business activities you’re conducting with your car, a commercial auto insurance policy might be legally mandated.

For the other risks your business faces, general liability insurance, professional liability insurance, and Business Equipment Protection can provide coverage for many of life’s unpleasant surprises.

To that end, you’re in the right place. General liability and professional liability insurance via Thimble are designed to help you get the insurance you need when you need it. Our affordable on-demand policies cover you by the hour, day, or month.

Protecting your business takes less than sixty seconds. Simply use the Thimble mobile app or click “Get a Quote,” enter a few brief details about your business, and we’ll generate an instant quote. With one final click to purchase, your policy and Certificates of Insurance (COI) will be emailed to you.

Sources:

  1. SBA. Arkansas Small Business Economic Profile.
  2. Arkansas. Gov. Consumer Alert: Fender Bender Facts.