Over the last decade, the Sunshine State has welcomed hundreds of thousands of new residents fleeing the bad weather and unfriendly business climate in places like New York. This means Florida is experiencing a spike in new businesses. Whether you’re a transplant or native of Florida, are you aware of your state’s business insurance laws? Additionally, do you know what type of insurance policy you need to have in place to protect your business from risk? Below, we’ll review everything you need to know about the rules and regulations of having business insurance in Florida and the types of policies every small business owner should consider.

Florida insurance laws

It’s important to note that there are various types of insurance and coverage options for small business owners to learn about. Some plans cover general instances, while others are more specific to a certain risk or liability. That said, for today, it’s helpful to split the types of insurance we’ll be discussing into one of two categories:

  1. The insurance policies that are required for a business to legally operate
  2. The insurance policies that are recommended for business operations

Legally required insurance policies

Generally speaking, Florida requires most businesses to have two types of insurance policies in order to satisfy a company’s legal obligations. They are:
Workers’ Compensation
If you have four
or more employees—whether part-time or full-time—it’s state-mandated that you carry workers’ compensation insurance. Also, if you operate within the construction industry and have more than one employee, you’re required to have coverage. This type of insurance policy is meant to protect the company and its employees from accidents and injuries that happen in the workplace during regular business operations. In addition, it annulls an employee’s ability to sue their employer on the grounds of negligence.
With workers’ comp, insurance providers compensate injured workers for:

  • Lost wages
  • Medical care and treatment
  • Rehabilitation
  • Disability

In addition to being exposed to liability, failure to have workers’ compensation could result in the following penalties for employers:

  • Serious fines (“Two times the amount the employer would have paid in manual premium within the preceding two year period”)
  • A Stop-Work Order that suspends the business’ operations until workers’ compensation insurance is implemented
  • Criminal charges and potential jail time

Commercial Auto Insurance If your business owns vehicles, the state requires that Floridians have commercial auto insurance coverage, rather than a personal auto policy. Florida state laws mandate that a commercial auto insurance policy
have $10,000 in personal injury protection and $10,000 in property damage liability protection (per accident). Also, if you do drive a personal vehicle for work purposes, it would be wise to obtain a commercial auto insurance policy since personal auto policies often exclude commercial uses. In simpler english: if you have an accident while you’re on the job, your insurance might not cover you.

Recommended business liability insurance policies in Florida

Now, just because something isn’t legally required doesn’t mean that it isn’t smart to have. Whatever industry you operate in has inherent risks—some more so, others not so much. Regardless, it’s essential that businesses in Florida have, at the very least, one of the following two policies:

General Liability Insurance
General liability insurance, also called general liability business insurance, helps protect a commercial enterprise and business owner from liability claims to third parties such as:

  • Bodily injury caused by the business
  • Property damage caused by the business
  • Medical costs from a customer hurting themselves on your equipment or in your shop

But how would these apply to real situations? Pretend you’re a house cleaner working in a mansion. As you go about your business, you accidentally knock over an antique bust. Now, the client wants you to pay for the property damages in order to replace the priceless artifact. Or consider an electrician who’s wired an apartment building but made a mistake. This led to an electrical fire, which injured a tenant. As a result, the tenant files a bodily injury claim, demanding compensation for their medical expenses, surgery, and rehabilitation. If you had general liability insurance, it would help mitigate the costs that come with these unfortunate situations.

Professional Liability Insurance
Professional liability insurance, also known as an errors and omissions policy (E&O), is insurance coverage for professionals who give advice and consultation in exchange for money. It protects individuals
and businesses from being stuck with the entire cost of defending a negligence claim and the resulting damages. For example, let’s say you’re a graphic designer that just finished an incredible website mockup for a new client. Once they receive it, they claim you didn’t build it exactly as they wanted. Now they have to delay their company launch, which costs them extra money in overhead. They sue you for negligence, claiming that your mistake resulted in serious financial losses. A Florida business liability insurance policy for professionals could help cover your legal fees and damages, even if you were, indeed, guilty.

Thimble: business insurance in Florida

Whether you need a general liability insurance policy or a professional liability insurance policy (or both), Thimble has you covered. We’re not like other insurance carriers. Thimble is hassle-free, affordable,
and transparent. With our pay-when-you’re-working structure, our insurance only works when you do. This means you can choose a policy by the hour, day, or month, tailored specifically to when you’re on the job. Additionally, you can add Additional Insureds and generate more COIs completely free of charge. Need to cancel because a job fell through? No problem. You can cancel penalty-free up to an hour prior to when the terms are set to begin. Click “select a quote” or download the Thimble app, input a few details about your business, enter your ZIP code, and choose your desired coverage length and we’ll generate a quote immediately. All in 60 seconds. So, if you run a business in Florida, protect your future with Thimble, the only insurance designed to be with you every step of the way (rain or shine).