Working at home? Get home business insurance

For most home-based businesses, a BOP is a good choice, says James Walsh, editorial director at Silver Lake Publishing and an editor of "The Personal Security Handbook: Practical Tools for Keeping Yourself and Your Possessions Safe at Work, Home or on the Road."

Walsh offers these tips for buyers of home business insurance:

  • Find an insurance agent or broker who understands your business. A good place to start is through a professional organization.
  • Ask the agent for an umbrella policy that provides protection for your personal and your business assets. Some insurers won't consider combining personal and business assets, but Walsh believes that the owner of a home-based business can't separate the two.
  • Even if you are only going to use your car occasionally for business, increase the policy limits to $100,000/$300,000 and make sure it's under your umbrella. "If you are making a living from this business, you don't want a fender-bender to turn into a cancer that eats up your time and your money," Walsh says.

He also advises people who run small businesses not to scrimp on errors and omissions or other business liability insurance and make sure that it includes legal defense fees. "You have to think like a corporation," he says. "You don't want to spend a lot of time fighting with an angry former customer. You want to make the suit go away so you can get on with your next project."

As with any other kind of insurance, one good way to keep prices low is to make certain your working environment is safe and secure. Install a computer back-up system, smoke detectors and a security system. And keep sidewalks shoveled in the winter.

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