I recently started a business and had to get liability insurance to ensure I was covered if I wanted to get the Australian government contract I was after. I like the internet and use it to search and buy many things including insurance, but trying to compare business insurance online was near impossible. I had a look around the USA and UK and found that this is a common problem. There are many website which compare other insurance products such as car, health or travel insurance but almost none when trying to get a few business insurance quotes.
There is a simple reason for this; it is harder to give quotes online for business insurance. This is because most businesses are different and although the insurance companies categorise each business they still will almost always speak or email a customer before following through with the sale. This is to ensure that there are no particulars you may have missed which may cause you or your business financial loss. After all, if an item is damaged or stolen and isn’t covered you may not be covered. Similarly, if you are performing a duty (such as a plumber doing electrical work) then you may not be covered either. You need to talk to a broker or insurance person and advise them of all your requirements and what needs to be protected with business insurance.
Car insurance on the other hand which is probably the most widely compare insurance product online is pretty straight forward when you want a quote. Each insurer asks different questions which are based on the mathematical formulas they use but they will almost always ask you; age, car type, sex, address and driving history or rating; Around 90% of the car insurance quote is made up of these 5 things. The value of your car is what is being insured and each insurer places a value on your car, you will see this value if you get an online car insurance quote, it is usually called the Sum Insured. The sum insured amount for a car is pretty easy to calculate. You work out what the car is and the condition and you get a pretty good idea of the value of a car. There are companies that offer this service such as Redbook and Glass but the information is also readily available online to the public. For instance, if I told you I had a 1978 Datsun 280ZX in good condition you would be able to give me an idea of what it was worth just by doing a quick Google search or by searching. But try and work out the value of a business. Let’s say a Florist with revenues of 700k per year? With just this small amount of information it is impossible.
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The insurance companies face the same dilemma; working out the Sum Insured of a business is much harder than for car. And for this reason you will almost never get an online insurance quote for business insurance and the reason why it is damn hard to compare business insurance online. The best thing to do is to fill in a form with a business insurance broker or broker website and get them to contact you. Often insurance brokers will cover a number of insurance companies and so by contacting them you can still get a comparison.
When you ring a broker ask them how many underwriters they cover as it is the underwriter that determines the price. If they provide business insurance from several underwriters then get them to provide you with a quote. It is not as convenient as comparing car insurance but the end result is usually the same – a better deal on your insurance premium.
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