On this page
- The type of cover your business will need
- Details about types of insurance
- Get the right advice
What insurance protection do you need for your business?
The following table gives an overview of the different types of insurance and the types of businesses they are appropriate for.
|Personal accident & sickness insurance, revenue insurance||Worksafe insurance||Property & assets insurance||Professional indemnity/ public liability insurance||Product liability insurance||3rd party personal injury & vehicle insurance|
|Business with no employees||Yes||No||Yes||Yes||No||No|
|Business with employees||Yes||Yes, compulsory||Yes||Yes||No||No|
|Advisory-based business||Yes||Yes, if have staff||Yes||Yes||No||No|
|Business selling, supplying, delivering products||Yes||Yes, if have staff||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes, if using motor vehicles|
|Business owning company/business vehicles||Yes||Yes, if have staff||Yes||Yes||No||Yes|
|Business dealing with customers||Yes||Yes, if have staff||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes, if using motor vehicles|
|Independent contractors||Yes||Yes, if have staff||Yes||Yes||No||Yes, if using motor vehicles|
Types of insurance explained
An insurance policy that's appropriate to your business needs can protect you against a range of unforeseen events, such as an office or factory fire, theft of equipment or storm damage. The following is an overview of the main types of insurance policies you could consider for your business.
Personal accident and sickness insurance
Personal accident and sickness insurance compensates for loss of income suffered if you have an accident or suffer an illness that stops you from doing your work. This is especially useful for independent contractors who may not be entitled to workers compensation.
Revenue insurance (also called 'consequential loss' or 'business interruption' insurance) helps compensate a business for reduced profits caused by interruptions like a fire, flood, accident, burglary or major computer failures.
Victorian Work Cover Authority insurance
Victorian Work Cover Authority insurance is compulsory insurance for Victorian employers which is funded by their contributions. It provides employers with insurance cover for the cost of benefits if your workers are injured or become ill because of their work.
You must take out a Victorian Work Cover Authority insurance policy if you:
- expect to pay more than $7500 a year in rateable remuneration
- have any apprentices or trainees. This applies even if you're a small business with only one worker.
If you're hiring contractors, you need to determine whether they're considered to be a 'worker' by the Victorian Work Cover Authority. If the person is considered a worker, you effectively become their employer for Victorian Work Cover Authority purposes, and you must include the money you pay them in your total remuneration.
For more information on whether Victorian Work Cover Authority insurance applies to you, read the Authority's publication, Your WorkCover insurance: A guide for employers.
Property and assets insurance
Whatever the scale of your business, insuring fixed assets like your premises, products, vehicles and equipment will help you continue operating if they are damaged, stolen or destroyed.
Some of the different kinds of property and assets insurance are:
Whether your business operates from a factory, warehouse, shop or your home, if you own the premises it is likely to be your single largest business asset. Various policies can help protect your premises against hazards like fire, lightning, storms, wind or water damage, explosions and vandalism.
Contents and equipment insurance
Contents and equipment insurance can help you replace vital business equipment (such as computer systems, manufacturing equipment, files, tools or machines) quickly without interrupting trade.
Goods in transit insurance
If your business involves transporting goods by road, sea or air, you should consider insuring against any potential damage that may occur once the product leaves your control and is in transit.
Professional indemnity insurance
Professional indemnity insurance protects professionals in diverse industries against negligence claims made by a client. It covers the costs and expenses of defending a legal claim and any damages payable. Professional contractors often need to hold professional indemnity insurance if working with government bodies, local authorities or private consulting firms.
Public liability insurance
Public liability insurance is useful for any business that interacts face-to-face with customers. It covers your potential liabilities to third parties for personal injury or property damage if you or your business is found to be negligent. If your organisation requires your customers or the general public to visit your home or business, or if you visit their premises, you should consider taking out public liability insurance. The owners and operators of organisations have a responsibility to those visiting or engaging in activities on their premises (known as 'duty of care').
Product liability insurance
If your business sells, supplies or delivers goods, even in the form of repair or service, you may need cover against claims of goods causing injury, death or damage. Product liability insurance covers you if any of these events happen to another business or person by the failure of your product, or the product you're selling.
Vehicle insurance for businesses
If your business uses motor vehicles, it is compulsory to insure the vehicles for third party injury liability. Policy costs depend on the type of vehicles you use, the goods they carry, and the frequency and type of use. For example, businesses transporting dangerous goods require a distinctly different policy to document couriers.
Make sure your coverage includes commercial/business use.
Getting the right advice
Not all insurance types are applicable to your situation. An insurance broker can accurately assess the risks of your business and help facilitate the process of securing insurance. You can contact an insurance broker through the National Insurance Brokers Association or Steadfast.
If you choose to go directly to an insurance company, the Insurance Council of Australia website provides insurance information as well as contact details for its 56 member groups.
Insurance brokers are required by law to act as your representatives and work in your interest, whereas insurance agents may act in the insurance company’s interest. If you have a dispute with your insurer, you can contact the Financial Ombudsman Service for assistance.