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Every week, join Whitney Quick as she helps you navigate life as a smart consumer. You'll cover everything in avoiding the latest scams, including phishing emails, medical equipment fraud, understanding layaway, hiring a reputable tax preparer, and even digital spring cleaning. Add to your toolbox and flip through your Consumer Handbook Thursdays during NPR’s Morning Edition at 6:42 a.m. and 8:42 a.m., only on KRCU.

Consumer Handbook: Picking the Right Insurance Policy for a New Small Business

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Business insurance protects your small business, both financially and legally. However, if you are just starting out, navigating insurance policies can be tricky. Some kinds of insurance are required by law, others by your clients, and other types are optional. How do you know what policies you need for your business?

BBB offers the following tips to help you make a good decision. Check your requirements. Before you start considering plans, find out what kind of insurance you are legally required to have. If you have employees, the United States federal government requires your company to carry unemployment, disability, and workers’ compensation insurance.

Assess your business risks. Think about what risks your business may run. Do you work in an area where natural disasters or accidents could affect your business? Are you at risk of lawsuits? Do you have a physical office that could be damaged? Do you sell physical products that could be lost, broken, or stolen? These factors will help you determine what kind of insurance you need.

Know types of insurance and what they cover. Get help from a licensed insurance agent. If you can’t decide how much coverage you need or what kind of policy to purchase, a licensed insurance agent can help. However, keep in mind that agents receive a commission when they sell a policy. Ask for recommendations and check online reviews to make sure you find a reputable agent that will do what’s best for your business.

Consider bundling insurance into one policy. Compare prices and companies. Benefits and costs, as well as customer service, will inevitably vary from company to company. Get several offers and compare the rates, terms, and benefits before you choose. Reassess your needs on a regular basis. As your business grows and changes, your insurance needs can shift. Every year, reassess your business to ensure your insurance policy still protects you. If need be, discuss any business changes with your insurance agent to see how they might affect your coverage.

Cape Girardeau native Whitney Quick is the Regional Director of Better Business Bureau in Cape Girardeau, MO, and is responsible for outreach efforts in Southeast Missouri and Southern Illinois. Quick is a graduate of Cape Girardeau Central High School and Southeast Missouri University where she majored in public relations. Quick enjoys helping educate consumers in the southeast Missouri region by sharing consumer tips with groups and educating them about BBB’s resources.