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Better Check That Policy

Enterprise -- In Box


Many home-based entrepreneurs assume that their homeowner's policy insures the business. Not so. The typical homeowner's policy won't cover accounts receivable or other business documents lost in a fire, for example. Recently, though, insurers have introduced policies specifically for home businesses. Some companies require you to have auto, home, or other insurance with them. One example: The Home Entrepreneur Program, new from Hanover Insurance Co., is a $225 add-on to the basic homeowner's policy. Regs vary by state. Home security systems and smoke alarms may earn discounts. For advice and helpful free brochures, contact the Insurance Information Institute (800 942-4242, BY EDITH HILL UPDIKEReturn to top

ONLINE ORIGINAL TABLE: Home Business Insurance: A Policy Sampler

Though far from being universally available, more insurers have begun selling business coverage to home-based professionals such as salespeople, real estate agents, and artists. Below is a sampling of available policies and their price ranges, most of which are offered only as endorsements (add-ons) to existing homeowner policies. Two companies in this list -- The Hartford and RLI -- don't require the homeowner coverage, though their home-business coverage is more expensive than the add-on variety.

All policies offer business property coverage and liability coverage. Some also cover business-interruption costs and off-premises property loss, which may be desirable if you travel with an expensive laptop or other tools of your trade.*CNACoverage: Endorsement only. Business property is covered up to the amount of homeowners' property insurance. Product liability also matches the amount of homeowners' liability. Off-premises loss is insured up to $15,000. Business-interruption is paid out for up to one year.Annual premium: $175, homeowner policy deductible appliesState availability: In 32 states, including New York, Illinois, Michigan, Oregon, Colorado, Tennessee, Pennsylvania, OhioMore information: 312 822-1454.*FIREMAN'S FUNDCoverage: Endorsement only; exclusively for sole proprietors. Includes $300,000 in business property insurance, $300,000 in liability, and $10,000 in off-premises coverage.Annual premium: $250, with $500 deductible. For a $275 premium, property and liability limits are set at $500,000. At $300, they increase to $1 million.State availability: Currently offered only in Arizona, Illinois, New York, and Virginia. Ten more states to be added by mid-1998.More information: 415 899-4054*HARLEYSVILLE MUTUAL INSURANCECoverage: Endorsement only. $10,000 in business property coverage, $300,000 in business liability and $5,000 for off-premises losses. Also includes $10,000 in accounts-receivable coverage.Annual premium: $125, homeowner policy deductible appliesState availability: New York, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Virginia, Maryland, GeorgiaMore information: 1 800 523-6344 x 5237*THE HARTFORDCoverage: Endorsement only. $100,000 in business liability. $10,000 in business property coverage, including $5,000 in off-premises loss. "Valuable papers and records" coverage for lost or destroyed data.Annual premium: $150-$275, with $250 deductible on property lossesState availability: Nationwide except for Texas, Louisiana, Massachusetts, and MaineMore information:*THE HARTFORDCoverage: Stand-alone policy (no homeowners' required). Business liability of $500,000, up to $1 million. Business equipment coverage from $10,000 to $200,000. Business-interruption coverage for losses sustained for up to 12 months.Annual premium: $350 minimum, with $250 deductible on property losses. $500 premium minimums in New York and California.State availability: Contiguous 48 statesMore information: Local Hartford agencies*RLICoverage: Stand-alone policy (no homeowners' required). $5,000 in business property coverage -- both on or away from home -- that can be increased up to $50,000. General liability of $300,000, up to as much as $1 million. Covers up to three employees.Annual premium: For base policy, 90% of policies run between $150 and $280, with $100 deductible.State availability: NationwideMore information: Call 309-692-1000, ext. 553Return to top

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