Business insurance terms

Getting down to business with your insurance policy

Building a business is a leap of faith — faith that tomorrow will open the door to success. Starting a business is a risky venture and smart risk-takers do what they can to protect themselves from the unexpected. First step: Choose the right business insurance.

Your local insurance agent is your best insurance resource. But it doesn’t hurt to learn a little about insurance before you meet with an agent, so you have an idea of what you need and the right questions to ask.


Basic insurance terms

Here are some basic insurance terms that can help you communicate when you need to talk insurance.

  1. Policy: The written contract stating the conditions of your insurance coverage.
  2. Agent: The person who sells and services insurance policies.
  3. Adjuster: A person who investigates claims and recommends settlement options based on estimates of damage and insurance policies held.
  4. Claim: A demand made by the insured, or the insured's beneficiary, for payment of the benefits as provided by the policy.
  5. IndemnityRestoration to the victim by payment, repair, or replacement.
  6. Coverage: The scope of protection provided under an insurance policy. In property insurance, coverage lists insured perils (the cause of a loss, e.g. fire), properties covered, locations covered, individuals insured, and the limits of indemnity.
  7. Coinsurance: Property insurance requires policyholders to carry coinsurance — insurance equal to a specified percentage of the value of property — in order to be eligible for full payment on a loss. 
  8. Actual cash value: Cost of replacing damaged or destroyed property with comparable new property, minus depreciation and obsolescence. For example, a 10-year-old sofa will not be replaced at current full value because of a decade of depreciation.
  9. Qualifying event: An occurrence that triggers an insured’s protection.
  10. Deductible: Amount of loss that the insured pays before the insurance kicks in.

What’s a businessowners policy?

A businessowners policy (BOP) typically combines basic property insurance and general liability into one convenient policy — property insurance for buildings and contents owned by the business and liability protection for your company's legal responsibility for harm it may cause to others.

Grinnell Mutual also offers higher limits and optional coverages to our basic BOP package to provide you with above-and-beyond protection. Contact your agent for a complete description of your policy and the enhanced options available to you.

What’s covered under commercial property insurance?

Commercial package policy (CPP) insurance helps protect your building, equipment, and inventory — the stuff that can be damaged by storms, fires, and some types of accidents. Trust us. You want it all covered.

So before you meet with an agent, take a stock of your physical inventory:

  • The building(s) that house(s) your business
  • Additional structures like sheds and warehouses
  • All office equipment, including computers, phones, and furniture
  • Manufacturing or processing equipment
  • Inventory in stock
  • Accounting records and important company documents
  • Outdoor signs
  • Fences and landscaping

Basic property insurance helps cover losses caused by fires or explosions and vandalism. Additional coverages often referred to as endorsements or enhancements, can be purchased to provide added layers of protection or higher limits on basic coverages.

So, if you have more to protect, we’re there for you. Contact your Grinnell Mutual agent today to cover all your business property.

Why do I need general liability insurance?

General liability insurance helps cover any medical expenses and bodily injuries or property damages you and your employees are legally responsible for. A customer could trip on your cracked floor or a faulty product could be sent out for public use. Accidents happen. The good news is, you don’t have to face these claims alone.

General liability insurance is just that — general. It may not cover all your liability exposures. No worries. You can enhance your basic general liability policy with additional coverage options, known as endorsements, to meet most of your coverage needs. These include:

Ask your agent which ones are right for your business.

How does Umbrella coverage add to my liability insurance?

It doesn’t matter how smart, organized, or efficient your business is. Sometimes, life throws you a curveball. While standard liability coverage will help protect you in many situations, it may not be enough. Costly and intimidating lawsuits can be a burden for even the best in the business.

Fortunately, Grinnell Mutual’s Commercial Umbrella insurance can be the protective armor you need in the face of bigger, scarier liability claims. It could save the day when you’ve reached the limit of your general liability insurance. We go above and beyond the basics to help ensure that your business and assets stay afloat.

Contact an agent to find out more about Umbrella insurance.

What if my equipment breaks down?

You need your stuff to work. Not just sometimes. Every day. That’s why Grinnell Mutual attaches Equipment Breakdown coverage to all eligible policies unless waived*

 *May not apply in all states; ask your agent.

Equipment breakdown coverage helps protect the equipment, machinery, and systems that keep your business running. It can pay for damage caused by electrical arcing, mechanical breakdown, power surges, centrifugal force, and more.

Covered equipment

  • Heating and cooling
  • Computers and PBX phone systems
  • Electronic retail equipment
  • Electrical system
  • Communication systems
  • Boilers
  • Elevator motors and machinery
  • Fire detection and security systems
  • Rooftop machinery
  • More

Covered accidents

An “accident” means an event that causes direct physical damage to “covered equipment.”

  • Mechanical breakdown
  • Artificially generated electrical current
  • Explosions of steam boilers, pipes, engines, or turbines
  • Loss or damage to steam boilers, pipes, engines, or turbines
  • Loss or damage to hot water boilers or other water heating equipment resulting from any condition or event inside
  • More

Contact your agent about higher limit options for your Equipment Breakdown coverage.

How do I get coverage for my commercial vehicles?

Your customers depend on you. And you depend on your company’s vehicles to get the job done. Whether your business vehicles move products, equipment, or employees, Grinnell Mutual's Commercial Auto Plus endorsement provides over 20 coverage enhancements and extensions to your basic commercial auto policy at an affordable rate. 

Contact your agent for a complete description of your Commercial Auto coverage.

What if I have a problem with an employee?

Your company is like a family, and it hurts to think of anyone filing a complaint. But there are a whole host of employment laws that employers need to be aware of — and even accidental violations can lead to a lawsuit. Jury awards and out-of-court settlements can run into hundreds of thousands of dollars. Add legal fees and time lost to dealing with the problem, and the total cost can be staggering.

Grinnell Mutual’s Employment Practices Liability insurance helps provide financial protection from a variety of employment suits and complaints, such as harassment, discrimination, and wrongful dismissal. It also can cover defense costs. This coverage is attached to eligible policies unless waived.*

* In Missouri, Nebraska, and Ohio, this coverage is added by request.

If you want to learn more about Employment Practices Liability insurance, or if you just want to discuss the kinds of claims that companies like yours experience, contact your local Grinnell Mutual agent.

Can I tailor my policy to my insurance needs?

Your business is special. You want insurance that's special, too. Our Target Market packages protect your building, business personal property, and income like all business owner insurance packages do. But these programs are tailored to the specific needs of businesses like yours so you aren’t paying for insurance you don’t need.

We offer tailored insurance packages to the following Target Markets.

  • Auto Service and Repair Shops
  • Barber and Beauty Shops
  • Contractors
  • Convenience Stores
  • Florists
  • Funeral Homes
  • House of Worship
  • Mini-Storage Warehouses
  • Multi-Family Residential Plus
  • Photographers and Videographers
  • Pizzerias
  • Restaurants
  • Veterinarians

Contact your agent to find out which package is best for you.

What insurance do I need for my commercial agribusiness?

It’s no secret that farming operations are becoming more complex. They’re expanding in size, increasingly dependent on technology, and adding new streams of commercial revenue.

Grinnell Mutual embraces the changing agricultural landscape and offers products to cover it. We offer a great group of coverages for not only your family and your farm, but your commercial agribusiness ventures, too.

What's your business

Grinnell Mutual’s commercial agribusiness coverage is designed for farm operations that also include other types of commercial business exposures. 

For example, if you run a seed dealership business on your farm, this coverage may be perfect for your agribusiness.

Other agribusiness examples are:

  • Full-service agricultural co-ops
  • Seed, feed, grain, and hay dealers
  • Feed and grain mills
  • Grain elevators
  • Chemical and fertilizer dealers

Mix and match

You can mix and match coverages to secure the specific protection your agribusiness needs. Coverage can include:

  • Dwelling and other personal structures
  • Household personal property
  • Machinery, equipment, and implements
  • Commercial property
  • Farm buildings
  • Business personal property
  • Inland marine

Grinnell Mutual also offers optional coverage options for:

  • Disruption of farming operations (income loss and expenses)
  • Debris removal increased limit
  • Spoilage — perishable farm personal property
  • Foreign object in machinery
  • Cab glass
  • Equipment breakdown

Additional agribusiness liability coverages

It can be tricky to get the right liability coverage. That’s why Grinnell Mutual offers specific optional coverages to protect your agribusiness from every angle.

  • Custom feeding liability: Provides third-party liability when you custom-feed livestock.
  • Limited confined livestock coverage due to failure of HVAC equipment: Covers loss of livestock due to suffocation, asphyxiation, hypothermia, or hyperthermia caused by unexpected failure of heating, cooling, or ventilation.
  • Broad contractual liability: Extends contractual liability coverage to incidental business operations.
  • Confined livestock care, custody, and control liability: Provides liability coverage for property damage to non-owned livestock while in your care, custody, or control.
  • Limited liability — farm premises and operations: Designed for farmers needing liability coverage for farming operations only. Ask your agent to make sure your farm property qualifies.

To find out if our Commercial Agribusiness coverage is right for your operation, contact your local Grinnell Mutual agent

For more information

The insurance coverages above are just part of the included and enhanced coverages we offer to protect every aspect of business property and liability exposures. And don’t forget about protecting your employees with Workers’ Compensation and Return to Work programs. We’ve also got what you need for protection from cyber attacks and data breaches

So, even if the plans you have for your business aren’t the same as what the future holds, we’ll keep our promise to protect your interests. Trust in Tomorrow. Contact your agent today.