Online business insurance

12 minute read Published on Mar 27, 2023 by BrokerLink Communications

Online business insurance

If you run an online business, then you need business insurance. Sometimes choosing the right insurance policy is no easy feat, especially with so many types of coverage out there. Luckily, the experts at BrokerLink make finding commercial insurance coverage for your online business a breeze. Learn more about how online business insurance works and how we can help you find a high-quality yet affordable policy.

Insurance coverage for online businesses

Online businesses have their own unique insurance needs. BrokerLink understands this, which is why one of our commercial insurance specialists will take the time to understand the specific risks that your company faces. At the end of the day, we want to make sure that you find a policy that protects you against the various types of business liabilities, as well as other losses and damage that you could face. From cyber insurance to product liability insurance, keep reading to learn more about insurance coverage for online businesses:

Commercial general liability insurance

Commercial general liability (or CGL for short) is a type of commercial insurance that is a must-have for all businesses. Whether your business operates solely online or a mix of online and brick and mortar, CGL insurance can protect you against third party liability claims. There’s a reason it’s also known as slip and fall insurance. It can protect you from third party claims relating to bodily injury, property damage, libel and slander, and more. For example, even if you don’t have a physical store with customers, you may have a warehouse where the products you sell online are stored. If a vendor or even a delivery driver visited your warehouse and accidentally slipped and fell, they could sue you. With CGL insurance in your back pocket, your insurer would help pay for the associated costs, ranging from legal fees to medical expenses, and more.

Product liability insurance

If your online business sells a product to customers, whether it be clothing, electronics, food and beverages, cars, or something else entirely, product liability insurance is crucial. If you want to add product liability insurance to your online business policy, it will usually be added under your CGL coverage. Similar to CGL insurance, this type of coverage protects you from third party claims. However, product liability insurance protects you against bodily injury and property damage claims that may arise from a customer using your product. For example, if you sell energy drinks and one of your customers has an allergic reaction after consuming your drink, they could sue you. It is the product liability insurance portion of your policy that would pay for the applicable legal and medical fees.

Cyber liability insurance

In the 21st century, it’s safe to say that all businesses need cyber insurance, but this rings especially true for online businesses. If you want to financially protect yourself from cyber threats, cyber insurance, also known as cyber liability insurance, is the only way. Online businesses such as yours likely have e-commerce websites and store all sorts of important information online, from customer’s financial information to sensitive international information about your company’s operations. If a hacker breached your system and stole this information, it could have catastrophic effects. Thankfully, if your online business fell victim to a hack or cyber attack, your cyber liability insurance would kick in to help cover the associated costs. These costs may include legal fees, credit monitoring, customer notification, and more.

Commercial property insurance

Commercial property insurance is another staple of most business insurance plans, including online business insurance plans. If your online business has any sort of physical space, whether it’s an office for your staff, a warehouse that stores the products you sell, or even a single brick and mortar shop, having commercial property insurance is a must. This is the only way to protect the space, as well as your business-related belongings from loss. Commercial property insurance functions similarly to home insurance in that you will receive an insurance payout for damage that is caused by a specific peril. Insured perils for commercial property insurance typically include wind, water damage, theft, vandalism, and fire. In this case, if a fire broke out at your business headquarters and damaged the building, as well as the computers inside the building, your insurance company would help pay to replace the computers and repair the building damage.

Business interruption insurance

Business interruption insurance is a commercial property insurance add-on that many online businesses choose to take advantage of. By adding this to your commercial property coverage, you can be reimbursed for the cost of running your business if it is forced to temporarily cease operations in the event of damage. For instance, if a fire breaks out in your shop and it is forced to close for a month while it is repaired, your insurer will help pay to keep your business afloat during this time under the business interruption portion of your policy. Expenses that business interruption insurance may cover include property rent, employee wages, and more.

Crime insurance

Many online businesses choose to add crime insurance to their policies to protect them from the reality of employee and customer crimes. This type of commercial insurance can pay for theft, paying with a fraudulent cheque or fake credit card so you aren’t stuck with the bill due to fraud or theft.

Commercial auto insurance

Commercial auto insurance may be a requirement for your online business if you use a car for business purposes. It could be a single vehicle or multiple vehicles - either way, commercial auto insurance would be mandatory. Why? Personal car insurance plans do not cover business use, which means if you got into a collision while delivering products to a customer or dropping off products at your warehouse, your personal auto insurance would not protect you. If you want to be covered for the business use of your vehicle, you must purchase a separate commercial auto insurance policy or a fleet insurance policy for multiple vehicles.

A BrokerLink insurance specialist can explain commercial auto and fleet insurance requirements in more detail. However, these types of policies generally feature similar coverage to personal auto insurance policies. It varies depending on the province your online business operates in, but they typically include third party liability insurance, accident benefits insurance, uninsured automobile insurance, and direct compensation - property damage insurance.

More insurance coverage for online businesses

The coverages listed above are not the only types of insurance available to online businesses. Depending on your needs, including where you operate and how your online business is structured, you may decide that it’s worthwhile to add extra protection to your policy. The following is a list of extra protection that can be added to most online business insurance policies:

  • Employer liability insurance
  • Employment practices liability insurance
  • Employee benefits liability insurance
  • Directors and officers
  • Management liability insurance
  • Legal expenses liability insurance
  • Builders risk insurance
  • By-law policy insurance
  • Commercial earthquake insurance
  • Overland water insurance
  • Sewer backup insurance
  • Equipment breakdown insurance
  • Tool floater insurance
  • Umbrella insurance

Insurance for home-based online businesses

Since home-based online businesses have become increasingly popular, especially since 2020, we thought we’d take a moment to discuss home business insurance. Home business insurance is a necessity for anyone who operates their online business out of their home or who regularly works for a business from home. The reality is that working from home impacts home insurance, which is why your home-based business operations are not automatically covered by home insurance policies.

Thus, just because you have a home insurance policy in place, doesn’t mean that you will be covered for an incident relating to your home-based business. Just like how personal car insurance does not cover business use of cars, personal home insurance does not cover business use of the home. You would need to add a home business insurance rider to your home insurance policy or purchase a completely separate business insurance policy if you want your home-based online business to be covered.

By purchasing this type of policy or adding this type of endorsement to an existing policy, you will be covered in a wide range of scenarios, whether a customer visits your home and injures themselves or a thief breaks into your home and steals your business equipment or inventory.

How much does online business insurance cost?

The cost of online business insurance varies considerably between policyholders. Since no two businesses are the same, insurance companies use a variety of factors to calculate risk and assign rates. The following is a list of some of the most common details that insurance companies will consider, ranging from the annual revenue of your business to the number of people it employs:

  • Your years of experience in the industry
  • The size and location of your online business
  • The annual and projected gross revenue of your online business
  • The number of employees at your online business
  • Your personal insurance claims history
  • The products or services offered by your online business
  • The coverages, limits, and deductibles you select for your online commercial insurance policy
  • Whether your online business operates solely online or a mix of in-store and online

How to get a free online business quote

If you are interested in purchasing online business insurance, the first step is to request a free quote from a trusted insurance broker near you. BrokerLink is a reputable insurance brokerage that has been around since 1991. In our over 30 years of operating, we have become the go-to brokerage for Canadians all across the country. We offer free insurance quotes to all businesses, and we use a complex algorithm that ensures they are as accurate and reliable as can be. Reach out to us over the phone, in person, or via our website to request a free quote today.

You can even use our online insurance quote tool, which will provide you with a complimentary estimate in minutes. What are you waiting for? Find out how much online business insurance will cost you by reaching out to BrokerLink today. You can also ask one of our licensed insurance advisors any questions you may have, such as how different types of coverage work or how you can save money on online business insurance.

Tips to save money on online business insurance

So you want to save money on your online business insurance policy? BrokerLink can help. Our insurance experts know all the best tips for cutting insurance costs and we love sharing them with our customers. To get started, check out the tips below:

Compare insurance policies before buying one

Before purchasing any form of online business insurance coverage, we strongly urge you to compare multiple policies. This is the only way to ensure you are getting a competitive rate for your coverage. Otherwise, you run the risk of overpaying for insurance, which no business wants to do. If you don’t have time to shop around on your own, enlist the help of a commercial insurance broker at BrokerLink. BrokerLink has an entire team of dedicated insurance specialists to help you not only find a policy that meets your needs but also find one that doesn’t break the bank. We have experience working within a wide range of budgets and will do everything in our power to ensure that you find affordable coverage for your online business. Contact us today to get started, and you will be assigned a dedicated insurance broker who will shop around, obtain quotes, and compare policy options on your behalf.

Choose high insurance deductibles for your online business

Several factors impact premiums for online businesses, and many of these are out of your control. But one factor that’s within your control is the deductibles you choose for your policy. If you want to keep your online business insurance premium low, consider choosing high policy deductibles. The higher your deductible, the lower your premium will be, so if your business can afford to pay more money in the event of a claim, you will be rewarded with lower insurance costs.

Implement an effective risk management strategy

Risk management is a key component of any online business. Not only can it improve employee well being but it can make your workplace safer. The safer your online business is, the less prone it will be to incidents. In turn, this may translate to fewer insurance claims, and the fewer claims on your record, the cheaper your premium will be. So if you want to save money on your online business insurance policy, implement a risk management strategy that addresses the main risks you face and that includes comprehensive online business insurance.

Ask about business insurance discounts

Did you know that there are a range of insurance discounts that businesses can qualify for? For example, if you graduated from a particular educational institution or you choose to install a monitored security system in your business office, you could receive a commercial insurance discount. Similarly, if you install an anti-theft device or winter tires on a car that you use for business purposes, your commercial auto insurance rates may be lowered. Contact BrokerLink to learn more about insurance discounts you may be eligible for.

Speak with a licensed insurance broker about other ways to save

One final tip if you want to save money on online business coverage is to speak with an insurance broker. Insurance brokers like those at BrokerLink work for the customer, not the insurance company. Thus, you can always trust that they have your best interests at heart. If you go to a broker and tell them that your main goal is to find business insurance on a budget, they will do what they can to find you the most affordable, competitive price for your coverage.

Contact BrokerLink for more information on online business insurance

Do you want to learn more about online business insurance or how this type of coverage will protect your online business? Get in touch with BrokerLink today. Our team of commercial insurance specialists is available to find you the best possible policy at a price that you are comfortable with. Plus, as insurance experts, we can explain other aspects of commercial insurance, like insurance binder or loss payee vs additional insured. Contact us today to begin safeguarding your online business. We can be reached by phone, email, or in person at any one of our 200+ locations across Canada.


Online business insurance FAQs

Does my online business need insurance?

Online business insurance is not government mandated in Canada. In other words, you are not legally required to insure your online business. That said, many business owners choose to purchase insurance for the financial security it offers. With this type of insurance, you will be protected against all kinds of losses, from liability claims to physical property damage. Plus, purchasing an online business insurance policy will make your company look more reputable and professional to other businesses and customers.

What types of online insurance coverage can an insurance broker help me find?

Insurance brokers can help online businesses of all shapes and sizes find a wide range of commercial insurance coverage. For example, a broker can find you a policy that features the basics like commercial general liability coverage and commercial property coverage, as well as extra protection, such as cyber insurance, crime insurance, umbrella liability insurance, employment liability insurance, and more.

How can I find cheap online business insurance?

Qualifying for business insurance discounts, implementing a quality risk management strategy at your business, bundling insurance policies, installing a security system in your office space, picking high policy deductibles, and shopping around before settling on a policy can all help you save money on online business insurance.

Where can I buy online business insurance?

Online business insurance can be purchased online, in person, or over the phone. Nowadays, most insurance companies and brokerages offer online insurance services, which range from purchasing coverage to renewing coverage to filing an insurance claim. Contact your local insurer to learn more about their processes.

How can I renew my online business insurance policy?

In most cases, you can renew your online business insurance policy online. Although, if you prefer to contact your insurance provider over the phone or in person, you can also renew your policy that way. Keep in mind that many insurance policies now renew automatically on the date that your existing policy expires. Thus, you may not have to do anything if you want your policy to renew.

What types of insurance coverage do online businesses in Canada need?

Online businesses will benefit from the same types of insurance coverage as other businesses, like commercial general liability coverage, product liability coverage, crime insurance, commercial property insurance, etc. However, there are a couple of other types of coverage that may be especially important for businesses that operate primarily online, such as cyber liability insurance, which can protect your business against hacks, data breaches, and cyber attacks.

If you have any questions, contact one of our local branches.