Business insurance

It doesn’t matter what industry you operate in, who you sell to, or where your customers are, all business carries risk. Accidents happen. Clients go bust. Disputes occur. From hazard, to financial, to legal and more, there’s always the chance that things can go wrong, and when they do, they can create serious problems for your business, or even close your business down.

Fortunately, there’s an answer to this dilemma. Available to all businesses and to cover almost any eventuality, comprehensive business insurance is a valuable emergency lifeline. Use it to offset risk, to create a financial cushion, and to avoid the potential for disaster if the worst should ever happen.create a financial cushion, and avoid the potential for disaster if the worst should ever happen.

What is business insurance?

Business insurance protects organisations against losses incurred in the pursuit of their normal business activities. Losses may arise through accident, weather-related events such as floods or lightning strike, theft, malpractice, employee compensation claims, shipping risks, utility failures, and a host of other issues. Although business insurance cannot stop problems from occurring, it can replace what was lost, pay for interim arrangements as your business gets back on its feet, and give your business the chance to thrive again.

Why do I need to think about business insurance?

Protect against risk

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Protect against risk

Your business, like all others, faces a level of risk as part of your daily operations. Business insurance is available to help protect your business against the impact of unexpected events or possible claims.

Legal or industry requirement

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Legal or industry requirement

Does your business employ staff? Is your industry subject to specific regulations? Every business is different and certain types of insurance – like employers’ liability insurance – may be legally required based on your business’s profile. Understand the specific requirements and demands connected to your business to ensure you have the relevant cover in place.

Specialised cover

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Specialised cover

Some industries or activities may require specific or specialist insurance policies. Make sure you buy the right products to reflect the risks and requirements of your business.

Change in business circumstance

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Change in business circumstance

As your business evolves – growing and taking on new staff for example – your business profile, operations and requirements may change. Make sure your business continues to be protected against unexpected events and potential compensation claims.

What types of insurance is available for my business?

Almost every business can purchase business insurance and there are insurance products to cover every type of risk:
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How much business insurance do I need?

The amount of business insurance you need depends on the type and size of your business, plus, if you employ others, you will need a minimum of £5 million Employers Liability Insurance. To calculate the levels of cover and what type of policy you need, start with the basics. For example what would it cost you to replace your…

  • Buildings
  • Plant, equipment and machinery
  • Vehicles
  • Fixtures and fittings
  • Inventory
  • Technology and proprietary IP
  • Cash on premises and business records

Then you should think about the type of work your business does, the size of your sales and contracts, and the potential claims you could face from clients, consumers, and suppliers if anything were to go wrong. You should also check with your professional body or industry regulator, as they may set a minimum level of insurance you must carry.

Lastly, you must also consider what it would cost you to keep operating in the event of a crisis. For example, if your premises were destroyed in a fire, how much would it cost to secure temporary accommodation and how much would it cost to get back up to speed? Could you afford to pay your employees in the interim? Could you afford to pay yourself?

Remember, all insurance seems like a secondary cost until you need it. Then it’s suddenly essential.

Is business insurance a legal requirement?

Only employer’s liability insurance is required by law. Most other business insurances are optional, although some clients and organisations may require your organisation to have certain types of cover – such as public liability insurance – before they will trade with you.

How much does business insurance cost?

Premiums for some insurances can start at less than £10 per month, but just as no two UK businesses are alike, so no two business insurance needs are the same. Costs will depend on your business type and the risks attached to what you do or sell, making every quote unique. 

Can I get business insurance before registering my business?

Yes. To buy your policy, you’ll need your business address, trade type and actual or projected turnover, and you may also be asked about your business structure – for example, is it a partnership or are you a sole trader? However, you don’t need your company registration number (CRN) or other business registration details to secure cover. This means you can buy business insurance while you’re still setting up your company.

How long is a quote valid for?

Insurance quotes are usually valid for 30 days from the date of issuance.

Can I get business insurance without a trade licence?

Yes. Many businesses do not need a trade licence to operate, but if you do, you may be subject to a fine if you work without securing the necessary paperwork. Businesses that typically require a trade licence include:

  • Construction
  • Health and beauty
  • Animal sales
  • Music and entertainment
  • Street events
  • Street trading (e.g. market stall)
  • Alcohol sales 
  • Waste management
  • CCTV operation

However, you don’t need a trade licence to secure business insurance. You can secure this important cover while you are waiting for your permits to be issued.

How Swoop can help

All business involves risk, but that doesn’t mean you have to suffer the consequences if things go wrong. Contact Swoop today to discuss all your business insurance needs. Don’t gamble with your organisation’s future.

Business insurance – sometimes called commercial insurance – is designed to help protect your business when things take an unexpected turn. More specifically, it helps protect you from financial losses that you might suffer in the course of your day-to-day business activities. This could include, for example, someone making a compensation claim, or someone taking legal action against your company.

There are many types of business insurance, including:

  • Professional indemnity insurance
  • Public and products liability insurance
  • Employers’ liability insurance
  • Product liability insurance
  • Personal accident insurance
  • Commercial building insurance
  • Cyber and data insurance
  • Directors’ and officers’ insurance
  • Business equipment and office contents insurance
  • Tool insurance
  • Stock insurance
  • Equipment breakdown insurance

If your business employs staff (even part-time or temporary), you’re probably legally required to have employers’ liability insurance. This protects you against compensation claims made by a staff member who has suffered injury, illness or damage as a result of their work.

The Employers’ Liability (Compulsory Insurance) Act 1969 states that employers are responsible for the health and safety of their employees while they are at work. Some businesses are exempt from this legislation. If you're unsure, you should check the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) guidelines.

While employers’ liability insurance is the only insurance that's mandatory under UK law, there are other types of insurance, such as professional indemnity insurance, that could be a requirement for your industry. In other words, you wouldn't be allowed to provide services without cover. You should check with your industry regulator or professional body.

It’s also possible that you'll need certain types of cover in place before you sign a client contract – your client might have specific requirements relating to insurance and, if they do, you'll need to make sure that you have the relevant cover in place.

Whether or not you're actually required to have insurance for your business, you may wish to till consider taking out a policy to cover you in case of any accidents, mistakes, damage, theft and legal fees.

Yes – and it's a sensible thing to do. A combined business insurance policy is designed to provide insurance cover for multiple liabilities. If you include a wide variety of insurance covers within a single policy, you'll have only one renewal date – and one document to read.

An insurer should tailor your combined policy to the requirements of your industry and the size of your business – whether you’re a sole trader working from home, the founder of a fast-scaling tech startup or the director of an agency with multiple offices. You can amend your cover as your business evolves.

The core products in a combined policy usually include:

  • public liability insurance – protects you and your business for legal costs arising from claims brought against you by members of the public.


  • professional indemnity insurance – covers you and your business if you or an employee make a mistake in delivering a professional service that causes a client to suffer financial or reputational loss.


  • employers’ liability – may be a legal requirements for most businesses if you have an employee, whether full time, part time or temporary. It protects you if your employee suffers a work related injury or illness.


  • premises and equipment insurance (i.e. buildings and contents).

Depending on your business, a combined insurance policy might also include specialist products, such as cyber and data risk protection.

If you take out a business insurance policy – whether an individual policy or a combined policy – your insurer should tailor the policy to your specific needs.

The price you pay for your insurance (i.e. the premium) will vary according to factors such as the type of business you do, the size of your business, the typical size of your contracts, and the risks your business faces.

Businesses that face higher levels of risk will usually pay higher premiums. Insurers will look at, for example, the potential for accidents, damage and theft as well as legal disputes that could arise from a claim. They will also need to know if you or any of your employees visit client premises or conduct business where the public could be impacted if something went wrong. All these factors have a bearing on the types of insurance products you'll need – and the level of cover.

When buying insurance – either online or over the phone – you should answer all questions accurately, and choose a high enough level of cover to ensure that you're protected if you need to make a claim.

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