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Whether you're a cafe owner with a staff of five people (including your coffee machine) or a small construction firm with a whole office for 20; getting the right business insurance cover is super important. You never know when things could go wrong, so it's best to be safe than sorry.

So where do I start?

As a small business owner you're probably new to this whole business insurance thing and it doesn't make 100% sense. But that's why we're here. This guide will walk you through how business insurance works and how to protect your beloved asset.

What is business insurance and why do I need it?

Accidents can happen and any business runs the risk of loosing it's reputation, cashflow and ability to survive if disaster strikes. On top of all that? You could even dig into your own personal finances.

Let's say you're a plumber and you incorrectly fix a pipe for a restaurant which forces it to stop operating for a month. You could be forced to payout what the restaurant would have earn't in that time. All because of a genuine mistake.

This is why business insurance exists. Protection for a range of things like getting sued and much more.

Types of risks businesses could face

Injuring someone

E.g. You're retail owner and someone slips on your premise.

Damaging someones property

E.g. You own a car wash and one of your employees spills chemical into a cars interior.

Getting sued for faulty 'products'

E.g. You accidentally sell fruit which is contaminated and your customers get sick.

Giving incorrect advice or service

E.g. You're an architect and you provide a client with a flawed design that needs to be fixed after it's already been built.

Financial penalties for mismanagement

E.g. Breaching Occupational Health & Safety regulations.

Business specific accidents and damages

Some businesses will need to cover against theft (e.g. you have inventory) while others will be concerned about natural disasters like fire (e.g. you have a premise and equipment).

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Business Liability Insurance
Business Liability Insurance
Tailored made cover with a wide range of additional options to choose from. Up to $20 million in liability cover and choice of excess.
  • $20 million in liability cover
  • Consumer protection cover for Queensland electricians
  • 24/7 emergency claims assistance
  • Optional cover for Money, Business Items and Stocks
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Depending on the cover requirements of your business, you can compare a range of options including:

Types of business insurance you can compare

What brands do we review?

What's covered by business insurance?

Business insurance protects your business in the event of a serious setback that could involve you paying money (out of your business or your own pocket) to cover unexpected costs. Such setbacks could include:

  • Fire
  • Explosions
  • Flood and storm damage (Typically an optional benefit that needs to be added)
  • Theft or loss of property

  • Legal claims for injury to a third party on your premises
  • Legal claims from third parties for damages that have arisen through the course of you providing your service

If one of these events takes place then your business will not only have to pay for the financial burden of the event but the insurer will pay the bill. It gives you peace of mind as you are protected for unexpected events that could bring about financial ruin to your business. There are a number of different types of business insurance that can protect you from the losses listed above that this guide will explore.

How much will business insurance actually cost?

Factors that affect cost

Unfortunately there is no one-size-fits-all solution when it comes to business insurance. The premium you pay for cover will depend on a number of factors including:

  • The nature and scope of your business i.e. what your business actually does: The higher the level of risk of the industry your business operates in, the higher the cost of cover. As an example, tradesmen typically present a higher level of risk to insure than say a librarian or office worker and hence will face higher premiums.
  • The size of your business including number of staff and annual turnover: A digital marketing company with 50 employees will obviously cost more to insure than a sole trader carpenter, even though the carpenters occupation may be considered higher risk.
  • The types of business cover your business requires: The nature of your industry may require you to have a additional protection in place for specific risks i.e. cyber liability risks or goods in transit cover.

What can I do to reduce how much I pay for cover?

There are some key steps you can take to avoid overpaying for cover you don't actually need. These include:

  • Consult with an insurance broker. A broker can help you assess the risks facing your business and tailor your policy with the features you actually need. They can use their knowledge of the market to compare options for you.
  • Increase the excess you pay. If you are comfortable paying a higher excess in the event of a claim, increasing it at application time will reduce your premium.
  • Bundle and save further. A number of companies now offer insurance packages that combine a number of cover types for a reduced rate.
  • Skip the expensive extras if you don't need them. You may find the additional options available on your policy aren't actually relevant to your business. Strip your policy back to only include the features relevant to your business.

Not sure if it's worth having? Consider the following circumstances.

Here are some situations where your business could be affected (and protected by the right type of insurance).

  • Liability and third party claims. Would you be able to afford a liability lawsuit if someone slipped and injured themselves on your business premises? What if someone injured themselves using your product.
  • Natural disasters. Fire, explosions, earthquakes and the like can destroy your business premises and contents. Without any protection in place, how would your business be able to cope with the huge financial impact of these unforeseen events?
  • Theft. Thieves can steal your stock or business contents, leaving you significantly out of pocket.
  • Losing an owner. How would your business continue to operate successfully if one of the owners died, became totally and permanently disabled or suffered a terminal illness? Would you lose profits? Would you have a plan in place to ensure a smooth business succession?
  • Losing a key person. What would happen if a key person suffered a serious illness, a serious injury or even died? Would you be able to manage the resulting loss of profit? How long would it take you (and how much would it cost) to find, recruit and train a suitable replacement?
  • Workplace compensation. What if a voluntary worker suffered an injury while performing duties for your business and you had no insurance cover in place to help them out?

How business insurance in Australia works

What types of Business Insurance are there and what do they cover?

There are a number of different types of cover available on the Australian market. Most can be either purchased separately or bundled together for both convenience and savings. The main types of business insurance include:

Professional Indemnity

When trained workers or businesses charge a fee for advice, those clients rely on the advice they receive being accurate and correct. In some cases a client may launch legal action against you if they believe that a negligent act or a breach of professional duty has caused them to suffer a financial loss.

What type of business is it for?How does it work?
Professional Indemnity Insurance is a special form of cover for professionals who offer their expert advice or services to clients.Designed to protect you against legal claims for incorrect advice or negligence that results in financial loss.

Public liability

Running a business means there are risks of damaging and injuring 3rd parties. The cost of compensation can severely impact the livelihood of your business and this is where pubic liability insurance comes in.

What type of business is it for?How does it work?
Public Liability Insurance is designed for any business that works with clients and customers in public spaces.If someone is injured or has their property damaged as a result of your business operations they may claim for financial compensation. Public liability covers you for payouts and legal costs e.g. You own a restaurant and a customer trips on a wet patch, injuring their hip.

Management Liability

Running a company can also have risks that come from mismanagement. Poor management can result in litigation coming both internally or even externally. This is where management liability comes in.

What type of business is it for?How does it work?
Management liability insurance is for companies who are exposed to the risk of mismanagement.Management liability can cover the financial losses that occur from mismanagement. Some general examples include

  • Employee claims for wrongful dismissal
  • Financial penalties for OH&S beaches
  • Financial penalties for directors breaching their duties

Voluntary workers cover

Voluntary workers perform crucial roles for many organisations. Sometimes-voluntary workers can suffer injuries while performing duties for your business, and as they are not employees, they are not covered by workers’ compensation. Despite this, only a small percentage of businesses actually have insurance cover in place to help out volunteers in these situations

What type of business is it for?How does it work?
Voluntary Workers cover is for businesses that rely on volunteers to function.It's designed to ensure that volunteers are covered for any personal accidents that happen them. One insurer we looked at states the following in its product disclosure statement "We pay agreed lump sums or weekly benefits if a Covered Person suffers from a Covered) event as a result of a Bodily Injury whilst engaging in voluntary work on behalf of the Policyholder"

Construction Insurance

Sometimes referred to as Construction Risk Insurance, this type of cover is designed to protect your business against a range of issues and events that may arise during construction, alterations, testing and defects liability periods after construction has been completed. This type of insurance is unusually required as standard public and products liability products generally exclude construction activities.

What type of business is it for?How does it work?
Construction Insurance is designed for businesses that are involved with building and construction.Construction insurance provides cover for a range of losses including:

  • Physical loss, destruction or damage to the property
  • Legal liability for third party injury or property damage
  • Expediting expenses
  • Transit of construction materials

Cyber liability insurance

As many businesses now conducted electronically or rely on a technological component many companies face significant risks if their computer systems were to be hacked in any way. For example, private and confidential information about clients could be accessed or even destroyed, all of which could potentially be very damaging for any business.

What type of business is it for?How does it work?
Cyber Liability Insurance can be an ideal form of cover for any business that has important data that's housed digitally.Cyber Liability Insurance provides financial protection if your business is ever a victim of cyber crime or data breaches e.g. confidential business intelligence is stolen. This form of insurance cover has been developed in response to advances in modern technology and the increasingly connected nature of the global business world.

Product liability insurance

If your business provides products, you could be at risk of damages and liabilities that occur from these products themselves.

What type of business is it for?How does it work?
Designed for any business that provides products.This covers claims or property damage caused by products that are sold or supplied from your business e.g. A restaurant serves food that causes food poisoning.

Income protection

This is generally not included in standard business insurance policies. However it can be a consideration for businesses who wish to provide benefits to it's employees.

What type of business is it for?How does it work?
Income protection is for any business who wants to cover employees against the loss of income in the event of an accident.Income Protection Insurance will provide an ongoing monthly benefit of up to 75% of your income if you are unable to work due to serious illness or injury.Key Features of Income Protection Insurance

  • Most policies offer additional benefits to provide assistance for rehabilitation nursing expenses
  • Premiums are generally tax-deductible if funded outside of super
  • In comparison to workers compensation, income protection also provides cover for illness and injury that has been sustained outside of work.

What types of business insurance are compulsory to have in Australia?

Some types of insurance are mandatory for Australian business to have in place. These include:

There may be other types of cover that are compulsory to have depending on the nature of your business. For example, some states will require construction companies to organise home warranty insurance prior to home construction.

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Small Business Insurance

I run a small business...what business insurance should I have?

It will really come down to the nature of your business and the actual service you provide. An insurance consultant can help you evaluate your own situation to determine an appropriate policy for your situation. A number of insurance companies now offer small business insurance packs so you can get cover for a whole range of different losses under the one policy. This means you can select cover options that are suited to your industry, occupation and budget and tailor the cover closely to your needs.

Types of losses you can be covered for with these business insurance packs include:

  • Fire and perils. Covers business premises and equipment from storm, fire and malicious damage.
  • Business interruption losses. Cover shortfalls in profits and ongoing costs regular business activities are suddenly haltered e.g. a supplier stops supplying.
  • Theft. Covers your property against loss or damaged due to defined events that relate to theft at your business premise. This might be theft following forcible entry.
  • Money. Covers loss of money in transit or money on your business premises. Cover will only be provided for a specified amount located in secure locations of your business or on your person.
  • General property. Receive cover for loss or damage for the 'tools of your trade' e.g. worker laptops.
  • Public and product liability cover. Provides cover for legal claims from third parties that are either injured on your business premises or away from your business as a result of your product.
  • Glass. Covers accidental breakage of glass at your business premises.
  • Personal accident insurance. Covers you the business owner and employees if specified injuries occur. Provides a lump sum payout as opposed to income protection.
  • Employee dishonesty. Covers the loss of business property (including money) as a result of the fraudulent behaviour of a current employee.
  • Machinery breakdown. Covers damage to business machinery caused by breakdown and the cost of hiring temporary machinery. This option can also cover the loss of stock as a result of machinery breakdown.
  • Computer/electronic equipment. Covers accidental loss of and breakdown of computers and/or electronic equipment as well as data loss and software recovery.
  • Transit. Covers damage to stock or goods following defined events including fire.
  • Tax audit. Covers professional fees incurred in connection with an audit of the business.

Case Study: Fire Cover at Play

fire-damage-building1A local florist in Bundaberg Queensland sustained substantial damage after a fire in an industrial bin in the rear car park spread into the back store room. The fire was extinguished before spreading through the entire shop but not before causing $90,000 worth of damage

The florist had only been opened eight months but the owners had taken out a Small Business Pack with Allianz shortly after they started trading.

Under the business interruption cover of the policy, the couple were eligible to claim for the damage caused and receive a full benefit amount to cover the repair costs.

So does business insurance cover loss of income?

Yes. Under business interruption insurance, a business will be covered for loss of income that it suffers following an unforeseen event e.g. . This means that while the business is being repaired, a replacement income will be provided to account for the loss of revenue.

This typically includes:

  • Profits that would of been earned based on the previous financial statements
  • Rent of a temporary location while repairs are being made. This may include advertising costs to let customers know of new location
  • Staff wages while the business is temporarily closed
  • Additional expenses that ensure the business id able to continue to operate while repairs are made
  • Fixed costs that still have to be covered on previous property that is under repair

The benefit will be paid until the end of the business interruption period that is determined at time of application. This is known as the indemnity period.

How long should my indemnity period be?

This will differ from business to business so you will need to take the time to assess the risks that face your business and how long they could take to recover from. As an example, insurer CGU reportedly had a customer that was only able to recommence operating after a period of 18 months after the business was consumed by a fire.

Can I claim tax on my business insurance?

According to the ATO, you can claim tax deductions for most costs that are incurred in running of your business. There are however exceptions to this. You are not able to claim for private or domestic expenses.

Insurance premiums are deductible if they have a necessary connection with earning an assessable income. Premiums are deductible for the following types of insurance:

  • Workers Compensation Insurance
  • Professional Indemnity Insurance
  • Income Protection Insurance

  • Public liability insurance
  • Fire and theft cover

The expenses that you are eligible to claim will depend on the structure of your business, whether you hold and sell trading stock and the nature of your income and expenses. If you are unsure whether or not you are eligible to claim, it's making an enquiry with a tax professional.

Can I claim tax on key person insurance?

Premiums for key person insurance may be tax deductible if the policy was taken out for revenue purposes i.e. to protect revenue generated by the business.

Premiums for key person insurance taken out to cover capital losses are not tax deductible. This includes a benefit payment to the workers estate following his or/ her death.

I've already got insurance but I think it's in need of a review...what can I do?

Got cover in place but not sure if there may be something more suitable out there? Here are some steps to review existing cover:

  • Assess how your business has changed in the last 12 months. Has your number of staff grown or decreased? Have you obtained new assets?
  • Cut cover you don't need. Do you have cover in place that is no longer relevant to the risks your business has? Can these be trimmed back?
  • Add cover for any new risks your business is now facing. Do you face new risk events that could be cause a loss of revenue?

When won't I be covered?

While the exact level of cover offered differs from one business insurance policy to the next, every policy will contain a list of general exclusions which specify conditions when claims will not be paid. These typically include:

  • If your claim relates to an act of war, terrorism, rebellion, revolution or insurrection.
  • If your claim arises from the confiscation, requisition or destruction of property by any government or other local authority.
  • If your claim relates to radioactivity or the use of nuclear materials.
  • If your claim relates to a company you acquire during the period of insurance, or any property or legal liability associated with that company.
  • If your claim relates to unoccupied buildings or premises, except for loss or damage to insured property by things like;
  • Lightning, earthquake, impact by road vehicle, impact by trees or branches, or impact by falling buildings or structures which do not belong to you.
  • If your claim arises from any software or electronic device not being Electronic Date Compliant.
  • If your claim relates to aggravated, punitive or exemplary damages, fines or penalties.
  • If your claim is for obsolete plant and equipment that is no longer used in the business.

Is it worth using a broker to help me find cover?

  • Business insurance can be complex. There is a wealth of business insurance policies available on the market, each of which has been designed to meet a specific need. Determining the right type and level of cover for your business can be quite a difficult task, so it pays to have help.
  • Brokers are experts. Business insurance brokers have a wealth of experience and an in-depth understanding of the business insurance market. They know which policies are available and which ones will be right for you.
  • Brokers work for you. Just like your accountant works in your best financial interests, it’s the job of a broker to do everything they can to get you a suitable insurance deal.
  • Brokers know your business. A good business insurance broker will take the time to understand the ins and outs of your business. This will give them the information they need to formulate a reliable insurance strategy that matches all your needs.
  • Brokers know the market. A business insurance broker knows exactly what policies are available on the Australian market. They can hook you up with policies and insurers that you would be unaware of if you were simply trying to arrange cover yourself.
  • There are specialist brokers available. You may be able to find an insurance broker who specialises in finding cover for businesses in your industry. This ensures that they will have an even greater knowledge and understanding of the risks facing your company.

Insurance guides to specific industries

Still not sure? Some final questions you might have

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10 Responses

  1. Default Gravatar
    JaimieAugust 16, 2017

    Hi i am a snake handler and remove snakes from private residence’s . Would you be able to give me some prices on public liability insurance.

    • Staff
      MayAugust 16, 2017Staff

      Hi Jaime,

      Thank you for your inquiry.

      The cost or premium of a public liability insurance would depend on some factors including but not limited to the nature, size, and location of your business. Insurers would also assess any potential risks associated with outsiders who use the premises when considering the cost. So if you’d like to get and compare the quotes for public liability insurance from different brands, you can fill out the form found on this page. From that page, you can also get more details on what are and aren’t covered by public liability insurance and more.

      Hope this helps.


  2. Default Gravatar
    KevJanuary 23, 2017

    Who has the cheapest public liability insurance for market store insurance of $20,000,000

    • Staff
      RichardJanuary 24, 2017Staff

      Hi Kev,

      Thanks for getting in touch. is a comparison service and we do not currently have the facilities in place to be able to provide online quotes at this time. If you would like to get a quote from an adviser, you can do so by entering your contact details into the form above.

      All the best,

  3. Default Gravatar
    JaymzDecember 8, 2016

    Hi, I have few q’s on public liability can some one get back to me please. Thank you.

    • Staff
      RichardDecember 9, 2016Staff

      Hi Jaymz,

      Thanks for getting in touch. If you would like to speak with and adviser and receive a quote for public liability insurance, please complete the contact form above.


  4. Default Gravatar
    PeterNovember 11, 2016

    Please advise what insurer cover Market stall insurance, Public liability insurance, regarding Childrens temporary airbrush tattoos (non-invasive)

    • Staff
      RichardNovember 14, 2016Staff

      Hi Peter,

      Thanks for getting in touch. is a comparison service and can’t provide personalised financial advice. If you like to speak with an adviser, please complete the form above and someone will be in touch.

      All the best,

  5. Default Gravatar
    KirstieOctober 7, 2016

    I would like to obtain a quote for workers compensation insurance for a personal training business that employs 1 staff member with an annual turnover of $50,000 located in Canberra.

    • Staff
      MauriceOctober 7, 2016Staff

      Hi Kristie,

      You’ve come to the comparison service – we are not an insurer.

      If you’d like to obtain a quote with an adviser simply fill out the form at the top of the page. For industry, you can select personal and other services.

      I hope this helps,


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