Shopping for an insurance policy can be an intimidating process - who has time for all the paperwork and the questions about your business? For example, do you know how far away the closest fire hydrant is to your place of work? Of course, you don’t. Nobody has that information handy. To help you be best prepared, we’ve put together a list of the information you should have handy when you’re trying to get business insurance quotes, a little description of what they are, and why insurance companies need them. Some of this you’ll know off the top of your head, but some you’ll want to gather up before you start shopping.
Shameless plug - if you only want to provide all of this information once, then do your shopping through Talage’s website - it compiles actual quotes for you from multiple insurance carriers in just minutes, and you don’t have to repeat all this information again and again on phone calls, websites, and emails.
Information You Need for a Business Insurance Quote
General Business Info
FEIN (Federal Employer Identification Number)
We know, businesses are protective about sharing this information. But, your EIN is required from all carriers in order to provide a quote. It’s a way for each carrier to identify you - it’s the most unique piece of data that exists for your business, so it’s really one of the most necessary pieces of information.
Don’t know what your EIN is or where to find it? It should be on the documentation you received when you applied to register your business - it’s structured like this: XX-XXXXXXX. Your bank may also have your EIN on file (if you created a business bank account). Otherwise, you can call the IRS (800-829-4933). Don’t feel like calling the IRS? We don’t blame you. You can also find your EIN on one of your W-2 Tax forms, or likely on your previous insurance policy.
If you’re a sole proprietor and you haven’t filed for an EIN, you may be using your social security number in its place.
This one is pretty straightforward - hopefully, you know the name of your business. If you have a business that operates under another name (for example, your company name is Eastern Regional Smart Foods Company but you do business as Doug’s Doughnuts), this is referred to as your DBA. You’ll want to provide both your business name and the DBA.
You’ll be asked to provide all locations that you operate business under, as well as your mailing address (which is sometimes a P.O. Box and not one of your physical locations).
Basic Contact Information
You’ll be asked to provide your phone number and email so that you can correspond with the entity preparing the quote for you. This is standard - it’s next to impossible to get a real quote if there’s no way to contact you.
Businesses are complex, and sometimes a basic industry categorization doesn’t help the underwriter understand your business well enough to give you an accurate quote. A basic description of what your business and your employees do goes a long way in getting the right coverage.
Years in Business/Experience
You’ll know this one, of course. The reason you’re asked to provide this is really just risk assessment, again. As you might imagine, a business that’s been operating for a while or that is new but operated by somebody with a ton of experience is less likely to be risky. Longevity is a good thing.
Why do you have to share how much revenue your business is bringing in? Seems like private information, doesn’t it? Sure, but it’s also a major component of insurance evaluation and underwriting- specifically when it comes to general liability. The premium (cost) on a general liability policy is based on the revenue and/or the square feet of your business (depending on the carrier and coverage provided). So, if you want to protect your business, the insurance carrier needs some way to evaluate the value of the business.
Payroll and Job Descriptions
Some businesses are shy about sharing this information, as well. That’s understandable. You shouldn’t need to provide detail for each employee, but you’ll be asked to aggregate the payroll based on the task. For example, if you’re a landscaping business, be prepared to share how much payroll goes to the clinical staff vs the crew that is getting their hands dirty. Workers’ Compensation insurance, specifically, is based largely on compensating pay, so insurance carriers need to know what’s at stake and how much is allocated to the more “risky” job types.
Number of Employees
Again, insurance helps cover your employees, so a carrier needs to know how many people you have working for you. They’ll typically ask you how many full-time employees you have and how many part-time employees you have. Careful - putting 0 employees (even for liability insurance) may impact your ability to get quotes.
Your Insurance History
Current & Previous Policies
There’s no requirement to have this information, but they’re really helpful to have handy if you’re not quite sure what kind of coverage you need. You can always refer to your previous policies for reference or we have licensed agents that can look at your past or current coverage and help you get just the right policy.
If you have any past insurance claims, you should have that information on hand. You’re going to be asked if you’ve had previous claims, and then you’ll be asked to provide details. This gives the insurance carrier a clearer picture of your history, which helps them better evaluate the risk of covering you. Do not hide this information - you need to disclose past claims, even if you’re worried about how it affects your cost or your ability to get coverage.
A Loss Runs report is a report of claims made on an insurance policy (they may be open or past claims). A loss run report will include information including the date of the claim, the amount paid, and a description of the event. Updated loss runs are always required as this report can present updated claims information. Only you or the agent carrying the policy can obtain the Loss Run report from the carrier. Having this report will help you provide accurate information when claims information is requested.
Experience modifier (E-Mod) is a number based off a calculation from your business's industry, expected loss, past loss, risk, experience and payroll as compared to similar types of businesses. It has a direct correlation to how much you can expect to pay for your workers’ comp insurance. The lower your E-Mod, the less you will pay. An E-Mod of 1.0 is considered average - so anything below 1.0 (like 0.75) means your losses were better than expected, and anything above 1.0 (like 1.25) means your losses were worse than expected. If you had a premium of $100,000 and an E-Mod of 0.75, your modified premium would be $75,000.
If you ever need our help understanding your current policy or what kind of coverage you need, please don’t hesitate to contact us - we’ll help you with no obligation. And now that you know what you need to get quotes, go ahead and take a few minutes to shop for insurance quotes.