Types of Insurance Self-Employed People Need

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Contributor, Benzinga
March 29, 2022

As a self-employed person, you take on responsibilities not only related to the services or products you sell but also for every aspect of running a business. Business insurance covers your day-to-day business operations. What are four types of essential business insurance every self-employed person should consider?

#1 Commercial general liability: Coverage for claims of third-party property damage and bodily injury caused by your business resulting from negligence or unexpected accidents protect your business. Commercial general liability insurance can include things like injuries or damages to a third party that occurred from your business operations; property or bodily injury caused by a product you sell or supply; allegations of defamation, slander or false advertising; or the cost to repair or replace a property that you are renting or occupy. 

#2 General liability: General liability insurance is coverage that protects against claims for which you and your company could be found liable. For example, if someone gets hurt in your office or spills the paint sample you are showing them on your antique area rug, your general liability policy could help.

#3 Professional liability (Errors and Omissions): Professional liability insurance offers financial protection for alleged negligence or failure to deliver a service as promised. It typically includes coverage for legal costs and damages related to professional services, media, advertising and products that are faulty or cause injury. Professional liability covers lawsuits alleging neglect, misconduct or failure to deliver services as promised, and general liability covers third-party property damage or bodily injury.

#4 Cyber liability: Cyber attacks, data breaches and computer hacks wreak havoc on businesses. Cyber liability insurance covers business systems that are hacked, system repairs and lawsuits. A full cybercrime policy would cover things like loss of funds from cyberattacks, including phishing, hacking, social engineering, data restoration and legal expenses.The main difference between a data breach and a cyber attack is who is covered for the act. In a data breach, the only coverage is for your business. In a cyber attack, your business and others who are affected are covered by the policy. 

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Are You Required to Carry Health Insurance if Self Employed?

As a self-employed person, you are not required to carry health insurance. You can buy a private healthcare insurance plan or sign up for an Affordable Care Act Marketplace plan. Other types of healthcare insurance could benefit you as a self-employed person.

#1: Accident insurance: This type of coverage protects you in case of an accident. Different options are available; for example, your accident coverage could start paying at 7 days and your illness coverage starting at 90 days. The longer the waiting period the lower the premiums are.  

#2: Disability insurance: This policy replaces a certain portion of your after-tax income if you become disabled or unable to work full-time or part-time. It may pay for a short- or long-term period depending on the definitions in the policy wording. Other policies available can cover your fixed business expenses such as rent, advertising costs and loans.

Contracts vary in the premium amounts you would pay for your policy. Premiums are based on occupational classes, your health, your job, age, riders you choose and the income you are protecting. Insurance companies don’t always calculate your income the same way and don’t use the same definitions. 

#3: Critical illness insurance: If you as a self-employed person purchase this type of policy, you would receive a cash payout from the insurance company in the event of a covered illness. Several types of policies are in the marketplace and like disability insurance, you choose what would work best for you to collect on the policy. Critical illness insurance represents a good way for your business to assist with the unexpected bills and your regular monthly expenses.  

Do At-Home Business Owners Need Commercial Insurance?

What would happen if you were a wedding photographer, and your job was complete you went to your office to drop everything off and you went back out to run some errands and came back a couple hours later to find out that your home office was broken into? In a case like this, your business would benefit from having standard business insurance policies in place.

Connecting with an insurance broker who deals with several insurance companies can be advantageous so they can help you choose what policies work best for your type of industry.

Risk Factors for the Self-Employed

When you work for yourself, you gain the benefits of being the boss. However, all the risks that come with being a business owner also fall on you.

#1 Missing out on retirement savings: Have you been concerned about missing out on the benefits of company retirement plans? Self-employed individuals have access to plans they can set up on their own; the three main options include the SEP-IRA, Solo 401(k) and SIMPLE IRA. Each of these has its advantages and disadvantages. 

#2 Not paying estimated income taxes and Federal Insurance Contributions Act (FICA) taxes: As a self-employed worker, you need to keep track of and file federal and state income taxes as well as your Medicare and Social Security contributions. As an independent worker, you need to submit both the employee’s and employer’s portions. 

#3 Skipping life insurance: Life insurance for the self-employed is important for several reasons. If you die prematurely, debts from starting up your business can mount. If you are married, your partner might need to hire someone to take your place to finish up projects that have been started. You might have children and inadequate or no personal life insurance to cover your mortgage, college tuition or funeral expenses. Life insurance can be inexpensive if you choose a term policy. 

#5 Going it alone: As a sole proprietor, working independently is the norm. No one supervises your work and keeps you motivated. 

Frequently Asked Questions


What is self-employment tax?


The U.S. government imposes Medicare and Social Security taxes on wages earned. The self-employment tax rate is 15.3% and consists of two parts: 12.4% for social security (old-age, survivors, and disability insurance) and 2.9% for Medicare (hospital insurance). When you work for an employer and earn W2 wages, the employer pays half of the tax and you pay the other, which is deducted from your paycheck and sent in by your employer. When you work for yourself, you have to pay the whole amount and send it to the IRS yourself


Can you deduct life insurance premiums as a business expense?


Although you can deduct many expenses as a self-employed business owner, including healthcare insurance premiums and general liability insurance premiums, the cost of regular life insurance premiums are usually not deductible. Premiums for certain special types of business insurance like key person life insurance and buy-sell agreements may be deductible, but standard life insurance premiums usually are not.

About Robyn Latchman, CFP, CLU, EPC

Robyn provides custom-tailored solutions to ensure that her clients have the money they need should they temporarily or permanently lose their ability to earn an income and protect their homes, businesses, families, and, most importantly, themselves. Her approach towards her clients is to develop a strong relationship and knowledge of their needs to ensure they are benefiting the most from their policies and investment products.