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Protecting small businesses in the Garden State
New Jersey is leading the country when it comes to its small businesses, which make up 99.6% of all businesses in the Garden State—the seventh-highest percentage of small businesses in the nation. New Jersey's more than 860,000 small businesses employ 1.8 million workers, or nearly half of the state's private workforce—and that number is growing every year, with small businesses creating more than 33,000 new jobs in 2015.
Small business growth in New Jersey is bolstered by its many financing and incentive programs, which include lending programs, growth funds, tax credit programs and more. But with some of the strictest worker protection laws in the nation—including evolving legislation on nondisclosure agreements—it's essential for New Jersey business owners to protect their businesses through comprehensive small business insurance coverage.
Top industries in New Jersey covered by Hiscox Business Insurance
New Jersey's small businesses are thriving in many different industries, and Hiscox's in-depth knowledge of many diverse fields allows each business to find the specific policies that work for them. Some of the New Jersey business owners who most frequently insure with Hiscox include those who work in the IT consulting, painting, janitorial, landscaping and insurance industries.
New Jersey is known for its numerous corporate offices, which create many opportunities for New Jersey's IT consultants, whose everyday work with delicate personal and business information—as well as high-end equipment—brings a consistent level of risk.
Because IT consultants can have a huge impact on a client's business, they can benefit from professional liability insurance, also called errors and omissions insurance, which safeguards businesses that provide professional services. This type of policy would protect an IT consultant if, for example, they review a client's website security in order to implement new procedures but the client's website later gets hacked. The client could make a claim of faulty work and sue for revenue they lost while the site was down. Even if the IT consultant hasn't made a mistake, Hiscox would appoint a lawyer to defend against the claims.
General liability insurance, which protects against claims of bodily injury or property damage, would protect an IT consultant if, for example, several important files are corrupted when they accidentally drop a client’s laptop. And a business owner's policy (BOP), which combines general liability insurance and business property insurance, would cover damage to the IT consultant's property or equipment, such as if a laptop gets stolen.
With day-to-day work that brings them inside residential homes, apartment buildings and commercial buildings, painters are exposed to potential liability wherever they go. Services such as removing old wall coverings or disposing of lead-based paints can expose clients and workers alike to hazards, and painters could potentially face lawsuits over carpet-damaging paint spills, slip-and-fall accidents and even employees' comments about clients during break times. For all of these reasons, Hiscox provides custom insurance that can fit the specific needs of each New Jersey painting business.
General liability insurance is one of the most important types of insurance for a small painting business to have. It protects against bodily injury, so if a client trips over a painter's ladder and breaks a wrist, the policy will cover the client's medical costs. It also protects against property damage, so if paint spills during a job and damages a client's antique rug, the policy will cover the costs associated with cleaning the carpet. It also protects against personal injury, so if an employee is at lunch and starts talking about a client in a false and unflattering way and the client hears about the discussion and sues for slander, the policy will cover the claim and pay for a defense attorney, if necessary.
Janitorial and cleaning services
Whether they specialize in cleaning clients' kitchens or factory floors, New Jersey's janitorial and cleaning services operate at a level of risk every day. They handle delicate and expensive items, use harsh chemicals, work on-site at customers' offices and homes, and operate cleaning equipment owned by clients. Even baseless liability claims can drain a business's assets, so Hiscox specializes in providing tailored coverage that gives cleaning professionals the confidence of protection against potential litigious situations.
General liability insurance, which protects against a third party's claims of bodily injury or property damage, is the most common policy used by janitorial and cleaning services. Protection against bodily injury might be needed, for example, if a client slips and falls on a freshly-mopped floor; even if the client's injuries don't seem to be the employee's fault, the cleaning business can still be held liable for the cost of the client's medical care. In another scenario, an employee of the cleaning service might be dusting a client's home and accidentally break an antique vase; the customer may demand that the cleaning service pay for the cost of replacing or repairing the antique. General liability insurance also protects against claims of personal injury, such as if an employee is overheard gossiping about a client, who subsequently sues the business for slander.
Landscaping and gardening services
A landscaper or gardener in New Jersey may operate heavy equipment near clients' homes, handle harsh chemicals, and use sharp tools near clients. These everyday activities bring a heightened risk of bodily injury and property damage that expose landscapers and gardeners to potential liability, whether their clients are primarily residential homeowners, business operators or both. For all of these reasons, Hiscox provides custom insurance that can meet the specific needs of each New Jersey landscaper or gardener.
General liability insurance is one of the most important types of insurance for a landscaping or gardening business to have. It protects against bodily injury, so if a client trips over a lawn care professional's tools and breaks an ankle, the policy will cover the costs of the client's medical care. It also protects against property damage, so if an employee accidentally damages the façade of the client's home while working in the garden, the policy will cover the costs of replacing the brick or siding. And because it protects against personal injury, the business owner will be protected if an employee is overheard making disparaging comments about a client, the client hears about the gossip, and sues for slander. The general liability policy would cover the claim and appoint a defense attorney, as necessary.
Hiscox knows the insurance business inside and out, so an insurance agent can put their trust in Hiscox's small business insurance. And just as an insurance agent makes sure that their clients are protected against risk, Hiscox makes sure that insurance professionals are protected against all of the risks associated with being a small business owner in New Jersey.
Typically, an insurance agent will want the protection of professional liability insurance, or errors and omissions insurance, which protects businesses that provide professional services. This policy would protect an insurance agent if, for example, a client instructs the agent to purchase a policy and gives the agent a check for the premium, the agent's assistant forgets to purchase the policy, and the uninsured client is later involved in an accident and demands that the insurance agent pay for the loss.
In addition, general liability insurance can protect an insurance agent against a third party's claims of damage to property or bodily injury and its associated medical costs, such as a claim from a client who slipped and fell in the insurance agent's office. Insurance agents can also benefit from a business owner's policy—a combination of general liability and business property insurance—which can protect against furnishing or equipment damages making it easier to get back to business.
More professions we insure in New Jersey
New Jersey Small Business Insurance
The Garden State is a good place to grow a small business. In New Jersey, Hiscox provides small business insurance coverage that is customized to your specific business needs.
General liability insurance, known as Commercial General Liability (CGL), protects your business from another person or business’s claims of bodily injury, associated medical costs, and damage to property. Some examples of what could be covered are below:
- Bodily injury: A customer trips and falls when entering a hair salon and breaks their wrist. The client sues the hair salon owner for lost wages. General liability insurance could cover the subsequent claim and related medical expenses.
- Personal injury: A personal trainer is overheard talking about one of his client’s at lunch in a false and unflattering way. Word gets back to the client, who then sues for slander. The personal trainer’s general liability policy could cover defense costs.
- Damage to property: A photographer is contracted to take pictures for a marketing firm’s portfolio. While the photographer is uploading the photos to the server she accidentally knocks over a bottle of water on the firm’s server. The machine is damaged beyond repair and valuable data is lost. The photographer’s general liability insurance policy could cover the cost to replace the server and recover the data.
Learn about how much general liability insurance costs.
Professional liability insurance, also known as errors and omissions insurance (E&O insurance), covers another person’s claims against businesses that provide professional and personal services. Some examples of what could be covered include:
- Dissatisfied client: A marketing consultant is contracted to create a major campaign for a client. The client continues to change the scope of work and the consultant misses the deadline for the campaign to go live. The client sues. A professional liability policy could protect the consultant, even if no mistake was made.
- Negligence: A human resources consultant is hired to update a company’s employment practices. Six months later, the client calls to say a part-time employee is suing the company because a key provision for the number of hours part-timers can work was omitted from the employee manual. The client makes a claim against the consultant, contending they were responsible for the mistake. The consultants professional liability policy could protect them, including defense costs.
Learn more about professional liability insurance.
Business owners policy (BOP) is a combination of general liability and business property insurance. BOP is often used to provide balanced coverage for small businesses who also want to protect their own business equipment. Some examples of what could be covered are below:
- Office insurance for fire and business interruption
- Electronic data loss insurance
- Hired or non-owned vehicle liability insurance
- Commercial Crime insurance to cover the dishonesty of your employees
Learn more about business owners insurance.
Key New Jersey laws and conditions driving increased business liability rates
The federal government guarantees a baseline level of protection against discrimination for employees in all U.S. states. Employers with at least 15 employees may not discriminate against employees based on race, color, national origin, sex, religion or disability. Employers with 20 or more employees must guarantee freedom from age discrimination, and employers with four or more employees must guarantee freedom from discrimination based on citizenship status.
New Jersey’s anti-discrimination laws far surpass these protections. Employers with as few as one employee may not discriminate against employees based on race, color, ancestry, national origin, nationality, sex, religion, age, disability, genetic information, sexual orientation, marital status, HIV/AIDS status, gender identity or expression, atypical hereditary cellular or blood traits, or military service. These many protections greatly broaden the potential for not only discrimination lawsuits, but also for retaliation lawsuits—when an employee claims to have been fired or otherwise retaliated against for making a claim of discrimination.
In addition, in March 2019, New Jersey amended its Law Against Discrimination to prohibit nondisclosure agreements (NDAs) in employment contracts and settlement agreements that aim to conceal the details of discrimination, retaliation, and harassment claims, which further complicates matters in these cases.
Like most states, New Jersey is an "at-will" employment state, where employers can terminate employment at any time for any reason. Yet fired employees can still sue for breach of contract if, for example, they have a written contract promising job security. New Jersey also recognizes implied employment contracts, such as if an employee handbook states that employees will only be fired for good cause.
These laws are in place for the employees' protection, but they also represent a litigation risk for employers. While all business owners will do their best to mitigate these risks through careful management practices, all small business owners can use the protection and peace of mind of a comprehensive insurance policy.
New Jersey workers compensation laws
Just as New Jersey boasts stronger employment discrimination laws than the U.S. average, its workers compensation requirements are especially strict. While most U.S. states have a threshold of four or so employees before workers compensation coverage is required, the New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development states that all New Jersey employers, even those with just one employee, are required to obtain workers compensation insurance. Sole proprietors and partners or members of an LLC may choose to exempt themselves from insurance, but all employees of a corporation, including its officers, may not.
Workers compensation coverage may be purchased from a provider, such as Hiscox, or businesses may self-insure if approved by the Commissioner of the Department of Banking and Insurance. And penalties for failing to obtain workers compensation coverage can be steep, even if no injuries occur. Businesses can face up to $5,000 for the first 10 days and up to $5,000 for each additional 10-day period of failure to obtain workers compensation insurance. Corporate officers can individually be held liable for failure to insure, and these penalties are not dischargeable in bankruptcy.
If a work injury or death occurs while the business is uninsured, the employer—including individual corporate officers and partners or members of an LLC—is directly liable for medical expenses, temporary and permanent disability, or dependency benefits. New Jersey also allows for civil penalties against the employer and its officers.
How can Hiscox help your New Jersey business?
At Hiscox, we tailor each client's coverage to ensure that it meets each business's particular needs, from liability insurance to a business owner's policy to workers compensation and beyond. We offer a range of benefits:
- Flexible payment options. Our monthly payment schedule, with no added fees, can help you manage a growing business's cash flow.
- Tailored insurance. With Hiscox, you'll never pay for coverage you don't need.
- Claims responsiveness. When a covered claim is reported, Hiscox will immediately assign a dedicated claims representative to assist you.
- Worldwide coverage. A New Jersey business insured through Hiscox is covered for work done anywhere in the world, as long as the claim is filed in the U.S., a U.S. Territory or Canada.
Get a fast, free quote now, and get the protection you need for your New Jersey business. If you have questions, you can call us at 1-866-283-7545 and speak with a Hiscox licensed agent, Monday – Friday, 7am – 10pm ET.
Hiscox Customer Reviews
Nelson, Plainfield, NJ
“Good price for the insurance policy, easy and quick transaction, fast insurance certificate by email. Very satisfied”
Gary, New Jersey
Great experience! Very helpful!
Christina, Trenton, New Jersey
Very nice informative and very helpful.
Brian, Oaklyn, NJ
"Excellent experience. It was extremely easy to use and the prices were great."
Alba, Union City, NJ
"Good services. Good, excellent customer services and really fast services, I definitely recommend this company."
Keith, New Jersey
"very fast, good pricing. The system was very fast, easy to understand, and complete my application. The pricing on the policy seemed fair as well."
This information is provided to assist you in understanding the coverage we offer and does not modify the terms and conditions of any insurance policy, nor does it imply that any claim is covered. Coverage is subject to underwriting and may not be available in all states.
Administered by Hiscox Inc., a Delaware corporation that is a licensed insurance producer in all states and Washington, D.C. 520 Madison Avenue, 32nd Floor, New York, NY 10022.