Sometimes businesses just happen. You’re providing care, making clothing alterations or offering writing advice to friends, families and neighbors—just because it’s what you do. Then, one day, someone recommends you and someone you don’t know asks, “How much for your service?” Are you ready to charge? How much will you have to pay taxes? And when should you buy insurance for business?

These questions, when they come up, are both exciting and daunting. But whether you’re an accidental entrepreneur or one who’s driving a startup with a business plan in mind, insurance should be top of mind. It’s a financial tool that can help you protect your investment and manage your liability.

Here are five types of insurance to consider:

Property and General Liability – Property insurance helps protect the business’s property, such as computers, equipment and building. It can also protect your income against unexpected loss due to fire (for example). Liability insurance protects business owners from claims of injury or property damage incurred by others as a result of your operations.

Auto Coverage – Just like you insure your personal vehicle, you may need coverage on vehicles you use for business.

Business Catastrophe Liability – These polices extend the amount of coverage on your general liability, commercial auto liability, professional liability and employers liability policies so you’ll have more protection in case of a catastrophic situation where you’re held liable. (AKA, someone decides to sue you.)

Employment Practices Liability – This is an endorsement you can add to your property and general liability insurance to protect you specifically in case an employee sues you for sexual harassment, discrimination or other common employment issues.

Workers’ Compensation Coverage – This insurance provides coverage for injury or disease sustained by your employee arising in the course and the scope of their employment, regardless of negligence on your part and may be required to comply with your state’s workers’ compensation law.

When insurance isn’t required by law, it’s up to you to decide how much coverage you need and for what assets. But navigating the choices can be difficult. The 2013 U.S. Small Business Commercial Insurance Study from J.D. Power and Associates reports that face-to-face consultation positively impacts a small business’s experience when it comes to insurance.

If you’re an accidental entrepreneur or a startup looking for help, contact Boizelle Insurance Partnership at 800-783-2421.

By: Catherine Amick, Erie Insurance