Help me find insurance for my home-based ebay business
August 1, 2007 9:07 PM   Subscribe

Help me find a insurance company that will cover my home-based ebay business.

I run a small business out of my home, selling used cellphones online, primarily on ebay. The business has really been taking off in the past few months, and I have been trying to get a small business insurance policy.

From what I understand, (please tell me if I'm wrong or missing something) the coverages I'll want are general liability, product liability (occasionally I do some light repair and refurbishing in-house, so as I understand, I am exposed to product liability risk) and business property to cover loss from theft, fire etc.

I've contacted all the big insurance companies I can think of (Farmers, All-State, American Family, State Farm), but they've all told me that they can't write the policy because:
A) They don't do home-based businesses, and/or
B) They don't do online businesses

I also tried to see if I could cover the business through riders on my renters policy (with State Farm), but they wouldn't do it.

The only speck of hope I found was through an insurance broker (Keller-Lowry) who told me they might be able to find coverage through a "surplus line," but they also told me that this would a good deal more expensive.

So, does anyone know of any insurance companies that specialize in home-based or online businesses? I've tried looking online without much hope. Or is the surplus line my only hope?

A few random facts in case they're relevant - I'm based in Colorado, the business is an S-corporation, right now I'm the only employee (I'll probably be hiring somebody before too long.)

Thanks in advance!
posted by nmogno to Work & Money (3 answers total)
Try to find a local independent insurance broker. They will have many markets to shop your business in. The big guys like Allstate, State Farm, and the like are okay for personal insurance, but really bite when it comes to commercial coverages.

Look for an independent that is affiliated with PIA - Professional Insurance Agents, or IIA.
posted by digiFramph at 6:55 AM on August 2, 2007

I had one more thought. RLI may be able to help you, too. The do have an In-Home Business program. Check out the link.
posted by digiFramph at 7:14 AM on August 2, 2007

I agree with digiFramph. I used to work at one of the businesses you mentioned, and generally they're for personal insurance and not business. Local, independent brokers are the way to go when it comes to commercial insurance. While companies like State Farm, Allstate, and Farmers are captive to their company's insurance policies, a broker is able to use any insurance company that is willing to appoint him as a broker for them. As such, he can review the policies available from a number of companies and find something that will work for you.

The downside is that these guys are becoming more and more scarce. Nonetheless, if you don't find what you need at one broker, go to another. They won't all have the same experience working with products. One broker may have one set of products, while another may have another set.
posted by PandemicSoul at 7:41 PM on August 2, 2007

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