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For everyone who is selling their works for profit, what type of insurance do you carry and should you carry? Aside from a commercial general liability policy and possibly an umbrella what is reasonable for furniture makers.

I contacted my insurance guy and told him what I was doing and how I should be covered. I'm foreseeing a painful conservation as well as painful premiums in my future. that is if he is willing to cover me at all.

Advice?
 

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You might want to talk to your lawyer, too. Of course, you can buy all kinds of insurance, but if you are only selling furniture, you probably need limited coverage in case a chair breaks under someone, etc. If you are doing installs of any kind, that is entirely different - you need a policy tailored toward contractors.

gbvinc makes a great point - unless you have some basic life / disability coverage through an employer, you need to cover yourself, and you should price your work accordingly. It's part of your overhead, just like keeping the lights on.
 

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Go to an insurance broker who specializes in commercial insuranve policies. They are changing constantly. One they are all afraid of electricians, the next week they welcome us with open arms. After 9-11 they went nuts, now the rates seem to be dropping like a rock ;-))
 

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Just a note from talking to others. I have a friend who has had some problems and experience has proven that no insurance can be of benefit. He is incorporated and has no insurance. As soon as the lawyers find out this information they drop everything and leave him alone. The reason is that there is no money for them to tap into. If you are unprotected and have insurance they have plenty to take. If there is nothing for them no one will pursue it. When you have unprotected assets and insurance it is well worth it for lawyers to pursue your money.
Incorporating and protecting your assets and having no insurance can work in your favor.
Just a thought.
 

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I am having a problem getting insurance. For the past 3 years I have had none because I didn't know it. My shop is in my back yard and I thought the building and contents were covered under my home insurance. For the past 3 years I have helped my son-in-law in his upholstery and custom furniture business by mostly building frames for couches, loveseats, chairs, ottomans, etc. I only do it on a part time basis as he has a shop in house and I just help out when needed, usually less than 40 hours a month. Whenever I would go to my insurance agent's office to pay a bill we would discuss what's up and usually would mention my work in the shop. After I called to check on how my tools would be covered she called me back and said as long as I am working for money it is not covered and would need a separate policy. She said she had just not thought about it whenever we talked about it in the past.

Now I am searching for a policy. I did not realize how hard that would be. Most immediately start talking about product liability. I don't think I need it as my son-in-law carries it for his business. Besides, it would be hard to tell my work from anyone else's as we all use the same patterns. I just want to cover the shop, its contents and some liability. You would think I was making explosives of some kind the way some of them react.

I'm retired and it gives me something to do, especially in the winter, but, I am about to decide it just isn't worth the effort. I don't make much money at it and what I do earn I usually put back in the shop. Some of the quotes I have been given would mean I would be losing money.

Not much point to this other than to vent a little.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
So far my experiences are similar to Jim's. I've been to 3 insurance reps and so far I've been denied coverage for product liability and commercial property coverage. I've got one local guy who is working in my favor. He thought it would be easy but had several underwriters deny my work.

There was one insurance carrier who offered me a policy through a national organization. After reviewing this policy with my local guy he strongly advised me not to accept it. The policy was written for an artist's studio and would constitute fraud under what I do. Had I accepted this policy there is a strong possibility that I would have been denied any claims should I file any.

I've also learned that my homeowners policy won't cover anything I do at my home for business. Like Jim, all my work is done in a backyard shed. Should you want insurance coverage you'll need to obtain a commercial insurance policy.

Insurance is part of your risk mgt. True, I can create a business entity, llc, corp etc. These entity's will somewhat cover me but won't save me in a lawsuit.
 

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I found insurance today from, of all places, Loyd's of London. My new agent is an independent and they had the best rates, which I found reasonable. They did not require product liablilty insurance, which I don't need. Now I can go back to work.
 
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