Insuring Your Business in Virginia

Virginia consistently ranks as one of the best states for business. It boasts a stable and business-friendly legal and regulatory climate, a competitive tax structure, access to a skilled workforce, and a strong infrastructure with extensive transportation networks. Pro-business policies and resources make Virginia an ideal destination for companies looking to relocate, expand, or establish operations.

Virginia’s favorable business environment means more opportunities, but business owners must still be aware of specific risks and the insurance options designed to best protect the business you’ve built

In this post, we explore a few considerations small business owners should keep in mind when selecting business insurance in Virginia.

Weathering the Storm with Commercial Property Coverage

Unpredictable weather can cause costly business disruptions and damage buildings, equipment, and inventory. “While Virginia is generally considered to have moderate weather, businesses in different regions are still vulnerable to the damaging impacts of occasional hailstorms, flooding, tornadoes, or heavy snowfall,” explains Ruth Eanes, Senior Commercial Lines Underwriting Manager at Central Insurance

To mitigate these risks, it’s important businesses understand the specific weather-related challenges they may face in their region. 

  1. Coastal Region: Virginia’s coastal regions can potentially produce hurricanes and tropical storms, increasing the risk of high winds and coastal flooding. Given the proximity to the coastline and tidal waterways, flood insurance becomes a critical consideration for businesses in these areas to mitigate the financial consequences of water damage.
  2. Mountain Region: Businesses may face challenges with logistics, transportation, and accessibility during periods of heavy snowfall or ice,resulting in delays in shipments and hindering product delivery schedules. It’s also crucial for businesses to ensure that facilities can withstand winter weather, particularly roofing, which is prone to collapse under heavy snow.
  3. Central and Northern Virginia: Much of Virginia experiences distinct seasons characterized by hot summers and cold winters, necessitating HVAC systems for temperature control. These seasonal transitions also bring unique weather challenges, including the potential for severe thunderstorms, hail, and tornadoes during the spring and summer months. Additionally, low-lying areas face the risk of flash flooding, particularly during heavy rainfall.

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Virginia is one of the few states that follow the doctrine of contributory negligence. Under this doctrine, if a plaintiff is found to have contributed even slightly to their own injury, they may be barred from recovering any damages from the defendant. For Virginia employers, the doctrine of contributory negligence can have significant implications in cases where employees are injured on the job. If an employee is found to have contributed to their own injury, they may be barred from recovering compensation from their employer or other liable parties.

A few examples: 

  • An employee sustains a slip-and-fall injury after failing to wear non-slip footwear provided by the employer. 
  • An employee is injured after disregarding established safety procedures, such as bypassing machine guards or neglecting to use personal protective equipment (PPE) while operating machinery. 
  • An employee disregards warning signs or verbal instructions provided by the employer regarding hazardous conditions in the workplace. They suffer an injury after entering a restricted area marked with warning signs. 

Did You Know: According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, over 200,000 workplace slip-and-fall accidents occur annually, resulting in an average of 11 days away from work. 

While the doctrine of contributory negligence may provide some level of protection for Virginia employers in certain instances, liability coverage plays a vital role in properly protecting your business.

Even if an employee is found partially negligent in an injury case, defending against a lawsuit can still incur significant legal costs. Central’s general liability insurance covers legal feesand claims brought by third parties—such as customers, vendors, or visitors—related to accidents, injuries, property damage, slander, invasion of privacy, and more.

The Central Difference

In addition to robust property and liability coverages designed to protect your business when the worst happens, another benefit of partnering with Central for business insurance in Virginia is our proactive approach to loss control. Our team works closely with policyholders to enhance safety protocols and prevent losses. Whether ensuring proper cleaning procedures in a restaurant or implementing non-slip mats to prevent falls, our loss control experts assess your business risks and provide recommendations for enhancing safety. 

Eanes explains that loss control measures play an important role in safeguarding businesses against claims. 

“Unexpected losses and incidents can have devastating and costly consequences ranging from on-site injuries to employee absences to costly litigation. We work hard to prevent losses before they happen because we recognize that prevention is the most powerful form of protection.” 

Ready to explore how Central can help protect your Virginia business? Find an agent to learn more. 

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