Having outgrown my 2-car garage workshop, I recently moved into a much larger space with plenty of room for all of my woodworking equipment. I have reached Nirvana! However, one of the stipulations on the lease is that I have a one-million dollar liability policy. Sounds easy, right?
One of the things that drives me nuts about insurance is that I have never met my insurance agent despite having held multiple policies with him for over 20 years. Even after major hurricanes and the recent deep freeze we experienced here, I have never even received a phone call to check up on us.
Because of this, I went searching to establish a relationship with an insurance agent close to where I live. I wanted to find someone local that I can support and say “Hi” to if I see them in the grocery store. After all, they are independent small businesses too.
I had no idea what kind of frustration I was going to run into. One local agent never returned my calls. It seemed as if they didn’t want to sell me anything. Another agent sent over a quote but I didn’t hear back for six weeks after I requested a change to the quote. It seemed as if I had to chase people down just to get them to try to sell me something. It was like I was a reverse telemarketer!
It was at this point that Monica got involved. She started making calls and doing research too. None of the traditional insurance companies seemed to comprehend that we were a small business making soaps and making hand-turned wood items. “We can’t insure you if you make soaps”, was one response. “I can insure your property, but not liability for $5000 per year”, was another. The most common response was “I’ll send you a quote” followed by nothing.
In the past we had an insurance policy through a soap-maker supply company. But that insurance only covered soaps and would not apply to the new leased space. That wouldn’t work and the search went on. Other insurance would cover the woodworking part of the business, but not soap making. It was frustrating!
Finally, we found a glimmer of hope amidst the chaos that is small business insurance. Monica found out about a network for independent crafts people like us that offer group insurance. The caveat is that you must be a member of the group to qualify for the group insurance rate, but that isn’t uncommon. Even with the group membership, the total cost of insurance coverage was less that what I had been quoted from the big insurance companies.
Later, I found out about a second insurance company that focuses on art markets, craft markets, and the makers at these markets. They offer insurance that covers you for the year or just the duration of a single market. If your booth gets swept away by a tornado on a Saturday afternoon, you are covered!
These two options are exactly what people like us need but aren’t terribly easy to find with a simple Google search.
The Indie Business Network does more than just insurance. They provide a great deal of resources to help crafters like us grow their business. There are some awesome resources available and we have only just scratched the surface of what is available to us.
ACT seems to be an exceptionally simple way to get insurance for crafters. Whether it is for a single show, or for the entire year, you can find a policy here.
While my goal of establishing a relationship with my insurance agent wasn’t met and isn’t likely to be, I was able to find insurance that is well suited to my needs.
I am receiving no consideration from either of these companies nor do I have a relationship with them other than being a recent member of the Indie Business Network. My goal is to simply provide you with the information that I found so your experience with finding insurance is not as frustrating as mine was.
I really hope this helps you in growing your craft and your business.
See you at market….