When you are looking at setting up your own shop, it is easy to get caught up in the excitement of all the possibilites and overlook the small but vital stages you need to put in place to protect both you and your customers once you start to trade. In the excitement of getting the keys, sorting out shop fittings, and arranging stock deliveries it somehow seems less important to be worrying about the various insurances you will need, even though you may find that some of these are actually integral parts of your lease agreement.

For instance, the author recently set up her shop, and part of her lease terms was that she have (and be able to prove that she had) plate glass window insurance, as there are 2 large plate glass windows and her shop is right on one of the main trunk roads through North Wales – her landlord wanted to make sure that in the unfortnate circumstance of a lorry throwing a stone up in its tires and through the glass – his property was covered. If she could not provide this, then her tenancy would be void.

There are a bewildering number of insurances that are needed, or advised for a retail outlet, and if it is all a bit new to you – you may feel a bit like a fish out of water when you call a broker and they start to reel off the seemingly never ending list that include things like Business interuption, Employee Dishonesty, Product Recall, Product Liability, Public Liabilty and even Terrorism.

The truth is, you may not need a lot of these when you first start out, and don’t feel that you have to take them just because someone tells you it might be a good idea… Depending on the sort of retail outlet you are setting up, will depend what insurances you really need.

As a general rule of thumb the ones you may want to think about include:

  • Buildings (unless this is covered by your landlord)
  • Shop Insurance
  • Public liability – incase someone falls or hurts themself whilst on your shop property
  • Product liability – incase something you sell causes an injury or illness in someone
  • Legal Expenses – this is useful if someone decides to sue you for public or product liabilty, as well as if you find yourself in the position of not being paid for work/services you have provided.
  • Contents, Machinery and Equipment – very few when first starting out have the spare capital to replace broken or stolen equipment or stock.
    Shop Insurance

Unless you will be employing someone else to work for you right away, you can probably dispence with the Employer’s Liabilty and Employee Dishonesty areas of the insurance, but you may wish to consider some sort of Personal Injury insurance incase you become unwell or are hurt and unable to work.

As you can see, it is a deeply confusing area to someone who is new to the retail world, and so it is vital that you do your homework, find out exactly what sort of retail insurances are required by law for your business, which are mentioned in your lease, and which you don’t feel you need at the start, but may in the future.

When you have all that information in hand, approach a broker you feel you can trust – don’t be afraid to ask other shopkeepers in your area who they use and if they would recommend them. It is far simplier if you can find a broker that will be able to provide you with all aspects of your retail insurance in one policy as it is easier to keep track of then several individual policies from various sources.

There are brokers that specalise in insurance for retail, and can tailor the package to best suit your needs with a “mix and match” approach to the various elements and can advise you if your circumstances change wheither or not your insurance is sufficiant for your needs or whither you need to upgrade, or add something in to, your retail insurance cover.