All businesses need insurance, but how much and what type depends
on your business activities. Many types of insurance are available; some are required by
law and others are
optional. Unless otherwise noted, most insurance can
be obtained from an insurance company specializing in business
insurance. For information about a specific type of insurance, choose
from the following:
Businesses with employees must have
worker's comp and unemployment insurance.
Insurance - State and Federal
Following are optional insurance products available to
businesses. You may need
one or more of
them, depending on your particular business activity. Home-based businesses may have
special needs in addition to those listed below. Your insurance
agent or professional
association can provide information on availability and cost.
Key Person Insurance
Business Owners' Guide to Insurance
Worker's Compensation Insurance:
having employees must carry worker's compensation insurance, which is administered by the
Industrial Commission. Worker's comp insurance is no-fault
insurance that covers lost wages and provides medical
benefits for workers who sustain a job-related injury or
illness. Rehabilitation services are also available.
Workers comp insurance
can be obtained in four ways:
- Private Insurance Company – Many private insurance
companies are licensed to offer worker's compensation insurance in
Idaho. To find a company,
contact an insurance agent.
- State Insurance Fund – Coverage is available through the State Insurance
Fund. For information, visit their website at
or call (208) 332-2100 or 1-800-334-2370.
- Assigned Risk Pool – Employers
considered to be high risk and who are unable to obtain coverage
from private insurance companies or the State Insurance Fund can
apply for coverage through the assigned risk pool, administered by the National Council on Compensation
Insurance (NCCI). For information, contact your insurance agent, call NCCI at
1-800-622-4123, or visit their website at
- Self-insurance – This option
is available only to Idaho employers with large payrolls who are
able to meet specific requirements. Approval for self-insurance must
be obtained from the Idaho Industrial Commission.
types of employment are exempt from Worker's Compensation coverage. For
information, click the box to the right.
Employers are required to display a
poster indicating they provide worker's comp insurance. The
poster should be provided by the insurance company from whom the insurance
For information, visit
Worker's Comp Fraud - Fraud is a huge issue with worker's comp
employee may claim an injury was work-related when it wasn’t,
exaggerate an injury, or prolong collection of benefits in another way.
If you suspect an employee may be committing fraud, report the issue to
your insurance company or the Idaho Industrial Commission. For
information on workers comp fraud and how to minimize occurrences or
detect it, see
Idaho Industrial Commission offices are located
throughout Idaho. To find the one nearest you,
click on the box to the right.
Unemployment Insurance - State and Federal: Businesses with employees are required to carry
insurance, which is actually a tax paid by the employer,
not insurance. State unemployment taxes are administered by the Idaho
Department of Labor.
The Internal Revenue Service administers the federal unemployment tax. For information, visit the
section of this website.
- A form of insurance guaranteeing that a business has the
financial capacity to perform the service for which it has been hired. This is
common in the construction industry. Contact your insurance agent for
Contractors who own small firms or who
own an emerging business and who are unable to obtain surety bond
insurance through an insurance company may qualify for the Small
Business Administration's (SBA) Surety Bond Guarantee Program. For
The SBA does not provide the bond. Rather, it provides a guarantee to an
insurance company that a business will meet its obligations.
A type of insurance that protects
employers against employee dishonesty, theft,
negligence, fraud and/or embezzlement. Employees who
have direct access to a company's cash, securities,
and/or accounting records, and those who handle
investment funds or act as administrators or trustees, should be bonded.
Two types of fidelity bonds are available. A blanket fidelity bond automatically covers all employees of a
business, such as a bank or investment company. Specialty fidelity
bonds cover specific individuals who are named in the
bond, such as janitors, office managers or trust or pension fund managers. Fidelity
bonds are purchased from insurance companies.
Health Insurance - The
requirement to provide health insurance for your employees is changing
as provisions of the Affordable Healthcare Act are implemented. To find a
list of companies currently approved to sell health insurance plans to Idaho
businesses, visit the Idaho Department of Insurance website at
- Maternity Coverage - If you provide health insurance and you have
15 or more employees,
the federal Civil Rights Act requires you to provide maternity
coverage for your employees and their dependent spouses (but not dependent children). The Idaho Human Rights commission,
however, requires Idaho employers with
5 or more
employees and who offer health insurance to
provide maternity coverage for employees and
dependent spouses. For information, see
(The requirement to provide maternity
coverage may change under the Affordable
- Dependent Children - If you have employees who pay court-ordered child support, you may be required to
enroll their dependent children in your company's health insurance program.
For information, visit the
Issues section of this website and look for "Child Support
- Chamber of Commerce Members - If you are a small
or mid-sized business and you are a member of a Treasure
Valley-area chamber of commerce, you can enroll in a
group health plan, Chamber Blue, created in cooperation with Blue Cross
of Idaho and Regence BlueShield. The plan offers savings
of about 20% to qualified businesses.
For information, visit
Currently, the service is available only to members of
chambers of commerce located in the Treasure Valley,
though the program is being developed in other areas of the state.
(Note: this insurance may no longer be
available when the Affordable Healthcare Act
is fully implemented. Information will be
posted as it becomes available.)
National Standard Insurance Reporting Number
- If your business offers health insurance to employees,
you will need a National Standard Employer
Identification number for electronic claims reporting.
For information, see
Caution - Numerous companies sell bogus health
insurance plans, which may be promoted as
association plans or union plans. Before you sign up
for any insurance plan, contact the Idaho
Department of Insurance to find out if the plan and the selling agent are licensed to
do business in Idaho. Anyone
selling insurance in Idaho must be licensed in Idaho, both
the agent and the company they represent.
- Idaho, unlike some states,
does not offer a state-mandated disability insurance program for
employees other than the coverage offered by Worker's Compensation and
your company's health insurance plan. According to the Social Security
Administration, a 20 year-old worker has a 30 percent chance of becoming
disabled during her/his working years. Therefore, business owners may
want to secure disability coverage for themselves and for key employees,
particularly if your business engages in high risk activities.
Both short term and long term disability insurance is
available. Short term covers the early stages of a
disability and is more appropriate for someone who is
expected to make a full recovery. Long term disability
insurance generally covers up to 5 years or until the
person qualifies for either Medicare or Social Security
disability payments. For information on Social Security
disability insurance, visit
Disability insurance can be obtained from most insurance companies offering health insurance.
Business Liability/Property Insurance
- This insurance protects buildings,
property and inventory owned by a business against physical loss or
damage by theft, fire, water, accident, or other occurrences.
Coverage can include property not located at your business, such as equipment and/or supplies being used
at a job site.
Contents Insurance -
Similar to personal
renter's insurance, contents insurance covers damage, loss, or theft of
the contents of a building.
If you rent or lease your building, the landlord should carry property
insurance on the building (be sure to ask). Contents insurance covers property used or stored in the building.
Coverage can also include leased equipment and
items temporarily located at a job site.
Business Interruption - This
liability insurance protects against loss if business activities are
interrupted by a natural disaster, such as a fire or flood. It
supplements Business Liability coverage and can be added to a business
liability or property insurance policy. A separate policy is not
General Liability -
Protects the business if someone suffers a bodily injury while on the
premises or employees damage the property of a customer while at a job
Employment Practices Liability Insurance
- Protects against wrongful termination, discrimination, harassment
and other employment-related lawsuits
filed by employees, former employees and potential employees.
Product Liability - Protects against
lawsuits for injury or property loss due to a defect, design flaw or
malfunction of a product, food, medication or another item. Both
manufacturers and retailers may need this insurance.
Professional Liability -
Protects professionals who have greater than average knowledge in a
particular area, such as doctors, lawyers, engineers, architects and counselors, against law suits related to their
professional expertise. Medical malpractice insurance is a type of professional liability insurance.
Director's & Officers Liability Insurance - Officers and directors of a
corporation or non-profit organization can be held personally liable for their actions on behalf of
the business. This insurance protects them should law suits arise. Some
individuals may not agree to serve on a board of directors without this coverage.
Umbrella (Supplemental Liability) -
Provides additional liability coverage beyond that offered by a primary liability
policy. This may be needed by businesses engaged in high-risk
Omissions) - CPAs and other licensed professionals, such as contractors,
real estate agents, architects, home appraisers and
others, may need this insurance to protect against mistakes that could cause financial harm to a
client or related party.
Automobile/Fleet - Coverage
is similar to automobile insurance carried by individuals. If a business owns or leases a vehicle used primarily for business
purposes (car, truck, van, or trailer), private auto insurance may not
provide coverage. If a personal vehicle is used for business, special
insurance coverage called "non-owned automobile
coverage" may be needed. Your insurance agent can provide details.
Life Insurance - Can be an individual policy on the
business owner or a group policy on the owner and employees.
Key Person - A type of life insurance that
protects a business against financial loss caused by the
death or disability of a key person (someone whose
knowledge and/or skill materially contributes to the
financial success of the business), including the owner,
partners, and members of the management team. Also used
to fund buy/sell agreements when a business is owned by more
than one person. The
business owns the policy, pays the premiums, and is the beneficiary.
Business Theft Insurance -
Covers theft by employees, competitors, and others, including
theft. This may be needed in addition to liability
insurance, which covers property theft.
Business Identity Theft Insurance
- If your business collects, stores, or handles customers',
employees' confidential, personal, or financial data, this insurance
may be needed. It covers the costs of notifying
customers or employees of theft, fees associated with
recovery of the data, legal fees, and other issues.
Banks and other financial institutions, medical offices and hospitals,
insurance agencies, retail stores that accept credit
cards, employment agencies and other businesses that collect
and store personal data for any reason may need this
Home-Based Business -
If you work from your home, you may need additional
coverage beyond that offered by your homeowner's
policy. Check with your insurance agent to be certain
you are fully covered. Not all home-based business
activities are covered by homeowners' insurance,
particularly if the actual activity, such as house
painting, does not occur at your home. If you need
additional coverage, contact an independent insurance
agent who represents multiple companies. She/he can help you obtain the best coverage to
fit your particular needs.
Business Owners' Guide to Insurance: Published
by the Insurance Information Institute, this booklet
covers basic insurance needs for small businesses.
Information is also available on insurance needs for
specific types of businesses, such as internet businesses, artists, food
service, and farms and ranches -
If you suspect an
insurance company or agent may have committed
fraud by violating insurance laws or regulations, you can
file an on-line report with the National Association of
Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) at
and with the Idaho Department of Insurance at http://www.doi.idaho.gov/investigations/investigation.aspx.
If you suspect one of your employees or a business
owner may have committed insurance fraud, contact your
insurance company or the Idaho Department of Insurance to
determine how to proceed. Also see "worker's comp
fraud" under Worker's
Compensation Insurance at the top of this page.