If you own a small business in the New Mexico , this information will help you understand New Mexico Commercial Liability insurance and protect your business and your personal assets from legal claims and settlements that can spell financial ruin. Whether you work in Albuquerque, Santa Fe, Las Cruces, Roswell, Rio Rancho, Clovis or anywhere else in the Land of Enchantment having sufficient commercial liability coverage is an important part of any small business plan in New Mexico.
Fast Facts About New Mexico Small Business
A small business is defined as any company with fewer than 500 employees. Small business is vital to New Mexico’s economic well-being, accounting for 96% of all state employers. Of New Mexico’s 157,192 small businesses in 2008 (the latest data available), 36,030 were small employers, accounting for nearly 56% of the state’s private-sector jobs. Another 121,162 were sole proprietorships with no employees.
Source: SBA New Mexico Small Business Profile 2011.
About Commercial Liability Insurance for NM Businesses
Commercial liability insurance (also called business liability insurance and commercial general liability insurance) protects your New Mexico business from financial loss resulting from claims of injury or damage cause to others by you or your employees. A policy typically covers:
Bodily Injury – physical damage to a person other than an employee at your place of business and injuries caused by you or an employee at a client’s home or work place.
Personal Injury – libel, slander, copyright infringement, invasion of property or privacy, wrongful eviction, false arrest and similar acts that cause damage to a person’s reputation or rights.
Property Damage – damage done to another person’s property by you or an employee in the course of conducting your business.
Advertising Injury – losses caused by your advertising
Legal Defense and Judgments – costs to defend against real and frivolous suits and judgments up to the limit of your coverage. Note this generally does not include punitive damages for negligence or willful misconduct.
New Mexico Minimum Business Insurance Requirements
Commercial Liability Insurance is not mandatory for businesses operating in New Mexico. New Mexico is a pure comparative negligence fault state. An insurance adjuster will review who is at fault become accepting liability. Damages to a plaintiff can be reduced if he or she is at fault for an injury. The statute of limitations for any personal injury or product liability case is 3 years. Accidents and lawsuits (legitimate and frivolous) do happen in New Mexico. If you own property or other valuable assets you would be wise to invest in sufficient commercial general liability coverage for your New Mexico small businesses.
How Much New Mexico Commercial Liability Insurance Should You Carry?
Each situation is unique, but as a general guideline, the type of New Mexico business you operate or products you manufacture should determine how much New Mexico commercial general liability insurance you need. A good rule of thumb for most small businesses is between $500,000 and $1 million. However, if yours is a high-risk business such as the building trades or has a high volume of interaction with the public such as a restaurant or retail business, you should consider increasing your coverage. Note that if you operate out of your home, your homeowner’s or renter’s insurance has limited coverage for business liability and loss.
How Are Premium Costs Assessed
New Mexico commercial liability insurance premiums are based on a number of factors including the types of service or products you provide, the number of people you employ, how long you’ve been in business, and your claims history. Coverage is typically capped at a specific dollar amount for your policy period.
Other Insurance to Consider for Your New Mexico Small Business
New Mexico requires that anyone who employs 3 or more persons, whether full or part time, carry workers compensation insurance. For licensed construction trades, anyone who employs 1 or more persons must carry workers compensation. Sole proprietors with no employees are not required to carry workers compensation. Other exemptions may apply. Contact the State of New Mexico Workers’ Compensation Administration for details of exemptions and compliance. www.workerscomp.state.nm.us
New Mexico requires that all drivers carry minimum automobile insurance. If you use your car or truck for business, it is recommended that you purchase a commercial vehicle policy.
Employee Disability Insurance
BOP – Business Owner’s Package
E&O – Errors & Omissions
EPLI – Employment Practices Liability Insurance
Commercial Property Insurance
Regulating Agency and References
Office of Superintendent of Insurance
This agency is responsible for regulating all insurance policies sold in the state, including commercial liability coverage. Visit their website at www.osi.state.nm.us. Call 1-888-872-3234. Write Public Regulation Commission, P.E.R.A. Building, P.O. Box 1269, Santa Fe, NM 87504-1269.
New Mexico Small Business Administration
The SBA is an independent agency of the federal government created to aid, counsel, assist and protect the interests of small business concerns and maintains a District Office in Albuquerque. Get the link to the New Mexico SBA at www.sba.gov.
National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC)
This is an organization of insurance regulators from the 50 states, District of Columbia and the five U.S. territories. NAIC provides a forum for the development of uniform policies when appropriate. It also offers an online form for filing complaints, reporting suspected insurance fraud and downloading key financial information about insurance carriers at naic.org.
Insurance Information Institute (III)
This organization’s mission is to improve public understanding of insurance – what it is and how it works. Visit III at www.iii.org.