Small business insurance: Why service businesses should start a policy

Small business insurance: Why service businesses should start a policy
Rhea Freeman
Rhea FreemanRhea Freeman - Social . Media. Marketing

Posted: Fri 3rd Nov 2023

Enterprise Nation has partnered with leading specialist insurer Hiscox on the business essentials programme – a free hub providing guides, resources and a discounted offer designed to help small business owners, contractors and freelancers find the right business insurance – and peace of mind.

Hiscox can help you create a tailored business insurance policy that covers you against losses should any unforeseen issues arise. Its cover will flex with you and your business as you grow, helping to future-proof what you've worked so hard to build.

We appreciate that insurance can be a complex topic. And for small businesses that haven't ventured into the world before, it can be a daunting prospect, especially when you have a million and one other things to organise. How do you know which insurance you need? And once you know, how do you go about arranging it?

Here, we speak to business owner Rhea Freeman, who in her role as a coach, mentor and consultant helps small businesses, solopreneurs and influencers market themselves via social media and other online and digital methods.

Rhea recounts the struggles she had with figuring out the right type of cover for her service-based business, and offers advice and tips for how other similar businesses can organise their own insurance.


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Rhea, tell us about your business – what you do and how long you’ve been operating.

My business has changed a lot since it started. It began really as a PR service, then moved into social media and marketing, then evolved again into branding, consultancy, mentoring and coaching.

That's where I spend the vast majority of my time now – coaching, mentoring and supporting small business owners with their businesses, often using my PR and marketing knowledge.

How soon after you started your business did you arrange insurance?

Fairly soon, although it was a number of years ago and I was perhaps a bit more naïve then. If you're a product-based business, I think it's quite easy to know what insurance you need. The same applies if you have physical premises.

But if you're a service-based business like mine, it's more challenging. I didn't look into it initially because I didn't know anyone doing what I did who had business insurance.

As a service business, how did you go about securing insurance? Did you know what was out there and which policy was best for you?

While I was very confident in how I ran my business, and in the procedures and systems I had in place, I didn't know what insurance I needed. That's the thing about insurance: If you knew what you were going to have a problem with, you just wouldn't do it, would you?

There are things you can't necessarily see or predict, even with your very best efforts. So I started researching and looking at different types of insurance. And for a fairly small amount a month in the grand scheme of things, I thought it was definitely worth arranging insurance.

It definitely made me feel a lot more confident and a lot more professional actually. You might have your pretty logo and your branding, but with the right insurance in place, it just shows you have a good business understanding of what's needed to make things run smoothly and protect yourself if anything goes wrong.

Were you aware what types of insurance there are for small businesses? How did you start looking?

I found it incredibly difficult to work out what I needed and why. So I did spend a bit of time researching to figure this out, particularly as some of the terms didn't make a whole lot of sense.

Often, it isn't that clear what insurance is appropriate for service-based businesses, so it pays to do some research and work out what's most suitable for you.

How did you learn of Hiscox and why did you choose them as your insurance provider?

I did a Google search for "service-based business insurance" or something similar. And of course, quite a few providers popped up. But I was drawn to Hiscox's website – it's easy to understand and read. Plus, when I called them, they were very helpful and knew what they were talking about, which was beneficial.

I'd called a few other providers and just got a bit bamboozled and quite overwhelmed at times, as they recommended several different products. I realise now that insurance companies can't advise you on what you need, but I didn't know that myself at the time.

I found it useful that I could learn more online, and that there were digestible guides that helped me get a better understanding. Once I did that, I got some quotes and Hiscox was the one I picked.

Have you ever had to claim on your insurance?

No, which I'm obviously very grateful for. But I have changed my insurance over time as my business has grown and my needs have changed. For example, I increased the amount I'm insured for if I work with people in different countries. I've also added the cyber-security insurance element to protect my business should I ever suffer a hack or data-related incident.

Even though I haven't had to claim, I've found that whenever I've dealt with Hiscox and asked them questions, they've been really helpful and very professional. Which is great when you have no idea where to go for the resources to make your decision.

How important is it for service-based start-ups to have insurance?

It does depend on what you're doing for your job, but it is critical. If you have a physical building people are coming into, or if you're selling a physical product, it's got to be a priority, because otherwise you're leaving yourself liable to so much.

Treat it like when you have to register with the taxman. It's boring, but it's really important. You don't want to be caught out on a technicality, and once you've done it, you can get on with the more exciting aspects of the business.

Do some enquiries just to get a better understanding of what you need. Whether you take it then is up to you. But at least if you're informed and you know the risks, you're in a better position to make the right decision.

Most of the time, you can get a quote quickly online, or via a phone call. It shouldn't feel terrifying or scary. It can be a lot to process sometimes, but if you see it as an essential and something you really need to do to properly protect your business, that's the way to deal with it.

Do you think there's enough support and guidance for small businesses on how to get insured?

There could definitely be more. Breaking down complex subjects like insurance is really important for small businesses. None of us go into running our own business because we love this kind of legal detail – unless of course you're a solicitor and that's your bag! We do it because we're passionate.

So while we're experts in what we do, it doesn't mean we're experts in all aspects of business and insurance. Anything that can demystify the subject and provide small, actionable, jargon-free steps is a win.

I also think that having that trust in insurance companies generally is really important. You want to feel that rather than trying to sell you something you don't need, they actually have your best interests at heart.

If you can feel confident in your insurer, you don't have to worry. You still need to do things correctly, but it moves things off your list and reduces that mental load that these little things can create.


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Rhea Freeman
Rhea FreemanRhea Freeman - Social . Media. Marketing
I help small businesses, solopreneurs and influencers promote themselves better with little to no budget. And as you'd guess, most of this is done around social media and digital. I usually work with female founded business and most of the brands I support tend to have a rural connection, from being located there to serving there. I also run two Facebook groups, one of which is a membership group, to provide people who want upskill with additional support. In addition, I love speaking at events where I can help people get enthused and grow their confidence around social media, the power of digital, and how they have everything they need to get started. I'm also an award winning PR adviser, best selling author and two x TEDx Speaker.

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