The Ultimate Insurance Guide for Founders!

The Ultimate Insurance Guide for Founders!

Starting a business is exciting and thrilling, but also enormously stressful and brings with it an incredible number of challenges, uncertainties and risks. Insurance is an indispensable means of protecting yourself against uncertainties and eliminating risks.

Every startup and company is unique and has unique risks. This means that insurance needs will differ from startup to startup. Therefore, it is crucial to be careful when choosing the right insurance for your startup.

Unfortunately, however, dealing with insurance is a pain in the ***. That's why we've created this Ultimate Guide that explains everything you need to know:

  • What insurance does my startup need?
  • Which insurance products should I start with?
  • Which products are more important as my startup grows?
  • Which insurance products do I need as a founder?
  • What steps do I need to take when purchasing insurance products?
  • How can I reduce costs associated with policies?
  • What should I do if I have a claim?

Which insurances does my startup need?

You probably don't need insurance every day. Nevertheless, it is important to cover the individual risks of your company. This ensures that you have access to policies that cover your costs and reduce financial risks in the event of a claim.

Professional Liability Insurance

The difference between professional liability insurance, public liability insurance and financial loss liability insurance is somewhat confusing. It is important to remember that professional indemnity is an umbrella term. The other two are different products - explained next.

Business Liability Insurance

Business liability insurance protects you against claims for damages from third parties, such as employees, customers or suppliers. The insurance comes into force if property damage or personal injury occurs during business activities. It does not matter whether the damage was caused by the policyholder personally or by his employees.

An example of a claim: the stairs in your office are broken and a customer is seriously injured. The insurance covers the costs arising from the property damage and personal injury.

As soon as high property damage and personal injury can occur, it is worth taking out business liability insurance.

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Financial Loss Liability Insurance

The financial loss liability insurance - also known as E&O insurance - protects you if someone else suffers a financial disadvantage through your fault. In other words, if you are held responsible for the financial losses of a customer or partner due to your professional services. As a rule, tradespeople are fully liable for such losses. Even small mistakes can cause considerable financial losses.

Example of damage: your customer suffers financial loss because your product has a programming error or secret data has been passed on.

As soon as you represent the financial interests of third parties in any way or manage personal data, you should definitely take out financial loss liability insurance.

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Business Contents Insurance

Business contents insurance is the security system for your startup's physical assets. Whether you have an office space, expensive IT systems or even inventory, this policy protects you against unexpected events such as fires, vandalism or theft.

Example of damage: Imagine a fire damages your office and you lose all your computers, furniture and inventory. Business contents insurance steps in to cover the cost of repairs or replacements and keep your business running smoothly.

As soon as your business has valuable assets (e.g. laptops, inventory), it's worth insuring them with contents insurance.

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Note: Loss of earnings insurance, also known as business interruption insurance, is a component of contents insurance. This protects you against the financial consequences if your startup comes to a standstill for a period of time or your business operations are disrupted. As soon as you have inventory, a business premises or machines that are essential for your business operations, it makes sense to take out contents insurance including loss of earnings insurance.

Directors and Officers Insurance

Directors and Officers (D&O) insurance is the legal bodyguard of your shareholders, protecting them from personal financial liability, especially when they make critical decisions that affect the business. Let's say your startup faces a lawsuit for mismanagement, fraud or regulatory violations. Without D&O insurance, the shareholders of your startup will have to pay the damages out of their own pockets - up to and including personal insolvency. This policy ensures that your shareholders are protected. Many investors and VC funds require this insurance.

As soon as you have many shareholders - especially external ones - you should take out D&O insurance.

Legal expenses insurance is like having legal assistance on call. It's a policy that helps cover your legal costs if your startup is faced with a legal dispute. From contract disputes to labour law issues, legal problems can crop up unexpectedly. Legal expenses insurance provides the financial support you need to navigate the complex world of litigation.

Example of a claim: you dismiss an employee and they take legal action against you, resulting in a claim before the labour court. Legal expenses insurance covers legal fees and court costs.

If your company is exposed to legal risks such as competition or labour law, you should take out legal protection insurance.

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Cyber Insurance

In our digital age, cyber insurance is essential to protect your business from cyber-attacks and data breaches. It is essential because all companies can fall victim to threats. Imagine the horror scenario of a data breach exposing your customers' sensitive information. Cyber insurance helps to cover the costs of notifying those affected, dealing with the aftermath and potential legal action.

As soon as your company deals with personal or sensitive data, we recommend cyber insurance.

Startups are young companies that are building everything from scratch, developing products and making mistakes. It is essential to take out the right insurance policies to protect yourself against uncertainties, mistakes and risks. Take out essential products from the start and expand your insurance portfolio as your business grows.

Which insurance products should I start with?

The big question is, where should you start with insurance for your startup? Unfortunately, the optimal insurance coverage varies from startup to startup, as each one is unique.

Our general recommendation for pre-seed to seed startups are the following must-have products: Financial Loss Liability, Cyber Insurance and D&O Insurance.

As soon as your startup works with personal and sensitive data, we recommend that startups take out financial loss liability and cyber insurance. VSH protects your startup against claims arising from financial losses from customers and partners, while cyber protects your startup against damage caused by cyber attacks and data breaches.

Most start-ups receive equity investments at an early stage. This means new shareholders join the cap table. They can sue if they believe that the management has made wrong decisions. D&O insurance protects shareholders, salaried managing directors and senior executives from slightly negligent mistakes.

Clarify whether it also makes sense to take out contents, public liability or legal expenses insurance.

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Which products are more important when my startup is growing?

Congratulations, your startup is growing! The bigger the company, the more customers, the more internal processes, the more mistakes can happen, the more risks there are! That's why it's essential for your company and your growth to cover additional risks now.

As soon as your company grows, we advise you to take out legal expenses and contents insurance.

As your business expands, so does your legal exposure. Legal disputes can be costly and disruptive. Legal expenses insurance can become more important as your startup grows, as it covers the legal costs associated with disputes, employment issues and other legal challenges. It's your legal safety net that ensures you have the resources to protect your interests and navigate the complex world of business law.

Content Insurance

As your startup continues to grow, so does the amount of physical assets. You move into a larger office, purchase more equipment for employees, have a larger warehouse, ... The need for comprehensive contents insurance therefore increases with the assets. If there is water damage, for example, the insurance not only provides financial security, but also ensures the continuity of your business.

What steps do I need to take when buying insurance products?

Finding the right insurance for your startup is a complex and time-consuming process. With a methodical approach and the right guidance, you can make the process more efficient. Here are the key steps you should follow:

1. Identify unique risks

Every startup is unique, and so are its risks. Start by identifying the risks specific to your business. Do you have a lot of physical assets? Do you have employees who can cause damage to third parties? Do you have legal risks from competition or employees? Understanding the risks of your startup is the first step to customising your insurance coverage to your needs.

2. Match risks to insurance products

Once you've identified your risks, it's time to match them to the right insurance products. You don't want to pay for cover you don't need or, on the contrary, realise too late that you are underinsured. Look for the right cover online or involve experts to advise you and cover your identified risks.

3. Define risk parameters

Define the risk parameters that make up the protection of your insurance policy and influence its price. For example, consider factors such as coverage limits, number of employees, turnover, investments in policy assets. Knowing these parameters will ensure that you get the cover you need and can manage your insurance costs effectively (you must also notify your insurer if these parameters change).

4. Gather information for quotes

To get accurate insurance quotes, you need to provide detailed information (e.g. financial data, number of employees) about your startup. The more accurate and comprehensive your information is, the more accurate your quotes will be.

5. Research insurers

Not all insurance providers are the same, and some specialise in certain industries or niches. Look for insurers who are experts in your specific sector. As they are experienced in the segment, they are relatively risk-savvy and therefore offer better deals. Also research reviews on claims settlement and customer service.

6. Request multiple quotes

Don't settle for the first insurance quote you receive. Request quotes from different insurers to compare cover and prices. This will help you find the best policy to suit your needs and budget.

7. Centralise information

Once you have purchased your insurance policies, centralise all relevant information and documents. Having your policies, contact details and claims files in one place makes it easier to manage your cover and ensures you can access important information when you need it.

8. Continuously monitor and adjust

The risks and needs of your startup will change over time. Continuously monitor how your risk parameters change and adjust your policies accordingly. This may include raising coverage limits, adjusting deductibles or even adding new policies as your business expands.

Remember that risks are dynamic and grow with your business. Don't think of it as a one-off task, but as an ongoing process to effectively protect your business.

How to reduce the costs associated with policies

As the founder of a startup, you understand the importance of keeping your company financially lean and efficient. This mindset should also extend to your approach to insurance. Whilst insurance is important to protect your startup, it doesn't mean you have to spend vast sums of money on it. Here's how you can effectively reduce the costs associated with insurance policies:

1. Find experienced insurers

Start by looking for insurers who have experience in your specific industry or risk group. They are more risk-averse and can often offer better rates. They understand the unique challenges your business may face and can tailor policies accordingly.

2. Research experience values

Before you commit to an insurer, research their experience. This includes how efficiently the insurer handles claims, the quality of customer service and the speed at which claims are processed. Because you don't just want competitive prices, you want excellent support too!

3. Compare quotes

The insurance market is competitive, and rates can vary significantly between carriers. Don't hesitate to shop around for better deals, especially if your policies are up for renewal. By exploring different options, you can secure more affordable coverage without sacrificing quality.

4. Consider product bundling

Insurance carriers often offer discounts if you bundle multiple policies with them. Consider bundling your insurance needs for the company to benefit from cost savings. For example, bundling liability insurance, property insurance and commercial auto liability insurance with one carrier can result in an overall more affordable premium.

5. Continuous optimisation of policies

Consider working with an insurance broker or agent who offers continuous policy optimisation.Policies should be regularly reviewed and optimised to ensure that they still meet the needs of your startup and that you get the best policy.

6. Efficient insurance management

Efficient management of communication with your insurer can save you time and money. Your insurance broker can act as an intermediary between you and the insurers, handling enquiries, claims and other interactions, reducing the workload on your end. This will save you time and money!

What to do if you have a claim?

Facing an insurance claim can be an intimidating experience! In this unforeseen event, it is crucial to know what steps to take.

1. Report the claim immediately

As soon as you are aware of a potential claim, it is essential to report it to your insurer or broker immediately. Promptness is often a requirement in insurance policies, and delayed reporting could jeopardise your cover. Provide all relevant details, including the date, time, location and nature of the incident.

2. Understand policy deadlines and requirements

Different insurance policies may have specific deadlines and requirements for filing claims. Read and understand your policy to ensure you meet these requirements. Compliance is critical to a successful settlement process. If you are unsure about any regulations, ask your insurer or broker for clarification.

3. Collect comprehensive evidence

Gathering evidence is a crucial step in the settlement process. The specific requirements may vary depending on the type of claim. For example:

  • For property damage, document the extent of the damage with photographs.
  • For liability claims, gather information such as the names of the parties involved, insurance policy numbers and any witness statements.
  • For cyber-attacks or data loss, provide detailed information on the nature and scope of the attack.

4. Monitor the process

Stay active in the handling process. Regularly check the status and timelines for resolution with your insurer.

5. Keep records and documents

Keep careful records of all communications, documentation and transactions related to the claim. This documentation can serve as crucial evidence in the event of disputes and ensure transparency in the process.

About SureIn

We hope our insights have helped you! You don't want to spend hours comparing quotes, hanging on hotlines or managing insurance policies in Excel spreadsheets! We founded SureIn so that you can concentrate on the important things.

We analyse your company for risks, create an individual assessment, compare the market for the right policy, monitor your risks and proactively optimise policies. Setting up our tool takes <5 min and SureIn is and remains completely free of charge, as the insurer gives us part of its margin.

You can also contact us at any time at +49 30 837 989 96 or We look forward to seeing you!

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