Being so close to Silicon Valley and San Francisco, Oakland’s tech community can sometimes get overshadowed. That’s OK – denizens of Oaktown, like you, don’t need confirmation from outsiders that the East Bay is the place to
be. With lower rent, better transportation options, much better weather than San Francisco, and a diverse talent pool, Oakland is increasingly the choice for NoCal small tech entrepreneurs looking for a home. In fact, it was recently ranked the 11th
best city in the country for tech startups.
Even with Oakland’s advantages, running a business is hard work. As you develop the strategic plan for your tech company – diagnosing market opportunities and interfacing with like-minded techies in the area – you need to make sure
you’re protecting your investments of time and money. Luckily, the proper insurance coverage can help your small tech business do just that.
Small Business Insurance for Tech Companies in Oakland, San Francisco, and Fremont
Oakland’s tech community is doing good work. Many East Bay developers are creating tech solutions specifically needed by underdeveloped or disadvantaged communities. These businesses leverage the possibilities of technology to enhance education,
provide entrepreneurial opportunities in minority communities, and generally promote social welfare – typified by Oakland’s Startup Weekend/Black Male Achievement event at Impact HUB. Others are adapting technological innovations to
improve environmental sustainability and tackle other green tech challenges.
Whatever your tech focus, however, your company faces risks unique to the tech sector – risks that can create tens of thousands of dollars in losses and liabilities. To keep those risks from draining your limited financial resources, you’ll
need a combination of the following small business insurance policies:
General Liability Insurance protects you from a slew of third-party lawsuits. For instance, if someone sues you for the injury they suffered on your property, GL can cover your litigation expenses. It also covers claims that you damaged someone else’s
property or committed libel or copyright infringement. You may think these claims are rare, but GL lawsuits are among the most common torts a small-business owner may face. All it takes is for one person to fall and hit their head in a certain way
or touch an exposed electrical component at the wrong time to bury your business in legal fees.
A Business Owner’s Policy (BOP) offers a way for small businesses to control costs by combining GL Insurance and Property Insurance at a rate lower than each would be individually. Even if you rent your office space, Commercial Property Insurance
protects your equipment and furniture in case it is damaged by fire, wind, theft, or vandalism. If such an event does occur and shuts your business down for a bit, having Business Interruption
Insurance in your BOP is a life-saver. This coverage can help you cover ongoing expenses when you’re not generating revenue.
E&O Insurance (also called Professional Liability Insurance) steps in when a client claims that you performed incomplete, careless, or negligent work that caused them economic losses. For instance, a customer could claim the mobile app you designed
created a security breach and subjected them to identity theft. When that happens, E and O Insurance covers the cost of defending your business (including lawyer’s fees, settlements judgments, and court costs). Even when the lawsuit is meritless,
your coverage spares you from shelling out thousands in attorney’s fees alone.
In California, every employer is required by law to carry Workman’s Comp Insurance, even with only one employee. Workers’ Comp covers your employees’ medical costs and wages if they develop an injury at work. Because the law involves
technical definitions (e.g., who counts as an “employee”), you should talk to an insurance agent to ensure your coverage requirements are met.
While your E & O policy covers data breaches on third-party computers (i.e., your clients’ networked devices), it does not protect your own network. An additional first-party Cyber Liability Insurance (aka Cyber Risk Insurance or Data Breach
Insurance) policy might be needed if your servers store financial, confidential, or personal information. If you get hacked, Cyber Liability Insurance covers the costs of notifying victimized third parties, patching up the security holes in your network,
and mitigating the reputational damage you might suffer in the marketplace.
If your Oakland-based tech company is not protected by small business insurance, take a moment right now to get information on how to obtain coverage. You can speak with a TechInsurance agent at 1-800-668-7020 or fill out an online insurance application to receive insurance quotes via email.