As a small business owner you may be facing a pretty steep learning curve when it comes to keeping all of your ducks in a row. Even if you were previously employed in the industry in which you have decided to start your own venture, you may not be fully aware of all that goes into owning and operating a successful company. And since the buck stops with you, it’s imperative that you are at least aware of all the facets that go into keeping your operation running smoothly and protecting it from both internal and external threats. This could require you to secure several different insurance policies. Of course, you probably don’t have a ton of money to throw around on unnecessary coverage. But there are some policies that are fundamental if you don’t want to fold the first time a lawsuit emerges. Here are the basic insurance plans that every small business owner should consider having on hand.

One of the most important types of coverage to have is liability, and this applies to nearly every small business undertaking. As you may or may not know, there are actually several different types of coverage under this particular category. For example, any business that has employees on premises, and especially to those that are open to clients or the public at large, should carry a general liability policy to cover any accidents, injuries, or other types of negligence. This policy not only protects your business should a visitor slip and fall or should a light pole in the parking lot fall on a car, but it also serves you in the event of lawsuits resulting from claims of libel or slander. In short, it’s one policy that most businesses can’t go without.

And there are liability plans to cover both goods and services, as well. If you create a product for public consumption, a product liability policy is a good idea since it will protect you in the event that your goods are defective or if they somehow harm consumers. The great thing about this type of coverage is that you can scale it by risk. But if you offer a service, either in your place of business or through off-site visits, you’ll probably want professional liability coverage, which protects you from lawsuits involving claims of negligence, malpractice, or other errors. You may also want to consider commercial property insurance if you own the property where your business is conducted, or alternately, home-based business insurance if you operate out of your home (since coverage offered by a standard homeowners policy has limitations on business coverage).

Aside from liability insurance you might find yourself in need of auto insurance should you provide any kind of work vehicle, although you can cut costs by visiting a website like CheapAutoInsurance.org. And you’ll also want to look into basic employee coverage plans like worker’s compensation, unemployment, and disability. Soon you may also have to provide healthcare benefits for employees, depending on the size of your business. However, you need not purchase every business-related policy. Consider the needs of your particular business before you rush out and start scooping up coverage. This is the best way to budget wisely, weigh risks, and ensure that your small business is properly protected.