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All businesses need insurance, but how much and what type depends on your business activities. Many types of insurance are available; some are required by law and others are optional. Unless otherwise noted, most insurance can be obtained from an insurance company specializing in business insurance. For information about a specific type of insurance, choose from the following:

Required Insurance: Businesses with employees must have worker's comp and unemployment insurance.

Workers Compensation Insurance
Unemployment Insurance - State and Federal

Optional Insurance: You may need one or more of the following insurance products, depending on your specific business activity. Your insurance agent or professional association can provide information.

Surety Bond
Fidelity Bond

Health Insurance
Disability Insurance
Business Liability
Business Interruption
Business Identity Theft Insurance
Business Theft Insurance
Completed Operations(Errors and Omissions)
Contents Insurance
Director's & Officer's Liability Insurance
Employment Practices Liability Insurance
General Liability
Home Office
Product Liability
Professional Liability
Property Insurance
Umbrella (Supplemental Liability)

Life Insurance
Life Insurance

Key Person Insurance

Insurance Fraud

Small Business Owners' Guide to Insurance

Worker's Compensation Insurance: Most businesses having employees must carry worker's compensation insurance, which is administered by the Idaho Industrial Commission.

Workers comp insurance can be obtained in four ways:    

  • Private Insurance Company – contact an insurance agent.  

  • State Insurance Fund

  • Assigned Risk Pool – Employers considered to be high risk and unable to obtain coverage from private insurance companies or the State Insurance Fund can apply for coverage through the assigned risk pool, administered by the National Council on Compensation Insurance (NCCI). For information, contact your insurance agent, call NCCI at 1-800-622-4123, or see

  • Self-insurance – Available only to Idaho employers with large payrolls who are able to meet specific requirements. Approval for self-insurance is obtained from the Idaho Industrial Commission.

Some types of employment are exempt from Worker's Compensation coverage. For information, see Workers Compensation Exemptions.

Employers must display a poster provided by their insurance company indicating the business has worker's comp insurance.

Worker's Comp Fraud - If you suspect an employee may be committing fraud, report the issue to your insurance company or the Idaho Industrial Commission. For information on workers comp fraud and how to minimize occurrences or detect it, see 

To find your nearest Industrial Commission office, click here.

Unemployment Insurance - State and Federal: Businesses with employees are required to carry unemployment insurance, a tax (not insurance) paid by the employer. State unemployment taxes are administered by the Idaho Department of Labor. The Internal Revenue Service administers the federal unemployment tax. For information, visit the Taxes section of this website.


Surety Bond - A form of insurance guaranteeing that a business has the financial capacity to perform the service for which it has been hired. This is common in the construction industry and also known as a performance bond. Contact your insurance agent for information.

Contractors who are unable to obtain a bond through an insurance or surety company may qualify for the Small Business Administration's (SBA) Surety Bond Guarantee Program.

Fidelity Bond - A type of insurance that protects employers against employee dishonesty, theft, negligence, fraud and/or embezzlement. Two types of bonds are available. A blanket bond covers all employees of a business, such as a bank or investment company. Specialty fidelity bonds cover specific individuals who are named in the bond. Fidelity bonds are purchased from insurance companies.

Health Insurance - The requirement to provide employee health insurance is changing as provisions of the Affordable Healthcare Act are implemented. To find a list of companies currently approved to sell health insurance plans to Idaho businesses, visit the Idaho Department of Insurance website.  

  • Dependent Children - If you have employees who pay court-ordered child support, you may be required to enroll their dependent children in your company's health insurance program. For information, visit the Employer Issues section of this website and look for "Child Support Payroll Deductions."

  • Chamber of Commerce Members - If you own a small or mid-sized business and are a member of a Treasure Valley-area chamber of commerce, you can enroll in a group health plan, Chamber Blue, created in cooperation with Blue Cross of Idaho and Regence BlueShield.   

National Standard Insurance Reporting Number - If your business offers health insurance to employees, you need a National Standard Employer Identification number for electronic claims reporting.

Disability Insurance - Idaho, unlike some states, does not offer a state-mandated disability insurance program other than the coverage offered by Worker's Compensation and your company's health insurance plan.

Both short term and long term disability insurance can be purchased from an insurance company. Short term covers the early stages of a disability and is appropriate for someone who is expected to make a full recovery. Long term disability insurance generally covers up to 5 years or until the person qualifies for either Medicare or Social Security disability payments. Disability insurance can be obtained from most insurance companies offering health insurance.

Business Liability/Property Insurance  - Protects buildings, property and inventory owned by a business against physical loss or damage by theft, fire, water, accident, or other occurrences. Coverage includes property not located at the business, such as equipment and/or supplies at a job site.

Contents Insurance - Similar to personal renter's insurance, covers damage, loss, or theft of the contents of a leased or rented building. The landlord should carry property insurance on the building (be sure to ask). The insurance may also cover leased equipment and items temporarily located at a job site.

Business Interruption - Protects against loss if business activities are interrupted by a natural disaster. It supplements Business Liability coverage and can be added to a business liability or property insurance policy.

General Liability - Protects the business if someone is injured while on the premises or employees damage the property of a customer while at a job location.

Employment Practices Liability Insurance (EPLI) - Protects against wrongful termination, discrimination, harassment and other employment-related lawsuits filed by employees, former employees and potential employees.

Product Liability - Protects against lawsuits for injury or property loss due to a defect, design flaw or malfunction of a product, food, medication or another item.

Professional Liability - Protects professionals who have greater than average knowledge in a particular area, such as doctors, lawyers, engineers, architects and counselors, against law suits related to their professional expertise. Medical malpractice insurance is a type of professional liability insurance.

Director's & Officers Liability Insurance - Protects officers and directors of a corporation or non-profit organization from personal liability for their actions on behalf of the business.

Umbrella (Supplemental Liability) - Provides additional liability coverage beyond that offered by a primary liability policy. This may be needed by businesses engaged in high-risk activities. 

Completed Operations (Errors and Omissions) - CPAs and other licensed professionals may need this insurance to protect against mistakes that could cause financial harm to a client or related party. 

Automobile/Fleet - Similar to individual automobile insurance, it covers business owned or leased vehicles (car, truck, van, or trailer). If a personal vehicle is used for business, special insurance coverage called "non-owned automobile coverage" may be needed. Your insurance agent can provide details.

Life Insurance - Can be an individual policy on the business owner or a  group policy on the owner and employees.

Key Person - A type of life insurance that protects a business against financial loss caused by the death or disability of a key person, including the owner, partners, and members of the management team. Also used to fund buy/sell agreements when a business is owned by more than one person. The business owns the policy, pays the premiums, and is the beneficiary.

Business Theft Insurance - Covers theft by employees, competitors, and others, including intellectual property theft. This may be needed in addition to liability insurance, which covers property theft.

Business Identity Theft Insurance - Businesses that collect, store, or handle customers', patients' or employees' confidential, personal, or financial data, may need this insurance. It covers the costs of notifying victims of theft, fees associated with recovery of the data, legal fees, and more.

Home-Based Business - Home-based businesses may need additional coverage beyond that offered by a homeowner's policy. Not all home-based business activities are covered by homeowners' insurance, particularly if the actual activity, such as house painting, does not occur at your home. Check with your insurance agent for details.

Small Business Owners' Guide to Insurance: Published by the Insurance Information Institute, this booklet covers basic insurance needs for small businesses, including Information on the  needs of specific types of businesses, such as internet businesses, artists, food service, and farms and ranches -

Insurance Fraud: If you suspect an insurance company or agent may have committed fraud, you can file an on-line report with the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC)  and with the Idaho Department of Insurance.

If you suspect an employees or a business owner may have committed insurance fraud, contact your insurance company or the Idaho Department of Insurance to determine how to proceed. Also see "worker's comp fraud" under Worker's Compensation Insurance at the top of this page.


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