If the new outlet mall opening near the Edmonton International Airport is any indication, Edmonton retail sales are on the rise. Stores on Whyte Ave and downtown are already preparing for streams of shoppers to line the streets under soon-to-arrive sunny skies.

From corner markets and novelty shops, to department stores and car dealerships, all Edmonton retailers face some degree of risk in their day-to-day operations. Retail insurance is designed to cover liabilities that come with selling products and merchandise.

Your first question might be: “Do I need retail insurance in Edmonton?”

The short answer is… yes!

If you sell products in a physical storefront or online, you need to protect your business from incidents beyond your control. Retail insurance protects all the assets your business depends on to keep running. This includes your stock, location, and the people who sell and buy your products. A single incident without proper insurance can easily put your Edmonton retail store out of business, whether you’re selling rocket ship parts or dog treats.

Getting retail insurance in Edmonton isn’t difficult, but you do have options. We want to help you get the best policy coverage and rates, so we’ve broken it down into a few simple steps.

Before you set up your retail store in Edmonton, you should:

1. Protect your space before you’re in it.

When you lease or buy a retail space in Edmonton, it likely won’t be equipped to showcase your products and serve your customers. Renovations to a leased commercial space are known as “tenant improvements.” You might not have your product in the building quite yet, but you could already be at risk for damages or injuries during tenant improvements. If you aren’t sure if you’re covered, call a licensed Cornerstone insurance broker to ask what your risks are and how to get coverage during store renos. 

2. Know what you need.

Long before you’re ready to start selling your product, you’re ready to start shopping for insurance. Don’t worry if you don’t have all the details quite yet. As long as you have your location(s), products, and a good starting point on the details of your business, you’re ready to get the ball rolling to find out what your retail insurance needs to cover.

Think of retail insurance as a bundled policy that protects you from all the mishaps you might suffer. Depending on the size and type of your business, you might need policies to cover:

  • Theft
  • Fire
  • Privacy breach
  • Liability

The type of policies you’ll need included in your retail insurance will depend on factors like whether you have multiple locations, are a franchise, have a virtual storefront, accept credit cards, and keep cash on hand. While you’re shopping, your insurance broker or agent will help walk you through all the items of your business you need to protect. This could include employees, customers, data, products and merchandise, a physical location, fixtures, etc.

Don’t feel overwhelmed by the process or the details. Our retail store clients aren’t expected to be an expert in anything but their own businesses – we handle the rest. 

3. Shop with a broker.

An insurance broker or insurance brokerage is a firm that shops for insurance on your behalf. While a direct insurer can offer only their own products, a broker is able to shop several difference insurance companies and compare policy options and rates (to learn more about this difference, check out this post about brokers vs. direct insurers).

For example, Cornerstone Insurance is an Edmonton insurance brokerage. We have relationships with several highly-respected insurance companies, and we can compare their options to find the best rates and policies for retail insurance in Edmonton.

Since there are a lot of potential risks to cover in a retail insurance policy, going through multiple quotes with direct insurers can be extremely tiresome and time-consuming. Using an insurance broker means you won’t have to double up on paperwork or do any heavy-lifting. 

4. Talk to a human being to make sure nothing is missed.

Whether or not you choose to use a broker, make sure you’re getting help and advice from a real person! The convenience of instant online quotes and setup is great, yes – but it comes with two drawbacks. First, you never know if your prices or policies are accurate, because it’s easy to miss something important in a general form. With so many considerations for retail insurance, you need to make sure nothing has been left out or overlooked.

Second, you don’t have the benefit of creating a personal relationship with your broker or insurance company. Our Cornerstone Brokers are real, local people who had the same drive to work in the morning you did. Maybe they’ve even visited your shop or store! When an accident happens and you have a claim to make, you’ll be grateful to have a direct number for a local rep who’s motivated to help.

5. Get your insurance in place before the doors open.

Whether or not you start shopping for insurance early, your insurance policy should be finalized before you cut the ribbon on your retail storefront. This means pushing one more item into your to-do list during a busy time, but having insurance in place before you open to shoppers means no matter what happens on those first days, you’ll be covered. In turn, that means peace of mind and less stress – and we could all use a little less stress in our lives!

Once your retail insurance policy is in place… Breathe deeply and relax!

Now that the doors are open, you’re all set to make sales and build your business. Don’t leave your insurance entirely on the backburner, though. It’s important to make sure your retail insurance policy grows with your store. Maybe you’ve opened a new retail store in Edmonton or elsewhere, or have new merchandise and products. No matter what changes you’ve made, they need to be reflected on your retail insurance policy.

It can be difficult to remember to check in on your policy every year. Most brokers will check in with you before renewal time to ensure the parameters of your business haven’t changed. Still, it’s always a good idea to set a reminder for yourself about a month before your renewal date to check in with your Edmonton brokerage or insurer.

Cornerstone clients can use the Cornerstone Connect app to easily review their policies. Download the app today to see how easy it is to stay up-to-date on your retail insurance policy, payments, and renewals.

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