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Entrepreneurs: Make sure your doors stay open

Closed until further notice
Closed until further notice

If you're an established small business owner or entrepreneur just starting out, this sign on your door could be the kiss of death financially. Maybe you've put years of sweat equity and good will into making your business the success it is today. Maybe, you've finally seen your idea or business come to fruition. Either way, all it would take is one lengthy illness or injury to force that sign - unless you have a plan to keep your doors open.

Business Overhead Expense insurance does just that: it covers your overhead on a monthly basis if you're unable to work. This is incredibly important and might be one of the most needed insurances you can buy, right up there with your property/liability coverage. Why? It will pay your rent. It will pay your utilities.

It will pay any business loan or mortgage interest you may have. It will pay your creditors. It will even pay your employees. And, if you're a doctor, veterinarian, dentist, etc., it will even pay for a licensed professional to see your patients. YOU are the reason your clients and customers come to your place of business. Without you, they may go elsewhere, so the income dries up, but the expenses do not; in fact, they may even increase at some point, if your condition worsens.

The good news is that this is probably the least costly disability policy on the market. Now, it won't replace whatever income you take from the business, but it will give your customers, creditors and employees the necessary peace of mind that this is just temporary and soon it will be business as usual.

Each month, this will pay whatever your expenses are for that month, up to whatever limit you've purchased. For example, if you have $7,000 of expenses, and a $10,000 policy limit, the $7,000 will be paid. If your expenses exceeded $10,000, however, the excess would have to come from another source. Typically, the payments will cover either 12 months or 24 months.

Don't put all your years of hard work at risk. Many quality companies offer this coverage, such as MetLife ( and Prudential. ( Without it, you might just need a sign saying "Closed Until Further Notice." Don't put it off until "later"; later is usually too late.