When you’re first embarking on a new business venture, buying insurance may seem like a frustrating extra expense on top of the other financial demands that a startup entails. Finding the best policy with the right amount of coverage for your particular business can be a complicated process, and trying to figure out the differences between product and commercial property liability, or professional versus workers’ compensation, may seem like an overwhelming hassle. No business owner who wants to succeed should ever be without insurance, however, since in the final accounting the benefits are worth the effort, and can even save your company.

The main thing a business insurance policy does is protect your company from unforeseen incidents, both large and small, which may arise in the course of doing business. For instance, product liability insurance covers you in case you are sued by a customer who buys a product you manufacture or sell. Likewise, professional liability insurance protects your business from charges of negligence or malpractice from customers to whom you’ve provided a service. Commercial property insurance covers things that may happen to your business property. This can be anything from a car running into your offices, to your laptop being stolen, to a fire burning important papers. Because you can never know when things may go wrong or disaster might strike, insurance is essential to keep a company running through such tribulations.

Certain types of business insurance are also a legal requirement. Any business that has employees must by law provide a certain degree of coverage, and pay for workers compensation and the unemployment insurance tax. Disability insurance may also be required, depending on your location. This employee liability in turn covers the company, in case of an employee suing due to an injury that happens on the job. Particular businesses may also be legally obligated to have other kinds of insurance; for instance, medical and dental practices are often required to have malpractice coverage.

If you could magically guarantee smooth sailing for your business, then you could afford to go without insurance. But unless you’ve recently found a genie in a magic bottle, business insurance is the only way to be sure that your company will weather any accidents or misfortunes that might befell it. A broker or other insurance expert will be able to explain to you in more detail what kind of plan and what specific policies your company requires. Getting the right coverage is a necessary duty for any responsible business owner.