A question that all businesses and business property owners have to initially consider is, Do I need commercial insurance, and if so what type of coverage or combination of coverage will give me the best protection?

As a general rule, most entrepreneurs and business owners will need some combination of commercial insurance. A combined commercial package would probably include coverage that you are required to have by law, such as commercial liability insurance.

And, then, depending on your business, you might also secure coverage that would protect your business in the event of damage to your commercial buildings, loss, or in the event that someone brings suit against you or your employees for negligence or damage. This insurance is called commercial property insurance.

If you are a small business owner just starting out, you may be tempted to skimp on expenditures for commercial insurance coverage hoping that negative events just pass you by. It is good to remember that cheap commercial insurance is not always the best deal in the long run.

This could be a huge mistake as we all know from watching the news, businesses burn down everyday, floods are quite frequent, and high winds and tornadoes are common place.

And, that is to say nothing about you or your employees causing damage through negligence to someone else's property resulting in a lawsuit.

Here are three quick tips for ensuring that you obtain enough commercial insurance to protect your business and yourself :

1. Arrange a meeting with a business insurance broker that specializes in liability and commercial insurance. A broker will help you understand how much and what type of coverage you will need. As of Jan. 15, 2005, the Financial Services Authority regulates and authorizes all insurance brokers.

2. Take the time to get several quotes; you'll want to compare commercial insurance coverage and premiums. Be sure to purchase enough insurance to give you the coverage you need. It doesn't make a whole lot of sense to purchase what's called "basic" insurance if it doesn't give you the coverage you will need to protect your business.

3. Make sure that the quotes you are getting are coming from stable companies that have excellent paying records. Keep in mind that all commercial insurers are not created equal, and ask your insurance broker about the company that is underwriting the quote so that you can determine for yourself if the quote is coming from a dependable, stable insurer.

If you haven't purchased commercial insurance before, it can be a daunting task, but these three tips should help ensure that you purchase the right coverage for you.