Your guide to insurance for a retail business

Australia is home to around 130,000 retail trade businesses of all shapes and sizes.

If yours is one of them, you’ll know that keeping sales ticking over and maintaining healthy profits is no easy matter. There are pitfalls aplenty, for new players and old hands alike.

Without the right insurance cover, it can be easy to come unstuck. That’s why it pays to be prepared for whatever challenges may come your way.

These are some of the common exposures retail business owners need to protect themselves against.

Property damage

Depending on the nature of your business, the value of your stock and contents may run into the tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars. Property insurance can help you to replace them, should your business be impacted by a natural disaster or fire.

Without it, you may find it impossible to raise the capital you need to reopen and continue trading.

And if you own your premises, you’ll need cover for that too. Building insurance can help with the cost of moving to an alternative location and making good the damage, if you’re unlucky enough to experience an adverse event.

“These are some of the common exposures retail business owners need to protect themselves against”

Workplace injuries and public liability

If customers or staff are injured while visiting or working in your store, they may be entitled to seek compensation.

Having appropriate workers’ compensation and public liability insurance can help you cover the cost, should that occur.

Prevention is always better than cure, Steadfast Broker Technical Manager Michael White points out.

“Rigorous workplace health, safety and training procedures can minimise the likelihood of trips and slips, and the incidence of employees hurting themselves on the job,” he says.


Should your business have an open premises, chances are it has been a victim of shoplifting or stealing.

You’re not alone – crime costs the sector a collective $9 billion a year, according to the National Retail Association.

Losses erode profitability, which is why it’s essential to take steps to minimise them. Camera surveillance and security tags on high value items can be deterrents for those seeking a five-finger discount at your expense.

Because of the frequency with which it occurs, insurers are generally reluctant to offer cover for shoplifting. Retail business owners who succeed in obtaining a policy are likely to find it comes with a high excess, White warns.


In today’s times, retailers must also be aware of another form of theft: that of commercial and customer data.

Australia’s cyber watchdog, the Australian Cyber Security Centre, received 76,000 cybercrime reports in FY2022. The average cost per report was more than $39,000 for small businesses, and $88,000 for medium businesses.

“Retailers need to be on their guard against criminals seeking to steal from them, via phishing scams and social engineering gambits, such as the sending of false invoices in the names of legitimate suppliers,” White says.

“It’s also incumbent upon retailers to take all reasonable precautions to prevent third parties gaining access to customer data which can be used for fraudulent purposes, such as identity theft.”

Implementing stringent cyber safety practices can make your enterprise a smaller target. And if you’re unfortunate enough to experience a cyberattack or data breach, cyber insurance can help cover financial losses and the cost of remediation.

Cover to keep the doors open

If it’s been a while since you reviewed your business insurance, now is a great time to do so. To discuss all your retail cover needs, contact your broker today.


Important notice – Steadfast Group Limited ABN 98 073 659 677

This general information does not take into account your specific objectives, financial situation or needs. It is also not financial advice, nor complete, so please discuss the full details with your insurance broker or adviser as to whether these types of insurance are appropriate for you. Deductibles, exclusions and limits apply. These insurances are issued by various insurers and can differ.


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