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Essential Cyber Insurance Policies Every Business Must Understand

Essential Cyber Insurance Policies Every Business Must Understand

In today’s business environment, the importance of cyber insurance cannot be overstated. Technology has become increasingly integrated into businesses’ operations, making them vulnerable to various internal and external cyber threats. Any one of these attacks can result in heavy financial, legal, and reputational damage, so proper defense and response tactics are necessary. Along with implementing technical controls to mitigate these risks, cyber insurance has emerged as a key risk management strategy for modern business; however, the umbrella of cyber insurance encompasses various types of coverage, and businesses need to understand the nuances to implement effective insurance.

This article covers the different types of cyber insurance policies that businesses must understand and how to choose the right one for their industry and size. This will help to demystify the complexities of cyber insurance, making it easier to choose the ideal type.

Understanding Cyber Insurance

Cyber insurance can be considered a form of risk management, but while traditional insurance policies cover physical threats, cyber insurance handles nonphysical ones. This includes the risks associated with having an online presence, such as ransomware attacks, data breaches, denial of service attacks, and other types of cyber incidents. These can result in financial damages like regulatory fines, customer notifications, legal fees, forensic investigations, etc. Cyber insurance is a useful way to mitigate these costs, but for optimal effectiveness, it must be aligned with the level of exposure to incidents. To review and agree upon the coverage, a multi-stakeholder effort consisting of technology, legal, and risk management teams is required. This ensures the level of risk mitigation provided is adequate and covers the expected damage of cyberattacks.

Types of Cyber Insurance Coverage

The concept of cyber insurance is not new, but its importance has increased in the past few decades with the rise of online businesses and cybercrime. Fortunately, as cyber threats evolved in complexity and damage potential, cyber insurance improved to keep up, so it now offers protection against most of the cyber threats that companies face. Additionally, insurance providers regularly update their products to adapt to new threats, such as supply chain attacks, advanced phishing, Internet of Things (IoT) risks, etc.

The number of cyber insurance policies currently on offer can seem overwhelming, but this section will provide brief explanations of some of the major ones available to businesses, helping to clarify the different varieties of insurance and what they cover.

Data Breach Insurance

The most common type of cyber insurance is data breach insurance, designed specifically to protect against the exposure of a data breach. These attacks have become increasingly common, sophisticated, and severe, especially for businesses that handle sensitive customer data. Data breach insurance protects against legal fees, customer notification fees, forensic investigators, credit monitoring services, media relations, and other issues that result from breaches. This can provide financial coverage at a critical time for the business, absorbing the attack’s immediate impact.

Network Security Insurance

Any business with an online presence will inevitably face attacks that target its online infrastructure, including, malware, and hacking attempts. These attacks are typically designed to disrupt the network availability of the business and make it unable to service legitimate requests. To maximize damage, they often strike during peak shopping periods such as Black Friday. Recovering from these disruptions and bringing the network back online can be pricey, but network security insurance helps mitigate the costs.

Business Interruption Insurance

Another common type of cyber insurance is designed to assist with business interruption and downtime. This can be critical as a risk mitigation strategy for companies that rely heavily on their online presence and income. It can cover costs like lost revenue, workaround solutions, and staff overtime payments.

Cyber Extortion Insurance

The category of cyber extortion contains types of crime like ransomware, in which attackers compromise environments and demand payments to restore business operations. Insurance can provide financial cover against such extortion attempts and allow companies to make ransom payments up to a particular amount. Other costs surrounding the incidents, such as negotiation costs, can also be covered; however, businesses need to understand the conditions in which this insurance becomes applicable and what level of coverage is provided.

Errors and Omissions (E&O)

Errors and misconfigurations can be a common problem for service providers or software consultants. This category of insurance protects companies against any claims that arise from mistakes or negligence in the services that they offer. For example, a software company may provide code that unintentionally introduces a security defect that leads to a breach and compromise of the customer’s environment. This insurance will help cover the company against the resulting financial claims and costs.

Media Liability

Companies that engage in digital content creation are often subject to claims of copyright infringement and privacy violations from the content they create. This has become especially relevant in the age of generative AI, which is a controversial topic with regard tointellectual property. Insurance is available to cover legal claims and lawsuits that may arise if the company accidentally violates laws or infringes on copyright with its content.

Regulatory Fines and Penalties

With the increasing number of data privacy laws and regulations, there is a growing risk of regulatory fines and penalties. Insurance can help companies protect themselves against non-compliance costs. Regulations like the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in the EU can impose heavy penalties, making this coverage essential for companies that deal with personal data.

How To Choose the Right Cyber Insurance Policy

Choosing the right policy for a company involves input from stakeholders in various fields, such as legal, risk, compliance, cybersecurity, etc. Some of the critical factors to consider are:

  • Industry or Sector: Businesses must consider what industry or sector they operate in, as that can dictate the type of insurance they choose. For example, a company operating in the healthcare sector may be exposed to different cyber risks than a company working in IT consultancy.
  • Coverage Limits: The coverage limit should be based on the financial exposure of the incident. Otherwise, cyber insurance will fail to serve as a risk mitigation control.
  • Exclusions: Cyber insurance policies can have exclusions or incidents that are out of the scope of their coverage, such as acts of war, legacy applications, negligence, etc. Companies need to consider this and put in other mitigation controls to address these gaps in coverage.
  • Specialized Expertise: If companies lack the expertise to review cyber insurance policies, they should consider consulting with experts and brokers who can explain the complex legal issues around cyber insurance policies and provide tailored advice specific to every need and industry.
  • New Trends in the Industry: The threat landscape in cybersecurity often evolves rapidly, and companies must consider this when choosing cyber insurance products. With new regulations around data privacy, supply chain attacks, AI deepfake scams, and more being introduced, cybersecurity teams must constantly collaborate with their legal teams to ensure the coverage remains current.
  • Cybersecurity Maturity: Insurance providers often require companies to demonstrate their security maturity level before they become eligible for coverage. This shift towards proactive risk management means companies should ensure their cybersecurity practices are matured and benchmarked against best practices ahead of time. That way, they can get the most favorable terms possible.


Cyber insurance is poised to become a permanent part of the risk management framework for most companies going forward. As cyber threats increase in complexity and damage, cyber insurance becomes an ever more valuable tool to mitigate them—and with the different varieties of insurance available, every type of risk can be covered. By proactively adopting this highly beneficial and strategic control, companies can operate with peace of mind and focus on their expansion and operations instead of worrying about the next cyberattack.

Thank you for trusting us to help with your cybersecurity needs. Contact us any time – we’re always happy to help.  


Meet the Author
Adam Burke is Quest's Vice President of Sales and Partnerships.
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