Like any insurance choice, the decision to buy Internet coverage for your e-business depends on two factors: the risk tolerance of the buyer and the balance between the cost of the policy versus the cost of a catastrophe. Here's a checklist of factors to consider when researching policies:

See what a risk analysis tells you. Most insurers offer some kind of risk assessment to prospective customers. You'll learn where your site is vulnerable to hackers and viruses. You'll also get a sense of what your premiums would be.

Compare brokers carefully. This is important in a new area like Internet coverage, where norms and standards have yet to be established. For example, some policies claim they'll replace any revenues you lose during a site crash. Others claim they'll replace only your lost net income.

Scrutinize your other policies. There are several types of Internet insurance policies. Some pertain to Web-specific circumstances, such as a "business interruption from a virus." But other categories, such as "advertising injury," might overlap with your existing third-party coverage.

Ask vendors for indemnification. It can lower your risk and save you a bundle on premiums.

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