Like health or home insurance, business insurance is necessary to protect your livelihood. Business insurance is a vast category of insurance coverage specifically designed for businesses. This coverage guards your business against financial losses from physical damage to your company property or products, intellectual losses or even legal damages through a lawsuit.
Your business risks closing after a loss — especially if you don’t have the right insurance. Take a look at Benzinga’s guide to learn more about types of business insurance, associated costs and our top picks for the best business insurance providers.
Best Business Insurance:
- Best Overall for Business Insurance: HIG (The Hartford)
- Best for Small Businesses: Nationwide
- Best for Self-Employed: CNA
- Best for Professional Liability Insurance: Allstate
- Best for General Liability Insurance: Farmers
- Best for Workers’ Compensation: Hiscox
- Best for Commercial Auto Coverage: Progressive
- Best Customer Service: State Farm
Best Business Insurance Options
The right carrier makes a big difference — the right policy terms and benefits are important. You need quality service from your agent, adjuster and claims department, and service differs among companies. Many business insurance providers offer industry-specific coverage (think tech or restaurants) and others focus on specific coverages like workers’ compensation or commercial auto policies.
When you’re ready to choose your provider, start with the best business insurance companies reviewed by Benzinga.
1. Best Overall for Business Insurance: HIG (Hartford Insurance Group)
HIG has the business insurance knowledge you need. The company takes pride in customizing each insurance policy to meet your specific requirements and save you money. HIG serves large corporations, sole proprietors and mid-sized businesses.
Policies include event insurance, employment practices liability, directors and officers, bonding and surety, flood insurance, restaurant insurance, loss of business income, workers’ compensation, technology omissions and errors and more.
2. Best for Small Businesses: Nationwide
Nationwide has a broad range of customizable financial products tailored for small business owners. Small businesses may be particularly interested in Nationwide’s accounts receivable coverage, which pays for losses due to a customers’ inability to pay. Employee benefit options for purchase include vision, dental and supplemental health plans.
The company also has a 24/7 claims service, flexible payment options and immediate access to a live claim representative.
3. Best for Self-Employed: CNA
CNA provides various liability insurance options for self-employed individuals. The company offers a wide selection of liability insurance on top of the general liability policies, including management, media, cyber and fiduciary liability. CNA provides 24/7 claims processing. You can also access various in-house resources such as special investigations and litigation counsel to help guide you through the claims resolution process.
CNA also provides comprehensive protection for property damage and bodily injury, as well as coverage for hired vehicles used for business operations.
4. Best for Professional Liability Insurance: Allstate
Allstate can provide customized professional liability insurance for your niche, whether you’re a lawyer, doctor, accountant or realtor. The company also offers several other business insurance plans, including identity theft insurance, cyber insurance, umbrella policy and building protection. Allstate partners with various industry trade organizations that offer business insurance discounts to small business owners.
Use our instant quote feature to check out your potential rates.
5. Best for General Liability Insurance: Farmers
Farmers offers an experienced network of agents to work with you to customize your business liability policies. Its general liability offering provides coverage for risks ranging from wrongful termination to customer injuries. In addition to basic coverages, Farmers offers an umbrella policy to supplement any underlying policy and protect you from unusually high losses. You can file claims by phone, online or with the mobile app. Farmers claims an A+ Better Business Bureau rating.
Use our online quote tool to receive a policy estimate.
6. Best for Workers’ Compensation: Hiscox
Most business insurance providers offer the standard workers’ compensation coverage, but Hiscox goes the extra mile to offer additional services. The company offers a pay-as-you-go billing plan, as well as numerous resources for employees injured at work. When injured, your employee can tap into a vast network of medical providers who specialize in workplace injuries, fill prescriptions with 0 out-of-pocket expenses at pharmacies nationwide and access a nurse case manager who can oversee treatment.
You can file and track a business insurance claim through the company website. Phone support is also readily available if you have inquiries about your billing or policy. You can also set up a benefits package for your employees through the company’s accident, life and disability insurances.
7. Great for Commercial Auto Coverage: Progressive
Progressive is a trusted car insurance provider, so it’s a great option if your business has a commercial fleet. Trucking businesses with tractor-trailers and long-haul semi-trucks can benefit from Progressive’s comprehensive coverage.
Save up to 5% on premiums if you have been in operation for at least 3 years. A 15% discount off your commercial auto policy is also available if you pay everything upfront.
Progressive also offers cyber insurance, business owner policies, professional liability, workers’ compensation and general liability insurance. The company also sells “any auto coverage” that covers vehicles you or your employees own and use for business purposes.
8. Best for Customer Service: State Farm
State Farm stands tall for providing great customer service through a network of 19,000 local agents. A single agent can handle all your policy needs.
State Farm carries standard business insurance policies but also several industry-specific coverages like inland marine insurance, ranch and farm insurance and surety bonds. The company allows you to reduce the overall cost by combining coverages in a business owner’s policy package. Depending on your area of operation, you can bundle commercial property and general liability with other types of coverage.
Types of Business Insurance
Just being in business brings risk, and you can’t plan to pay out of pocket for the unexpected. Even if you operate a small business, you’ll need several types of policies to guard against your possible losses. Here are the common insurance types most businesses need to look into.
Also known as business liability insurance, general liability insurance covers you if you, your employee, your services or products cause bodily injury or property damage to 3rd parties. General liability provides coverage for all your legal expenses and damages if you’re sued, as well as the medical fees of those who are harmed by your business.
Product liability is a must if you’re a manufacturer, retailer or distributor. This type of insurance covers property damage and bodily injury resulting from the manufacturing, handling, distribution or sale of a product. The coverage also includes representation and warranties, as well as coverage for providing instructions and warnings. Product liability provides coverage in the case of product malfunction.
Commercial property coverage is essential if your business has a physical presence. This policy covers not only your business premises but also your assets, including furniture and computers, as well as inventory crucial to the operation of your business. You also have protection in case of theft, fire or smoke damage. Consider adding on loss of earning or business interruption insurance to cover income lost if the property is damaged to the point your business can no longer operate.
Workers’ compensation insurance covers employees injured on the job. This includes medical benefits and wage replacement — no matter who’s at fault. In exchange for the benefits, your employees give up the right to sue you for the accident. Most states require employers who have at least 3 to 5 employees to carry workers’ compensation. The penalty for non-compliance can be hefty.
Also known as errors and omissions insurance, professional liability insurance provides coverage when you do not perform your professional services as promised — even when you don’t make a mistake. This can include improper performance, faulty advice, incorrect recommendations and more. Every profession has specific concerns that should be addressed through a customized policy.
A commercial auto policy insures any vehicle you use in your business operations. It pays for bodily injury or property damage caused by the operation of your business vehicles. If you don’t have company vehicles but employees use their personal vehicles for business operations, you should buy non-owned auto liability in case your employee doesn’t have insurance or coverage is inadequate.
Cost of Business Insurance
The cost of business insurance is difficult to predict since it’s based on numerous factors. Nevertheless, online resources like Insureon can help you perform your own estimate with quotes from a variety of carriers. According to its calculator, a small business can expect to pay a median of $40 monthly premiums or $500 annually for general liability insurance. Adding additional policies will increase that premium.
What Determines Your Business Insurance Premiums?
Your insurer considers numerous factors to determine your policy premium. An agent will need the following to customize your coverage:
- Size of your business: The physical area covered by your business (in square footage) will affect your premiums. The larger the area, the more you pay.
- Number of employees: The number of employees on your payroll will influence the cost of your policy. You should expect to pay higher premiums if you have more employees. You will also need to buy workers’ compensation insurance.
- Your industry: Businesses carry different risks based on their industry. Your insurer will assess your application based on this risk. You’ll pay higher premiums if your business operates in a hazardous industry, such as logging or electrical power line installation.
- Location: The cost of business insurance also differs by state. Local information like population, geographical risks and the laws come into play. Commercial property insurance is particularly affected by location since your business may be located in an area prone to crime or natural disasters.
- Claims history: Your claims history also affects the cost of your premiums. You’ll pay less if you have no prior claims history and more if you’ve made frequent claims in the past.
- Years of operation: Lower premiums are available for well-established businesses with increasing revenue.
Although these factors will affect the rate of your premiums, it’s still smart to shop for discounts. Look at bundling policies, choose a higher deductible or pay your premiums upfront in full to save.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: How much general liability insurance do you need?
A: General liability isn’t an all-purpose policy. Choose policy limits that match your risk levels. Coverage may start as low as $100,000 to as high as $1 million for a single claim and $4 million for several claims. Many insurance carriers also provide umbrella policies that could increase your coverage to $10 million.
Q: What insurance do you need for a small business?
A: Most small businesses need to have liability insurance, property insurance, workers’ compensation insurance and commercial auto insurance. However, insurers often bundle various insurance coverages into a package known as the Business Owners Policy (BOP). A BOP bundles coverage for major liability and property insurance risks as well as other add-ons suitable for most small businesses.
Q: Is business insurance required by law?
A: Although most states require small business insurance, some types of commercial insurance are optional. However, state laws may mandate the following insurance requirements:
- Professional liability insurance if you offer certain professional services
- Workers’ compensation insurance if you’ve hired employees
- Commercial auto insurance if your business owns vehicles
Protect Your Business with the Best Business Insurance
Your business can easily overcome the unexpected with the right coverage. It isn’t all about the right coverage, it’s also about having the right carrier.
Your insurance provider will have an important impact to ensure your coverage is comprehensive and your premiums are affordable. Once you’ve purchased your policies, you also want to be sure quality service is maintained when you go through the claims process at some point. You might eventually choose different carriers for different policies or buy all coverages from 1 insurance provider.
Do some comparison shopping and identify instances where you can save on your policy. Our recommended providers can serve small or large businesses in almost any industry. Enter your ZIP code for a free quote today.