Best Small Business Insurance in California

Read our Advertiser Disclosure.
Contributor, Benzinga
December 16, 2021

Save big with Next business insurance + download their guide for FREE.

Every business — no matter how big or small — needs protection. There are numerous types of insurance for your small business and navigating the market alone can be intimidating.

Benzinga’s done the work. Start with our guide to everything you need to know about small business insurance in California. 

Best Small Business Insurance Options in California

Each insurance company offers unique advantages. Here are some of the best insurance companies in California listed by specific criteria.

Best Overall for Small Business Insurance: The Hartford

The Hartford works hard to provide the right business coverage so your small business can meet the business insurance requirements in California. The Hartford’s insurance experts can help you understand the areas of risk your business faces. 

The Hartford offers:

  • Business owner’s policies (BOP)
  • Business income insurance
  • Commercial auto insurance
  • General liability insurance
  • Workers’ compensation insurance

Best for Tailored Coverage: Simply Business

Simply Business lets you compare small business insurance policies from multiple companies. You'll find coverage options from the industry's top providers like Hiscox and Travelers. 

Your search will take less than 10 minutes. And Simply Business has licensed agents available to you by phone if you need more details.  

It's easy to drill down your search according to your operation and industry. Search for policies tailored to sole proprietors, landscaping businesses, small accounting firms and more.

Best for Flexible Coverage: Thimble

Thimble has come up with something unique — flexible small business insurance. You can buy liability insurance policies by the month, the day or even by the hour. Even better, you can apply in under 60 seconds.

Thimble Monthly offers affordable ongoing coverage. You can cancel or pause your coverage at any time. Thimble On Demand allows you to purchase coverage by the hour, day or week, and you cancel up to 1 hour before your coverage starts.

This comes in handy in lots of scenarios. For example, if you’re bidding on a big project and need to show proof of insurance, you can purchase a Thimble On Demand policy. If the project falls through, you can cancel. 

Thimble got its start as Verifly Drone Insurance, and you can still purchase drone insurance through the Verifly app. Drone insurance helps protect you if there are any injuries or property damage due to your drone flight. It also provides coverage for unintentional invasions of privacy and unintentional flyaways. 

It's also rolling out event insurance for special events or vendors that particpate in events. It includes coverage for bodily injury and property damage to a 3rd party and coverage for legal fees and damages related to alcohol consumption for BYOB or open bar events. If you’re selling alcohol, you can add retail liquor to your policy. 

You can sign up to be notified as soon as it’s available on the Thimble website

Best for Advantage Program: Progressive

Progressive offers its Progressive Advantage Business Program to help small businesses get the most appropriate and affordable coverage. Benefits include fast quotes for business insurance and commercial auto insurance policies. 

It also offers discounted commercial auto insurance if you carry a BOP or general liability insurance policy with any carrier. Discounts can be as high as 15%. 

Business insurance coverage offered through this program include:

  • BOP
  • Contractor liability insurance
  • Cyber insurance
  • Professional liability insurance
  • Workers’ compensation insurance

Best for Direct Coverage: biBERK

biBERK can provide direct business insurance to help you save up to 20% over other insurance companies. biBERK works with all types of businesses and aims to keep your insurance process simple and affordable. 

Some of the business insurance policies you can get from biBERK include:

  • Commercial auto insurance
  • Cyber insurance
  • General liability insurance
  • Professional liability insurance
  • Workers’ compensation insurance
  • Umbrella insurance

Cost of Small Business Insurance in California

The cost (or premium) of your business insurance depends on a number of factors. To give you a rough idea of how much business insurance costs in California, some insurance companies publish the average cost of its policies. 

For example, Progressive reported that in 2019, the national average cost for a new 12-month business insurance policy through its Advantage Business Program was $46 per month for a professional liability insurance policy. For a workers’ compensation policy through the same program, the national average cost in 2019 was $85 per month.

The factors that can determine the insurance premiums for your business include:

  • Industry. If you work in an industry without hazardous environments or dangerous equipment, your premium may be lower. If your industry requires more risk, the premium for your insurance policy may be higher. 
  • Location. Insurance companies consider the location of your business. Your neighborhood, the condition and size of the business property and local weather hazards all come into play. 
  • Payroll size. If your business has employees, California legally requires your business to have workers’ compensation insurance. Insurance companies need to know your payroll size to help determine how much coverage you need for your workers’ compensation policy. This is because the benefits paid out to your employees are based on their wages. The higher your payroll is, the more coverage you’ll probably need.
  • Claims history. Insurance companies may use your claims history to help determine the amount of risk to insure your business. For example, if your business has had several claims in the past due to safety issues, an insurance company may assume your business could face similar claims in the future. If your business can show safe practices with little to no claims history, the insurance company may be able to offer you a lower premium.

There are ways you can make your business insurance more affordable. Look into the following options:

  • Adjust your policy’s deductible and coverage limits. Your deductible is the amount of money your business needs to pay out-of-pocket for covered claims before using your insurance coverage. If you increase your deductible, it may decrease the premium of your policy. You can also consider lowering your coverage limits. Your coverage limit is the maximum amount of money your insurance company will pay out for claims. Your insurance agent can help you determine how much coverage your business needs. 
  • Ask about discounts or bundling options. Most insurance companies offer 2 or more coverages in 1 policy. This is often referred to as a business owner’s policy. Many insurance providers offer specialized discounts, so it’s important to ask about how you can qualify.
  • Manage the risks your business faces. Follow regulations to maintain a safe environment for your customers and employees. Provide proper safety training and minimize your business’s risks to avoid costly and time-consuming claims that increase your premium.

What Does Small Business Insurance Cover?

There are several types of business insurance your business needs or can benefit from. Depending on your business, you may only need 1 policy or you may need several for full protection. Here are some of the most common types of business insurance:

Business owner’s policy. Most companies offer what is often referred to as a business owner’s policy (BOP). This policy combines 2 or more business insurance types into a single policy. Most BOPs include general liability and business property insurance. Some companies may offer additional coverages in a BOP. 

Business property insurance. This is similar to homeowners’ insurance and renter’s insurance policies. It offers coverage for the physical property of your business location and some of the physical assets of your business, such as tools and equipment. Generally, your business will be protected from financial loss if your property or assets are damaged by fire, smoke, wind and hail storms, civil disobedience or vandalism.

General liability insurance. Most businesses need this type of insurance, which offers coverage if a 3rd party suffers from bodily harm or property damage because of your business. If a 3rd party suffers from bodily injury and your business is held liable, your policy will cover related medical expenses. Your general liability insurance policy can also protect your business from financial loss due to libel or slander. 

Workers’ compensation. If your employee is injured at work, your workers’ compensation policy can cover related medical expenses. It can also provide coverage for their lost wages while they recover. Your business will also receive assistance with legal costs if the injured employee or their family sue your business.

Find the Right Business Insurance

Compare several quotes to find the right insurance solutions for your business. Each provider offers unique coverage options and potential discounts — the perfect policy is just a few clicks away. 

About Ashley Hart

Ashley Hart is a personal finance writer passionate about helping people feel empowered to take control of their finances. She has more than eight years of writing experience, focused on insurance.