Construction General Liability Insurance: Cost, Coverage, & Providers

Thang Truong
Thang Truong
Updated on:

Unexpected incidents happen at construction companies, even the most careful ones, during the normal process of conducting business. General liability insurance for construction businesses helps protect them against claims of damage to other people’s property, bodily injury, and other issues. This coverage is often referred to as business liability or commercial general liability insurance

Some examples of the types of incidents it covers include:

  • An employee is helping to put an addition onto a house and drives a backhoe over the client’s heritage rose garden, completely leveling it.
  • A client is struck by a lift while looking at samples in your warehouse, falls, and hurts her back, requiring hospitalization. 
  • An employee breaks a client’s valuable vase while laying a new floor in their home as part of a remodeling project.

In all these situations, construction general liability insurance will pay replacement, repair, medical, and legal costs related to the incident.

Unlike workers’ compensation insurance, general liability coverage isn’t required by states or other government entities. However, construction companies generally need to get it before they can work on a project. It’s also likely that your landlord will require it if you rent any of your construction business buildings.

Beyond this, it’s quite simply a smart idea for construction businesses to have it. 

Think about it: In the situations outlined above, could you afford to pay out of pocket if you had to resolve these issues without insurance? The reality is that they could be enough to force the typical construction business to close down.

In this article, we’ll reveal the top four insurers for construction businesses along with all the information you need to find and purchase the right coverage for you.

What does construction general liability insurance cover?

General liability insurance helps pay for property and other types of damage that occur as a part of doing business. It also helps cover injuries that happen on your business property. Some examples of things covered by a general liability insurance policy include:

  • A client’s medical expenses if they slip, fall, and break a leg while visiting your office to review building plans.
  • The cost to repair a sofa damaged while working on a remodeling project.
  • Judgements and settlements if a competitor sues you for slander because you said disparaging things about their workmanship and it harms their reputation. 

Typically, general liability insurance for construction firms can help cover claims related to:

  • Third party property damage caused by you or an employee while doing construction work
  • Medical costs if your client gets hurt when visiting your office or other business property
  • Reputational harm resulting from malicious slander, libel, wrongful eviction, violating a person’s privacy, and more
  • Advertising issues, such as copyright infringement and mistakes on your website.

What does construction general liability insurance not cover?

General liability insurance provides very specific types of coverage. It doesn’t cover all aspects of your business or the risks it could face.

Here are some examples of things that are definitely not covered:

  • Worker injuries: Your general liability insurance covers injuries to clients, delivery people, and passers-by that happen on your business property. However, it doesn’t cover employees injured while on the job. You’ll need workers’ compensation insurance for that.
  • Bad professional advice or service: If you or someone who works for you provides a client with incorrect or incomplete advice about a construction project, the project goes wrong, and you’re sued, general liability won’t cover it. You’ll need to buy errors and omissions (E&O or professional liability) insurance to be protected.
  • Vehicle damage: If a business-owned car, truck, or other piece of equipment is damaged in an accident while being used for work purposes, a personal auto policy won’t cover it. You’ll have to buy commercial auto insurance for that protection.
  • Crime or theft: If an employee commits a crime against your business, or steals from it, general liability will not make your business whole. You will have to purchase employee dishonesty insurance.
  • Tools and equipment: If your tools or equipment are damaged on a job site or stolen from it, general liability coverage won’t pay to repair or replace them. You will need tools and equipment insurance.
  • Data theft or loss: If your business data is lost, compromised, or stolen, your business general liability coverage won’t pay for related costs. Cyber security insurance covers those types of losses, or more specifically for small businesses, data breach insurance.
  • Business property damage: General liability covers third party property damage, but it doesn’t cover damage to your business property, including buildings, equipment, or supplies. You’ll need commercial property coverage to get protection against things like fire or weather damage or theft.

Why construction businesses should get general liability insurance

Federal and state governments don’t require construction businesses to carry general liability insurance. However, it’s likely needed before you can start working on most projects. Also, if you lease your workplace, it’s likely your landlord will make you get the coverage.

Beyond that, having general liability insurance is just good business. Think about it: If a visitor slips and fells in your shop space and is injured, could you afford to pay their medical bills? Would you be able to pay to repair damage to a valuable painting if it’s caused by you or an employee while working at a client’s house?

The answer for most construction businesses is NO and NO. 

How much does general liability insurance for construction businesses cost?

The price of general liability coverage can vary more than almost any other type of business insurance. It’s dependent on many factors, including type of construction work, size of the operation, condition of business property, assets owned, and the specific risks faced by the company. The cost of this coverage can range from several hundred to many thousands of dollars a year.

The best way to ensure you’re paying a fair price for your general liability coverage is to get quotes from multiple providers. That way, you can compare coverages and costs to find the best combination for you. If you have any doubts, speak with an experienced insurance agent or company representative. 

>>MORE: How Much Does General Liability Insurance Cost?

How to find cheap construction general liability insurance

Here are some tips to help you find coverage for construction companies at a fair price:

  • Shop around for the best value. Get quotes from a few companies or compare the multiple quotes generated by a service like CoverWallet. 
  • Don’t stop shopping around. Make sure you get new quotes before you renew your policy.
  • Take advantage of discounts. If they’re not offered to you when getting a quote, ask about them, whether you’re buying online or through an agent.

Taking these steps will help ensure you’re not paying too much for your construction general liability coverage.

>>MORE: The Cheapest General Liability Insurance Companies

How to get construction general liability insurance quotes?

As you can see the examples below, it is actually quite difficult to get online general liability insurance quotes for construction businesses. The reason is that construction business is generally considered high-risk, so not all insurance companies are willing to underwrite them. Some insurance companies that are willing to underwrite construction businesses, they want to be as careful as possible by collecting a lot of data from construction companies and ideally have conversations with construction companies to understand all nuances and details before determining if they are willing to underwrite and provide quotes or not.

We have tried to get construction general liability insurance quotes at multiple websites, including both insurance companies and digital brokers as you can see below, none of these websites are willing to provide us with a quote, unfortunately.

Based on our interviews with several people working in the industry, we need to discuss with agents or brokers and fill out some paperwork before we can get a construction general liability insurance quote.

Top 4 providers of general liability insurance for construction businesses

Here are our recommendations for the 4 best insurers for different reasons. 

  • CoverWallet: Best for construction business owners that want to compare quotes quickly
  • biBerk: Best for low-cost construction general liability coverage
  • THREE: An all-in-one business insurer that includes general liability coverage
  • Hiscox: Best for construction companies with unique insurance needs

CoverWallet: Best for construction business owners that want to compare quotes quickly

CoverWallet is a cutting-edge insurance provider. The firm has developed its own state-of-the-art platform, based on its own algorithms, to ensure it is able to connect small businesses with all the business insurance they need, including construction general liability coverage, at the most reasonable price. The platform makes it quick and easy to get quotes from several providers at once, making it possible to compare prices from highly reputable insurers all on a single screen.

The firm’s experts have used their extensive experience to make sure you only have to input the information needed to generate quick and accurate quotes. The entire process typically takes less than ten minutes.

You can feel confident knowing that CoverWallet is a part of Aon, an established company that provides advice to businesses on things like risk, health, and retirement.

Once you get your quote, CoverWallet makes it easy to purchase a general liability policy or complete construction business insurance package online or through an agent. When you get your general liability policy through CoverWallet, it’s simple to manage your coverage online, including downloading a certificate of insurance, filing a claim, renewing your insurance, and more. 

Here is a sample quote from CoverWallet, which is instructing me to call the company because this coverage is so risky, it would make no sense for them to provide an online quote without an in depth conversation. As with most things, they use the online quote as a marketing ploy.

biBerk: Best for low-cost construction general liability coverage

biBerk is a low-cost business insurance provider. Despite saving money on your construction general liability insurance, you can rest assured knowing you’re still getting quality protection for your business. biBERK is able to lower insurance costs by almost 20 percent because it insures small businesses directly, without the added costs of having to work through a middleman or insurance broker.

You can rest assured knowing biBerk is a part of Berkshire Hathaway, a company headed by well-known investor Warren Buffett. It’s a firm that has millions of satisfied customers that’s been insuring people and businesses for more than 75 years.

Here is a sample quote from biBerk. After answering at least 50 questions as conservatively as possible, the company refuse to provide one.

THREE: An all-in-one business insurer that includes general liability coverage

If you prefer a single source for all your construction business insurance coverage, THREE could be the solution for you. It protects all aspects of a business, including people, property, and operations, in a single comprehensive business insurance policy. 

THREE makes protecting a business easy.

You can also rest assured knowing that THREE, like biBerk, is part of the solid and established Berkshire Hathaway family of companies.

Hiscox: Best for construction companies with unique insurance needs

Hiscox offers specialized insurance coverage for all types of construction businesses.

You can buy construction general liability insurance and other business coverages from Hiscox online. A rep can also help you customize your coverage to meet your unique business needs.

If you choose Hiscox for your business coverage, you can rest assured knowing you’re entrusting your construction company to a firm that’s been in operation for 120 years. It exclusively offers insurance for small businesses and more than 400,000 smaller companies trust Hiscox for their insurance needs.

Hiscox is known for tailoring unique insurance solutions to the individual requirements of small businesses, which is particularly important for different types of construction companies. The firm offers top tier service, provides fast quotes, instant coverage and quick claims processing.

Thang Truong

Thang Truong covers small business insurance and small business success at BravoPolicy. He is a licensed P&C insurance agent. Previously, he held product leadership positions at, Capital One, NerdWallet, and Mulberry Technology. He holds a MBA degree from UC Berkeley - Haas School of Business.

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