How Much Does California General Liability Insurance Cost? (2023 Rates)

Thang Truong
Thang Truong
Updated on:

California is one of the best places to do business in America. There are over 4 million small businesses in the state that employs about 7.2 million people. That’s about 50% of the entire workforce in the state. 

That thriving economy makes CA great for any business that wants to succeed. Successful businesses need to be protected. One of those essential insurance policies for small businesses is general liability insurance. With this policy, you can protect yourself from lawsuits and injuries that can take you out of business. 

Small businesses are on tight budget, let’s see how much this would cost them and how they can manage the reduce the cost of general liability insurance.

How much does general liability insurance cost in California?

The average cost of general liability in California is $65 per month. For annual payment, the average cost is $780 per annum. The estimate will differ from your actual quotes depending on your insurance company and business.  

Small businesses in California can pay as little as $300 a year or as much as $5,000 a year.

Different insurance companies will give you different quotes since they have different underwriting criteria. Be sure to shop around with a few companies or with a digital broker to compare several quotes to select the best and cheapest one for your company. We recommend the following companies for your consideration:

  • Simply Business: Best for finding low-cost coverage
  • NEXT: Best for an excellent digital experience and affordable rates
  • CoverWallet: Best for comparing several quotes from top-tier carriers

What factors affect the general liability insurance cost in California?

The cost of general liability insurance is determined by your specific business requirements. Your company is one-of-a-kind, and so are the risks. Cost is influenced by several factors, including:

Work type 

The type of industry where you work and the types of risks associated with the industry will primarily affect the cost of your premium. Companies that work in risky industries will have to pay more compared with those that work in industries with less risk. For instance, an accounting service firm might not have to pay as much as a contracting or construction business because accounting service firm has a much lower risk profile than contracting or construction business.


If your business is located in a metropolitan area of California, you will pay more than those in rural areas. That is because large cities have more people, and there are more chances that issues will happen there. Similarly, if you work in a city where the claims rate is higher, you will pay more.

Employee count

The more employees you have, the more the chance of making mistakes that can cause problems for your client. So, companies that have more employees will likely pay more for their general liability insurance. 

Location count

The more locations your business has and the bigger the location is, the more likely you’ll have customer injuries in your business’s locations, which could result in more lawsuits.

Coverage limits

A higher limit means you are getting better coverage. The maximum amount the insurer will pay you if an incident occurs. However, the higher your limits, the higher your premium. A typical general liability insurance policy in California has $1M/$2M or a smaller one of $100K/$300K


Your deductible is the amount you will pay from your pocket when the incident occurs—the higher your deductible, the lower the cost of your premium. But then, a higher deductible means you way pay more if an incident occurs. 

Years of experience in business

New companies tend to pay more for general liability than giant corporations. 

History of claims

Prior general liability claims are a major red flag for insurers. It tells the insurer that you are a risky business owner. As such, you will pay more to get their protection. 

How to get cheap general liability insurance in California?

The following are ways to get affordable general liability insurance in California.   

Compare prices to find the best deal.

The only way to find the best and cheapest quote for your contracting business is to shop around and compare several quotes.

The mistake most people make is to do that once and stop. Even after getting the best bargain, you still need to find another one. Insurance companies frequently change their rates. So, when it comes time to renew, make sure you shop around again to find the best deal for your company.

Take advantage of special offers

Insurers always have offers for their clients. If they don’t mention it to you, you need to ask. Whether you’re buying online or through an agent, there is always some discount.  

Good insurance companies always have a list of discounts on their websites where you can check if you qualify. Make sure you take advantage of any of those discounts available to your company. 

Bundle the policies 

Bundling several business insurance policies can also help you get discounts. Whenever you can, try to obtain your policies from the same place to obtain bundle discounts and save money on premiums.

Implement safety practices and standards

General liability insurance cost is correlated with the likelihood of having customers getting injured and property damages and sue your business. Implementing different safety practices at your locations and for your employees can potentially reduce the number of “accidents” happening to your customers. Many insurance companies also offer discounts based on the safety practices that you implement.

Learn more at the cheapest general liability insurance companies

Who needs general liability insurance in California?

The best way to protect your company is to have it correctly insured. General liability is best suited for companies that have the following characteristics.

  • You rent/ lease properties
  • You transport goods and employees with vehicles.
  • You have to meet your clients either at your worksite or in their homes. 

 Listed below are a few examples of businesses that may fit the bill:

  • Artisan contractors
  • Consulting
  • IT contractors
  • Janitorial services
  • Landscaping companies
  • Marketing
  • Real estate agents
  • Restaurants
  • Schools or offices

Each business is unique, so make sure you inquire if the policy is right for your business.  

How to buy general liability insurance online in California 

You have several options for purchasing general liability insurance in California for your business. To make things easier, the options are divided into three broad categories as follows:

Digital Brokers

Digital brokers work like Insuretech companies. However, they have more experience. These companies do not have their policies; instead, they assist businesses in connecting with their insurers so that they can purchase the policies of their choice. If you have never purchased a policy before, this is probably a good place to start. 

Examples you can use include:

  • CoverWallet
  • Coverhound 
  • Huckleberry

Here is a sample quote for an accounting firm with 2 full-time employees obtained from CoverWallet. 


  • Fast online quotes, in most cases
  • Companies that have issues finding policies may find something here.


  • They only offer policies from their partners. 

Learn more at the best general liability insurance companies in California

Traditional insurance companies

As the name suggests, companies in this category are those that come to mind when people think of insurance. The majority of them have the experience and financial stability to provide you with superior coverage options. They cover the majority of businesses, including those in the riskiest industries like construction.

Examples of companies in this category include:

  • Chubb 
  • Hiscox
  • Liberty Mutual
  • The Hartford

The following picture is a sample quote for an IT consulting firm with 2 full-time employees obtained from Chubb insurance.


  • You get reliable coverage for almost any industry.
  • Most of them have extensive experience to give you the best coverage.
  • They have other policies that you can buy and bundle for discounts   


  • The policies from these companies might be expensive.

Learn more at how and where to get and compare general liability insurance quotes

Insuretech companies

These businesses are new to the industry. These are tech companies that aim to make insurance affordable and straightforward. They assist businesses in locating the most appropriate and cost-effective quotes for their operations online. They do this using the latest technology tools like artificial intelligence. 


  • Fast quotes that take less than 10 minutes 
  • All operations are done online via the internet 
  • Easy to use platforms.  


  • These companies do not offer policies for risky industries like construction. 

Examples include:

  • Thimble
  • Pie insurance 
  • Next

Here is a sample quote for a cleaning firm with 2 full-time employees from Thimble 

Learn more about buying cheap general liability insurance online

General liability insurance requirements in California 

General liability is not compulsory for businesses in California. However, it is an intelligent decision to have the policy. Many large companies in California do not enter business agreements with clients except they are sure they have general liability insurance. 

Nobody wants to do business with a company that will go out of business unexpectedly due to a liability lawsuit (it happens, and it’s not pretty). Carrying this policy shows that you are responsible enough to do business. It shows that your business is prepared to face almost any risk that comes its way.  

What does general liability insurance cover? 

General liability insurance (GL), also known as business liability insurance, is coverage that can protect you from a variety of claims arising from your business operations,

These claims include the following:  

Bodily harm 

General liability insurance protects against business-related incidents that cause bodily harm to a third party. For instance, if one of your employees mistakenly drops on hammer on someone’s foot, this coverage should cover any damages. This coverage, however, only does not apply to employee injuries.

Property damage

General liability can also protect you from any third-party property damage caused by your business operations. For example, imagine you break a client’s window while cleaning their apartment; this policy should cover the damages.  

Products liability

General liability insurance protects against liability for faulty products. Products are any goods that your company manufactures, sells, or distributes. This coverage protects a business if such a product causes physical injury or illness. For instance, if your customer becomes sick after buying infected food from you.  

Completed operations liability 

Completed operations coverage is just like products liability. It, however, protects you against faulty services or work performed by your business. For coverage to apply, you must finish such a project. 

For example, a customer hires your service clean their bathroom. However, you forget to turn off a tap in the bathroom, causing the bathroom to flood after you left. Your general liability may cover the damages caused since you already left when the issue happened. 

Personal and advertising injury

Your general liability policy may also cover any written or verbal communications that cause harm to a third party. This includes, among other things, libel, slander, malicious mischief, and copyright infringement. 

For example, if your local competitor accused you of spreading rumors about their poor customer service. The company can sue you for personal and advertising injury if the competitor’s reputation and profitability are harmed. In such a case,  general liability will cover you. 

Damages to rented property.

Damage to land, buildings, or structures you rent or lease is also typically covered under general liability coverage. For coverage to apply, the insured or their business must be legally liable for the damages. 

For example, a local baker may rent a property that catches fire due to a careless employee leaving the oven unattended. General liability may cover the damages because the business operations caused the fire. On the other hand, this coverage would not apply if a lightning strike started the fire.

Learn more about general liability insurance coverage

What does general liability insurance not cover?

Your general liability will not protect you from all business-related risks. To cover some risks, you may require additional insurance coverage not covered by general liability insurance. There are numerous other products available to protect your company. Here’s a quick rundown:

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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