Small business owners in California know that general liability insurance is a necessity. Although California does not require general liability insurance for most small businesses (it is required for contractors), unless you can afford to pay lawsuits out of pocket, you’ll want general liability insurance.
- Top 7 Providers of General Liability Insurance in California
- What is General Liability Insurance?
- What doesn’t General Liability Insurance Cover?
- Why Small Businesses Should Get General Liability Insurance in California
- How Much does General Liability Insurance Cost in California?
- What Affects How Much I’ll pay for General Liability Insurance?
Top 7 Providers of General Liability Insurance in California
We researched more than 10 insurance companies focused on general liability insurance for small businesses in California. Here are the top 6 that we recommend:
- CoverWallet: Best for Comparing Online Quotes
- Nationwide: Best Customer Satisfaction
- The Hartford: Best for Industry-Specific Packages
- Hiscox: Best for Discount for Home-based Business and Multiple Policies
- Progressive: Best to Combine with Commercial Auto Insurance Policy to Get 15% Discount
- Thimble Insurance: Best for Part-Time or Seasonal Businesses
- Next Insurance: Best for Self-Employed Business Owners
CoverWallet: Best for Comparing Online Quotes
CoverWallet is a digital broker that works with many leading business insurance companies such as Liberty Mutual, Hiscox, Nationwide, etc. They are able to provide you with the quotes of these several partner companies so that you can compare in one place conveniently. After providing your and your business’s information, you will be able to compare several quotes within minutes. If you want to compare online quotes, working with CoverWallet is a good option.
After you decide to buy a general liability insurance policy through CoverWallet, you will be able to use their great digital experience with many great features to manage your policy. As a small business owner, you probably have many insurance policies such as workers compensation, general liability, professional liability, cyber security, etc. CoverWallet help you compare quotes and buy policies from the best providers. Even if you buy different insurance policies from different providers, you will be able to manage all business insurance policies on one CoverWallet dashboard. This will save you a lot of time and efforts.
Nationwide: Best Customer Satisfaction
Nationwide got the highest score possible on J.D. Power’s Commercial Insurance Study for 2019. Out of 1,000 points, they earned 868, higher than any other company. They received high ratings from the more than half a million business owners they insure. They offer a wide range of other types of business insurance, so you can get all your insurance from Nationwide. Policies are customizable and you can get a quote and pay your bill online. Learn more about Nationwide Small Business Insurance Review
The Hartford: Best for Industry-Specific Packages
The Hartford has over 200 years of experience in small business insurance and have insured more than a million small business owners. The have excellent customer service reviews and they have online quoting to help you get insurance quickly so you can move on to other aspects of your business. They also offer industry-specific packages and have a lot of coverage options to choose from. Learn more about the Hartford Small Business Insurance Review
Hiscox: Best for Discount for Home-based Business and Multiple Policies
You own a small business, but you don’t have hundreds of employees. In that case, consider Hiscox, which specializes in businesses with less than five employees. They offer discounts if yours is a home-based business or if you buy multiple policies. They have an easy online application process, and you can pay monthly. Learn more about Hiscox Small Business Insurance Review
Progressive: Best to Combine with Commercial Auto Insurance Policy to Get 15% Discount
Progressive allows you to tailor your coverage so that you can afford your payments. Also, since California requires commercial auto insurance, if you need that, too, you’ll get a 15% discount. They also have an easy online application process, and you can pay your bill and manage your policy online.
Thimble Insurance: Best for Part-Time or Seasonal Businesses
If you have a part-time or seasonal business, Thimble may be the way to go. It allows you to buy policies for an hour, a day, a week or a month so you only need to pay for insurance when you need it. They also have commercial auto insurance and professional liability insurance. Getting a quote is really easy, you just put in your zip code and what your business does, answer a few questions and you can be covered the same day. For a photographer in California, we got this quote:
>>NEXT: GET A QUOTE at THIMBLE
Next Insurance: Best for Self-Employed Business Owners
Next insurance specializes in small business insurance, including general liability. They particularly focus on the self-employed. You can get coverage in ten minutes and the online quote system is a breeze. If you don’t like online quoting, you can talk to one of their agents instead. This quote is for a photographer. Our profession and the state we live in were the only questions they asked.
What is General Liability Insurance?
General liability insurance is sometimes known as business liability insurance. This type of insurance covers you from claims involving:
- Property damage
- Bodily injury
- Product liability
- Copyright infringement
General liability insurance will cover the costs of the lawsuit and any medical expenses incurred by the person who sues you. Learn more about what general liability insurance covers.
In addition, general liability insurance can be required in certain circumstances in California, like:
- You’re a contractor (any type of contractor except handyman). Learn more about general liability insurance for contractors:
- You rent space in a commercial building (the renter may require you to have general liability insurance)
- Clients sometimes require it, or at least like to see that you have it
- You have a mortgage
What doesn’t General Liability Insurance Cover?
General liability insurance doesn’t cover:
- Employee injuries
- Auto accidents
- Punitive damages
- Professional mistakes
- Intentional acts
Why Small Businesses Should Get General Liability Insurance in California
Even though it’s not technically required, there are a lot of good reasons why small businesses should get general liability insurance in California. Small businesses (defined as having less than 500 employees) make up 98% of the businesses in California and employs almost half of the workforce. In addition to having some of the toughest anti-discrimination laws and fair employment practices, there are some quirks in California that you’ll want to be familiar with if you own a business here.
- California is fifth in the nation for states where small business owners face the highest risk of being sued by their employees.
- California has over 3.9 million small businesses (small defined as fewer than 500 employees)
- California does not have caps on liability lawsuits, making general liability insurance extremely important
- State courts in California have a reputation for awarding large liability settlements
In addition, anyone injured by a business in California has up to two years to file a claim. For all of these reasons, you’ll want general liability insurance if you have a business in California.
What Affects How Much I’ll pay for General Liability Insurance?
- type of business
- number of employees
- annual revenue
- amount of coverage
- claims history
Any business that involves doing work on someone else’s property also have the most risk of someone hurting themselves, or you could cause property damage, leading to higher rates.
How Much does General Liability Insurance Cost in California?
How much you’ll pay for liability insurance depends on what sort of business you’re in, as well as other factors. Contractors and construction businesses pay the most for general liability insurance because those fields have the most risk. The average cost of general liability insurance for contractors in California about $825 a year, whereas businesses that have less risk pay much less.
The average cost of general liability insurance in California is about $500 a year.
In order to get the cheapest general liability insurance policy for your business, you need to compare quotes from a few insurance companies. You can get quotes from these companies individually and compare them or you can work with a digital broker like CoverWallet or Simply Business who can provide you with several quotes from these companies in one place.
Now that you’ve worked hard to get your business established in California, don’t neglect to get general liability insurance. One lawsuit could bankrupt a small business, and even if it doesn’t bankrupt you, it could take years to recover. Juries in California tend to be generous with settlements, so make sure you and your business is protected.