Top 5 Providers of General Liability Insurance in New York

Thang Truong
Thang Truong
Updated on:

General liability insurance is not required in New York, unless you’re a contractor. However, there are good reasons to consider getting general liability insurance to protect yourself and your small business. 

Top 5 Providers of General Liability Insurance in New York

We researched and compared 12 companies offering general liability insurance in New York and here are the top 5 providers that we recommend:

  • CoverWallet: Best for Comparing Quotes of Leading Carriers
  • The Hartford: Established and Reputable Carrier for Small Business Insurance
  • Hiscox: Best for Providing Online Quotes
  • Vouch: Best for Startups
  • Nationwide: Best Customer Satisfaction Rating

CoverWallet: Best for Comparing Quotes of Leading Carriers

CoverWallet is a digital broker specializing in business insurance and located in New York city. They have a wide selection of business insurance coverage. They work with several leading carriers and are able to provide quotes from these companies for you. You can apply online and within a few minutes get and compare several quotes in the same place.

If you decide to buy a general liability insurance policy through them, you can get the certificate of insurance digitally and immediately. You can also use their great digital dashboard to manage all of your business insurance policies in one place. You can file claims online, renew online, and manage your policies completely digitally.

If you are looking for a general liability insurance policy in New York and want to make sure to get the best and cheapest quote by comparing several quotes in one place, CoverWallet may be a good option.

The Hartford: Established and Reputable Carrier for Small Business Insurance

The Hartford has provided business insurance for the last fifty years, and has many options for small business owners, including general liability insurance. You can get a discount if you bundle policies. You can report claims online, and they have plenty of positive online reviews. 

Hiscox: Best for Providing Online Quotes

If you have five employees or fewer, Hiscox may be perfect for you. They were specifically designed for very small businesses, and they operate in all fifty states, including New York. They have a full range of business insurance products, so if you need more than just general liability, they can accommodate you. You can pay all at once or in installments, and you can get a discount of 5% for home-based businesses and a 5% discount if you bundle policies. 

Our quote is for a home-based photography business with a sole proprietor and annual gross of $159,000. 

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Vouch: Best for Startups

Vouch is a business insurance company specifically for start-ups. Coverage can begin as soon as the next day, and if you’re really not sure how much insurance you need, or what kind, you can call, email, zoom, or speak to the chatbot on the website. There is online quoting and ten levels of coverage, so you can upgrade as your business grows. 

Nationwide: Best Customer Satisfaction Rating

Nationwide earns the highest score from J.D. Power for small commercial insurance. Out of 1,000 points, they earned 868, which takes into account price, products offered, customer service and claims. They have fourteen industry specialties to choose from, with a wide range of business insurance products. To get a quote, you fill out an online form and someone will get back to you, or you can call. 

What is General Liability Insurance?

General liability insurance protects you against claims for third party bodily injury and property damage. If you rent property, your landlord will probably require you to have some general liability insurance, but anyone who deals with the public should also have it. 

>>MORE: Cheapest General Liability Insurance for Contractors – $41/month

What does General Liability Insurance Cover?

General liability insurance covers:

  • Property damage
  • Bodily injury
  • Advertising errors and copyright infringement
  • Slander
  • Medical payments

If a customer comes into your brick-and-mortar store and slips and falls, general liability insurance will cover you. This is why you’re usually required to have it if rent a space for your business. Some customers won’t even work with a business that doesn’t have general liability insurance. 

What doesn’t General Liability Insurance Cover?

General liability insurance is good, basic insurance, but it doesn’t cover everything. It won’t cover:

  • Employee injuries
  • Auto coverage
  • Punitive damages
  • Illegal acts
  • Anything you do intentionally

Some of these things are covered by different types of insurance. For malicious acts or any crimes you commit, well, there’s no insurance policy for that. 

Why Do You Need General Liability Insurance in New York?

There are more than 450,000 small businesses in New York state, which make up over $950 million dollars in revenue. A small business is defined as having fewer than 100 employees and can include anything from coffee shops to IT services. 

If you’re a small business owner, you’ll have noticed that the risk of a lawsuit looms over everything you do. In one study, 43% of small business owners were either threatened with a lawsuit or were actively engaged in one. Other studies estimate that almost 90% of all businesses will be involved in some kind of litigation. In case you’re curious, these are the most common reasons small businesses get sued:

  • Issues surrounding intellectual property (“It was my idea!”)
  • Discrimination
  • Harassment
  • Wage disputes
  • Property accidents and injuries

That last one is why general liability insurance was created. 

Unlike workers compensation insurance and commercial auto insurance (both required by the state of New York) general liability is not required. You could buy a stand-alone policy or combine general liability insurance with property insurance. This is called a Business owner’s policy. 

What Affects How Much You’ll Pay for General Liability Insurance in New York?

If you own a small business in New York, be happy you’re not a contractor. If you are a contractor, you already know that;

  1. General liability insurance in new York for contractors can be ten times what contractors anywhere else pay
  2. Many insurance companies don’t even offer general liability insurance for contractors in New York

Let’s assume you are not a contractor. There are still many factors that influence how much you’ll pay for GL insurance. The most common are:

  • Type of business
  • Location
  • Number of employees
  • Level of risk
  • Claims history
  • Credit history

The level of risk your company is exposed to is by far the biggest factor for how much you’ll pay. Anyone who deals with the public has a bigger risk than someone who works online in their basement. All of things affect your rates. 

How Much General Liability Insurance do I Need in New York?

This also varies, but the most common policy is $1 million per occurrence and $2 million for the length of the contract, which usually renews every year. 

How Much does General Liability Insurance Cost in New York?

The cost of general liability insurance in New York varies depending on several factors mentioned above. Even for the same policy coverage and the same company, different carriers will have different prices. On average, a general liability insurance policy costs in the range of $250 to $1,500 a year in New York.

As you can see, it is a wide range. In order to get the best price, you need to make sure to shop around with a few companies or a digital broker like CoverWallet to compare several quotes before selecting the right one for you.

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

How to find cheap general liability insurance in New York?

General liability insurance is necessary to protect your business, but you don’t want to pay too much for it. The good news is that you can still find cheap general liability insurance. Here are some tips to help you find the coverage you need 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.
  • Safety-first policy: Make sure you implement safety standards and best practices in your business location and provide safety training to your employee regularly. Make use of safety programs offered by the insurance companies whenever available.
  • 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 general liability coverage in New York.

>>MORE: The Cheapest General Liability Insurance Companies

General liability insurance for contractors in New York

If you’re a general contractor working on a construction project in New York, you’re required to have construction insurance. There is technically no such policy known as “construction insurance” but rather it’s a collection of different types of policies which may vary depending on the scope of the project. Some of these policies include:

  • Builders Risk
  • Contractor General Liability Insurance
  • Professional Liability Insurance 

Even if you can get away without general liability insurance, you might have a difficult time getting clients without it. And general contractors usually require subcontractors to have it before they will consider working with them.

General liability insurance for contractors is very expensive in New York. Many insurance companies might not even offer it to contractors. If you have a hard time finding general liability coverage from nationally recognized companies, you might consider niche companies specializing in contractors insurance in New York such as the Hudson Insurance Group.

>>MORE: The Best General Liability Insurance for Contractors

>>MORE: The Cheapest General Liability Insurance for Contractors

General liability insurance for LLCs in New York

General liability insurance is recommended for LLCs in New York. If you are an LLC in New York, you should know the business climate has some of the highest taxes in the nation, not to mention red tape and union workers. On the other hand, the workforce is educated and the unemployment rate is low. 

New York is one of the most litigious states in the country. Any small business owner should have general liability insurance at the very least before someone files a lawsuit against you. And there is no cap on damages in New York, a small lawsuit without insurance protection will easily bankrupt your LLC business.

>>MORE: The Best General Liability Insurance for LLCs

Small business insurance in New York

Business Insider ranks New York the 28th out of the fifty states in a list of the best states to start a business. New York has one of the highest tax rates and costs of living in the country. However, it has one of the highest rate of new entrepreneurs thanks to the massive opportunities in the state.

Take extra steps to protect your small business. New York is a litigious state. You will regret not having small business insurance when incidents happen. Below are some of the popular small business insurance coverages in New York:

Workers compensation insurance in New York:

Workers compensation insurance is required in New York if you have even just one employee. Sole proprietors and partnership without employees are exempted. However, you can still buy workers comp coverage for yourself if you want to (you should!). Learn more at workers comp insurance for the self-employed.

Workers comp insurance pays for medical costs, lost wages, disability benefits, death benefits, re-training costs, etc. if and when an employee gets injured or becomes ill at work. New York is a no-fault insurance state. It means that regardless who is at fault when accidents happen, employees still receive benefits. You should always have workers comp insurance coverage for employees in New York if you don’t want to pay these benefits out of pocket. Learn more at the best workers comp insurance companies in New York.

On average, small businesses in New York pay $1.41 per $100 payroll. It has been decreased in the past years. Road construction pays the highest at $13.74 and clerical at $0.13

Commercial auto insurance in New York:

Commercial auto insurance is required in New York. If you use a vehicle for work, you need to have commercial auto insurance. Your personal auto insurance policy doesn’t cover your vehicle uses for business. Your personal auto insurance company will refuse the claims if they learn that you use the vehicle for business purposes. Learn more the differences between commercial auto vs. personal auto insurance and why small businesses need commercial auto insurance and the best commercial auto insurance companies in New York.

Small businesses usually pay around $2,100-$3,500 a year for commercial auto insurance coverage. New York is a high-risk commercial auto state, with annual premium as high as $10,000.

Professional liability insurance in New York:

Professional liability insurance isn’t, in general, required in New York, except malpractice insurance for doctors. However, your employers and/or your clients might require you to have it before they can employ you. New York actually has the most expensive malpractice insurance rate in the country.

Professional liability insurance covers lawsuits costs and fees and settlements related to mistakes or negligence you or your employees make while doing your work. If you and your business provide services or advice to your clients, it is likely that you need professional liability insurance coverage.

It is often called malpractice insurance in healthcare and legal fields and errors and omissions (or E&O) in real estateinsurancefinance, and other consulting industries. Below are the most popular professionals that need this coverage:

Last Thoughts

Many people who work in small business insurance say if you can only afford one type of insurance, you should get a general liability policy. It makes sense, because you don’t even need to have done anything wrong for someone to sue you these days. Protect yourself and your assets with a general liability policy.

>>MORE: Top 6 Providers of Workers Compensation Insurance in New York

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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