You need to choose a good business name, designate a registered agent, prepare and file your formation documents, draft your corporate bylaws or LLC operating agreement, obtain a federal tax ID number (EIN), acquire your business licenses, and more.
One of the crucial steps in this process is acquiring business insurance. Depending on the nature of your business, you might need several different insurance policies, or you might be able to get by with just a general liability insurance plan. Either way, insurance is a highly important part of any business startup, and overlooking it could cost your company dearly.
Let’s discuss the different types of insurance you might need for your small business and profile the seven best small business insurance providers available today.
Which Types of Insurance Does My Business Need?
Again, this all comes down to the specifics of your company, but we can give you some guidance. The most common form of business insurance is general liability insurance, a policy that applies to a broad selection of business types and industries. General liability insurance covers common perils that can happen to any business with a brick-and-mortar location, including slip-and-fall accidents and personal property damage.
Commercial property insurance is another common coverage, as it protects your business from damages to the buildings you own or rent for your company, as well as the equipment you use to operate your company. Considering that a company’s office space is often one of its biggest investments, it’s wise to obtain coverage to protect it.
If you have employees, workers’ compensation insurance is a must (it’s legally required in every state except Texas). If your employees get sick or injured as a result of their employment with your company, workers’ comp picks up the tab for things like medical bills, lost wages, funeral expenses, physical therapy, and more.
These are the three most common and important forms of small business insurance, but they’re far from the only ones. Professional liability insurance protects businesses that operate in regulated, certified professions against damages caused by mistakes they made in their field of expertise. Business interruption insurance (also known as business income insurance) replaces your lost business income due to a covered incident that prevents you from operating your company.
Commercial auto insurance is, of course, very popular for businesses that own or rent vehicles. Commercial umbrella insurance increases the liability limits of your other business insurance policies. Finally, Cyber insurance (also known as data breach insurance) protects your business if your customers’ personal data becomes exposed in a data breach.
The Best Small Business Insurance Providers
Now, let’s take a look at the companies that can best serve your business when it comes to insurance. In this section, we’ll give you a quick rundown of each of our chosen insurers, discussing which types of business insurance they offer and providing an overview of their advantages and disadvantages. Let’s discover which of these insurers is the right company for your insurance needs!
The Hartford (Best-Known for Experience and Expertise)
Background: Originally founded way back in 1810, The Hartford is one of the oldest and most trusted business insurers in the world. They draw upon their centuries of experience to deliver consistently reliable insurance policies for businesses both small and large.
Policies Available: The Hartford’s offerings for small businesses include general liability, commercial property, and business interruption insurance — if you want all three coverages, you can bundle them in a Business Owner’s Policy (BOP).
The Hartford also offers commercial auto, commercial umbrella, professional liability, cyber, and workers’ compensation insurance policies. In addition, you can get a wide variety of industry-specific policies from The Hartford. In other words, they have everything you would ever need for a small business.
Selling Points: While some companies that have been around for 200+ years might be tempted to rest on their laurels, that’s not what The Hartford is about. They offer a tech-savvy, modern approach to business insurance and actually have the best online quote tool in the industry, in our opinion.
While some legacy insurers still don’t even have online quote tools at all, The Hartford not only has one, but it takes just ten minutes to generate a quote for your company.
The Hartford also excels when it comes to the National Association of Insurance Commissioners’ (NAIC) National Complaint Index. This metric analyzes how many complaints a company gets compared to the industry average, and The Hartford’s score of 0.74 means this company gets 26% fewer complaints than the typical insurer.
Summary: Their pricing is roughly average — it won’t be the cheapest or most expensive option you have. But The Hartford offers knowledgeable and responsive customer support that can help you file a claim or work through any problems efficiently.
Nationwide (Best-Known for Well-Rounded Services)
Background: Nationwide has been around since 1926, giving it nearly a century of experience writing business insurance policies. While Nationwide’s embrace of technology took a while (they didn’t even have an online quote tool until way too recently) but it has since caught up with the competition in that regard.
Policies Available: Like The Hartford, Nationwide offers general liability, business interruption, and commercial property insurance as standalone policies or as part of a BOP. Interestingly, Nationwide also packages equipment breakdown insurance into its Business Owner’s Policy.
You can also get commercial property, commercial auto, workers’ comp, professional liability, and commercial umbrella insurance from Nationwide. In addition, it offers some more specialized coverages like crime, employment practices liability, inland marine, and accounts receivable insurance.
Selling Points: Most insurance companies — especially legacy carriers — don’t exactly get great customer reviews. This is so frequently the case that it’s usually not even worth mentioning unless there’s a company that bucks the trend. Enter Nationwide, with its thousands of mostly positive customer reviews across the web, giving this company a unique advantage over many of its competitors.
Summary: Nationwide often has slightly higher prices than the average insurance company, but if customer feedback is important to you, those price points may well be worth it. Plus, this company offers more coverages than many competing insurers. Give them a long look if it sounds like they fit your company’s priorities and needs.
State Farm (Best-Known for Industry-Specific Policies)
Background: Founded in 1922, State Farm has a century of experience writing reliable insurance policies for a wide variety of customers. One major drawback of State Farm’s business insurance offering is the fact that they do not provide online quotes — you’ll need to get in touch with a local State Farm agent to purchase their policies.
Policies Available: State Farm offers just about every business insurance policy under the sun. The company offers general liability, commercial property, commercial umbrella, workers’ compensation, and professional liability insurance. Additionally, it provides many specialty policies like employment practices liability and inland marine insurance, in addition to hundreds of industry-specific options.
Interestingly, State Farm excludes business interruption insurance from its BOPs, instead bundling only general liability and commercial property coverages. Its coverages are also mostly intended for small businesses, as State Farm is not as well-known for insuring midsize or large companies.
Selling Points: According to J.D. Power, State Farm has excellent customer satisfaction, ranking well above the average business insurer in its study of small commercial insurance policies. In addition, State Farm offers more industry-specific policies than any other commercial insurer we’re aware of, as you can find coverage for even the smallest of niche businesses.
Unlike many other modern insurers, State Farm still uses local agents for its commercial insurance policies. Depending on your preferences, this could be a plus or a minus. Some people love the expertise they get from a local agent, while others would rather get quotes and buy policies online.
Summary: State Farm is a decidedly old-school insurer when it comes to business coverage, as you can’t get online quotes or buy policies through their website. On the other hand, the personal attention you receive from State Farm reps goes way beyond what you can expect from a more online-oriented insurer, and State Farm provides a staggering amount of industry-specific policies.
Chubb (Best-Known for Efficient Claims Payment)
Background: No other insurer in the United States underwrites as many business insurance policies as Chubb does, which is especially impressive when you consider that they’ve only been around since 1985. As America’s leading commercial insurance company, Chubb offers an incredible array of business coverages that are sure to fulfill your company’s needs.
Policies Available: Instead of a traditional BOP, Chubb provides a “Customarq” package that includes the same coverages as a BOP, with blanket limits and a flexible valuation approach. In addition to general liability, commercial property, and business interruption coverages, Chubb also offers equipment breakdown, cyber, and workers’ compensation insurance.
As you might expect from the nation’s most popular commercial insurer, Chubb has a laundry list of additional policy coverages available, including global liability, pollution liability, and foreign package insurance, along with dozens of industry-specific policies.
Selling Points: In J.D. Power’s 2021 small commercial insurance study, Chubb earned an above-average score for customer satisfaction. In fact, Chubb ranks as one of the top five insurers in the U.S. by this metric! Chubb also has a score under 1.00 in the NAIC’s National Complaint Index, which means this company receives fewer customer complaints than the average insurance company.
Chubb often says that its policies aren’t “one-size-fits-all” and claims that it tailors its insurance plans to meet the unique needs of each business it works with. Chubb rates very highly in claims satisfaction ratings, meaning this insurer has outstanding financial strength and is able to pay claims more accurately and efficiently than many competitors.
Summary: Even though Chubb is a decidedly old-school insurer that doesn’t offer online quotes for commercial insurance, its size, experience, and versatility in providing a myriad of small business insurance solutions make it a solid choice for your company.
Hiscox (Best-Known for a Focus on Commercial Insurance)
Background: While Hiscox does offer some personal insurance policies (typically aimed at high-net-worth individuals), its focus ever since its inception in 1901 has been business insurance. This company has a wide variety of policies tailored for small businesses between one and five employees.
Policies Available: Hiscox provides many different small business insurance coverages to protect varying aspects of your company. In addition to general liability, professional liability, commercial auto, commercial umbrella, cyber security, and workers’ compensation coverages, Hiscox also offers quite a few niche policies for things like short-term liability, employment practices liability, and nearly 200 industry-specific coverages.
Like State Farm, Hiscox only offers BOPs with general liability and commercial property insurance, excluding the commonly included business interruption coverage.
Selling Points: Hiscox is a true industry leader when it comes to cyber liability insurance. Hiscox started offering this form of insurance earlier than most competitors, and it includes a complete collection of coverages including breach costs, cyber extortion, cyber crime, business interruption, data recovery, and digital media.
When it comes to customer satisfaction, Hiscox rates highly, with plenty of positive feedback from its current customers. This company maintains a very impressive 4.8/5 average score with nearly 20,000 reviews available online! In addition, it’s one of the top insurance companies in the world for financial strength and claims satisfaction ratings, meaning that Hiscox is an easy company to trust.
Summary: Hiscox only offers online quotes for certain policies, including general liability insurance. For those coverages, Hiscox generates quotes quickly, often in ten minutes or less. If you’re interested in a company that prioritizes its commercial coverage above its personal policies, Hiscox might be a great fit for your business.
Liberty Mutual (Best-Known for Umbrella Policies)
Background: Liberty Mutual was founded in 1912. Today, the company is the third-largest property and casualty insurer in America. When it comes to business insurance, Liberty Mutual is well-known for its excellent umbrella policies, as it adds crisis management support services to help your business deal with the media and public relations, if necessary.
Policies Available: Liberty Mutual offers all of the standard commercial insurance policies, including general liability, commercial auto, professional liability, commercial property, workers’ compensation, and the aforementioned commercial umbrella insurance.
Additionally, you can find equipment breakdown, environmental liability, inland and ocean marine, management liability, reinsurance, third-party administration, and surety coverage. Liberty Mutual provides a broad selection of policies that’s almost certain to satisfy your company’s needs.
Selling Points: Liberty Mutual has very high liability limits available for its umbrella policies, and the protection for domestic and international expenses is a welcome feature as well. That’s why they’re our top pick for companies that need umbrella policies to extend the limits of their liability policies.
Convenience is the name of the game with Liberty Mutual’s business insurance, especially when it’s time to file a claim. Liberty Mutual offers 24-hour claims assistance, and you can file claims easily through the company’s website or mobile app.
With Liberty Mutual’s Complex Liability Claims Unit, you can rest assured that you have a team of experts on your case. This dedicated unit has tons of insurance navigating even the trickiest of liability issues, and you can count on them to resolve your case quickly and fairly.
Summary: Liberty Mutual has a wide range of specialized coverages and expert support teams that can help your business overcome many different risks and perils. However, because it operates using independent agents, you cannot receive online quotes for Liberty Mutual, which is a bit of an annoyance.
Progressive (Best-Known for Commercial Auto Insurance)
Background: Progressive has also been in existence for the better part of a century, opening its doors in 1937. The only form of business insurance Progressive underwrites itself is its commercial auto insurance, though it provides a host of other coverages through the Progressive Advantage Business Program — a system that offers business insurance from trusted partner companies.
Policies Available: As we mentioned, only commercial auto insurance is actually underwritten by Progressive. However, the Progressive Advantage Business Program also provides access to BOPs, general liability, business interruption, commercial property, professional liability, cyber, and workers’ compensation insurance policies.
Selling Points: Progressive is an outstanding option for business auto insurance. If your company owns or rents vehicles, Progressive is our favorite insurer. As the nation’s second-largest auto insurer, Progressive’s expertise in this area is nearly unrivaled.
As for other types of small business insurance, while Progressive doesn’t underwrite the policies itself, it does provide some valuable discounts that you won’t find with many other commercial insurers. For instance, Progressive offers multi-policy and premium pre-pay discounts, the types of discounts that are more common with personal insurance policies.
Summary: The fact that they don’t underwrite many of their business policies is no doubt a disadvantage for Progressive. However, with reasonable pricing models and our favorite commercial auto insurance policies in the industry, it’s clear that Progressive has quite a bit going for it.
There are many reputable companies offering small business insurance policies these days, and many of them have offerings so similar that it’s difficult to discern with is your best option.
While all of the companies in this guide are capable of providing your business with reliable insurance policies, we hope we’ve helped you figure out which one is the right fit for you.
Overall, each of these companies has its own strengths and weaknesses that may align with your business. If you are having trouble selecting the best company for your needs, we recommend requesting custom quotes from at least three different companies from the above list, then selecting the lowest rate you’re offered. This way, you’re sure to find the coverage you need at a price you can afford.