The Best Business Insurance

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ust like your business, your coverage needs are unique. We researched dozens of providers, comparing each company’s policy options and customer service. Protect yourself and your company from liability for employee injury, property damage, and other common mishaps by securing a business insurance policy from a reliable, communicative provider.

How We Chose the Best Business Insurance

Top competitors

We’ve been looking at business insurance for several years now, and have cycled over 50 companies through the mill in that time. Through examining coverage packages, optional coverages, and holistic customer experience, we pulled 10 stand-out business insurance providers to the top, then compared them based on nationwide availability, basic policies, and online quote tools.

Nationwide coverage

While regional companies can write you a solid policy for a good price, a wider pool of insureds means lower premiums. A large insurance company is diversified enough to ride economic waves without letting anyone on board feel the swell. They also tend to have great financial stability overall — a key consideration for providers of any insurance product.

For this reason, plus sheer convenience (we don’t want to recommend a great company to the millions in any given state that can’t get it), we omitted Allied Insurance, CNA, Erie Insurance, Farm Family, Foremost Insurance, and The Hanover from the running. We’ll talk about the merits of a couple of these regional companies in our Others to Consider section, as they checked many, if not all, of the same boxes as our top picks. However, based on availability we were left with four contenders: Allstate, Farmers, Nationwide, and Progressive.

Business Owner’s Policies (BOP)

A Business Owner’s Policy (or Package) (BOP) is designed to provide near-total coverage for small businesses. A BOP covers most bases if: 1) your business is located outside of your home, 2) you have company property and assets you want to protect, 3) you employ less than 100 employees, and 4) take in less than 5 million in annual revenue. It’s an easy first foray into business insurance and typically cheaper than a more personalized policy.

“A BOP policy provides a fantastic platform to build from for businesses with less complex risks. They are extremely economical and can provide excellent coverage when endorsed correctly.”Travis BiggertChief Sales Officer, HUB International

While we also prioritized the presence of discipline-specific packages — a thoughtful set of bundled coverages for various specialized businesses, be it funeral home or country club — we wanted to know that the provider would make it easy for you to get commercial property damage protection and liability coverage, tied together with plain string, without having to increase the complexity of your contract (and grow your bottom line) with endorsements.

Additional coverage options

Many insurers offer souped-up, special BOPs in the form of industry packages, which join basic coverage with add-ons targeted to the special risks of your business — retail, manufacturing, auto repair, hospitality, etc. Options to plump up your policy with additional coverage help you get a bespoke business insurance policy that won’t leave your practice with any vulnerabilities.

“You’ll need separate insurance policies to cover professional services, vehicles, and your employees. BOPs do NOT cover professional liability, auto insurance, worker’s compensation or health and disability insurance.”Justin GoodmanInsurance broker and President of Goodman Insurance Services

To know what kind of customized coverage you need, Judy Selby, consultantand former insurance coverage litigator, recommends evaluating your own risk profile. “The risk profile of any given company is unique and will depend on a variety of issues… Once the company has assessed its risks, it should look for policies that provide coverage to best address them.”

Makes it easy to learn, ask, and pay

Customer resources, such as articles, fact guides, infographics, phone numbers, online communication requests, and ample language about the provider’s own products better equip you to make the best choice for your business. A sample policy is ideal, but at the very least we wanted serious copy about the inclusions and exclusions of their coverage and the kind of coverage people in your line of work might need.

Being able to pay your bills and file a claim with speed is all about convenience. We wanted options to pay via email, mail, online credit card, or automatic bank payment (or as many of the above as possible). Allstate shines in this department, with Nationwide and Progressive on its heels, but all three boast the most important convenience — automatic withdrawal.

Financial strength

Every insurance expert we talked to hammers home the importance of an insurance company’s financial ratings. As well as their reputation for swift and stress-free claims payment. While we didn’t rely on this point for the purpose of finding a great insurance policy amongst these robust companies (all of which stay in the Strong end of the rating pool), stack ranking allowed us to flesh out our perspective on our leading four contenders. It’s important to insure with a company with the financial stability to stand behind yours. Thinking long-term in this way is what any good business should do.

We tallied the ratings of our favorite four using insurance expert Tony Steuer’s ratings comparison chart, and found that Progressive is the strongest, Nationwide follows close behind, and Allstate and Farmers share third place. But this entire sequence takes place in the top bracket.

The 4 Best Business Insurance Providers

  • Nationwide – Best for Most Businesses
  • Allstate – Best Basic Policy
  • Farmers – Best Endorsements
  • Progressive – Best for Company Cars

Nationwide Business Insurance – Best for Most Businesses

Best For
Most BusinessesNationwide
Compare RatesAvailability can vary, and our quote tool may not include all providers in your area.Pros
Specialized choice
Customization
Customer ServiceCons

Why we chose it

Specialized choice

A well-rounded and financially secure institution, Nationwide offers a huge menu of business coverage options, with customizable endorsements for everything from retail stores and restaurants to medical clinics and law offices. Nationwide offers three options: a standalone general liability or business property policy, a combination of both for a standard Business Owners Policy (BOP), or a specific package targeted to your business type:

  • Agribusiness
  • Construction
  • Contractors
  • Farm & Ranch
  • Professional Services
  • Real Estate
  • Retail
  • Wholesale

Customization

Within business categories exist even more specific policies, built off of a standard BOP plus particular recommendations for your line of work. For example, a golf course and a funeral home can both get protection via Nationwide’s BOP, but if you own the former you’ll want to tack on Tee to Green, Debris Removal, and Liquor Liability onto a standard BOP to protect your carpet from your golfers, and your golfers from themselves. Specialized liability coverage options provide you extra protection against certain claims common to your industry — select additional coverage to protect you in the event of an equipment breakdown, a data breach, or a criminal act.

Customer service

While virtually every major national insurance company provides 24-hour call-center support, few operate a dedicated telephone support line just for business insurance customers. Instead of talking to a support agent who may deal with life, auto, property, travel, and business insurance in the course of a single day, Nationwide business policyholders get to speak to experts who specialize in nothing but business policies. You can also get familiar with the coverage on Nationwide’s exceptionally well-designed website. Its clarity and utility is more than skin deep: Nationwide delivers online policy access, a capability that remains pretty uncommon in the industry. Instead of searching through your file cabinet for policy documents or contacting your local agent, login and track it down in seconds.

Points to consider

Misses some sectors

Nationwide does miss a couple of major sectors, including manufacturing and hospitality. Look to Allstate for pre-made packages in these fields, or contact a Nationwide agent who can likely help build a unique package to meet your needs.

Allstate Business Insurance – Best Basic Policy

Best For
Basic PoliciesAllstate
Compare RatesAvailability can vary, and our quote tool may not include all providers in your area.Pros
Solid basic policy
Mix-and-match coverage
Online quoteCons
Generic specialty packages

Why we chose it

Solid basic policy

Looking for insurance that covers the major risks to the typical small business? Allstate writes an exceptionally strong general BOP, and best matches the needs of professional, retail, and service industries.

  • Professional
  • Health & Medical
  • Services
  • Goods
  • Food & Beverage

Mix-and-match coverage

While Allstate doesn’t offer nearly as many specialty packages as its competitors, it makes up for this with lots of optional add-ons, allowing you to mix-and-match the elements of coverage right for you. Most BOPs will deliver the property and general liability coverage you need, but Allstate’s includes coverage for equipment breakdown, building glass, and up to 12 months of business income losses resulting from a covered claim.

Online quote

The customer experience provided by Allstate and its nimble website is top-notch. We especially appreciated the inclusion of an online quote tool — something other top business insurance providers, including Nationwide, don’t have.

Points to consider

Generic speciality packages

Notably, its lack of product liability insurance means it won’t be useful for business owners in manufacturing and wholesale. Similarly, certain professional services businesses that need special coverage, such as errors and omissions or personal and advertising injury liability, won’t find the coverage they need. Depending on the type of business you operate, these kinds of liability policies can be crucial to the design of a business insurance package that delivers comprehensive protection.

Have to go through an agent

Allstate, more than other providers, funnels site users to contact a local agent. Depending on an agent to help customize your coverage package means that you’ll have more personalized guidance but also that you’re more likely to be upsold additional coverage. It’s always wise to compare an agent’s recommendations to the common risks and concerns of your industry.

Farmers Business Insurance – Best Endorsements

Best For
EndorsementsFarmers
Compare RatesAvailability can vary, and our quote tool may not include all providers in your area.Pros
Stellar specializations
Dedicated agentsCons
Weaker customer resources

Why we chose it

Stellar specialization

Farmers flexes muscle where special packages are concerned. Whatever kind of operational risks your business faces, Farmers likely has a policy option to cover you. Choose basic coverage options, including their house BOP, Business Owner’s Advantage, then choose add-on coverage for special risks. Farmers organizes these add-ons into package policies for businesses in more than a dozen different industries.

  • Apartment
  • Auto service repair
  • Commercial real estate
  • Education and nonprofit
  • Home and building service
  • Homeowners association
  • Hospitality
  • Manufacturing
  • Office
  • Religious organization
  • Restaurant
  • Retail sale
  • Wholesale
  • Dedicated agents

While many top business insurance companies recommend you get in contact with an agent, it’s not always evident how much of an expert that agent is going to be, since they often sell for a variety of competing companies out of the same office. Divided interest won’t be an issue when talking with a Farmers agent — their policies are written and sold only be dedicated reps. You can be assured that the person you’re talking with knows Farmers’ policies inside out (which is just as well, since the company goes light on online resources).

Dedicated agents

While many top business insurance companies recommend you get in contact with an agent, it’s not always evident how much of an expert that agent is going to be, since they often sell for a variety of competing companies out of the same office. Divided interest won’t be an issue when talking with a Farmers agent — their policies are written and sold only be dedicated reps. You can be assured that the person you’re talking with knows Farmers’ policies inside out (which is just as well, since the company goes light on online resources).

Points to consider

Weak customer service

The Farmers website is not nearly as informative or easily navigable as Nationwide and Allstate, which made it difficult to suss out its policy features. The site doesn’t allow you to access policy documents or make changes, and while it offers a satisfying level of insight into its own products, there are no bigger picture resources about small businesses or business insurance. The lack of this educational component isn’t a dealbreaker, but compared unfavorably with other more robust sites. That said, Farmers assertively funnels consumers into agencies, where you’re sure to get lots of detailed assistance from their dedicated reps.

No discounts

While Farmers offers a raft of discount opportunities to auto, home, and landlord insurance shoppers, business insurance buyers aren’t so lucky. Buying multiple policies or renewing your policy doesn’t get you the premium discount that some companies provide.

Progressive Business Insurance – Best for Company Cars

Best For
Company CarsProgressive
Compare RatesAvailability can vary, and our quote tool may not include all providers in your area.Pros
Great for businesses with vehicles
Commercial auto discount
Online quoteCons

Why we chose it

Great for businesses with vehicles

When it comes to business insurance, Progressive offers the essentials and comes with stellar financial ratings. While the company doesn’t underwrite the bulk of their policies (a red light for us for most insurance products), they do underwrite auto insurance. As a result, they offer particularly strong coverage for commercial vehicles, making them a top choice if your line of work deploys a fleet. Progressive’s comprehensive coverage looks at all the risks you and your employees face on the road, and its agents are experts in state and federal truck insurance filing requirements. (They even take care of filings for you whenever possible). As the nation’s biggest commercial truck insurer, Progressive is an especially strong choice for trucking businesses that utilize long-haul semi trucks and tractor trailers.

Commercial auto discount

Progressive delivers some of the best commercial auto discount opportunities in the industry. If you already have a general liability business policy or a business owner’s policy in place, you’re in line for savings of up to 15 percent on a commercial auto policy, no matter what company your business policy is under. Additionally, you enjoy further savings of up to 5 percent if your business has been operating for a minimum of three years. On top of these potential savings, you’re also eligible for up to 10 percent additional savings on your auto policy when you pay your full premium upfront.

Online quote

Unlike many other commercial insurance companies, Progressive delivers an online commercial auto insurance quote tool, which requires less than 15 minutes to complete in most cases.

Points to consider

Third-party underwriters

Progressive’s general liability, property, and workers compensation policies are sold under the Progressive Commercial AdvantageSM program written by third-party insurers, who will handle billing, claims, and customer service. While the company doesn’t handle its own business policies, it does write its own commercial auto policies.

Guide to Business Insurance

How to Choose the Right Business Insurance for You

Understand how much coverage you need

“You can go broke keeping your business secure,” quips Inc. on the subject of knowing how much of what kind of insurance you actually need. Because a business is such an enormous life investment, it can be tempting to go full bore on coverage. You don’t want to be caught unprepared by a freak accident, right? Well, that’s exactly correct — it’s the freak accidents you want covered, the major dilemmas that are typically included in basic policy language (flood protection) rather than endorsements (outdoor sign coverage).

The cynical look at endorsements as money-makers for the insurance company. However, some add-ons are highly valuable depending on your field (like Property in Transit coverage for contractors). It will be up to you to acquire and omit special coverages from your policy, but the following broad coverages are essential. They protect against the biggest events that could befall your business.Liability InsuranceCommercial Property InsuranceWorkers CompensationCommercial Auto Insurance

Play around with quotes

Because the rate of your premium rests on so many personal variables, we didn’t spend time collecting numbers from our top picks. What’s more, insurance pros recommend you let price take a back seat to the bigger issue: getting the coverage your business needs.

“At the end of the day, the buyer needs to focus on value. That value is derived from the coverage provided as well as the cost. A couple hundred or thousand dollars more in premium could potentially save millions and even the existence of their business.”Matthew StruckPartner at Treadstone Risk Management

Looking for a bargain now could cost you dearly down the road, but it doesn’t hurt to shop around for the best deal for the right amount of coverage. If you need a sandbox to play in, check out Business News Daily and their round-up of seven websites that will allow you to search for lots of quotes at once.

Keep your deductible down

Resist the urge to bump up your deductible in order to secure a lower premium. That might be the short-term result, but the relationship between a higher premium / a lower deductible and a lower premium / a higher deductible is not linear. Founder Shield suggests you’ll save only a few hundred dollars in exchange for spending thousands more in the event of a claim.

Business Insurance FAQ

Will homeowners insurance cover my home-based business?

If your business hasn’t yet made it to Main Street, but you’re focused on growing your home-based business, know that a standard homeowners insurance policy is probably not giving you the coverage you need. Some homeowners policies cover as much as $2,500 of on-premises business property, but further risks associated with commercial loss and liability likely either extend beyond its inclusions, or have been written out by design. What’s more, a homeowner’s insurance policy is very unlikely to cover liability for injuries to clients, customers, or vendors that occur on your home property.

Does my small business need insurance?

According to the Insurance Information Institute’s small business guide, there are over 7 million small business in the U.S., and the outlook is good. As President and CEO of the National Federation of Independent Businesses, Juanita Duggan proclaimed earlier this year: “Main Street is on fire again.”

Whether you’re setting up shop, getting in on the sharing economy, or taking a personal side hustle to the next level, check your state insurance commissioner for legal and regulatory requirements. Then pursue either a BOP or an industry-specific policy with one of our top picks, or look into homeowners insurance endorsements (just note that these kinds of endorsements rarely include liability coverage.)

How can I lower my business insurance premium?

To not put too fine a point on it — gentrification. As your business expands and moves, keep your insurance company aware of your location. Moving into neighborhoods with less crime and more fire departments can reduce location risks and lower your bill.

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