The 7 Best Commercial Business Insurance Companies of 2020

Industry-specific protection from all types of business liability

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Cutting corners with business insurance is one of the most expensive mistakes a company can make. Without proper coverage, businesses can find themselves on the hook for thousands of dollars to cover losses resulting from litigation or unforeseen events. Burglary and theft, which have affected one in five small businesses in the past five years, cost an average of $8,000 without insurance. More serious events can quickly add up to several times this; fire damage leads to average losses of $35,000, while reputational harm incurs a typical cost in the neighborhood of $50,000.

Despite this, three out of every four U.S. companies don’t have adequate insurance, and 40% of small businesses carry no insurance whatsoever. Some business owners think that if insurance isn’t required by law, it’s not a necessity. Unfortunately, this couldn’t be further from the truth. For example, if you use your personal car for business purposes, you’ll need commercial auto coverage since the personal policy you carry won’t cover anything that happens during business hours. On top of this, many states do require businesses to carry specific types of insurance, which can include workers’ compensation and liquor liability, among others.

Commercial business insurance needs vary by company size and industry, which is why we’ve rounded up the best business policies for several different types of coverage. We reviewed 29 providers to identify the top contender in each category based on policy details, price, and service. 

The 7 Best Commercial Business Insurance Companies of 2020

Best Overall: Nationwide

Nationwide

 Nationwide

Nationwide provides industry-leading coverage and service for the widest range of business types and sizes, which makes it our choice for best overall for commercial business insurance.

Pros
  • Tailored policies for many business types and sizes

  • Full range of coverage options available

  • Nearly 100 years in business

Cons
  • Limited online quoting tools

  • Smaller selection of industry-tailored coverage

  • Only available in 48 states

Since business insurance needs are so diverse, many providers can only offer limited coverage for specific types of ventures. Nationwide rises above the rest with policy options for both small and large businesses. Coverage includes just about every type of protection you can think of: traditional policies like general liability and umbrella insurance, additional protection from equipment failures and employment-related lawsuits, and even more modern options through cybersecurity protection.

Nationwide also receives accolades from several industry rating agencies. AM Best has issued an A+ (Superior) financial stability rating, and the Better Business Bureau (BBB) gives the provider its highest possible A+ rating. Nationwide was awarded the top spot in J.D. Power’s 2019 U.S. Small Commercial Insurance Study, which measures the overall satisfaction of small businesses with their insurance provider.

One of the few drawbacks to Nationwide is that online quotes are limited to five types of coverage. For more detailed policy information, you’ll need to call and speak with an agent. There are also a few small business industries that don’t get specific attention, such as hotels and real estate professionals. Finally, Nationwide commercial insurance is not available in Alaska or Hawaii, although coverage can be purchased anywhere in the continental United States.

Best General Liability: Chubb

Chubb

 Chubb

Chubb’s industry-specific general liability policies offer tailored coverage to businesses of all types and sizes, for a price that can’t be beat by competitors. This earns Chubb our nod for the best general liability coverage in our review.

Pros
  • General liability insurance for over 1,000 business types

  • Insures companies of any size

  • Flexible options for supplemental coverage

Cons
  • Must be purchased through an agent

  • No online quotes

  • Global coverage requires extra policy

Chubb is a global insurance provider that writes $40 billion in individual and commercial policies each year, offering a particularly impressive lineup of business insurance coverage. Chubb’s Customarq General Liability policy is well-suited for small businesses and multinationals alike in more than a thousand different industry classification codes. This policy covers just about everything from bodily injury and property damage to litigation and vendors, although unlike some competitors, global coverage isn’t included and must be purchased separately.

For companies that need something more customized, Continuum from Chubb can be tacked onto any general liability policy or purchased individually. This additional protection covers items such as successor liability and discontinued products. Of course, businesses with less than $30 million in annual revenue can also take advantage of Chubb’s business owner’s policy, which combines general liability with commercial property and other industry-specific types of coverage.

Unfortunately, Chubb doesn’t offer online quotes for any of its commercial insurance policies and requires all businesses to purchase coverage through an agent. However, we were impressed with the affordable premiums offered to small businesses. For a retail store with $300,000 in annual revenue, the price of a general liability policy with a $1 million occurrence limit and a $2 million aggregate limit was just $21 per month.

It’s also worth noting that Chubb scores among the best in the industry in both financial stability and customer satisfaction. The provider holds an A++ financial strength rating from AM Best, an A+ from the BBB, and was awarded third place in the 2019 J.D. Power U.S. Small Commercial Insurance Study.

Best Business Owner’s Policy: Berkshire Hathaway

Berkshire Hathaway

 Berkshire Hathaway

Offering three traditional business owner’s policies (BOP) and one more comprehensive option, Berkshire Hathaway can provide unparalleled combined coverage for all aspects of your business and is the best in our review for business owner's policies.

Pros
  • Standard BOP available at three coverage levels

  • THREE plan provides a more robust option

  • Discount when you pay annually

Cons
  • Not available in all states

  • Some policies are outsourced

  • Newer insurance provider

Berkshire Hathaway is well-known as the parent company of GEICO. But the conglomerate also provides commercial insurance through two channels: biBERK, a full-service small business insurance company, and THREE, a newer endeavor that has made waves in the industry for offering a single three-page policy.

Companies looking for a customizable business owner’s policy can go through biBERK, which offers three main levels with additional riders. The Basic Plan includes just property and general liability coverage, while additional events and industry-specific coverage are packaged into the Preferred Plan and Elite Plan. For additional customization options, business owners can adjust basic coverage levels and choose from add-ons like cybersecurity and employment practices liability. Our small retail store was quoted $70 per month for the Basic Plan, $94 for the Preferred Plan, and $108 for the Elite Plan.

THREE offers a more comprehensive option, with all the elements of a business owner’s policy plus business interruption, cybersecurity, workers’ compensation, and commercial auto. This affordable, all-inclusive policy is ideal for small businesses that would otherwise need to combine a BOP with additional expensive coverage. We were quoted $439 per month for a small retail store that included one vehicle and three employees (workers' compensation).

Even though both biBERK and THREE are less than five years old, each is backed by Berkshire Hathaway, which has been in the insurance industry since the 1960s. However, this does mean that business coverage isn’t yet available in all states. As of the time of publication, biBERK offers BOPs in 28 states, although some level of coverage is available in 46 states. THREE is continuing to add states to its coverage area, and the policy can already be purchased in many of the states that aren’t eligible for full BOP coverage through biBERK.

Best Commercial Property: The Hartford

The Hartford

 The Hartford

The Hartford has the best commercial property policies in our review, which provide affordable total coverage for everyone from sole proprietors to large corporations.

Pros
  • Policies for small and large businesses

  • Fast online quote

  • Over 200 years in business

Cons
  • Some policies can’t be purchased online

  • Less experience with larger businesses

  • Unavailable in three states

Aside from general liability, commercial property insurance is the most universally carried business coverage you'll find, as it safeguards everything from tools and equipment to office furniture from theft and damage. The Hartford offers commercial property policies that are applicable to any business, from entrepreneurs who work from home to large corporations with hundreds of millions of dollars in property to insure, making it our top pick for commercial property policies.

The Hartford’s commercial property policies are divided into two categories: small businesses with less than $200 million in total insurable value and large businesses that go over this threshold. While essential coverage remains the same, each policy is tailored toward the specific needs that change based on company size. For example, large property insurance claims are handled by specialized agents and include loss control services from The Hartford’s risk engineering team.

Commercial property quotes from The Hartford are generally available online, but you may need to work with an agent to get a quote if you have a large company or need specialized coverage. For a professional services firm with five employees and $600,000 in annual revenue, we were able to get a policy with $50,000 in personal property coverage and a $500 deductible for just $38 per month.

Although policies are offered in most states, you won’t be able to purchase coverage if your business is in Alaska, Hawaii, or New Jersey. You should also keep in mind that, even though The Hartford writes commercial property policies for businesses of any size, this insurer is mostly geared toward smaller companies. Of all commercial policies written in 2019, nearly half were for small businesses; less than 20% were for multinational organizations.

Best Commercial Auto: Progressive

Progressive

 Progressive

Progressive is the top commercial auto insurance provider in the United States and in our review, with more policies written than any other provider and coverage available for just about every commercial vehicle.

Pros
  • 24/7 claims service

  • Up to a 15% discount when you bundle coverage

  • Coverage in all 50 states

Cons
  • Some limitations on vehicles covered

  • Few customization options

  • Some commercial policies underwritten by third-party providers

Progressive is easily the biggest commercial auto insurer in the United States, with policies written for over a million commercial vehicles as of 2019. While competitors impose limitations on certain vehicle types and industries, Progressive covers a wider variety than anyone else, offering policies for trucks, buses, trailers, and even personal vehicles that are partially used for business purposes.

Commercial auto policies from Progressive offer unmatched convenience, including 24/7 customer phone service and coverage in all 50 states. You can also save up to 15% on your business insurance policy when you bundle commercial auto with another type of coverage, such as general liability or a BOP.

According to Progressive, the average monthly premium for a business auto customer is around $184 per month. However, certain industries will pay far more; for example, commercial truck insurance through Progressive costs between $795 and $931 per month on average, and the average tow truck policy comes to $464 per month.

There are a few limitations to Progressive’s commercial auto policies. Specific types of vehicles are excluded, including golf carts and emergency vehicles such as ambulances and fire trucks; trailer-only policies also are excluded. You may find that fewer customization options are available compared to other providers, and if you’re purchasing more than just auto insurance for your business, know that Progressive does outsource other types of commercial policies to third parties.

Best Liquor Liability: Insureon

Insureon

 Insureon

With liquor liability requirements that vary by state, Insureon is best equipped to help you find the right local provider for your restaurant, bar, retail store, or catering business. In our review, Insureon ranks first for liquor liability coverage.

Pros
  • Free online application compares quotes from multiple providers

  • Licensed in all 50 states

  • Get coverage within 24 hours

Cons
  • Doesn’t underwrite policies

  • Lengthy application asks in-depth questions about operations

  • Not suitable for medium and larger businesses

Because dram shop laws vary so widely by state, it’s difficult to find a single provider that offers widespread liquor liability coverage. Insureon is an online marketplace that makes it easy to find the best coverage in your state with a single form that returns quotes from multiple providers. Although Insureon doesn’t underwrite any of its own policies, the company is licensed to provide services in all 50 states and can often help you get coverage in less than 24 hours.

Insureon works with dozens of commercial insurance providers, allowing you to save time by filling out just one application to get multiple quotes for your business. While Insureon’s application is more complex than what you’ll find on some insurers’ websites, it’s still much more efficient than figuring out which companies offer liquor liability coverage in your area and asking for quotes one by one. Be prepared to answer in-depth questions regarding your business’ alcohol policies and the name of the training program your employees are required to complete.

Policy pricing for liquor liability will vary depending on your location, how long you’ve been in business, and what percentage of your overall revenue comes from alcohol sales. According to Insureon, the median cost of liquor liability insurance is about $172 per month for bars, $45 per month for restaurants, and $65 per month for catering companies.

Best for Self-Employed Businesses: Next Insurance

Next Insurance

 Next Insurance

Next Insurance policies are created specifically for sole proprietors and small businesses. With policies starting at just $20 per month, Next cuts costs drastically by removing coverage that isn’t necessary for self-employed businesses, which puts Next Insurance at the top of our list for the self-employed seeking business protection.

Pros
  • Priced as low as 30% below comparable coverage

  • Instant online quotes

  • Same-day coverage available

Cons
  • Limited coverage options

  • Not suitable for all industries

  • Only four years in business

Most commercial insurance policies are designed primarily for businesses with multiple employees and high annual revenues. Due to these algorithms, sole proprietors can end up paying sky-high prices for coverage they don’t need. Next Insurance is a relatively new player in the commercial insurance market that offers policies specifically intended for self-employed individuals who run their own businesses.

Next Insurance policies don’t include every type of commercial insurance, but they do provide the coverage that is most important to small businesses: general liability, professional liability, errors and omission insurance (E&O), and even workers’ compensation. With these limited policy options, you may find that Next isn’t the most suitable choice for all types of businesses, but coverage is widely available in all U.S. states. The provider gives instant online quotes, a rarity in business insurance, and can even begin coverage the same day.

According to Next, self-employed businesses can save up to 30% compared to traditional commercial insurance policies and receive discounts up to 10% when bundling multiple types of coverage. Next advertises that its general liability plans start at $25 per month, although we were quoted prices as low as $21 per month for certain professions.

Since Next Insurance is such a young company, it hasn’t yet been rated by agencies such as AM Best or J.D. Power. However, it has earned an A+ rating from the BBB.

What Is Commercial Business Insurance?

Commercial business insurance refers to a broad type of insurance policy designed to protect businesses from risk. Some of the most popular types of commercial insurance include general liability, commercial property, professional liability, and workers’ compensation. However, some businesses may require more specific coverage depending on their industry, size, and local laws. Commercial business insurance can be purchased piecemeal or in bundled policies; for example, business owner’s policies are a common type of coverage that combines general liability and commercial property insurance.

What Insurance Do I Need for a Small Business?

In many cases, small businesses are best suited by a business owner’s policy, or BOP, which covers the most common insurance needs for these types of companies. BOPs are commonly tailored for specific industries and can easily be combined with supplemental coverage when needed. For example, a standard BOP doesn’t include commercial auto or workers’ compensation coverage, both of which could be purchased separately by a small business that needed to insure its vehicles or employees, respectively.

Do I Need Business Insurance for an LLC?

It’s usually a good idea to carry at least a basic insurance policy for an LLC, even though this business structure protects your personal assets from liability. Deciding whether or not you need business insurance has more to do with the risk involved than the type of company. It doesn’t matter if you’re a sole proprietor or a corporation; any type of business can potentially be sued or suffer from financial loss in case of theft, damage, or other perils.

What Are the Expected Costs of Commercial Business Insurance?

The cost of commercial business insurance is based on the size of the company, location, industry, and amount of coverage needed. A sole proprietor or small business can pay as little as $20 per month for basic coverage, while a major corporation can expect to pay thousands of dollars or more in monthly premiums. Note that while we’ve provided all pricing by the month, some commercial insurance providers list annual premiums in their quotes.

How We Chose the Commercial Business Insurance Companies?

To choose the best business insurance providers, we reviewed a total of 29 companies that offer commercial insurance policies. For each type of coverage, we looked at the policy details, industries covered, exclusions, and price to assess overall value. We also evaluated customer experience by walking through the process of getting a quote and taking third-party customer satisfaction ratings into consideration, such as J.D. Power and the BBB.

Article Sources

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