Independent contractor insurance helps protect against unexpected expenses, lawsuits, or business interruptions in your contracting business. Without insurance, these losses could cost tens of thousands of dollars, as indicated by some of the claim averages reported by Insurance Journal: reputational harm ($50,000), product liability ($35,000), water and freezing ($17,000), or theft or loss of property ($8,000).
Additionally, when opted for, independent contractor insurance supplies coverage for business interruption or lost income due to various circumstances. Homeowners insurance does not cover business liability and often has limitations on business property. Independent contractor insurance provides a financial safety net for you if something goes wrong. We reviewed over a dozen companies offering independent contractor insurance to help you find the best options to protect your business.
The 6 Best Independent Contractor Insurance Companies of 2020
Best Overall: The Hartford
Quick online quotes available
4.8 out of 5 stars for claims experience in over 12,000 customer reviews
Full range of small business insurance coverages
Coverage not available in New Jersey, Hawaii, or Alaska
Unable to purchase a policy online—must speak to an agent
The Hartford is headquartered in Connecticut and has over 200 years of experience in insurance. In the 1980s, they were one of the first insurance companies to offer a small business insurance center. Currently, they insure over one million small business owners. With an AM Best financial strength rating of A+ (Superior) and top customer satisfaction ratings over several of their insurance lines, The Hartford has a long-standing reputation of being a solid insurer in the United States. They offer insurance in most states, excluding New Jersey, Hawaii, and Alaska.
The Hartford can provide independent contractor insurance and business policy owner coverage to many types of independent professionals. Some examples include:
- Plumbers, carpenters, electricians, painters, and repair contractors
- House cleaners
- Freelance writers and editors
- Graphic designers
- Salon professionals
- Horse or dog trainers
They offer a full range of business insurance including general insurance, commercial auto, workers' compensation, errors and omissions, business income, commercial property, commercial flood, employment practices liability, and commercial umbrella insurance. They can also provide data breach insurance and can help you with strategies to prevent cyber risk.
The Hartford offers convenient online quotes and states that the average cost of small business insurance will be around $500 a year for general liability coverage. The cost will depend on individual criteria such as the state you live in, your annual revenue, your product or services, where you conduct business, and the choice of coverages you select.
Optional coverages include tenant legal liability, water damage legal liability, hired auto, and non-owned auto. We ran a quote for an independent contractor with minimal business property and $1 million/$2 million liability limit. The premium was $45 a month at a $500 deductible.
Coverage options for liability are $500,000/$1 million (each occurrence/aggregate), $1 million/$2 million or $2 million/$4 million. Coverage for water damage, data breach, or automobile coverage is not included in the base general liability policy. These, among other coverages, all need to be added to a policy if coverage is desired.
Why We Chose It: The Hartford gets our top pick for best overall independent contractors insurance due to the range of professions they cover, ease of online quoting, comprehensive coverage options, and their long history as small business insurance experts.
Best for New Businesses: Hiscox
Tailor-made industry packages for construction professionals
Short-term liability policies available
Online quotes and instant coverage
No online claims management
Professional liability not available in Alaska
Hiscox is a specialist business insurer with worldwide operations, serving customers since 1901. They have an AM Best rating of A (Excellent) and have insurance available in all 50 states.
Hiscox offers several resources to small business owners on their website, including spotlights on insured small business owners, podcasts, and an entrepreneur community newsletter. They provide all types of business insurance for independent contractors, which you can get by calling one of their agents. Same-day coverage may be available, which is very convenient.
Hiscox can insure over 180 different professions, including architects, beauty, contractors, IT specialists, landscapers, fitness, therapy, health home-services, and more. They offer business owner’s policies, general liability, professional liability, cybersecurity, short-term liability, workers' compensation, umbrella, directors and officers, business property, and employment practices liability. They also sell tailor-made coverage options like business interruption, depending on your business needs.
Hiscox will provide customized quotes online, and, as a baseline, they estimate that most small businesses can expect to pay $30 a month or less for general liability, but costs vary by location and business needs. We ran a quote for professional liability ($37 a month) and a business owner policy ($41 a month) and obtained a total premium of $78 a month with $1 million in liability coverage and a $500 deductible.
As business insurance specialists, Hiscox knows the aspects of various industries and creates custom packages for different businesses. For example, they offer package policies for construction general contractors that provide professional liability, contractors pollution, protective indemnity, and rectification as core coverages. This package offers optional crime, cyber risk, general liability, and technology coverage. For IT professionals, the custom package includes software copyright and infringement coverage as part of the standard policy—not something a construction contractor is likely to need, but essential for IT professionals.
Hiscox offers professional liability policies with aggregate limits of $250,000, $500,000, $1 million, and $2 million. Their general liability coverage in the business owner's package starts at $300,000 and goes up to $2 million. They also offer deductible options starting at $500 and up to $10,000. Optional coverage is available, such as terrorism coverage, crime, electronic data loss, and more.
The general liability policy excludes coverage for professional services. The business owner's policy excludes damages if you provide inaccurate information to clients. The professional liability package excludes coverage for fraudulent acts, false advertising, and bodily injury.
Why We Chose It: Hiscox is our best for new businesses because they offer quality coverage tailored by industry for the most reasonable prices available. This is perfect for those just starting out and building a business with limited budgets.
Best for Fast Liability Coverage: Next Insurance
100% online with instant policy issuance
Ability to add additional insureds
4.7 out of 5 stars as rated by customers on their website
Products not available in all states
No business owner's policy
No property insurance
No workers’ compensation
Coverage availability may vary by state
Next Insurance is a relatively new insurance company that started as an agency and converted to an insurer in 2018. It is backed by Munich R.E., which has an A+ (Superior) rating from AM Best. Next aims to provide easy-to-understand, affordable insurance coverage to small businesses online. They are available in 50 states and insure 100,000 business owners, serving over 1,000 types of businesses. Policies are issued 100% online, which means you can get a quote and policy issued—as well as manage and print certificates of insurance—immediately.
The types of policies that Next Insurance offers include general liability, professional liability, and commercial auto. They do not yet provide workers’ compensation insurance or property insurance.
Next has a lot of information for small business owners on their website, including the average expected costs of policies by industry. For example, we found the following rates:
- Roofers: $2,158 per year
- Plumbing: $1,143 per year
- General contractors: $1,118 per year
- Handyman: $682 per year
- Painting: $519 per year
Next offers three types of coverage: Basic, Pro, and Pro-Plus. Basic includes $1 million per incident and $2 million in aggregate general liability, with no professional liability. Pro includes $1 million with $1 million in aggregate coverage for general liability and the same for professional liability. The Pro-Plus includes $1 million with $2 million for general liability and also for professional liability. All plans have a zero deductible.
The policy requires you to make sure that any subcontractors you work with have their own insurance with liability limits equal to or greater than your own. A copy of a subcontractor's license may be required during a claim otherwise it will be denied. There is no coverage for damage to tools, equipment, or personal property.
Why We Chose It: Next Insurance is our top pick for best independent contractor insurance for fast liability coverage because they insure many different professions, they make the process easy, and you can obtain a quote and a policy in just a few minutes.
Best for Professional Services: Travelers
Insures a wide range of professionals
Coverage for accounts receivables and billable hours
Owners and Contractors Protective (OCP) liability available
You have to contact an agent to get a quote
Travelers has been around more than 160 years. They offer several small business insurance packages for all types of professionals and are available nationwide. Some of the types of businesses they insure include financial services, health and wellness professionals, personal care services, pet care services, and technology services. Travelers has an AM Best financial strength rating of A++ (Superior).
Travelers offers business owner's policies (BOP), commercial general liability, commercial property, cyber liability, professional liability, business income, and extra expense coverage, as well as owner's and contractor's protective (OCP) liability for up to $10 million in coverage. OCP is a specialty option that can be issued as a short-term policy to protect the hiring contractor from being held responsible for damages caused by a subcontractor. If you have employees, they also offer workers’ compensation coverage.
Travelers give you the option to upgrade from basic coverages and add specialty endorsements with higher limits than the underlying policy. Some examples include cyber coverage, data and media coverage, and a Professional Services Premier package, which covers accounts receivable and valuable papers for $350,000 and provides business income protection for $10,000.
Travelers did not indicate baseline pricing for their independent contractor insurance. Depending on the industry, you can request a quote online and customize it with the coverage options you need to get the best price quote.
A typical business owner's policy with Travelers will cover general liability, business property, and business interruption. Limits will vary depending on your coverage needs.
Why We Chose It: Travelers is well equipped to insure a full range of professionals from pet services to lawyers, which are not always covered by other insurers we researched. The Professional Services Premier package is specifically designed to help service providers get the most protection for the best price.
Best for Risk Industries: Nationwide
Construction and health industry coverage
Equipment breakdown is included in BOP
Free resources and tools to help grow your business
Must speak to an agent to finalize a quote
Coverage specifics are not available online
Nationwide was founded in 1926 and is headquartered in Columbus, Ohio. Nationwide won top rank for customer satisfaction in the 2019 J.D. Power Small Business Commercial Insurance Study, and they have a strong financial stability rating by AM Best of A+ (Superior). Their insurance products are available across the country.
Nationwide sells general liability, umbrella, employment practices liability, crime insurance, cyber liability, errors and omissions (professional liability), builder's risk, accounts receivable, business owner's, business property, business income, worker's compensation, and equipment breakdown insurance. They also sell inland marine (insurance that protects property and inventory in transit), fine artwork, computer equipment, and data coverage.
Nationwide's business owner’s policy includes commercial property, general liability, business income, as well as additional coverages like equipment breakdown, all in one package. They have pre-packaged policies depending on the industry. Some of them include:
- Retail store and services
- Professionals (attorneys, accounting, consulting, interior design, medical clinics, veterinarians, photographers)
- Consulting businesses
- Contractors (plumbing, heating, AC, electrical, and excavation businesses)
- Auto service and repair
- Wholesalers and distributors
- Food and beverage
Pricing for Nationwide coverage will vary based on your business; they require you to speak to an agent to obtain a quote.
Why We Chose It: We chose Nationwide as the best insurer for risk industries because they understand the needs of these businesses and develop customized packages in several areas, including construction and health, which tend to have a higher incidence of claims.
Best for In-Home Daycare: Markel
Covers difficult-to-insure in-home daycares
Can provide background check services
Free add-ons of additional insureds if needed
Abuse and molestation coverage
Does not provide insurance for business-use cars
Limited information available online
Limitations if you own certain dog breeds
Markel Specialty Insurance has been in business for over 70 years, with an AM Best financial strength rating of A (Excellent). They offer insurance nationwide and have a program specific to home daycares that accommodate up to 18 children. Markel also has a program for educational services, which could include tutoring, music teachers, fine arts, drama, dance, cooking classes, computer training, and more.
Coverage options include liability protection, protection against abuse and molestation claims, legal defense, bodily injury and property damage, and general liability-only coverage. You can also add additional insureds for free, such as a landlord. Markel offers coverage for student's accident medical costs and coverage for volunteers. They can also provide umbrella liability insurance, and other coverages in some programs such as crime and fidelity, corporal punishment, and child abduction claims.
A typical policy may cover up to $1 million per occurrence with $3 million aggregate in general liability. The business property coverage limits and business interruption limits will be based on your actual needs.
Due to their specialization in this field, there are no approximate cost estimates. They will customize the policy options based on the number of children you look after, as well as other criteria specific to your operations. They market their program as an affordable coverage and have several reviews on their site from agents and clients reflecting their fair and competitive costs.
Markel does not offer automobile liability for its in-home child care insurance. Additionally, if you are running a business from home, you will not be able to get renters insurance through Markel.
Why We Chose It: Markel is our top choice for best insurance provider for in-home daycare and education because of their specialized programs. They offer several coverages specific to this line of business, such as child medical expenses.
What Is Independent Contractor Insurance?
Independent contractor insurance can be defined as any type of insurance that provides protection for the general liability, business operations, or business property of an independent contractor. Additional coverages can be bundled into a business owner policy as needed by the contractors' profession and individual business needs.
Insurance policies usually start with general liability as the base, then coverage for additional liability risks, business property, income, and business operations can be added. Having insurance not only protects you from business losses but it also helps independent contractors meet professional standards by companies that may require a certificate of insurance before they hire you.
What Does Independent Contractor Insurance Typically Include?
Independent contractor insurance typically includes coverage for general liability, which covers you for damages you are required to pay as a result of bodily injury, property damage, or personal and advertising injury. Personal and advertising injury includes damages arising out of libel, slander, or infringing the privacy or copyrights of others in your ads. Medical expenses coverage protects you from claims when a third party is injured on your premises (regardless of fault).
The most cost-effective policy for most business owners is a business owner’s policy (BOP). The BOP is a packaged policy that combines property and liability coverage in one plan. Depending on the insurance company, more coverages may also be included, such as business interruption or inland marine coverage.
What Does Independent Contractor Insurance Typically Exclude?
Independent contractor insurance can have many exclusions since the base coverage is only general liability. For example, injuries to employees, liability for serving liquor, auto liability, and professional liability are all excluded from general liability insurance.
There is no coverage for personal property in a general liability policy. Business property insurance can be purchased but coverage for property in transit or off-premises is often excluded. Coverage for product recalls, samples, and inventory are not automatically included in an independent contractor's policy. As a rule of thumb, build a package policy based on your individual needs or add coverages by endorsement.
What Are the Expected Costs of Independent Contractor Insurance?
Based on our research, we found policy costs as low as $25 a month (for general liability only). It is possible to pay over $100 a month depending on the type of liability you may incur, whether you include business property coverage, and if you are in a higher-risk industry, such as construction or the medical field. The cost of small business insurance takes into consideration:
- If you have employees or not
- If you have products or samples
- The replacement cost value of your business property
- How long you have been in business
- Coverage options you select, including limits and deductibles
- Where you run your business from
- The condition of the building you work in
As your coverage limits go up, so will the premiums. Prices also vary based on state, business revenues, business property, industry, and claims history.
How We Chose Independent Contractor Insurance Companies
We looked at over a dozen independent contractor insurance companies across various industries, researched online reviews, financial strength ratings, and policy coverage offerings as part of our research. We then selected the top independent contractor insurance companies based on those offering comprehensive and value-added coverage to best help you protect your business no matter what your needs.
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AM Best. "Hiscox Insurance Company Inc." Accessed June 2, 2020.
Insurance Innovation Reporter. "Next Insurance Becomes a Licensed Insurance Carrier." Accessed June 2, 2020.
AM Best. "State National Insurance Company, Inc." Accessed June 2, 2020.
AM Best. "A.M. Best Affirms Credit Ratings of The Travelers Companies, Inc. and Its Main Subsidiaries." Accessed June 2, 2020.
J.D. Power. “2019 J.D. Power Small Business Commercial Insurance Study.” Accessed October 22, 2020.
Businesswire. "AM Best Revises Outlooks to Stable for Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company and Its Property/Casualty Subsidiaries; Affirms Credit Ratings for Affiliates." Accessed June 2, 2020.
AM Best Rating Services. “Markel Insurance Company.” Accessed October 22, 2020.
Insurance Information Institute. "Insuring Your Business: Small Business Owners' Guide to Insurance." Accessed June 2, 2020.
Nolo. "Require Documentation When You Hire Independent Contractors." Accessed June 2, 2020.