What Is Thimble?

Thimble offers liability insurance to small businesses, self-employed individuals, and freelancers on demand via their website and smartphone app, specializing in short term coverage for periods ranging from one month to one day to just one hour. Applicants can get quotes and approvals within 60 seconds, after filling out a brief questionnaire.

Thimble indicates that it has 30,000 customers, 75% of whom never had business insurance previously. The company has sold over 100,000 policies representing $125 billion in coverage since its launch as Verifly in 2016, and recently announced a partnership with Angie's List, an operating business of ANGI Homeservices Inc. (ANGI).

Verifly was created to sell liability insurance for the fast-growing market of drone operators. After Verify began offering general commercial liability insurance to more than 100 small business professions, it changed its name to Thimble in 2019. Aviation liability insurance sold by Thimble is underwritten by Global Aerospace Inc., while all other commercial liability policies that it sells are underwritten by Markel Corp. (MKL).

In 2019, Thimble raised $22 million in a funding round led by IAC/InterActiveCorp (IAC). IAC is the parent company of the Dotdash family of websites, which includes Investopedia.

KEY TAKEAWAYS: HOW THIMBLE MAKES MONEY

  • Thimble began operations in 2016 as Verifly, offering drone insurance.
  • The Thimble name was adopted in 2019, after it began offering general and professional liability insurance to a broader base of customers.
  • Thimble offers low-cost policies for periods as short as one hour.
  • Self-employed individuals and freelancers are a target market.
  • Thimble is a seller of drone policies underwritten by Global Aerospace Inc. and other liability policies underwritten by Markel Corp.

How Thimble Works

To get a quote, the applicant fills out a simple questionnaire online, indicating their profession, job, or primary work activity, business zip code, the times and dates between which coverage is desired, the types of coverage desired, and the liability limits desired. A rate quote and certificate of insurance are offered immediately, for acceptance by the applicant.

For most professions, the standard policy offers both general liability and professional liability coverage. General liability insurance covers claims for property damage or bodily injury caused to a third party, while professional liability insurance covers claims for errors and omissions in the work of the covered party. The applicant can decline professional liability coverage, in return for a significant reduction in the premium. The standard policy has a coverage limit of $1 million which applies both in the aggregate and per occurrence, though the applicant can elect a higher limit of $2 million, which will increase the premium.

Drone flights, both commercial and recreational, can be insured through the Verifly app, available through the Apple Store and Google Play. Policies are good for one, four, or eight hours, are valid in any area where drone flights are legal, and can provide up to $10 million of coverage.

Future Coverage Options

Thimble currently has plans underway to offer business equipment protection and event insurance. Business equipment protection, also called inland marine insurance, covers equipment that the insured party owns, rents, borrows, or holds on behalf of a third party. Event insurance covers claims for bodily injury or property damage arising from a special event in which the insured participates as a vendor, exhibitor, or party host.

Professions and Activities Covered

Thimble currently covers over 120 different professions, within the broad categories of handymen & contractors, landscapers, event organizers, entertainment professionals, photographers & videographers, hair & beauty professionals, fitness professionals & personal trainers, cleaners & janitors, consultants & freelancers, and pet sitters. The company also has an extensive list of over 70 occupations within these categories that are ineligible for coverage.

A particularly noteworthy excluded activity is this, in light of the recent repeal of laws prohibiting the possession or use of cannabis in various states, or the relaxation of the enforcement thereof: "Importing, manufacturing, growing, distributing, storing, selling, using, or ingesting marijuana or any other product of the plant Cannabis Sativa L. (whether or not it is the main ingredient or used in combination with other ingredients)." This exclusion is repeated several times.

Pros and Cons

Thimble's flexible coverage periods and options, along with a fast application process, the ability to pause coverage, and high-quality mobile apps, as well as affordable pricing, may make it attractive to self-employed individuals, contractors, handymen, landscapers, seasonal business owners, and freelancers.

On the other hand, Thimble does not offer business interruption insurance or commercial property insurance, and customer service is entirely through its website, with no options to call or chat. Filing and following up on a claim on a general commercial liability policy requires calling or e-mailing Markel. Claims on drone policies are handled via a call or e-mail to Thimble.

General liability insurance is available from Thimble in 48 states and the District of Columbia. It is not yet available in the states of New York and Washington. Professional liability insurance is not yet available in the states of New York, Washington, North Dakota, Wyoming, Colorado, Texas, Louisiana, Missouri, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Delaware, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, and Vermont.