Commercial business insurance protects businesses of all sizes from a variety of risks. Businesses may choose from many types of commercial business insurance, including liability, property or vehicle coverage, and workers’ compensation. Business continuity insurance or business income insurance can help your company operate even after a natural disaster or a cyberattack that could otherwise threaten its solvency.
Some states, including New York, New Jersey, and Massachusetts, also require you to provide short-term disability coverage and paid family leave for employees.
In addition to the various types of insurance, certain businesses may need specialty coverage. Manufacturers, wholesalers, distributors, importers, and construction contractors may need a higher level of coverage than other businesses to protect against liability lawsuits due to the high risk surrounding their work.
To choose the best overall commercial business insurance, we evaluated more than 30 top providers based on breadth and depth of offerings, financial reputation, customer service and third-party reviews, and the time in business. Here are our top picks.
The 5 Best Commercial Business Insurance of 2020
The Hartford: Best Overall
Chosen as our best overall commercial business insurance, The Hartford has a long-standing reputation as a top insurance carrier, with A+ ratings from AM Best and Standard & Poor’s and an A1 rating from Moody’s. These excellent ratings exemplify its financial stability. The Hartford has been around since 1810, when it first launched as a fire insurance company.
Today, The Hartford’s property and casualty offerings are among the highest-rated from a number of online review sources, and this includes its business insurance. In 1983, the carrier introduced its small business service center, showcasing its devotion to small-to-midsize businesses.
The Hartford’s business coverage includes:
- Workers’ Compensation
- Commercial Property Insurance
- General Liability
- Business Income Insurance
- Business Auto Insurance
- Errors & Omissions (E&O)
- Cyber Insurance (to cover data breaches)
The company also writes statutory benefits, like paid family leave, in states where it is mandated.
The Hartford makes it easy to get a quote online in about three minutes, but you will need to provide some information about your business, including the number of employees, annual revenue, and tax filing status.
When we used The Hartford’s online tool to get a sample quote, a basic business liability policy with a $500,000 limit per claim, $1 million aggregate limit, plus professional liability or E&O coverage came out to $789 per year for a single-owner operation in a low-risk industry with a home office. It is relatively affordable to add additional coverage, including hired and non-owned auto coverage ($119 per year) or a waiver of subrogation ($49 per year).
The Hartford’s customer reviews are second-to-none, with a 4.8-star (out of 5) claims rating from policyholders. The carrier has ranked among the “World’s Most Ethical Companies” by Ethisphere 12 times.
The company’s excellent ratings, business longevity, lightning-fast online quote process, and extensive insurance lines place it at the top of our list of best commercial business insurance companies.
State Farm: Runner-Up, Best Overall
Not far behind The Hartford sits State Farm insurance agency, which has been meeting the insurance needs of business owners since 1922. State Farm ranks at number 36 on the Fortune 500 list of biggest companies and carries an AM Best rating of A++, the highest rating available. This means you can count on State Farm to carry through and pay claims, even in difficult times. This helps make State Farm the runner-up in our review.
State Farm offers a wide range of coverage options, including:
- Business & Commercial Auto
- General Liability
- Commercial Liability Umbrella Coverage
- Workers’ Compensation
- Small Business Life
State Farm specializes in insurance policies for small businesses; State Farm agents are business owners themselves, so they understand the unique challenges small business owners face. The State Farm website makes it easy to choose a Business Owners Policy (BOP) made for your industry.
ConsumersAdvocate.org gives State Farm business insurance a 4.6-star rating, but there are still drawbacks. For instance, users can’t get quotes online, but need to speak with an agent to confirm pricing. However, agents are available by phone 24/7 to provide guidance and answer questions.
The company’s wide range of policy options, exemplary service, and availability nationwide makes it runner-up on our list of best business insurance companies.
Chubb: Best for White Collar Businesses
Founded in 1882, Chubb is best-known as a provider of insurance for high-end luxury homes and high-net-worth individuals. It also provides some of the best business insurance for white collar businesses, including tech firms, financial firms, lawyers, and healthcare providers.
Chubb claims that its target industries create 63% of the U.S. Gross Domestic Product (GDP). The company is rated number-one for commercial claims handling. Chubb also maintains an AM Best rating of A++, the highest possible ranking, and a financial strength rating of AA from Standard & Poor’s, demonstrating excellent financial stability.
Chubb has an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau but is not accredited at this time. ConsumersAdvocate.org gives Chubb a 4.6-star rating for its business insurance offerings. You have to contact an agent to get a quote, which falls in line with the company’s white-glove, personalized service.
Though Chubb was a strong contender for any position in our review of top business insurance companies, its prevalence in industries like healthcare, aerospace, and technology, along with its excellent customer service reputation, makes it best for white-collar businesses.
CNA: Best for High-Risk Industries
CNA provides commercial business insurance to more than one million companies and professionals. Since 1897, the company has helped business owners mitigate risk in industries such as construction, manufacturing, and education. The company’s offerings include general liability, property coverage, professional and management liability, and specialized offerings based on specific industry needs. It offers coverage in a choice of commercial packages or all-inclusive Business Owner Policies. It also writes workers’ comp insurance.
CNA focuses on mitigating risks business owners face to reduce claims and keep your business running. CNA’s School of Risk Control Excellence (SORCE) and other online resources offer business owners a complete library of tools to mitigate the risks they might face in their industry. This makes CNA best for high-risk industries in our review of the best commercial business insurance.
The company has an AM Best rating of A, a Standard & Poor’s rating of A+, and is rated A2 by Moody’s, all indicating its financial stability. CNA is accredited with the Better Business Bureau since 2017 and has an A+ rating with only 12 customer complaints.
CNA provides vast resources to help business owners in every industry, with an emphasis on construction, manufacturing, and other high-risk industries, and has excellent financial stability and BBB ratings, making the company our pick for insuring high-risk businesses.
Hiscox: Best for Business With Few Employees
Sole proprietors, independent contractors, and other small- and micro-business owners should also invest in general liability business insurance. Depending on whether the business is a primary means of income or just a side gig, they may also want to consider a Business Owners Policy for additional coverage, including business income insurance. Founded in 1901, Hiscox is one insurance company that can help micro-businesses meet their unique needs. And, the company boasts an AM Best rating of A (excellent), showing its financial stability and longevity. This company's small-business focus makes it our top pick for businesses with few employees.
Hiscox is a renowned name in business insurance, offering:
- General Liability
- Professional Liability
- Short-Term Liability
- Cyber Security Insurance
- Workers’ Compensation
- Umbrella Policies
- Auto Policies
- Directors and Officers
You can buy coverage individually, as part of a business package, or in a Business Owners Policy.
ConsumersAdvocate.org gives it a 4.8-star rating for customer service and its wide range of insurance products.
It took about 10 minutes to get a quote online through Hiscox, because the application process was extensive. However, you did not have to share your Tax ID number or Social Security number.
Hiscox quoted $41.68 per month for professional liability coverage for a corporation with one employee working in the field of digital marketing. A comprehensive BOP with a claim limit of $1 million and an aggregate claim limit of $2 million added another $41.91 per month to the policy. This quote included an electronic data loss package, but excluded crime package liability coverage and terrorism coverage (which would have added $5 annually to the policy).
Hiscox makes it easy for small business owners to get a quote online and to understand exactly what they are getting in their coverage package. That, combined with affordable rates and flexible choices in coverage, along with the company’s exemplary customer service, longevity, and stability, puts them as our choice for number one for small business owners or businesses with few employees.
What Is Commercial Business Insurance?
Commercial business insurance is coverage that helps protect businesses against liabilities or damages that occur in their normal course of operations. This type of insurance can protect against everything from injuries that occur as a result of accidents, to patrons who get hurt on a business’s property, to employees who get hurt and can’t work as the result of a workplace accident.
According to David W. Clausen, owner of Coastal Insurance Agency in Rocky Point, New York, “commercial business insurance is there to manage risk for a business. The loss of business property, use of your location, or future income can halt a business operation.”
Clausen explains that commercial business insurance is often purchased in one of two ways: either as individual coverage or as a complete Business Owners Policy (BOP).
A BOP is a set of coverages that are packaged to meet the specific needs of a business in a particular industry. For businesses that have standard needs, these products can be a great option. But, if you have special needs, then opting for individual coverages (sometimes purchased as add-ons) may make more sense.
Commercial Business vs. General Liability Insurance
General liability insurance is just one type of coverage within a commercial business policy. A commercial Business Owners Policy (BOP), on the other hand, usually includes a number of different coverages, including for general liability and commercial property, as well as professional liability. For businesses that offer professional advice, general liability insurance doesn’t always cover all of their activities, and they may need to add professional liability, sometimes called Errors & Omissions (E&O) insurance.
What Does Commercial Business Insurance Typically Include?
Like homeowners insurance, commercial business policies typically have two main components: property and liability coverage. Property coverage can help keep your business running in the event of a covered physical loss, such as a fire in your building.
“If your business can’t operate, and there’s a covered, direct physical loss at your location, the property portion of your policy can provide reimbursement for damage to your building, business property, and even loss of business income. Insurance should make you ‘whole,’ if the policy is crafted properly,” Clausen says.
On the other hand, general liability provides coverage to defend your company in the face of a lawsuit and also may cover bodily injury if someone who is not an employee is injured on your property or job site. Workers’ compensation, another form of business insurance, is usually underwritten separately and covers employees injured on the job.
What Does Commercial Business Insurance Typically Exclude?
While commercial insurance is usually designed to protect businesses against a multitude of risks, there are some things that aren’t usually included. Some typical exclusions are:
- Intentional acts (such as arson)
- Nuclear events
- Aircraft Liability
- Pollution Liability
- Directors & Officers (D&O)
- Viruses and bacteria
While exemptions may also exist for acts of God or terrorism, these perils can sometimes be guarded against with additional coverage options.
What Are the Costs of Commercial Business Insurance?
Costs vary by state and also based on other factors, including your industry, company size, length of time in business, and number of employees. The condition of any property you’re insuring may also impact costs, as will your previous claims history.
In addition, your premium rates may vary based on what types of coverage you need. Hiscox quotes rates starting at $22.95 per month for small business owners, while SimplyBusiness.com, an online esurance broker, quotes rates starting at $25.85 per month from a number of carriers (including Hiscox).
Who Needs Commercial Business Insurance?
Some businesses, including construction companies and others in high-risk industries, must carry insurance to perform their jobs. “A city contractor’s insurance coverage could cost up to 30% to 40% of the cost of one job,” Clausen says.
But other businesses have a choice when it comes to investing in insurance. “It’s like asking if you need a savings account. You don’t need one until an emergency expense pops up,” Clausen says. “You don’t need commercial business insurance until something happens.”
Contractors and other professionals who work with the public may be required to carry insurance to give customers peace-of-mind about hiring them. If someone is going to be working on your property, you’ll want to know they are covered in the event of injury or property damage.
Clausen agrees that most types of businesses may want to consider commercial business insurance. “Anyone who is involved in exchanging goods and services can be exposed to many forms of liability. For instance, a marketing professional could be liable for tort, personal, and advertising injury. Acquiring general liability insurance can protect you.”
How We Chose the Best Commercial Business Insurance
To identify the best commercial business insurance providers, we reviewed more than 30 business insurance providers. We evaluated companies based on types of policies offered, standard endorsements, financial stability, third-party evaluations, and customer service ratings. Quality of customer service and claims processing factored heavily in our choices, as well. We also looked at the industries served by providers and whether each company boasted any particular specialty or other standout feature or service. Companies that made it easy to get an online quote were also favored in our review.
The D.B.L. Center. "New York Paid Family Leave Resource Center." Accessed August 20, 2020.
The Hartford. "General Liability Insurance." Accessed August 20, 2020.
ConsumersAdvocate.org. "State Farm Business Insurance Review." Accessed August 20, 2020.
ConsumersAdvocate.org. "Chubb Business Insurance Review." Accessed August 20, 2020.
ConsumersAdvocate.org. "Hiscox Business Insurance Review." Accessed August 20, 2020.