General liability insurance is an essential investment for any business owner, as it shields your bottom line against claims of property damage or bodily injury.
To find the best business insurance for sole proprietors, MoneyGeek examined 1,229 quotes from various providers, analyzing each provider’s affordability, customer satisfaction, financial stability and online quote process.
MoneyGeek used a sole proprietorship with the following characteristics to gather general liability insurance quotes:
- Five years in business in the software development industry
- No employees and no payroll costs
- $500,000 in annual revenue
Find out which provider offers the best general liability insurance for sole proprietors and determine which one is best for your business.
Best General Liability Insurance for Sole Proprietors
Best Overall General Liability Insurance for Sole Proprietors
The overall best general liability insurance for sole proprietors is from biBERK. With a high customer satisfaction score and an average rate of $275 per year — or $23 per month — biBERK is an excellent choice, thanks to its balance of excellent customer service with affordable premiums.
MoneyGeek’s Pick: biBERK
A low average rate of complaints, which means customers are satisfied
A high financial strength rating from AM Best
Affordable rates compared to other providers
It may take some time to get a quote
Only offers general liability insurance in 27 states
Launched in 2015, biBERK is a small business insurance provider supported by the Berkshire Hathaway Insurance Group, earning it a high financial strength rating from AM Best. It’s also one of the most affordable providers in the U.S., charging an average of $23 per month.
Compared to other providers we analyzed, biBERK received a lower-than-average number of complaints. This indicates that, in general, policyholders are satisfied with their experience with the company.
Runner-Up Best General Liability Insurance for Sole Proprietors
Thimble is another strong pick for sole proprietors, scoring highly in affordability and quote time. A high quote time score means that if you request a quote, you’re likely to hear back quickly — which is ideal for business owners who don’t have a lot of time to shop around for insurance and compare quotes.
MoneyGeek’s Pick: Thimble
Scores high in affordability
High AM Best rating
Online quote requests are processed quickly compared to other providers
High rate of customer complaints
Customer support is only available online
Thimble is an online insurance provider dedicated to making business insurance for sole proprietors more accessible. Available in all 50 states, Thimble is an affordable option you can get regardless of where your business is based. A policy with Thimble costs an average of $287 a year.
However, while Thimble is affordable and accessible, it does not have a high customer satisfaction score compared to other providers on our list. Several factors may contribute to this, but one such factor could be that the company only provides one option to receive customer support: via an online form.
Cheapest General Liability Insurance for Sole Proprietors
The best business insurance for sole proprietors looking for affordability is Thimble. On average, general liability insurance policies with Thimble cost an average of $22 per month. However, keep in mind that this may change based on your coverage limits, location and more.
MoneyGeek’s Pick: Thimble
Affordable premiums at an average of $22 per month
Coverage is available on a per-job, monthly or yearly basis
Costs vary and may be higher depending on the industry
Low customer satisfaction rating
Thimble offers the cheapest general liability insurance for sole proprietors, with rates averaging $287 per year or $22 per month. Coverage is also customizable, and you can purchase a policy specific to a job or on a monthly or annual basis. However, note that your rate will vary based on your location and type of business.
Indeed, while Thimble is cheaper on average compared to other providers, these costs can differ greatly depending on your industry. For instance, general contractors will pay an average of $1,530 per year or $126 per month, while cleaning businesses will pay an average of $658 per year or $53 per month.
Best General Liability Insurance for Customer Satisfaction for Sole Proprietors
Based on complaint data from the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC), The Hartford offers the best customer satisfaction compared to other providers we analyzed due to its low average rate of complaints. For business owners who want a provider with reliable service, The Hartford is a solid option.
MoneyGeek’s Pick: The Hartford
A low average rate of complaints
Shorter quote time compared to other providers
High AM Best rating
Not as affordable compared to other providers
Calling an agent is sometimes required to get a quote
If you’re looking for great customer service, The Hartford is your best option. Having been around since 1810, the company has a strong reputation, which is reflected in its high customer satisfaction rating.
However, while The Hartford has great customer service, it may not be the most affordable. Additionally, despite its short quote time, you may still have to call to complete your request for a quote.
How Much Is General Liability Insurance for a Sole Proprietor?
It costs an average of $342 a year for a general liability policy with a $2 million aggregate limit, $1 million occurrence limit and $0 deductible. This can change depending on several factors. Factors that impact the cost of business insurance for sole proprietors include:
- Industry risks: The kind of industry your business is in can affect costs, as the associated risks will determine your likelihood of making a claim. The riskier the industry, the higher the insurance premiums may be.
- Location: The risks specific to where your business is located can result in more expensive premiums. For instance, if your area is more prone to wildfires or crime, you might need to pay more.
- Previous claims: If you’ve made a claim before, your insurance premiums may increase.
- Coverage: Higher or lower limits can impact your costs. The higher your liability limits, the more you can expect to pay.
It's important to note that if you’re a sole proprietor with no employees, payroll will not impact your insurance premiums. Business owners are not considered an employee in a sole proprietorship. However, if you do have employees, your general liability insurance premiums may be calculated differently.
What Does General Liability Insurance Cover for Sole Proprietors?
General liability insurance typically covers bodily injury and property damage claims made by third parties and reputational damage claims. In general, it covers the following types of claims:
- Bodily injury: If a customer, vendor or other third party is injured on your business property or due to your business' actions, your general liability policy will cover any medical expenses, lost wages and other damages.
- Property damage: If your business' products or services cause damage to someone else's property, your policy will cover the cost of repairing or replacing the damaged property.
- Advertising injury: General liability insurance can also cover allegations of harm related to your business' advertising activities. For instance, if a competitor accuses your business of using misleading advertising or making false claims about your products or services, your policy would cover the legal costs.
- Slander or copyright infringement: General liability insurance covers allegations of harm that are not physical in nature, such as libel, slander or copyright infringement. For example, if a competitor accuses you of stealing its intellectual property or making false statements about its business, your policy would pay for the cost of going to court.
What Isn’t Covered for Sole Proprietors?
While general liability insurance offers sole proprietors coverage for a variety of claims, there are some types of claims it may not cover. Understanding the limits will allow you to get coverage for other risks your business is exposed to.
Some situations that general liability insurance won’t cover include:
- Damage to business equipment or property: Damages to the equipment or property are not covered. However, business owners can purchase additional property insurance to provide this type of coverage.
- Accidents involving work vehicles: Business vehicles are not covered under general liability insurance. Instead, the business owner would need to purchase commercial auto insurance to get coverage.
- Work-related employee injuries or illnesses: General liability insurance does not cover injuries or illnesses that occur to the business owner or any employees while on the job — workers' compensation does.
- Professional oversight or errors: If you make an error on the job, you will need professional liability insurance.
Additional Business Insurance for Sole Proprietors
General liability insurance for sole proprietors provides basic coverage against common risks — but it may not protect you against all the risks your business may be exposed to.
Here are a few coverage options you could consider, depending on your industry:
- Workers' compensation insurance: This is legally required in most states and covers any work-related injuries or illnesses your employees face. For instance, medical bills, lost wages and rehabilitation costs can be covered by workers’ compensation. Requirements can vary by state.
- Commercial auto insurance: If your business owns or uses any vehicles, commercial auto insurance can provide coverage in the event of an accident, damage or injury.
- Professional liability insurance: This protects your business against claims of errors or mistakes in the services provided, paying for legal fees, settlements and judgments related to professional negligence.
- Commercial property insurance: This type of insurance pays for repairs or replacement of damaged property that the business uses from damage or loss due to fire, theft or other covered perils.
- Business income insurance: This type of coverage provides compensation for lost income if your business is unable to operate due to a covered event, such as a fire or natural disaster.
General Liability Insurance for Sole Proprietors FAQs
Finding the right general liability insurance provider involves careful research and analysis of your business needs. Get a deeper understanding of the best general liability insurance for sole proprietors through our frequently asked questions.
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