California business insurance is a critical part of building a small business and protecting your livelihood and employees — whether you’re working in a rural Central Valley town or a larger city in the Bay Area or LA.
With more than 4.2 million small businesses in California, it’s a great place to start or grow a company.1 The right business insurance can provide a financial safety net if you’re responsible for an accident or mistake.
For example, business insurance may help pay covered expenses related to:
NEXT is 100% dedicated to helping small businesses in California and across the United States. We provide tailored coverage for more than 1,300 types of businesses. It’s easy to get the right business insurance at the right price and purchase your policy online in less than 10 minutes.
Continue reading to learn about important types of business insurance in California. Or get a free instant quote to see customized coverage options for your business insurance needs.
Business insurance is typically purchased in customized packages based on the needs of each business.
Packages include different types of coverage, which insurance carriers call policies.
The exact types of coverage your business needs will depends on:
A typical business insurance package can include a combination of California general liability, professional liability (also known as E&O insurance), commercial auto insurance, commercial property insurance and other types of coverage.
California state law also requires businesses with employees to carry workers’ compensation insurance, which can help pay for medical bills and lost wages after a workplace injury.
California general liability coverage, known as commercial general liability or business liability insurance, is essential for most small businesses in California. It can help cover costs if someone other than an employee claims that your company’s actions caused them injury or property damage.
Having general liability can also help set you up for success. Many commercial landlords will require it before offering your business a lease, and clients may ask to see your certificate of liability insurance before they’ll hire you for a job.
General liability insurance can help in many everyday situations. For example, if a customer in your Sacramento retail store trips and falls, coverage can help pay for the client’s medical expenses and legal defense costs if they sue.
California requires businesses with employees to have workers’ compensation insurance.
Workers’ comp in California protects your business if an employee is injured on the job. It can help cover medical bills and some lost wages while the employee recovers.
For instance, if a Riverside restaurant worker requires medical care after a grease fire, workers’ comp insurance would help pay for their medical bills and some of their wages while they recover.
Personal car insurance might not cover accidents that happen while you or your employees are driving for work. That’s why California requires small businesses that own vehicles to have commercial auto insurance.
Here’s an example of how commercial auto can help: If a Los Angeles house painter causes an accident while driving the company van and sends other drivers to the hospital, coverage can help cover medical bills, vehicle damage and legal costs if the other drivers file lawsuits.
California commercial property insurance can help pay for the things you need to do business if they are damaged or destroyed. For example, it can provide financial help for a shattered pane glass window at your brick-and-mortar shop in Gardena or a business computer used at your home office in Hayward.
It’s important to read your insurance documents closely. Commercial property insurance often covers water, fire and wind damage but some policies have exclusions for flood-prone areas and other risks.
If you need help or have questions, we have licensed insurance agents who can assist.
Professional liability insurance, also known as errors and omissions insuarnce (E&O) coverage or omissions insurance, offers protection if a client claims you made a professional error that caused them a financial loss. It can help cover legal fees and pay for some damages.
For example, if a San Francisco real estate agent fails to disclose a property flaw, and the buyer later spends thousands of dollars to fix it, professional liability can help cover legal costs and pay for some damages.
The cost to insure your California-based small business will depend on your insurance requirements and business operations. Factors that affect what you’ll pay include: your risk profile, business income and number of people you employ.
For example, insurance for construction workers, who are at risk of injury and causing property damage, will be priced differently than for professional services workers like accountants. And, you’ll pay more for workers’ compensation if you have 10 employees versus two.
The best way to find out how much you’ll pay for business insurance is to get a free instant quote and explore your coverage options.
You can also use our insurance calculators for a general estimate of insurance costs in California:
We offer a fast and easy way for small business owners to get a business insurance quote online, purchase coverage and instantly share your certificate of insurance. The entire process usually takes less than 10 minutes.
You can also chat with our U.S.–based licensed insurance agents if you need help or have questions.
Take advantage of these resources to learn more about starting and growing a business in California:
Learn more about insurance options in the states where you work.