How to get business insurance

Take these four steps to get the right coverage for your business.

Matt Crawford
By Matt Crawford
Published Oct 16, 2023
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If you’re wondering how to get business insurance, you’re not alone. The right small business insurance can provide essential coverage that keeps you financially stable when the unexpected happens. Insuring a business is an important step to make sure that the time and money you invest is protected.

Whether you’re a new employer or you’ve been in business for years, you should reevaluate your coverage to make sure you have the most accurate, up-to-date protection you need. Insuring a business doesn’t have to be complicated.

Read on to learn:

How do I get insurance for my business?

Use this step-by-step guide to figure out which policies you need and how to find the right insurer:

1. Evaluate your business risks

Different businesses face different types of risks.

For example, a general contractor might have much more exposure to accidents and injuries than a financial advisor who works behind a desk all day.

However, accidents can still happen in an office environment, and there are other risks to consider besides bodily injury or property damage.

For example, a financial advisor could make an investment mistake that causes their client to lose thousands of dollars.

Consider the following possible risks when determining what type of business insurance coverage you need:

Potential lawsuits. Certain types of business insurance can help protect you from financial losses if someone sues you after an injury, property damage or a financial loss. Think about which risks are most likely to happen at your business.

Your business operations. If there’s a higher level of risk in your industry, you may need more coverage to protect your business. Businesses with multiple locations, work vehicles and/or many employees may also need more coverage.

The types of work your employees do. Your insurance coverage needs to be tailored to the risk involved in your employees’ work — especially if there’s a greater chance of physical injury — and the number of employees at your business.

2. Shop around

Once you’ve assessed the risks your business might be exposed to, it’s time to shop around.

One of the best ways to do this is to get business insurance quotes online from different insurers. It helps to have a general idea of what you would pay for business insurance depending on which insurance company you choose.

You can also look for special offers that may make your insurance costs (also known as premiums in the industry) more manageable. For example, you may be able to get a discount if you bundle multiple policies in one insurance package.

Keep in mind that cost isn’t the only factor to consider when deciding where to get business insurance. Comparing rates is a good starting point, but you should also look at the policy limits and coverage details to make sure you’re getting the protection you need.

3. Choose a reputable insurance provider

Another key tip for how to shop for business insurance is to make sure the provider you choose is legitimate and trustworthy.

If you have to file a claim, you want to feel confident that your insurer will help you quickly resolve it.

When figuring out how to choose business insurance from a number of potential providers, consider these key questions:

  • What’s their specialty? Work with an insurer that specializes in small businesses so they can recommend the right policies for your needs.
  • What do the reviews say? Research the company to evaluate its reputation, and look up reviews to see what its customers are saying.
  • What is the customer experience like? The process for how to apply for business insurance should be easy and intuitive with options for customer support if you have questions.
  • Is it easy to get a certificate of insurance? Clients and licensing boards may request a certificate of insurance (COI) as proof of coverage. Find out whether it’s easy to obtain COIs on demand and whether you’ll be charged for each one.

4. Reevaluate your coverage needs every year

It’s important to set a reminder to reevaluate your coverage needs about once per year.

Your insurance needs could change if you:

  • Add new products or services
  • Change your operations significantly
  • Hire an employee
  • Open or move to a new location
  • Significantly increase/decrease revenue

Your business won’t remain stagnant, and your insurance policies shouldn’t either. You need to make sure you have sufficient coverage as things change over time.

Know the 5 types of business insurance

You might be wondering, what types of coverage do I need to insure my business? The answer varies depending on how your company operates, but the following insurance policies are often recommended for many small businesses.

1. General Liability insurance

General liability insurance can cover a wide range of common risks that most businesses face.

It helps pay for costs related to certain types of accidents involving a third party, such as damage to someone else’s property or an injury to someone other than an employee.

Depending on your industry, clients may request proof of liability coverage before they agree to work with you.

2. Professional Liability insurance

Professional liability insurance (also known as errors and omissions insurance) helps protect your business if a client accuses you of being negligent or making a professional mistake that causes them to lose money. Whether their claim is true or not, this insurance can help pay for legal defense costs and legal judgments.

Many businesses in the professional services industry include this in their business insurance packages.

3. Workers’ Compensation insurance

Workers’ compensation insurance can provide important protections for your business if a workplace injury occurs.

It can help pay for medical expenses, lost wages and other benefits if an employee gets hurt on the job. Many states require employers to carry this type of insurance.

4. Commercial Property insurance

Commercial property insurance can help pay for costs related to damage or vandalism to business property, including the goods, gear, equipment and structures you need to do business. Your landlord may require you to carry this insurance if you rent commercial space.

Note: You can combine general liability coverage with commercial property insurance for a business owner’s policy (also known as BOP).

5. Commercial Auto insurance

Commercial auto insurance can help pay for medical expenses, property damage, towing, repairs and other related expenses if you or an employee are involved in an accident. It’s usually required by law for business-owned vehicles.

How NEXT helps protect small businesses

NEXT is a one-stop shop for small business insurance.

We offer a streamlined and simple way to find the business insurance you need online. It usually takes less than 10 minutes to get covered.

Our DIY system makes it easy for you to review your coverage, make changes to your existing policies and access your certificate of insurance with our mobile app or website.

Get a free instant quote today.

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Matt Crawford
About the author

Matt Crawford leads NEXT's content team. He's a small business insurance specialist and has worked with business owners throughout his career as a community journalist and content marketer.

You can find him at one of his many favorite local restaurants in the San Francisco Bay Area when he's not at work.

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