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Washington state is home to more than 650,000 small businesses, which employ 1.4 million workers.1 For the owners of these companies, protecting their businesses, their employees and their livelihoods with Washington business insurance is essential.

Business insurance in Washington can provide a financial safety net that helps pay unexpected expenses when things don’t go as planned. For example, when:

  • Someone says you caused an injury or property damage
  • Employees get hurt on the job
  • You’re accused of professional negligence
  • Business property is damaged
  • Accidents happen when driving for business

NEXT insures more than 1,300 types of small businesses and self-employed workers. We make it easy for you to get the right coverage at the right price and purchase your policy online in less than 10 minutes.

Continue reading to learn about important types of business insurance coverage in Washington. Or get a free instant quote to see customized coverage options for your business.

Small business insurance in Washington state

You can purchase commercial insurance in customized packages built around your business insurance requirements.

Based on your profession and your employment practices, your Washington state insurance package may include different types of coverage, also known as policies.

For example, a Walla Walla gourmet shop with delivery service will probably need Washington general liability insurance, to help cover damages if they’re accused of injuring someone or destroying property, as well as a commercial auto policy, to help pay for accidents in the company van.

While a small real estate agency in Vancouver might purchase professional liability insurance, to protect against claims of professional negligence that cause financial losses, and commercial property coverage, to help pay for repair and damage to their business in case of fire, wind or water damage.

Both of these businesses will also likely need a workers’ compensation policy to help cover medical costs and lost wages when employees are injured on the job.

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More about types of Washington business insurance

Most small businesses in the Evergreen State will need multiple types of coverage. That’s because different types of policies apply in different situations. Keep reading to learn about all the coverages you may want in your business insurance package.
General Liability insurance
General Liability Insurance

It’s a good idea for all small businesses carry Washington State general liability insurance. Insurance companies also call this type of policy commercial general liability insurance and business liability insurance.

General liability is designed to help pay for common types of business claims, including when someone says that your actions caused an injury or property damage. It can also help cover legal costs if you’re sued.

For instance, a customer at an auto body repair shop in Seattle needs medical attention after slipping on a wet floor in the office. General liability insurance could help pay for the customer’s medical bills.

If the customer files a lawsuit that claims that the business owner was responsible for the injury, general liability insurance could help cover attorney costs, court fees and settlements.

Cleaning and construction companies can upgrade their general liability insurance with optional tools and equipment coverage. If business gear is lost, stolen or damaged, this add-on can help pay to replace or repair it.

Workers' comp insurance
Workers’ Compensation insurance

Washington state requires most companies with employees to carry workers’ compensation insurance. When staff members get hurt on the job, it can help pay for medical expenses and lost wages while they recover.

Here’s how workers’ comp coverage might help protect a small business in Washington:

An employee of a retail store in Spokane falls from a ladder while stocking shelves and requires a hospital visit. Workers’ comp insurance could help the business owner cover the injured employee’s medical expenses, including physical therapy.

Commercial auto insurance
Commercial Auto insurance

Businesses that own vehicles in Washington will want commercial auto insurance. It can help pay for damages if you or an employee has an accident in a company-owned vehicle.

For instance, a worker at an Olympia-based carpet cleaning company is driving the company van back to the office on a rainy night and hits a guardrail. Commercial auto insurance could help pay for damages to the vehicle and towing to the shop.

If your business rents vehicles or asks employees to use their own cars for business, you’ll want an optional add-on called hired and non-owned auto insurance. It can provide coverage for these situations.

Commercial Property
Commercial Property insurance

Commercial property insurance in Washington state can protect the things you need to run your business, such as equipment, inventory and even your business location if you own the property.

For example, a family style restaurant in Tacoma experiences a sprinkler malfunction in the dining room that ruins the furniture. Commercial property insurance could help pay to clean up the mess and replace the damaged business property.

It’s important to read your policy documents carefully to make sure there aren’t exclusions for your business. Some locations prone to flooding or hurricane damage might have limited coverage.

Errors & Omissions
Professional Liability (E&O) insurance

Professional liability coverage is also known as E&O or errors and omissions insurance. This kind of policy can help protect your business if someone claims that you delivered substandard work, missed deadlines or failed to finish a project.

For example, a client says that a self-employed web developer in Bellevue made a coding error that caused an e-commerce website to crash, resulting in thousands of dollars in lost sales.

Professional liability insurance could help the developer pay to fix the problem or settle out of court. It could also assist with attorney bills, court costs and damages if the client sues.

How much does business insurance in Washington cost?

How much does business insurance in Washington cost?

The cost that small business owners in Washington pay to insure their companies can vary widely. The reason is that pricing is based on your business operations, employment practices and other factors.

Here are some of what goes into what you’ll pay for business insurance:

The risks your business encounters

Construction company employees are more likely to face hazards than workers in other industries, so these businesses typically have higher business insurance costs. Small businesses owners that encounter less risks, like professional services firms, will often pay less for business insurance.

The policies and coverage you select

As you add different types of coverage to your insurance package, the price of your premium will increase. You will also pay more if you choose higher coverage levels (which provide more protection) for your policies.

How many people you employ

Your business’s headcount helps determine your workers’ compensation cost. If you have nine employees you’ll pay more than if you only had one employee. Getting an accurate business insurance quote requires knowing your exact headcount.

The best way to explore coverage options and find out how much you’ll pay for a business insurance policy is to get a free instant quote from NEXT.

You can also use our insurance calculators for a general estimate of insurance costs in Washington:

How NEXT can help you with business insurance in Washington

How NEXT can help you with business insurance in Washington

We offer a fast and easy way for small business owners to get a business insurance quote online, purchase coverage and instantly share a certificate of insurance. The entire process usually takes less than 10 minutes.

You can also chat with our U.S.–based NEXT licensed insurance agents if you need help or have questions.

Resources for Washington small businesses and self-employed workers

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* To the extent permitted by law, applicants are individually underwritten, not all applicants may qualify. Individual rates and savings vary and are subject to change. Discounts and savings are available where state laws and regulations allow, and may vary by state. Certain discounts apply to specific coverages only.
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Issuance of coverage is subject to underwriting. Not available in all states. Please see the policy for full terms, conditions and exclusions. Coverage examples are for illustrative purposes only. Your policy documents govern, terms and exclusions apply. Coverage is dependent on actual facts and circumstances giving rise to a claim. Next Insurance, Inc. and/or its affiliates is an insurance agency licensed to sell certain insurance products and may receive compensation from insurance companies for such sales. Policy obligations are the sole responsibility of the issuing insurance company. Refer to Legal Notices section for additional information.

Any starting prices or premiums represented before an actual customer quote are not guaranteed and are representations of existing premiums of active policies as of December 6, 2023. To the extent permitted by law, applicants are individually underwritten, not all applicants may qualify. Individual rates and savings vary and are subject to change. Discounts and savings are available where state laws and regulations allow, and may vary by state. Certain discounts apply to specific coverages only.