We may earn money when you click on links to our partners. Advertiser Disclosure

Our small business insurance picks for 2024

By: RAECHEL CONOVER | Fact Checked By: JAMIE OSTROE | Updated: December 22, 2023

To best protect your business and its assets, you need small business insurance. When you’re trying to pick the right provider, we know the amount of information to sift through can be daunting. To help you pick the best small business insurance for your company, we’ve identified seven of the best small business insurance companies on the market today.

Our Top Picks

  1. The Hartford – Best Insurance for Small Businesses
  2. NEXT – Best for Instant Coverage
  3. Hiscox – Best for Independent Contractors and Home-Based Businesses
  4. Thimble – Best for Flexible Coverage
  5. Nationwide – Best General Liability Coverage
  6. Travelers – Best Retail Coverage
  7. Chubb – Best BOP

In-depth reviews of top small business insurance providers

We identified 39 popular small business insurance providers and narrowed our list to seven of the best based on provider reputation, provider features, claims process, and price transparency. We focused on online providers that offer instant quotes and coverage, are well-known in the industry, and provide a range of insurance policies for small businesses. Please refer to our methodology for details on each feature and scoring.

the hartford logo

The Hartford – The Best Insurance for Small Businesses

The Hartford impresses us with the amount of different small business insurance coverage it offers and its long history of strong financial strength. Quotes are made within minutes, and some coverage can start the same day. The claims process is easy, and there are multiple channels for customer support. When we compared general liability coverage, The Hartford’s was priced slightly higher than its competition. However, the price stated is the average policy cost and not a starting point. Your company could fall below the average price depending on the specific information you provide.

  • Strong workers’ compensation coverage
  • Excellent financial rating
  • Quick to get a quote
  • Quick to get a COI
  • No mobile app
  • On the expensive side
  • Some negative reviews

Get a Quote Link: Visit The Hartford for a customized quote

The Hartford details

A+ A.M. Best rating
Instant, online quote
Instant coverage
Multiple ways to file a claim
Premium discounts available

What markets does The Hartford serve?

Due to the wide variety of small business insurance offered, The Hartford is really a good fit for any small business in any industry. There is a plan for every small business through The Hartford.

Read our full The Hartford Review.

next logo

NEXT – Best for Instant Coverage

Need insurance coverage like yesterday? NEXT is your answer. NEXT stands out for its instant quotes, coverage, and certificate of insurance (COI). Get a quote and coverage within 10 minutes, download the mobile app, and digitally send a live COI immediately. It’s that easy. While fast is the name of the game, NEXT also has some other perks, like a discount if you purchase more than one policy and a variety of coverages. Just know that if you need specialty coverage like directors’ insurance, you will have to find another provider.

  • Instant coverage in as little as 10 mins
  • Instantly share digital COI via the mobile app
  • Discount available for multi-policy purchases
  • Specialty/niche coverage not available
  • Limited customer support hours

NEXT Details

A- A.M. Best rating
Instant, online quote
Instant coverage
Multiple ways to file a claim
Premium discounts available

What markets does NEXT serve?

NEXT provides a good variety of plans for most industries but appeals explicitly to small businesses that need insurance coverage fast and need to be able to provide instant proof of coverage.

hiscox logo

Hiscox – Best for Independent Contractors and Home-Based Businesses

Hiscox prides itself on supporting courageous entrepreneurs, home-based businesses, and sole proprietors. They offer a range of customized plans at lower prices to support these small, home-based businesses with lower risk. It’s a winning situation allowing small, micro businesses to be able to afford to protect themselves without strapping them into a high premium. While quick quotes are available, not all plans are available online, and not all plans are available for same-day coverage.

  • Low-priced for home-based businesses with smaller risks
  • Quick and easy online quotes
  • Access to live agents and brokers if needed
  • Policies are not all available online
  • You must call to make policy changes

Hiscox Details

A A.M. Best rating
Instant, online quote
Instant coverage
Multiple ways to file a claim
Premium discounts available

What markets does Hiscox serve?

While it offers policies for all small businesses, Hiscox specializes in serving independent contractors, home-based businesses, and sole proprietors. These types of companies carry a lower risk than larger businesses, and Hiscox provides reduced prices to accommodate the unique budget and coverage needs of these small businesses.

Read our full Hiscox Review.

thimble logo

Thimble – Best for Flexible Coverage

Thimble offers unique, extremely flexible coverage compared to the other companies on our list. Through Thimble, you can get special event coverage, monthly, daily, or even hourly coverage – all managed online. Thimble does not underwrite its own policies, so there is no AM Best financial stability rating, and the claims process is done completely online.

  • On-demand coverage
  • Flexible monthly and/or hourly coverage
  • COI in 60 seconds
  • Customer support only available online
  • No AM Best rating

Thimble Details

A.M. Best rating
Instant, online quote
Instant coverage
Multiple ways to file a claim
Premium discounts available

What markets does Thimble serve?

Due to the flexibility of its plans, Thimble is ideal for companies that need short-term business insurance for contracts such as events or contract workers doing temporary jobs.

nationwide logo

Nationwide – Best General Liability Coverage

Nationwide offers a unique blend of cheap small business insurance including some that aren’t traditionally offered like crime insurance and employment practices liability. But where Nationwide truly stands out is for its general liability coverage. Unlike other providers, Nationwide allows small businesses to enhance their general liability policy with add-on policies that meet their client’s unique needs making it affordable and convenient. Plans are customizable, customer service is readily available, and it has a high financial rating.

  • 24/7 customer service
  • Largest amount of policies offered
  • Most diversified policy offerings
  • Unique policies for specialized businesses
  • Easy to use online tools identify policy needs
  • Must call to purchase a policy

Nationwide Details

A+ A.M. Best rating
Instant, online quote
Instant coverage
Multiple ways to file a claim
Premium discounts available

What markets does Nationwide serve?

We found Nationwide ideal for most industries and companies, especially those that need a little more than general liability but not necessarily a whole additional plan. The ability to add enhancements to the general liability policy makes Nationwide flexible and accommodating to small businesses.

Read our full Nationwide Review.

travelers logo

Travelers – Best Retail Coverage

Travelers insurance stands out for several reasons. It has an extremely high financial strength rating meaning it has the means to back any claim. It also offers a wide range of policies, but we especially like the specific retail policies it offers, such as product liability even on imported products and slip, fall, and trip management. In addition, if an employee gets hurt on the job, there is a dedicated return-to-work team of claims specialists and medical professionals to get your workers healthy and back to work quickly.

  • 24/7 customer service
  • Unique offerings for retail stores
  • Extremely high financial strength rating
  • Policies available nationwide
  • Dedicated return-to-work team for worker compensation claims
  • No online quotes
  • No mobile app

Travelers Details

A++ A.M. Best rating
Instant, online quote
Instant coverage
Multiple ways to file a claim
Premium discounts available

What markets does Travelers serve?

Travelers offers a wide range of insurance policies covering various industries and businesses. That said, its exceptional workers’ compensation team and with its unique retail coverage means they are best suited to retail stores.

chubb logo

Chubb – Best Business Owner’s Policy (BOP)

Chubb provides cheap small business insurance coverage for companies generating up to $30 million in annual revenue. It checks all the boxes of desirable features while maintaining the highest financial strength score available. Chubb offers a range of small business policies, but we are most impressed with its business owner’s policy (BOP). The policy starts with property and liability insurance, then gives small businesses the option to add many endorsements that cover risks specific to certain industries like earthquake insurance, equipment breakdown, foreign liability, and water coverage. While instant quotes and coverage are noted as available, there are some indications that this isn’t always the case.

  • Robust BOP with extra add ons available
  • 24/7 customer support
  • Highest available financial strength rating
  • Instant COI not available
  • Most businesses must call for a quote and purchase

Chubb Details

A++ A.M. Best rating
Instant, online quote
Instant coverage
Multiple ways to file a claim
Premium discounts available

What markets does Chubb serve?

Our research found Chubb the best option for high-risk businesses needing a BOP. By offering extra and flexible endorsements, the company provides the best BOP. Bonus, these endorsements cover high-risk situations like earthquakes so companies can create a BOP that addresses their most immediate threats.

Compare the best small business insurance companies side-by-side

Insurance Company Why we picked It Starting price for General Liability Highlights
The Hartford Best Insurance for Small Businesses $88 / month
*on average
High financial strength rating and many policies to choose from
NEXT Best for Instant Coverage $11 / month Offers instant quotes, coverage in 10 mins, and digital COI
Hiscox Best for Independent Contractors and Home-Based Businesses $30 / month Provides custom rates for home-based businesses with limited risks
Thimble Best for Flexible Coverage $17 / month Provides coverage per event, job, monthly, daily, or hourly
Nationwide Best General Liability Plan Request a quote Allows small businesses to add on enhancements to the general liability coverage
Travelers Best Retail Coverage Request a quote Offers unique plans specifically for small retail stores with emphasis on workers compensation
Chubb Best BOP Request a quote Offers many endorsements to the BOP including coverage for high-risk situations

What is small business insurance?

Put simply, small business insurance protects your company from financial loss in the event of something like property damage, a lawsuit, injury, or other claims made against your business. Small business insurance is crucial to protect your assets and meet legal compliance, but it can get complicated because there are many different types and business insurance requirements by state and industry. Knowing what coverage you need to best protect your company is imperative.

Understanding the different types of small business insurance

According to the Small Business Administration, there are six common types of small business insurance that protect you and your business in certain scenarios that you wouldn’t be able to pay for on your own. It is important to note that even the same type of policy might cover slightly different things, so it’s important to know what your exact policy covers. Here are the six common types of small business insurances to consider:

General liability insurance

General liability insurance provides you with coverage if a third party is hurt or damaged by your business activity. This includes bodily injury to non-employees, property damage, libel, and slander. Nationwide offers the best option here with a lot of add-on enhancements to provide extra coverage at an affordable rate for small businesses.

Product liability insurance

Product liability insurance provides financial coverage in the event that a product your company makes causes injury to someone.

Professional liability insurance

Professional liability insurance, also called Errors and Omissions (E&O), is protection if your company is accused of making a mistake that results in financial damages. This can encompass professional negligence, malpractice, giving bad advice, and failure to meet service standards.

Commercial property insurance

Commercial property insurance or business property insurance is the type of policy that works similarly to homeowners insurance. It covers the commercial property if it is damaged by a covered cause such as fire. Business property includes everything from your office furniture to your equipment, inventory, and even your documents.

Home-based business insurance

Home-based business insurance is insurance that is added to the business owner’s homeowners insurance as a rider and covers equipment and injury liability. Hiscox is our choice provider when it comes to home-based business insurance because it offers customized plans at lower price points for home based businesses that carry a low risk.

Business owner’s policy (BOP)

A business owner’s policy (BOP) is a great option that reduces costs and provides all the coverage you need, BOP combines several insurance policies into one. This typically includes general liability and commercial property insurance. Sometimes, depending on what insurance company you go with, a third type will also be added. Chubb goes above and beyond here offering multiple endorsements to the BOP some of which cover high-risk situations.

There are a few more options to look into that are not included on the SBA list. We recommend you also check out the following:

  • Business income insurance: also often called business interruption insurance, this is coverage if your business cannot generate revenue for a period of time but has reoccurring expenses that still need to be paid.
  • Commercial auto insurance: also referred to as business auto policy (BAP). This provides coverage for vehicles used by your business.
  • Cyber liability insurance: otherwise known as data breach insurance or cyber insurance, this covers things like the theft of personal information and cyber attacks.
  • Workers’ compensation: in most states, this is required by any business with one or more employees. If an employee is injured on the job, this covers things like medical expenses, income lost from being unable to work, and disability coverage.

The following chart provides details on the different types of coverage from the small business insurance companies we reviewed:

Company The Hartford NEXT Hiscox Thimble Nationwide Travelers Chubb
General Liability
Product Liability
Professional Liability
Commercial Property
Home Based Business
Business Income
Commercial Auto
Cyber Liability
Workers Comp

Assessing your small business insurance needs

There are several ways to tell if and what small business insurance you need. For starters, different states require that you carry different insurance. Be sure you know your business insurance requirements by state. Most states require workers’ compensation insurance and commercial auto insurance. Check your state requirement to be sure.

You can also assess your small business insurance needs by what your contracts require. Check your current contracts and plan for the future contracts that you want to determine what insurance coverage you need. Finally, when it comes to cost, a good rule of thumb is if you can’t afford the worst-case scenario out of pocket, you should get insurance coverage to help you if the worst case comes true.

Selecting the right small business insurance provider

There are many small business insurance providers available to choose from, and picking just one can be a lot of information to sift through. First, identify exactly what type of coverage you need for your small business. Start by knowing what is required by your state, by your industry, and by your contracts.

Once you know what coverage you need, you can start assessing the best small business insurance providers that offer the type of insurance you need. You can evaluate them in several ways, but we think the most important features to look for in a small business insurance provider include the following:

  • Timing: this relates to how fast you can get a quote, coverage, and certificate of insurance (COI) that proves your insured status.
  • Customization: the ability to customize coverage plans is an added perk so that you can make your coverage exactly what you need it to be to protect you best.
  • Claim process: is the claim process online only? Can you call in and make a claim? Is the process easy to understand and follow?
  • Financial strength: this is an important one as the financial strength indicates if the insurance company will be able to provide coverage for any claim you might make. For this one, we looked at each providers’ rating on A.M. Best – a rating service specializing in the insurance industry.
  • Customer service: how easy is it to get a hold of a company representative, and what support channels do they offer to answer your questions?
  • Price: we compared small business insurance costs for a general liability plan from each company, but you should compare the small business insurance cost for the specific coverage you need. You can also assess if the company offers discounts and how easy it is to qualify for these discounts.

Managing small business insurance costs

Many factors determine your small business insurance cost. Each insurance provider is different and might request different information from you to determine the price. All companies we reviewed for this buying guide offer an online quote. However, some might need to be finished with a company representative over the phone. The following are common factors that can impact your small business insurance cost:

  • Industry/business type
  • Location
  • Number of employees
  • Risk/claims history
  • Coverage limits

For this buying guide, we compared the price for small business general liability insurance as it is the minimum type of insurance most small businesses would need. Monthly prices start around $11 and range to nearly $100. Of course, this is based on different factors, and while most gave us a starting monthly cost, The Hartford gave us an average of what their customers pay, making them seem slightly higher than comparable plans at a starting price. Check out the table to see the details.

How much does small business insurance cost?
Next Thimble Hiscox
$11 / month $17 / month $30 / month

Tips for reducing insurance premiums and managing risks

While insurance premiums can seem daunting – especially for a small business that needs to carry multiple policies – there are ways to reduce costs. Here are some of them:

  1. Bundle policies. Insurance companies often offer a discount if you purchase two or more policies.
  2. Consider a Business Owners Policy (BOP). A BOP typically combines two to three common policies into a lower price point.
  3. Pay annually. Typically, there is a slight discount when paying yearly instead of monthly.
  4. Reduce risks. Take measures to reduce workplace risks, including providing proper safety training for employees, providing fire and emergency training, keeping the work environment safe, and hiring drivers with clean driving records.
  5. Ask for a discount. It never hurts to ask; many providers might have deals you don’t know about. It will likely pay off to ask if you can’t find discount details.
  6. Reassess. Make it a habit to reassess your insurance coverage and premiums annually. Prices fluctuate, and you want to be sure you are getting the best deal year after year.

Small business insurance FAQs

What are the 3 main types of insurance most small businesses need?

According to the Insurance Information Institute (III), most small businesses need at least the following four types of insurance:

  • Property
  • General Liability
  • Workers Compensation
  • Commercial Auto/Business Auto

Often it makes sense for small business owners to purchase a BOP that typically includes property and general liability insurance. Sometimes a third is bundled into a BOP. For example, Chubb offers many enhancements to the BOP plan so that businesses can customize their coverage to protect them from their greatest threats.

What is the most basic form of business insurance?

General liability insurance is the most basic form of insurance for any small business. It protects businesses in any industry from financial loss as a result of your business actions causing bodily injury, property damage, medical costs, libel, slander, and lawsuits. Nationwide provides general liability insurance that includes the option for extra add-ons so that small businesses can get more coverage without purchasing an entirely additional plan.

Do I need business insurance if I’m the only employee?

If you are a sole proprietor with no employees or contractors, you might not be required to carry business insurance (it’s a good idea to check your state requirements to be sure), but you might still want coverage. For legal purposes, as a sole proprietor, you, the owner, and the business are treated as one and the same. This makes you personally liable for your business activities. At the most basic level – even if it isn’t required you will want to protect your assets with general liability insurance.

How we chose the best small business insurance companies

We curated a list of 39 well-known small business insurance companies and identified 17 popular vendors to narrow our focus. From there, we chose eight vendors that stood out for the following criteria:

  • Offers a variety of small business insurance plans
  • Financial strength
  • High lender transparency regarding pricing and discount opportunities

We scored companies on a scale of 1 (poor) to 5 (excellent) across the following criteria, each worth 25% of our total score.

  • Provider offerings: Our focus is on small business insurance providers that offer quick online quotes, instant coverage, instant COI, and the ability to customize policies.
  • Claim process: Lenders scored higher in this area if they offer multiple ways to file claims, allow you to make claims 24/7, and provide thorough instructions. These make it easy to submit claims when the worst-case scenario hits, and it’s fresh in your mind.
  • Customer support: We look for companies that offer multiple channels for ongoing customer support, including a separate claims phone number, local agents, and FAQs.
  • Brand reputation: Customer reviews are hard to come by in the category as a whole. We found very few review sites that list customer reviews specifically for small business insurance. We poured through the few customer reviews and ratings from trustworthy review sites that we could find and compiled a percentage rating based on these reviews to give us a sense of each vendor’s reputation.