How much does general liability insurance cost?

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Protecting your small business from the inherent risks of dealing with third parties is a wise decision. When all it takes is a client slipping and falling to put the future of your business at risk, the small upfront investment to secure general liability insurance is well worth the cost.

As a small business owner, one of the best ways to protect your business from the risks of interacting with third parties is by purchasing general liability insurance. For a relatively small cost, general liability insurance covers the investigation, defense, and settlement for third-party claims stemming from bodily injury, property damage, and personal and advertising injury.

In other words, it safeguards your business in case an accident ever occurs with a third party (like a bystander, customer, or client). So, how much does it cost?

How much is general liability insurance?

The cost of general liability insurance is dependent on a variety of factors. For instance, your industry, location, crew size, and your policy length can all directly influence the cost. Traditional general liability insurance is an annual policy that is paid monthly (this is what’s called your insurance premium).

However, General Liability Insurance arranged by Thimble goes by the hour, day, week, or month. Based on our policies sold the median costs of general liability insurance are below.

Monthly cost averages for all professions

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Coverage PeriodMedianLowest 25%Highest 75%
By the hour$5$5$8
By the day$16$12$25
By the week$32$20$71
By the month$49$27$91

Factors that influence general liability cost

General liability business insurance costs are largely impacted by a few key pricing elements. The main factors that affect your overall level of risk (and ultimately cost) are:

Risk

Depending on the type of work you’re performing, the inherent risks of your job might well exceed that of another profession. For instance, a handyman might incur more risk than, say, a florist. The risk you face in your everyday job directly affects the cost of your general liability insurance.

Industry

It goes without saying that certain jobs naturally have more risks than others. For instance, a construction business probably experiences bodily injury and property damage issues at a far higher rate than an IT firm.

Years in business

The more established a track record you have, the easier it is for an insurance provider to gauge your overall risk profile. More data points can help lead to a more accurate appraisal.

Crew Size

The larger your operation, the higher the risk of something going wrong. Multiple job sites or workers mean there’s a better chance of an accident occurring.

Location

Your business’ geographical location as well as its specific area of operation can have an impact on your annual premium costs. For instance, working out of a densely populated city might influence the likelihood of a bodily injury or property damage occurring and a claim being filed against your business.

Additionally, where you meet and interact with clients also factors into your insurance premium. If you meet clients in-person (even if it’s at a third-party location like a coffee shop), the risks of property damage and bodily injury are still present. 

Coverage Limits

The coverage limit you select for your policy is going to directly affect the cost. The higher your coverage limit the more you’ll have to pay. To that end, there are usually a few policy limits you can choose from.

For instance, at Thimble, you can choose between a limit of $1 million or $2 million. As you’d expect, the $2 million policy limit will cost more as it provides double the protection from personal liability. But, this doesn’t mean your premium is doubled.

It’s important to note that even two very similar businesses may pay different amounts, depending on these factors.

How much does general liability insurance cost by industry?

As previously mentioned, commercial general liability insurance costs are largely determined by the line of work you’re in. High-risk industries (those that have higher exposure to personal injury, property damage, or other inherent dangers) will pay a higher insurance premium. Low-risk industries, especially those that rarely interact with third parties, pay a lower insurance premium.

According to our averages, the three most expensive general liability policies are tied to industries that frequently work in or on someone else’s property. The below breaks down the monthly general liability insurance cost by industry.

As you prepare to purchase general liability insurance coverage for your small business, keep your industry and its risk level in mind while you’re planning your budget.

Average monthly premium by profession

Handymen + Contractors

Cleaners + Janitors

Events + Entertainment

Landscapers

Pet Services

Beauty + Fitness

Consultants + Freelancers

$96.94

$38.28

$37.61

$36.53

$23.75

$20.80

$20.36

Average monthly premium by profession

$96.94

Handymen + Contractors

$38.28

Cleaners + Janitors

$37.61

Events + Entertainment

$36.53

Landscapers

$23.75

Pet Services

$20.80

Beauty + Fitness

$20.36

Consultants + Freelancers

Tips for minimizing general liability insurance costs

Although general liability insurance costs depend on a variety of factors, there are some steps you can take to reduce your costs over time. These include but are not limited to:

Bundle policies

If you need both general liability and professional liability, you can usually lower your premium costs by bundling these two types of business insurance together and purchasing from the same carrier. (If you provide professional advice, it’s recommended you have both types of coverage.)

Additionally see if any other types of business insurance you need can be bundled, especially insurance for your equipment. General liability insurance doesn’t cover your equipment – which is considered first party (your own) property. In many cases, bundling them together is cheaper than purchasing them separately. At Thimble, our monthly general liability coverage comes bundled with business equipment protection insurance for this very reason.

Minimize risks

Risk management and safety training can help reduce the likelihood that you’ll ever have to make a claim. Fewer claims can lead to fewer rate increases over time.

Only purchase the insurance you need

Many small businesses work on a project-to-project basis. Covering your business only when you’re actually working, can help you save money by paying for coverage exactly when you need it. That’s why we launched business insurance by the hour, day, week, and month, so you can tailor it specifically to when you’re on the job.

Is general liability insurance worth the cost?

The short answer, yes.

On average a slip and fall claim costs $20,000.1

For a relatively low price (approximately $39 per month), a general liability policy could end up saving you from possibly having to pay hundreds of thousands of dollars resulting from the cost of claim investigation, defense, settlement, and damages. Kind of a no-brainer, right?

At Thimble, we offer game-changing flexibility for policies – only pay for the length of insurance coverage you need. We know that when you’re starting out, paying for insurance by the year when you don’t work 365 days a year is not ideal. You can create a policy for a single, hour-long site visit, or get covered by the month. It’s small business insurance that works when you do.

So, are you ready to find an affordable insurance policy that provides on-the-go flexibility?

That’s what we’re here for.

General Liability Cost FAQs

What other types of insurance do I need?

Professional liability

If you provide professional advice, such as marketing consulting, you should also consider professional liability insurance. This type of coverage protects you against the financial consequences of mistakes made in your line of work. These mistakes could include bad advice or professional negligence that results in your client(s) losing money.

Equipment insurance

If you rely on your tools to perform your services, you’ll likely want to protect those too. Also known as inland marine insurance, equipment insurance protects the equipment you own and use for work. At Thimble, this type of policy is automatically bundled in our monthly general liability plans in some states. That way, you’re protected if you damage a third-party’s property and if your tools incur damages on the job.

Workers’ comp

In most states (save for Texas), if you have employees, it’s legally required that you carry workers’ compensation insurance. This type of insurance helps protect your business from the financial consequences of an employee incurring a workplace illness or injury.

I need another Certificate of Insurance (COI), is there an additional cost?

No. COI’s are provided at no additional charge and you can request as many as you need anytime. Usually you have to contact your broker to request another COI and wait for them to email you. With Thimble, you can easily generate as many COIs as you need.

Do I only need liability coverage for the time I am working?

The answer to this question is typically yes. At Thimble, you can purchase your insurance specifically when you need it, tailoring your coverage to exactly when you’re on the job. This means you never pay for insurance when you don’t need it.

If I need both general liability and professional liability, are they purchased separately?

This depends on your insurance carrier. Look for carriers who bundle general and professional liability as this usually means lower premiums for you.

With Thimble, if your profession requires professional liability and general liability coverage we’ve included both in one simple policy bundle. This makes your liability insurance pricing better and ensures that your business is protected. (If you give advice as your job, such as a marketing consultant, you likely need both general liability and professional coverage.)

What’s the difference in cost between a general liability policy with $1M limits vs. $2M limits?

Your coverage limit is simply the total amount of coverage that can be paid out for valid claims under the policy. Considering that you’re getting double the coverage, the cost between a $1M general liability policy versus a $2M policy is often negligible (not double the price).

1 Insurance Journal. 10 Most Common & Costliest Small Business Claims.

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