As a handyman (or handyperson/handyworker), no two days are alike. Your work can entail tasks from plumbing and electrical work to painting and roofing. Because you do everything under the California sky, you need Handyman Insurance to prepare your business for the risk of accidents. We’ll explain what you need to know about handyman insurance in California and how to get your license.

What are the insurance requirements for handymen in California?

The California Contractor State License Board requires handy workers to have a contractor license if they are taking on work valued at more than $500.1 Under that amount, there is no licensing requirement for handymen to work. However, if you work on a contract or project valued at more than $500, you will need insurance to obtain your license. here’s the handyman insurance you need in California:

  • General liability insurance: Handymen in California must have general liability insurance with a cumulative limit of $1 million to obtain a license.2 General liability insurance financially protects your business in case of accidents that cause bodily injury, property damage, or personal and advertising injury to a third party. For example, if your ladder crashes into a client’s imported lamp, you could be on the hook to pay for its repair.
  • Workers’ compensation insurance: California law requires contractors to carry workers compensation insurance even if they only have one employee.3 This type of insurance protects you (the business owner) and your employees from financial harm associated with workplace injuries. For example, if one of your employees accidentally hammers their fingers instead of a nail, workers’ comp would cover their medical expenses and lost wages while they recover.
  • Surety bond: California requires contractors to have a surety bond of $15,000 before they can get their license.4 The bond is a sum of money that guarantees that you’ll provide quality service and adhere to the rules between your company and your client.

What are other types of insurance handymen need in California?

As a handyman, some risks fall outside the scope of protection that workers’ comp and general liability insurance can provide. Here are other standard insurance policies that contractors in California should consider purchasing:

  • Professional liability insurance: Protects you if a client claims that your services caused them a financial loss or reputational damage. For example, you may be repairing a client’s home before it hits the market. If you make a mistake that causes unseemly damage to the interior, preventing your clients from showing their home and missing out on a potential sale, they could hold you liable for their financial loss.
  • Business Equipment Protection: Covers the equipment you own and use for work, especially if you take it around to job sites. If your cordless power tool set shorts out because of a faulty socket, Business Equipment Protection could pay the cost of its replacement.
  • Commercial property insurance: Protects your business property, including your office space and the business contents inside or within 100 feet of your workplace. If a fire breaks out and damages your work computer, commercial property insurance can help you get back to work in no time. With Thimble, commercial property insurance is available with a Business Owners’ Policy (BOP) that also includes general liability insurance.

What does Handyman Insurance cost in California?

Several factors can determine the cost of your contractor general liability insurance in California, including your ZIP code, the length of your coverage, and whether you need Business Equipment Protection. On average, Handyman Insurance in California costs $104.96 per month through Thimble.

What are the handyman licensing requirements in California?

In order to work on large projects in California, you need a license. And in most cases, you need insurance to get a license. Here are some of the licensing requirements you need to know and provide:

  • Proof of experience: To obtain licensing in California, you must be at least 18 years old and have 4 years of journeyman level or higher experience within the last 10 years.5
  • Proof of insurance: California requires contractors to provide proof of workers’ compensation insurance, liability insurance, and a surety bond.6,7 The best way to provide a proof of a valid, active insurance policy is by obtaining a Certificate of Insurance (COI). You can show this document to regulators, vendors, or clients who want to make sure that you’re insured before doing business. It includes information such as your coverage type, limits, and when your policy expires. As soon as you buy your policy, Thimble sends you your COI immediately to your inbox and app. You can request as many COIs you need at no additional cost.
  • Registration with state and local departments: Before you get started with your handyman business, check with your municipality or city to see if you also need to register with them in addition to registering with the state. For example, any person or entity running a business in Los Angeles must register with the city and obtain a business tax registration certificate through the City of Los Angeles Office of Finance.8

Protect your handyman business with insurance

Don’t let a wave of insurance claims send your business underwater. Handyman Insurance will help you ride the wave safely. Before you choose your coverage, remember:

  • If you accept a job exceeding $500 in value, California requires you to have a contractor’s license.
  • To obtain licensing in California, you must have general liability insurance, workers’ compensation insurance, and a surety bond.
  • Besides having insurance, you need to provide the state of California with proof of experience and proof of insurance. You might also need to register with your local municipality.

Thimble can help you get started. When you’re ready, click “Get a Quote” here or on the app, answer a few questions about your business, and get your quote in minutes. When you’re a Jack (or Jill) of all handyman trades, having the right insurance will come in – wait for it — handy.


  1. California Business Portal. Quick Start Guide for Domestic Repair Person (Handyman). 
  2. Department of Consumer Affairs Contractors State Licensing Board. CSLB Forms and Applications. 
  3. Department of Consumer Affairs Contractors State Licensing Board. Workers’ Compensation Requirements. 
  4. Department of Consumer Affairs Contractors State Licensing Board. Bond Requirements. 
  5. California State Licensing Board. Certification of Work Experience. 
  6. Department of Consumer Affairs Contractors State License Board. CSLB Forms and Applications. 
  7. Department of Consumer Affairs Contractors State License Board. CSLB Forms and Applications. 
  8. Los Angeles Office of Finance. The Business Registration Process.