The state of Washington is a beautiful oasis tucked away in the northwest corner of the U.S., full of stunning natural landscapes, hip and trendy culture, and a booming tech industry. To that end, there are 600,000+ small businesses in the Evergreen state. They employ over 1.4 million people and account for 99.5% of all Washington businesses.1

As a small business owner in Washington, there are certain bases you need to have covered before you can safely (and legally) operate. One of those bases is business insurance. In this guide, you’ll learn about the types of insurance you’re required to have, and some other coverage options to help you protect your business from the financial consequences of potentially expensive claims.

What business insurance am I required to get in Washington?

Washington workers’ compensation insurance

All employers in Washington with three or more employees are legally required to have workers’ compensation insurance. Workers’ compensation insurance exists to safeguard employees from financial impact related to injuries or illnesses sustained on the job. As a business owner, it also protects you from liability related to employee injuries. Workers’ compensation covers expenses and lost wages caused by the following:

  • Work-related accidents and injuries, such as repetitive stress injury, and resulting disability
  • Illnesses caused by or related to employment

Washington auto liability insurance

If you drive a car, truck or van as part of your business operation, you’re required to have auto liability insurance or qualify as a self-insurer. Auto liability insurance can protect you and your business from the financial consequences of the following types of third-party claims resulting from auto accidents involving your vehicle:

Bodily injury liability– If you get into an accident and the driver or a passenger of the other vehicle is injured, your auto bodily injury liability insurance covers the costs arising out of bodily injury, including medical expenses and death benefits.

Property damage liability – In the above scenario, it’s extremely likely the other car sustained some damage as well. Your auto property damage liability insurance coverage insures the cost to repair or replace the other party’s vehicle.

Also, depending on the use of your vehicle, the kind of vehicle or if your vehicle is registered or titled under your business name, you may need a commercial auto insurance policy to secure the appropriate coverage and vehicle registration, and avoid penalties.

What other types of business insurance are recommended for Washington?

Washington general liability insurance

General liability insurance (also known as CGL—for commercial general liability) is one of the most essential and effective ways to safeguard your business. It protects your business from the financial consequences resulting from liability related to third-party non-employee bodily injury or third party property damage that arises from your business operations. It also provides coverage for personal and advertising injury. Without general liability insurance coverage, you could be in financial trouble in the event of an unfortunate accident involving a customer or other third party.

Washington professional liability insurance

If you provide professional services and your advice is alleged to have led to one of your clients suffering a financial loss, professional liability insurance can help. When a former customer or client claims—rightly or wrongly—that a mistake in your work led them to suffer a financial loss, professional liability insurance provides you with investigation and defense of the claim as well as making payments of any settlements or judgments.

Inland marine insurance

Inland marine insurance is designed to protect that vital equipment you use to make your business run smoothly. It protects your business by covering costs associated with accidentally damaged, lost or stolen equipment that is on the go with you. Whether you have an expensive tool collection, pricey construction materials, or other equipment you transport to a job site, having inland marine insurance is a no-brainer. At Thimble, we offer inland marine insurance, or Business Equipment Protection as we call it, with coverage for up to $5,000 worth of business property and equipment.

Commercial property insurance

Commercial property insurance protects your company’s building and the contents inside it from all kinds of risks of physical loss or damage, including theft, vandalism, fires and natural disasters such as floods, storms or earthquakes. Commercial property insurance is often included as part of a Business Owners’ Insurance Policy, or BOP.

Cost of business insurance in Washington

At Thimble, we don’t currently offer insurance in the state of Washington. With other providers, the cost of your business insurance likely depends on a variety of factors. The amount of risk involved in your business, the industry you’re in, and the amount of business you do all play a part in determining your policy premium.

Another important factor is your location. Seattle and Spokane might have higher premiums than less populated places like Walla Walla or Yakima.

Top cities for businesses in Washington

  • Bellingham
  • Bremerton
  • Kennewick
  • Olympia
  • Pullman
  • Seattle
  • Spokane
  • Vancouver
  • Walla Walla
  • Yakima

Bottom line: Washington business insurance

If you’re looking to join the over 600,000 small businesses that call Washington home, take some time to consider what kinds of insurance coverage you’ll need. Being covered means you can focus on growing your company without worrying about expensive insurance claims.

Unfortunately, Thimble isn’t currently available in the state of Washington, but we’re working on it! Sign up for email updates and we’ll let you know as soon as we’re able to offer coverage in the Evergreen State.


  1. Business News Daily. How to Start and Run a Business in Washington.