Best Small Business Insurance in California

The State of California currently requires businesses to purchase commercial auto insurance and workers’ compensation insurance.

Regardless of the state’s requirements for insurance, it’s important that you secure insurance that fits your business’s needs.

In this review, we’ll explore the best small business insurance in California and share what makes them the right choice.

Recommended: Next Insurance offers dedicated small business insurance to California small businesses.


5 Best Business Insurance Companies in California 2022

     

Next Insurance

four point seven out of five stars

4.7/5

BEST FOR SMALL BUSINESS OWNERS

  • Work directly with an insurance provider
  • Specialized in small business insurance coverage
  • Get a quote in under five minutes
START A QUOTE

Commercial Insurance 

four point five out of five stars

4.5/5

BEST OVERALL INSURANCE MARKETPLACE

  • Get connected to the best provider for your business
  • Get a quote on the phone between 8 a.m.–8 p.m. (Monday–Friday)
  • Coverage for a large variety of small businesses
START A QUOTE

The Hartford

four out of five stars

4/5

  • Direct insurance provider, not a marketplace
  • Limited coverage options for small businesses
  • Live US-based support
START A QUOTE

Hiscox

four point two out of five stars

4.25/5

  • Insures micro-businesses and startups
  • Coverage for 180+ professional services
  • Offers short-term insurance policies
START A QUOTE

CNA 

three point seven out of five stars

3.75/5

  • Optimum Insurance provider for online businesses
  • Extensive cyber risk solutions
  • 24-hour claims assistance hotline
START A QUOTE

We narrowed our search down to our top 5 insurance carriers in California and then closely analyzed coverage offered, policy details, pricing, and other aspects to determine which type of business each provider would be most suited to.

We also identified competitive selling points like excellent customer service and niche industry offerings that make each business insurance company unique.

Our Best California Business Insurance Providers for 2022:

  1. Next Insurance: Best online business insurance with fast and simple sign-up.
  2. CommercialInsurance.net: Best small business insurance marketplace.
  3. The Hartford: Offers specialized coverage and custom packages.
  4. Hiscox: Good for micro businesses.
  5. CNA: Great for tech companies.

1. Next Insurance: Best Insurance for Small Business

Next Insurance has streamlined the process of getting business insurance coverage completely online and in just a few minutes. Named one of the “Top 50 Disruptors of 2022” by CNBC, Next Insurance uses AI and machine learning to provide the best small business liability insurance options catered to unique business needs.

We consider Next to be the best business insurance company for business owners looking to get fast, affordable, quality coverage without walking into an agency or sifting through aggressive sales pitches. Next Insurance not only offers the most common types of small business insurance but also offers specific insurance products by industry in each state, instant digital certificates of insurance (COI) downloads, and more to make the process easier than ever. Using their user-friendly mobile app, you can easily pay premiums, access policy documents, and even file liability claims on the go with rapid response times. 

Due to their focus on small businesses exclusively, we found their rates to be slightly lower on average than larger insurance providers.

Some types of insurance policies that Next Insurance offers include:

  • General Liability Insurance
  • Business Owner’s Policies (BOPs)
  • Commercial Auto Insurance
  • Commercial Property Insurance
  • Professional Liability Coverage (Errors and Omissions Insurance)
  • Hired & Non-Owned Auto Insurance
  • Liquor Liability Insurance
  • Tools & Equipment Insurance
  • Workers’ Compensation Insurance

PROS

  • Same-day insurance coverage
  • iOS/Android app for easy access to your COI, to file claims, and to change policy type
  • Get a quote and purchase a policy in less than 10 minutes
  • Easy-to-use scheduler so your insurance can start on a precise date
  • Competitive premiums designed for small businesses
  • Customizable policies
  • Convenient online chat support

CONS

  • No brick-and-mortar locations/branches for in-person transactions
  • Some specialized types of insurance coverage, like key person insurance, are not available
The Truic Flame Logo

Get the Right Coverage for Your Business

Next Insurance is a fully online provider dedicated to low-cost, high-protection coverage for small businesses. Get a quote instantly.

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2. CommercialInsurance.net: Best NB Insurance Platform

If you’re looking for a marketplace with the best quotes for business insurance, CommercialInsurance.net takes the gold. CommercialInsurance.net has gathered a wide range of small business insurance companies in one place to help you narrow down the search for a policy that meets your business's unique needs. Small business owners that may be considered high risk can find what they are looking for with CommericalInsurance.net.

It's important to note that CommercialInsurance.net is an insurance marketplace instead of an individual provider. The goal of this company is to make your search more simple by showing you the top business insurance policies for your situation and streamlining the signup process. By submitting one online form, you'll receive multiple quotes for commercial insurance products from several competitors, most of whom are on this list. You'll also get a quick rundown of each policy so that you know exactly what you're signing up for.

CommercialInsurance.net Featured Coverages

  • General Liability Insurance
  • Lost Income Insurance (Business Interruption Insurance)
  • Business Hazard Insurance
  • Commercial Property Insurance
  • Business Owner’s Policy
  • Commercial Auto Insurance
  • Workers’ Compensation Insurance
  • Commercial Umbrella Insurance
  • Professional Liability Insurance

PROS

  • Great customer service
  • Live and rapid phone support from 8:00 a.m.–8:00 p.m. Monday to Saturday
  • Easy-to-navigate website
  • Offers a lot of information about their different insurance options
  • Works with numerous partners to provide coverage for various types of businesses
  • Great pricing options

CONS

  • Policies are issued by other insurance providers, not CommercialInsurance.net.

3. The Hartford: Best for Specialized Insurance

The Hartford is a great insurance solution for businesses that need specialized insurance coverage. Though the insurance may not cover every type, as services like Commercial Insurance do, The Hartford offers customized insurance packages with only the coverage you need which can save you hundreds long-term. The Hartford has served millions of small businesses for over 200 years while maintaining a great reputation for delivering some of the best specialized commercial insurance coverages and rates.

The Hartford Featured Coverages

  • Business Owner’s Policy
  • Commercial Auto Insurance
  • General Liability Insurance
  • Commercial Property Insurance
  • Lost Business Income Insurance
  • Business Interruption Insurance
  • Professional Liability Insurance
  • Workers’ Compensation Insurance
  • Cyber Insurance
  • Commercial Umbrella Insurance
  • Employment Practices Liability Insurance

PROS

  • Long history with an A+ financial strength rating through A.M. Best
  • Many small business insurance types
  • Named "World’s Most Ethical Company" by Ethisphere Institute
  • BOP insurance combines general liability and business property insurance together
  • Easy online quotes

CONS

  • Not a good option if you prefer an industry-specific insurer
  • Poor J.D. Power's "Small Commercial Insurance Study" reviews
  • Complaints through the National Association of Insurance Commissioners.

4. Hiscox: Best for Micro-Businesses

Hiscox is the best small business insurer for micro-businesses since they have helped thousands of small and micro-businesses get insured. Hiscox has a dedicated team of small business professionals who focus only on helping small businesses get the right types of coverage at the best prices. 

Hiscox Featured Coverages

  • General Liability Coverage
  • Professional Liability Coverage
  • Business Owner’s Policy
  • Short-Term Insurance Policies
  • Cyber Insurance
  • Workers' Compensation Insurance
  • Coverage for 180+ professional services

PROS

  • User-friendly online quote generator
  • Insures businesses only
  • Serves businesses of all sizes
  • High ratings by major rating firms
  • Educational website and podcast
  • Over 10,000 positive customer reviews

CONS

  • Most customer reviews are found on the company’s website.

5. CNA: Best for Tech Companies

CNA offers the best insurance for online businesses, offering cyber risk insurance solutions. If your company deals in personal or financial information or may be at risk of data breaches or online attacks, CNA offers comprehensive cyber liability policies at the best prices. We like CNA because they offer three cyber risk insurance options, as well as other niche insurance products not found with other providers. 

CNA Featured Coverages

  • Cyber Risk Policies
  • Commercial Auto Insurance
  • General Liability Policies
  • Equipment Breakdown Insurance
  • Inland Marine Policies
  • Professional Liability and Management Insurance
  • Ocean Marine Insurance
  • Business Property Coverage
  • Surety Insurance
  • Umbrella and Excess Casualty Insurance
  • Workers’ Compensation Coverage

PROS

  • Specializes in business insurance
  • Covers small-, mid-, and large-sized businesses
  • Covers over 180 niche businesses
  • Eighth largest business insurance provider in the US
  • High ratings from all major insurance rating agencies
  • 24-hour claims assistance

CONS

  • The online quote generator doesn’t always work
  • A small number of customer reviews

Small Business Insurance Review Methodology

Choosing the best business insurance comes down to five things:

  1. The type of business you have
  2. The type of coverage you need
  3. Which provider offers the best value
  4. Easy-to-navigate simple claims process
  5. Great customer service

First, we narrowed it down to the five best small business insurance providers, most of whom offer online quotes so that you can get coverage and a certificate of insurance for your business today. 

Then, we analyzed coverage offered, policy details, pricing, and other aspects to determine which type of business each provider would be most suited for small business owners. 

Finally, we've identified competitive selling points like excellent customer service and niche industry offerings that make each business insurance company unique.

California Business Insurance Requirements and Resources

California Insurance Requirements

Currently, California requires businesses to carry commercial auto insurance and workers’ compensation insurance.

Commercial Auto Insurance

All private passenger vehicles owned by a business must be insured. In California, commercial vehicles are defined as such in California Vehicle Code, Division 1:

(a) A “commercial vehicle” is a motor vehicle of a type required to be registered under this code used or maintained for the transportation of persons for hire, compensation, or profit or designed, used, or maintained primarily for the transportation of property.

(b) Passenger vehicles and house cars that are not used for the transportation of persons for hire, compensation, or profit are not commercial vehicles. This subdivision shall not apply to Chapter 4 (commencing with Section 6700) of Division 3.

Workers’ Compensation Regulations

All businesses in California that have employees must carry workers’ compensation insurance according to California Labor Code, Division 4, Part 1, Chapter 4:

Article 1. Insurance and Security

Every employer except the state shall secure the payment of compensation in one or more of the following ways:

(a) By being insured against liability to pay compensation by one or more insurers duly authorized to write compensation insurance in this state.

(b) By securing from the Director of Industrial Relations a certificate of consent to self-insure either as an individual employer, or as one employer in a group of employers, which may be given upon furnishing proof satisfactory to the Director of Industrial Relations of ability to self-insure and to pay any compensation that may become due to his or her employees.

(c) For any county, city, city and county, municipal corporation, public district, public agency, or any political subdivision of the state, including each member of a pooling arrangement under a joint exercise of powers agreement (but not the state itself), by securing from the Director of Industrial Relations a certificate of consent to self-insure against workers’ compensation claims, which certificate may be given upon furnishing proof satisfactory to the director of ability to administer workers’ compensation claims properly, and to pay workers’ compensation claims that may become due to its employees. On or before March 31, 1979, a political subdivision of the state which, on December 31, 1978, was uninsured for its liability to pay compensation, shall file a properly completed and executed application for a certificate of consent to self-insure against workers’ compensation claims. The certificate shall be issued and be subject to the provisions of Section 3702.

Types of California Business Insurance

General Liability Insurance

The vast majority of California companies purchase general liability insurance from an insurance company even though it is not legally required. This type of business liability insurance covers third-party bodily injury, third-party property damage, advertising liability, libel, slander, copyright issue, and other common claims faced by companies across various industries. 

General liability insurance is one of the most important types of business insurance your company can purchase.

Business Owner’s Policy

A business owner’s policy (BOP) is an affordable way to bundle business insurance coverages. This type of policy includes commercial general liability insurance with commercial business property insurance. Many small business owners with a physical business space opt for this coverage.

Commercial Auto Insurance

You need to carry commercial auto insurance if your company uses vehicles to transport people or goods. This type of insurance is very similar to personal auto insurance and covers liability, medical costs, collisions, and uninsured/underinsured motorists. A commercial auto policy also covers vehicles rented or owned by your company and employees who use their own vehicles for company business.

Workers’ Compensation Insurance

California requires businesses with at least one employee to carry workers’ compensation insurance. Nevertheless, it’s a good idea to subscribe to such insurance. Taking out workers' compensation insurance puts a limit on the amount and type of compensation that an injured employee may receive. The limits are set by law.

Employee Health/Life/Disability Insurance

Companies that provide health, life, and/or disability insurance as a fringe benefit will need appropriate California insurance. Under the Affordable Care Act, firms with more than 50 full-time employees must offer health insurance or pay an expensive penalty.

Professional Liability Insurance

Professional liability insurance covers financial risks to attorneys, accountants, and other people who provide professional services or expertise. Professional liability coverage varies depending on the industry but usually includes negligence, legal defense, slander or libel, and copyright and trademark disputes. 

Professional liability insurance includes errors and omissions (E&O) insurance.

Data Breach Insurance

If your company hosts customers’ personal information on its servers and those servers are hacked, lawsuits and damages can result. Data breach insurance protects you in these cases. 

Cyber Liability Insurance

Similar to but more comprehensive than data breach insurance, cyber liability insurance may pay for legal expenses related to a data breach or set up a call center for individuals affected by a breach. It also may pay for active protection against cyberattacks.

Commercial Crime Insurance

Crimes like extortion, forgery, burglary, computer fraud, and embezzlement are covered by commercial crime insurance. Situations in which this type of insurance is particularly useful include dishonest or libelous acts by employees.

Fiduciary Liability Insurance

Fiduciaries, who are legally required to act in plan participants’ best interests rather than the company’s when choosing advisors and investments, should consider this type of insurance coverage. It covers them if they are sued for allegedly providing negligent investment advice or administering plans or benefits incorrectly. 

Third parties like out-of-company consultants and benefit plan administrators are usually not protected.

Directors and Officers Insurance

Any company with directors and officers should consider directors and officers (D&O) insurance coverage, a type of liability insurance that reimburses directors and officers for claims made against them regarding harm allegedly caused by their management decisions.

Executive Risk Coverage

Executive risk insurance is business liability insurance that provides coverage for fraud, D&O, employment practices, initial public offerings, pension funds, extortion, and professional negligence.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why do I need small business insurance?

Some professions or business contracts require that you have business insurance. If this doesn’t apply to you, insurance is still a critical component of your business portfolio. Your policy is there to protect your company and its assets from unexpected lawsuits and claims.  

What kind of business insurance do I need?

The type of business insurance you need depends upon the products or services you offer and how your business is structured. Every business should have a general liability policy. If you have business tools, equipment, or vehicles, you’ll want to consider covering those assets as well.

Do I need business insurance if I have an LLC?

In short, yes. While incorporating as an LLC in California protects your personal assets, your business assets are still at risk in the event of a claim or lawsuit.

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