Virginia is a great place to start a small business. Not only does it offer an educated workforce and top-rated infrastructure, it also offers a population that makes it a point to be supportive of small businesses. In fact, Virginia has the highest business survival rate in the nation. That means if you start a business in Virginia, your chances of being successful are higher than in any other state. As every small business owner knows, small businesses have a high failure rate. One thing you don’t want to cut corners on is business insurance. Just one lawsuit could bankrupt your business. The good news is that business insurance does not need to break the bank to be effective.
- 7 best business insurance companies in Virginia
- Business insurance coverages in Virginia
- Which business insurance coverage do I really need in Virginia?
- How much does business insurance cost in Virginia?
- How to find cheap business insurance in Virginia?
- How to buy business insurance online in Virginia?
7 best business insurance companies in Virginia
Small business insurance is a very fragmented market with hundreds of providers, which can make it confusing for you to find the best one for you. We have researched more than 30 providers in Virginia and here are our recommendations of the top 7 for your consideration:
- CoverWallet: Best for comparing several quotes online
- Simply Business: Best for finding low-cost small business coverage
- InsurePro: Best for small businesses that need short-term coverage at affordable rates
- NEXT: Best for contractors general liability insurance
- biBERK: Best for low-cost workers comp and commercial auto insurance
- Progressive: Best Overall for commercial auto and commercial truck insurance
- Commercialinsurance.net: Best if you prefer working with knowledgeable agents
CoverWallet: Best for comparing several quotes online
Cover Wallet is an insurance broker. The best thing about CoverWallet is that you can get multiple quotes in minutes. While they’re best at general liability, workers comp, and professional liability quotes, you can also use them for specialty insurance such as cyber liability, business property, and inland marine insurance. However, sometimes you’ll need to call them to finish your quotes, or give them permission to call you.
CoverWallet works with tens of good small business insurance companies, which makes it easy for you to compare quotes from these companies. They also build a great digital experience. You can get quotes, buy policies, and manage your policies completely online.
Simply Business: Best for finding low-cost small business coverage
Simply Business is also an online insurance broker, so you can get multiple quotes by filling out one online form. Rates tend to be good, but coverage options are limited. The resource library is excellent, so if you have questions about what kind of insurance you need, and how much, Simply Business is a good option. Best for finding low-cost coverage (general liability, workers comp, professional liability, and commercial auto insurance)
Simply Business optimizes their operations to focus on finding the lowest cost coverage for you. Some insurance companies they work with may not be well-known, but they offer very affordable rates and have a solid financial strength rating.
InsurePro: Best for small businesses that need short-term coverage at affordable rates
If you work seasonally, or part-time, InsurePro is perfect for you. They have flexible, pay-per-day coverage. They ask you questions and then provide a tailored quote or quotes. They only offer five types of insurance, though: General liability, business owners policies (BOP), workers comp, commercial auto and commercial truck, and equipment protection.
Even if you work full-time and need traditional coverage, ie. policies that protect your business permanently, you may want to get a quote from InsurePro. Their rates seem to be more affordable even for traditional policies.
NEXT: Best for contractors general liability insurance
Next is an online insurance company. It offers a 10% discount on bundled policies, and if you just want to buy your insurance and be done with it, Next is fast and efficient. Once you buy insurance, you can manage it all online.
Next started out by making it super fast and easy for contractors to buy general liability insurance policies online. They have since expanded to offer more coverage to more small businesses in other industries such as restaurants, retail, and other local businesses. However, their unique strength is still on contractors’ general liability insurance.
biBERK: Best for low-cost workers comp and commercial auto insurance
biBERK prides itself on providing simple, straightforward business insurance. You can get a quote, buy a policy, pay your bill, and file a claim online. However, if you have anything than other than basic insurance needs, they might not be able to accommodate you. You will probably need to check the coverage map, to make sure they offer the type of insurance you want in your state.
With their focus on the fundamental coverage for small businesses such as workers comp and commercial auto insurance, biBERK is able to cut costs and reduce their rates significantly. Actually, they claim that small businesses can save up to 20% on premiums from their policies.
Progressive: Best Overall for commercial auto and commercial truck insurance
You can get many types of business insurance from Progressive, but where they really shine is in commercial truck and auto insurance. They insure over a million commercial vehicles, more than any other company. For one thing, it’s easy to get a quote, which is not true of many companies selling commercial auto insurance. They insure every type of commercial vehicle, from box trucks to ice cream trucks to tractor trailers.
Progressive is also known for its several discounts, which help their customers reduce rates significantly. If you decide to buy commercial auto and commercial truck insurance from Progressive, make sure to ask for their long list of discount programs. You may be qualified for a few to reduce your premiums.
Commercialinsurance.net: Best if you prefer working with knowledgeable agents
If you’re completely lost on what kind of insurance you need and how much, or if you just need some guidance, commercialinsurance.net could be a good choice. You’ll work with an independent insurance agent (read: not tied to one company) who can do all the research for you and find you the best deal.
If your business happens to be in a niche industry that is hard to find the right coverage at a reasonable rate, ie. handyman, roofing, trucking, etc. you may want to work with a knowledgeable agent who is experienced in such an industry. Commercialinsurance.net will be able to connect you with the right agent.
Business insurance coverages in Virginia
Virginia only requires workers compensation insurance if you have more than two employees, and commercial auto insurance if you use a vehicle for business purposes. However, there are many different types of business insurance, and some are necessary, while others are optional. Below is the comprehensive list of small business insurance coverages that any small business may need. What industry you’re in, where your business is located, your claims history, and how long you’ve been in business all play a role in determining what kind of business insurance you need. If you are not sure, consulting with an independent insurance broker could be a smart move.
General liability insurance
General liability insurance covers you for:
- Third-party bodily injury
- Third party property damage
- Advertising injury
Out of all types of business insurance, general liability is probably the most important one to get. If you can only afford one kind of insurance, it should be general liability (beyond what’s required, of course).
The reason general liability insurance is so important is because it’s extremely easy for someone to slip and fall while on your property, or to accidentally damage a customer’s property. If your business involves visiting people in their homes, or if customers come to you, general liability insurance is a must.
Third-party property damage covers you if you or an employee damages a customer’s property. Anyone who goes to clients’ homes, such as plumbers, contractors, and real estate agents needs to protect themselves. There was a case where a real estate agent damaged a storm door by forcing it to close; general liability insurance would cover you for this.
Advertising injury means injuries committed by a business when it advertises its products or services. It includes slander, libel, and copyright infringement. These injuries could be committed by you or your employees, or they could be committed by someone else, with you being the injured party.
Among other things, social media has made it spectacularly easy to slander someone. Say you mention to a friend that your business rival, a marketing company, plagarizes the content on their webpage. Your post gets picked up on the community forum where your rival sees it. Yes, you could be sued for slander.
Commercial property insurance
Commercial property insurance protects your property and your equipment from losses. It covers losses due to:
- Lightning strikes
- Water damage
It should cover you for losses of business income, should one of the above factors damage your property. Oftentimes, landlords will require you to have commercial property insurance before they will rent or lease a space.
Not only will commercial property insurance cover damages to the building, it will also cover your inventory and equipment.
Virginia suffers from thunderstorms, tropical storms, flooding, and hurricanes. Virginians will remember Hurricane Isabel in 2003, with winds clocked at 265 miles an hour. Since floods are not often covered by commercial property insurance, you should add it to your policy. Earthquakes in Virginia aren’t that common, but they do happen occasionally. It’s up to you whether it’s worth it to add earthquake insurance.
Business Owners Policy (BOP)
A Business Owners Policy bundles general liability insurance with commercial property insurance. Usually, they also include at least one other type of coverage, depending on the policy. Some policies include:
- Business interruption insurance
- Cyber liability
- Rented vehicles
- Equipment breakdown
- Employment practices liability insurance
Even if these are not included, you can usually add them. A BOP is a cost-effective way to get the coverage you need in one policy, giving you one less thing to worry about.
Professional liability insurance
If you provide services or advice in exchange for money, you probably need professional liability insurance (PLI). Sometimes this type of coverage is called malpractice insurance, especially when it refers to medical or legal professionals, and sometimes it’s called errors and omissions insurance, but it’s all the same thing.
PLI covers you if you make a mistake or neglect to do something that causes your customer financial harm. For example, if you’re a real estate agent and you fail to inform a buyer that the house is located in a flood zone, they could sue you. Even if the mistake was not intentional, you could still be sued.
Workers comp insurance
Businesses with more than two employees are required to have workers compensation insurance in Virgina. This included part-time employees, seasonal employees, temporary workers, minors, trainees and family members. If you are a contractor, your subcontractors count as employees.
Workers comp protects you, the employer, from having to pay medical costs and lost wages for injured employers who cannot work. It also protects the employees from having to pay for their own medical costs, and it helps by paying them for lost wages while they recover. Should the worst happen, workers comp will also pay death benefits to the family of the accident victim.
Workers comp is based on payroll. One way to save some money on workers compensation insurance is to by pay-as-you-go insurance, which is based on the exact amount of your payroll as opposed to sick employees, fired employees, or employees you haven’t gotten around to hiring yet.
Commercial auto insurance
Commercial auto insurance covers you if you are in an accident while using your vehicle for work. Personal auto coverage will not cover you if you use your vehicle for work-related purposes (other than commuting back and forth to your job). Using your car to run errands for clients, deliver goods, or driving to various sales appointments all count as commercial use.
Virginia law requires you to have at least 30/60/20, or $30,000 bodily injury liability, $60,000 per accident and $20,000 in property liability coverage. You also need liability coverage in case you are hit by an uninsured or underinsured motorist. The state law requires you to have at least $25,000 per person and $50,000 per accident uninsured or underinsured coverage.
If you want to cover damages to your own property and your own vehicle, you’ll need collision and comprehensive insurance.
Trucking companies need more insurance to comply with state and federal regulations.
Most businesses will want more coverage than these minimums, as the minimums are very low and won’t provide much protection.
Cyber liability insurance
Cyber crime is on the rise: damages from cyber attacks cost $6 trillion dollars in 2022. Another unhappy statistic is that 70% of small businesses are woefully unprepared for a cyber attack. Cyber liability insurance will protect you in the event of a data breach, malware attack, or ransomware attack. If you store things like credit card information, financial information, or medical records, you need cyber liability insurance.
Business interruption insurance
If your business had to close due to an emergency, how would you pay your bills? Business interruption insurance provides protection against financial losses if your business needs to close temporarily due to a reason listed on the policy.
That last part is important. Many businesses that experienced the pandemic of 2020 discovered that pandemics are not covered under business interruption insurance. Covered perils are usually things like:
- Falling objects
If floods or hurricanes or earthquakes are common in your area, you’ll need to add those as an additional expense. Earthquakes are not that common in Virginia but many areas are subject to hurricanes or even floods.
Which business insurance coverage do I really need in Virginia?
There are a lot of different types of business insurance available but not all of them are necessary.
- Most small businesses should get general liability insurance. It protects you from the most common lawsuits filed against small businesses.
- If you use vehicles for business purposes, you’ll need commercial vehicle insurance. It is required by state law.
- If you have more than 2 employees, you need workers compensation insurance. It is also required by state law.
- If you are in the business of providing services or advice to your customers, it is very likely that you will need professional liability, or E&O insurance, also called malpractice insurance in medical and legal fields.
Who needs business insurance in Virginia?
Most small businesses should get at least a general liability policy, workers comp (if you have employees), and commercial auto insurance (if you drive a vehicle for business purposes).
Below are some popular small businesses that buy insurance in Virginia:
|Hair & beauty salons||Nail salons||Barber shops|
|Pressure washing||Financial & investment advisors||CPA & accountants|
How much does business insurance cost in Virginia?
The average business in Virginia pays about $56 a month, or $672 per year, for a $1MM general liability insurance policy. The more types of policies you have, the more you’ll pay for insurance. The best thing to do is get quotes from at least three different companies, so you won’t pay more than you have to.
Below are the average costs in Virginia for different small business insurance coverages:
|Virginia business insurance coverages||Average costs|
|General liability||$56 per month|
|Business Owners Policy (BOP)||$129 per month|
|Workers comp insurance||$1.5 per $100 payroll|
|Commercial auto insurance||$113 per month|
|Professional liability insurance||$64 per month|
|Cyber liability insurance||$128 per month|
|Commercial property insurance||$112 per month|
Please keep in mind that these are just the average rates that hundreds of thousands small businesses pay in Virginia. Your rates will be different. Be sure to shop around with a few companies and compare several quotes to find the cheapest one for your business.
What factors affect business insurance costs in Virginia?
There are a lot of things that affect how much business insurance costs. Just a few include:
- Number of employees
- Years of experience
- Industry (higher risk industries pay more)
- Claims history
- Coverage limits
It’s like buying auto insurance, in a way: insurance companies weigh the odds of how likely it is you’ll file a claim and then set your rates accordingly. You pay your auto insurance every month, hoping that you won’t have to use it. Business insurance operates on the same principle.
How to find cheap business insurance in Virginia?
As mentioned above, the easiest way to save money on insurance is to shop around. There are so many factors that go into insurance rates, and some companies might weigh some factors more than others. For example, if you only have a year’s experience in your field, some companies might see that as more positive (no claims!) and others might see it as a negative (This kid has no idea what he’s doing and will make mistakes).
You can also bundle policies. Business Owners Policies bundle several policies together, so you save money. Even if you only buy one type of business insurance, you can usually bundle it with your homeowners insurance or your auto insurance to get a discount.
Choose a higher deductible–make sure you have the funds to cover the deductible if you need to, but this can reduce your monthly payments.
Develop a safety plan. Stress the importance of working safer and smarter, not harder. Post the safety plan where everyone can see it.
How to buy business insurance online in Virginia?
Figure out what business insurance you really need. Then, get some quotes.
Most companies will give you an online quote for at least general liability insurance. Take the time to gather quotes–it doesn’t take much time and it could save you hundreds of dollars.
You can save time by using an online insurance broker. They will present you with at least a few quotes and you’ll only have to fill out one form. Companies such as CoverWallet, Simply Business, and Commercialinsurance.net are good places to start.
Once you have your quotes, buy your policy. For many companies, you can do this online as well. Others require you to call to purchase insurance. Either way, it’s not that much time and it could save you money.