Things are looking up in Wisconsin! While the Badger state usually ranks close to the bottom on lists of the best and worst states to start a business, recently ratings have improved quite a bit. In fact, Wisconsin ranked 19th for startup survival rate in 2020. That means if you start a business in Wisconsin, your odds of it being successful are better in Wisconsin than they are in most other states. While your chances of being sued in Wisconsin are less likely than in some states, smart business owners know that general liability insurance is a must.
- 6 best general liability insurance companies in Wisconsin
- General liability insurance quotes online for small businesses in Wisconsin
- Is general liability insurance required in Wisconsin?
- Who should have general liability insurance in Wisconsin?
- General liability vs. Business Owners Policy (BOP) – what should you have?
- How much does general liability insurance cost in Wisconsin?
- How to find cheap general liability insurance in Wisconsin
- 3 industries with the cheapest general liability insurance in Wisconsin
6 best general liability insurance companies in Wisconsin
Many companies offer general liability insurance for small businesses in Wisconsin. After intensive research, here are the top 6 providers that we recomemnd.
- Simply Business: Best broker to work with to find low-cost coverage
- NEXT: Best for contractors and general contracting businesses
- CoverWallet: Best for comparing several quotes from top-rated carriers online
- InsurePro: Best for finding on-demand pay-per-day coverage at cheap rates
- Tivly: Best broker if you prefer working with knowledgeable agents
- The Hartford: Best for comprehensive coverage from an experienced and reputable carrier with more than 200 years of experience
Simply Business: Best broker to work with to find low-cost coverage
Simply Business is a broker specializing in small business insurance. They work with many carriers with a focus to help you find low-cost coverage that your business may need, including general liability insurance. They vet the carriers that they work with carefully to ensure that all of them have excelleny financial ratings.
- Easy to get and compare several quotes online
- Able to get quotes from A-rated carriers which you may not be aware of
- Knowledgeable agents that are available to help you along the process
- Quotes online are available for general liability and professional liability only
- Have to file a claim directly with the carriers
NEXT: Best for contractors general liability insurance
NEXT is a 100% digital carrier. They are new, founded in 2016, specializing in providing general liability insurance online for contractors. Working with NEXT is fast and easy. You can do everything completely online.
- Manage your policies online
- Easy online application process
- Writes their own coverage
- Limited specialty insurance types
- Limited customer service support during the buying process
CoverWallet: Best for comparing several quotes online from top-rated carriers
CoverWallet is another broker specializing in small business insurance. They work with a lot of top-rated carriers such as Chubb, Liberty Mutual, or Hiscox. They make it super easy for small businesses to compare several quotes from these top-rated carriers online.
- Get multiple quotes by filling out one form
- Manage all your policies in one “wallet”
- Wide variety of coverage types available
- They don’t write policies: they are a broker
- Quotes are not always instant and in certain circumstances, you have to call
InsurePro: Best for on-demand pay-per-day coverage at cheap rates
InsurePro specializes in finding short-term coverage for small businesses at cheap rates. If you don’t need the traditional long-term annual coverage, you may be able to save a lot of money with short-term coverage from InsurePro.
- Offers short-term and seasonal coverage
- One form generates three or more quotes
- Doesn’t offer all coverage types in all areas
- Must file claims through the insurance company (you can’t file a claim through InsurePro
Tivly: Best broker if you prefer working with knowledgeable agents
Tivly, or previously commercialinsurance.net, is another small business insurance broker. They have a network of knowledgeable and experienced agents. If you prefer working with an agent who has a lot of experience working with small businesses like yours, you should give them a try.
- Easy quote process
- Partners with many insurance companies so you can get the coverage you need
- No mobile app
- You can’t manage all your policies on the same website
The Hartford: Best for comprehensive coverage from an experienced and reputable carrier
The Harford is one of the oldest insurance companies in the world. They have been around for more than 200 years and serving more than 1 million small businesses in the US. They have an unparalleled reputation and ethical standards.
- Flexible coverage options
- Offers many types of insurance, making it easy to bundle (and save money)
- Rates may be more expensive than the other options on the list
- Must speak to an agent to buy insurance
General liability insurance quotes online for small businesses in Wisconsin
To illustrate how easy and simple getting online general liability insurance quotes for Wisconsin small businesses is like, we got quotes from four companies: InsurePro, Simply Business, Thimble, and NEXT. Below are three quotes for a small accounting firm with 5 full-time employees, $500,000 in payroll and 1,200,000 in revenue:
InsurePro general liability insurance quotes online:
Below is the quote from InsurePro. InsurePro also has the cheapest quote for the accounting firm located in Wisconsin.
Simply Business general liability insurance quotes online
Below is the quote from Simply Business. They only offer online quotes from Hiscox. However, they also offer quotes from another 3-4 companies on the phone.
Next general liability insurance quotes online
Here is the quote from NEXT insurance. This is also the second cheapest quote for an accounting firm located in Madison, Wisconsin.
Thimble general liability insurance quotes online
Lastly, we also got a quote from Thimble
Is general liability insurance required in Wisconsin?
General liability insurance is not required by the state of Wisconsin. If you lease or rent a space, however, your landlord may require it. The only policies that Wisconsin requires are commercial auto insurance (if you drive a vehicle for business purposes) and workers compensation (if you have three or more employees).
Who should have general liability insurance in Wisconsin?
Most businesses would do well to have general liability insurance. Since general liability insurance covers:
- Third-party bodily injury
- Third-party property damage
- Advertising injury
- Copyright infringement
Did you know that slip and fall accidents account for over a million emergency room visits every year? The chances that one of your customers will slip and hurt themselves are pretty high. Likewise, if your business visits people in their homes or on their property, you run the risk of damaging their property and having to pay out of pocket if you don’t have insurance.
What happens if you don’t have general liability insurance in Wisconsin?
If you don’t have general liability insurance and someone sues you because they slipped and fell while visiting your business, you will be on the hook for all their medical bills, and possibly lost wages as they recover from their injuries if they are unable to work. In case you haven’t noticed, health care costs are exorbitant in the United States, and this could easily bankrupt your small business.
General liability vs. Business Owners Policy (BOP) – what should you have?
A Business Owners Policy (BOP) combines general liability insurance with commercial property insurance. You’ll be covered for third-party injuries and property damage, and you’ll also protect your business property from damages from fire, theft, and vandalism. Depending on who you get a policy from, BOPs can include cyber liability or business interruption insurance. If they are not included you can usually add them. A BOPs is cheaper than if you got general liability and commercial property insurance separately, so they can be a good value if you own or rent property or have expensive inventory you want to protect.
How much does general liability insurance cost in Wisconsin?
As you can see, general liability insurance averages about $350 a year, or $29 a month (with a down payment usually due the first month). However, costs can vary widely, you may find you pay much more or slightly less. Below is the summary of Wisconsin general liability insurance cost from several companies:
|Companies||General liability insurance cost in Wisconsin|
|InsurePro||$22.88 per month|
|NEXT||$25 per month|
|Simply Business||$29 per month|
|Thimble||$41.83 per month|
This is just the average. You rates from these companies will be different. Be sure to shop around with a few companies or to work with a digital broker like InsurePro, CoverWallet, and Simply Business to compare several quotes to find the cheapest one for your company.
Factors impact general liability insurance cost in Wisconsin
There are many factors that affect how much you’ll pay for business insurance in Wisconsin. They include:
- Years of experience (yours)
- Business structure (sole proprietor, LLC, partnership, corporation, etc)
- Location (even within Wisconsin, some areas have higher risks than others)
- Size of the business
- Claims history
- Policy limits
The higher the risk in your industry, the more you’ll pay for insurance. Contractors usually pay much higher rates than, say, accountants.
How to find cheap general liability insurance in Wisconsin
The easiest way to save money is to shop around. Get quotes from at least three different companies. If you go through an insurance broker, try a few to get multiple quotes. For the investment of just an hour or two, you could save hundreds of dollars.
Choose a higher deductible. Just be sure you have that money available somewhere in case you need it.
Make sure you run a safe business. Have a safety policy and post it where everyone can see it. Don’t encourage your workers to rush, as this often leads to mistakes and injuries. Make sure floors are swept and equipment is picked up and put away.
Insurance agents sometimes get a bad rap, but if you find a good one, they can help you save money. They’ll steer you towards the insurance policies you need and tell you which ones you don’t need. You want to work with an independent agent, not a captive agent. An independent agent works with many insurance companies and can help you find the best price. A captive agent works for only one company and will only be able to sell you policies from that company: no matter how expensive they are.
3 industries with the cheapest general liability insurance in Wisconsin
The three industries with the lowest general liability costs are:
- Photo and video
- Information technology (IT)
- Insurance professionals
3 industries with the most expensive general liability insurance in Wisconsin
It will come as no surprise that the three most expensive industries to insure are:
- Construction and contracting – Learn more at the cheapest general liability insurance companies for construction and contracting businesses
- Cleaning services – Learn more at the best business cleaning insurance companies
- Landscaping – Learn more at the best business insurance companies for landscaping businesses
Cleaning services might seem odd, but since cleaning professionals go into people’s homes, there is a higher risk that someone will damage a homeowners property while they clean. That new floor cleaner strips the finish on the wood floor, or a cleaning professional trips over a Lego and breaks a priceless vase. Landscaping carries similar risks, except that professionals are out in the yard instead of in someone’s home.