Small businesses make up 98% of North Carolina’s business climate, and they employ 46% of the state’s private workforce. While North Carolina only requires workers compensation and commercial auto insurance, small businesses who work with the public should definitely consider getting general liability insurance. For one thing, North Carolina courts have rewarded large settlements to injured parties who sue small businesses. That can bankrupt a small business, so make sure you protect yourself. We recommend the following 5 best general liability insurance companies in North Carolina for your consideration.
- The 7 best general liability insurance companies in North Carolina
- What does general liability insurance cover in North Carolina?
- What doesn’t general liability insurance cover?
- Why small businesses in North Carolina should get general liability insurance
- How much does general liability insurance cost in North Carolina?
- What affects how much I’ll pay for general liability insurance in North Carolina?
- How to find the cheap general liability insurance in North Carolina?
The 7 best general liability insurance companies in North Carolina
After researching more than 20 companies offering general liability insurance in North Carolina, here are our recommendations of the top 7 companies for your consideration.
- Simply Business: Best for comparing several quotes online to find the cheapest coverage
- Next Insurance: Best for the entire online experience
- CoverWallet: Best for comparing online quotes from the top-rated carriers
- Hiscox: Best for an easy online quote
- The Hartford: Best if you want to be insured by a reputable company
- InsurPro: Best for seasonable workers who prefer short-term coverage
- Smart Financial: Best if you prefer working with experienced agents
Simply Business: Best for comparing several quotes online to find the cheapest coverage
Simply Business is an insurance brokerage specializing in serving small businesses. They understand that cost is one of the most factors when small businesses are looking for coverage. They work with several carriers with the goal of helping small businesses have access to carriers who usually offer cheap rates and have good financial rating strength, but not very well-known in the market since these carriers do not spend much money on advertisements. As a result, Simply Business becomes the best brokerage to work with if you want to look for the cheapest coverage for your business.
- Easy to get several quotes to find the cheapest one for you
- Good digital experience and knowledgeable agents that can help you understand the nuances
- Offer the most coverage a small business may need. They can be a good one-stop-shop for you to buy all coverages that you may need
- Great consumer satisfaction rating of 4.1 on Trustpilot
- If you prefer a particular carrier that they are not working with, you can’t have access to that carrier from Simply Business
- You have to file a claim with the carrier directly, Simply Business doesn’t handle claim filing.
Next Insurance: Best for the entire online experience
Next insurance generates quotes quickly, and once you have your quote, you can buy your insurance and manage your policies online as well. You can also save 10% when you sign up for more than one policy. They’ll recommend other business insurance they think you might need.
There are only 18 complaints about Next on the BBB, which is very few for a company this size. They also let you divide up your insurance into monthly payments with no extra charge (some companies charge for this).
- The best digital experience from quoting, purchasing, managing the policy, and filing claims
- Super fast and straightforward
- If you are a contractor, in any type of contracting business, NEXT is the only carrier offering quotes online
- Rates can be reasonable for industries which they are focusing on such as contracting, local businesses, or retails
- They may not have coverage for all industries yet
- Rates may be higher in some industries
CoverWallet: Best for comparing online quotes from top-rated carriers
CoverWallet isn’t really an insurance company; they are a digital broker specializing in business insurance. They collect quotes for you from the companies they partner with and present you with a few options so you can compare. The main differentiator of CoverWallet is that they only work with top-rated carriers. The only thing is, they won’t present you with quotes from any company they are not partnered with, so be aware of that.
This quote is for a painting contractor, exterior and interior work with three full-time employees.
- Easy to compare several quotes online from top-rated carriers in the market
- Great digital experience including managing the policy after purchasing
- You can trust that buying a policy from a carrier on CoverWallet platform is buying from a trustworthy and reliable one.
- CoverWallet also offers most coverages a small business would need, making it super easy for you to buy and manage all policies in one place.
- Rates on CoverWallet platform tend to be on the higher end since they are from top-rated carriers
- If you prefer a particular carrier that CoverWallet doesn’t work with, you are out of luck
Hiscox: Best for an easy online quote
It’s easy to get a quote from Hiscox: simply enter your name, what you do, what state you do it in and then answer a few basic questions and a quote appears. Most of the reviews say the same: they praise how quick and easy it was to get a quote and to buy insurance.
The only difference between this quote and the one above is that we said we only did interior painting for this quote and for the CoverWallet quote we said we did interior and exterior.
The Hartford: Best if you want to be insured by a reputable company
The Hartford is a reputable brand name in the business insurance industry. They have been in the industry for a long time and accumulated a lot of experience. So you can be sure that they will be there when you file a claim.
Hypothetically, it should be easy to get a quote from The Hartford. However, no matter what details we enter, no matter what business we say we’re in, it always comes back saying they can’t offer us a quote right now.
They offer insurance in all 50 states, so no matter where you are, you can get insurance through The Hartford. You can also get your home, auto and renters insurance through them if you like.
Although The Hartford posts raves reviews about itself on its website, other websites offer more moderate praise. They get a 3.1 out of 5 star rating on WalletHub (based on 381 reviews) on business insurance specifically, and the BBB rates them with a one out of five stars, based on 52 reviews. However, those reviews are a mix of home, auto and business. There are also 348 complaints, but again, these span all forms of insurance.
InsurePro: Best for seasonable workers who want short-term coverage
The great thing about InsurePro is that if you are a seasonal worker, or work only part of the year, you can get business coverage for just a week, a month, or even an hour. You can get unlimited certificates of insurance and add additional insureds at no charge.
They claim they’ll save you up to 30% on business insurance. Getting a quote is uber-quick: just enter what state you work in and what you do, and Thimble gets you an estimate. No name, no email address, no phone number. It’s great.
This estimate is also for interior and exterior painting, but we had to specify that our outdoor painting would be three stories or less.
- Best for small businesses who may prefer short-term coverage such as vendors, photographers, or catering
- Very competitive rates
- Great digital experience, fast quotes and online purchase
- Great online customer support
- Some insurance companies that they work with may not be well-known although they all have great financial strength rating
- Relatively new company and limited track record
Smart Financial: Best if you prefer working with an experienced agent
Smart Financial is another insurance brokerage firm. However, they believe that small business insurance is relatively complicated and small business owners need to have sufficient knowledge to make the final decision on buying their insurance policies. That’s the reason why they invest in agent staff. All of their agents are very knowledgeable and experienced in small business insurance. These agents are not commissioned on the sales, rather, they focus on helping on understand the coverage, your insurance needs, and making sure you get the right coverage at the lowest rate possible. Since they are working with carriers, they can help you get and compare several quotes as well.
- Very knowledgeable and experienced agents
- Offer several coverages that a small business may need
- Easy to get and compare several quotes in one place to find the cheapest one
- Limited online capabilities
- Some carriers they work with may not be super well-known although they all have good financial strength ratings
What does general liability insurance cover in North Carolina?
General liability insurance covers the following:
General liability insurance protects against business-related incidents that cause bodily harm to a third party. For instance, if one of your employees mistakenly drops on hammer on someone’s foot, this coverage should cover any damages. This coverage, however, only does not apply to employee injuries.
General liability can also protect you from any third-party property damage caused by your business operations. For example, imagine you break a client’s window while cleaning their apartment; this policy should cover the damages.
General liability insurance protects against liability for faulty products. Products are any goods that your company manufactures, sells, or distributes. This coverage protects a business if such a product causes physical injury or illness. For instance, if your customer becomes sick after buying infected food from you.
Personal and advertising injury
Your general liability policy may also cover any written or verbal communications that cause harm to a third party. This includes, among other things, libel, slander, malicious mischief, and copyright infringement.
For example, if your local competitor accused you of spreading rumors about their poor customer service. The company can sue you for personal and advertising injury if the competitor’s reputation and profitability are harmed. In such a case, general liability will cover you.
Which businesses need general liability insurance?
Whatever business you’re in, if you deal with customers at a physical location, it’s a good idea to have general liability insurance. Customers can trip over something and sue you for medical expenses. If you visit clients at their homes and you accidentally damage something, general liability insurance covers that, too. It also covers you if you are sued for slander or libel.
For example, you would think that if you do something like accounting, there is very little risk. But one of your customers doesn’t see a small wrinkle on the rug, trips, falls, and breaks an ankle. General liability insurance will cover her medical bills, and your legal costs when she sues you.
What doesn’t general liability insurance cover?
Although general liability insurance is an essential policy, it doesn’t cover everything that can go wrong. It doesn’t cover:
- Injuries to your employees: that’s covered by workers compensation insurance
- Damage to your own property: you’ll need commercial property insurance for this.
- Data breaches and cyber crime: you’ll need cyber security insurance
- Illegal acts
- Damage that you do on purpose
The first three are covered by different types of policies. Anything illegal and destructive is not covered at all.
Why small businesses in North Carolina should get general liability insurance
Getting sued is expensive. Lawyers charge $100 an hour and up. Then, too, you’ll have to deal with the emotional toll if someone sues you, not to mention that one lawsuit can bankrupt a small business.
Also, for some industries like general contracting or construction, clients prefer you to have insurance. Your clients wouldn’t feel comfortable signing a contract with you if you don’t have a general liability insurance policy in place. You don’t want to lose a contract before you don’t have coverage.
In addition, if you are a small business and provide services to bigger companies. These bigger companies always require their vendors to have general liability insurance before deciding to work with them.
General liability insurance isn’t too expensive, it is not worth skipping it.
How much does general liability insurance cost in North Carolina?
It depends on what sort of business you’re in, what you do, how much risk is involved, etc. The average cost of a $100/$300K general liability insurance policy in North Carolina is $32 per month or $384 per year. Most small businesses probably expect to pay between $300 and $5,000 a year, which is a wide range.
The cost of general liability insurance varies by company. Be sure to shop around with a few companies or a digital broker like Simply Business, Smart Financial, and CoverWallet to compare several quotes to get the cheapest one for you.
What affects how much I’ll pay for general liability insurance in North Carolina?
Many factors affect how much you’ll pay for insurance, below are a few main ones:
The industry of a business can affect the general liability insurance cost because certain industries are seen as riskier than others. For example, businesses in the construction industry may have to pay more for general liability insurance because there is a higher risk of accidents happening. Similarly, businesses that deal with baby and food products that could potentially cause harm to people may have to pay more for general liability insurance
If your business is located in bigger cities like Chicago will pay more for general liability insurance than their counterparts located in smaller cities of the state. That is because large cities have more people, and there are more chances that issues will happen there. Similarly, if you work in a city where the claims rate is higher based on historical data, you will pay more.
The number of locations, number of employees, and revenue
The more locations your business has and the bigger the location is, the more likely you’ll have customer injuries in your business’s locations, which could result in more lawsuits.
The more customers you have, the more revenue your business generates, the more likely your customers get injured at your business locations or their property is damaged due to your business operations, and the more likely they will sue. All of these lead to a higher rate for your general liability insurance.
The policy’s details: coverage limits and deductibles
A higher limit means you are getting better coverage. The maximum amount the insurer will pay you if an incident occurs. However, the higher your limits, the higher your premium. A typical general liability insurance policy in North Carolina has $100K/$300K coverage limits.
Your deductible is the amount you will pay from your pocket when the incident occurs—the higher your deductible, the lower the cost of your premium. But then, a higher deductible means you may pay more if an incident occurs.
Years of experience in business
New companies tend to pay more for general liability than giant corporations.
Your business’s claim history
Prior general liability claims are a major red flag for insurers. It tells the insurer that you are a risky business owner. As such, you will pay more to get their protection.
How to find cheap general liability insurance in North Carolina?
Below are a few tips to find cheap general liability insurance in North Carolina:
Compare several quotes to find the cheapest policy
The only way to find the best and cheapest quote for your business is to shop around and compare several quotes.
The mistake most people make is to do that once and stop. Even after getting the best bargain, you still need to find another one. Insurance companies frequently change their rates. So, when it comes time to renew, make sure you shop around again to find the best deal for your company.
Working with a top broker like Simply Business, CoverWallet, or Smart Financial is a good way to get and compare several quotes in one place.
Insurers always have discounts and offers for their clients. If they don’t mention it to you, you need to ask. Whether you’re buying online or through an agent, there is always some discount.
Good insurance companies always have a list of discounts on their websites where you can check if you qualify. Make sure you take advantage of any of those discounts available to your company.
Bundle the policies
Bundling policies can reduce general liability insurance costs by allowing the insurer to package the policies together and offer a lower price. If your business also needs workers comp and commercial auto insurance, you may want to bundle them with general liability policy.
Additionally, bundling can make it easier for the insured to manage their insurance coverage as all of their policies will be under one policy number.
Workplace safety protocols and practices
Safety protocols and practices at a workplace can affect general liability insurance costs in a few ways. One way is that if a company has a strong safety record, it may be rewarded with lower rates on its insurance policy. Additionally, if a company has implemented specific safety protocols and practices, this may also help reduce the likelihood of an accident or injury happening, and subsequently lower premiums. Finally, if a company experiences an accident or injury, having strong safety protocols in place may help to reduce the number of damages sought by the injured party.
Learn more at the cheapest general liability insurance companies
General liability insurance vs. product liability insurance
People may be confused between general liability and product liability insurance because there are similarities between the two policies. Both policies typically provide coverage for bodily injury and property damage. They both protect businesses from financial damages that may result from an accident or injury. They also both provide coverage for legal expenses incurred during a lawsuit.
However, there are several key differences between general liability and product liability insurance. The most obvious is that general liability coverage protects businesses from claims arising from non-product related incidents, such as slips and falls or accidental injuries, while product liability insurance covers damages that may be caused by a defective product.
Product liability insurance also typically has a higher limit than general liability insurance.
Knowing which type of insurance you need depends on the nature of your business. If you are a manufacturer, retailer, or wholesaler of products, then you will likely need product liability insurance. However, if your business does not involve the sale or distribution of products, then you will likely need general liability insurance instead.
You should be aware that many insurance companies include product liability coverage in their general liability insurance policy. However these policies are often not available to manufacturers, retailers, or wholesalers of any product. These companies will need a robust product liability insurance policy in place
General liability insurance vs. Business Owners Policy (BOP)
A business owners policy (BOP) is a package of insurance products that is designed for small business owners. It covers general liability insurance, commercial property insurance, and business interruption insurance. It is different from general liability insurance because it provides broader coverage for a wider range of risks. It is also less expensive than purchasing these policies individually. Business owners should buy a BOP instead of general liability insurance if they want to get the best coverage at the best price.
It is often advised that small businesses with less than 100 employees or $10M in revenue should consider a BOP, instead of a general liability insurance policy, especially if the small business operates out of a physical building that they need to rent or they own, which usually requires them to have commercial property insurance.
General liability insurance vs. workers comp insurance
The main similarity between general liability and workers’ compensation insurance is that they both cover injuries or damages that happen as a result of an accident at your workplace or by your business operations.
However, general liability insurance covers injuries that occur to people who are not employees, while workers’ comp insurance covers injuries that occur to employees. Most businesses need general liability insurance, but workers’ comp insurance is mandatory in all states, except Texas.
General liability insurance vs. professional liability insurance
Insurance companies offer two types of liability insurance policies: general liability and professional liability. General liability insurance protects businesses from any type of legal claim arising out of an accident or injury that occurs in the course of business. Professional liability insurance, also known as malpractice insurance, protects professionals such as doctors, lawyers, and accountants from claims made by their clients for negligence or mistakes made while performing services.
Most businesses should carry general liability insurance to protect them from lawsuits arising from accidents or injuries that occur in the course of business. For professionals such as doctors, lawyers, and accountants, professional liability insurance is a must-have to protect them from claims by their clients.
General liability insurance is a necessity if you own a small business in the tar heel state. Carefully consider how much coverage you need and then get quotes from at least three companies before choosing a policy. Consider customer reviews as well. You want a company with low prices that you can rely on.