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  • Business Insurance
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Best Small Business Insurance Companies for May 2024

NEXT wins with low-cost coverage and an easy application process

business insurance policy lookup

Small business insurance protects you from damages and lost income when the unexpected happens—whether it's a lawsuit, a natural disaster, or an accident. A good policy could save you thousands of dollars or more if you ever face such unhappy circumstances.

After extensive research, our experts found that Next is the best business insurance company overall because it offers a wide range of policy types and an easy online application process that lets you sign up in about 10 minutes.

To choose the best commercial insurance companies for small businesses, we evaluated 19 national and regional insurers on 53 criteria in the following categories: cost, quote and application experience, customer satisfaction, coverage, accessibility, and financial stability.

business insurance policy lookup

  • Best Overall: Next
  • Best for Independent Contractors: Hiscox
  • Best Restaurant Insurance: Huckleberry
  • Best for Financial Stability: biBERK
  • Best Budget Coverage: Thimble
  • Best Workers' Compensation Insurance: The Hartford
  • Best for Larger Small Businesses: Chubb
  • Highest Customer Satisfaction: State Farm

Use an insurance marketplace like Insureon to get matched to the best provider for your business.

  • Our Top Picks

Huckleberry

The Hartford

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Our Expert Picks for Small Business Insurance in Any State

What is small business insurance.

  • Types of Small Business Insurance
  • Pros and Cons
  • How Much Is Small Business Insurance?
  • How to Choose

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

  • Methodology

Best Overall : Next

Next Insurance

Next provides a way to get a wide range of affordable business insurance coverages entirely online in about 10 minutes. But you also have the option of speaking with a U.S.-based advisor in your area.

Offers a live certificate of insurance for easy sharing

Allows you to customize your business insurance policy with a variety of coverages

100% online quote and application with assistance available

Fewer specialized coverages than some other companies

Next offers a wide array of commercial insurance coverage types, which can be purchased online for same-day coverage. Next offers a business owner’s policy (general liability insurance and commercial property insurance), commercial auto insurance, workers' compensation coverage, professional liability insurance, tools & equipment insurance, and more.

The company also offers a variety of digital policy management tools, including the ability to share a live certificate of insurance and quickly add an additional insured, free of charge. Monthly payments are available, and eligible customers can save up to 25% with discounts.

Next Insurance has an A- (Excellent) financial strength rating with AM Best.  However, other companies offer more enhancements and specialized coverages.

Based in Palo Alto, California, Next was founded in 2016 and uses artificial intelligence and machine learning to streamline the insurance buying process. In November 2023, it raised $265 million in funding from Allstate and Allianz X—one of the largest rounds of funding raised in the insuretech industry that year, according to Crunchbase. The deals include a strategic partnership with Allstate to develop new commercial auto insurance products.

Best for Independent Contractors : Hiscox

Hiscox offers several solutions for freelancers that make the company our top pick for the best independent contractor insurance among small commercial insurance providers.

Customization options for independent contractors

Monthly payments with no fees

Offers short-term liability insurance for business

Higher than expected number of complaints with the NAIC

Hiscox offers a straightforward business owner’s policy (BOP) that can be customized with business interruption insurance, electronic data loss insurance, professional liability insurance, and more.

You can also choose standalone policies for professional liability and general liability insurance, and you can get either coverage on demand for short-term projects. Plus, Hiscox allows you to pay for your business insurance policy in monthly payments, which can help freelancers better manage their cash flow. 

Hiscox has an A (Excellent) rating with AM Best, indicating excellent financial strength; however, the company received somewhat more complaints than expected over the last three years given its size. This indicates that Hiscox may have issues with customer satisfaction, although the company did receive fewer complaints each year, indicating improvement. BOPs start at around $500 per year.

You can get a business insurance quote online or speak with an agent by phone. You can also file claims online or by phone. Claims services can be accessed online 24/7.

With roots dating back to 1901, Hiscox USA is based in Atlanta. It is part of the Hiscox Group, an international company with more than 3.000 employees.

Best Restaurant Insurance : Huckleberry

Huckleberry offers a suite of essential restaurant insurance and food business insurance coverages that are suitable for brick-and-mortar restaurants, caterers, food trucks, and more.

BOP policies underwritten by Markel and Chubb

100% online quote and application

Wide range of customization options

Doesn’t offer employee benefits packages

Huckleberry, which is a broker that works with Chubb and Markel for its BOP policies, offers a restaurant endorsement as an add-on to its business owner’s policy. It’s a bundle of food-specific coverages that includes spoilage coverage, food contamination insurance, and ordinance or law equipment coverage, among others. Plus, you can add workers' comp, commercial auto, and liquor liability coverage to customize your business insurance policy as needed.

Most policies are underwritten by Markel or Chubb. Both companies have excellent financial strength ratings from AM Best. Like Next Insurance, Huckleberry offers an entirely online quote and application process that allows you to get coverage for your small business quickly. And you can get a certificate of insurance online to share with clients in less than a minute.

Huckleberry’s BOP includes general liability, commercial property, and business interruption insurance at a reasonable price. For example, a BOP for a food truck starts at $42 per month.

Founded in 2017 in San Francisco, Huckleberry is now owned by payroll company Paychex, which operates the Paychex Insurance Agency.

Best for Financial Stability : biBERK

biBERK has an A++ (Superior) financial strength rating from AM Best, the highest rating available, offers a wide range of industry-specific coverages, and is backed by Berkshire Hathaway.

Backed by Berkshire Hathaway Group

Online quote and application

Excellent customer service reviews

Dozens of endorsements to enhance a BOP

Doesn’t offer group employee benefits

biBERK Business Insurance is part of Berkshire Hathaway Group, which has decades of experience in the commercial insurance industry. BiBerk’s underwriters are all rated A++ (Superior) by AM Best, indicating a superior ability to meet financial obligations to policyholders.

What’s more, you can get a quote and apply to receive coverage instantly, entirely online. Policyholders have great things to say about the service and coverage on third-party websites.

biBERK can meet the needs of most small businesses, offering many commercial insurance options, such as business owner’s policies, commercial auto insurance, workers' compensation insurance , umbrella insurance, professional liability insurance, and general liability policies. You can add risk-specific endorsements and industry endorsements to your business owner’s policy, such as liquor liability and cyber liability coverage as well. BiBerk BOPs start at about $500 per year.

BiBerk was founded in 2015 and is based in Omaha, Nebraska.

Best Budget Coverage : Thimble

Thimble Insurance

Thimble offers on-demand policies for general liability insurance starting at $17 per month.

Offers monthly and on-demand coverage options

Liability policies start at $17 per month

Offers event insurance

Occurrence-based policies

Excellent reviews on Trustpilot

Doesn’t offer commercial auto insurance

Thimble is a great option for small businesses that need quick, temporary, affordable small business insurance, particularly those looking to purchase coverage for an event or on an on-demand basis. The company’s business owner’s policy includes general liability, commercial property insurance, and business interruption insurance, and you can also add professional liability, workers' compensation, and business equipment protection. 

Customers on Trustpilot have great things to say about the ease of the application process. You can get a quote and purchase coverage online or in the app. Several reviews also pointed out that Thimble’s customer service team was communicative and responded quickly.

Thimble works with several different insurance companies, each of which has an AM Best rating of at least A- (Excellent). Thimble policies are occurrence-based , which provides more robust coverage than claims-made policies. You’re covered for incidents that occurred while your business insurance policy was in force, even if you’ve since canceled it.

Thimble, which has been selling small business insurance coverage since 2018, was bought by Arch Insurance in April 2023. Thimble is based in New York City.

Best Workers' Compensation Insurance : The Hartford

The Hartford has been around since 1810 and is one of the largest providers of workers' compensation insurance in the country.

Pay-as-you-go billing options

Access to a network of over 1 million providers

2nd-highest financial strength rating

Start claims online

Poor J.D. Power ranking

The Hartford is a top pick among small business insurance providers for the best workers' compensation insurance . The company provides a large network of doctors and nurse case managers to help your employees get healthy, and pay-as-you-go billing options.

When you choose to pay as you go, your premiums are based on actual payroll rather than estimates, which prevents overpayment. The Hartford also allows you to easily start a claim online. What's more, the company uses data analytics to provide injured workers with a toolkit to aid in faster recovery. 

The insurer has an A+ (Superior) financial strength rating from AM Best; however, the company was ranked below average in the J.D. Power 2023 U.S. Small Commercial Insurance Study.

The Harford is based in Hartford, Connecticut, and was founded in 1810.

Best for Larger Small Businesses : Chubb

Chubb is ideal for larger small businesses because it supports businesses with revenue up to $30 million and offers a very wide range of coverage options.

Supports businesses with up to $30 million in revenue

Few complaints relative to Chubb’s market share

Highest financial strength rating

Many enhancements to customize a BOP 

Must speak with an insurance agent to start your business insurance policy

Chubb is one of the largest carriers (by annual premiums) of commercial insurance and has a well-regarded small business owner's policy. The company has relatively high revenue limits for its small commercial business owner's policies and offers a wide array of customized endorsements for a broad range of industries.

You can enhance your business owner’s policy with electronic data liability coverage, professional liability insurance, a variety of property add-ons, crime coverage, equipment breakdown coverage , earthquake coverage (in certain states), and more. Workers' compensation, umbrella, commercial auto, and cyber risk coverages are also available.

Chubb can offer an instant quote, and policies are generated instantly, but you will need to speak with an insurance agent to start your coverage.

Chubb has an A++ (Superior) financial strength rating from AM Best and is ranked second for customer satisfaction in the J.D. Power 2023 U.S. Small Commercial Insurance Study.

Chubb Corporation dates its origins back to 1882. Chubb Insurance Group today is based in Warren, New Jersey.

Highest Customer Satisfaction : State Farm

State Farm is one of the top-ranked companies for customer satisfaction in the J.D. Power 2023 U.S. Small Commercial Insurance Study and offers coverage for virtually any industry.

Customizable business owner’s policies with many coverage options

State Farm has been meeting the needs of small businesses since 1935 and has superior ratings. The company has an B financial strength rating with AM Best .

It's also ranked second in the J.D. Power 2023 U.S. Small Commercial Insurance Study. NAIC data reveals that State Farm has had just slightly fewer complaints than expected for its commercial liability policies. But, you’ll need to talk to an insurance agent to get coverage. Some business owners may prefer handling the entire transaction online.

The company’s BOP covers commercial property insurance and general liability insurance, plus loss of income, equipment breakdown, and money and securities protection at no extra charge.

You can add professional liability to the package as well. In addition, you can get commercial auto coverage, workers' compensation insurance, and many more coverages. You can also work with State Farm to provide benefits for your employees, such as group life, disability, and health insurance.

State Farm was founded in 1922 in Bloomington, Illinois.

Compare the Best Small Business Insurance Providers

The size of your small business may dictate the type of business insurance you need and which insurance company is best for you. For a low-cost BOP and quick online coverage, compare quotes from Next, Huckleberry, and BiBerk. Independent contractors and event workers will be best served by Hiscox or Thimble. Consider The Hartford and BiBerk if you’re most concerned with workers' compensation. If you need extensive coverage, including an employee benefits package, you’ll be best served by companies like State Farm and Chubb. 

Keep in mind that you may have specialized coverage needs for your industry that a standard business owner’s policy doesn’t include. Some companies offer more enhancements than others. When narrowing down your options, ensure you choose a provider that protects your business from common risks in your industry. 

Business insurance, sometimes called commercial insurance, covers your business's assets and income in case of unexpected events during normal business operations, such as lawsuits, natural disasters, or accidents. There are many types of business insurance products, including coverage for property damage, legal liability, and employee-related risks, among others. A business owner's policy (BOP) includes general liability coverage, business property coverage, and business interruption coverage.

You may also want to add other kinds of coverage such as for commercial cars, errors and omissions, and key employees.

What Types of Small Business Insurance Are There?

To learn more, read our article on types of business insurance .

Pros and Cons of Small Business Insurance

Protects company assets

Safeguards employees

May fulfill legal or contractual obligations

May boost the company’s reputation

Exclusions, limitations, and availability issues

Documentation requirements

Adjustment and payment delays

Pros of Small Business Insurance, Explained

  • Protects company assets : Business insurance protects your company’s financial assets from losses resulting from damage to your property or third-party negligence claims. 
  • Safeguards employees : Workers’ compensation insurance pays the cost of medical treatment and lost wages for workers injured on the job. 
  • May fulfill legal or contractual obligations : State laws may require you to buy workers’ compensation, auto liability, or other types of insurance. Likewise, contracts you sign may require you to buy specific kinds of insurance, such as general liability or auto liability insurance. 
  • May boost the company’s reputation : When your business is insured, it’s a sign to customers and business associates that you care about your company and managing its risks.

Cons of Small Business Insurance, Explained

  • Cost: Business insurance premiums can be a significant expense, especially for a small company.
  • Exclusions, limitations, and availability issues : All insurance policies exclude or restrict coverage for some risks. Insurers may refuse to cover some risks you want to insure or they may limit coverage you feel you need. 
  • Documentation requirements : Whether you’re applying for new insurance or filing a claim under an existing policy, you must comply with the insurer’s documentation requirements. Some insurers’ requirements can be cumbersome.
  • Adjustment and payment delays : Once you’ve suffered a loss, you must file a claim and wait for an adjuster to assess the damage before making repairs. If the adjuster is slow to respond, repairs and claims payments may be delayed.

How Much Does Small Business Insurance Cost?

Investopedia's research into six insurers found that some insurers offer more affordable coverage than others, so you should gather quotes from at least three companies before you buy small business insurance. In general, a business owner's policy starts at $300 to $500 a year. The lowest premiums for professional liability also ranged from $300 to $500, and premiums for general liability insurance started at $200 to $400.

The price of a commercial insurance policy depends on several factors:

  • Industry or profession : The type of business you have impacts your amount of risk. A construction company,  garage , or restaurant will have many more liability risks than a  retail store  or office, for instance. Also, your business type may be required by law to have certain types of coverage.
  • Business location : Businesses in high-crime areas or places prone to natural disasters will likely pay more for commercial property insurance than those in low-risk areas. State regulations and whether you rent or own your space also help determine your costs.
  • Claims history : If you have a history of claims in the past, insurers may consider you a higher risk and charge you more.
  • Number of employees and customers : The cost of workers' compensation insurance is based on the number of workers your business employs. Also, if you have a large customer base, that exposes your business to more liability and property risks. 
  • Coverage needs : Choosing higher annual aggregate liability limits will increase your premiums, as will choosing a $0 deductible for your property insurance. 

How Do I Know If I Need Small Business Insurance? 

Whether your business needs insurance depends on the nature and size of your operations and the laws in your state. Most businesses need general liability insurance to protect themselves from third-party bodily injury or property damage claims. You should consider buying liability coverage if you manufacture or sell products, invite customers to your premises, or provide services at customers’ locations. 

If your business owns buildings or other property that you use in your operations, you should consider buying property insurance. A commercial property policy protects your business against physical damage to property by a fire or other covered peril. It may also cover income you lose as a result of the physical damage. 

Do you use cars or trucks in your business? If so, state law may require you to buy auto liability insurance . You’ll need to insure the vehicles under a commercial (not personal) auto policy. If you employ workers, state laws may require you to buy workers’ compensation insurance . And if your business involves offering advice or providing a professional service, you should consider buying professional liability insurance . Also called errors and omissions insurance , professional liability insurance covers third-party claims against your business for financial losses resulting from malpractice, errors, or mistakes you allegedly made while performing a professional service.

While the cost of insurance for a small business may seem high, the cost of a big lawsuit could dwarf those expenses. So be sure to weigh those risks when deciding whether you need coverage or not.

Expert Insight

“If you’ve just started a business and are wondering about insurance, don’t assume your homeowners or renter’s policy will cover your business activities. Check with your insurer. If you employ workers, you’ll probably need to buy workers' compensation insurance. You should also consider general liability insurance, which protects your business from claims involving slip-and-falls and other common workplace accidents. As your business grows and accumulates assets, you may need additional coverages like commercial property and business auto insurance.”

— Marianne Bonner , Investopedia insurance expert, consultant, and former commercial insurance underwriter

Small-Business Insurance News

Most small businesses have general liability coverage, but other types of insurance are less popular, according to a survey by Hiscox. The company said results showed that 75% of the respondents were underinsured. The 2023 Hiscox Underinsurance in Small Business Report surveyed 1,000 small businesses and found that:

  • 65% had general liability coverage
  • 45% had property insurance
  • 35% had workers' compensation insurance
  • 32% had professional liability insurance

Among those who had insurance, 68% said they bought it because they worried about the consequences of a claim. Only 20% said they got it because a partner or vendor required it.

How to Choose a Small Business Insurance Company

Here’s a step-by-step process for choosing the best insurance company for your small business:

  • Ask trusted colleagues, business associates, or other business owners for recommendations. 
  • Check online reviews of business insurers. This list is a good start, but check out reviews from several sources and compare the results. Look for insurers that rate highly in several reviews.
  • Consider market share rankings from sources like the National Association of Insurance Commissioners . While large insurers aren’t necessarily better, most have a long track record and are financially stable.
  • Review J.D.Power’s customer satisfaction rankings of small business insurers.
  • Consider your preferred method of buying insurance. Do you want to buy a policy directly from an insurer or through an agent? Do you prefer buying insurance online or in person?  
  • Once you have some insurers in mind, evaluate their financial strength by reviewing data from rating agencies such as AM Best and Moody’s Investors Services .
  • Get quotes from the insurers you’ve selected (or their representative agents) and compare the results. When deciding between insurers, consider the coverages, limits, deductibles, and other features each offers, not just the price.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is business insurance required.

Generally, business insurance is optional unless it’s required by state law or the terms of a contract. For example, many states require workers’ compensation insurance or auto liability insurance if your company owns vehicles you use for business. Or a business contract you sign may require certain insurance. Say you own an electrical contracting business. You sign a deal with a general contractor in which you agree to install electrical panels in a building the contractor is constructing. The contract requires you to have general liability, auto liability, and workers' compensation insurance in place before you begin any work.

What Does Small Business Insurance Cover?

A business owner’s policy includes general liability insurance, commercial property insurance, and, often, business interruption insurance. General liability insurance covers lawsuits when your business is responsible for harming a third party. Commercial property insurance covers damage to your building. Business interruption insurance helps replace business income after a covered loss.

What Does Small Business Insurance Exclude?

Small business insurance excludes anything that you don’t specifically buy coverage for. For example, if you buy a business owner’s policy, but it doesn’t specifically include business personal property coverage, you won’t get coverage for the items inside your office or warehouse after a loss. There are also some disasters that are not typically covered. For example, you’ll need an endorsement to cover earthquakes and flooding. Certain catastrophic events, like war, won’t be covered at all. Commercial policies also won’t cover a loss if it’s covered by another policy.

Do I Need Small Business Insurance If I Work From Home?

If you have a home-based business, you still may need business insurance. Your homeowners policy may not be enough to cover your business equipment, inventory, or data, so you may need a separate business property insurance policy. You'll also want a liability policy if you're sued for damages caused by your products, services, or advice. And you may need business interruption insurance to cover losses from a natural disaster, theft, or equipment breakdown. Finally, if you have remote employees, you may need employers' liability insurance to cover you if they get injured, sick, or die because of their work.

Do I Need Small Business Insurance If I Have an LLC?

Yes, you need business insurance to protect your limited liability company (LLC) from lawsuits and property losses. Your personal assets are protected from lawsuits against your LLC, but that protection doesn’t extend to the LLC itself. Suppose a customer is injured at your business premises and sues your LLC for compensation. If your business has no liability insurance, it will have to pay legal fees and any damages or settlements awarded by a court. 

Your LLC may also be subject to property damage losses if it owns buildings, equipment, or other property that is damaged in a fire, say. Your LLC will have to use company assets to pay for repairs. You can protect your LLC from unexpected losses by purchasing general liability and commercial property insurance.

What Percentage of Small Businesses Do Not Have Insurance?

According to a Next insurance survey, 29% of small business owners have no insurance. Women are more likely than men to lack coverage. The survey found that 35% of female business owners don't have insurance, compared to 25% of male business owners.

Is Small Business Insurance Tax-Deductible?

Small business insurance premiums are generally tax-deductible if the insurance is considered "ordinary and necessary" for your business. This includes premiums for liability, commercial property, malpractice, workers' compensation (when required by law), commercial auto, business interruption, and overhead insurance. Life insurance for officers and employees if you aren't a beneficiary is also deductible. And if you're self-employed, you may be able to deduct premiums for health, dental, and qualified long-term care insurance for you, your spouse, and your dependents.

Insurance Companies Our Experts Reviewed

We researched and reviewed 18 companies to find the best eight companies you see above on this list. The companies that didn't make it to our list didn't score as well as competitors on one or more of our criteria, including measures of quality, cost, coverage, and customer experience.

These are the companies we researched:

NEXT Insurance , Chubb Ltd. , CoverWallet , Thimble , Nationwide , biBerk , Hiscox , AmTrust Financial , Huckleberry , Insureon , The Hartford , Farmers , Geico , Travelers , Progressive , CNA , Liberty Mutual , State Farm

Guide to Small Business Insurance

  • What is business insurance?
  • What is business liability insurance?
  • What is a Business Owner's Policy (BOP)?
  • How much does small business insurance cost?
  • Types of business insurance
  • Best General Liability Insurance for Small Businesses
  • Best Commercial Business Insurance
  • Best Sole Proprietor Insurance
  • Best Business Owner’s Policy Insurance
  • Best Health Insurance Companies for Small Businesses

Why Trust Our Expert Small Business Insurance Reviews

Investopedia launched in 1999, and has been helping readers find the best small business insurance since 2020. We conduct extensive research to provide unbiased, comprehensive reviews to ensure you make the right decisions for your needs.

How We Choose the Best Small Business Insurance Companies

In order to compile our list of the best commercial insurance companies for small businesses, we developed a comprehensive methodology. To identify which companies and criteria to include in our review, we analyzed business and market insight databases, considered commercial insurance company market share, looked at search data from Google, and reviewed company product pages and agents' guides to assess important product features.  

With those findings in mind, we spent three months digging up information about 53 features on 19 insurance companies, including ratings for financial strength by  AM Best , customer satisfaction rankings in the J.D. Power 2023 U.S. Small Commercial Insurance Study, and individual customer complaints reported to insurance state commissioners and recorded by the  NAIC (National Association of Insurance Commissioners) . We also considered nationwide availability; whether an online quote and application are available; and policy-specific features, including claim limits, cost, and coverage exclusions.

The criteria determine how easy it is to procure a small business insurance policy from the company, the quality of that policy relative to its cost, and how likely customers are to be satisfied with the purchase process and their experience as a policyholder. We ranked each company according to the following categories and weights:

  • Quote and application experience: 25%
  • Plan quality and customer satisfaction: 15%
  • Coverage: 15%
  • Accessibility: 10%
  • Financial stability: 10%

Companies that make coverage widely available, have a streamlined quote and application process, offer robust features, and have strong ratings for financial stability and customer satisfaction topped our list. For more information, read our full small business insurance methodology

Next Insurance. " Business Insurance for 1300+ businesses ."

AM Best. " AM Best Assigns Credit Ratings to Next Insurance US Company ."

Crunchbase. " Small Biz Insurer Next Insurance Raises $265M ."

AM Best. " Hiscox Insurance Company Inc ."

NAIC. “ Hiscox Insurance Company, Inc .”

AM Best. " AM Best Affirms Credit Ratings of Chubb Limited and Its Subsidiaries ."

AM Best. " Markel Insurance Company ."

AM Best. " AM Best Affirms Credit Ratings of Berkshire Hathaway Homestate Insurance Company and Its Affiliates ."

Trustpilot. " biBerk Business Insurance ."

Trustpilot. " Thimble Reviews ."

Thimble. " Insurance Ratings ."

Arch Insurance. " Arch Insurance Acquires Thimble ."

The Hartford. " Our History ."

J.D. Power. “ 2023 U.S. Small Commercial Insurance Study .”

Chubb. " Business Policy Insurance Policy ."

Insurance Information Institute. " Facts and Statistics: Commercial Lines "

State Farm. " Product Growth ."

Businesswire. " AM Best Affirms Credit Ratings of State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company and Its Subsidiaries ."

NAIC. “ State Farm Fire & Cas Co National Complaint Index Report .”

Hiscox. " 2023 Hiscox Underinsurance Report ." Pages 3-4.

Next. " 90% of Small Business Owners Aren’t Confident That They Are Adequately Insured, According to Survey ."

IRS. " Publication 535 (2022), Business Expenses ."

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Business Owner’s Policy (BOP): What It Covers, How to Get It

Rosalie Murphy

Many or all of the products featured here are from our partners who compensate us. This influences which products we write about and where and how the product appears on a page. However, this does not influence our evaluations. Our opinions are our own. Here is a list of our partners and here's how we make money .

A business owner’s policy bundles three important types of business insurance — general liability insurance, commercial property insurance and business interruption insurance — into one policy. BOPs are designed for businesses with fewer than 100 employees or less than $5 million in annual revenue, though not all companies are eligible.

If your business has an office or storefront or sells physical products, a business owner's policy may be a good fit. It may not be the only insurance policy you need, though — you'll need to buy commercial auto insurance and workers’ compensation insurance separately if you have vehicles or employees.

» Ready to start shopping? Jump to our list of the best providers for business owner's policies.

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What is a business owner’s policy?

A business owner’s policy is an insurance package that combines several different property and liability protections into a single policy for small-business owners.

A BOP typically includes three types of insurance:

General liability insurance.

Business property insurance.

Business interruption insurance.

Who should buy a business owner's policy?

Any business that has assets, such as equipment or inventory, could benefit from having a BOP. A BOP also is important for anyone who has a brick-and-mortar business location.

Business owner's policies are typically available to businesses that have less than $5 million in annual revenue and fewer than 100 employees. In general, businesses in the following industries are eligible for BOPs:

Restaurants.

Contractors.

Grocery stores and convenience stores.

Landlords of apartment buildings.

Condo associations.

Wholesalers.

Warehouses.

In general, businesses in the following industries are not eligible for BOPs because of the additional risks they face:

Manufacturers.

Car dealerships.

Bars and pubs.

Banks and financial institutions.

Auto repair shops.

Amusement parks.

If you’re unsure about whether your business qualifies for a BOP, contact an insurance broker, who can help you understand what types of business insurance you need. You can also get quotes from insurance companies directly to see what coverage they offer.

What does a business owner’s policy cover?

A business owner’s policy covers the costs of defending your business against certain lawsuits, repairing or replacing damaged property, covering medical bills for injured customers and more.

BOPs provide these protections by including the following types of insurance, which most insurance companies offer in their business owner's policies:

General liability insurance

General liability insurance is the first line of defense for a small-business owner and is always included in a business owner's policy. General liability insurance covers the cost of defending against lawsuits alleging bodily injury, property damage or personal injury. It can also pay out to cover medical claims.

Anyone who owns a small business should have general liability insurance, or they take the risk of a lawsuit eating into their bottom line. You might even have to show proof of liability insurance when signing a contract or getting a small-business loan .

Commercial property insurance

The other main coverage in a business owner's policy is business property insurance . Commercial property insurance can protect the building that your business is housed in and your equipment or inventory. If your property is vandalized, stolen, lost, accidentally broken or damaged by weather, commercial property insurance will pay for the property’s repair or replacement.

Any business that owns or leases commercial space should have commercial property insurance. Most landlords expect their tenants to have their own commercial property insurance. You should also have this coverage if you manufacture products, maintain inventory or keep equipment.

Business interruption insurance

Most insurance companies also include business interruption insurance in their business owner's policies. Business interruption insurance covers lost income when your business has to temporarily slow down or stop operations after vandalism, theft or a covered disaster.

Business interruption insurance is a good idea for every business that has recurring expenses like payroll. If your business can’t generate revenue for a while, business interruption insurance will help you continue to meet your obligations.

What does a business owner's policy not cover?

The following types of insurance are not part of a standard business owner's policy:

Workers' compensation: Workers' compensation insurance, legally required for most employers, covers injuries or illnesses that employees experience in the scope of their work.

Professional liability: Professional liability insurance protects service businesses and professionals against claims of negligence.

Commercial auto policy: Commercial auto insurance insures you against accidents that happen while you’re driving for business purposes.

Flood and earthquake insurance: Small businesses typically must buy separate, specialized policies to cover flood damage and earthquake damage.

Employment practices liability: Employment practices liability insurance , or EPLI, guards your business against claims of discrimination, such as gender or race-based discrimination.

How much does a business owner’s policy cost?

The median cost of a business owner's policy is $53 per month or $636 per year, according to insurance marketplace Insureon.

But how much you’ll pay for a BOP can vary depending on a variety of factors, including:

Coverage limits: The coverage limits on your BOP directly impact the cost. Many small businesses purchase a $1 million/$2 million BOP. This means the insurer will provide $1 million in coverage per claim and $2 million aggregate over the lifetime of the policy (usually one year). However, BOPs are available with limits as low as $300,000/$600,000 and as high as $2 million/$4 million, and higher limits may be available depending on your insurance company.

Industry: Higher-risk industries with more exposure will pay a higher premium than lower-risk industries.

Value and type of property: For the commercial property insurance portion of your BOP, the cost depends on the type and value of the property you’re insuring. The higher the property value and the more difficult the property is to replace, the higher the cost.

Business location and age: The geographic location of your business and your time in business will also affect cost. Newer businesses generally pay higher premiums.

Size of business: The more employees you have, the more risk exposure you have and the more you’re likely to pay for a BOP.

Claims history: Insurers pay careful attention to your claims history when quoting you a premium.

Adding optional coverages will increase the cost of your business owner's policy.

Where can you purchase a BOP?

If you already have general liability insurance, property insurance or another type of coverage from a specific insurer, it’s a good idea to ask them if they offer a business owner's policy. You may then be able to get cheaper business insurance by opting for the insurance bundle.

Dozens of companies sell business owner's policies. NerdWallet recommends getting multiple business insurance quotes to find the right fit for your business. Consider starting your search with the following:

Chubb had the largest share of the commercial insurance market in 2021, according to the Insurance Information Institute [0] Insurance Information Institute . Top 10 Writers Of Commercial Lines Insurance By Direct Premiums Written, 2021 . View all sources . This insurer offers a business owner's policy with a variety of optional add-on coverages, including data breach and data liability insurance, as well as crime and employee dishonesty insurance. You can get a quote and buy a Chubb BOP online.

Who it’s a good fit for: Business owners who want to buy insurance online from a big, well-established insurance company. Read NerdWallet's review of Chubb business insurance .

Hiscox offers business owner's policies in 43 states and Washington, D.C. You can fill out a short questionnaire about your business’s insurance needs, and then you'll be able to get a quote and decide whether to purchase the policy.

Who it’s a good fit for: Shoppers who need other types of business insurance, like cybersecurity insurance , in addition to a BOP. Hiscox offers discounts of up to 5% if you purchase two or more Hiscox policies. Read NerdWallet's review of Hiscox business insurance .

State Farm sells insurance policies through a nationwide network of insurance agents. You’ll need to connect with an agent before you can get a quote and purchase a policy, but talking to an agent can be helpful if you want to understand the nuances of your coverage.

Who it’s a good fit for: Shoppers who also need professional liability insurance. State Farm offers the option for some policyholders to tack this coverage onto a BOP, which could make it a good choice for professional services businesses. Read NerdWallet’s review of State Farm business insurance .

Next is a commercial insurance startup that sells all of its policies online. You can buy a BOP as well as other common types of coverage, like workers’ comp and professional liability insurance, from Next. Next customers can access and share their certificates of insurance digitally.

Who it’s a good fit for: Shoppers who want an all-digital experience and don’t need highly specialized types of coverage, like directors and officers insurance. Read NerdWallet’s review of Next business insurance .

The Hartford

Like State Farm, The Hartford offers professional liability insurance as an optional coverage with its BOP. Policyholders can also tack on cyber liability insurance, which can help pay for expenses like credit monitoring services and notifying affected customers after a data breach.

Who it’s a good fit for: Business owners who want to work with an independent insurance agent. Though it’s possible to get a quote online and buy a policy through a representative of The Hartford, the company also works with insurance agents nationwide. Read NerdWallet's review of The Hartford business insurance .

Progressive

Progressive sells BOPs and other business insurance policies, but they may be underwritten by different insurance companies, not Progressive. This insurer is best known for commercial auto insurance, for which it had the largest share of the market in 2021, according to the Insurance Information Institute [0] Insurance Information Institute . Top 10 Writers Of Commercial Auto Insurance By Direct Premiums Written, 2021 . View all sources .

Who it’s a good fit for: Shoppers whose primary concern is commercial auto insurance. Read NerdWallet's review of Progressive business insurance .

A version of this article originally appeared on Fundera, a subsidiary of NerdWallet.

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Workers Comp

Worker who died was ‘uninsured motorist’ eligible for recovery: State high court

Jon Campisi

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A worker who died in a vehicle accident whose estate was barred from suing because of workers compensation exclusive remedy still should have been considered an insured in his company’s uninsured motorist policy, allowing the estate to pursue a claim in federal court, the Oklahoma Supreme Court ruled Tuesday.

The state high court was asked to certify questions from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit in a lawsuit by Nancy Anaya-Smith, next of kin to Michael Brian Smith, who died in a March 2020 accident while a passenger in a vehicle owned by his employer, Fixtures & Drywall Co. of Oklahoma.

Ms. Anaya-Smith, contending the co-worker’s negligence caused the accident, filed suit alleging the employer’s insurer, Federated Mutual Insurance Co., denied her uninsured motorist claim in bad faith and that its uninsured motorist coverage scheme violated Oklahoma law because it didn’t consider Mr. Smith an insured since he was not a director, officer, partner, owner or qualifying member of the company.

The employer’s insurance policy provided up to $1 million in liability coverage per accident. The company also had an umbrella policy with Federated Mutual that provided an additional $6 million in coverage.

All parties agreed the vehicle involved was a covered vehicle and the driver was an insured.

Ms. Anaya-Smith, who was barred from suing the employer under its commercial and umbrella policies, instead sought recovery of uninsured motorist benefits.

The high court said even with comp exclusive remedy, Mr. Smith should have been considered an insured under the uninsured motorist policy enabling Ms. Anaya-Smith to pursue her claim. 

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2 sisters sued their insurer after it offered $5,000 to fix their wrecked home after a storm. They won $18 million.

  • A jury awarded sisters $18 million in damages from an insurance company after their home was flooded.
  • The sisters sued American Reliable after being offered just $5,000 for repairs.
  • According to their attorney, the house was unliveable, with the heating system destroyed.

Insider Today

The home of two California sisters was badly flooded during a February 2019 rainstorm but when they filed a claim with their insurance company, American Reliable, they were offered just $5,000 for repairs.

Last month, a jury awarded the pair $18 million, after they took the company to court.

According to a ruling in the Superior Court of San Bernardino County, Jennifer Garnier and Angela Toft were awarded $6 million for pain and suffering and $12 million in punitive damages in a verdict reached by a jury on April 18, following a six-week trial.

The lawsuit said that the sisters' home in Pinon Hills was damaged during a large rainstorm on February 15, 2019, rendering it unliveable, as detailed in various news reports.

In a statement posted on Instagram, their attorney, Michael Hernandez of HHJ Trial Attorneys, said the damages caused electrical faults and destroyed the heating system.

Small cracks had started to form throughout, the defendants also claimed in the lawsuit.

The Los Angeles Times, citing Hernandez, reported that the sisters estimated they needed more than $100,000 to fix the damage.

Related stories

However, according to the ruling, an insurance adjuster offered just $5,000 for repairs, not including payouts for alternative living arrangements and personal property.

According to court documents reviewed by the Times, the plaintiffs argued that American Reliable delayed their home inspection.

The Times also reported that American Reliable admitted to an oversight in October 2023 and offered the sisters $140,000.

However, Garnier and Toft decided to proceed with the trial, which ultimately resulted in a jury finding in their favor.

"We argued that when you knowingly put a family in an uninhabitable home, you can't come back later and say you are not responsible for the consequences," Hernandez said in the Instagram post.

According to the ruling, the company claimed to Garnier and Toft that it only learned about the full extent of the home's damage while deliberating evidence for the trial.

The Times reported that Garnier and Toft were awarded $3 million each for emotional damages, $2 million in punitive damages from American Reliable, and $10 million in punitive damages from Global Indemnity , American Reliable's parent company.

Global Indemnity and American Reliable did not immediately respond to Business Insider's requests for comment. Hernandez directed BI to the write-up of the ruling.

Last year, Business Insider reported that insurance companies are finding new ways to make money, often at their clients' expense.

The feature, written by Jathan Sadowski, a senior research fellow at Monash University, highlighted how algorithmic systems are being crafted to optimize insurance companies' profits, leveraging AI's opacity to give them plausible deniability.

Tuesday, May 14, 2024: This article has been updated with additional details from the ruling.

Watch: Top takeaways from the massive Fox News settlement with Dominion

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The Possible Collapse of the U.S. Home Insurance System

A times investigation found climate change may now be a concern for every homeowner in the country..

This transcript was created using speech recognition software. While it has been reviewed by human transcribers, it may contain errors. Please review the episode audio before quoting from this transcript and email [email protected] with any questions.

From “The New York Times,” I’m Sabrina Tavernise. And this is “The Daily.”

[MUSIC PLAYING]

Today, my colleague, Christopher Flavelle, on a “Times” investigation into one of the least known and most consequential effects of climate change — insurance — and why it may now be a concern for every homeowner in the country.

It’s Wednesday, May 15.

So, Chris, you and I talked a while ago about how climate change was really wreaking havoc in the insurance market in Florida. You’ve just done an investigation that takes a look into the insurance markets more broadly and more deeply. Tell us about it.

Yeah, so I cover climate change, in particular the way climate shocks affect different parts of American life. And insurance has become a really big part of that coverage. And Florida is a great example. As hurricanes have gotten worse and more frequent, insurers are paying out more and more money to rebuild people’s homes. And that’s driving up insurance costs and ultimately driving up the cost of owning a home in Florida.

So we’re already seeing that climate impact on the housing market in Florida. My colleagues and I started to think, well, could it be that that kind of disruption is also happening in other states, not just in the obvious coastal states but maybe even through the middle of the US? So we set out to find out just how much it is happening, how much that Florida turmoil has, in fact, become really a contagion that is spreading across the country.

So how did you go about reporting this? I mean, where did you start?

All we knew at the start of this was that there was reason to think this might be a problem. If you just look at how the federal government tracks disasters around the country, there’s been a big increase almost every year in the number and severity of all kinds of disasters around the country. So we thought, OK, it’s worth trying to find out, what does that mean for insurers?

The problem is getting data on the insurance industry is actually really hard. There’s no federal regulation. There’s no government agency you can go to that holds this data. If you talk to the insurers directly, they tend to be a little reluctant to share information about what they’re going through. So we weren’t sure where to go until, finally, we realized the best people to ask are the people whose job it is to gauge the financial health of insurance companies.

Those are rating agencies. In particular, there’s one rating company called AM Best, whose whole purpose is to tell investors how healthy an insurance company is.

Whoa. So this is way down in the nuts and bolts of the US insurance industry.

Right. This is a part of the broader economy that most people would never experience. But we asked them to do something special for us. We said, hey, can you help us find the one number that would tell us reporters just how healthy or unhealthy this insurance market is state by state over time? And it turns out, there is just such a number. It’s called a combined ratio.

OK, plain English?

Plain English, it is the ratio of revenue to costs, how much money these guys take in for homeowner’s insurance and how much they pay out in costs and losses. You want your revenue to be higher than your costs. If not, you’re in trouble.

So what did you find out?

Well, we got that number for every state, going back more than a decade. And what it showed us was our suspicions were right. This market turmoil that we were seeing in Florida and California has indeed been spreading across the country. And in fact, it turns out that in 18 states, last year, the homeowner’s insurance market lost money. And that’s a big jump from 5 or 10 years ago and spells real trouble for insurance and for homeowners and for almost every part of the economy.

So the contagion was real.

Right. This is our first window showing us just how far that contagion had spread. And one of the really striking things about this data was it showed the contagion had spread to places that I wouldn’t have thought of as especially prone to climate shocks — for example, a lot of the Midwest, a lot of the Southeast. In fact, if you think of a map of the country, there was no state between Pennsylvania and the Dakotas that didn’t lose money on homeowner’s insurance last year.

So just huge parts of the middle of the US have become unprofitable for homeowner’s insurance. This market is starting to buckle under the cost of climate change.

And this is all happening really fast. When we did the Florida episode two years ago, it was a completely new phenomenon and really only in Florida. And now it’s everywhere.

Yeah. And that’s exactly what’s so striking here. The rate at which this is becoming, again, a contagion and spreading across the country is just demolishing the expectations of anyone I’ve spoken to. No one thought that this problem would affect so much of the US so quickly.

So in these states, these new places that the contagion has spread to, what exactly is happening that’s causing the insurance companies to fold up shop?

Yeah. Something really particular is happening in a lot of these states. And it’s worth noting how it’s surprised everyone. And what that is, is formally unimportant weather events, like hailstorms or windstorms, those didn’t used to be the kind of thing that would scare insurance companies. Obviously, a big problem if it destroys your home or damages your home. But for insurers, it wasn’t going to wipe them out financially.

Right. It wasn’t just a complete and utter wipeout that the company would then have to pony up a lot of money for.

Exactly. And insurers call them secondary perils, sort of a belittling term, something other than a big deal, like a hurricane.

These minor league weather events.

Right. But those are becoming so frequent and so much more intense that they can cause existential threats for insurance companies. And insurers are now fleeing states not because of hurricanes but because those former things that were small are now big. Hailstorms, wildfires in some places, previous annoyances are becoming real threats to insurers.

Chris, what’s the big picture on what insurers are actually facing? What’s happening out there numbers-wise?

This is a huge threat. In terms of the number of states where this industry is losing money, it’s more than doubled from 10 years ago to basically a third of the country. The amount they’re losing is enormous. In some states, insurers are paying out $1.25 or even $1.50 for every dollar they bring in, in revenue, which is totally unsustainable.

And the result is insurers are making changes. They are pulling back from these markets. They’re hiking premiums. And often, they’re just dropping customers. And that’s where this becomes real, not just for people who surf balance sheets and trade in the stock market. This is becoming real for homeowners around the country, who all of a sudden increasingly can’t get insurance.

So, Chris, what’s the actual implication? I mean, what happens when people in a state can’t get insurance for their homes?

Getting insurance for a home is crucial if you want to sell or buy a home. Most people can’t buy a home without a mortgage. And banks won’t issue a mortgage without home insurance. So if you’ve got a home that insurance company doesn’t want to cover, you got a real problem. You need to find insurance, or that home becomes very close to unsellable.

And as you get fewer buyers, the price goes down. So this doesn’t just hurt people who are paying for these insurance premiums. It hurts people who want to sell their homes. It even could hurt, at some point, whole local economies. If home values fall, governments take in less tax revenue. That means less money for schools and police. It also means people who get hit by disasters and have to rebuild their homes all of a sudden can’t, because their insurance isn’t available anymore. It’s hard to overstate just how big a deal this is.

And is that actually happening, Chris? I mean, are housing markets being dragged down because of this problem with the insurance markets right now?

Anecdotally, we’ve got reports that in places like Florida and Louisiana and maybe in parts of California, the difficulty of getting insurance, the crazy high cost of insurance is starting to depress demand because not everyone can afford to pay these really high costs, even if they have insurance. But what we wanted to focus on with this story was also, OK, we know where this goes eventually. But where is it beginning? What are the places that are just starting to feel these shocks from the insurance market?

And so I called around and asked insurance agents, who are the front lines of this. They’re the ones who are struggling to find insurance for homeowners. And I said, hey, is there one place that I should go if I want to understand what it looks like to homeowners when all of a sudden insurance becomes really expensive or you can’t even find it? And those insurance agents told me, if you want to see what this looks like in real life, go to a little town called Marshalltown in the middle of Iowa.

We’ll be right back.

So, Chris, you went to Marshalltown, Iowa. What did you find?

Even before I got to Marshalltown, I had some idea I was in the right spot. When I landed in Des Moines and went to rent a car, the nice woman at the desk who rented me a car, she said, what are you doing here? I said, I’m here to write a story about people in Iowa who can’t get insurance because of storms. She said, oh, yeah, I know all about that. That’s a big problem here.

Even the rental car lady.

Even the rental car lady knew something was going on. And so I got into my rental car and drove about an hour northeast of Des Moines, through some rolling hills, to this lovely little town of Marshalltown. Marshalltown is a really cute, little Midwestern town with old homes and a beautiful courthouse in the town square. And when I drove through, I couldn’t help noticing all the roofs looked new.

What does that tell you?

Turns out Marshalltown, despite being a pastoral image of Midwestern easy living, was hit by two really bad disasters in recent years — first, a devastating tornado in 2018 and then, in 2020, what’s called a derecho, a straight-line wind event that’s also just enormously damaging. And the result was lots of homes in this small town got severely damaged in a short period of time. And so when you drive down, you see all these new roofs that give you the sense that something’s going on.

So climate had come to Marshalltown?

Exactly. A place that had previously seemed maybe safe from climate change, if there is such a thing, all of a sudden was not. So I found an insurance agent in Marshalltown —

We talked to other agents but haven’t talked to many homeowners.

— named Bobby Shomo. And he invited me to his office early one morning and said, come meet some people. And so I parked on a quiet street outside of his office, across the street from the courthouse, which also had a new roof, and went into his conference room and met a procession of clients who all had versions of the same horror story.

It was more — well more of double.

A huge reduction in coverage with a huge price increase.

Some people had faced big premium hikes.

I’m just a little, small business owner. So every little bit I do feel.

They had so much trouble with their insurance company.

I was with IMT Insurance forever. And then when I moved in 2020, Bobby said they won’t insure a pool.

Some people had gotten dropped.

Where we used to see carriers canceling someone for frequency of three or four or five claims, it’s one or two now.

Some people couldn’t get the coverage they needed. But it was versions of the same tale, which is all of a sudden, having homeowner’s insurance in Marshalltown was really difficult. But I wanted to see if it was bigger than just Marshalltown. So the next day, I got back in my car and drove east to Cedar Rapids, where I met another person having a version of the same problem, a guy named Dave Langston.

Tell me about Dave.

Dave lives in a handsome, modest, little townhouse on a quiet cul-de-sac on a hill at the edge of Cedar Rapids. He’s the president of his homeowners association. There’s 17 homes on this little street. And this is just as far as you could get from a danger zone. It looks as safe as could be. But in January, they got a letter from the company that insures him and his neighbors, saying his policy was being canceled, even though it wasn’t as though they’d just been hit by some giant storm.

So then what was the reason they gave?

They didn’t give a reason. And I think people might not realize, insurers don’t have to give a reason. Insurance policies are year to year. And if your insurance company decides that you’re too much of a risk or your neighborhood is too much of a risk or your state is too much of a risk, they can just leave. They can send you a letter saying, forget it. We’re canceling your insurance. There’s almost no protection people have.

And in this case, the reason was that this insurance company was losing too much money in Iowa and didn’t want to keep on writing homeowner’s insurance in the state. That was the situation that Dave shared with tens of thousands of people across the state that were all getting similar letters.

What made Dave’s situation a little more challenging was that he couldn’t get new insurance. He tried for months through agent after agent after agent. And every company told him the same thing. We won’t cover you. Even though these homes are perfectly safe in a safe part of the state, nobody would say yes. And it took them until basically two days before their insurance policy was going to run out until they finally found new coverage that was far more expensive and far more bare-bones than what they’d had.

But at least it was something.

It was something. But the problem was it wasn’t that good. Under this new policy, if Dave’s street got hit by another big windstorm, the damage from that storm and fixing that damage would wipe out all the savings set aside by these homeowners. The deductible would be crushingly high — $120,000 — to replace those roofs if the worst happened because the insurance money just wouldn’t cover anywhere close to the cost of rebuilding.

He said to me, we didn’t do anything wrong. This is just what insurance looks like today. And today, it’s us in Cedar Rapids. Everyone, though, is going to face a situation like this eventually. And Dave is right. I talked to insurance agents around the country. And they confirmed for me that this kind of a shift towards a new type of insurance, insurance that’s more expensive and doesn’t cover as much and makes it harder to rebuild after a big disaster, it’s becoming more and more common around the country.

So, Chris, if Dave and the people you spoke to in Iowa were really evidence that your hunch was right, that the problem is spreading and rapidly, what are the possible fixes here?

The fix that people seem most hopeful about is this idea that, what if you could reduce the risk and cause there to be less damage in the first place? So what some states are doing is they’re trying to encourage homeowners to spend more money on hardening their home or adding a new roof or, if it’s a wildfire zone, cut back the vegetation, things that can reduce your risk of having really serious losses. And to help pay for that, they’re telling insurers, you’ve got to offer a discount to people who do that.

And everyone who works in this field says, in theory, that’s the right approach. The problem is, number one, hardening a home costs a fantastic amount of money. So doing this at scale is hugely expensive. Number two, it takes a long time to actually get enough homes hardened in this way that you can make a real dent for insurance companies. We’re talking about years or probably decades before that has a real effect, if it ever works.

OK. So that sounds not particularly realistic, given the urgency and the timeline we’re on here. So what else are people looking at?

Option number two is the government gets involved. And instead of most Americans buying home insurance from a private company, they start buying it from government programs that are designed to make sure that people, even in risky places, can still buy insurance. That would be just a gargantuan undertaking. The idea of the government providing homeowner’s insurance because private companies can’t or won’t would lead to one of the biggest government programs that exists, if we could even do it.

So huge change, like the federal government actually trying to write these markets by itself by providing homeowner’s insurance. But is that really feasible?

Well, in some areas, we’re actually already doing it. The government already provides flood insurance because for decades, most private insurers have not wanted to cover flood. It’s too risky. It’s too expensive. But that change, with governments taking over that role, creates a new problem of its own because the government providing flood insurance that you otherwise couldn’t get means people have been building and building in flood-prone areas because they know they can get that guaranteed flood insurance.

Interesting. So that’s a huge new downside. The government would be incentivizing people to move to places that they shouldn’t be.

That’s right. But there’s even one more problem with that approach of using the government to try to solve this problem, which is these costs keep growing. The number of billion-dollar disasters the US experiences every year keeps going up. And at some point, even if the government pays the cost through some sort of subsidized insurance, what happens when that cost is so great that we can no longer afford to pay it? That’s the really hard question that no official can answer.

So that’s pretty doomsday, Chris. Are we looking at the end of insurance?

I think it’s fair to say that we’re looking at the end of insurance as we know it, the end of insurance that means most Americans can rest assured that if they get hit by a disaster, their insurance company will provide enough money they can rebuild. That idea might be going away. And what it shows is maybe the threat of climate change isn’t quite what we thought.

Maybe instead of climate change wrecking communities in the form of a big storm or a wildfire or a flood, maybe even before those things happen, climate change can wreck communities by something as seemingly mundane and even boring as insurance. Maybe the harbinger of doom is not a giant storm but an anodyne letter from your insurance company, saying, we’re sorry to inform you we can no longer cover your home.

Maybe the future of climate change is best seen not by poring over weather data from NOAA but by poring over spreadsheets from rating firms, showing the profitability from insurance companies, and how bit by bit, that money that they’re losing around the country tells its own story. And the story is these shocks are actually already here.

Chris, as always, terrifying to talk to you.

Always a pleasure, Sabrina.

Here’s what else you should know today. On Tuesday, the United Nations has reclassified the number of women and children killed in Gaza, saying that it does not have enough identifying information to know exactly how many of the total dead are women and children. The UN now estimates that about 5,000 women and about 8,000 children have been killed, figures that are about half of what it was previously citing. The UN says the numbers dropped because it is using a more conservative estimate while waiting for information on about 10,000 other dead Gazans who have not yet been identified.

And Mike Johnson, the Speaker of the House, gave a press conference outside the court in Lower Manhattan, where Michael Cohen, the former fixer for Donald Trump, was testifying for a second day, answering questions from Trump’s lawyers. Trump is bound by a gag order. So Johnson joined other stand-ins for the former president to discredit the proceedings. Johnson, one of the most important Republicans in the country, attacked Cohen but also the trial itself, calling it a sham and political theater.

Today’s episode was produced by Nina Feldman, Shannon Lin, and Jessica Cheung. It was edited by MJ Davis Lin, with help from Michael Benoist, contains original music by Dan Powell, Marion Lozano, and Rowan Niemisto, and was engineered by Alyssa Moxley. Our theme music is by Jim Brunberg and Ben Landsverk of Wonderly.

That’s it for “The Daily.” I’m Sabrina Tavernise. See you tomorrow.

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  • May 17, 2024   •   51:10 The Campus Protesters Explain Themselves
  • May 16, 2024   •   30:47 The Make-or-Break Testimony of Michael Cohen
  • May 15, 2024   •   27:03 The Possible Collapse of the U.S. Home Insurance System
  • May 14, 2024   •   35:20 Voters Want Change. In Our Poll, They See It in Trump.
  • May 13, 2024   •   27:46 How Biden Adopted Trump’s Trade War With China
  • May 10, 2024   •   27:42 Stormy Daniels Takes the Stand
  • May 9, 2024   •   34:42 One Strongman, One Billion Voters, and the Future of India
  • May 8, 2024   •   28:28 A Plan to Remake the Middle East
  • May 7, 2024   •   27:43 How Changing Ocean Temperatures Could Upend Life on Earth
  • May 6, 2024   •   29:23 R.F.K. Jr.’s Battle to Get on the Ballot
  • May 3, 2024   •   25:33 The Protesters and the President
  • May 2, 2024   •   29:13 Biden Loosens Up on Weed

Hosted by Sabrina Tavernise

Featuring Christopher Flavelle

Produced by Nina Feldman ,  Shannon M. Lin and Jessica Cheung

Edited by MJ Davis Lin

With Michael Benoist

Original music by Dan Powell ,  Marion Lozano and Rowan Niemisto

Engineered by Alyssa Moxley

Listen and follow The Daily Apple Podcasts | Spotify | Amazon Music | YouTube

Across the United States, more frequent extreme weather is starting to cause the home insurance market to buckle, even for those who have paid their premiums dutifully year after year.

Christopher Flavelle, a climate reporter, discusses a Times investigation into one of the most consequential effects of the changes.

On today’s episode

business insurance policy lookup

Christopher Flavelle , a climate change reporter for The New York Times.

A man in glasses, dressed in black, leans against the porch in his home on a bright day.

Background reading

As American insurers bleed cash from climate shocks , homeowners lose.

See how the home insurance crunch affects the market in each state .

Here are four takeaways from The Times’s investigation.

There are a lot of ways to listen to The Daily. Here’s how.

We aim to make transcripts available the next workday after an episode’s publication. You can find them at the top of the page.

Christopher Flavelle contributed reporting.

The Daily is made by Rachel Quester, Lynsea Garrison, Clare Toeniskoetter, Paige Cowett, Michael Simon Johnson, Brad Fisher, Chris Wood, Jessica Cheung, Stella Tan, Alexandra Leigh Young, Lisa Chow, Eric Krupke, Marc Georges, Luke Vander Ploeg, M.J. Davis Lin, Dan Powell, Sydney Harper, Mike Benoist, Liz O. Baylen, Asthaa Chaturvedi, Rachelle Bonja, Diana Nguyen, Marion Lozano, Corey Schreppel, Rob Szypko, Elisheba Ittoop, Mooj Zadie, Patricia Willens, Rowan Niemisto, Jody Becker, Rikki Novetsky, John Ketchum, Nina Feldman, Will Reid, Carlos Prieto, Ben Calhoun, Susan Lee, Lexie Diao, Mary Wilson, Alex Stern, Dan Farrell, Sophia Lanman, Shannon Lin, Diane Wong, Devon Taylor, Alyssa Moxley, Summer Thomad, Olivia Natt, Daniel Ramirez and Brendan Klinkenberg.

Our theme music is by Jim Brunberg and Ben Landsverk of Wonderly. Special thanks to Sam Dolnick, Paula Szuchman, Lisa Tobin, Larissa Anderson, Julia Simon, Sofia Milan, Mahima Chablani, Elizabeth Davis-Moorer, Jeffrey Miranda, Renan Borelli, Maddy Masiello, Isabella Anderson and Nina Lassam.

Christopher Flavelle is a Times reporter who writes about how the United States is trying to adapt to the effects of climate change. More about Christopher Flavelle

Advertisement

Australian government investigating 'large-scale ransomware' data breach of script provider MediSecure

Cyber hacking

The ABC can confirm e-script provider MediSecure is the health organisation at the centre of the large-scale ransomware data breach announced by the national cyber security coordinator on Thursday.

MediSecure's website has been pulled, and the company has posted a statement saying it has identified a cyber security incident impacting "the personal and health information of individuals".

A MediSecure spokesperson said it was too early to respond to detailed questions about the nature and extent of the incident but added that "a lot of investigation work is being conducted". 

The company is a prescription exchange service, which facilitates electronic prescribing and dispensing of prescriptions.

In a statement, the company said it has "taken immediate steps to mitigate any potential impact on our systems", and believed the incident originated from a third-party vendor.

"MediSecure takes its legal and ethical obligations seriously and appreciates this information will be of concern," it said.

"MediSecure is actively assisting the Australian Digital Health Agency and the national cyber security coordinator to manage the impacts of the incident."

MediSecure was one of two companies awarded contracts by the federal government to provide PBS e-script services until late last year, when the tender was granted exclusively to another company, eRx.

In October last year, the ACCC granted authorisation for MediSecure to transfer all publicly- funded electronic prescriptions and data to eRx.

MediSecure said at the time it would remain in the market providing private prescriptions. It's unclear what data has been compromised and over what time period.

Earlier, national cyber security coordinator Michelle McGuinness was unable to share what company had been affected.

"I am working with agencies across the Australian government, states and territories to coordinate a whole-of-government response to this incident," Lieutenant-General McGuinness said in a statement on social media platform X.

"We are in the very preliminary stages of our response and there is limited detail to share at this stage, but I will continue to provide updates as we progress while working closely with the affected commercial organisation to address the impacts caused by the incident."

The organisation is also working with the Australian Federal Police.

Cyber Security Minister Clare O'Neil says she was briefed on the breach, and the government had convened a national coordination mechanism.

"Updates will be provided in due course," she said on social media platform X.

"Speculation at this stage risks undermining significant work underway to support the company's response."

Australian Medical Association president Steve Robson said the organisation is seeking urgent briefings on the incident.

"There needs to be a thorough and transparent investigation, backed by clear and consistent communication to the public and profession," Professor Robson said.

"These are critical to maintaining community trust in the electronic systems that are now integral to the functioning of our health system."

In October 2022, Medibank revealed hackers accessed the personal data of all customers across its Medibank, ahm and OSHC brands, affecting millions of Australians.

  • X (formerly Twitter)

Related Stories

Firstmac customer data including driver's license numbers and banking details exposed in cyber attack.

Hacker in front of the computer

Medibank says nearly 10 million current and former customers affected by data breach

Sign on a Medibank building in Sydney on June 9, 2011.

  • Government and Politics

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  1. 17 Types Of Commercial Insurance (Easily Explained)

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  2. Business Insurance Policy Declarations

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  3. 6 Business Insurance Policies You Need as a Consultant

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  5. Small Business Insurance: What It Is and What It Covers

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  6. Business Insurance Policy Declarations

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