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Are you a small business owner in the Tar Heel State? If so, then it’s probably a good idea to get North Carolina business insurance.
There’s a lot of information online, but some of it can be fairly confusing. Fortunately, at Simply Business, we can give you a soup to nuts overview of business insurance in North Carolina. That’s because we’re a top online business insurance platform and we have a team of insurance experts at the ready.
In this article, we’ll cover most of the ins and outs of general liability insurance, professional liability insurance, workers compensation, and more — all specific to North Carolina.
Are you ready to roll up your sleeves and learn more about your state’s business insurance requirements? Then let’s go!
You may have heard the term, “general liability insurance.” Maybe you’ve even purchased a policy in the past. But how much do you really know about getting this type of insurance in North Carolina? If it’s not a lot, don’t worry. We have the scoop right here.
General liability insurance is coverage that can help protect you and your business from financial harm typically if there’s a:
In fact, general liability insurance can be a very important policy to purchase, especially if you work in construction or any industry where accidents and injuries may occur.
And let’s face it — an accident can happen almost anywhere.
General liability insurance can help cover the costs of some of the most expensive claims that small business owners may face.
For example, consider a reputational harm claim. This one can be pricey, to say the least. It usually happens when someone says their reputation was harmed by your business (as in cases of libel or slander) — and it can cost a business an average of $50,000!
Fortunately, general liability insurance can help protect you if you face this type of claim, or others that GL insurance covers. In most cases, you would just pay up to your deductible, and your policy may be able to cover the rest of the costs.
Here are a few other ways that North Carolina general liability insurance can typically protect your business:
Let’s say you’re a bit tired, and as a result, you clumsily knock over a client’s laptop. It was an accident, but now you’re on the hook to pay for a new computer. Fortunately, your policy can help cover some or all of the costs.
You’re power-washing a home to prepare for a big paint job when your customer steps outside and trips over your equipment. If they’re injured, your general liability policy can help pay for any medical bills and legal fees.
One of your clients accuses you of slander, but you’ve done nothing wrong. To protect yourself, you need to hire a defense lawyer. Your general liability insurance policy can help cover the cost of hiring a lawyer and other legal fees.
In North Carolina, a general liability insurance policy usually isn’t required for small business owners. But it’s highly recommended.
That said, if you’re a general contractor and getting a license, ask an insurance agent. You may have to secure general liability insurance in order to get your North Carolina contractor license depending on your trade and location.
Do you offer advisory services to clients? Marketing consultants, accountants, financial advisors — that’s you.
Then you probably need to get a professional liability insurance policy as well.
A North Carolina professional liability insurance policy can help protect your business financially if someone accuses you of negligence in your job.
Here’s an example. Let’s say you’re a financial advisor and make an error when managing a client’s investments. As a result, your client loses a lot of money.
Or maybe you offer marketing consulting services and execute a campaign that damages a customer’s brand.
Your North Carolina professional liability insurance can step in to help cover the costs of a lawsuit, up to your policy limit.
If you’re one of the following professionals, it’s typically a good idea to get this type of insurance:
In North Carolina, professional liability insurance isn’t typically required by law. But it’s highly recommended. Mistakes can happen to any business owner, so it’s important to have financial protection, especially if you offer advice or consulting services.
Plus, a customer can accuse you of negligence at any time, even if you’ve done nothing wrong. You’d be surprised at how often small business owners face lawsuits. In fact, 36% to 53% of small businesses face lawsuits each year. If you face a lawsuit, you'll want professional liability insurance to help cover the cost of a lawyer.
Here’s a policy that is required in North Carolina — workers compensation insurance. If you are a sole proprietor or own a partnership, LLC, estate, or trust, you’re legally required to have workers compensation insurance if you have three or more employees.
If your business is incorporated, you typically need to have coverage when there are three people in the corporation (including the corporate officers).
There are a few exceptions, of course. In North Carolina, agricultural businesses need to carry workers compensation when they have 10 or more regular, nonseasonal workers. It can get confusing, but don’t worry. We’ll talk more about workers compensation insurance later on in this article.
For now, if you have specific questions, you can always contact:
NC Industrial Commission Workers’ Compensation 430 North Salisbury Street Raleigh, NC 27611 800-688-8349
When you think of North Carolina business insurance, you may not think of your car first. But if you use a car, van, truck, or tractor for your business — even if you’re just traveling back and forth to job sites, you are required to have commercial auto insurance.
If you use your personal vehicle for your business, you likely need to get a separate commercial auto insurance policy too. That’s because your personal auto policy won’t necessarily cover the costs of an accident if it happens while you’re on the job.
In North Carolina, here’s how commercial auto insurance typically works:
The minimum coverage that’s required is called 30/60/25. This includes $30,000 of coverage for bodily injury (one person), up to $60,000 for bodily injury (two or more people). It also includes $25,000 of property damage coverage for each accident.
Commercial auto insurance rates can vary. Insurers usually look at employees’ driving records and experience to determine the best rate. They also consider the condition of the vehicles, if loading and unloading is to be done, and hazards along routes.
Some insurers offer safety programs and other incentives to help reduce commercial auto insurance rates. It helps to shop around and compare multiple quotes.
Once you secure base coverage, whether it’s a general liability policy, professional liability policy, or a combination of the two, you may want to explore getting additional insurance to ensure you’re fully protected.
Fire and extended coverage: A fire can happen to any business at any time. That’s why you may want to purchase fire and extended coverage to protect your business, especially if you own a restaurant or another type of business where there’s a higher risk for fire.
Your coverage will depend on your building’s construction, contents, equipment, and even your emergency planning procedures.
Business interruption: If your business is damaged, you may need to close it down to rebuild. In the meantime, employees may quit, and customers may start shopping elsewhere. It’s an unfortunate reality, and along the way, you still need to pay taxes and utilities.
Business interruption insurance can help you stay afloat when times are tough. It’s a worthwhile protection to ensure that your business doesn’t close permanently.
Excess and umbrella: Think you may need more insurance than your policy offers? You can always purchase excess and umbrella coverage. These types of policies can cover a gap or extend your insurance, so it pays for even larger expenses.
If you ever face a major claim, you may need excess and umbrella coverage in addition to your general liability insurance.
Flood and earthquake: A flood can happen anywhere. Same with an earthquake, although some regions are more susceptible than others. If you live in an area that’s near water or on a fault line, you may want to inquire about flood and earthquake coverage.
You can purchase earthquake insurance from most property insurers, but you’ll likely need to buy flood insurance from the National Flood Insurance Program.
Inland marine: Nope, this policy isn’t designed for boat owners. It’s actually insurance that covers property in transit. Just think, what would happen if your goods were lost or damaged enroute to your business? Without inland marine insurance, you could lose thousands of dollars.
Ready to learn more about North Carolina business insurance?
Check out our quote comparison tool to get free business insurance quote options from leading insurers across the nation. Then buy the best one that works for your business — in just 10 minutes or less. If you have questions, call 855-528-0042 and speak with a licensed insurance agent.Get your quote
As we mentioned, if you have three or more employees, the North Carolina Workers’ Compensation Act (NCWCA) requires you to carry workers compensation insurance. It’s designed to protect your employees and your business too.
If an employee were to sustain an injury on the job, insurance will help pay for their lost wages and medical bills — it’s not on you.
There are a few exceptions to this rule, of course. If your business involves working with radiation, you must carry workers compensation insurance, no matter how many employees work for you.
If you’re a sawmill and logging operator, you don’t need to carry workers compensation insurance if you:
Here’s the last exception to the rule — if you’re in the agricultural business, you don’t need to carry workers compensation insurance unless:
Look, it can get pretty confusing. Fortunately, the North Carolina Industrial Commission has a dedicated help line where you can ask questions. If you’re still unsure if you need to get workers compensation or not, call their help line at 800-688-8349.
Most importantly, you should know what workers compensation covers. In general, most North Carolina workers compensation policies can help pay for the cost of:
Medical bills: This usually includes the cost of doctor appointments and hospital visits, medications, and other treatments, like physical therapy.
Lost wages: If an employee is unable to work due to an injury, workers compensation can help cover part of their lost salary. The amount that a worker is paid usually depends on the type and severity of the disability.
Job rehabilitation: Workers compensation can even help employees learn new job skills if they’re unable to return to their previous career.
Death benefits: Finally, if an employee passes away while on the job, workers compensation may pay their spouse and children death benefits to help cover burial expenses and more.
There isn’t a one-size-fits-all answer to this question. The cost of North Carolina business insurance can vary greatly, depending on many things like what you do, how many employees you have, and where you work.
Plus, the type of coverage you choose — and how much insurance you purchase — can impact your premium.
But if you’re just looking for a ballpark figure for an essential policy, like general liability insurance, we can help. At Simply Business, we have general liability insurance quotes as low as $25.95/month.*
On a budget? It’s a good idea to use our online tool to compare a few quote options. Check out policies from a few different insurers and then decide how to best protect your company.
You’ve made it this far, so you’re probably feeling ready to buy your North Carolina business insurance policy. But where to begin?
Fortunately, business insurance is now easier than ever to access. Online platforms, like Simply Business, let you quickly compare policies and put together insurance packages that truly meet the needs of your business.
Ready to start shopping? Here are a few tips for finding a policy, whether it’s general liability, professional liability, or workers compensation insurance:
Pinpoint your business’s biggest risks and write them down. To get the right policy, you’ll want to know what issues to cover.
Call local business owners in your industry to ask what policies they carry. It’s a great opportunity to connect with nearby competitors.
Find out which policies you’re required to have. For most business owners, that’s usually at least workers compensation. Remember, we’re here to point you in the right direction, but you need to dot your i’s and cross your t’s by doing your own research. Also, the information included in this article is as of the date published and could change going forward so it is important for you to stay updated in your specific region.
Find a few different policies on an online insurance marketplace. It’s one of the best ways to learn what’s available and how much they cost.
Talk to a licensed insurance agent if you have questions. Insurance can be confusing, but Simply Business licensed agents are here to help.
Look at your budget and decide if you should pay annual or monthly premiums.
Request a Certificate of Insurance (COI) when you purchase your business insurance policy. This document is proof that you have insurance coverage if an incident occurs.
Want more helpful tips? Head over to our easy guide on how to get business insurance.
Congratulations — if you purchased business insurance in North Carolina, you just made a smart move. Your policy can help protect your business financially under some of the worst circumstances.Get your quote
*Monthly payment calculations (i) do not include initial premium down payment and (ii) may vary by state, insurance provider, and nature of your business. Averages based on January - December 2020 data of 10% of our total policies sold.
This content is intended to be used for informational purposes only. It is not intended to provide legal, tax, accounting, investment, or any other form of professional advice.
*Harborway Insurance policies are underwritten by Spinnaker Insurance Company and reinsured by Munich Re, an A+ (Superior) rated insurance carrier by AM Best. Harborway Insurance is a brand name of Harborway Insurance Agency, LLC, a licensed insurance producer in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. California license #6004217.