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Virginia is for lovers — and for small business owners. As of 2020, 99.5% of all businesses in Virginia were small businesses. So if you’re a small business owner in Virginia, you’re in good company.
With so many small businesses, there’s also a lot of information to dig through about getting business insurance. We know, it can be confusing!
Fortunately, at Simply Business, we’ve sorted through the numerous facts for you, so you don’t have to spend hours researching insurance requirements in Virginia. All you have to do is follow along, and you may be well on your way to getting insured.
Ready to get started?
Ever heard of Virginia general liability insurance? Chances are, you have. That’s because general liability insurance is usually the first policy that entrepreneurs buy to protect their businesses.
General liability insurance is designed to cover you financially if you or one of your employees causes an injury, accident, or property damage to a third-party while working. It also can help cover the cost of a reputational harm lawsuit involving libel or slander. Specifically, you can expect most general liability insurance policies to cover third-party:
Many of the above claims can be costly. Take a reputational harm claim, for example. This occurs when someone accuses you of harming their name or character (even if you believe you didn’t). A reputational harm claim can cost up to $50,000!
Here’s the hard truth. Lawsuits are very common, especially in today’s world. Without insurance, you could end up paying damage and legal fees on your own. For most small business owners, this cost could be enough to put their businesses under water.
Fortunately, general liability insurance in Virginia may help. It can typically protect you financially if you face a reputational harm claim or another costly incident. All you have to do is pay up to your deductible, then your insurance may cover the rest, up to a certain amount, depending on your policy limit.
Here are a few specific examples of general liability insurance in action:
Let’s say you’re in a meeting and you spill coffee on your client’s brand-new (and pricey) laptop. If your client demands a replacement, your general liability insurance may help cover the costs to replace or repair the laptop.
Imagine you own a construction company and you’re working on a homeowner’s house. The homeowner accidentally trips and falls on company equipment, and now you’re on the hook to pay their resulting medical bills. Fortunately, Virginia general liability insurance may help cover costs related to the injury (up to your policy limit).
You open the mail, and you’re shocked to see that a client is suing you for reputational harm. You’re convinced you didn’t say anything slanderous about the client! With general liability insurance, though, you can get help paying for a lawyer and the resulting claim.
Keep in mind, the state of Virginia doesn’t require you to carry general liability insurance. But it’s highly recommended, especially if you’re a general contractor or you work in another profession that requires you to have a license. You may even need to show a certificate of insurance (COI) before you can obtain your license to work.
The bottom line — if you think a customer could get injured on the job, or if property damage could happen, you should strongly consider purchasing general liability insurance. You don’t want to be caught without coverage when you’re most in need.
At Simply Business, we make it easy to find an affordable general liability insurance policy. Some GL policy options are as low as $25.95/month.*
Ready to get a Virginia business insurance policy today? Check out Simply Business’s quote comparison tool, or call one of our licensed insurance agents at 855-560-1439. Our website can help you get a free quote from leading insurers in just 10 minutes or less. We promise, it’s easy.Get your quote
If you offer professional advice or consulting to clients on a regular basis, you probably need professional liability insurance in Virginia. This type of policy works a little differently than general liability insurance. Here, we’ll explain.
Professional liability insurance can help protect you financially if someone accuses you of negligence on the job. Even if you think you would never make a mistake, the truth is, errors can happen to anyone.
You also can be sued, even if you’ve done nothing wrong. In fact, over 100 million lawsuits are filed every year in the U.S. It would be so unfortunate to make an innocent mistake and have to pay out of your own pocket for damage. Insurance may help protect you from this scenario.
Remember, certain professionals are more likely to be involved in negligence lawsuits than others. We highly recommend purchasing Virginia professional liability insurance if you work in higher-risk professions, such as a:
In Virginia, professional liability insurance isn’t required by law but we still highly recommended it. Be advised that the average cost of a business lawsuit starts at $54,000! Don’t leave your business financially vulnerable. Get a PL policy today.
Now here’s a business insurance policy that is required by law in Virginia — workers compensation insurance. As a general rule, if you have three or more employees, you need to protect them with workers compensation, or you could pay hefty fines.
Workers compensation is important, as it’s designed to help protect your employees if they get sick or injured on the job. It can help pay for a portion of their lost wages, medical bills, and even job replacement training.
You’re required to carry workers compensation insurance if you fall into one of these categories:
Businesses with three or more employees: As we mentioned, if you have three or more employees, you need workers compensation insurance. Under the law, “employees” can include part-time, seasonal, and temporary workers, as well as executive officers, trainees, and more.
Contractors and other businesses that hire subcontractors: If you hire a subcontractor or another business to help execute your work, you need to factor in their employees as well. If their workers, plus yours, add up to three or more employees, you need to provide workers compensation coverage. And even if your subcontractor has their own policy, you still need to offer coverage in addition to their insurance.
What if you’re an employer with just one employee, or you’re a sole proprietor who would like extra protection? If this is the case, you can buy a workers compensation policy on your own, even though it's not required.
We’ll talk more about workers compensation requirements in Virginia a bit later in this article. For now, just know that most businesses with employees need to purchase coverage. It’s designed to protect you and your employees. Plus, it’s the right thing to do.
Here are other types of business insurance policies you may come across:
Commercial auto insurance: Do you drive a commercial or personal vehicle for your business? Then you will likely need to purchase commercial auto insurance. Your personal auto policy may not cover you if you get into an accident. When in doubt, talk to a licensed insurance agent about what policy you need.
Here’s a quick overview of the minimum coverage that’s required in Virginia:
$25,000 for injury or death of one person
$50,000 for injury or death of two or more people
$20,000 for property damage
Builder’s risk coverage: If you’re a general contractor or own a construction company, you may want to get builder’s risk coverage. This added insurance can help cover buildings that are under construction. In the event that damage occurs while the project is in progress, you’ll be protected.
Business interruption insurance: Sometimes businesses need to close down unexpectedly. If that happens, chances are, you still need to pay for the utilities, rent, and other expenses. Fortunately, business interruption insurance can help cover these costs while you have a loss of income.
Inland marine insurance: Despite its name, inland marine insurance doesn’t cover boats. Instead, it protects your business’s property that is moveable, transportable, or involved in transferring information.
Boiler and machinery insurance: Most property insurance policies exclude coverage for boiler explosion, mechanical breakdowns, and electrical arcing. But if you get boiler and machinery insurance, your business equipment can be covered. Most business owners want to cover the critical equipment that keeps their business operating.
Glass coverage: Most of the time, glass coverage is excluded on commercial property policies. So if your business has expensive plate glass, perhaps on windows or equipment, you may want to consider purchasing glass insurance coverage.
Commercial crime coverage: Many business owners want to protect themselves in the event of a burglary, theft of money and securities, or even employee dishonesty. Commercial crime coverage can help compensate you if property is stolen or if counterfeit currency is passed to you.
Flood insurance: Floods can happen anywhere, even if you’re not in a designated flood zone. And because the damage from rising waters can be devastating, many business owners purchase a flood insurance policy from the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP).
Earthquake insurance: If you live in an area where earthquakes are common, it may be worth asking your licensed insurance agent about earthquake coverage. For an additional premium, you can usually add this type of protection.
As we mentioned earlier, if you have three or more employees, you need to buy workers compensation insurance. It’s the law. Employees can include part-time, seasonal, and temporary workers, as well as your subcontractor’s employees.
You also can choose to purchase workers compensation insurance if you’re a sole proprietor or have fewer than three employees. But remember, it’s not required by law.
To get workers compensation insurance, you’ll want to ask your insurance agent how to apply for coverage that meets the state’s requirements. You can get additional information by contacting:
Virginia Workers’ Compensation Commission
1000 DMV Drive
Richmond, VA 23220
The cost of business insurance can vary. It depends on the size of your business, the number of employees you have, and your profession. If you work in a high-risk industry, chances are, your premiums may be higher.
That said, Simply Business offers very reasonable rates, with some general liability insurance quotes as low as $25.95/month.* Nice!
If you’re wondering how much Virginia business insurance may cost you, head to our website to get a quote. We make it easy to compare premiums from leading insurers nationwide. Plus, our licensed insurance agents can help you find coverage that truly meets your business’s needs — and your budget.Get your quote
Give yourself a big pat on the back if you’ve made it this far! We know it’s a lot of information to take in, especially if you’re just starting your business. If you decide to shop for insurance though Simply Business, we promise to make the process as easy as possible for you.
To set you up for success, here are a few tips:
Think about the biggest risks your business may face. Are you in a flood zone? Does your business rely on machinery? What’s the crime rate in your area? Answering these questions ahead of time will help you understand what coverage you need.
Connect with other business owners in your area. Ask them what kind of insurance they’ve purchased in the past and how it worked for them.
Spend time on your own researching insurance that’s required in your industry. We’ve provided a thorough overview, but chances are, there’s even more information that’s specific to your profession.
Take 10 minutes to use Simply Business’s quote tool. It offers a comparison of available policies — and can give you a good idea of how much insurance costs.
Don’t hesitate to call a Simply Business insurance agent if you have questions along the way. Our team is here to help.
Think about your budget before you purchase a policy. For example, you’ll want to consider whether an annual or monthly premium is best.
Interested in learning more? We have an easy guide to buying business insurance right here. Check it out!
Getting business insurance is an important step for your company. In fact, we consider it a big milestone. If you just secured a policy, it’s time to celebrate. And if you’re still researching insurance, you’ve taken major steps toward getting insured.
This guide gave you an in-depth look at how Virginia business insurance works and the type of coverage you’ll want to consider. If you have more questions, Simply Business’s licensed insurance agents can help. Just call 855-560-1439 to talk to a member of our team. They’ll make the process easy, fast, and even enjoyable.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.