Whether you already have a thriving painting business or you’re planning to launch one, you’ve probably found yourself asking this question: “What insurance does a painter need?”
It’s a pretty valid question. After all, if you’re just starting out your painting business, the thought of spending hundreds - even thousands - of dollars on an insurance policy might seem too much for your budget. Or maybe you know someone who had a really bad experience with their business insurance company, so you’re reluctant to buy into something that might not be there when you need it.
So why spend the money on painters insurance if it’s only going to be a serious pain?
If the start of this article resonated with you, I get it. When I first started my painting business, I put off buying painter's insurance coverage for the longest time because, quite frankly, I was convinced I didn’t need it. But unfortunately, if you run a painting business, you can’t afford to be as blasé as I was, because not having coverage could really - no pun intended - end up painting you in a corner.
Want proof? Take a look at the biggest reasons why you need painters insurance:
Let’s say you got a pretty sweet project: painting a huge home in an affluent suburb. You’re going about your day, painting as usual, when suddenly, crack! - your employee ends up accidentally breaking a large bay window with a ladder. It’s not a small break, either; the client will probably need to replace the window altogether.
Now, if you have painting business insurance, your policy will likely cover the cost of repairs. But if you don’t, that money is coming right out of your company coffers. And if you don’t have enough socked away, that money will come from your personal bank account, or even your family’s finances.
The above example may be just that, but it highlights a really important point: without painter's business insurance coverage, you’re putting your finances - and your family’s finances - at serious risk.
If you damage property on a client’s site or cause an accident, they won’t care where the monies are coming from, just so long as they’re made whole.
And if you can’t pay, you could end up opening yourself up to a host of legal troubles.
Bottom line: Your personal finances are at risk if you visit clients’ properties without the protection of painters business insurance. At the very least, ensure your insurance coverage includes general liability, which protects you and your employees against claims involving property damage, accidents, and more.
Want to land more painting jobs, or better-paying painting jobs? Then you absolutely need painters insurance, especially if you’re pursuing gigs in affluent areas or commercial painting projects.
Here’s why: Your clients are just as nervous about you damaging their property as you are. Painters insurance can provide them with some peace of mind, because it shows that if you do cause any damage, the client will be made financially whole again by your insurance company.
Now think about the other side of that coin.
If you don’t have business insurance and end up causing damage on the customer’s property, it’s up to the client to chase you down and convince you to pay up. And if you don’t want to pay, or don’t have the resources to, the customer has to spend their own time and money to take you to court. Even if your client gets a ruling, there’s no guarantee they’ll get all the money they need in one go - they might have to wait for you to pay over the course of several months, or even years.
So which option do you think provides less hassle for the client?
Carrying painters insurance lets a customer know that if you end up damaging something or cause an accident, all they have to do is contact your painters insurance provider for a painless payout. It eliminates the possibility for that huge headache I described earlier, so it makes it much more likely that the customer will want to work with you.
Ultimately, if you don’t have painters insurance, you’re standing in the way of your biggest projects. Get an insurance policy, advertise it on every piece of marketing material you have (heck, even your truck), and more customers may come your way!
Laws vary by state, but for the most part, you should assume that you’re required to get business insurance coverage. By law, business owners need to have two types of insurance policies:
General liability (GL) coverage protects your painting business from claims and lawsuits resulting from any property damage or accidents you caused while at a client’s home or office. This coverage should be the foundation of any insurance policy you take out, so make sure to include this when pricing out policies.
If you have any type of employees - whether they’re full-time, part-time, or subcontractors - you’ll need workers compensation insurance.
This type of coverage financially protects you in case these employees get hurt or sick on the job. Plus, workers comp policies usually cover part or all of the sick employee’s pay while they’re recovering. Should your painting employee end up with a long-term disability because of the accident, your policy may be able to financially provide for that person for a certain period of time.
I know this might seem like a lot, but basically, your state probably requires a minimum of GL and workers comp coverage (if you have employees). Start with these policies, and then add on any other protection you might need.
Want to find out your state’s legal requirements? Check out this blog article by the U.S. Small Business Administration, which can provide you with info on what your insurance obligations might be, depending on where you live.
You know you’re a credible painting business - but when you’re just starting out, some clients may be skeptical about working with you simply because they really don’t know anything about you.
If you don’t have a lot of customer reviews or strong word-of-mouth, every little thing counts - including whether or not you have business insurance.
Having an insurance policy shows that you’re a serious business owner, and not just someone who’s painting as a side gig. When your customer sees that you have insurance, they see you as a professional who will treat their house or office with care and respect.
Once you have your policy, we recommend advertising your coverage in the following spots:
Don’t underestimate the power of having painters business insurance coverage - it can really help open doors to new customers and better-paying gigs.
If you’re like most business owners, you probably have a hard time finding good employees who are reliable and talented at their job. So how can having business insurance help you here?
Simple: Having coverage shows employees that they’ll be protected in case they get hurt or sick on the job.
Accidents happen, even when you’re trying to be super-careful.
Maybe one of your best employees falls off a ladder while painting a home’s second story, or one of your part-time workers ends up accidentally inhaling dangerous solvents. In any of these scenarios, your business insurance can kick in and help cover these medical bills, as well as pay out any disability payments resulting from these injuries.
The bottom line here is that the most talented employees out there want to work for employers who take their health and safety seriously. Pay and benefits play a huge role in that perception, but don’t underestimate the role that painting insurance can play. It demonstrates that you’re not just a serious business owner; you’ll be there for your employees when they need you the most.
So don’t be shy about letting your employees know you’ve got insurance!
We can’t predict or control the future, no matter how hard we try. It’s just not enough to be extra-vigilant throughout your day-to-day routine. There are going to be days when you might end up making a mistake, or one of your employees causes an accident. Even the best of painters can fall victim to accidents and misfortune - and that’s precisely why business insurance is so important.
Your painters insurance can help protect you from these future accidents by ensuring you don’t have to go out of business just to pay customers for their claims. After all, you didn’t start your painting service for that - you started it because you have a real passion and talent for painting and decorating.
Don’t leave things to chance. Painters insurance can provide you with some certainty in the future, so you can focus on doing what you do best: running your business.
So now that you know why you need painting business insurance, how should you get it?
Simple: You can request painting insurance quotes from Simply Business.
We work with top insurers who specialize in policies for painters and decorators just like you. Just answer a few questions about your business, and boom - you can buy a painters business insurance policy in just a few minutes.
I love writing about the small business experience because I happen to be a small business owner - I've had a freelance copywriting business for over 10 years. In addition to that, I also head up the content strategy here at Simply Business. Reach out if you have a great idea for an article or just want to say hi!
Mariah writes on a number of topics such as small business planning, contractor insurance, and business licenses.
This content is for general, informational purposes only and is not intended to provide legal, tax, accounting, or financial advice. Please obtain expert advice from industry specific professionals who may better understand your business’s needs. Read our full disclaimer
*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.