For Consumers

Learn how business insurance works

Also called commercial general liability insurance, it protects business owners against losses due to bodily injury or property damage.

Factors that affect finding insurance

Your type of business, the number of years you have been in business and your claims history can be factored into the type of insurance and coverage you need . Depending on the size of your business, you may be able to add a rider to your homeowner policy, or you may be required to purchase a separate business insurance policy.

Consider your coverage options

Common types of business insurance coverage include:

  • Property coverage protects the buildings, inventory and equipment where you operate your business.
  • Liability coverage protects your business if someone gets hurt or property damage occurs at your place of business.
  • Business-interruption coverage protects you if a covered loss forces you to close your business.
  • Commercial auto coverage covers vehicles you use for your business.
  • Umbrella or excess liability policies step in after a large loss and extend your liability coverage, giving you an added layer of protection.
  • Employee health insurance can provide health plans for you and any employees.
  • Life insurance protects you and/or your business operators.
  • Workers comp insurance from Labor & Industries is usually a mandatory insurance that provides partial wage replacement for injured workers and covers approved treatment services

Flood insurance for your business

Commercial or business insurance typically doesn't cover flood damage. However, through the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) you can buy coverage from an insurance agent and company. Be aware that coverage limits are typically:

  • $500,000 for the structure
  • $500,000 for the contents

Talk to your insurance agent or broker if you need additional coverage. You may need to buy it through surplus line insurance. This is a segment of insurance we don't regulate, so make sure you know what the policy does and does not cover.

If your agent or broker doesn't handle surplus line coverage, you can get a list of brokerage firms from the Surplus Lines Association of Washington.

Look for a company with a higher rating, such as A- or better. You can check the company's rating through a rating service, such as:

National Flood Insurance Program policies go into effect 30 days after the policy is written, unless the policy is required to qualify for a mortgage.

Surplus line policies typically don't have a waiting period.