When it’s time to buy handyman insurance, you want to look for carriers that have experience writing policies for the industry. They will be the providers most likely to get you the appropriate coverage at the best price. We reviewed dozens of insurance companies can came up with the five best for small handyman businesses. They are:
- Coverwallet: Best overall for fast, affordable coverage
- The Hartford: Best for business owner’s policy (BOP)
- Hiscox: Best for home-based handymen working on small projects
- Thimble: Best for short-term handyman liability insurance
- Simply Business: Best for general liability coverage for exterior work
How Handyman Insurance Works
Handyman insurance is a group of policies that cover costs when something goes wrong for your business. Each policy covers a different kind of loss. For example, a handyman liability policy pays a customer’s bills if he claims you damaged his property or caused him a physical injury. Meanwhile, commercial property insurance pays for losses that happen directly to you like someone stealing your tools.
Why Does a Handyman Need Insurance?
Working in people’s homes and businesses leaves you exposed to liability lawsuits over client injury and property damage. The cost of these claims can be financially devastating if you don’t have the proper insurance policies. Additionally, insurance can help a handyman:
- Win clients: Some people won’t hire you unless you’re bonded and insured
- Get a license: If you do want to work as a contractor, most states require you to carry liability insurance
- Protects against employee mistakes: General liability insurance typically covers mistakes the people who work for you make too
CoverWallet: Best Overall Handyman Insurance Company
CoverWallet is the best choice for a handyman who needs insurance quickly but still wants to compare offers. As an online broker, CoverWallet partners with top-rated carriers and can often return more than one quote for a single application. This gives you the ability to find the best price for all the policies you need, even if you have to buy from separate carriers.
Provides online quotes for most policies from multiple carriers
Claims processing and financial strength vary by carrier
Offers professional advice via chat, email, and phone
May charge a brokers fee
Creates instant, downloadable certificates of insurance (COI) for free
Allows you to purchase policies online
Offers surety bonds
CoverWallet is an insurance broker, so it doesn’t write the policies it sells. Instead, it offers coverage created by the carriers it works with, including essential policies for handymen like:
This gives you an opportunity to compare premiums and policy terms. In some cases, you may find carriers offer discounts for buying more than one policy, but you might also choose to get every policy you need from a different carrier if the cost and coverage fit your needs.
CoverWallet lists minimum premiums for a few handyman insurance policies on its site, including:
- $39 per month for general liability insurance
- $49 per month for a BOP
- $239 per month for a BOP and commercial auto insurance
Minimum premiums are simply the lowest amount an insurance company can charge for a policy. Not many businesses get that price, plus CoverWallet may charge a fee for some policies where state law allows it. That said, it doesn’t charge extra for certificates of insurance (COI), which may result in significant savings if you have a lot of clients who want to see proof of coverage.
The Hartford: Best for Business Owner’s Policy
The Hartford is the right insurance carrier for handyman business owners looking for an affordable and customizable BOP. Handymen can get a basic BOP with general liability and property coverage and then select for several add-ons, including coverage for tools in transit, data breaches, and liability in hired and nonowned autos.
The Hartford Strengths
The Hartford Weaknesses
Broad BOP with optional coverage designed for handymen
Cost information only available by applying
Online claim reporting available
No online chat in application
A+ (Superior) rating from A.M. Best
No coverage in Alaska or Hawaii
BOPs are an ideal way for most handymen to get the coverage they need, and The Hartford’s version provides that and more. Handymen can also buy endorsements that cover:
- Valuable tools when they’re at a jobsite
- Hired, rented, or borrowed vehicles
- Data breaches
- Installation work
The Hartford is a leading workers’ compensation insurance provider, making it an excellent choice for growing handyman businesses.
Like most carriers, The Hartford does not list premium information on its website because costs can vary greatly. That said, quotes for its handyman BOP ranged between $1,000 and $1,700 per year. Endorsements appear to add an additional $40 to $200 annually.
Hiscox: Best for Home-based Handymen
Hiscox is a great option for independent handymen with home offices who do odd jobs for homeowners. Hiscox offers general liability policies with flexible payment plans and up to 5% off for home businesses.
Monthly payment plans with no extra charge
Only writes general liability policies for janitorial services
Discounts for home-based businesses and purchasing multiple policies
Claims processing and financial strength varies by carrier for other policies
Online quotes and purchasing available
Coverage not available in all states
A (Excellent) rating from A.M. Best
For handymen, Hiscox mainly focuses on general liability insurance. This may seem like a detriment, but general liability is often sufficient coverage for a handyman who doesn’t have employees or expensive tools and who mainly works with residential clients. However, Hiscox can offer business property and equipment coverage in some states.
We’ve seen Hiscox quotes for handyman liability insurance between $1,500 and $3,000 per year. Adding business property insurance only tacked on another $100 or so annually. Moreover, Hiscox offers up to 5% off to at-home business owners and doesn’t charge extra for people who choose a monthly payment plan.
Thimble: Best for Short-term Liability Insurance
Thimble is a unique online insurance seller in that it specializes in short-term policies. You can purchase an annual handyman liability insurance policy or get coverage by the month, week, day, or hour. These options allow you to only carry insurance when you need and hopefully reduce your overall costs.
Offers handyman liability policies by the month or on demand
Short-term policies only available for liability coverage
Allow you to pause monthly policies for up to 30 days
Not available in Kentucky, New York, or Washington
Online quotes available
Coverage provided by A.M. Best A-rated carriers
Thimble offers general liability—arguably the most important policy for handymen—as well as professional liability and business equipment protection. Only its liability coverage is available on demand. Handymen can purchase an annual liability policy or get short-term coverage for the length of any one project.
A short-term policy from Thimble looks like a pretty good deal. Our estimate for a handyman business in Illinois was an average of $114.84 per month or about $1,378 per year. The reason it’s an average is that Thimble charges a different premium each month, in part because of the different number of days. The same policy cost:
- $179.79 for one month
- $112.17 for one week
- $62.47 for one day
- $12.07 for one hour
Thimble doesn’t charge extra for additional insured endorsements of certificates of insurance.
Simply Business: Best for Exterior Work
Simply Business is a relatively new online insurance brokerage that focuses mainly on liability policies for small companies. Because of its carrier partnerships, Simply Business can provide handyman liability insurance to individuals even when the business includes the exterior services.
Simply Business Strengths
Simply Business Weaknesses
Works with carriers that can write policies for some risky operations
Only writes general liability and professional liability policies
Simple, online application returns multiple quotes in minutes
Financial rating and claims process varies by carrier
Certificates take up to 24 hours to fulfill
No online policy management
Currently, Simply Business only writes professional and general liability insurance policies, which is usually okay for a handyman. Most handymen get sufficient protection in their general liability policies. The coverage highlight for Simply Business, however, is its ability to offer policies to handymen with operations that other carriers find too risky to insure. Many carriers won’t cover exterior operations that take a handyman above two or three stories, but Simply Business has relationships with a few specialty carriers that can.
The quotes we’ve seen from Simply Business fall in the $1,000 to $2,500 range, not exactly the cheapest but in the ballpark of what you see from most carriers. Plus, that typically includes $2 million in products-completed operations coverage and $1 million in premises rented to you.
How We Evaluated the Best Handyman Insurance Companies
Cost is always a concern for small businesses looking for insurance, so premiums and extra fees are important factors in our evaluation. In addition to costs, we consider the coverage options each company offers as well as any online features they have that make buying or managing policies easier. Finally, financial strength played a part because handymen need to know the carriers that they select have the ability to cover claims should the time come.