The best commercial property companies offer tailored policies meeting the unique needs of business owners. Policies include owner-occupant, landlord risks, tenant risks, and various business property risks. We reviewed more than 20 of the top commercial insurance companies and narrowed it down to the top six based on their ability to serve small business owners.
Best Commercial Property Insurance Companies 2019
|Commercial Property Insurance Company||Best For|
|Travelers Group||(Best overall) For real estate owners or managers with risks related to development or catastrophe.|
|The Hartford||Small- to midsize businesses that need to protect a building and its contents.|
|Liberty Mutual||Real estate investors who need to move through underwriting quickly to complete transactions efficiently.|
|Farmers||Condominiums and homeowners associations looking for coverage to work with residents’ policies.|
|Nationwide||Contractors and developers who need protection while building and renovating.|
|Hiscox||Independent contractors who work from home and need protection for their business equipment.|
What Commercial Property Insurance Is
Commercial property insurance covers the business’ interest (owned or leased) in the physical building. Lessor-risk policies cover the building and other liability concerns for landlords. Commercial property insurance can cover a wide variety of business property, including the building, machinery, office equipment, signs, and supplies from fire, theft, water, or wind damage.
Commercial property insurance companies provide coverage for four primary areas of loss:
- Building or Office Space: Pays for repairs or replacement of damage to building and all components permanently affixed to the building, such as lighting, duct work, and furnaces.
- Contents within the Building: Covers all property owned by the business that’s held within the property, including furniture, supplies, inventory, and unaffixed machinery and equipment.
- Other People’s Property: Replaces or pays for loss or damage to items of customers or vendors left in the business’ care, custody, and control.
- Signs and Marquees: Repairs or replaces damage to the building, fixtures, and free-standing marquees from weather or vandalism
Commercial property insurance companies evaluate the cost of each component or the average cost of items such as inventory or clients’ property. Typical commercial property insurance costs for small businesses are around $750 annually, but can exceed tens of thousands of dollars for large warehouses, commercial space, and developments.
Who Commercial Property Insurance Is For
Every business owner who owns or leases real estate needs commercial property insurance to cover common perils such as theft, vandalism, water damage, and windstorm damage. Depending on the business and the insurance carrier, a small business owner may need to add coverage with a separate rider or endorsement.
Common commercial property insurance endorsements cover things including:
- Property in your care, custody, or control
- Supplies and property in transit
Most standard business policies don’t cover losses due to natural disasters such as floods, earthquakes, or hurricanes. These risks are covered by separate specialty commercial property insurance policies that fill potential risk gaps. Any property that has a mortgage or equity line will also need commercial property insurance, with coverage limits often dictated by lenders.
Using a Broker to Buy Commercial Property Insurance
Even the best commercial property insurance companies might not have the perfect policy for your needs. A carrier’s strengths and premiums are always contingent on state laws, loss histories, and other mitigating factors that have nothing to do with the carrier or your company. This is why shopping for commercial property insurance with a broker is a smart idea.
Here are a couple of distinctions when shopping commercial property insurance:
- Carrier: The company that assumes the financial risk for your policy.
- Agent: A person who represents a carrier, usually working for the carrier directly.
- Broker: A person appointed by multiple carriers to shop small business insurance on behalf of the client.
We have reviewed carriers in this guide. However, you can save time and get price comparisons by using a broker to locate the best possible policy. Check out our review of the best brokers to find the perfect broker for you.
How We Evaluated Commercial Property Insurance Companies
To rank the best commercial property insurance companies, we evaluated carriers and providers based on a number of factors, including financial strength, customer satisfaction, and convenience of multiple business policies. We also evaluated providers based on their appetite to insure specific types of commercial real estate to determine which providers can help the most small business owners.
The criteria we used to evaluate the best commercial property insurance carriers include:
- Financial Strength – All insurance companies are rated based on financial strength and claims-paying ability. All companies on the list have an A-rating or higher, meeting the highest standards for solvency.
- Underwriting Process – Every insurance company has its own standards and procedures for underwriting. A simplified, quick process helps commercial property owners get coverage quickly.
- Other Insurance Policies – The ability to have multiple policies with one carrier that is obtained in one easy process is important so the business owner gets coverage that doesn’t have risk gaps.
- Discount Opportunities – Discount maximization to get the right insurance without taking assets from other areas in the company. Companies that offer discounts give business owners a huge advantage.
- Customer Reviews – Users’ experience can only be evaluated by looking at what real customers have to say about the process of getting insurance, general service, and claims processing.
It was also important to consider companies that bundle and package general insurance liability and business property for commercial real estate owners who might also have businesses housed within their property or need other liability coverage.
In reviewing all criteria for many of the small and large commercial property insurance carriers, Travelers Group stands out as the overall best. It has the right mix of strength, service, and overall policy inclusions needed by commercial property owners.
Travelers Group: Best Overall Commercial Property Insurance
Travelers Group is one of the largest business insurance carriers in the nation. Overall, the company is steadfast in its financial strength going back decades. It consistently innovates to meet new risk demands of small and large business owners alike. Because of Travelers Group’s international presence, it is well positioned to work with domestic and international real estate holding companies.
Travelers Group Financial Strength
Travelers Group is among the most financially sound insurance carriers in the world. It meets and exceeds the requirements of credit rating companies to receive top marks. Travelers Group hasn’t done this occasionally—it is consistent in its management of company assets.
Travelers Group Credit Ratings
Travelers Group Commercial Property Underwriting Process
Travelers Group follows the same basic guidelines of underwriting that all commercial property insurance carriers follow: COPE. COPE refers Construction, Occupancy, Protection, and Exposure. This is the basic information the underwriter needs to obtain to properly classify the risk of the commercial building.
Travelers Group uses a mixture of pictures, field underwriters, and public information to properly underwrite commercial property risks. Travelers Group works with many companies in natural disaster zones and is looking for prior losses as well as upgrades to mitigate future loss.
Travelers Group Unique Benefits
Travelers Group’s industry experience and company size give it unique benefits, including:
- Green Building Coverage: A coverage extension that pays to re-certify and rebuild your property to meet green standards after a loss.
- Contingent Building: Protects building owners in lessor-risk scenarios where tenants failed to provide adequate property insurance.
- Utility Services: Covers claim losses resulting from electrical power outages at electrical sources away from the actual property.
Travelers Group works hard to bring a huge carrier’s strength in a very personal partner’s role for a small business owner. The policies offer cutting-edge coverage and are always forward-thinking with new emerging perils and loss mitigation.
Travelers Group Other Commercial Insurance
Travelers Group is one of the largest national and international carriers for commercial insurance. This means they build policies individually or can combine multiple policies and riders for comprehensive coverage of a physical building, the content, and any user liability. When landlords and tenants both have Travelers policies, fewer gaps in liability gray areas occur.
What Travelers Group Is Missing
While Travelers Group is an extremely large international insurance carrier, it doesn’t offer commercial insurance in all 50 states. Currently, coverage is limited to 42 states. Industries where Traveler Group has a strong appetite maintain highly competitive pricing, but for those outside of the company’s desired market, pricing is higher than competitors.
Travelers Group Customer Reviews
Travelers receives positive overall reviews from customers. Complaints about the company are fewer than the industry standard, suggesting that Travelers Group delivers on helping clients mitigate risk and navigate the claims process effectively. The Travelers umbrella is iconic in the insurance industry and one of the most respected brands across all industries.
How to Apply for Travelers Group Commercial Property Insurance
Travelers Group works with local brokers around the country to partner with small business owners in a meaningful way. Go online or call to get a quote or locate a representative in your area. Travelers emphasizes the human touch to make sure nothing slips through the cracks when it comes to protecting your business and financial future.
The Hartford: Best Commercial Property Insurance for Bundling Small Businesses Policies
The Hartford has been a leading provider of various commercial and personal lines of insurance for more than a century. The company diligently examines risks of specific business categories to be certain it covers the biggest concerns in basic policies, such as its Business Owner’s Policy (BOP). The Hartford BOP has more included endorsements for no additional cost compared to its competitors.
The Hartford Financial Strength
The Hartford meets some of the highest standards of credit reporting agencies and is one of the nation’s largest commercial insurance carriers. Financial solvency is an indicator of strength, giving it the ability to process and pay claims quickly and efficiently.
The Hartford Credit Ratings
The Hartford Commercial Property Underwriting Process
The Hartford will need to obtain a profile of the physical property. It will need to know how big the building is, where it is located, and the types of materials it was built with. The age of the building is also important, along with any upgrades and renovation dates. Additionally, The Hartford needs to know who is occupying the building and for what business purposes. Safety and security measures also help properly rate the property.
The Hartford Unique Benefits
The Hartford includes additional coverages within the policy for no additional rider charge:
- Large Property Claims Specialists: Big commercial properties have a lot involved in the claims process, focusing on the building and tenant issues.
- Risk Exposure Education: Claim risk is best mitigated with education, and The Hartford spends extensive resources to help commercial property owners reduce potential claims.
- Business Owner’s Policy: Offers more endorsements without additional costs, giving small business owners needed protection for competitive pricing.
The Hartford clearly understands that helping business owners prevent losses is the best way to keep premium costs low and be able to devote the most valuable resources to actual claims.
The Hartford Other Commercial Insurance
The Hartford is not limited by specific types of policies. It offers the entire spectrum of personal and commercial insurance policies for most industries. Not only does The Hartford underwrite most types of risk, their policies cover more without added costs than their competitors. When it comes to a Business Owner’s Policy, few bundle coverage better than The Hartford.
What The Hartford Is Missing
The Hartford underwrites and manages policies as well as anyone in the industry, but policies sold through brokers sometimes leave small business owners unsure about protocol to make claims and start the process.
The Hartford Customer Reviews
The Hartford maintains high customer service standards both in the day-to-day servicing of customers and, most importantly, in the claims process. The Hartford has great reviews with vulnerable consumers, providing discounts for AARP members and continually receiving high marks from this demographic.
How to Apply for The Hartford Commercial Property Insurance
The Hartford online application process takes less than five minutes, with 90% of the online applications getting the policy written online. If there are questions about your application or concerns about potential business use or risk, your application is assigned directly to a representative to walk you through the remaining process without headache.
Liberty Mutual: Best Commercial Property Insurance for Property Rehab Investors
Liberty Mutual is a top business insurance provider also loved for its for personal lines of insurance. The carrier maintains a large national stronghold and serves smaller businesses such as community mom-and-pop companies well. Liberty Mutual strives to enhance relationships with customer service and policy add-ons that alleviate the frustration often experienced when filing claims.
Liberty Mutual Financial Strength
Liberty Mutual has been serving small and large businesses for decades. It maintains excellent credit ratings from the four insurance credit reporting agencies. This means that the company maintains a high degree of solvency and also pays claims quickly—even during catastrophes.
Liberty Mutual Credit Ratings
Liberty Mutual Commercial Property Underwriting Process
Liberty Mutual will need the standard information about your business to underwrite the commercial property. This includes when the building was built, renovated, and updated, along with size and business use. Underwriters may ask for pictures of the building and utility boxes or may send a field underwriter to review the building or the construction progress to properly rate the risk.
Liberty Mutual Unique Benefits
Liberty Mutual has unique benefits to help real estate investors move quickly:
- Quick Underwriting: Real estate investors get policies online processed quickly to insure new developments as needed.
- Local Agents: Personalized relationships so small business owners can go to local agents with new needs to address them efficiently.
- Portfolio Real Estate: Investors become business owners as soon as they buy a property they don’t plan to reside in. Liberty Mutual guides new business owners for the right protection to avoid gaps in personal and commercial insurance policies.
Liberty Mutual strives to be a positive part of the community, and uses its local agents to help get small business owners through the process of insurance quickly.
Liberty Mutual Other Commercial Insurance
Liberty Mutual provides both personal and business insurance. This carrier offers commercial auto, general liability, business owner’s policies, surety bonds, and inland marine policies that cover just about every industry and market across the country. Liberty Mutual’s personal lines make it a convenient option for small business owners already doing business with the company.
What Liberty Mutual Is Missing
Liberty Mutual has exceptional phone service when it comes to quotes and servicing, but doesn’t have the local representation. This can hinder small business owners’ understanding location-specific underwriting questions and unique business operations needs.
Liberty Mutual Customer Reviews
Customer reviews for Liberty Mutual are mixed primarily due to the nature of state differences in insurance laws. Liberty Mutual focuses on innovating, working to do things better than competitors in claims. State laws hamstring the carrier when it comes to implementing some policies in some locations. As a result, consumers get frustrated with what is advertised versus what actually works in their state.
How to Apply for Liberty Mutual Commercial Property
Liberty Mutual takes applications for commercial property insurance through its online portal, phone representatives, and local agents. Local agents work directly with the underwriting department to confirm the risk assessment and build the best pricing per policy possible. Quotes are available within minutes, with underwriting approval taking a few days.
Farmers: Best Commercial Property Insurance for Apartment Buildings
Farmers is known as one of the largest home insurers in the nation. The company also has a comprehensive line of commercial insurance products with convenient local offices for clients to get personalized attention. Small businesses needing to protect gaps between personal insurance policies and small business pursuits are a good fit with Farmers.
Farmers Financial Strength
Farmers Insurance is a nationally-recognized brand and one of the top 10 providers of property and casualty insurance. It consistently maintains excellent ratings from the major insurance credit rating companies. Farmers maintains a strong balance sheet with the right level of underwriting risk management to prevent overextending itself with losses.
Farmers Credit Ratings
Farmers Commercial Property Underwriting Process
Farmers’ underwriting process starts with a local agent who will conduct an interview either over the phone or in a local office. Like all commercial property insurance carriers, Farmers needs to know the size and building makeup of the property. It will also ask about safety and security measures, and needs to know how the physical location is used in business pursuits.
Farmer Unique Benefits
Farmer’s national strength provide unique benefits to business owners:
- Local Professionals: Local agents are business owners like you and have a unique perspective on the needs of community businesses.
- Hands-on Underwriting: Agents are able to start the underwriting process for buildings and work directly with underwriters to maximize coverage and discounts.
- Apartments and HOAs: Being a big personal home insurance carrier helps Farmers build commercial real estate policies that have no gaps that leave property owners exposed.
Farmers Other Commercial Insurance
Farmers has the full gamut of commercial insurance policies to help small business owners manage risk. They also have the full line of personal insurance policies. This helps Farmers agents look at risk management completely without concerns about potential gaps in insurance if a small business owner has some personal property cross-over with their business.
What Farmers Is Missing
Farmers agents offers competitive pricing and discounts for bundles where possible. Customer reports state the company can do a better job of talking clients through issues. Because Farmers’ agencies are independently owned, there is no standardized training for office staff to properly handle every customer call or issue.
Farmers Customer Reviews
Farmers Insurance does well when it comes to managing customers’ expectations. Online complaints are relatively rare compared to competitors. This includes complaints for service issues as well as how claims are handled. Overall, customers of Farmers are happy and maintain loyalty over years with the company.
How to Apply for Farmers Commercial Property Insurance
Farmers Insurance makes it possible to apply for commercial property insurance in person, online, or over the phone. Farmers agents take the application information, and often conduct field underwriting by sending an agent or business underwriter to the location to confirm details and look for any additional discounts a business owner might not have known.
Nationwide: Best Commercial Property Insurance for Developers
Nationwide is a leader in property and casualty insurance across the country. This carrier offers a full array of business insurance policies and has exceptional policies to protect property. It has consistently received superior and excellent ratings from credit rating services, giving customers the confidence that Nationwide will deliver on its promise to make them whole when a loss occurs.
Nationwide Financial Strength
Nationwide has been serving consumers for more than 85 years. It has more than $158 billion in assets. This carrier is a Fortune 100 company known to go beyond just paying claims by jumping in to assist with catastrophic situations. Small business owners enjoy the convenience of having one place to call for all insurance needs, both personal and business.
Nationwide Credit Ratings
Nationwide Commercial Property Underwriting Process
Nationwide requires the standard building information that all carriers need, including the year the building was built, any dates of upgrades and renovations, and square footage. Premium is based on rebuilding costs, not fair market value. Contents, building use, and any security and safety programs are needed to determine overall building risk class.
Nationwide Unique Benefits
Nationwide stands apart from other carriers with these unique benefits:
- Prevention and Loss-Control Tools: Gives small business owners the tools to help prevent claims from happening in the first place.
- Exceptional National Coverage: Customer service representatives are available 24/7 to answer questions about policies and potential claim issues.
- Real Estate Development: There are special risks involved with insuring property not yet completed. Nationwide deals with development risk of all sizes, from a small strip mall to major complex.
Although Nationwide is most widely known for personal insurance policies, it has a niche in helping investors and developers with comprehensive commercial property coverage that is customizable.
Nationwide Other Commercial Insurance
Nationwide offers all lines of personal and business insurance. This means a small business owner is able to get building, contents, general liability, commercial auto, and professional liability coverage. There are also policies to cover catastrophic events such as floods and hurricanes.
What Nationwide Is Missing
Because Nationwide works to serve in very personal ways with local agents, it can take time to get the policy underwritten. An online quote isn’t always reflective of the final policy premium because many underwriters make the final decisions through field underwriting.
Nationwide Customer Reviews
Nationwide is a mutual company, which means it is owned by its policyholders and not investors. This helps it maintain high customer satisfaction ratings because it is always customer-centric in its approach to service and claims.
How to Apply for Nationwide Commercial Property Insurance
Apply for Nationwide through its website or on the phone. You may be redirected to a state-specific agent if there are questions about your application or certain underwriting issues. Don’t be alarmed; it is part of the process, as Nationwide wants to make sure your policy meets your state-specific needs. Local agents are able to quote coverage the same day, but underwriting may take several days.
Hiscox: Best Commercial Property Insurance for New Businesses
Hiscox is a specialty small business insurance company catering to the needs of independent contractors with less than five employees. Hiscox is a rising star among insurance carriers, using technology and policy bundles to provide business owners with reduced premium options and various discounts.
Hiscox Financial Strength
Even though Hiscox is a smaller national carrier, it remains a strong financial insurance company. It receives an Excellent rating from both A.M. Best and Standard & Poor’s rating companies. Smart alliances and fiscal responsibility allow Hiscox to grow and serve its niche in a financially prudent way.
Hiscox Credit Ratings
NR* = No rating available
Hiscox Commercial Property Underwriting Process
Underwriting with Hiscox starts with a simple online application. The questions for commercial property include building construction, age, and all security and safety systems incorporated into the physical location. The application also notes the contents, building use, and whether or not a bundle for general liability is needed.
Hiscox Unique Benefits
Hiscox unique benefits are focused on meeting the needs of very small business owners:
- Online Platform: The online platform is designed to get businesses covered quickly through one simplified process.
- Bundling at Competitive Pricing: Even though Hiscox partners with top carriers, it is able to keep premium costs down through its innovative methods.
- Solopreneur Focus: The small business that works from a home location gets the right type of protection for contents without extensive fluff in policies.
Hiscox understands that business owners are not insurance experts. It strives to meet the risk needs of companies without overloading small business owners with jargon.
Hiscox Other Commercial Insurance
Hiscox is exclusively a business insurance carrier, offering no personal lines of insurance. They cover all lines of business insurance but because of their small business directive, they are limited in the types of risk they cover. A mom-and-pop business can find commercial property, contents, general liability, and professional liability.
What Hiscox Is Missing
Because the Hiscox model is to keep costs down by utilizing online platforms, there is sometimes a disconnect with getting personal service through phone support. Business owners who have had issues required consistent follow-up to ensure service issues regarding policy administration and claims issues were properly resolved.
Hiscox Customer Reviews
Customers like Hiscox, giving it higher than average service reviews. Customers do have concerns about the young company growing and maintaining its financial strength, but love the focus on small business owners. When it comes to claims, consumers report a smooth process that delivers on the promise to get a business back to business as quickly as possible.
How to Apply for Hiscox Commercial Property Insurance
Go to the Hiscox website to get a quote and coverage for your small business. The process takes a few minutes and unless there is something unclear in the application, you won’t need to wait for a full underwriting process to bind your insurance. Get coverage quickly and efficiently with Hiscox.
Commercial property insurance covers many important risks for any business with a location, equipment, or tools. But with so many options to cover different types of risk, a small business owner should seek the best commercial property insurance companies that actively seek to fill risk gaps. Failure to adequately protect against risks can easily put a small company out of business.
Commercial property insurance is often needed along with other business insurance needs. For the most comprehensive business insurance policies that can be purchased online in a matter of minutes, visit The Hartford. Get more coverage in a bundled package that protects the building and all your business property within it.