Handyman insurance refers to insurance policies designed to protect tradespeople who perform general maintenance and repairs for people and businesses. At the very least, handymen need general liability to cover legal fees if a client sues for injuries or property damage. Handyman liability insurance usually costs between $750 and $1,500 per year.
One of the best ways to save money on handyman insurance is to compare offers from more than one carrier. A broker like CoverWallet can be a big help with that because it gets quotes from multiple insurers with just one application. Most handymen can get up to $1 million in general liability insurance in as quick as 10 minutes.
How Handyman Insurance Works
Handyman insurance is a group of business insurance policies that cover costs when something goes wrong for your business. Different policies cover different kinds of losses. For example, a handyman liability policy pays a customer’s repair bills if he claims you damaged his property. Meanwhile, commercial property insurance pays for losses that happen directly to you like someone stealing your tools.
Why Does a Handyman Need Insurance?
Unless you’re working as a licensed contractor, most handymen aren’t required to get insurance. However, we still recommend every handyman at least gets liability coverage. Working in people’s homes leaves you exposed to liability lawsuits over client injury and property damage. The cost of these claims can be devastating financially.
Additionally, a handyman might want insurance because it:
- Helps him win clients: Some people won’t hire you unless you’re bonded and insured.
- Makes licensing easier: If you do want to work as a contractor, most states require you to carry liability insurance.
- Protects his business when employees make mistakes: General liability insurance typically covers mistakes the people who work for you make too.
“A handyman with insurance may seem like an oxymoron to some. Some may even argue that a handyman can’t get insurance because it isn’t a real business. But the fact is that a handyman can get insurance and should have insurance just like any other business to protect themselves and their customers.”
―Flash Shelton, Founder, United Handyman Association
Handyman Insurance Costs
Your main insurance cost is the total annual premium of all your handyman policies added together. For instance, most handymen can get general liability insurance for around $1,300 per year. Adding commercial property insurance to your list of policies may add another $200 to your total costs, depending on how valuable your business property is.
In addition to your annual premium, you may also have out-of-pocket costs for deductibles or claims that are above a policy’s per occurrence limit. For example, let’s say you have a $100,000 coverage limit on your commercial auto policy, but you’re found liable for an accident that causes $150,000 of damage. You’re on the hook for that extra $50,000. Moreover, you could also have to tack on another $500 if your policy also requires you to pay a deductible.
Sample Handyman Insurance Costs by Coverage
Annual Base Premium
General Liability Insurance
$750 to $1,500
$150 to $250
$1,300 to $1,850
$2,500 to $6,000
$0 to $500
$5,000 to $10,000
1% to 10% of total bond amount
How to Balance Cost and Coverage for Handyman Insurance
Determining the amount of insurance involves balancing the amount of coverage you need with how much it costs. You want to consider the size of the jobs you do and the types of homes or businesses you work for. If you work in multimillion-dollar mansions, you probably need higher coverage amounts than you would if working on small tract homes because potential claims are more costly.
You also need to consider the cost if you own equipment and vehicle. For some, insuring every tool isn’t worth the cost of insurance because they have extras of some or access to affordable replacements. Generally, you only want to insure the things your business couldn’t function without. That way, you can keep costs down while still having enough coverage to get you back to work quickly after a major loss.
BOPs Save on Handyman Insurance Costs
Many insurance providers have a business owner’s policy (BOP) for handymen. This is a hybrid policy that combines handyman liability insurance with business property and business interruption insurance. The result is more coverage for lower premium costs.
Handyman Insurance Policies
Because handymen are not saddled with insurance requirements, they must consider their overall risks to decide which policies to purchase. General liability and property, typically bundled in a BOP, along with commercial auto, are among the most common types of insurance policies for handymen.
Handyman Insurance Policies
What It Covers
Combines general liability with commercial property in one policy
Third-party claims over injuries and property damage
Repair or replacement costs business-owned property when it’s damaged, lost, or stolen
Medical bills and vehicle repairs after auto accidents
Pays medical bills and lost wages for employees’ work-related injuries and illnesses
Covers your client’s financial loss due to your work
A business owner’s policy bundles general liability, commercial property, and business income into one policy. By packaging the policy, insurers make getting these fundamental small business policies convenient while minimizing the chance that you’ll have coverage gaps. BOPs are usually the most cost-effective way for a handyman to get covered.
General Liability Insurance
General liability insurance covers third-party claims where a person is hurt or property is damaged as a result of the handyman doing his job. Policies cover a wide range of claims handymen often see, including:
- Damage to the properties where you work
- Failure to complete work you promised to perform
- Medical and repair for accidents your operations cause
- Accusations of defamation
The biggest potential risk to a handyman business is a costly injury or property damage claim. Uninsured claims result in lawsuits and judgments that linger over credit scores, bank accounts, and income for years. General liability is a cost-effective solution to protect against this.
Commercial Property Insurance
Commercial property insurance covers your business-owned property, whether that’s a workshop or the tools you store in it. Because handymen often have to work at their client’s home or business, many insurance companies include inland marine coverage on their property policies. Property policies typically only insure items at the address on the policy, so adding inland marine ensures your tools and materials are covered while at other locations or while they’re in your work vehicle.
Commercial Auto Insurance
Commercial auto insurance covers company-owned vehicles in accidents or incidents of theft. Most states require business owners to get at least some liability coverage, but you can also choose to add on:
- Collision: Covers damage to your vehicle if it’s damaged in an accident
- Comprehensive: Covers damage to your vehicle if it’s damaged by something other than an accident
- Uninsured/underinsured motorist: Covers your losses if your vehicle is damaged by someone driving without sufficient insurance
- Medical payments: Covers medical costs for you or your insured driver and passengers regardless of who caused the accident
You can get coverage limits of $550,000 to $2 million with a deductible between $500 and $1,000. Costs are contingent on vehicle year, make, and model as well as the driving history of any named drivers. Items stored in the vehicle are not covered by auto insurance and must be covered by equipment protection like inland marine.
Workers’ Compensation Insurance
Workers’ compensation insurance covers medical bills and lost wages for employees who suffer accidents at work. Even if you’re a one-man handyman business, you might consider workers’ compensation insurance for financial protection in case you’re injured and can’t work. Getting a policy for yourself means your medical bills are paid up to personal coverage limits. It can also pay for your lost wages, required prescriptions, or rehabilitation.
A handyman bond, or surety bond, is a contract between you, a bond issuer, and your clients that acts like a guarantee for your work. If a client claims they suffered a financial loss because of something you did, they can file a claim on the bond for the issue to cover. Some local governments require bonds for tradespeople, but they’re often useful because they assure potential customers that your work will be performed professionally.
Surety bonds generally cost between 1% and 10% of the bond rate, so a $10,000 bond might cost between $100 and $1,000. A handyman with good credit typically gets a rate on the lower end of the scale.
Handyman Insurance Providers
Handymen, especially licensed contractors doing side work, who want to find affordable insurance fast
Independent handymen who want to work as a subcontractor on larger projects
Home-based handymen who work on small residential projects valued under $500 each
Unlicensed handymen who work on expensive homes with a high risk of accidents
Automobile coverage with inland marine for work trucks and vans
Finding the right insurance provider that can get you handyman insurance quickly and without breaking the bank is essential to your business. The providers we’ve listed have designated business classes specifically for handymen. This means you are protected for the same risks as contractors but don’t have to pay the high premiums associated with a contractor’s increased exposure.
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 ability makes it ideal for a licensed artisan contractor picking up handyman work on the side. The license complicates their coverage needs, but CoverWallet still gives them many offers to pick from. Get more details in our CoverWallet review.
The Hartford is the right insurance carrier for independent contractors who want to be hired onto bigger construction projects as subcontractors. Not only can handymen obtain coverage within 10 minutes, but they can increase their coverage and get certificates of insurance (COI) online. This helps when bidding on bigger jobs needing hired hands. Find out about all its coverage options in The Hartford review.
Hiscox is a great option for independent handymen with home offices who do odd jobs valued at $500 or less for homeowners. Because Hiscox focuses on home-based businesses, it’s an ideal fit for handymen home workshops who head out to various jobs throughout the week. Hiscox offers general liability policies with flexible payment plans and up to 5% off for home businesses. See what customers have to say about the carrier in our Hiscox review.
State Farm is the right choice for unlicensed handymen who work in high-end homes where an accident could lead to a costly claim. With BOPs starting at $250 annually, State Farm isn’t just a trusted name. It’s competitively priced for the up-and-down revenue stream of a local handyman. Additionally, State Farm’s ability to rate personal autos used for business helps reduce coverage gaps for handymen driving to client locations. See the other coverages State Farm writes in our carrier review.
Progressive Commercial Insurance is the right choice for a handyman who has a commercial-rated truck or van used as a mobile workplace with tools and supplies stored inside. Progressive Commercial offers competitive business auto rates with the option for inland marine coverage attached to the policy to protect a handyman’s tools and supplies from theft or damage while in transit in one policy. Handymen who already have a BOP or general liability can also get a discount of up to 15% on their commercial auto insurance.
A handyman using a personal truck or van for work and staying local with small jobs is best suited to work with Progressive Commercial. Between the personal and commercial auto insurance lines, a handyman doesn’t need to overpay for his work vehicle. If a handyman decides to grow his business with skilled trades, Progressive Commercial has solutions for licensed tradespeople and contractors.
When to Use a Broker
Handymen have two options when they want to buy insurance: go directly to a carrier or find a broker to shop policies on your behalf.
Carriers typically have agents who work only with them. As a result, the agents are limited to the policies and coverage options the carrier offers, but handymen may find keeping all insurance with one carrier beneficial. Not only can that make managing policies easier, but carriers can also give discounts when people buy multiple policies.
Working with a broker, however, can also save you money and improve coverage, especially when that broker partners with many highly rated carriers like CoverWallet does. This gives you the chance to compare multiple offers and pick the policies that best fit your coverage needs and budget.
3 Tips Regarding Handyman Insurance
Many independent contractors feel they are unable to afford the insurance that they need. Completing the handyman insurance application properly helps you get the right coverage for the best possible price.
1. Determine Replacement Cost of Tools and Equipment
Inventory your tools and equipment as well as the regular number of expendables you keep, such as screws, nails, and caulking. This gives you the actual value of all your business property. If the premium is too high to cover everything, take a second look to determine what the most important items are.
2. Consider Who Your Clients Are
You may want higher coverage options for liability insurance, depending on who your clients are. Working in million-dollar homes has more risk for bigger losses and even potential lawsuits. Keep this in mind as you choose your liability coverage.
3. Check State Licensing Requirements
Some states, such as Maryland, require a handyman to have a license to perform any services. Others, such as California and Hawaii, make handymen get licenses when jobs reach a certain dollar value. If you are required to obtain a license, there is a good chance you will also need proof of a bond or insurance for the licensing board.
It’s important to have enough insurance coverage for your handyman business so that you’re not crippled by one mistake on the job. Handyman insurance is there to take control of claims and accusations against you so that you can continue doing your job. The right insurance company serves as a partner to make sure you have the maximum coverage at a reasonable price.
CoverWallet offers a fast way for you to get the required $1 million per claim general liability policy you need for as little as $35 per month. It specializes in helping the handyman industry, and it can get you covered quickly. You can fill out an online application from your phone and be covered in as quick as 10 minutes.