Janitorial insurance is a group of policies cleaning businesses purchase to cover their risks and protect their assets. Every cleaning business from residential maid services to commercial janitorial companies needs business insurance, but which policies they get depends on their business operations. Janitorial insurance costs range from $350 to $4,200 per year, depending on the coverage.
CoverWallet makes getting janitorial insurance easy. It offers you multiple quotes from top carriers and helps make sure you get affordable coverage fast. Complete a free, no-obligation questionnaire online and get covered in minutes.
How Cleaning Business Insurance Works
Cleaning business insurance isn’t a specific policy you can buy. Instead, it’s any number of commercial policies janitors may need to protect their businesses. Each policy covers a specific set of risks. For example, general liability, which typically costs between $350 and $1,000 per year, covers customer lawsuits. However, cleaning businesses face other risks that require other policies like commercial property.
Who Needs Cleaning Business Insurance
“Cleaning business” describes a wide range of operations, and that means there are many business owners who may need janitorial or cleaning business insurance, including:
- House cleaners
- Commercial janitorial businesses
- Carpet cleaners
- Window cleaners
- Chimney sweepers
- Pool cleaners
- Dry cleaners and laundry services
- Power washing businesses
This list is not exhaustive but, hopefully, it gives you a good idea of the types of businesses that need the insurance discussed in this article.
Top Cleaning Business & Janitorial Insurance Providers
Janitors who want to compare offers from multiple insurers for general liability insurance
Small residential cleaners who want fast online quotes and flexible payment options
Hard-to-insure businesses including power washing and window cleaning that need professional and general liability policies
Carpet, rug, and upholstery cleaners who want employee theft coverage in their BOP
Contract cleaning services that want standard commercial property with equipment breakdown coverage
When you’re looking for cleaning business insurance, you have two options: work with a broker or go directly to the carrier. Each has its advantages, so our list includes both.
CoverWallet is an online insurance broker that helps janitors get quotes from more than one carrier through a single application. This makes it ideal for business owners who want to shop around for the right coverage without spending a ton of time completing applications with different insurers. Janitors can get a business owner’s policy (BOP) and workers’ compensation starting at $39 per month, plus they can choose from a wide array of other key coverages like inland marine and commercial auto. Surety bonds are also available through CoverWallet.
Whether they work on exteriors, interiors, or both, residential cleaning business owners should consider Hiscox for a straightforward online experience and affordable coverage. The company identifies janitorial as a top industry, which means it has experience with cleaning business risks and can offer quality protection at a competitive price. General liability insurance from Hiscox starts at $350 per year or $22.17 per month, and business owners can opt for a monthly payment plan for no extra charge.
Simply Business is another online insurance broker that can give cleaning business owners multiple quotes after they complete just one application. Its application is simple, and the quotes come within minutes and include a breakdown of the coverage details. While Simply Business can offer both general and professional liability policies to all sorts of janitors, we think it’s the right choice for cleaning businesses with high-risk operations, like window cleaning and chimney sweeping. Simply Business partners include carriers that can write policies for these hard-to-insure businesses.
For cleaning businesses, particularly carpet, rug, and upholstery cleaners, Travelers offers a business owner’s policy that automatically includes $25,000 of coverage for employee dishonesty. This valuable inclusion makes Travelers the smart choice for business owners who want an affordable BOP and coverage for an employee’s criminal behavior. Travelers also offers coverage to new ventures, making it a great option for startup cleaning businesses.
Markel is a specialty insurer that’s a strong option for janitorial contractors because of the broad range of policies it offers. Janitorial contractors can go to Markel for commercial property insurance that includes equipment breakdown coverage. They can also tailor their coverage with endorsements to cover debris removal, outdoor signs, and pollutant cleanup. Markel also offers inland marine and commercial crime insurance, as well as liability coverages for janitorial service businesses.
Whatever company you choose, remember you want to work with an insurer that knows your industry. According to Ryan Knoll, owner of Tidy Casa Cleaning and Maid Service, finding an insurer that has worked with lots of cleaning businesses is worth the effort.
“Cleaning companies have very specific needs when it comes to insurance, and there are only a handful of companies that specialize in working with them. This is especially true when it comes to workers’ compensation. In my first few years of business, I used three or four insurance companies instead of one. Once I found a company that specializes in insurance for cleaning companies, I consolidated coverages and saved about $6,000 per year.”
Types of Janitorial Insurance
General liability insurance, which pays for third-party claims over bodily harm and property damage, is a fundamental business policy for janitors and cleaners. However, most cleaners need other coverages, especially if they have employees or business-owned vehicles.
Most Common Cleaning Business Insurance Policies
Type of Insurance
What It Covers
Third-party claims for bodily injury or property damage
Damage to physical business assets like buildings, equipment, and supplies
Injuries, property damage, and lawsuits arising from accidents involving business-owned vehicles
Business property as it moves between job sites
Employees’ medical bills and wage replacement following work-related illness or injury
Claims that exceed limits on liability coverage
General Liability Insurance
General liability insurance protects cleaning businesses when third parties accuse them of causing bodily injury, property damage, or reputational harm through copyright infringement or defamation. Policies cover repair bills, medical expenses, and your legal defense in liability lawsuits. Because clients’ lawsuits could be your greatest financial risk, general liability is the most important coverage type for most cleaning businesses.
Some situations that trigger your general liability insurance coverage include:
- A customer slipping on their clean floor after you mop it
- Your employee knocking over an expensive statue in your client’s lobby
- A competitor claiming your tweet about their service is defamation
According to John Espenschied, Agency Principal, Insurance Brokers Group:
“Every cleaning business should own general liability insurance, especially when it will be working on the premises of a client’s place of business or personal residence. The potential for damage to a third party’s property, even if you are not at fault, may result in expensive court costs and lawyer fees. Also, most companies you do business with will ask for proof of insurance or a certificate of liability insurance.”
Commercial Property Insurance
Commercial property insurance covers the cost of repairing or replacing your cleaning business’s physical assets up to your policy limits. These assets typically include your office space, its furniture and fixtures, and your cleaning equipment and supplies. Business owners who lease commercial space can get property insurance for equipment and supplies.
Additionally, cleaning business owners should consider the following endorsements:
- Lost key coverage: Pays for rekeying a building if you or your employees lose the keys
- Employee dishonesty: Pays for a client’s property when an employee steals it
You can choose to insure your business property either at actual cash value or replacement cost. Actual cash value replaces at market value minus depreciation and has lower premiums, whereas replacement cost pays what it costs to replace the item at today’s value but has higher premiums.
Commercial Auto Insurance
Cleaning businesses that own cars, trucks, vans, or a combination of vehicles need commercial auto insurance in case one is involved in an accident. Policies can cover your repairs and medical bills, the other driver’s damages, and your attorney’s fees if the other driver sues. What your auto policy pays for depends on which coverage options you pick.
Commercial auto coverage options include:
- Liability: Pays the other driver’s medical and repair bills or your legal bills if they sue as most states require you to have at least liability coverage for your business-owned vehicles
- Collision: Covers your repair bills after a car accident
- Comprehensive: Pays your repair bills after damage is caused by something other than a car accident like theft or vandalism
- Medical payments: Covers you and your passenger’s medical bills after a car accident regardless of who caused the accident
- Uninsured/underinsured motorist: Covers your medical and repair bills after an accident with a driver who either doesn’t have coverage or whose coverage is insufficient for the damages
- Hired and nonowned liability: Pays the other driver’s medical and repair bills after an accident in a vehicle that’s rented, hired, or leased but not owned by your business
Personal auto policies exclude business driving when the vehicle in question is used primarily for business, but they may cover periodic business trips. Cleaning business owners who use their own car or truck for work need to review their policies or work with their agents to make sure they are covered.
Inland Marine Insurance
Inland marine insurance is a type of property coverage that follows your equipment as it moves between work sites or is stored in an off-site facility. Commercial property insurance only covers items at the location listed on the policy. This is insufficient for most janitorial and cleaning businesses because most need to transport equipment and supplies to their clients’ homes or offices.
Aside from covering your business’s physical assets away from your main location, inland marine acts much like commercial property. It covers similar perils, such as fire, wind, theft, and vandalism, and it can be written on an actual cash value or replacement value basis.
Workers’ Compensation Insurance
Most states require businesses with even a single employee to carry workers’ compensation coverage to pay for their lost wages and medical bills if they suffer a work-related illness or injury, such as:
- Chemically induced lung disease after years of inhaling toxic materials
- Broken arm after falling down the stairs
- Work-related lower back pain
In some states, workers’ comp policies include coverage for your legal defense if an employee claims your negligence or intentional acts caused their injuries.
Umbrella insurance extends the limits of your other liability policies, which means it picks up where the others fall short. For example, if you have a general liability limit of $300,000 but your cleaning business has legal fees of $350,000, umbrella insurance covers the remaining $50,000.
Commercial umbrella policies only extend coverage on certain policies, including:
- General liability
- Employer’s liability
- Commercial auto liability
On top of providing additional coverage, a commercial umbrella policy can help you land large commercial jobs where the contract requires larger liability limits. Your umbrella coverage helps you meet the requirements and usually costs less than adding to your general liability limits.
Janitorial Bonding Insurance
Janitorial bonding insurance is a three-party agreement between your cleaning business, your client, and your insurer, or surety. The agreement states that the surety will pay the client if something goes wrong and then get reimbursed by you. Cleaning and janitorial bonds typically cost between 1% and 15% of the total amount of the bond.
Janitorial surety bonds typically cover two types of claims:
- Employee theft
- Failure to deliver on a contract
A surety bond works more like a guarantee than traditional insurance. This, plus the fact that your insurer promises first to pay and then get reimbursed by you, makes getting janitorial bonds more like qualifying with a lender than buying insurance from an agent.
Janitorial businesses that are bonded and insured often have an easier time landing large commercial contracts because building owners make bonds and liability insurance contractual requirements to protect their business and their tenants.
According to Jeremy Schaedler, President, Schaedler Insurance Agency, Inc.:
“A janitorial bond is a great form of advertising for cleaning businesses because it tells potential customers their business is trustworthy. The bond serves the purpose of protecting clients in the event of theft by the business’s employees. This bond typically can be purchased for amounts ranging from $10,000 to $100,000 in coverage … with premiums starting in the low $100 range per year.”
Janitorial Insurance Costs
Janitorial insurance costs range from about $350 to $3,500 per year, depending on coverage needs. Small cleaning businesses might pay $750 to $1,300 each year if they only require a business owner’s policy. For comparison, large janitorial businesses that need additional policies can pay several thousands of dollars per year.
Janitorial Insurance Costs by Policy & Coverage Amount
General Liability Insurance
$350 to $800
Commercial Property Insurance
$10,000 to $100,000
$380 to $1,000
Business Owner’s Policy
$750 to $1,300
Commercial Auto Insurance
$1,500 to $2,500
Workers’ Compensation Insurance
$2,000 to $4,200
Inland Marine Insurance
$10,000 to $100,000
$180 to $1,500
$400 to $1,500
Your total cleaning business insurance cost is the sum of all your yearly premiums. Still, businesses with similar insurance needs can end up paying different rates because insurers look at a variety of factors to determine premium, such as:
- Clients: Business owners with commercial and industry contracts face greater risks, so they pay more for their janitorial insurance than those who take only residential work.
- Revenue: Businesses that earn more have more to lose, and that makes them riskier to insure, causing their rates to go up.
- Claims history: Businesses with few or no claims usually get more favorable rates because insurers assume that they are safer than others.
- Employees: Having more employees increases your workers’ comp premiums automatically because you have more people to cover, but other policy rates may also go up because of the additional risks employees bring.
- Location: A business located in a flood zone, in a high-crime area or far from a fire station, pays more for their janitorial insurance than those that are not.
- Coverage limits: Increasing your limits provides greater coverage, and it also means you pay more for your insurance.
- Deductibles: Higher deductibles usually mean lower premiums, but make sure you choose an amount you can afford to pay if a disaster strikes.
Cleaning business insurance costs can vary from carrier to carrier, so business owners should get multiple quotes before they pick their policies. That way, they can compare rates and policy details to find insurance that suits their business. Business owners who don’t have the time to shop around for policies can use a broker to get matched up with the provider that’s best for them.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) About Janitorial Insurance
This article covers most of the information you need to choose the appropriate janitorial insurance for your operations. However, every cleaning business has its quirks, so we’ve answered some of the most FAQs here.
Do I need insurance to start a cleaning business?
Every state has its own rules regarding licensing. Some may require janitorial insurance to get your business license or a service contractor’s license, so it’s a good idea to contact your state government before you apply. However, even if insurance isn’t required, you may want coverage to both protect your business and earn prospects’ trust.
Do home-based businesses need janitorial insurance?
You most likely need janitorial insurance, even if you run your business from your home office. Most homeowner’s insurance policies exclude business activities, so your insurer may decline work-related claims, such as a delivery person slipping on your front walk if they’re delivering cleaning supplies. Home-based business owners can usually cover their risk with a BOP.
Does my cleaning business insurance cover independent contractors?
Some basic business policies, like general liability, specifically exclude 1099 employees. That’s a big risk to your cleaning business because clients may sue you for independent contractors’ mistakes. This is why it’s important to work with an agent who can help you decipher your policy and advise you on what to do about the gaps.
Whether you’re a sole proprietor offering house cleaning services or own a janitorial cleaning company, you need quality small business insurance. Even if your business assets are limited, and you don’t have expensive equipment to cover, you can still be liable for third-party property damage and injuries. Getting adequate insurance coverage is essential to protecting your business when the worst-case scenario happens.
Purchasing the right janitorial insurance for your company can be a relatively inexpensive way to protect against a loss so severe it puts you out of business. If you need reliable coverage for your cleaning business fast, connect with an expert at CoverWallet today.