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Business owners know that life rarely goes according to plan. Fortunately, business insurance can help you through those rough patches. It is a safety net that protects you and your business’s finances!

Business losses are painful. A good policy is often the difference between a business getting back on its feet quickly or failing.

This guide explores Canada’s best business insurance providers, compares the different types of business insurance and answers how much business insurance costs.

What you need to know about business insurance

  • Experts strongly recommend coverage purchasing business insurance even when not required.
  • There are a variety of coverage types available that are as unique as your business.
  • Policies can be inexpensive! $1M each in Commercial General Liability and Professional Liability Insurance costs an average of just $450 per year.
  • Business insurance rates depend on your industry, services, number of employees, location and annual revenue.

Our 2024 of Canada’s best business insurance

The best business insurance provider and policy for you depends on a range of factors like the business type, local legal requirements and your risk tolerance. With so many insurance companies operating in Canada, choosing can be overwhelming.

Here are our top picks for business insurers to simplify the selection process.

Summit Business Insurance

Summit is a transparent business insurance broker with more than 20 years of experience. It works with more than 40 of the largest and best-rated insurers in Canada. That means that you are in good hands. It covers large and small businesses in Alberta, British Columbia, Saskatchewan, Manitoba and Ontario. Summit sells many types of insurance including commercial general, professional liability, commercial property, cyber and builder’s risk insurance. Get customized coverage that is right for you.

Here is why we like Summit:

  • Responsive
  • Good value for money
  • Customized coverage for your needs
  • Hands-on service from a small, dedicated team

Zensurance Business Insurance

Zensurance is one of our favourite business insurance brokers for small businesses. Their online tool is intuitive. Quickly explore your insurance options by profession. It makes it easy to get your personalized quote. They partner with more than 50 leading insurance providers. That means that you get a wide choice and cheap rates. Zensurance helps people find the right policy for their small businesses.

Here is why we like Zensurance:

  • Easy to buy online and compare rates
  • Transparent and easy-to-understand insurance explications
  • 24/7 online service

Foxquilt Business Insurance

Foxquilt is a relatively new player in the small business insurance market, but its founders have long experience in the industry. The insuretech’s online platform makes it quick and easy to get a quote online. It underwrites its own products with machine learning. That means competitive rates for its clients. Coverage options include General Liability, Professional Liability/E&O, Umbrella/Excess, Inland Marine insurance and more. Both industry experts and clients give it great reviews.

Here is why we like Foxquilt:

  • Designed specifically for small to medium-sized businesses and sole proprietors.
  • Purchase online 24/7
  • A comprehensive set of business insurance products that covers almost anything.

APOLLO Business Insurance

APOLLO business insurance is another insuretech that is simplifying coverage. It empowers small business owners to purchase insurance 100% online and 24/ 7. Pick from a range of business types to create a custom quote. Through great data and proprietary algorithms, it is able to quickly offer comprehensive quotes for general liability, commercial property, business interruptions, crime insurance and much more.

Here is why we like APOLLO:

  • Buy business insurance online 24/7
  • Proof of insurance in just minutes
  • Industry-specific coverage for all kinds of businesses

TruShield Business Insurance

TruShield knows that Canadian entrepreneurs have too much on their plates. That's why they make it easy to get an online business insurance quote in minutes. Plans start at just $50 per month. Coverage types include CGL, commercial property, professional liability and cyber risk insurance and more.

Build a unique plan that's right for you and your business. Get discounts you will use with Stapels, TELUS Business and QuickBooks.

What we like about TruShield:

  • 24/7 claims
  • Customizable policies
  • Discounts with partners
  • Financial stability

How to get business insurance?

Buying business insurance has never been easier. Traditionally, you would have to speak to a broker or agent. It would take time to evaluate your needs, risk profile and what makes your company unique. No more!

Entrepreneurs today can take advantage of a new wave of online insurance brokers who can offer quotes online in just a few minutes.

You can often get business insurance quotes and purchase a personalized policy in just minutes. Start by getting business insurance quotes from the business brokers at the top of this page.

How does business insurance work?

Business insurance, sometimes known as commercial insurance, protects businesses and their owners from many threats.

Losses come in many different forms when you own and operate a business. What would happen if a flood forced you to close temporarily? Or if a fire destroyed your commercial kitchen? Business insurance protects you from threats that prevent you from operating as normal.

Business insurance comes in many different forms because every business is so different. The one thing that does not change is the need for business owners to manage risk. Things go wrong for humble sole proprietorships and behemoth corporations, but business insurance ensures they are made whole when they do.

Business insurance is an umbrella term encompassing several types of coverage, which we will explore below. Insurance for small businesses and large corporations change, but it is a good idea for almost all business types.

In Canada, coverage starts with commercial general liability insurance and then appropriate add-ons build on top of that framework.

What does business insurance cover?

Commercial General Liability Insurance (CGL) protects businesses from general threats. This includes many kinds of accidents that occur during normal day-to-day business operations, third-party property damage, errors or bodily injuries.

Here are some common risks that can be covered by a base general liability policy or add-on:

  • Bodily injury and medical expenses
  • Errors and negligence
  • Data breaches
  • Fire
  • Libel and slander
  • Lawsuits
  • Malpractice
  • Property damage
  • Theft
  • Vandalism
  • Weather damage

Let’s explore an example:

Hopefully, your business has never had to experience a potentially devastating loss like this. However, if you ever do, business insurance protects you financially.

Many types of business insurance add-ons are available to supplement this base coverage. Cyber insurance is a good example. It covers hacks that expose sensitive customer data from your servers. Another choice is errors and omissions insurance, which protects against lawsuits accusing you of bad advice or professional negligence.

Watch out!

Don't assume your policy includes specific coverage. All policies have exclusions. Read your policy carefully and ask your broker if you are unsure.

How much is business insurance?

Business insurance need not cost a lot. One partner starts its business insurance rates at just $19. It quotes an average of $450 per year for $2M in commercial general liability insurance for small and medium-sized businesses in Canada. That works out to less than $40 per month.

How much small business insurance costs depends on your sector, the size of your business, revenue and your risk profile. Larger and higher-risk businesses should expect to spend at least a few hundred dollars per month.

The easiest thing to do is to request a business insurance quote and speak with a broker or agent. Every business will be different.

Let’s take a look at two quotes:

That’s a bit more than Jade, a mobile app developer in Toronto.

Factors that affect business insurance prices

Here are some main factors that business insurers will consider when calculating your quote:

  • Size
  • Location
  • Revenue
  • Industry
  • Coverage amounts
  • Types of coverage (cyber, errors and omissions, etc.)
  • Industry experience
  • Number of employees
  • Claims history

Higher-risk activities correspond with higher business insurance rates. A mining company should expect to pay more than an Uber driver. That driver, in turn, will pay more than a copywriter who works from home. Business insurance costs correlate with risk for generating large claims.

Location and business insurance cost

Finally, insurance rates also vary depending on location. Local factors like weather, crime rates, claims history and property values mean no two places represent the same risk of generating a claim.

This is why business insurance in Ontario does not cost the same as business insurance in Alberta or business insurance in BC.

It is not just provinces either. Prices can even change between cities! If you operate a business in Edmonton, your premiums may differ from a similar one in Calgary.

Good to know

An insurance broker can help you select the right insurance coverage for your small business. They will evaluate your risks, give you a personalized quote and assist you with purchasing the right policy. Contact a business insurance broker now at the top of this page.

What types of business insurance exist?

Commercial insurance is an umbrella term that houses many different types of business insurance.

Here are some of the most popular types and how they work.

Type of Business InsuranceWhat it covers
General Liability Insurance
Commercial general liability insurance (GLC) is sometimes known as public liability insurance. It protects businesses against third-party property damage and lawsuits for bodily injury.
Commercial Property Insurance
Commercial property insurance covers a business’s physical property from weather damage, theft, vandalism, etc. The building itself, equipment, furniture and inventory are typically covered.
Key-person Insurance
Key-person insurance provides a monetary benefit to the business if a critically important employee passes away or is unable to work.
Cyber Insurance
Cyber insurance protects a business from liability for hacks and data breaches involving sensitive customer information, including health records, banking information, credit cards and driver's license numbers.
D&O Insurance
Directors and officers insurance is a type of professional liability insurance that covers legal defence fees for directors, officers and board members sued while exercising their role in the business.
Builder's Risk Insurance
Builder’s Risk insurance is a type of commercial property insurance that covers unfinished construction projects and major renovations.
Commercial Auto Insurance
Commercial auto insurance works like personal car insurance but covers drivers using a vehicle for business including delivery, ride-shares and commercial trucking.
Business Interruption Insurance
Business interruption insurance pays out if a business cannot operate after an unexpected event like a natural disaster or accident. It reimburses lost income and can cover many fixed expenses.
Professional Liability Insurance
Professional liability insurance is also known as errors and omissions insurance. It protects professionals like accountants and architects sued for negligence, mistakes and omissions that harm their clients.
Malpractice Insurance
Malpractice insurance is a type of professional liability insurance. It protects medical professionals from patient claims and lawsuits stemming from negligence or patient injuries.
Business insurance add-ons

Good to know

Did you know you can bundle different business insurance types under a single policy?

Speak with your insurance broker or advisor to combine multiple types of coverage under one policy. Adding on public liability, cybersecurity or other coverage is easy. Buying multiple policies with a single provider saves you time and money!

What business insurance do I need?

Unfortunately, there is no crystal ball for determining business losses. Business insurance is a hedge against potential problems. So what you get depends greatly on your industry, business and risk tolerance.

When imagining risks, ask yourself if you could handle them without insurance. If you could not, it is probably worth getting insurance.

Is business insurance mandatory in Canada?

Canadian federal law does not require all business owners to purchase business insurance, but we strongly recommend it.

There's a patchwork of insurance requirements. Check with industry peers, local government, business consultants or a Chamber of Commerce!

To give some examples, restaurants in Canada must carry insurance. Accountants in some provinces are required to have professional liability insurance. Similarly, drivers must insure their vehicles, so you will need a business auto insurance policy for your work truck.

Business insurance is a good idea even when it is not required! It can protect you if a client files a claim against you or you are the defendant in a lawsuit. Carefully consider your risk and the nature of your business.

Factors to consider

As a small business owner, evaluate the risks your business could face and weigh the policies available to protect you. Here are a few steps to take first:

  • Inventory risks to your business: Include any vital property, vehicles, equipment or supplies. Consider risks like a data breach or the death of a key employee.
  • List potential losses and liabilities: Separate personal and business items. If you are using your home or personal vehicle for your business, be aware that your personal policy will not cover you for damages incurred while performing commercial activities.
  • Ask how to reduce your premiums: Your broker can help you weigh risks and lower your premiums. Ask about discounts for purchasing multiple policies or consider steps you can take to reduce your risk profile. Underinsuring a business is a mistake that can ultimately cost a lot.
  • Work with a broker who understands your industry: Business insurance needs differ between industries. A broker with experience in your industry is better equipped to help you select the right policy.

Once you have determined the risks you need to have insured, an expert can help you decide which policies would be best for protecting your business.

Types of companies that need business insurance

Almost any type of small business can purchase business insurance. Experts strongly recommend comprehensive policies for companies, particularly at risk for malpractice or negligence claims like architects, medical professionals and engineers.

Here are a few professions and companies that should consider getting insurance:

  • Accountants
  • Airbnb hosts
  • Amazon, eBay and e-commerce businesses
  • Architects
  • Auto and truck dealers
  • Bus & limousine drivers
  • Commercial truckers
  • Construction workers and contractors
  • Consultants
  • Counsellors
  • Drivers (bus, limousines, etc.)
  • Engineers
  • Estheticians
  • Hairdressers
  • Home-based businesses
  • Landlords
  • Lawyers, solicitors and barristers
  • Massage therapists
  • Medical professionals
  • Movers
  • Paralegals
  • Personal trainers
  • Photographers
  • Restaurants
  • Ride-share drivers
  • Safety guards and security services
  • Sole proprietorship
  • Sports and Fitness
  • Startups
  • Technology and SAAS companies
  • Wineries and breweries
  • Yoga teachers

Don't see your job or industry on the list? You can still get coverage. This is by no means a comprehensive list. Speak with an insurance expert for a personalized policy.

Good to know

Any business that hosts events can purchase event insurance too. This may include wedding planners, event halls, sports instructors or offices.

More articles about business insurance

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Alexandre Desoutter

Alexandre Desoutter has been working as editor-in-chief and head of press relations at HelloSafe since June 2020. A graduate of Sciences Po Grenoble, he worked as a journalist for several years in French media, and continues to collaborate as a as a contributor to several publications.