Do painters need insurance?

Self-employed painters need the right insurance. State laws, licensing regulations, and the contracts you sign with customers often require business insurance, so yes, professional painters need business insurance. The work of a painter has its risks, whether you’re a small painting business, a large painting operation with several employees, or a one-man painting contractor. If something happens and you don’t have the right insurance, a minor incident can easily turn into a large (and costly) problem.

A painter’s work is physical, so naturally there are risks involved. Getting the right coverage will help protect your painting business from risks like falls (from scaffolding or ladders), spilled paint (that could damage fine art or antique rugs), and many other unforeseen events.

If you’re looking to learn about the best insurance coverages for painters, you’re in the right place. Some of the most important insurance policies for painters include liability, property, and workers’ compensation insurance.

What types of insurance are best for painters?

Many contractors face similar liabilities, such as damaging a customer’s property or even accidentally hurting someone as a result of your operations. That’s why general liability insurance is an important baseline insurance coverage for painting businesses. It covers accidents like property damage and bodily injury.

Workers’ compensation is another crucial insurance policy for painters. It covers you and your employees in the event of an illness or injury due to work performed on the job.

Painter’s Liability Insurance

Because painters typically visit job sites and interact with clients and their property, there is a lot of room for slipups. In the event of an accident, having the protection of general liability insurance can make or break your business.

General liability coverage benefits include:

  • Property damage. Example: You (or an employee) knock over a paint bucket and it spills all over a client’s fancy rug.
  • Bodily injury. Example: A client trips over some of your tools and sprains their ankle. Or you’re doing some work up high and a paint bucket falls on someone below.
  • Personal / advertising injury. Example: You complain about a client in one of your Facebook posts, and they claim libel.
  • Legal defenses and settlements (including lawyer’s fees, punitive damages, and court expenses) in the event of a lawsuit.
If one of your customers files a claim against you for any of the above reasons, a general liability policy will help cover the damages.

Workers’ compensation insurance for painters

Almost every state requires painting contractors to have workers’ comp. Because of the physical nature of your work, it’s important for protecting you from job-related injuries, settlements, and lawsuits. Workman’s Comp can pay for an employee’s medical bills following an injury, and it even covers some of their salary if they are unable to return to work right away. There are three primary reasons painting contractors need workers’ compensation:

The person hiring you requires you to have your own workers’ comp insurance.

Oftentimes, people hiring painters require them to have their own workers’ comp policy. This is because if you get hurt on the job doing work for them, they could be held liable. They want to minimize their risk, so they require you to have your own workers’ compensation, so they won’t be held liable if you get hurt or sick on their job.

You hire people to work for you.

In most states, you are required to provide workers’ compensation for employees, even if those doing work for you aren’t considered full-time. More often than not, you will be held liable if anyone gets hurt on the job while doing work on your behalf. That includes subcontractors, temporary employees, and part-time employees.

You want to protect yourself.

Many painters think of their employees when they think of workers’ compensation. However, you can purchase workers’ comp for yourself as well. If you get hurt or sick on the job, you would benefit from the following:

  • Medical costs incurred due to illness or injury
  • Return to work and recovery services
  • Reimbursement for lost wages
  • Employer’s liability coverage (which covers lawsuits in the event of employer’s gross negligence)
Medical bills can be very expensive. With a workers’ compensation policy, you won’t wind up paying for them out of pocket. And if you (or an employee) happens to get hurt on the job and can’t work for a while, workers’ comp will also provide supplemental income until you get back on your feet.

Want more protection at a discount?

Find out if you’re eligible for a contractor package policy, or business owner’s policy. This bundled deal combines liability coverage, property insurance, and business interruption coverage. It’s a great option for painters because the package cost is less expensive than the price of purchasing each of the policies separately.

Fill out a simple form to see if you qualify.

Additional insurance policies for painters

  • Commercial property insurance: Painters’ equipment can be expensive. If you protect it with commercial property insurance, your tools and supplies will be repaired or replaced in the event that they get damaged. The policy also covers your business premises themselves. Note: If you stow your work gear at home, keep in mind that your homeowners policy typically only covers up to $500 in business property damages. That’s why it’s best to purchase a commercial property insurance policy.
  • Inland marine insurance: Your commercial property insurance ends after you’re 500 feet away from your business premises. Inland marine insurance (also known as Tools and Equipment Insurance) is a special type of insurance policy that protects property while it is in transit. That means while you are driving to a client’s office or residence, your property is protected. If something was to be damaged or stolen, the losses are covered by inland marine coverage. If you want to protect your gear while at other locations or in transit, you’ll need an inland marine policy.
  • Commercial auto insurance: This is basically a painter’s vehicle policy. Because the majority of painting work is done at client’s homes and businesses, that means you’re using a business vehicle all day long. And that vehicle should be covered by auto insurance. A business auto insurance policy provides ample coverage for your company vehicle in the event of an accident. It will provide coverage against bodily or property injury, as well as vandalism or theft. You’ll need commercial auto to cover painting vans, cars, trucks, or service vehicles owned by your business.
  • Hired & non-owned insurance: If you hire, rent, or borrow vehicles on behalf of your painting operation, this coverage will extend liability protection to said vehicles. This policy also applies to employees who are using their personal vehicles on behalf of your business.

How much does painting insurance cost?

The cost of insurance for a painting business varies. An important factor is whether you are a residential or commercial painter, and if you paint exteriors or interiors. The cost will also vary depending on how much liability insurance you need, how many employees you have, and how many vehicles you own or hire.

Painters can typically expect to pay less than $1,000 a year for painter liability insurance. And if you’re just a one-person painting company, your liability insurance policy could be as little as $75 a month.

As you grow, your commercial insurance plan will cost more because you will have more risk. It helps to understand the liability limits and workers’ comp requirements of your state as well, because both of these factors affect insurance rates. (That’s where an insurance expert really comes in handy.)

The best way to figure out exactly how much your insurance will cost is to complete a quick online application, and we’ll compare quotes to find you the best coverage.

We can save you money.

Get a free online estimate and we’ll compare painter insurance rates from over 30 providers to find you the right coverage at the best price. (And we’ll do that at no extra charge to you.)