Do painters need 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 liabilities 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 painter insurance policies 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.

Painters Liability Insurance

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

General liability coverage benefits include:

  • Property damage. Example: You (or an employee) knock over a paint bucket and ruin your client’s Persian rug.
  • Bodily injury. Example: A client trips over your tools and sprains their ankle. Or, you’re working on a ladder and a paint bucket falls on someone below.
  • Personal/advertising injury. Example: You speak poorly of a client on your social media, and they claim libel.
  • Legal defenses and settlements. This includes 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 the any of the above reasons, a general liability policy will help cover the damages.

Workers’ Comp for Painters

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. That’s because if you get hurt on their property doing work for them, they could be held liable. In order to minimize their risk, they may require you to have your own workers’ compensation insurance so they won’t be held liable if you get hurt or sick on the 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 a workers’ comp policy 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
  • Employee lawsuit coverage
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, another workers’ comp benefit is 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 than the price of purchasing each of the policies separately. Fill out a form to see if you qualify.

Additional insurance policies that are great for painters

  • Commercial property insurance: Painter’s equipment can be expensive. If you protect it with commercial property insurance, your tools and supplies will be repaired or replaced in the event they get stolen or damaged. The policy also covers your business premises itself. 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. If you want to protect your gear while at other locations or in transit, you’ll need this coverage.
  • Commercial auto insurance: This is basically a painters’ vehicle policy. Commercial auto covers 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 them. This policy also applies to employees that 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.

If you’re a one-person painting company, your liability insurance policy could be as little as $100 a month.

As you grow, your commercial insurance plan will cost more because you will be exposed to more risk. It helps to understand liability limits and state workers’ comp requirements 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 get a painting insurance quote for any coverages you’re interested in.

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