How Much Is Insurance for a Painting Business?

(Get all your answers from an expert.)
Written by Ashley Surinak
Written by Ashley Surinak

Insurance doesn’t have to be boring. That’s why we hired Ashley Surinak to be our BA insurance writer. Ashley specializes in making mundane subjects hella-entertaining.

paul martin Reviewed by Paul Martin
paul martin
Reviewed by Paul Martin

Paul Martin is the Director of Education and Development for Myron Steves, one of the largest, most respected insurance wholesalers in the southern U.S.

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Generally speaking, is insurance required for my painting business?
Which factors will determine how much insurance will cost for my painting business?
Can you give an example of how insurance costs could differ?
Expert(s) Found on this Page

Generally speaking, is insurance required for my painting business?

I’m thinking about starting a painting business, but I’m unclear about how much it’s going to cost to insure it. My starting point is this: Is insurance required? Or is it my choice whether I purchase insurance?

This is a great starting point for the bigger issue. It surprises some people to learn that insurance isn’t always required for a business, even a painting business. 

Generally speaking, insurance is necessary only if it’s required by the government or the party you’re doing business with. You can read more about the intricacies of that in our other Q&A business features. If you don’t want to read about it in too much detail, just know this: If you have employees and don’t live in Texas, you’re legally required to have workers' compensation coverage. If you enter into a contract with another person or party, that contract may require that you have insurance.

So, as the answer often goes: It depends. Now let’s talk about costs a bit more.

Which factors will determine how much insurance will cost for my painting business?

Even if I’m not legally required to purchase insurance, I feel like it’s a good idea just in case something happens. Which factors are going to affect insurance costs the most?

It’s easier to think about the costs of insurance in terms of factors rather than numbers. I would always recommend speaking with a independent insurance agent if you want to start putting numbers into the mix.

That being said, there are a few factors to keep in mind that will affect the cost of insurance coverage for your painting business:

  • Scope of work: These are factors like what you’re painting and the size of the job (i.e., what you’re painting or how much you’re painting).
  • Risks involved: Are you painting on the ground or at heights? Are you on the roof of a house? Are you on ladders? What about your employees? Height is the biggest risk factor when it comes to insurance coverage for a painting business.
  • Potential liabilities: By this we mean who could sue you if something goes wrong. If you’re a one-man business and you’re painting one-story houses as part-time work, your potential liabilities are small. However, if you’re operating on a larger scale and have employees, your liability is far greater.

All of these factors combine to affect the general costs of your painting business insurance. And when you want to talk numbers, a independent agent can help.

Can you give an example of how insurance costs could differ?

I think I understand what you’re talking about, but I want to be sure. Can you give me an example of how all of these factors work together to affect painting business insurance costs?

Let’s say you’re repainting a refinery. Think about how much that refinery is worth. That means if you make a mistake that somehow compromises the refinery, you’re going to be liable for the cost to replace what you’re painting. If you’re just painting a house, the risks are far less severe. 

And no matter what you’re painting, typical contracts will hold you legally responsible for anything that you do on the job that causes damage or injury. That being said, if you’re working on a refinery with a crew, the risks are far greater than if you're painting fences (a fence doesn’t cost much to replace, after all).

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