Many or all of the products featured here are from our partners who compensate us. This may influence which products we write about and where and how the product appears on a page. However, this does not influence our evaluations. Our opinions are our own. Here is a list of our partners and here's how we make money.
As a small-business owner, building trust with customers and vendors is essential. One way to build that trust is by offering a certificate of liability insurance, which shows you have the necessary business insurance coverage to protect your business and the people it serves.
What is a certificate of liability insurance?
A standard certificate of insurance, or COI, typically summarizes the different types of business insurance you hold, including your coverage limits. The document will also include contact information for you and your business, your insurance company's name, policy numbers, expiration date and individual claim payout amounts.
A certificate of liability insurance is a type of COI that specifically focuses on the business liability coverage you hold. It proves to customers and potential business partners that your company is insured against claims of damage, injury, loss or other liabilities. You can also request a certificate of liability from other vendors you plan to work with.
Liability insurance for businesses generally comes in two varieties: general liability insurance and professional liability insurance. You cannot get a certificate of liability insurance without having a business insurance policy.
Does your business need a certificate of liability insurance?
Almost all businesses benefit from holding general liability insurance, and many companies are legally required to carry it. Professional liability insurance is also a wise choice for any business that provides a service to customers, and it too may be necessary for many industries.
How often you’ll need to show a certificate of liability insurance depends on your industry and other factors, but knowing how to access your certificate quickly can help prevent delays.
How much does a certificate of liability insurance cost?
Some insurers provide COIs free to existing policyholders, although other providers can charge up to $50 for each new certificate issued. When shopping for a business insurance provider, consider the cost of their COIs to make sure you won’t encounter unexpected fees.
» MORE: How to get business insurance
How long does it take to get a certificate of liability insurance?
If you have a business liability insurance policy, you may already have a COI in your policy paperwork. If your insurance provider issues COIs only upon request, you can ask for one at any time. Delivery times may vary: Some providers may generate a digital COI within a matter of minutes, while others can take up to several weeks.
Where can you get a certificate of liability insurance?
Here are some business insurance providers that can issue a certificate of liability insurance when you purchase an applicable policy:
While perhaps best known for commercial auto insurance, Allstate also offers comprehensive business insurance policies. In addition to standard coverage types such as general liability insurance, you can also purchase add-on policies such as business interruption insurance or employee dishonesty insurance.
Chubb allows small-business owners to choose if they want to buy insurance through an agent or directly through its website. In addition, you can purchase several Chubb insurance products online: general liability, professional liability, cyber insurance, and a business owner's policy, or BOP.
The Hartford is a well-known insurance carrier that insures more than 1 million small-business owners across various industries. This insurer primarily sells policies through its network of independent agents and brokers, so The Hartford could be a good option if you prefer a personal touch when evaluating your insurance options.
Business owners in a hurry will appreciate Next’s speedy online application process, which states that qualified applicants can purchase insurance policies in minutes. In addition, Next customers can instantly download free certificates of liability insurance directly through the online portal without having to reach out to a representative.
This insurer is good for business owners who want a personal touch since policies can only be purchased through State Farm’s network of nationwide agents. State Farm offers liability insurance policies, including general liability, professional liability insurance, commercial umbrella coverage and employment practices liability insurance.