Ontario Small Business

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Insurance is a big deal to small businesses in Ontario

Builder, baker or artisan candle maker? You're covered.

Small businesses account for 95 per cent of employers in Ontario and employ 28 per cent of the workforce, according to the Ontario Ministry of Labour. As you can imagine, there are a wide variety of small businesses in Ontario and an array of business insurance products to support them.

From builders to bakers, operating a small business provides great rewards, but not without risk. Whether you’re a contractor or a consultant, own a hair salon or a transportation service, build houses or design websites, small businesses leave room for big perils. 

This is where Ontario small business insurance can help you protect your business, your business assets, your customers, and your employees. 

What is small business insurance?

Small business insurance, also known as commercial business insurance, protects your small business in the event of a loss or lawsuit. Depending on the nature of your business and services, you may require (or choose) a number of different types of small business insurance coverage to ensure your business is fully protected. If you work from a home-based office, a simple upgrade to your existing home insurance policy may suffice. If your small business is entering a growth stage and moving to a larger location, more coverage may be necessary. It all depends on the nature of your work.   

Some of the most common types of insurance available to small businesses include:


  • Errors and omissions insurance – If you’re a consultant or your Ontario small business provides professional advice as part of its services, then errors and omissions insurance is vital. This type of liability insurance will protect you in the event a professional mistake results in a lawsuit or legal action. This is sometimes called professional liability insurance and/or malpractice insurance. These types of coverages are similar in nature, but there may be slight variances depending on the type of work you do. For some contractors and small businesses, this type of insurance instills confidence in their business and can give them an edge over competitors. 
  • General liability insurance – This type of small business insurance protects you in the event somebody is injured on your property, by one of your products, or if there is liability related to property damage or loss. Home-based businesses take note. Many small business owners are unaware that the liability part of your home insurance policy does not cover work-related claims that occur on your home property. Examples include a client or postal worker slipping on your property, a hairdresser that uses a treatment on a client that causes an allergic reaction, and so on.  
  • Tenant’s legal liability insurance – If you rent space for your Ontario small business, this type of insurance protects against certain damages and named perils that occur on rented or leased property. Many assume landlords are on the hook for these damages, but this isn't always the case when it’s a business renting or leasing a space.  
  • Commercial auto insurance – Do you use your car for any business-related purposes? If so, then your standard auto insurance policy may not cover you in the event a collision or damage occurs while the vehicle is being used for work-related activity. A commercial auto insurance policy will ensure you, any employees that drive the vehicle, and the vehicle itself are protected at all times. 
  • Worker's compensation insurance – Protects your employees by providing coverage in the event they are injured on the job. 
  • Contents insurance – Covers assets stored at your business location, including home-based businesses. 

There are many other types of small business insurance that might be beneficial or necessary for your business. The best thing you can do is to understand your risks and speak with a qualified insurance professional who can help you determine what Ontario small business insurance you need.



Who needs small business insurance?

All small businesses can benefit from business insurance. Most depend on it. 

Here are just a few examples of the different types of small businesses across Ontario that need business insurance:

- Accounting and bookkeeping services

- Real estate agencies and brokers

- Legal services

- Family-owned businesses

- Entrepreneurs and start-ups

- Restaurant and cafe owners

- Galleries and museums 

- Health services 

- Boutique studios and shops

- Digital and design services 

- Landscaping and similar contractors

- Retail stores and specialty shops

- Spas and RMTs

Of course, each of these example small businesses will have different insurance needs depending on what they offer, who they work with, where they operate out of and various other factors. 

That's why InsuranceHotline.com helps connect you with a licensed insurance professional who can answer your questions and help you figure out exactly what your business insurance needs are.

6 ways to save money on small business insurance in Ontario

Every dollar counts when you're running a small business. These tips from our partners can help you can save money on your business insurance.

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Know your risks

Understand your risks and the types of small business insurance that your business needs. It’s just as important to ensure you’re getting the coverage you need as it is to ensure you’re not paying for unnecessary coverage

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Increase deductibles

Increase your deductible to the highest amount you can reasonably afford. This will decrease your monthly payments, but will increase the amount you have to pay in the event of a claim

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Prevent losses

Do all you can to mitigate risks before they happen. Some examples include keeping your property tidy, maintaining copies of paperwork and contracts, ensuring you have adequate insurance coverage

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Ask about discounts

You never know what discounts you might be eligible for. Ask your agent to find out what you qualify for 

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Get an agent

Work with a qualified insurance professional that understands your business needs

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Compare rates annually

Just like with any other type of insurance, comparing rates regularly is an easy way to save

Why liability insurance is important for small businesses in Ontario

Find quotes to protect your business with liability insurance

Liability insurance is often considered the most important form of business insurance because it can save your business a lot of money - and in some cases your credibility - in the event of a lawsuit or legal action. As a small business, any legal action puts you at risk of losing your business due to the financial burden associated with the legal process. If a case goes to court, liability insurance helps cover the cost of defending yourself, including lawyer fees. Out of court, it can help with settlement costs. Beyond this, many organizations won't do business with a small business or contractor without proof of liability insurance, making it a vital part of any small business. 

For a more detailed look at why liability insurance is important for your small business, check out the liability insurance page here.

For more information on business insurance in general, visit the commercial insurance page here.

Ontario small business insurance frequently asked questions (FAQs)

Answers to some of your most commonly asked questions. 

Does my home insurance cover my small business?

If you operate your small business from out of your home, there may be some overlap from your existing home insurance policy. Property such as laptops, computers and other items may be covered under the contents component of your home insurance policy, but typically only to a certain amount. It is worthwhile to speak with your home insurance provider to ensure your business contents are fully protected. You may need to increase your coverage or add a separate rider to ensure you have enough coverage. 

Furthermore, if you have clients come to your home business, receive deliveries or have employees or contractors that also work from your home, then you need business liability insurance, also known as General Liability Insurance. Your home insurance won’t protect you if someone is injured on your property in a work-related incident, for example, and the last thing you want is to be financially and legally responsible for someone’s medical expenses and legal fees. This type of coverage is a no brainer for most people who work from home. 

If you’re a freelancer who doesn’t have clients on site, for example, this may not be necessary and you may benefit from simply increasing your existing home or tenant’s insurance policy. Speak with your insurance provider to find out if you’re at-home business is truly covered. 

Who needs small business insurance in Ontario?

All business come with risks, but these risks vary depending on the business. Here are just some of the industries and spaces that seek Ontario small business insurance:

  • Professional services including IT, accounting, medical, legal and consulting
  • Contractors
  • Retail
  • Health services
  • Fitness instructors 
  • Home-based businesses 
  • Bakeries, cafes, etc. 
  • Freelancers  
  • Hairdressers and hair salons
  • Massage parlours and estheticians 
  • Start-ups 

No matter what space you’re in, there is a small business insurance policy that can help protect you, your business and your business assets. 

How much does insurance cost for a small business in Ontario?

The cost of Ontario small business insurance ranges depending on the types of coverage you purchase, the type of work you do, your past claims experience, and so on. However, many small business owners are surprised by how little commercial insurance typically costs. It’s a small expense that could ultimately save your business and prevent you from going bankrupt in the event of a claim. 

How does InsuranceHotline.com find me the best Ontario small business insurance?

When you fill out the quote form on InsuranceHotline.com, we send your request to a number of different insurance brokers who specialize in Ontario small business insurance. These professionals are experts in understanding risks associated with small businesses in Ontario and can point out things that you may not have considered, answer any questions you have and educate you on anything related to small business insurance and your small business insurance needs. 

Within two days, a broker will contact you with a quote. You are under no obligation to purchase a policy and we encourage you to ask as many questions as necessary so you feel confident in your coverage. We want you to get the best policy possible for your small business needs at the best possible rate.

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