New York Business Insurance

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Insurance for New York small business owners

When it comes to small businesses, New York is leading the nation. The state has more than 2 million small businesses. Small businesses make up 99.75 percent of all businesses—the third-highest percentage of small businesses in the US. This adds up to employment for 4 million people, or half of New York's private workforce. New York can be especially proud of its diversity among business owners, as more than 700,000 of its small businesses are minority-owned.

With an estimated 14,000 new small businesses opening every year, New York is a fertile ground for entrepreneurs. While New York’s growth in small businesses is strong, New York has strict insurance requirements.  It is essential for small business owners to be aware of all small business regulations in the state.

Top covered industries in New York

Small businesses throughout New York's most prominent industries can find coverage with Hiscox, which offers tailored insurance to each business's specific needs and risks. Some of the most common New York business owners insured through Hiscox include cosmetologists, photographers, event planners and promoters, interior painters, and business consultants.


As part of the beauty and wellness industry, cosmetologists and beauticians have direct and personal interactions with their clients every single day. While this may be one reason why cosmetologists choose to enter the beauty industry, it also carries certain risks, including client claims of emotional distress, bodily injury, personal injury, treatments gone wrong, and property damage. Regardless of whether these allegations have a factual basis, such claims can be detrimental to a cosmetologist's business.

Professional liability insurance, also called errors and omissions insurance (E&O insurance), protects against lawsuits claiming that a business has negligently performed its services. In the cosmetology industry, a case like this might arise if a cosmetologist's assistant uses the wrong makeup on a client. The client suffers an allergic reaction and has to cancel an audition to seek medical treatment. The client sues the cosmetologist for emotional distress and loss of wages.

New York cosmetologists can also benefit from general liability insurance, which protects against lawsuits claiming property damage, slander and bodily injury. Even an accident can lead to a lawsuit needing general liability insurance. For example, a cosmetologist performing hair and makeup services for a bridal party accidently drops red lipstick on the bride’s wedding dress which does not come out. The bride sues the makeup artist for damages to her dress and mental distress. 


Whether they take pictures for weddings or for New York's fashion leaders, photographers have to communicate with clients, navigate challenging environments, and get the perfect image—all while managing their valuable equipment. A photographer's job can be exciting, but all that excitement can bring a heightened risk.

General liability insurance, which protects against a third party's claims of bodily injury or property damage, provides another layer of protection. A photographer might face claims like these if a client trips over a tripod and sues to cover associated medical costs or if the photographer's assistant is later heard gossiping about a high-profile client, who subsequently files a libel or defamation lawsuit.

Photographers can find peace of mind by securing errors and omissions insurance, which covers claims against businesses that provide professional services. These claims might arise, for example, if a faulty memory card prevents a photographer from delivering photographs to a client or if a difficult client is dissatisfied with a photographer's work.

In addition, a business owner's policy (BOP) is an excellent way to protect the investment photographers make into their professional equipment. For example, if a photographer's camera bag falls off a table and onto a concrete floor, damaging a lens and a portable hard drive, a Hiscox business owner's policy could provide coverage for the damaged equipment and help cover the data recovery cost. 

Event planners and promoters

From wedding planners to corporate event specialists to nightlife experts, event planners and promoters deal with a wide variety of clients and a large swath of the public. Combined with the emotional high stakes of many events—and the alcohol that accompanies them—an event planner has to navigate numerous hazards. 

One way that event planners and promoters can protect their businesses is by securing general liability insurance, which protects against claims of bodily injury or property damage. This coverage is typically expected by most event venues, as injuries at crowded parties are not uncommon. It can also protect against any accidental damage caused, for example, if the event's decorations damage the paint on the wall's venue—a concern in many of New York's historic buildings.

Reliable professional liability insurance coverage is another safeguard in the high-stress event planning industry. This insurance covers claims against businesses that provide professional services, and because emotions run high when events go awry, lawsuits—even frivolous ones—can arise. For example, if a difficult client's wedding is not exactly as she had dreamed, she may decide to sue.

Event planners can also benefit from a business owner's policy (BOP), as it can cover damage to their own property or equipment, such as if a laptop gets stolen during a busy event.

Interior painters

Painters are exposed to potential liability whenever they enter a residential home, an apartment building, or a commercial building for interior painting. Services such as removing old wall coverings or disposing of lead-based paints can expose employees and clients to hazards, and painters could potentially face lawsuits over slip-and-fall accidents, damaging paint spills, and even employees' comments about clients during break times. For all of these reasons, Hiscox provides custom insurance that can fit each New York painting business's specific needs.

General liability insurance is one of the most important types of insurance for a small painting business to have. It protects against bodily injury, so if a client trips over a painter's ladder and breaks an ankle, the policy will cover the costs of the client's medical bill. It also protects against property damage, so if paint spills during a job and damages a client's carpet, the policy will cover the costs associated with replacing the carpet. General liability includes coverage for claims of personal injury.  Imagine an employee is at lunch and starts talking to the shop's owner about a client in a false and unflattering way, and the client subsequently hears about this discussion and sues for slander. his policy will cover the claim and pay for a defense attorney, if necessary.

Business consultants

Because their services might include offering managerial advice, maintaining confidential information, and recommending marketing and sales strategies, the work of a business consultant in New York is uniquely varied and sensitive, so it can benefit from a range of small business insurance policies.

Errors and omissions insurance is an essential safeguard for business consultants. It covers claims against businesses that provide professional and personal services, and it offers protection in cases where the business consultant did not make a mistake. For example, if a business consultant advises a client to change an internal process to increase productivity but the client does not implement the recommendations as specified and productivity subsequently drops, then the client may decide to sue the business consultant. Hiscox E&O insurance can help cover the associated legal costs in cases like this.

General liability insurance, which protects against claims of bodily injury or property damage, is also helpful for a business consultant who spends a great deal of time traveling to company headquarters, branch offices, and clients' homes to discuss plans and strategies. If a prospective client slips and falls in the consultant's office or the consultant accidentally knocks over an expensive vase while visiting a client's office, general liability insurance will cover the costs of medical care or property repair.

Business consultants can also benefit from a business owner's policy (BOP), which combines general liability insurance and business property insurance. It can cover damage to one’s own property or equipment, such as if laptops, webcams, phones or printers are damaged in a fire.

More professions we also insure in New York

Small business insurance products

As small business insurance specialists we understand that every business is different, which is why we don’t offer one-size-fits-all solutions. We customize our small business insurance policies for New York business owners to fit the risks your company faces so you can get the right coverage, right now.

All small business owners should consider protecting their business with the right small business insurance. Hiscox small business insurance offers:

General Liability Insurance for New York

General liability insurance, known as Commercial General Liability (CGL), protects your business from another person or business’s claims of bodily injury, associated medical costs, and damage to property. Some examples of what could be covered are below:

  • Bodily injury: A client trips over their personal trainers workout bag during their training session and breaks their ankle. A general liability insurance policy could cover the claim for medical expenses up to the policy limits.
  • Property damage: A tax preparer gets contracted to do a major corporation’s taxes on site. While setting up the tax preparer spills his tea over the corporation’s server causing irreparable damage. A general liability policy could cover the claim, up to policy limits.
  • Personal injury: An consultant within a public relations company is overheard talking about one of the company’s top client’s in a rude and unflattering way. The client hears about what was said and sues the company for slander. General liability insurance could cover the subsequent claim, up to general liability policy limits.

Learn about how much general liability insurance costs

Professional Liability Insurance for New York

Professional liability insurance, also known as errors and omissions insurance (E&O insurance), covers another person’s claims against businesses that provide professional and personal services. Some examples of what could be covered include:

  • Dissatisfied client: A marketing consultant is working for a client who continually changes the scope of the project. When the consultant is not able to meet the original deadline for the expanded project, the client sues. Even if you haven’t made a mistake, professional liability insurance coverage could cover the cost of defending you up to policy limits.
  • Negligence: An investment consultant advises a client to invest in a start-up company that goes bankrupt in a year. It is later discovered that the consultant did not thoroughly research the company before advising the client to invest, and the client sues. A professional liability insurance policy could protect the consultant, including defense costs, up to policy limits.

Learn more about professional liability insurance.

Business Owners Policy for New York

Business owners policy (BOP) is a combination of general liability and business property insurance. BOP is often used to provide balanced coverage for small businesses who also want to protect their own business equipment. Some examples of what could be covered are below:

  • Office insurance for fire and business interruption.
  • Electronic data loss insurance.
  • Hired or non-owned vehicle liability insurance.
  • Commercial crime insurance to cover the dishonesty of your employees.

Learn more about business owners insurance.

Did you know?

New York boasts some of the strongest labor laws in the United States, protecting employees from discrimination, workplace safety issues, underpayment of wages, and breaches of collective bargaining agreements and employment contracts. These laws have grown even stronger in recent years, with New York drastically reforming its workers compensation regulations in 2007 and enacting five new laws that increased protections for employees against gender discrimination in 2016. In New York State, employers must make reasonable accommodations to applicants or employees who are pregnant, and employment applications may not include a box that applicants must check if they have been convicted of a crime. In New York City, workers' rights additionally include paid safe and sick leave and a $15 minimum wage, as well as strong protections for freelance and contract workers, who have a right to written contracts, timely payment and litigation.

In addition, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, the New York Labor Law, and the Fair Labor Standards Act require employers to pay employees' attorneys' fees if those employees' lawsuits are successful, and employees can go to court without filing a federal or state charge. All of these protections for employees, coupled with a litigious court system that landed New York City at the number-three spot on the American Tort Reform Foundation's "Judicial Hellholes" list in 2018, underscore the importance of insurance for small business owners in New York, including general liability insurance, errors and omissions insurance, and workers compensation insurance.


New York workers compensation laws

According to the National Federation of Independent Businesses, virtually every employer in New York state is required to carry workers compensation and disability benefits insurance for all employees, including family members, part- and full-time workers, and leased employees.

If a business has no employees, leased employees, borrowed employees, part-time employees, or unpaid volunteers, it does not need workers compensation coverage if one of the following conditions are met: it is a business owned by one individual, it is a partnership under the laws of New York State, or it is a corporation owned by one or two individuals who collectively own all of the stock and hold all of the offices of the corporation.

Businesses that fail to obtain workers compensation coverage may be issued a Stop Work Order, which doesn't just immediately end all business activities; it may also lead to debarment from any state, municipal or public contract for a full year. In addition, an injured employee can directly sue an uninsured employer, who is responsible for obtaining and paying for the legal representation needed to defend against the compensation claim. What's more, an uninsured employer is responsible for all wage and medical benefits awarded to successful plaintiffs, and there is no cap on these benefits in New York State. 

How Hiscox can help your business in NY:

  • Flexible payment options: We offer you the option of making monthly payments (with no fees) to help you manage your cash flow.
  • Claims responsiveness: When a covered claim is reported, Hiscox will immediately assign a dedicated claims representative to assist you.
  • Worldwide coverage: A New York business insured through Hiscox is covered for work done anywhere in the world, as long as the covered claim is filed in the U.S., a U.S. Territory or Canada.
  • Tailored Insurance: Insurance custom tailored to meet your business needs and save you money.


Get a fast, free quote now and get that Hiscox confidence behind your New York business. If you prefer, you can call us at 1-866-283-7545 and speak with a Hiscox licensed agent, Monday – Friday, 7am – 10pm ET.

This information is provided to assist you in understanding the coverage we offer and does not modify the terms and conditions of any insurance policy, nor does it imply that any claim is covered. Coverage is subject to underwriting and may not be available in all states.

Administered by Hiscox Inc., a Delaware corporation that is a licensed insurance producer in all states and Washington, D.C. 5 Concourse Parkway, 21st Floor, Atlanta, GA 30328.