Washington Business
Insurance FAQ

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Frequently Asked Questions About
Commercial General Liability Insurance

How much does small business insurance cost?

Costs can vary widely based on industry and are also determined by zip code and often payroll and/or gross sales. Request a free quote to get an exact number. (read more)

What kind of business insurance do I need?

Most business owners need General Liability Insurance at the very least. If you have any non-owner employees, you will need workers compensation insurance too.

What is a Certificate of Insurance?

A Certificate of Insurance is proof of coverage. It lists the type and amount of liability coverage you have and other policy information when a third party requests it. (read more)

Is business insurance tax deductible?

Yes. you can deduct the cost of commercial insurance premiums. The IRS considers insurance a cost of doing business as long it benefits the business & serves a business purpose.


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Washington Business Insurance FAQ

Washington Business Insurance FAQ

Washington Business Insurance FAQ. In 2018, CNBC named Washington State as the #2 Top State for Business Owners. A strong workforce and top-notch infrastructure have worked together to create a state full of opportunities.

But if you're going to take advantage of these opportunities, you also need to be prepared for the risks. Lawsuits, fires, auto accidents, and natural disasters could wipe out all your hard work overnight if you don't have the right insurance coverage.

We wanted to provide a deeper dive into Washington business insurance to help our readers get a better understand of the commercial insurance policies they want and need with the Washington Business Insurance FAQ.

Here's what you need to know about protecting your company in the Evergreen State.

Read the Washington Business Insurance FAQ to get answers to your questions including: What are the WA minimum insurance requirements for workers compensation, commercial auto, general liability, business property and more.

What Types Of Insurance Are Required By Washington?

WA State Business Insurance Regulations

Washington requires two forms of insurance.

The first is workman's compensation. And you're required to provide it in most cases, even if all you're using is independent contractors. There are some exceptions, but only if the contractors themselves meet certain requirements.

Unlike other states, Washington doesn't allow you to purchase workman's comp on your own. You're required to set up an account with the Washington State fund and purchase it there. If your company is worth more than $25 million you do have the option to self-insure.

The other form of insurance you have to provide is minimum auto liability insurance. For any vehicle that's being used for business purposes, that means you have to have a commercial auto policy.

And you need one even if you don't maintain a fleet of company-owned cars and trucks. Most personal policies won't cover a vehicle while it's being used for business purposes, even if it's an employee-owned vehicle.

Are any other forms of insurance mandatory for my Washington Business?

The state doesn't require you to buy any other forms of insurance, but other entities might.

For example, if you're working as a contractor, the Washington Department of Labor & Industries requires you to present proof that you've obtained proper contractor's liability insurance before they'll issue your professional license.

If you've taken out a loan to start your business or to buy a commercial property the lender may also have requirements about the insurance policies you'll be required to purchase and maintain. Be sure to check your loan agreement before assuming you're in the clear.

What are the minimum commercial auto insurance limits in WA?

If you own a business vehicle, you need to make sure you have met the minimum vehicle insurance requirements to drive legally:

  • $25,000 bodily injury liability per person
  • $50,000 bodily injury liability per accident
  • $10,000 property damage liability per accident

For virtually every Washington small business, state minimum limits are not enough to protect your company. If you do not have high enough limits to cover damages caused to people or property when you have an accident, then you can be sued for the additional costs - and have to pay for them out-of-pocket.

Do I have to buy malpractice or professional liability insurance in Washington?

The state has not mandated malpractice insurance for any profession.

This does not mean you can't be sued for malpractice. For doctors, lawyers, and other professionals, an errors & omissions policy is a good idea regardless of what state law requires.

In fact, if you're a doctor you definitely want to consider this form of insurance. Washington is one of the states where you're most likely to be sued for medical malpractice.

Do you recommend other forms of insurance to companies doing business in Washington State?

Most companies should give serious thought to purchasing both a commercial liability policy and a commercial property policy. The first will protect you if someone gets hurt at your business location, or if something you do causes a customer to get hurt. The second will protect your property and assets from damage caused by fires, natural disasters, theft, or vandalism.

If you own a smaller company in a lower risk class, you may be able to combine these into a single business owner's policy (BOP). Ask your agent for details.

How do I contact the Washington Department of Insurance?

You can visit https://www.insurance.wa.gov, or write to them at:

Office of the Insurance Commissioner
P.O. Box 40255
Olympia, WA 98504

Or visit:

302 Sid Snyder Ave.,
SW Suite 200
Olympia, WA 98504

Or call: (360) 725-7100 or toll-free at (800) 562-6900.

Types Of WA Commercial Insurance Needed By Industry:

Industry Insurance FAQs

Washington Business Insurance FAQ. Learn about WA commercial insurance needed by industry, specifically the minimum recommended types of business insurance policies needed:

Following is the Washington Business Insurance FAQ for coverages that companies should consider - even if not required by WA law. They are listed by industry type:

Agribusiness

Insurance for WA agribusiness falls into three general categories:

  1. Liability for both premises and products.
  2. Property insurance on the buildings and the usually substantial amount of business personal property made up of machinery, livestock, equipment and other stock.
  3. Protection for worker injuries. Auto insurance should be written if the operation owns vehicles and especially if it transports its own products.

Agribusiness include: Alligator Farms, Beef Cattle Farms, Beekeepers, Cash Grain Operations, Commercial Fishermen, Dairy Operations, Farm Labor Contractor, Fish Hatcheries and Farms, Fruit and Vegetable Farms, Horse Farms (Other Than Racehorses), Horse Farms (Racehorses), Nurseries, Orchards, Poultry Farms, Sheep and Goat Farms, Swine Farms, Wineries and others.


Artisan Contractors

This category includes some of the more common and most needed Washington servicing contractors, ranging from plumbers and electricians to chimney sweeps and landscapers.

  • Physical damage coverage for tools, supplies and equipment, both on and off the contractor's premises, is a concern.
  • Liability exposures at the premises of the contractor, and at the premises of the contractor's customer, must be properly addressed along with completed operations.
  • Auto insurance is very important.
  • Workers compensation insurance protection for employees.

Artisan Contractors include: Air Conditioning, Alarm Installation, Service and Repair, Awning Services, Boiler Services, Building Cleaners, Caretakers, Carpenters , Chimney Sweeps , Cistern, Decorators, Door and Window Installers, Electrical, Environmental Remediation, Exterminators, Fire Suppression System, Floor Installers and Refinishers, Fumigators, Garage Door Sales, Service and Repair, Handyman, Heating Plant Services, House Cleaners, House Movers, Insulation, Interior Decorators, Janitor Services, Landscape , Linoleum Layers, Locksmiths, Oil and Gas Well Operations-Non-drilling Services, Painters, Paper Hangers, Plasterers, Plumbers, Power Washing, Sandblasting, Septic Tank Cleaning and Repair, Sign Painters, Swimming Pool, Tank Cleaners, Termite Control, Terrazzo, Tile, Marble and Mosaic Work, Tree Surgeons, Welders, Well Diggers-Oil, Well Diggers-Water, Window Washers and others.


Associations

WA Associations are a collective group of members with similar or related interests or goals who join together to form an associated group. Their purpose is to pursue those interests. The interest may be entertainment or financial in nature.

Some may be formed to perform public service or to assist a charity, while others are educational in nature and were formed to inform or advance a particular philosophy, religion, trade, political or social issue. Some associations have extensive tangible assets while others have none. Because associations are not immune to litigation, liability coverages often represent their greatest insurance need.


Associations include: Car Clubs, Condominium/Homeowners, Fraternal Orders, Goodwill Industries, Labor Unions, Lodges, Parent-Teacher Organizations, Red Cross Chapters, Salvation Army, Social Service Organizations, Veteran Groups, Volunteers of America, YMCAs, Youth Groups, YWCAs and others.


Automotive Sales and Service

Automotive sales and service is a broad category filled with a variety of operations involving the sales, service, parking, storing and rental of automobiles, trucks and recreational vehicles. The category presents a considerable number of exposures that center around the automobile.

  • Liability insurance for these operations is a major consideration but property insurance is equally important.
  • Property of others while in the care, custody and control of the insured must also be protected.
  • The property exposure can be extensive.

Automotive Sales and Service business include: Automobile Dealers, Automobile Dismantling, Automobile Rentals, Automobile Repairs, Automobile Sales and Service, Automotive Accessories, Automotive Glass Repairs, Batteries, Car Washing, Farm Equipment Dealers, Filling Stations, Garages, Gasoline Stations, Motorcycle Dealers, Painting (Automobile), Recreational Vehicle Dealers, Snowmobile Dealers, Tire and Battery Shops, Truck Rentals, Used Car Lots and others.


Aviation Risks

Highly specialized insurance policies are designed and developed to protect aviation operations and their exposures. Extensive liability protection is needed for aircraft, airport and aircraft servicing operations. Adequate and appropriate insurance coverage for pilots, flight attendants, and service and maintenance personnel is critical.

Because the funds invested in each aircraft are significant, proper insurance against physical damage is another major concern.


Aviation Risks include: Air Ambulance, Airports, Balloon Operations, Crop Dusting, Fixed Base Operators, Flying Schools, Helicopter Owners and others.


Boats and Yachts

Wherever one finds summer resorts, inland lakes, large rivers or harbor facilities, there are also marinas and boat and yacht sales and service agencies. The insurance requirements of these operations are unusual. While marine insurance is the oldest form of insurance, it is usually also one of the least understood.

A bank or other lending institution almost always has an interest in the merchandise on the dealer's floor and in the boat or yacht when purchased by the customer. The liability exposures of the dealer that provides boat repair or service require special attention. So does the liability of operations that accept boats and yachts for winter storage.

In some cases, physical damage coverage is needed for the boats and yachts themselves.


Boats and Yachts include: Boat Dealers, Boat Repair and Dry Docks, Marinas and others.


Construction Contractors

Washington construction contractors have substantial needs for many types of insurance coverage. Most would point to the importance of coverage for completed operations, premises liability coverage during construction operations at jobsites and professional or design errors and omissions insurance. Such coverages can be provided only when the interests of the contractor and of the property owner are understood; particularly the contractual obligations assumed by the contractor.

Next in significance is the workers compensation exposure followed by automobile. Inland marine coverage for expensive mobile equipment, supplies, other tools of the trade and builders' risk can be vital.


Construction Contractors include: Blasting Contractors, Bridge Contractors, Building Contractors, Cable Layers, Cement Contractors, Dock or Pier, Dredging, Excavating Contractors, Foundation Layers, General Contractors, Heating Contractors, Masonry Contractors, Mechanical Contractors, Millwrights, Paving Contractors, Road Contractors, Roofing Contractors, Sewer Contractors, Steel Erection Contractors, Ventilating Contractors, Wrecking Contractors and others.


Eating and Drinking Establishments

Bars, taverns, restaurants, cafeterias, and other WA eating and drinking places have significant insurance needs in three separate areas:

  1. Property protection for physical damage to equipment, furnishings, building and supplies due to fire and other perils.
  2. Premises liability coverage to protect customers due to slips, trips and falls on the premises, as well as for consumption of food products.
  3. Protection for employees due to frequent cuts, burns and other common employee injuries.
  4. Establishments that sell or serve liquor or other alcoholic beverages also need liquor liability coverage.

Eating and Drinking Establishments include: Bars, Brew Pubs, Buffets, Cafeterias, Caterers, Clubs, Coffee Shops, Concession Stands, Drinking Places, Food Trucks, Ice Cream Stands, Lounges, Lunch Counters, Lunchrooms, Nightclubs, Pizzerias, Restaurants, Sandwich Shops, Taverns, Tearooms and others.


Educational Institutions

The exposures of one individual Washington educational institution may be totally different from those of another. Because of this, comprehensive surveys of each facility are needed to accurately determine the proper insurance program needed by each.

While the exposures may be significantly different, they have the common component of educating a student and providing faculty that is competent and facilities that are safe for learning. Many of these institutions have a number of buildings, extensive grounds, and expensive equipment.

Comprehensive property and liability insurance is crucial, as is protection and coverage for tuition income, athletic events, teachers' liability and many other exposures.


Educational Institutions include: Art Schools, Automobile Driving Schools, Beauty Schools, Blind Institutions, Business Colleges, Chiropractic Schools, Colleges, Dancing Schools, Deaf and Mute Institutions, Dental Schools, Dressmaking Schools, Junior Colleges, Kindergartens, Law Schools, Medical Schools, Military Schools, Music Schools, Preschools, Preparatory Schools, Private Schools, Public Schools, Real Estate Schools, Schools of Mortuary Science, Universities and others.


Farm and Ranch

WA farm and ranch operations often combine personal activity exposures with those of a commercial enterprise. Many insurers offer a single specifically designed policy to cover both in order to eliminate the potential for coverage gaps.

Some coverage issues to consider are property coverages for the dwelling and farm buildings, inland marine coverages on the machinery and equipment used in the operation, accounts receivable and business and household personal property.

Other issues to consider are liability coverage for farm or ranch and also personal exposures, automobile liability and physical damage coverage, equipment breakdown, and crop/hail or similar crop insurance coverage. Coverage for silos and grain storage elevators and their contents, as well as coverage for all forms of livestock, must also be considered.

Farm employees also need to be protected through workers compensation.


Financial Institutions

Financial institutions in Washington handle, receive, disburse, and invest money of others. They are subject to regulations specific to their operation but they are also subject to legal and moral obligations for their customers. Customers entrust their funds to these institutions because of their confidence in the management's ability.

Insurance is a necessary means to protect the financial institutions and their customers against various types of losses. The financial services offered and the personal relationships created by the institution can only be protected through the use of a sound insurance program and appropriate bonding practices.


Financial Institutions include: Banks, Building and Loan Associations, Check Cashing Services, Credit Unions, Finance Companies, Insurance Companies, Investment Companies, Loan Companies, Money Exchanges, Mortgage Companies, Real Estate Loans, Savings and Loans and others.


Food Processing Plants

Food processing plants have property-driven insurance plans because of their significant and substantial building and business personal property exposures that are often located in rural areas which have limited water and are served only by volunteer fire departments.

They also have liability concerns because their products are meant for human consumption and can become contaminated. Another major concern must be injuries to workers. Farm-related injuries are higher than most other industries so coverage is very important.


Food Processing Plants include: Bakers, Biscuit Companies, Bottling Plants, Breweries, Canneries, Creameries, Custom Butchers, Dairies, Fish Packers, Flavoring Extracts, Flour Mills, Frozen Foods, Fruit Juices, Fruit Packers, Ice Cream Manufacturing, Meat Packers, Milk Processors, Prepared Foods, Vegetable Juices, Vegetable Packers and others.


Government, Institutions and Utilities

Cooperative efforts between insurance professionals and public officials have led to the satisfactory arrangement of coverages for public properties that may include large building schedules spread over a number of locations and geographic areas.

Liability insurance protection is a matter of much greater concern. As governmental and charitable institutional immunity continues to erode, the onslaught of lawsuits makes adequate liability protection essential. Public utilities have unique insurance needs usually best handled by specialists in their field.

Because government entities are becoming more inventive in raising money, they are involved in activities that may not appear to be government-related so that they may require coverages that at first glance do not seem appropriate for them.


Government, Institutions and Utilities include: Auditoriums, Cemeteries, Churches and other Houses of Worship, City-County Buildings, Community Centers, County Administration Offices, Courthouses, Electric Utilities, Experimental Stations, Fairs, Fire Department Buildings, Government and Institutional Buildings, Jails, Law Enforcement Entities, Libraries, Municipalities, Museums, Orphanage, Park Buildings, Penal Institutions, Public Buildings, Reformatories, Stadiums, State Capitol Buildings, Townships and others.


Health Care Providers

Washington health care providers are the most trusted individuals in our society. Ironically, they are the same ones who can do the greatest harm. They actually have the right to invade our bodies with knives and to poison us with chemicals - all in the name of health care and with the goal of relieving our symptoms and hopefully bringing about a cure.

While the actions of these professionals normally benefit us, insurance coverage must be available for the times when mistakes happen and things go wrong. These professionals and their facilities have extensive property exposures that are becoming more and more intricate and whose values are increasing exponentially.

The "one size fits all" approach that once could have applied to insurance for health care providers and their facilities no longer applies.


Health Care Providers include: Acupuncturists, Ambulatory Surgery Centers, Blood Banks, Chiropractors, Dental Laboratories, Dentists, Home Health Care Agencies, Hospitals and Infirmaries, Medi Spas, Medical Clinics, Medical Laboratories, Nurse Practitioners, Nurses, Nursing Homes, Ophthalmologists, Optometrists, Osteopaths, Otolaryngologists, Physicians' Offices, Plastic Surgeons, Podiatrists, Prosthetists, Psychiatrists, Psychologists, Sanitariums, Surgeons, Therapeutic Massage and others.


Lodging Places

All WA lodging places provide sleeping accommodations for their patrons. Dining facilities are common because those who sleep will want to eat. Many facilities also provide extra features such as offering recreational and exercise facilities or possibly meeting rooms and convention arrangements.

  • Property coverage is needed because of high building and business personal property values at risk that are subject to a number of potential causes of loss, chief of which is fire.
  • Liability insurance is absolutely necessary because of the number of guests and the potential for losses ranging from slips and falls to food consumption to loss of life in the event of a disaster.
  • Other liability concerns are the additional guest services such as swimming pools, exercise rooms, recreational activities, and bars.
  • Crime losses involving the theft of guest property, inventory and supplies must also be considered.

Lodging Places include: Bed and Breakfast Inns, Boarding Houses, Fraternity Houses, Guest Houses, Hostels, Hotels, Inns, Motels, Motor Inns, Resorts, Ski Lodges, Sorority Houses, Spas and others.


Logging, Mining and Quarries

Logging, mining and quarrying operations involve removing natural resources from the ground, providing some initial processing and then sending the material elsewhere for additional processing or to the final customer. Operations are usually performed at remote locations and the work is inherently dangerous. Product liability exposures are usually low because the processing of the raw material is very limited.

These operations are becoming more automated, which leads to higher machinery and equipment values. Liability exposures are limited because customers do not usually visit the locations, but some operations have attractive nuisance hazards that must be identified and protected, as well as potentially significant environmental issues that may also need attention.


Logging, Mining and Quarries include: Logging Operations, Quarries, Sand and Gravel Digging, Surface Mining Operations, Underground Mining Operations and others.


Manufacturing

Manufacturing in Washington is an extremely broad category that includes countless potential hazards and exposures in virtually all coverage areas. Because of this, every individual manufacturer is unique and a specific risk survey of every operation is advisable.

  • The basic insurance needs for every class of business or operation includes property coverage for buildings, machinery and equipment, as well as for raw stock and finished products.
  • Liability insurance for premises exposures is important but products liability insurance presents greater concerns so these exposures and coverage needs must be evaluated carefully.
  • In addition, protection for injuries to workers, environmental coverages and automobile insurance are priority items.

Manufacturing companies include: Adhesives, Air Conditioning-Commercial, Air Conditioning-Residential, Aircraft, Alarm, Apparel, Audio and Video Equipment, Auto Parts, Automobile, Boxes Including Paperboard, Brick, Brooms and Brushes, Buses, Buttons, Cabinets, Camp Equipment, Cans, Canvas Goods, Caskets, Cement, Ceramics-Industrial, Ceramics-Non-Industrial, Chemicals and Allied Products, Clocks and Watches, Clothing, Communications or Intercommunications, Computers, Condoms, Construction Equipment, Cork Products, Cosmetics, Cutlery, Down and Feather Products, Dry Ice, Dyes and Pigments, Electrical Appliances-Major, Electrical Appliances-Small, Electronic and Other Electrical Equipment, Electronic Apparatus-Commercial, Electronic Apparatus-Personal, Electroplating, Elevators, Engines, Exercise Equipment, Farm Equipment, Feed and Grain, Fences-Metal, Fences-Wood, Fertilizers, Finishing and Coating Operations-Textile, Fireworks, Foundries-Ferrous, Foundries-Nonferrous, Fur Garments, Furniture, Furniture-Other Than Wood, Garage Door, Gears, Glass-Miscellaneous, Glassware, Gypsum, Heat-Treating Operations, Hosiery, Industrial Machinery, Inks, Insecticides, Jewelry, Lawn Mowers, Leather Goods-Apparel, Leather Goods-Nonapparel, Lighting and Wiring, Lumber and Wood Products, Machine Shops, Mattress and Box Springs, Millwork, Monuments, Musical Instruments, Ornamental Metalwork, Paint, Paper and Allied Products, Pesticides, Pet Food, Pharmaceuticals, Plastic Goods, Plastics, Plastics-Molding, Forming and Extruding, Pottery, Pulp and Paper Mills, Refractory, Rubber and Rubber Products, Rugs, Sawmills and Planing Mills, Screw Machine Products, Sheet Metal, Shoes-Leather, Shoes-Plastic or Rubber, Soap and Detergent, Sporting Goods, Springs, Stone Products, Tanneries, Textile-NOC, Tires, Tobacco, Tool and Die Shop, Toys-Metal, Toys-Miscellaneous, Toys-Plastic or Rubber, Toys and Games-Electronic, Vending Machines-Metal, Vending Machines-Wood, Watercraft, Wire, Wire Rope, Woodworking Shops, Writing Instruments, Yarn Spinning and Weaving and others.


Media

Media operations are fast-paced businesses with unique property and liability insurance exposures. They depend more and more on computer systems and up-to-date software programs. These businesses usually have extensive contracts with both freelance individuals and corporations.

In addition, personal injury liability and confidentiality issues must be addressed. Insurance coverage for these concerns must be as comprehensive, flexible and responsive as the organization seeking it.


Media businesses include: Book Publishers, Cable Television Systems, Magazine Publishers, Miscellaneous Publishers, Motion Picture Productions, Newspapers, Radio Stations, Sound Recording Studios, Television Stations and others.


Printing Services

Printing services are changing because desktop publishing has become more popular, available and affordable and because online material is replacing printed. Computerized printing operations are both expanding the marketplace as well as encouraging specialization and consolidation within the industry.

Property continues to be the major insurance loss exposure because business assets are concentrated in computers, printing machinery and equipment and paper stock.

Liability insurance issues are of lesser concern, except for the pollution loss potential due to ink and waste run off. Printers errors and omissions coverage is a very important coverage concern.


Printing Services include: Blueprinters, Bookbinders, Electrotypers, Engravers, Graphic Arts, Letterpressers, Lithographers, Monotypers, Multigraphing Shops, Printers, Stereotypers, Typesetters and others.


Processing

Each processing risk is unique with respect to its hazards and exposures— most of which are substantial. For this reason, a specific survey is recommended.

  • The basic insurance need is for property coverage on buildings, machinery and equipment, including raw stock and finished products.
  • Another important consideration is coverage for the care, custody and control of goods of others.
  • While liability insurance coverage for premises and operations exposures is yet another important consideration, completed operations or products coverage is of even greater concern and must also be thoroughly evaluated.
  • Insurance for injuries to workers, environmental coverages, and automobile insurance are other important issues requiring attention and the appropriate insurance solutions.

Processing companies include: Creosoting Operations, Enamellers, Hide Processors, Metal Processors, Refineries and others.


Real Estate and Rental Property

Washington rental property owners, real estate developers and property managers should keep an accurate survey of each property they own or that is in their care. This survey should include inventories of furnishings and equipment at those properties. These documents establish the extent of their insurable interest, facilitate the arrangement and placement of insurance and minimize controversy and confusion if a loss occurs.

Insurance coverage on property, general liability and professional or errors and omissions liability should be arranged and placed for every real estate and rental property risk.


Real Estate and Rental Property risks include: Apartments, Condominiums and Townhouses, Cooperatives, Duplexes and Double Houses, Dwellings, Manufacturing and Mercantile Rental Properties, Mobile Home Parks or Courts, Office Buildings , Parking Operations, Shopping Centers and others.


Recreation and Sports

This category includes a wide variety of operations, from individual theater owners to theater chains to corporations that operate properties with recreational facilities spread over many acres. It also includes publicly and privately owned athletic fields, stadiums, golf courses and other athletic facilities.

The risks in this classification are similar in that all involve the admission of large numbers of people combined with significant public access. These shared characteristics mean that all share the potential for catastrophic loss.

For this reason, liability coverage with high limits of liability is critical. Property, workers compensation, crime and inland marine coverages are also important but their necessity varies by type of risk.


Recreation and Sports companies include: Amusement Parks, Archery Ranges, Athletic Fields, Ballparks, Ballrooms, Billiard Parlors, Bowling Alleys, Campgrounds , Camps , Carnivals, Country Clubs, Drive-In Theaters, Fairs-Not County or State Fair, Golf Courses, Guides and Outfitters, Handball and Racquetball Courts, Ice Skating Rinks, Indoor Sports Complexes, Professional Sports, Racetracks-Horse or Dog, Racetracks-Motorized, Recreation Centers, Riding Stables, Roller Skating Rinks, Shooting Ranges, Skateparks, Skeet or Trap Shooting Ranges, Skiing Operations, Stadiums, Swimming Clubs, Tennis Centers, Theaters, Video Arcades and others.


Retail Food and Beverage

Owners and operators of WA retail food and beverage establishments usually have large investments in merchandise and stock. This property may be concentrated in a relatively small area or be spread out in a large and undivided space. In either case, both appropriate and adequate physical damage insurance coverage for stock, fixtures, other business personal property, and the building itself is needed.

Because of the constant foot traffic of members of the public passing in and out of the facility, the potential liability exposure is significant.

The physical location of the store coupled with frequent cash sales transactions exposes the business to loss of money and securities requiring adequate crime insurance protection. This issue becomes even more important if the business is open 24 hours per day. Employee theft is another important crime exposure to consider.


Retail Food and Beverage businesses include: Butchers, Candy Stores, Confectioners, Convenience Stores, Dairy Stores, Delicatessens, Fish Markets, Fruit and Vegetable Stores, Groceries or Grocery Stores, Liquor Retailers, Meat Markets, Milk Dealers, Package Liquor Stores, Poultry Dealers, Retail Food and Beverage Stores, Supermarkets and others.


Retail Stores

Retail stores are susceptible to premises liability claims because of customer traffic, but large department and specialty stores are more susceptible than most. All retail stores have significant property exposures.

The on-hand stock represents a considerable investment, but the amount on hand fluctuates seasonally. For this reason, physical damage insurance on this property must be arranged carefully. When the insured occupies a non-owned building, insurance coverage must be arranged for the insured's interest in extensive improvements and betterments made to the premises.

Crime insurance, in the form of employee theft and money and securities coverage, is also very important.


Retail Stores include: Antique Dealers, Appliance, Army and Navy Surplus, Art Dealers, Athletic Goods , Audio-Video Equipment, Automobile Accessories, Bicycles, Booksellers, Camera Dealers, CD, DVD and Video Sales and Rentals, Cell Phone and Other Personal Communication Devices, Cigar, Clothing, Computer , Consignment, Cosmetic, Costumes, Craft, Department , Drug, E-cigarettes, Electrical Appliance, Embroidery Shops, Flea Market, Florists, Furniture, Furriers, Garden Shops, General Merchandise, Gift Shops, Glassware, Greeting Cards, Hair Goods, Hardware, Harness and Saddle Shops, Home Furnishings, Infants' and Children's Clothing, Jewelers, Lamp, Leather Goods, Lingerie, Linoleum and Tile, Luggage Dealers, Lumber Yards, Medical Supplies, Men's Furnishings, Milliners, Musical Instrument Dealers, News Dealers, Notions, Novelties, Office Furniture, Office Supply, Paint Dealers, Pawn Shops, Pet, Photo Supplies, Refrigerator Dealers, Rent-To-Own, Rug and Carpeting, Secondhand, Seed, Ship Chandlers, Shoe, Shopping Centers, Sporting Goods, Stationers, Tobacco, Toy, Trophy Shops, Tuxedo/Formal Wear, Variety, Vending Machine Operators, Women's Apparel and others.


Services Businesses

Washington service businesses' primary concern is on-premises and off-premises liability exposures. Many also have significant exposures relating to property or information entrusted to them for which they are responsible.

In addition, there is the possibility of physical loss or damage to their own property including mobile tools and equipment. Automobile and employee exposures are also important because of off-premises aspects of the business.


Services Businesses include: Abstractors, Accountants, Actuaries, Adjusters, Advertising Agencies, Alarm or Security System Monitoring, Alternative Dispute Resolutions, Animal Rescue Organizations, Appliance Services, Appraisers, Architects, Artists, Auctioneers, Auditors, Automobile Repossession Companies, Bail Agents, Barber Shops, Beauty Shops, Blacksmiths, Carpet Cleaners, Chemical Engineers, Civil Engineers, Collection Agencies, Commodity Brokers, Computer Maintenance and Repair, Consultants, Couriers, Courier Services, Credit Investigation Agencies, Curtain Cleaners, Data Processing Operations, Day Care - Adults, Day Care - Children, Detective Agencies, Diaper Services, Direct Mailing Houses , Dry Cleaners, Electronics Service Shops, Employment Agencies, Engineers, Environmental Consultants, Event, Party and Wedding Planners, Financial Planners, Fitness Centers or Health Clubs, Fuel Oil Dealers, Funeral Directors, Furniture Repair, Glaziers, Graphic Designers, Hat Cleaners, Health Maintenance Organizations, Home Inspectors, Inspection Bureaus, Insurance Agents and Brokers, Internet Service Providers, Kennels, Laboratories-Non-Medical, Laundries, Law Offices, Lecture Bureaus, Letter Writing Service Agencies, Limousines, Music Services, Musicians, Notaries, Nurses' Registers, Office Machine Services, Offices, Photographers, Piano Tuners, Property Managers, Public Stenographers, Radio and TV Repair, Real Estate Agencies, Recycling Yards, Reducing Salons, Rental-Contractors' Equipment, Rental-Short Term-Not Contractors' Equipment, Repair Services, Safety Consultants, Security Operations, Software Developers-Customized, Software Developers-Prepackaged, Stockbrokers, Surveyors, Tattoo Parlors, Tax Consultants, Taxi Services, Taxidermists, Telephone Answering Services, Telephone Companies, Theatrical Agencies, Tool Grinding and Repair, Travel Agencies, Upholsterers, Valet Parking Services, Veterinarians, Waste Disposal Landfill, Watchperson Services, Web Site Designers, Weight Loss Centers and others.


Trucking and Transit

The business operations in this chapter are among the most heavily regulated in the country. All are subject to multiple types of regulation including municipal, state and federal. The regulations are necessary because potential for severe property damage and/or bodily injury is extremely high.

All carry cargo that if not handled appropriately could have serious consequences to the cargo owner and/or the public at large. Those that carry people must prove that they keep their equipment in good condition and that employees operate in a safe, sober manner.


Trucking and Transit risks include: Ambulance Services, Armored Car Services, Bus Lines-City Service, Bus Lines-Interstate and Charter, Ferries, Freight Forwarder and Freight Agencies, Furniture Movers, Garbage Collection, Truckers and others.


Warehouses and Storage

The problems involved with insuring WA warehouses or storage risks are basically the same as those involved with insuring any large building.

  • Property values are usually high, as is the fire-fuel-loading based on the combustibility of the merchandise stored. The type of property stored and the extent to which it is moved around inside the building dictates the loss control measures needed.
  • There is the legal liability for property of others while stored and in the care, custody and control of the warehouse operation.
  • Employee theft is always an issue and can be very significant, depending on the type of property involved.
  • The type of property involved and its related material-handling issues makes workers compensation insurance another very important coverage to consider.

Warehouses and Storage companies include: Cold Storage Plants, Frozen Food Lockers, Furniture Storage Operations, General Merchandise Storage Facilities, Grain Elevators, Meat Storage Facilities, Mini-Warehouses and others.


Wholesalers and Distributors

Wholesale and distribution operations have many of the same physical damage and property coverage concerns as warehouse operations. In both, the value of both real property and stocks of merchandise is very high. Loss control and other techniques appropriate to the types of merchandise involved are needed. For these reasons, adequate and appropriate property insurance coverages are important.

  • The commercial automobile exposure can also be significant, based on the extent of merchandise delivery.
  • In addition, transportation or motor truck cargo insurance on the merchandise must also be arranged.
  • Employee theft is always an issue and can be a significant exposure, depending on the type of property involved.
  • The types of merchandise and material handled makes workers compensation insurance another very important coverage.

Wholesalers & Distributors include: Air Conditioning and Heating, Audio and Video Equipment, Beer and Ale, Beverage, Cabinets, Camera and Musical Instrument, Candy, CD, DVD and Videos, Clothing, Coffee Dealers, Commission Merchants, Confectioners, Dairy Products, Drugs, Dry Goods, Electrical Appliances, Electrical Equipment, Electrical Supplies, Electronic Equipment and Instruments, Envelopes, Exporters and Importers, Extract, Florists, Food Brokers, Fruit, Furniture, Furriers, General Merchandise, Gifts, Glass-Plate, Glassware, Greeting Cards, Grocers, Hardware, Jewelers, Lamp, Liquor, Lumber Yards, Meat, Motion Picture Distributors, Novelties, Paint, Petroleum, Restaurant Equipment, Roofing Materials, Rugs, Seed Merchants, Shoes, Stationers, Theatrical Supplies, Tires, Tools, Toys, Wallpaper and others.


Washington Business Insurance FAQ - The Bottom Line

There are many questions that our Washington readers ask. We answered some of the most common ones here. If you have additional questions, or would like to contribute to the Washington Business Insurance FAQ, please contact us here:

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Washington State Economic Outlook & Business Insurance Requirements

For anyone who is thinking about starting up a business, it is important that they choose a location that suites the industry that they wish to work in. With that said, in order to determine whether or not a location is the right choice for your business, you should have an idea about the state's economic status. You should also have an understanding of the WA state regulations related to the types of commercial insurance that you are required to carry.

Made In Washington

If you are thinking about starting up a business in the State of Washington, below, we offer some insight into the state's economic status. We also offer a glimpse at the WA insurance requirements that business owners must abide by.

State Of The Economy In Washington

Washington state may be famous for its gloomy weather, but when it comes to the economy, things here look bright. The economic outlook for Washington is healthy. It is expected that there will be more jobs added in the 2019 calendar year. There will be an increase in the productivity of labor. There will also be an increase in the state's unemployment rate during the year 2019, with a forecasted rate of 4.7 percent.

Washington is regarded as one of the top for businesses in the nation. In fact, it is listed at the 11th best state for business by Forbes. The industry that is expected to see the most growth are related to STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math). Among the top industries in this state include information technology. Education, healthcare, finance, and travel and tourism also contribute largely to the awesome economy of this state.

Commercial Insurance Requirements In WA

The Washington State Office of the Insurance Commissioner regulates the insurance industry in WA. Businesses are legally required to carry workers' compensation insurance. This type of coverage is required for any business that employs either hourly or salaried employees, and either part-time or full-time employees. You are also required to carry commercial auto insurance if you use a vehicle to conduct any type of business in this state. That means that if you are using a car to transport goods, make deliveries, or meet with clients, you must carry business auto insurance.

While commercial general liability insurance is not required in Washington, it is highly recommended. This type of insurance offers protection from lawsuits and other legal fees that may arise.

Request a free Washington business insurance quote in Aberdeen, Anacortes, Arlington, Auburn, Bainbridge Island, Battle Ground, Bellevue, Bellingham, Bonney Lake, Bothell, Bremerton, Burien, Burlington, Camas, Centralia, Chehalis, Cheney, Clarkston, College Place, Covington, Des Moines, DuPont, East Wenatchee, Edgewood, Edmonds, Ellensburg, Enumclaw, Ephrata, Everett, Federal Way, Ferndale, Fife, Gig Harbor, Grandview, Hoquiam, Issaquah, Kelso, Kenmore, Kennewick, Kent, Kirkland, Lacey, Lake Forest Park, Lake Stevens, Lakewood, Liberty Lake, Longview, Lynden, Lynnwood, Maple Valley, Marysville, Mercer Island, Mill Creek, Monroe, Moses Lake, Mount Vernon, Mountlake Terrace, Mukilteo, Newcastle, Oak Harbor, Olympia, Othello, Pasco, Port Angeles, Port Orchard, Port Townsend, Poulsbo, Pullman, Puyallup, Redmond, Renton, Richland, Sammamish, SeaTac, Seattle, Sedro-Woolley, Selah, Shelton, Shoreline, Snohomish, Snoqualmie, Spokane Valley, Spokane, Sumner, Sunnyside, Tacoma, Toppenish, Tukwila, Tumwater, University Place, Vancouver, Walla Walla, Washougal, Wenatchee, West Richland, Woodinville, Yakima and all other cities in WA - The Evergreen State.


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