For cleaning businesses, it's essential to acknowledge and address potential risks like employee misconduct, property damage, or chemical-related injuries. Safeguarding your financial stability is crucial, and that's why cleaning and janitorial companies should prioritize acquiring business insurance. This includes comprehensive coverage such as general liability insurance, workers' compensation, and fidelity bonds. These protective measures ensure that you can mitigate financial risks and liabilities associated with such incidents.
Here are our top picks for cleaner and housekeeper insurance:
Cleaner and housekeeper insurance is a type of package policy offered specifically to professional cleaners. This can include small and large businesses or even individuals and sole proprietors. Often referred to as a Business Owner's Policy or "BOP," these policies feature general liability and property protection in a single package. General liability, sometimes called "GL," helps manage the inherent risks cleaners and housekeepers may encounter while working as a vendor, independent contractor, or subcontractor for their clients, other businesses, and the public. These policies pay for the legal expenses and damages that may be incurred if they are held responsible for or are sued for causing injury or loss to another. Property Coverage protects the policyholder from claims related to damage or loss to the tangible property of another if the insured caused or is held liable for it.
Safeguarding yourself and your cleaning business is highly recommended through the acquisition of cleaners' and housekeepers' insurance. Determining the need for this type of insurance depends on factors such as the nature of your work, compensation structure, and whether you operate as a business with employees.
Cleaning activities can pose various hazards, including chemical exposure, handling specialized tools, and working in confined or elevated spaces, which can result in risks to yourself, employees, clients, or the general public. Accidents, health issues, and property damage can arise from using equipment like power tools, ladders, power washers, floor buffers, or vacuums. Even something as simple as a mop can lead to slip-and-fall incidents. Protecting yourself with the appropriate insurance coverage ensures you are financially prepared to handle any unforeseen circumstances that could have a devastating impact on you and your cleaning business.
If you are an individual acting in the capacity of an employee for another business, you may be protected by your employer's business insurance. However, if you are a sole proprietor offering your services to others as an independent contractor, then it is smart to have insurance for several reasons. First, some clients may require proof of insurance before hiring you. Second, if you injure someone or damage their home, business, or property, you could be held financially liable for the costs of these injuries. This includes the legal costs to defend yourself from any legal action. You may also need insurance if you are offering your services as a subcontractor to another business.
Other than insurance, setting up a corporation or LLC is one way to safeguard your personal assets. Through the protection of a corporate veil, you may be able to shield yourself personally from liability for losses you may cause others. You should know that you may still be held responsible for intentional, dangerous, or criminal acts that harm others. This means that you may still be held personally liable regardless if you have a corporation or not. Also, if you have employees or others that work for you, your state may require you to carry workers' compensation insurance. Additionally, you may be held liable for any mistakes or negligent acts your employees make, even if it is not your fault. This is called vicarious liability, and the right type of insurance will protect you from this type of scenario.
Cleaners' and housekeepers' insurance will cover a wide variety of liability and property damage risks and perils that are related to the ordinary course of cleaning, whether in a home, business, or outdoors. These include costs related to defending against lawsuits, medical bills for bodily injuries to others, and even repair or replacement of physical property damage or loss. Certain types of insurance will pay you or your business for losses that occur. For example, business interruption insurance will pay the cost of your business overhead. For example, if your office is damaged by a covered peril like a fire, flood, theft, or storm, resulting in loss of income, additional costs related to relocation, including your employee payroll, office rent, and utility payments.
Workers' compensation insurance policies for you or your staff can pay for medical expenses incurred from workplace injuries in the office, while traveling for work, or injuries while cleaning at a client's home or business. Group Disability Insurance may even pay short-term and long-term income to policyholders that participate in these types of private programs. This is different from the disability or retirement payments offered by Social Security.
Knowing that you have the right insurance coverage in place is a great way to provide yourself and your clients some peace of mind. Customers strongly prefer cleaners and housekeepers that carry their own insurance policy. Sometimes customers can even be the cause of an injury; in those cases, you or your insurance carrier may be able to make a claim against your client's insurance policy. When a carrier seeks recovery for a paid loss caused by another party, it is called subrogation. Most business insurance policies feature a subrogation clause in the policy language.
A cleaner's and housekeeper's business owner's policy typically covers all liability risks. This includes liability coverage for damages, property damage for physical damage to tangible property and loss of its use, supplementary payments to pay expenses related to claims and lawsuits in addition to the limit of insurance, and medical expenses for bodily injury. While this may be sufficient for many cleaning and housekeeping businesses, there are other coverages available to protect against a variety of risks. For example, large businesses with millions in revenue or many employees will likely need a commercial insurance policy. These are policies with high face amounts, and cover larger losses related to the scale of their operations. Some cleaners and housekeeping businesses may even own real estate, like offices, or warehouses, and even vehicles as a part of their operations.
Here are some other insurance lines available for cleaners and housekeepers:
Workers' compensation is a type of insurance program that pays for injuries workers may suffer during the ordinary course of their employment. Each state has different and unique requirements for workers' compensation, but each one typically makes workers' compensation insurance a requirement through both law and forms of taxation. Workers' compensation is the result of tort reform to protect both employees and employers from long and costly litigation related to disputes over medical costs and rights and remedies available for injuries sustained by staff members in the conduct of business.
Errors and Omissions Insurance, also known as just E&O, protects against committing an unintentional mistake while operating your cleaning or housekeeping business. Some cleaners are registered professionals with licenses or certifications, such as IIRC technicians who engage in restoration after fires and floods. E&O is a risk management tool to protect these types of cleaners from mistakes that harm others or cause damage.
Cyber insurance is increasingly becoming important coverage as technology plays a central role in business operations, even for cleaning businesses. This includes marketing, payment systems, client personal information, and protection from costs related to digital hazards like hacks, viruses, ransomware, or phishing. It is affordable coverage and is sometimes offered as a cost-effective policy option or endorsement.
Any form of vehicle transportation used in your cleaning or housekeeping business has risks that need insuring. If you use your personal vehicles, vans, or trucks for business purposes, there may be certain risks that are not covered by your personal auto insurance policy. Also, if your business owns, leases, or rents vehicles—or even borrows employee-owned vehicles—you may need a business auto policy or commercial auto policy. If your cleaning business involves cleaning cars, you may also want garagekeepers auto insurance. This covers vehicles in your care from theft, collision, or damage.
Umbrella insurance for cleaners and housekeepers provides extra coverage and higher limits of liability above and beyond the face amount of a business owner's policy. This is another layer of insurance protection in the case of catastrophic loss which exhausts the general liability policy amount or any deficiency.
A Bond, while not technically insurance, is a valuable type of risk management instrument for cleaners and housekeepers. When customers know that a professional is bonded and insured they are more likely to trust and use their services. Bonds are a type of three-party contract that forms a financial guarantee offered by surety companies. There are many different types of bonds, but the most common are fidelity and surety bonds. Fidelity bonds guarantee the honesty of a trusted person. Surety bonds are a pledge from one party to another party that it will fulfill its obligations. This is common in the construction industry. Cleaners engaged in cleaning newly constructed premises or restoration projects may be required to post or carry a bond to guarantee its performance.
Cleaners and housekeepers insurance is affordable and coverage is available for a sole proprietor all the way up to a multi-million dollar cleaning business. Typical policies for a new business cost between $25 to $75/month for basic coverage. Always remember to weigh the benefits and potential risks of not having the right coverage, versus just viewing insurance as an inconvenient expense. Even a small claim can result in significant expenses, damage to your business's reputation, or have profound impacts on your cleaning business.
Always do thorough research when considering which carrier offers the best cleaners and housekeepers insurance. Price and cost of coverage are important, but make sure to find a company that is financially strong, that offers the best coverage for a good price, and offers the right coverage for your type of cleaning business. Here are some areas to consider:
AM Best is a rating agency that ranks carriers based on their financial ability to cover their claims and operate effectively. Only work with carriers that maintain an AM Best Rating with an "A" or "B," because you want to make certain that your cleaning business will have the coverage and carrier support it needs in the event a claim is filed.
The best cleaner insurance is one that will cover you wherever you work. This can be locally, nationally, or even internationally. Make sure your carrier works where you work.
The balance between coverage limits and premium payment amount is important to consider—whether you are a business with just one housekeeper or many. Too little coverage and you won't be fully protected; too much coverage and your premiums will be burdensome to pay. Remember, legal costs and medical bills can be very high for even minor claims. More coverage than you think you may need is probably worth the extra premium dollars within reason.
Cleaners and housekeeper businesses vary in structure and size. When shopping for cleaner's insurance, make sure to clearly define what your business structure is and what type of cleaning or housekeeping services you offer. Are you a window cleaning company that often uses ladders or swing stages to clean windows at high elevations? Are you a specialized cleaner that uses hazardous or corrosive chemicals regularly? The risks you or your employees face on a daily basis should match what type of business or commercial insurance policy you choose.
Both carrier and insurance brokerages have gone high-tech, and cleaners and housekeepers can bind coverage instantly and digitally 24 hours a day from a mobile device. Pick a company that offers these powerful tools that will let you bind, pay, and modify your coverage at the push of a button. Many offer portals where you can download a certificate of insurance instantly.
In the event you have a claim, it's important to be able to communicate with the carrier as soon as possible. Phone customer service support and even the ability to upload loss photos to your carrier can make a huge difference, especially in a stressful circumstance like an insurance claim.
A deductible is how much money you have to pay before the insurance company will issue funds to cover a loss. In general, the higher your policy deductible, the lower your actual premium. When shopping for your cleaner or housekeeper insurance, decide if you want a high deductible to keep premiums low, or a low deductible to limit how much out-of-pocket expenses you will have in the event of a claim.
1. Determine what type of policies and how much coverage you need
There are many online instant quote tools so you can shop and see instant pricing for the best policy for your cleaning business.
2. Get multiple quotes
Get at least two or even three quotes when shopping for coverage. Each year that your policy is up for renewal, check with a few carriers to ensure your coverage is the best for your housekeeping business.
3. Compare providers and purchase a policy
As discussed above, check the AM Best Rating, and browse reviews from other customers that already have coverage with them.
Starting a cleaner or housekeeping business has a low barrier to entry and low overhead costs. With just one client, you can build an ongoing book of business with repeat customers. While helping to clean up your friends' or relatives' houses doesn't require insurance, consider a few things before accepting your first paid cleaning gig. While a license or certification is usually not required to start a cleaning business, check with your county or city regarding rules for business registrations or licensing. If you want to incorporate or start an LLC, you may need an Employment Identification Number from the IRS before can begin accepting payments or filing taxes. Carriers that offer business policies typically ask for an EIN or Social Security number before issuing a policy. Also, have a good idea of what your income or sales may be in the first year. This can affect coverage and pricing quoted by the insurance company. If you are operating specialized equipment, be certain you know how to operate it safely at your client's home or business before using it. The right insurance policy and safe decision-making are great strategies to succeed as a cleaning or housekeeping professional.
Next Insurance is a 21st-century carrier, built from the ground up with digital in mind. Running a quote for your cleaning or housekeeping business is simple on their website.
While a license or registration is typically not required to clean homes and businesses, some specializations require training or certifications. For example, the Institute of Inspection Cleaning and Restoration Certification (IICRC) offers certification courses in Fire and Smoke Restoration and Water Damage Restoration. These types of certifications teach the tools and techniques for cleaning damaged premises, and they communicate to the public that you have completed formal training in this type of work.
Strongly consider getting insurance to start cleaning homes or businesses. Imagine what causing a fire or leaving a door unlocked could result in. For only a small premium you can protect yourself, your family, and your clients from a financial disaster.
Cleaners' and housekeepers' insurance covers general liability, property damage, personal and advertising injury, as well as and bodily injury.
You don't need separate coverage for each type of cleaning you do. However, make sure the type of policy matches your business and the risks involved. For example, a housekeeper that cleans inside homes will need different coverage than a professional who power washes the exterior of multi-story buildings while operating a lift.
Cleaning pools is a type of property maintenance activity that may be covered under a cleaners general liability policy. Check with your carrier or in your policy to make sure what types of cleaning work are included. If you clean pools under a separate business entity than cleaning inside homes, you may want to explore a separate policy for that type of business.
General liability is a comprehensive policy for most cleaning and housekeeping businesses. Remember to check with your carrier to ensure that the type of business you have matches your cleaner's insurance policy. Also, consider that anytime large quantities of water are used inside of a residence or office, there is a risk of significant property damage and mold. In addition to having adequate amounts of property damage coverage, ensure you and your personnel are properly trained to operate the carpet cleaning equipment.
Next Insurance is one of the best liability insurance carriers for all types of cleaning and housekeeping businesses. They even offer services in other languages if you would prefer your policy in another language.
Many carriers now offer online service, binding, and quoting without even having to pick up a phone.
Yes, for example, Next Insurance has a mobile app and website where you can quote, check, and modify coverage easily.
While Next Insurance has very competitive pricing on cleaners' insurance, remember to pay for the right level of coverage for your business. Reducing premiums to save a few dollars could be the difference between a serious deficiency in coverage and financial certainty in the event of a claim.
Coverage can be bound instantly, and you can receive your certificate of insurance immediately after you make your first premium payment.