Business Insurance Requirements for Architects in California

From San Francisco’s charming Victorian homes to mid-century modern masterpieces in L.A. and and everything in between, California has been a beacon for aspiring architects for more than 100 years. Perhaps that’s why California has the highest number of architects in the United States (more than 13,500), according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Architects throughout the state turn to several insurance policies to protect their firm and employees. Workers’ compensation is required by law for firms with employees, including part-time help. Most clients require proof of professional liability insurance so they can recoup losses if you make mistakes or miss deadlines. Landlords often require you to have general liability insurance if you lease commercial property. Finally, if you have a business-owned vehicle, you need commercial auto insurance to protect it.

Insureon makes shopping for insurance easy with industry-leading technology that gathers quotes from top U.S. carriers that fit your business needs. Read on to learn more about business insurance for California architects and insurance costs. Or simply start an application to get your free quotes today.

Key insurance policies for architects in California

The most common policies for California architects depend on a variety of factors, including number of employees, revenue, client contracts, and partnerships. The table below illustrates which policies might work best for your business structure.


Business type General liability / BOP Professional liability Workers' comp Commercial auto
Sole proprietor X X   X
Partner X X   X
Contractor / freelancer X X   X
Employer X X X X


General liability insurance: General liability insurance is the foundation of an architect’s business protection. Coverage extends to bodily injury, client property damage, advertising injury, and the cost of legal defense. Most commercial leases require you to have this coverage.

Professional liability insurance: Many clients require proof of professional liability insurance before entering contracts for professional services. This policy, also called errors and omissions insurance or architect liability insurance, can help cover legal expenses if you’re sued for unsatisfactory work or a business discrepancy. If you work in a partnership with another architect or firm, make sure that your professional liability policy provides joint-venture coverage in case the venture is sued.

Business owner's policy (BOP): Architects usually qualify for a business owner’s policy. This package helps your business save money by bundling commercial property insurance with general liability at an affordable rate.

Commercial auto insurance: Commercial auto insurance can cover vehicles your business owns or uses for business purposes. If your vehicle is involved in an accident, this policy can cover your liability for the other person's bodily injuries and property damage. It can also pay to repair your vehicle when it is damaged by theft, weather events, and vandalism.

California workers' compensation insurance: California law requires all employers to carry workers’ comp as soon as they have even one employee. That headcount includes corporate officers and directors. Architects who work independently can choose whether or not to purchase workers' compensation insurance. This policy can help pay for medical expenses and lost wages associated with occupational injuries.

Although architects experience work injuries infrequently compared to other professions, accidents can happen in any field. Bureau of Labor Statistics data shows that CA architects most often experience falls, slips, and trips and overexertion.

The BLS also reports that when California architects were injured at work, they missed a median of 25 work days in 2016. Those missed days could impact your bottom line without workers’ comp benefits to help offset the costs.

Business insurance costs for architects in California

According to an analysis of Insureon applications, the cost of architect insurance in California diverges slightly from the national median. Architects in California may pay a little more for their professional liability insurance than they might in other parts of the country. This policy costs about $3,621 a year ($301 per month) in California versus the national median of $3,205 (about $267 per month). However, architects tend to pay less than the national median for general liability insurance ($500 versus $660), which can help balance out your insurance bill.

Median Business Insurance Costs for California Architects

Save time and money with Insureon

Insureon’s industry-leading technology helps California architects save time and money shopping for insurance by comparing policies from dozens of top U.S. carriers. Apply online and review quotes for the policies that best fit your business needs. Our insurance specialists are licensed in California and can answer your questions as you consider coverage.

To make the application go even quicker, have this information ready:

  • Workforce details, such as the number and types of employees.
  • Current and projected revenue.
  • Business partnerships.
  • Insurance history and prior claims.
  • Commercial lease insurance requirements.

Apply for free architect insurance quotes today.