Next Insurance is a business insurance company that launched in 2015, with a focus on helping small business owners purchase affordable, tailored insurance policies online. The company relies heavily on technology to underwrite and sell small business insurance. They also build policies from the ground up so that business owners in different industries get coverage that’s appropriate for them.
Although Next isn’t as well known as bigger, more traditional insurance companies, they should be on your list when shopping for business insurance. If you’re located in a state where Next operates, it’s likely that you can find comprehensive coverage at a good deal. Here, we’ll cover the insurance products that Next sells, the pros and cons of buying Next business insurance, the cost of their policies, and the best alternatives to Next Insurance.
When shopping for insurance, we recommend buying policies only from A or higher rated insurance companies. Global credit firm AM Best assigns financial strength ratings to insurance companies. Higher ratings indicate that an insurer is financially solvent and able to cover all valid claims. The lowest possible rating is F, and the highest possible rating is A++. Next has an A.M. Best rating of A (Excellent).
Next Insurance is a great option for small business owners who want the convenience of purchasing insurance online, at an affordable price. The company’s target audience are small business owners who generate less than $5 million in annual revenue. They sell three types of insurance that are popular among this group—general liability, professional liability, and commercial auto insurance.
Next has one of the fastest online quote generators that we’ve seen for any business insurance company. Answer about 10 minutes’ worth of questions about your company, and you’ll instantly have three quotes in front of you to choose from. You can then buy the policy online that meets your coverage requirements. 90% of their policies are sold online with Next’s proprietary insurance technology, with no help from underwriters or agents. However, if you need help choosing a quote or have questions, licensed Next insurance agents are just a quick phone call away.
Small business owners can conveniently manage their policy online. Although many traditional insurance companies charge you to add additional insureds or access proof of insurance, this is free with Next. Next lets you save money on premiums too. Without the overhead of having to employ a lot of staff or maintain physical offices, Next is often able to get small business owners an affordable rate on insurance. In 80% of cases, Next offers the most affordable general liability policy that a business can get.
At the moment, Next only offers three insurance products—general liability, professional liability, and commercial auto insurance. They are set to offer commercial property insurance and workers’ compensation insurance by fall 2019. Keep in mind that no matter what type of insurance you’re seeking, Next doesn’t use standard policy forms. They build each policy from the ground up based on the type of business. A restauranteur, carpenter, and personal trainer, for instance, would each have insurance policies that are tailored to their professions.
Here’s a description of the main insurance products from Next:
General liability insurance is a necessity for most small business owners. This insurance covers bodily injury, property damage, and personal injury claims that are associated with your business. For example, general liability insurance can protect you if someone slips and injures themselves at your shop, or if another company claims that you’ve committed copyright infringement. General liability coverage is important for all businesses, even those without a brick and mortar location.
With Next, it takes less than 10 minutes to get set up with a general liability policy. This can be helpful if you’re running up against a deadline, such as a supplier that won’t sign a contract until you have coverage. Next offers $0 deductible general liability policies with premiums as low as $150 per year.
Service businesses should consider professional liability insurance as an essential type of coverage. Professional liability insurance, also known as errors and omissions insurance, offers protection when a customer sues you for providing bad advice or committing a service error (whether or not you actually did). When your business’s reputation is on the line, professional liability insurance can be critical.
Next writes all their professional liability policies from scratch, which is important because different professions carry different risks. For instance, a landscaper might be sued for causing damage to a customer’s lawn, whereas a psychologist might be sued for using the wrong therapeutic techniques. When you request a quote from Next, you’ll have the opportunity to describe your business in more detail so you get a properly tailored professional liability policy.
Business owners who use a company vehicle or drive a personal vehicle for business will need commercial auto insurance. Commercial auto insurance covers injuries to other individuals and property that happen while driving for business reasons. Your policy also might cover the driver’s medical expenses. Collision coverage insures against damage to your own vehicle after colliding with another car or object. Comprehensive coverage insures against theft, vandalism, and weather-related damage. While your car is being repaired, this insurance can also pay for the use of a rental car.
Next’s most popular commercial auto policy covers up to $100,000 of bodily injury and property damage per incident (though limits of up to $1 million are available). This popular policy also covers $5,000 for medical expenses, and $100,000 for uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage. The latter pays for your losses if a driver who doesn’t have sufficient insurance coverage causes an accident. Lastly, the policy comes with comprehensive and collision coverage at a $500 deductible.
Commercial property insurance, coming to Next later this year, covers damages or loss to any business property. This is vital for brick and mortar businesses, but even if you operate a home-based business or online business, don’t ignore the need for property insurance. Most homeowner’s insurance policies only offer limited coverage for business property. With commercial property insurance, the risk of a fire, storm, or theft damaging your business is much less intimidating.
Next also offers workers’ compensation coverage. In every state but Texas, most businesses with employees need workers’ compensation insurance. If employees get injured or ill on the job and sue your company, they’ll need to file a claim with your workers’ compensation insurance provider. States set minimum coverage limits for workers’ comp, but you can choose to buy more than the minimum, particularly if you’re in an industry that’s prone to worker injuries such as manufacturing or carpentry.
Photo credit: Next-insurance.com
Tech-focused insurers like Next are starting to make waves in the industry, but they are not the only game in town. Many large insurers are trying to incorporate more technology into their own processes, and smaller boutique agencies claim that their customer service is a step ahead. Before deciding on Next for your business insurance needs, make sure you understand the pros and cons.
Photo credit: Next-insurance.com
These are the starting rates for Next business insurance:
Remember, the best way to get accurate pricing from Next Insurance is to generate an online quote that’s customized for your business.
The claims process with Next Insurance can take one of two routes. Your claim will either be handled in-house by a Next claims advocate, or a third-party adjudicator (TPA) at a claims services company will handle your claim. According to Next, an increasing number of claims are being handled in-house.
To start the process, you can file a claim online after logging into your Next account. You can also file a claim over the phone. Next reps are available to answer calls Monday to Friday 6 a.m. to 5 p.m. PT. After Next receives the claim, they will either transfer it to an in-house claims advocate or to an external TPA.
If your claim stays in-house, the claims advocate will investigate the claim, collect documentation from you in support of the claim, and then determine whether your policy covers the claim. In-house claims can be resolved in a few weeks. If your claim goes to a TPA, the adjudicator will conduct the investigation and collect documents. They will make the final determination on your claim. Claims handled by a TPA typically take longer than those handled in-house. In all cases, the complexity and severity of your claim will impact the time frame, and your claims representative will be able to give you more details.
In your search for small business insurance, you’re likely to come across many different providers. If you have the time, we recommend shopping around for the most comprehensive coverage at the best price.
Here are the best alternatives to Next Insurance:
Hiscox is one of the biggest insurance companies in the world that provides business coverage. They have been operating for over 100 years and work with businesses of all sizes, though lately they’ve made some changes that are specifically designed to help small business owners. For instance, you can now get an online quote for insurance on the Hiscox website, much the same way that you can on Next. You can also purchase the insurance policy online.
There are a few areas where Hiscox beats out Next. As a larger insurer, Hiscox has wider geographic access and underwrites more products. For instance, Hiscox offers a business owner’s policy (BOP) in a handful of states, combining commercial property and general liability insurance in an affordable package. They also offer umbrella and surplus lines insurance, which are helpful for businesses that need extra coverage or that operate in hard-to-insure industries.
When shopping directly with an insurance company like Next or Hiscox, the downside is that you don’t know how their coverage and rates compare to other insurance companies. Insurance marketplaces like CoverWallet let you do one-stop business insurance shopping.
After filling out one online questionnaire, you can view and compare business insurance quotes from multiple top-rated insurance companies. There’s no commitment to buy, but if you like a policy, you can either complete your purchase online or call a CoverWallet rep. There are over 25 types of insurance that you can request a quote for with CoverWallet, but only a handful of these are available for an online quote. For other types of insurance, you’ll need to call CoverWallet to get quotes and purchase.
Chubb Insurance is another good alternative to Next. This is a large insurance company, similar to Hiscox, that is making inroads with the small business community. Chubb offers many types of business insurance, but they offer online quotes for only a few products—general liability, professional liability, cyber liability insurance, and the business owner’s policy.
On a head to head basis, Next appears to be more affordable than Chubb, but there are some other perks of going with Chubb for your insurance needs. Their general liability and business owner policies are available in all 50 states, so you won’t be turned away simply based on where your business is located. This is an unfortunate reality with Next at the moment (though they are aggressively expanding to more states). Another advantage of Chubb is that they offer a discount for home-based businesses. They also get high customer service ratings, and trained business claims personnel handle all claims in-house.
Next is focused on making the future of insurance a reality today. Almost all of their policies are sold without any human interaction, and they employ a fraction of the number of agents and underwriters that traditional insurance companies do. Once you buy your Next policy, you can also manage most changes online. Of course, if you have questions or need extra help, you can always speak to a Next rep, all of whom are licensed insurance agents.
The convenience and speed with which you can buy insurance can be really important for a small business owner who wants to get what they need and get back to focusing on their business. Next definitely prioritizes speed and technology, but don’t let that fool you. Their main goal is to get small business owners into the right policy for them. If you need a simple, affordable, and tailored insurance policy, get a free quote from Next for your business insurance.
Priyanka Prakash is a senior contributing writer at Fundera.
Priyanka specializes in small business finance, credit, law, and insurance, helping businesses owners navigate complicated concepts and decisions. Since earning her law degree from the University of Washington, Priyanka has spent half a decade writing on small business financial and legal concerns. Prior to joining Fundera, Priyanka was managing editor at a small business resource site and in-house counsel at a Y Combinator tech startup.