Operating a plumbing business in the rugged climate of North Dakota poses unique risks not found in other states. Extreme winters, remote jobsites, and a predominantly rural population shape the hazard landscape for plumbers in this state. Navigating licensing, regulations, and the insurance environment can prove challenging here. This guide aims to provide North Dakota plumbers with extensive information on anticipated insurance costs based on their business characteristics. We’ll examine the factors that make premiums fluctuate and provide illustrative ranges for essential policies. With a deeper understanding of plumber insurance costs in ND, you can make smart choices to protect your business while optimizing expenses.

For plumbers in North Dakota, having the appropriate plumbing business insurance coverage is crucial. This typically includes liability protection for plumbers to safeguard against third-party claims and workers’ comp coverage for plumbing companies to cover employee injuries sustained while working.

Key Factors Influencing Insurance Costs

Many elements influence the costs of plumber insurance premiums in North Dakota. Being cognizant of these factors empowers you to control costs.

Type of Work – The nature of plumbing work substantially sways premiums. High-risk tasks like sewer/drain cleaning, trenching, or hydrojetting boost liability risks. More routine residential and commercial plumbing jobs may qualify for lower premiums. Specialized industrial plumbing work also commands higher premiums.

Business Size – The number of employees, vehicles, equipment, and overall payroll affects premiums. More personnel and assets mean increased general liability and workers’ comp exposure. Additional commercial auto policies for a larger fleet also raise premiums.

Location – Where you operate makes a big premium difference. Urban areas like Fargo and Bismarck impose higher policy costs due to increased accidents, crime, lawsuits, etc. Rural parts of ND may offer some geographic savings.

Claims History – Past claims drive up renewal premiums, especially multiple severe losses. Maintaining a clean loss run helps keep costs affordable. Staying claims-free for 3-5 years often lowers premiums.

Policy Limits – Higher liability caps or coverage amounts add costs but reduce personal liability risk. Evaluate both premium impacts and risk tolerance when selecting limits. Minimums often aren’t enough.

Safety Record – Strong safety programs, protocols, and employee training help secure lower workers’ comp rates. High past claim frequency or severity leads insurers to hike premiums.

Business Experience – New businesses often face higher initial rates until they build experience. Long-standing plumbing firms with expert personnel may qualify for tenure discounts.

Contract Terms – The language governing your client contracts can influence premiums. Well-crafted indemnity clauses and limitation of liability provisions help control insurance costs.

Natural Hazards – Operation in flood/hail prone areas boosts property premiums. Being prepared for severe ND weather is factored into pricing.

Small Plumbing Business Insurance Costs

For solo operators or small plumbing shops with under $150K in annual revenue and 1-2 employees, typical premium ranges in North Dakota are:

General Liability – $3,900 to $9,000
Covers third-party injury and property damage claims. Recommended minimum is $1M per occurrence/$2M aggregate.

Workers’ Compensation – $881 to $1,542
Covers medical bills and lost wages for job-related employee injuries. State minimums apply.

Surety Bonds – $40 to $200
Meets state licensing and permit bond requirements. Usually around $25K bond amount. If you’re seeking information on obtaining a North Dakota Plumbing License, this article will provide you with the necessary details.

Medium Plumbing Business Insurance Costs

For mid-sized plumbing businesses with over $500K in revenue and 3-5 employees, typical premium ranges in North Dakota are:

General Liability – $12,700 to $25,400
Workers’ Compensation – $2,643 to $4,626
Surety Bonds – $40 to $200

Mid-sized plumbing businesses also commonly augment core coverages like general liability and workers’ comp with additional protections:

Commercial Auto – $1,000 to $2,000 per vehicle
Protects business vehicles from damage and covers liability from accidents. At least $500K limits recommended.

Tools & Equipment – $250 to $500
Insures tools, machinery, and materials onsite and in transit. $5K in coverage suggested minimum.

Cyber Liability – $500 to $1,000
Shields small businesses against data breaches, malware, and digital theft. $500K limit minimum.

E&O – $750 to $1,500
Covers financial loss claims from plumbing errors and omissions. Ideal for small contractor exposure.

Employment Practices Liability – $1,000 to $3,000
Defends against wrongful termination, discrimination, and other employment claims.

Commercial Property – $1,000 to $4,000
Insurance for business facilities against fire, theft, vandalism, and natural disasters.

Large Plumbing Business Insurance Costs

For bigger plumbing contractors with over $1M in annual revenue and 5+ employees, typical North Dakota premium ranges are:

General Liability – $34,400 to $44,700
Workers’ Compensation – $4,406 to $7,710
Surety Bonds – $40 to $200

Additional coverages larger plumbing contractors may utilize:

Builders Risk – Around 2% of project cost
Insures against damage to ongoing construction projects. Critical for plumbing contractors involved in new builds/renovations.

Commercial Crime – $500 to $1,500
Covers employee embezzlement or theft of professional tools/equipment.

Directors & Officers – $2,500 to $5,000
Protects management against claims alleging wrongful acts and decisions. Crucial for larger firms.

Pollution Liability – $1,500 to $3,000
Covers unexpected environmental discharge events and resulting legal liability.

Navigating the Insurance Marketplace

The plumbing insurance marketplace in North Dakota has unique dynamics:

  • The market is dominated by local/regional carriers familiar with Northern Plains risks. National insurers have limited market share.
  • The remote nature of the state makes underwriting more challenging. Carriers must factor long driving distances.
  • Extreme cold weather risks like frozen pipes and ice dams require insurers to adjust underwriting.
  • Flooding exposure near the Red River necessitates specialized products.
  • A largely rural population and small local plumbing industry limits market competition.

This landscape makes choosing the right plumbing-savvy insurance partner critical. An independent agent or broker that specializes in plumbing contractors and writes with niche North Dakota carriers hasdistinct advantages. They offer:

  • Access to exclusiveND plumbing insurance products not available to the average agent.
  • The ability to package together specialized coverages like E&O and builders risk.
  • Firsthand guidance on meeting unique compliance rules and bond requirements.
  • Custom packaging to help control premium costs in the restricted ND market.
  • Expertise in securing coverage for remote worksites and winter/flood exposures.

How Insurers Calculate Premiums

Insurance carriers take various risk characteristics into account when pricing coverage for North Dakota plumbing contractors. Key considerations include:

Class Codes – The NCCI classifies plumbing work under Code 5183, which carries base rates between $1.78 and $4.47 per $100 of payroll. Different tasks have varying rates.

Loss History – Past claims, especially frequent and severe losses, lead to increased premiums. A clean history helps maintain affordable pricing.

Location – Geographic territories in ND have prescribed base rates. Urban areas cost more than rural counties. Proximity to hazards like rivers and hills is considered.

Payroll – Workers’ comp premiums derive directly from employee payroll amounts. More payroll means higher premiums.

Revenue – Higher gross revenues indicate increased exposure for policies like general liability, translating to higher premiums.

Average Cost of Claims – Insurers analyze the frequency and cost of claims within North Dakota, driven by settlements, legal costs, medical expenses etc.

Employee Safety – Strict safety protocols and training help minimize incidents and secure lower worker’s comp rates.

Experience Modifier – This number represents your claims history, adjusting workers’ comp rates up or down accordingly. 1.0 is average. Higher multiples mean higher premiums.

Number of Employees – More employees increase injury likelihood, driving up workers’ compensation premiums.

Optimizing Your Insurance Program

Work with a specialized plumbing insurance broker to optimize coverage and cost:

Fine tune your policies – An expert can pinpoint and eliminate unneeded coverages or wasteful overlaps across policies.

Lower premiums – An experienced broker has insider access to the best rates and knows how to secure every discount possible.

Ensure adequate limits – Don’t pay the price for underinsurance if a large claim exceeds your limits. But also don’t overpay for excess coverage.

Negotiate favorable terms – The right agent can get endorsements like additional insured status and waiver of subrogation included to protect you.

Implement safety initiatives – Strategies like employee training, strict PPE compliance, drug testing programs, and regular equipment inspection/maintenance all mitigate risk.

Leverage risk transfer – Shift risk through customer contracts. Clauses like indemnity/hold harmless provisions, limitations of liability, and waivers protect you.

Choose optimal deductibles – Raise deductibles to lower premiums, but don’t jeopardize the business with costs you can’t absorb. Find the right balance.


Running a plumbing business in North Dakota requires insurance tailored to manage harsh winters, a far-flung clientele, natural flood hazards, and a restricted insurance marketplace. Use the detailed cost ranges in this guide as a starting point when considering policies to protect your company. Partner with a plumbing insurance specialist with deep knowledge of ND’s unique marketplace. They can secure the optimal coverage at the best available rates. Investing in proper insurance is an investment in your business’s future.