How Much Will My DBA Insurance Cost?

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You are most likely in one of two camps on this one.

You either are just entering into the defense contracting world and are wondering “what truth there is to the rumors you’ve heard about how much this policy costs.”


You’ve been at this a little while and wonder, “why it is you have been paying what you have.”

A third group of you might be saying to yourself, what is he talking about? If that’s you, jump on over to our “What is DBA Insurance” article to get the basics.

How DBA Insurance Companies Rate Policies

Insurance companies are in the business of making a profit, and as such, they have to price risks in direct relation to the likelihood that you, the client, will need their services. Not unlike your home insurance, auto insurance, or life insurance.

Before I share with you what you can expect to pay for a policy like this, give me just a few minutes of your time to discuss how DBA insurance companies rate policies.

I’ll keep it light enough to understand and stop myself from nerding out on you! Not to mention if I simply told you the price you would have tons of questions about “how” we arrived at said figure.


If you have had experience with business or commercial insurance in the past, you will be familiar with the basics of workers compensation policies.

If not, check out our business insurance 101 page and video for more explanation.

Just like workers compensation policies, the total annual payroll you expect to pay will be a primary contributing factor in the overall rate of the policy.

And this should make good sense as you would expect that businesses and missions that require more staff, more resources, and more payroll, would need equally as much DBA Insurance protection.

The insurance company will take the total payroll you anticipate and plug it into a rate that they have predetermined.

We often see rates around $3.50-$4.50 per $100 in payroll.

The basics here are to take your total payroll and divide it by 100, then multiply it by the rate the insurance company sets. Add in a few other expense constants and fees. This will give you your rate.

Type of Work being performed

Again, this should be expected. If you are sending a linguist into Syria or another zone of special danger, you can expect that the policy will have a much higher rate than say a consultant working at an embassy in Germany.

Going right along with this is how your employees are actually moving within a specific country.

Are they taking public transportation to their actual place of work? Do they live and work in the same location? Are they dependent on third-country nationals to move about? Do they need personal protection while commuting?

Maybe they do most of their work once in country via telecommuting, GoToMeeting, or some other digital portal.

So, if your employees are dependent on a bodyguard escorting them to a remote base in the middle of the desert…..I think you get my drift.

Where the work is being performed

The insurance companies that write DBA Insurance have a very good idea what regions of the world are more dangerous than others.

This category can trump all others when it comes to its effect on rates. No matter what your employees are physically doing, if they are in a zone of special danger or war zone, the rate will likely be the same.

In general, they have segmented the world into three categories: (most dangerous to least)

  1. Iraq and Afganistan
  2. Middle East, Africa, Latin America
  3. Rest of World

Now you might be thinking, “yeah, but my contract could have me traveling all throughout the world!”

Understood, and our companies have become very flexible with our clients because of this fact.

The best advice is to start with the region most likely to be visited. We will inform the companies that you may have a worldwide contract.

Finally, we all know the world is an ever-changing landscape. Geopolitics, regional disputes, and civil unrest can cause rates to ebb and flow.

And it’s worth mentioning that if the US Government makes changes to its contract offerings the insurance companies will also respond.

Number of trips vs. length of contract

Briefly, some insurance companies will rate based on the number of planned trips vs an annual rate.

If you are a sub-contractor working under a prime and are taking just a few very specific trips, your DBA Insurance provider may cut you a break in premium.

Again, they will do their best to match the price relative to the overall risk your company and employees have.

Minimum Premiums

So, getting back to our first camp of folks. If you are just starting your journey as a defense contractor you will likely be subject to minimum premiums to begin work.

Again, depending on the geographical region, minimum premiums are usually not less than $5,000 per year.

We have seen a few $2,500 premiums but that is only when you might have one very specific, very safe, and very limited mission.

If you are planning on sending employees to the Middle East or Latin America, you can count on minimums hovering around $10,000.

***KEEP IN MIND – your expense here is reimbursable under the terms within the government contract. ***

If you are a prime contractor, as you are probably completely aware, the rating system is similar but on a much broader and larger scale.

Where do you start to price out your DBA Insurance policy?

This is where the good folks at Callahan and Rice Insurance step in.

Being an independent insurance broker, we have relationships with the two largest carriers providing this type of coverage.

These relationships allow us to have frank conversations with the underwriters to make sure they do not over or underestimate your actual risk profile.

You can click the link here (Contact Us) and will be directed to a basic form to fill out so that one of our agents can reach out and begin gathering the facts we need.

The world is an amazing place. We take pleasure in providing you with the DBA Insurance solution you need to continue to fulfill your mission across the globe.

Thank you for reading this. We look forward to hearing from you soon.

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Are you ready to save time, stress, and money? The team at Callahan and Rice Insurance Group is here and ready to make the process as painless as possible. We look forward to meeting you!

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