What Is General Liability Insurance Coverage?
General liability insurance helps provide coverage to your business for customer injuries, damage to another person’s property, and lawsuits. It helps protect your business from claims of property damage, bodily injury, and personal and advertising injury.
If a customer visits your store front, slips and falls, and injures themselves, general liability insurance can help protect your business from the bodily injury claim.
General liability insurance can also help protect your business if another company submits a claim that its reputation was damaged from your business’s advertising.
General Liability Insurance Coverage Includes:
Businesses and employees can be at risk of lawsuits involving bodily injury claims, property damage claims, libel and slander claims, and false advertising claims. A general liability insurance policy helps protect your business and employees from these types of lawsuits and claims.
A general liability insurance coverage typically includes coverage for the following:
Third-Party Bodily Injury
Helps cover the costs of a bodily injury claim. For example, if someone trips in your office and breaks their wrist, they could make a bodily injury claim against your business.
If a product you sell results in property damage or bodily injury, it could result in a product liability claim. For example, you sell a power tool to a customer to work on their car. A defect in the tool causes damage to the customer’s car. The customer can file a product liability claim, and general liability insurance can help cover the costs.
Third-Party Property Damage
Employees of your tree removal company are working on a customer’s property. A tree they cut down falls and a branch lands on a neighbor’s car, causing over $2,000 in damages. A general liability insurance policy can help cover the costs if the neighbor files a claim against your business.
Libel, Slander, Copyright, & Advertising Injury
You’re asked your thoughts on a competitor’s business and you explain the different reasons why your business is better. Your competitor could file a claim that your comments harmed their reputation.
You use a photo and music on your business’s website. The owner of the photo and music notices this and files a copyright claim because you didn’t receive approval.
General liability insurance can help cover the costs in these examples. Without it, you could be financially responsible for the legal fees or any costs associated with the claims.
Does My Business Need General Liability Coverage?
Although general liability insurance coverage for your business is not required in most states, it can help protect you and your business from costly claims. Without a general liability insurance policy, a liability claim filed against your business could be financially devastating.
Consider a general liability insurance policy if:
- Your business has a store, building, or office that is open to clients and the public
- You visit or work on or near a client’s property
- Do marketing or advertising for your business
- Have a social media presence – whether it is for personal use or professional use
What Is Not Included in General Liability Coverage?
General liability insurance only protects your business from certain claims. It won’t help cover the costs of claims related to:
- Property damage: If your own business property is damaged, a general liability insurance policy won’t help cover the repair costs. You can add a commercial property insurance policy to help cover those types of claims.
- Commercial auto accidents: If an employee is involved in a work-related auto accident, a general liability insurance policy won’t help cover the costs of the claim. Instead, a commercial auto insurance policy helps cover these claims.
- Errors in services: If your business provides a service and the customer experiences damages, they can file a claim that your business made an error in the service. For example, your accounting business is putting together a customer’s tax returns. They file their taxes and find out there was missing information and they have to pay late fees. The customer can file a claim stating your business cost them to experience financial damages. Although general liability insurance doesn’t cover this type of claim, professional liability insurance is designed to help with these claims.
- Employee injury or illness: If an employee is injured or sick from a work-related cause, a general liability insurance policy won’t help cover the costs. Workers’ compensation insurance provides benefits to these employees and can help replace wages from lost work time. If you have employees, workers’ compensation insurance coverage is required by many states.
- Data breaches: If your business suffers a data breach and customer information is taken, a general liability insurance policy won’t help cover the costs related to the breach. Data breach insurance helps protect your business from these claims and can help cover the cost to notify customers, organize a public relations campaign, and provide credit monitoring services.
- Purposefully illegal or malicious acts: If you’re found to have purposefully acted illegally or maliciously, a general liability insurance claim won’t cover the claim made against your business.
- Employment practices: If an employee makes a claim against you and your business for discrimination, a general liability insurance claim won’t cover the costs. Employment practices liability insurance can help protect you and your business from employment-related claims.
- Lost income: If your business is closed because of a covered property loss, a general liability insurance policy won’t help replace lost income. Instead, a business income insurance policy was designed to help in these types of situations.