No matter how careful you are, having a business comes with liability. General liability policies cover the most common areas of risk that businesses face, providing crucial coverage in the case that someone has their property damaged or meets with an accident because of your business activities.
What is General Liability Insurance?
General liability insurance, also called business liability insurance or commercial general liability insurance, provides coverage if a non-employee injures themselves or has their property damaged either at your business site or as a result of your business operations. This coverage includes obvious items like personal injury and physical damage to property, as well as some less obvious items like slander and copyright infringement.
Who Needs General Liability Insurance?
General liability policies cover some of the most common liabilities faced by business owners, which means that the vast majority of businesses, large and small, can benefit from carrying one of these versatile policies. This list includes business that,
· Have a physical location that is open to the public
· Sell goods or services
· Advertise themselves and/or are active on social media
· Interact with people at off-site locations
Some business owners, such as contractors, freelancers, and other individuals who commonly work on-premises at third-party locations, may serve clients that require you to carry a general liability policy before beginning work with them.
What Does it Cover?
General liability insurance provides coverage for a number of costs associated with personal injury or property damage.
If a customer trips and takes a spill at your business and you are found responsible for their injuries, your general liability policy will step in to cover the cost of their medical care.
If your business handles client property or operates on-site at client-owned locations, general liability insurance provides coverage if you or your employees damage that client’s possessions. For example, if an equipment malfunction on a job site causes significant damage to a client’s home, you may file a general liability claim to cover the cost of repairs.
In the case that there is a dispute as to whether your business is responsible for damages, your carrier may provide funds for your legal defense and other court costs.
In addition to covering events that take place on the premises of your business or in the course of your business operation, general liability policies provide coverage in the event that one of your products causes illness, injury, or property damage.
Damage to a Rental Property
If you rent space for your business, your general liability insurance provides protection if your actions cause damage to land or structures. Flooding due to a hose that was left running, a fire caused by improperly cleaned rags, or damage to an interior caused by careless movers are a few examples of events that may be resolved through a general liability claim.
Advertising Injury, Copyright Infringement, and Slander
Along with physical damage, general liability policies provide protection in the case that your advertising or other communications are found to cause injury to others. If you develop a new logo and are then sued by a competitor who claims that your graphic is too similar to their own, your general liability policy may cover court fees and judgments resulting from the case.
What Doesn’t General Liability Insurance Cover?
While general liability insurance coverers a wide range of events, there are some common business-related liabilities that these policies do not cover.
Injury to an Employee
General liability insurance only cover events that involve a third party—not employees of your business. Business owners who desire coverage for work-related injuries should as their independent agent about purchasing a workman’s compensation policy.
Even though an auto accident that occurs during the course of your business activities may cause both property and bodily damage, general liability policies do not cover vehicle-related events. If you would like to make sure your business is covered, consider purchasing a commercial auto policy.
While a general liability policy may cover court costs and most damages that you are required to pay, most policies contain exclusions for punitive damages.
General liability will not pay for damages caused by professional error, like missed deadlines or nonfunctional products. For protection against professional errors, ask your insurance agent about obtaining an errors and omissions policy.
Good business-to-policy fit is a function of multiple factors such as your industry, the size of your business, and the amount of coverage desired. An independent insurance agent can help you to evaluate your needs, shop around for the best policy available, and negotiate a favorable price. As always, the independent agents at Moreland Insurance would be happy to assist you to find the right coverage for your business, at the right price.