General liability insurance, also known as business liability insurance, is a type of insurance policy that helps protect businesses from claims that happen as a result of normal operations.
Typically, general liability insurance covers:
Bodily injury and property damage liability
General liability covers business related incidents that result in bodily injury to a third-party. This can include a customer slipping and falling on your premises, or an employee accidentally dropping a toolbox on someone’s foot. Of course, this coverage only applies to non-employee injuries.
Additionally, general liability protects any third-party property damage resulting from your business operations. For example, a landscaper’s policy may cover a stone that kicks up from their lawn mower and breaks a client’s window.
Products - completed operations
General liability insurance coverage includes liability protection for both products and completed operations exposures. Products are any goods that you manufacture, sell, or distribute in your business. If a product causes physical injury or illness, such as a customer becoming sick from undercooked food, a business can find protection under this coverage.
Alternatively, completed operations protects against faulty services or work performed by a business. A project must be fully complete for coverage to apply. For instance, a customer hires a plumber to install a shower drain as part of a bathroom renovation, but the plumber didn’t seal the drain properly and the bathroom flooded days later. The plumber’s general liability policy can cover up to his liability limits for his faulty workmanship since the incident occurred after he left the premises.
Personal and advertising injury
Not all injuries are physical. Any written or verbal communications that cause harm can also be covered under your general liability policy. This encompasses libel, slander, malicious mischief and copyright infringement, to name a few. For example, a small business retailer suffers a decrease in business after a local competitor starts a rumor about their bad customer service. The small business owner can sue the competitor for personal and advertising injury for damaging their reputation and profitability.
Medical payments cover any non-employee medical or funeral related expenses for which your business is responsible. Of course, your coverage depends on your selected limits. For example, a shelf falls on a customer while they’re grocery shopping. Their medical expenses total $10,000, but the grocer’s liability insurance covers only $5,000 toward medical payments. In this case, the store would be responsible for paying the remaining $5,000 out-of-pocket.
Damage to premises rented to you
General liability coverage typically includes coverage for any damages to non-owned land, buildings, or structures. The insured, or their business, must be legally liable for the damages for coverage to apply. For instance, a local restaurant rents property that catches fire due to a negligent employee leaving a frying pan unattended. General liability might cover the damages since the business caused the fire. In contrast, this coverage wouldn’t apply if a lightning strike started the fire.
Is general liability insurance required by law?
No, but failing to carry general liability insurance could result in you having to pay for all the expenses related to a claim against your business. For example, while visiting your office a client slips on a rug and breaks their hip. Without general liability insurance, you could be solely responsible for all the medical bills and legal fees. So, even though it’s not required by law, it should be a priority for your business.
Does general liability insurance have a deductible?
Yes. You choose the amount of your general liability deductible when you get a quote. A deductible is a fixed out-of-pocket expense you agree to pay before your coverage starts to pay.
Does general liability insurance cover theft?
General liability insurance only pays for third-party damages, not yours. You’re considered the “first-party”. The “third-party” is the one that has a claim against you. This means general liability won’t cover your property or equipment against theft or damage.
To protect your property, we offer Business Personal Property coverage as a part of a Business Owners Policy.
Is general liability insurance tax deductible?
Yes. Since general liability premiums are considered “a cost of doing business”, they usually can be written-off at tax time. That said, it’s a good idea to consult a tax professional to make sure.
Does general liability cover professional mistakes?
No. General liability only provides coverage for claims against you by others for their bodily injuries or damage to their property. To protect from claims against you for professional neglect or mistakes, you need to have professional liability insurance.
What is a certificate of insurance?
A certificate of insurance (COI) is an official document that lists all coverages and limits on an insurance policy. Essentially, it proves that you have insurance and details your policy coverages and limits.
Each business is different, but you want to make sure you're covered. Examples of businesses that use general liability insurance are:
Still not sure if general liability insurance is right for you? That's OK. We're here to help. Feel free to contact us. Our licensed agents are here for you.
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