You can never know what kind of calamity will happen to your business or how it will hurt your budget. For instance, a customer might get hurt while at your store. An employee might do serious damage to your merchandise unintentionally. It can even get legally complicated - you can be sued for slander and defamation because of something your employee said!
While you can’t anticipate these things - or prevent them, you can find a way to protect your business and budget from many of them. The answer lies in general liability insurance. This is a highly useful insurance type, especially for a small business owner.
What is general liability insurance?
General liability insurance will protect your business against property damage and claims of bodily injury from your clients and your employees. Without it, incidents like the ones mentioned above can put a serious dent in your company’s budget. There are cases of companies going bankrupt because of things like a personal injury claim, when it all could have been resolved with proper insurance.
The coverage of your insurance will depend on which one you choose. Generally speaking, this type of insurance covers the expenses of businesses when they’re faced with claims of personal injury, damage to property, and medical costs that occur as a result of their operations.
How to get the best general liability business insurance
Getting quality insurance these days is very simple. You need to choose the right company and provide some details about your business, as well as complete the payment.
If you are looking for quality general liability business insurance, CoverWallet is a great option for you. You can get a quote directly on their website or speak to agents to discuss the details.
If you want to speed this up, start gathering the documentation. Make sure you have all the necessary information to save time. In most cases, you’ll need at least the following:
- Basic contact information
- General information about your business operations
- Details such as your business locations
- Number of employees
- Documentation that shows how long you have had the business
- Estimated revenue for the following year
What is covered by general liability insurance?
This will, of course, depend on where you get yours. Good quality insurance will most likely cover the following:
- Third-party bodily injury
This refers to an injury that happens to people outside your business but is related to your business operations. For example, the customer slips or something falls on them in your store. They require medical assistance and will sue you for the injury. Part of the general liability insurance coverage is health insurance, so they’ll cover these expenses.
- Property damage
Property damage is a common liability claim. When your business is held legally responsible because someone’s property was damaged by your company, this is property damage. For example, you might be doing some work on a customer’s product or in their home. You can even just be visiting, but if you do damage, your company is liable. General liability insurance will cover the repair costs.
- Tenants liability
Many businesses these days rent out spaces. If someone in your company does damage to the place you’re renting, you are liable for replacing it. Let’s say that an employee accidentally breaks a window. The general liability insurance will cover the replacement cost.
- Copyright infringement claims
In case you are accused of using the work of someone else in your business ads or other marketing strategies without their permission, they can sue you for copyright infringement. This also falls under general liability insurance.
- Product liability
In the case where your products harm a developer in some way, the insurance will cover the legal costs when they sue you. For example, a customer might use your product and develop allergies or other health issues.
- Advertising injury
If your business or the people that work in it defame another person, company, or business owner, you can be sued for libel or slander. General liability covers the legal defense in such cases.
Of course, there are terms and conditions that come with coverage in every insurance company. You need to check with the insurer if you are eligible for coverage, either full or partial. If you are looking to get bigger coverage, you might want to extend the insurance and get a commercial umbrella insurance policy.
A reputational harm lawsuit costs $50,000. A slip and fall claim can cost around $20,000. Chances are, some general liability insurance will cover only part of this. Getting more or bigger insurance can give you more coverage.
Do I need general liability insurance?
Every small business can benefit from this type of insurance. Here is a list of situations where you’ll definitely benefit from it:
- You advertise marketing materials for the business/ use social media (risk of advertising injury)
- Your business is open to clients, vendors, or the public (risk of third-party bodily injury and product liability)
- You are renting out spaces for your business activities (tenants liability)
- You need coverage to be eligible for some work contracts and projects
Will the general liability insurance be enough for me?
It all starts with general liability insurance. This is the basis, the core coverage type that you should definitely consider for your small business policy. If you want coverage for more problems that can impact your company financially, you can definitely opt for extra insurance options.
For example, general liability insurance doesn’t cover risks such as vandalism, theft, fire, or lost income. To cover this, you can invest in a business owners policy or BOP, which combines general liability insurance, commercial property insurance, and business interruption insurance.
This combo is much more expensive, but it covers more risks. You can also add other types of insurance depending on what your company needs and of course, your budget.
For example, if your business uses vehicles for transport or just for getting around, commercial auto insurance might be a great investment.
Risks not covered in the general liability insurance
To give you a better idea of what you might need in addition to what’s covered in the general liability insurance, let’s take a look at what this type doesn’t cover. You’ll also learn what type of insurance you need to cover these risks.
- Employee illness/ injury - workers' compensation insurance
- Professional mistakes in the course of work - errors, and omissions insurance (E&O)
- Auto accidents - commercial auto insurance
- Business property theft and damage - commercial property insurance
Keep in mind that none of the insurance you get, no matter how big or costly, will cover intentional acts and damage. If you throw your desk out the window and if the insurance can prove this, you won’t be compensated for the damage.
There are also limitations and exceptions to what is covered in each insurance. For example, while general liability insurance covers property damage, in situations such as a fire department damaging your office, you can ask the insurance for compensation, but they might cover this partially or refer you to the Fire Department if it’s not in their coverage.
How much will general liability insurance cost me?
The cost of your insurance will depend on the size of your company and its risks, as well as the insurer. This is a popular insurance with small businesses because it usually costs very little. If your business is very small, a general liability policy can cost less than $50 per month.
Of course, the cost will increase if your business is bigger or grows over time. It also varies based on the industry you work in. If your industry comes with more risks and more liabilities, the price will be higher.
Lastly, this will depend on the amount of coverage you need. Keep in mind that, if you limit your amount of coverage, the insurance will pay the big expenses only partially based on what you agreed.
Let’s go through the things that affect the insurance price:
- Type of business. High-risk businesses pay a higher cost for insurance.
- Years of experience and business size.
- Location of your business.
- Condition of your building or office.
- Insurance claim history for your business.
- Policy details. This includes the amount of overage, deductibles, etc.
The final question is: Can you afford NOT to have it?
As a business owner, you are facing lawyer fees, legal settlements, judgements, and endless liabilities. Without the aid of an insurance company, this can destroy your company in an instant. What you’ve worked so hard for can vanish altogether simply because a customer slipped on your office floor or an employee you just hired shared confidential information with a third party.
General liability insurance is the basic coverage every business needs. The costs for small businesses are very low, so let’s be real, you can’t really afford not to have this.