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General Liability Insurance for Businesses

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Eric Stauffer is a former insurance agent and banker turned consumer advocate. His priority is to help educate individuals and families about the different types of insurance they need, and assist them in finding the best...

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UPDATED: Sep 17, 2013

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General Liability InsuranceRunning a business puts you at an elevated risk for lawsuits. Accidents can happen to employees and customers, and it’s your responsibility to insure yourself against the fall-out of these ricks.

General liability insurance acts as a safety net for many types of suits that may be filed against your business.  Even if you decide to carry other types of specialized insurance, a general liability policy is essential.

What Does General Liability Cover?

Liability insurance protects your company’s assets and provides financial assistance to pay for injuries or property damage that you may be responsible for.  This includes accidents that happen on your business property as well as those caused by your employees.  Here are some examples of claims that could be covered by a liability policy:

  • A customer who sustains injuries after slipping and falling at your business
  • An employee who is injured during work
  • A customer who’s injured by a product purchased from your company
  • You delivery driver causes damage to a building’s loading dock (commercial auto may also apply)

More specialized types of insurance may also apply to each of these claims, but a general liability policy will provide a blanket of protection that can mitigate expenses and protect you from the high costs of lawsuits.

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Difference Between Personal and Business Liability Insurance

Some individuals carry personal umbrella policies, which act as a type of personal liability insurance.  These policies are very similar to business liability insurance and they help mitigate costs when it comes to lawsuits.  They differ, however, in their scope and size.  A business policy, often by necessity, may have higher limits and provide greater protections as businesses are usually at greater risk of liabilities.

If your business is a sole proprietorship and you already have a personal umbrella policy, business insurance may not always be necessary.  It’s a good idea to check with your current insurance company to see whether business insurance is right for you.

How Much Does General Liability Insurance Cost?

The exact price of any insurance policy will depend on the insured’s risk level.  If you run a particularly high-risk business, your policy will cost more than a similar one with fewer risks.  For example, having delivery drivers opens your business to more risk than not offering deliveries.  Balancing the needs of your business with the potential risks is a good way to keep your expenses low and coverage adequate.

You can usually save money on liability insurance by bundling it with other policies.  Many insurance companies will offer lower rates to customers with multiple types of insurance, so you can maximize your protection and keep your policy costs down at the same time.  You can also check with your insurance company to ensure that you are carrying only as much protection as you need and not paying for unnecessary or redundant coverage.  

About Eric Stauffer

Author: Eric StaufferI am a former insurance agent and banker turned consumer advocate. My priority is to help educate individuals and families about the different types of insurance they need, and assist them in finding the best place to get it.

2 Comments

  1. Mr. Stauffer,
    Maybe you can direct me to the location of information on how I go about proceeding with an “injury ” that occurred at a business, but the owner of the business is denying the incident. I have witnessess to the date and extent of the injury, as the owner of the establishment and the manager informed every patron that day. Which was actually a day before the injured person required hospitalization and a day before any family member became aware of the fall.
    The only physical witnesses are the Manager of this business, who actually assisted the person after his fall and diagnosed his injury of a fractured hip. With the help of another employee, they helped this 93 year old man off the ground, got him into his vehicle, and sent him home. The owner is saying he fell at home, broke his hip and is in the hospital the day before my dad even told us he was in pain and unable to walk. The only reason you would even be telling your patrons, would be to direct the “fault” or “liable” away from himself. The manager is a licensed nurse and teaches nursing class part-time. If she knew he fractured his hip, she should have called 911. My father had coffee at this establishment every other morning with friends for the past 2 years. The 4-6′ drop from sidewalk to the gravel parking lot is unmarked. Without a witness not employed by this owner, attorney didn’t want to take. I was told to call the insurance company myself. Should I? I don’t know what to do.
    Thank you, Cindy

    Reply
    • Hi Cindy,

      The best course of action, in my opinion, would be to consult a local injury attorney. The insurance company and the business both have a vested interest in the incident not being reported, since it will most likely cost them both money.

      The insurance company is not on the injured’s side in this case. Many injury attorneys will provide free consultations, or defer payment to a winning case only.

      Best,
      Eric Stauffer

      Reply

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