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What Is General Liability Insurance?
General liability insurance (GLI) is sometimes called business liability insurance or commercial general liability insurance. This type of liability insurance coverage helps protect your business from claims of bodily injury or property damage that can come up during normal business operations. Without general liability coverage, you’d have to pay for medical expenses and property damages out of pocket.
It's a question we hear often: "Does my small business need general liability insurance?" Chances are, the answer is yes. With general liability insurance coverage, you'll have protection from claims of:
If a customer injures themselves in your place of business, this policy can help cover their medical bills.
Employees sometimes damage customers' property while delivering products or services. Your GL policy can help pay for the damages.
General liability insurance policies can help cover malicious prosecution, slander, libel, wrongful eviction and violating a person's privacy.
Claims of copyright infringement are covered with a general liability policy.
Damage to premises rented to you:
If your rented property is damaged by fire, lightning or an explosion, your general liability policy can help pay for repairs.
General liability insurance can also help pay for:
- A customer or client slipping and falling in your business and needing medical treatment
- Your employee accidentally damaging a customer’s wall while working in their home
- Defense costs from lawsuits against your business
- Judgments and settlements from a customer or client’s lawsuit
General liability insurance doesn’t help cover all injuries or damages in every situation. For example, medical treatment costs for injured workers are not covered by this policy. General liability insurance also does not cover lost wages for injured workers. Instead, you’d need workers’ compensation insurance.
Who Needs General Liability Insurance?
Four out of 10 small business owners are likely to experience a property or general liability claim in the next 10 years.1 Claims range from unexpected incidents, like a burglary, to unforeseen accidents, such as a customer getting injured after slipping and falling.
How Much Does General Liability Insurance Cost?
Your general liability insurance cost depends on several factors, but can vary from a few hundred dollars to a few thousand dollars a year. One big factor is your type of business. Companies in higher risk industries pay a higher general liability insurance cost compared to lower risk businesses.
For example, construction companies are likely to see higher insurance quotes and pay a higher rate than consulting companies. Other factors that can affect the cost of liability insurance include your business’:
- Number of employees
- Building condition
- Policy details, like coverage limits and deductibles
- Insurance claims history2
The best way to find out your commercial general liability insurance cost is to get insurance quotes. You can tailor your policy to fit your specific needs. Get a quote today to find out how liability insurance can protect your business.
Why Is General Liability Needed?
Liability insurance coverage helps protect you from costly general liability claims that can happen during common business situations, such as:
- You or your employees representing a client
- Meeting with clients face to face
- Working on or with another person’s property
- Using third-party locations for business activities
- Advertising your business
You may also need this coverage if your clients request it. Many clients want to confirm you have general liability coverage before they sign a contract with your business. You can prove you have general liability insurance with a certificate of insurance. Get increased protection for your business with commercial umbrella insurance to cover you, your employees and the vehicles you operate, lease, rent or own.It’s important to understand your state’s insurance laws. Work with a local insurance agency or our dedicated small business insurance team to help you choose the right business liability insurance.
Is General Liability Business Insurance Required by Law?
State laws don’t usually require business owners to carry general liability insurance. But, it’s still a good idea to have this liability insurance coverage. If a customer sues your business and you don’t have coverage, it can put your business’ finances and your personal assets at risk.
Get Added Protection With Professional and Limited Liability Insurance Coverage
You can extend your business’ liability coverage with limited liability insurance and professional liability insurance.
Forming a limited liability company (LLC) separates your personal assets from your business. However, you’re still exposed to liability claims that can put your business at financial risk. A limited liability insurance policy can help protect your LLC and cover claims resulting from bodily injury or property damage caused by your business.
A professional liability insurance policy helps protect your business if you’re sued for a mistake in the professional services you’ve provided. This coverage is also known as errors and omissions (E&O) insurance.
General Liability Coverage for High-Hazard Businesses
What Are Complex Liability Solutions?
Our complex liability solutions help protect businesses that are vulnerable to higher-hazard liabilities such as:
As a top multinational carrier, we handle catastrophic exposures every day. We’ll work with you to lessen the impact of general liability claims on your business.
Learn More About Complex Liability Solutions
Extended Business Liability Insurance Coverage and Risk Engineering
Extending Your General Liability Coverage
We make it easy for you to add individuals to your business liability policy, if required.
Get a General Liability Insurance Quote
Not all insurance companies are the same. It’s important to work with one that you can trust and rely on. We have over 200 years of experience helping small business owners protect their companies with coverages like general liability insurance.
Last Updated: February 2, 2022
1 According to The Hartford’s analysis of five years of small business claims from more than 1 million Hartford Business Owner’s Policies.
2 Only in certain cases.
Additional disclosures below.