General Liability Insurance

General liability insurance
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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.

5 Ways General Liability Insurance Can Help Your Business

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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:

bodily injury in general liability
Bodily Injury
If a customer injures themselves in your place of business, this policy can help cover their medical bills.
commercial property general liability insurance
Property Damage
Employees sometimes damage customers' property while delivering products or services. Your GL policy can help pay for the damages.
general liability coverage
Reputational Harm
General liability insurance policies can help cover malicious prosecution, slander, libel, wrongful eviction and violating a person's privacy.
general liability personal and advertising injury
Advertising Injuries
Claims of copyright infringement are covered with a general liability policy.
damage to rented premises general liability
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.
general liability insurance coverage

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’:
  • Age
  • Location
  • 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.
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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.

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.
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.

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

Our complex liability solutions help protect businesses that are vulnerable to higher-hazard liabilities such as:
  • Manufacturers
  • Wholesalers
  • Distributors
  • Importers
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.

Extended Business Liability Insurance Coverage and Risk Engineering

We make it easy for you to add individuals to your business liability policy, if required.
Our Risk Engineering team can help keep your employees safe with one-on-one risk management consultations and safety seminars.

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.
Whether it’s getting a quote, understanding general liability class codes or help filing a claim, we have your back. To learn more, start a free quote from us today. We can also help you get other essential business coverages, like commercial property insurance and commercial auto insurance.

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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.
The Hartford shall not be liable for any damages in connection with the use of any information provided on this page. Please consult with your insurance agent/broker or insurance company to determine specific coverage needs as this information is intended to be educational in nature.
The information contained on this page should not be construed as specific legal, HR, financial, or insurance advice and is not a guarantee of coverage. In the event of a loss or claim, coverage determinations will be subject to the policy language, and any potential claim payment will be determined following a claim investigation.
Certain coverages vary by state and may not be available to all businesses. All Hartford coverages and services described on this page may be offered by one or more of the property and casualty insurance company subsidiaries of The Hartford Financial Services Group, Inc. In TX, this insurance is written by Sentinel Insurance Company, Ltd., Hartford Casualty Insurance Company, Hartford Lloyd’s Insurance Company, Property and Casualty Insurance Company of Hartford, Hartford Underwriters Insurance Company, Twin City Fire Insurance Company, Hartford Accident and Indemnity Company and Hartford Fire Insurance Company. In Arizona, New Hampshire, Washington and California, the insurance is underwritten by Hartford Accident and Indemnity Company, Hartford Casualty Insurance Company, Hartford Fire Insurance Company, Hartford Insurance Company of Illinois, Hartford Insurance Company of the Midwest, Hartford Lloyd’s Insurance Company, Hartford Underwriters Insurance Company, Maxum Casualty Insurance Company, Maxum Indemnity Company, Navigators Insurance Company, Navigators Specialty Insurance Company, Pacific Insurance Company, Property and Casualty Insurance Company of Hartford, Sentinel Insurance Company, Ltd., Trumbull Insurance Company and Twin City Fire Insurance Company. The Hartford® is The Hartford Financial Services Group, Inc. and its subsidiaries, including Hartford Fire Insurance Company.
The Hartford® is The Hartford Financial Services Group, Inc. and its property and casualty subsidiaries, including Hartford Fire Insurance Company. Its headquarters is in Hartford, CT.
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