As a new business owner, you’ve likely already heard that you need general liability insurance. What you may not know is what this type of insurance is, and how it helps to protect you. Why should you purchase general liability insurance for your business?
What is General Liability Insurance?
Commercial General Business Liability Insurance, or just “Liability Insurance” protects a company’s assets and pays for any obligations, including medical costs, if someone is injured on your property. It also covers any damage or injuries that you or your employees may cause. This insurance also helps cover the cost of any litigation and settlements. Typically your Liability Insurance will cover compensatory and punitive damages as well as any non-monetary losses suffered by the injured party.
This type of insurance will also protect you as a tenant if you should cause any damage to a property that you rent in a covered manner, such as through fire or flooding. Finally, any claims of false advertising, slander, copyright infringement, and other such charges can be covered by General Liability Insurance.
Why Does My Business Need General Liability Insurance?
Given the litigious society we live in today, even if you don’t think there’s a strong possibility that your business will end up facing a claim, getting insurance is still a wise investment that doesn’t require a large investment on your part – generally premiums start at $750 annually, depending on your coverage needs. That number is significantly lower than the thousands, or even millions, that your case may end up costing if it goes to court.
General Liability Insurance is available on its own, but can also be included as a part of a “BOP” or “Business Owner’s Policy” which bundles liability and property insurance into one policy. If you have a “BOP,” check it to see what your liability coverage limit is. If your insurance limit is too low, you can also look into a Commercial Umbrella Policy which has limits starting at $1,000,000.
What General Liability Policy Do I Need?
Your liability policy will vary depending on the type of business you are in, and the risk that is associates with that industry. A building contractor will need substantially more insurance than a web designer. Your location is another important factor – some states award more significant damages to plaintiffs in personal injury lawsuits than others. You should always make sure you speak to a licensed insurance broker for advice before you rush out and purchase a policy.
If your business falls into a lower risk category, you may choose to purchase a “BOP,” as it combines General Liability and Property Insurance policies together at a cost effective rate.
How Do General Liability Plan Work?
Each General Liability policy will be different, but each will outline the maximum amount that your policy will pay. As an example, if your small business is sued $150,000 for medical expenses related to a workplace injury, with an additional $150,000 in legal fees, but your coverage limit is $200,000, the additional $100,000 will be an out of pocket expense.
If you are in an industry with a higher risk and already have the highest General Liability insurance, you may wish to opt for excess insurance, or umbrella insurance, which increases your coverage limits. This will cover you in a situation such as the one above where the cost of losing a claim filed against you would be astronomical.
Ensure you’ve done your industry research before you invest in a policy. Sometimes a client contract may require that you have a specific type of plan to work on their behalf; if your business involves contract construction you may need to add your client to your insurance policy for the duration of the project.
How Do I File a Claim?
If an incident does take place, you will need to alert your insurance company or agent immediately. Be ready to provide all of the details, such as a time, a date, and any other pertinent information such as the names of witnesses that may speak on your behalf.
Do I Need Other Types of Insurance?
Depending on the nature of your business, you may need automotive insurance, alcohol liability insurance, product liability insurance, pollution insurance, and many more possible insurance policies. Give Insurance Town & Country a call today at 303–388-7216 for Denver or 303–688-1251 for Castle Rock and schedule your free consultation to discuss your options!