General Liability (GL) Insurance is the most important insurance coverage a business can obtain. It is frequently referred to as the first line of defense. GL Insurance protects policy holders from third party risks associated with lawsuits and other claims. It can cover things as simple someone slipping and falling when they come in to your building, to a fire in the basement of your property. General Liability is required by law in most states. Businesses are often required to purchase coverage with most contracts for leases, loans, and work performed for others. More importantly, businesses need general liability in order to protect their business and personal assets.
In most cases a General Liability Insurance Policy is the first line of insurance purchased by a business. It is usually purchased in addition to other policies like Workers’ Compensation, Commercial Auto or Professional Liability Insurance. Most agents can easily package all of these policies in to one Business Owner’s Package (BOP). Purchasing insurance from one carrier in a BOP, is a good way to maximize savings. Dealing with one carriers also makes interactions much easier for business owner’s when they have to get certificates or when there is a need for a claim.
One part of a General Liability Policy that is confusing for many policy holders is, who is a Third Party? Third parties can include anyone from customer’s, to contractor’s, to anyone who may be injured as a result of an action taken by you, your employees or caused by the actions of your business in some manner. It does not protect your employees. That type of injury would be covered under a Workers’ Compensation Policy. In most states Workers’ Compensation is required by law.
Typically a General Liability Insurance Policy provides only specific types of coverage named within that policy. GL coverage is almost always related to third parties who suffer a loss caused by the insured as opposed to employees and the insured’s themselves. Generally speaking, covered losses must be unintentional. Intentional damage is not covered by most liability insurance policies.
Some examples of incidents covered under a General Liability Insurance Policy are:
- Personal Injury
- Advertising Injury (The unintentional use of a competitors advertising material)
- Medical expenses
- Legal defense costs
- Property Damage (third party property caused by company negligence)
- Electronic Data Liability (Businesses that service computers and could cause damage to a server)
One common misconception about General Liability Coverage is that it is all encompassing. There are many instances where an occurrence is not covered by a General Liability Policy and there are other types of insurance offered to fill those gaps. That is where the necessity for a BOP can be crucial. When all coverages are purchased from one carrier there is less risk of there being a gap in coverage. It also speeds up the time for a claim because there are not two insurance companies interacting to determine who is liable for the claim. Most Insurance agents can help a business owner determine any and all coverage your business needs. All businesses should start with a General Liability Policy.