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General liability insurance for cleaning businesses

General liability insurance icon
General liability insurance

General liability insurance covers customer injuries, customer property damage, and related lawsuits. It’s often required for commercial leases and contracts.

General liability covers common cleaning risks

When buying insurance for a cleaning business, general liability insurance is the policy most business owners buy first. It covers basic business risks, such as third-party injuries and property damage. 

This policy provides liability coverage related to:

  • Customer injuries
  • Customer property damage
  • Advertising injuries

What coverage can general liability provide for cleaning service companies?

Third-party injuries

If a delivery person, vendor, or client slips and falls at your office, or trips over your cleaning equipment, you could be found liable for the injury. If the person sues, your business will need to pay for legal bills, such as hiring a lawyer. You might also have to pay the injured person’s medical expenses. General liability insurance covers:

  • Third-party medical bills
  • Attorney's fees
  • Court-ordered judgments
  • Settlements arranged outside of court

Note that this policy does not cover employee injuries. For that, you’ll need workers’ compensation insurance.

Third-party property damage

If a house cleaner or janitor accidentally breaks an industrial floor cleaner on loan from another company, the third-party property coverage included in your general liability insurance could help pay for the cost of repairing or replacing it. If there is a disagreement about the cost of a repair, general liability can cover attorney’s fees, judgments, and other legal expenses if a client takes you to court.

Advertising injuries

If you copy another cleaning company’s logo or slogan, it could lead to a lawsuit. Accidental advertising injuries are covered by general liability insurance, including:

  • Defamation, both libel (written) and slander (spoken)
  • Copyright infringement

If you advertise or promote your cleaning business in print, online, or on television or radio, you’ll want to make sure your insurance includes this protection.

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Add endorsements for more complete protection

Because cleaning companies work at clients' homes and businesses, you face unique challenges that may require additions to your general liability policy. All of these policies can be added as an endorsement to a general liability policy to ensure your company has sufficient coverage.

Care, custody, or control (CCC)

If an employee dusting a flat-screen TV knocks it off the wall and it breaks, your general liability policy probably won’t cover the cost. That’s because it excludes coverage for any personal property that is in your care, custody, or control. Adding a care, custody, or control endorsement will ensure you are covered for accidental damage to customer property.

Contractor’s tools and equipment insurance

Carpet cleaning and pool cleaning businesses that use their own tools and cleaning supplies can benefit from a contractor’s tools and equipment endorsement, which protects your business property while it is in transit to and from a client location.

Lost key coverage

Janitors and house cleaners may want to purchase lost key coverage, which covers the cost of replacing locks if you lose customers' keys.

Bundle policies to save money and increase security

Small cleaning businesses may be able to bundle general liability insurance with commercial property insurance in a business owner’s policy (BOP), which typically costs less than purchasing each policy separately. Cleaning businesses that are eligible to purchase a BOP typically:

Talk to a licensed Insureon agent who specializes in the cleaning services industry to find out if you qualify for a BOP, and to add any necessary endorsements – such as lost key coverage or a care, custody, or control endorsement.

Other important insurance policies to consider

General liability insurance offers protection against the most common risks for cleaning businesses, but it doesn’t provide coverage for your employees or your vehicles. Cleaning service business owners should also consider:

Workers’ compensation insurance: This policy is required in most states for businesses with employees. If a pool cleaner hurts his back while loading equipment or a house cleaner develops an illness due to prolonged exposure to cleaning chemicals, workers’ comp can pay for medical bills as well as partial lost wages.

Commercial auto insurance: Commercial auto insurance covers vehicles owned by your business. It can pay for injuries and property damage in an accident, along with vehicle theft, weather damage, and vandalism.

Janitorial bonds: A client’s contract may require you to purchase a janitorial bond, which provides protection when one of your employees steals from a client. These bonds are also called employee dishonesty bonds; they are a type of surety bond.

Get free quotes and compare policies with Insureon

Are you ready to safeguard your carpet cleaning, house cleaning, window cleaning, or other cleaning business with general liability insurance? Complete Insureon’s easy online application to compare quotes from top U.S. carriers. Once you find a policy that fits your needs, you can begin coverage in less than 24 hours.

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Topics
General liability insurance
Cleaning services
House cleaning
Janitorial services
Window cleaning
Carpet cleaning