General Liability Insurance
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Frequently asked questions about general liability insurance

General liability is one of the most common commercial insurance policies. Review answers for frequently asked questions about coverage.

General liability insurance requirements and coverages

Is general liability insurance required by law?

You are not required by law to purchase general liability insurance. However, many of the people you do business with will likely have general liability insurance requirements written into contracts. That means you may need a policy if you want to sign a commercial lease or a client contract. Proof of general liability coverage is also required to apply for certain professional licenses.

What does general liability insurance cover?

General liability insurance covers common risks that arise from interactions with individuals outside of your company. That includes protection against customer property damage and injuries, such as a customer slipping on a wet floor at your business. It also covers slander, copyright infringement, and other advertising injuries. Read more about what general liability insurance covers.

How much general liability insurance do I need?

The amount of general liability insurance you need depends on factors such as the type and size of your business, number of employees, and the type of customers you typically work with. However, many small businesses opt for the standard $1 million / $2 million general liability policy. This means the policy will pay up to $1 million to cover any one claim, with a $2 million limit for the lifetime of the policy, which is typically one year.

Do independent contractors need general liability insurance?

General liability insurance for contractors provides protection when a customer or client holds you liable for an injury or property damage. Your clients may require you to obtain this coverage before entering into a contract. Certain industries, such as construction, require independent contractors to carry general liability insurance. Even when it’s not required, an independent contractor might purchase this coverage to safeguard against common lawsuits.

What protection does general liability insurance provide against social media risks?

Your general liability policy includes what's known as advertising injury coverage. It provides protection for lawsuits related to libel, slander, and invasion of privacy, as well as copyright or brand infringement. That means if you are sued for writing something negative about a competitor on social media, you're covered. Because of their increased risk, businesses in media and advertising must purchase professional liability insurance to gain this protection.

How to buy general liability insurance with Insureon

How quickly can I get general liability coverage with Insureon?

Our online application for general liability insurance takes about 15 minutes to complete. It requires some basic information about your business, including where it’s located, the number of employees, and estimated revenue for the upcoming year.

In most cases, we’ll deliver multiple quotes from top U.S. carriers as soon as you finish the application. Look them over and pick the policy that works best for you. A licensed Insureon agent is available to assist you throughout the process.

Once you purchase a policy, you can access your account and obtain a certificate of insurance, which is a formal proof-of-insurance document you need to show when you sign certain contracts or apply for professional licenses. Typically, it takes between 24 and 48 hours to complete the process and gain insurance for your business.

How do I get a certificate of liability insurance?

Our certificates of liability insurance are digital. We can email you one as soon as your policy is activated. You can also access your certificate online by logging into your Insureon account.

General liability claims

How do I make a general liability insurance claim?

To make a general liability claim, simply call your insurance provider. Your agent will ask you to provide a description of the incident and basic information such as your name, the business name, and your policy number. Your insurance agent can guide you through the process and provide answers to any additional questions.

What are some common general liability claims?

Examples of general liability claims include:

  • A customer slips in a spill at your business, breaks a wrist, and sues to recoup medical expenses.
  • An employee drops a customer’s smartphone and it shatters. The customer sues for damages.
  • An employee makes disparaging remarks about a competitor, who sues for slander.

Learn more about common claims and lawsuit examples.

General liability policy changes

What happens if I need to buy more insurance later?

It’s easy to add insurance at a later date. Your insurance agent can adjust the coverage amount on your policy, and provide assistance if you need to purchase additional policies.

What happens if I cancel my policy?

If you cancel your policy early, you run the risk of paying more for coverage down the road. Insurance companies typically charge higher rates to businesses that start and stop coverage. You also leave your business exposed to potential risks if you cancel your coverage.

Compare general liability insurance with other policies

General liability vs. business owner’s policy

A business owner's policy, also known as a BOP, bundles general liability coverage with commercial property insurance, which can pay to repair or replace business property that is damaged, stolen, or destroyed. A BOP typically costs less than if you purchased each policy separately. Read more about how a BOP differs from general liability insurance.

General liability vs. professional liability insurance

General liability offers protection if a third party sues you over a physical injury, property damage, or an advertising injury (libel or slander). Professional liability insurance covers you if you are sued by a client who claims you made a professional mistake that resulted in financial loss. Almost every business owner could benefit from a general liability policy. Your type of business will determine if you need a professional liability policy. Read more about general liability vs. professional liability.

General liability vs. workers’ compensation insurance

General liability and workers’ compensation insurance can both pay for medical expenses related to injuries at your business. However, general liability does not cover employee injuries. To extend this protection to your employees, you will need to purchase workers' comp insurance, which covers the costs associated with employee injuries or illnesses. Depending on which state your business is located in, you may be legally required to purchase workers’ comp coverage.

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