General Liability Insurance
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Short term general liability insurance

Some small business owners prefer the flexibility of paying for insurance during their busy season or from project to project with a short-term general liability policy. However, year-round coverage provides better long-term protection at a more affordable cost over time.

What is a short term general liability insurance policy?

A short term general liability policy offers coverage for short projects or timeframes that may not require a year's worth of coverage. It provides the same protection as an annual general liability insurance policy, but only for the outlined duration.

This coverage is sometimes called:

However, a standard commercial general liability insurance policy often provides more long-standing comprehensive coverage.

What does short term general liability insurance cover?

Short-term general liability provides coverage for just that – a short period of time. This type of policy offers the same level of protection as an annual policy, just for an outlined time frame.

The types of coverage typically included:

  • Legal costs to defend your business in a lawsuit
  • Property damage to a client's belongings
  • Medical expenses if your work causes a bodily injury to a customer
  • Judgments and settlements from a liability claim
  • Legal defense for claims of advertising injuries and copyright infringement

However, if a lawsuit is filed after your coverage expires, you likely won't have the financial protection to help cover the resulting costs.

How short-term general liability works

As mentioned above, how a short term general liability insurance policy works is by providing coverage for common business risks during a set amount of time.

For example, say you run a lawn mowing business during the summer months as an extra way to make some money. A short-term liability policy would be active for the summer months and cover any claims of client property damage (should you accidentally run over one of their flower beds).

Another example would be a carpenter who only takes on a handful of projects a year. They could have short term general liability coverage while they're working on those specific projects. The policy would cover client injuries if they accidentally trip in the workshop when viewing their commissioned piece.

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Is short term general liability insurance right for my business?

Short-term general liability insurance coverage is more beneficial for small businesses whose work is tied to seasonal shifts or on a project basis.

Some businesses that may look at a short-term general liability policy are:

Seasonal businesses like wedding photographers, caterers, nature guides, and holiday retail vendors have peak seasonal business times. And during the off season, jobs and clients might be less steady and reliable.

Project-oriented businesses such as a handyman, event planner, DJ, or contractor typically work on a project-by-project basis. The downtime between projects could vary depending on your business and the market for your services.

What are the risks of purchasing short term general liability insurance?

While short-term business insurance has some benefits, continuous coverage is almost always the better solution for all businesses.

There are a few risks that come with choosing short-term general liability insurance coverage, such as:

  • Coverage gaps, which leave your business vulnerable to claims and lawsuits that might arise outside of your policy period
  • Higher costs per day compared to a standard general liability policy
  • Poor insurance history because of policy turnover, which can lead to higher premiums on the next policy

What are the benefits of purchasing short term general liability insurance?

While a year-long general liability plan provides more reliable coverage for small businesses, there are some benefits to pursuing a short-term general liability insurance policy, including:

  • Flexible for short-term projects or seasonal events
  • Cost-effective for businesses that don't require year-round coverage
  • Easy for small companies to arrange and tailor to specific business needs

How much does general liability insurance cost?

A small business owner calculating their general liability insurance payments

Insureon customers typically pay an average of $42 per month for general liability coverage. This cost is calculated based on a few factors, including:

Short-term insurance (currently not offered by Insureon) will likely cost more than the average because of the shortened policy duration.

Why should you invest in year-round general liability coverage?

Choosing an annual general liability insurance policy is often less expensive in the long run and provides more peace of mind. Because there aren’t any gaps in your coverage, your business is always protected against third-party claims. It also won't jeopardize your ability to keep business licenses that require insurance.

If you're planning to expand your business, year-round business insurance will also be a better option. So, say you're looking to make your handyman side hustle more of a regular gig, you might want to consider a year-long policy or a business owner's policy (BOP), which includes commercial property insurance.

You should also go with continuous insurance if you store business property between jobs or in the off season. If you get short-term liability insurance for the peak season and cancel it a few months later, your business property is no longer covered against potential risks, such as weather damage or theft.

How do I get general liability insurance?

Complete Insureon’s easy online application today to get quotes for year-round insurance coverage from top-rated U.S. insurance companies. You can also speak with a licensed insurance agent to find the best types of business insurance for your unique needs.

Once you find the right policies for your small business, you can begin coverage and get a certificate of insurance (COI) in less than 24 hours.

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Updated: March 15, 2024
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