General Liability Insurance
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Who needs general liability insurance?

General liability insurance helps protect your business from the legal defense costs of third-party lawsuits, such as customer injuries and property damage, and advertising injuries. This policy also helps you qualify for leases and contracts.

What does general liability insurance cover?

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Small business owners are the heart of every community. They make things work and dream big. We protect those dreams by providing the right policies.

Welcome. A general liability insurance policy is essential if you open your business to the public, handle client property, and rent or own commercial property.

It's your first move. Most small business owners buy a general liability insurance policy right after they start their business.

If this is you, consider getting your policy today. Your location is open to the public, come one, come all. You work closely with customers and clients. Part of your business is handling client property. You rent or own commercial property.

What does a general liability policy do? Well, it can cover your legal costs if someone sues you over an injury, property damage, or advertising injury.

In short, it can be used for hiring a lawyer to court ordered settlements. Yes, let's avoid those.

More than anything, it protects your business and provides peace of mind.

A certificate of insurance may also make life easier when dealing with landlords and banks, they appreciate that you're covered.

Compare quotes and get the right policy for your business at now.

General liability insurance provides coverage for common liability claims from people outside your business, also called third parties.

Your policy provides coverage for:

This business liability insurance policy covers your legal costs if someone sues over a covered claim, and can pay for everything from hiring a lawyer, to a customer's medical expenses, to court-ordered judgments and settlements.

Is general liability insurance required?

Generally not, but some states may require general liability for certain industries like construction and cannabis. Depending on your type of business, you may need this coverage to get a professional license in your state.

While commercial general liability insurance isn’t typically mandated by law, it still may be required by your landlord, mortgage company, business partners, or clients.

Typical reasons business owners secure a general liability policy are:

Professional licensure. Real estate agents, dentists, and accountants need a license to practice in the U.S. The requirements for a license could include general liability coverage.

Contracts. A company that hires a general contractor, engineer, or landscaper to complete part of a larger project may require you to obtain this policy.

Office leases. An architect, electrician, or another professional who rents an office or workspace may need to obtain general liability insurance coverage to fulfill the lease requirements.

Who should consider carrying general liability coverage?

Every small business, especially those that sell products or provide services to customers, can benefit from this essential type of business insurance. There are several industries that could use a general liability insurance policy, including:

Contractors and tradespeople

Plumbers, HVAC installers, and painters often provide their services at third-party locations and work on or with a customer's property regularly.


Retail, food, and personal care businesses

Beauty salons, photography studios, and coffee shops often have customers coming and going, with lots of equipment that could lead to a customer slipping and falling.

Marketing and tech professionals

Firms that often meet with clients in person and advertise their services, like a marketing agency or IT company, are just as at risk as a business with high foot traffic like a gym or restaurant.

How does liability insurance protect different types of businesses?

Because general liability insurance provides such important coverage, most small business owners buy the policy right after they start their business.

This insurance policy can keep your company financially stable if you’re sued by a customer or competitor. It's especially important if you rent or own an office or commercial space.

Even if that doesn't apply to you, small businesses that work directly with clients and customers benefit from general liability insurance because one accident could otherwise financially devastate a small company.

How much does general liability insurance cost?

A small business owner calculating their general liability insurance payments

General liability insurance costs an average of $42 per month for Insureon customers.

When it comes to calculating your premium, insurance companies look at a few different factors, including:

  • Coverage limits
  • Industry and risk factors
  • Where your business operates
  • Number of employees
  • Claims history
  • Deductible and policy exclusions

How much general liability coverage does my business need?

Unless you're purchasing general liability coverage to fulfill contract or lease terms, you should aim for an amount of coverage that's both affordable and matches your business needs.

A high-traffic retail store will likely need more coverage than a small tax preparer's office or a home-based business.

You want to make sure your policy can pay for a lawsuit if you're sued. Take into consideration the size of your business, the number of people your employ, and your business operations to determine your exposures and risk of financial loss.

Most small businesses opt for the standard $1 million per-occurrence / $2 million aggregate policy limits.

This means the policy will pay up to $1 million to cover a single incident, with a $2 million aggregate limit, or maximum amount, for the lifetime of the policy, typically one year.

You can also extend how much your general liability policy covers with commercial umbrella insurance to cover more expensive lawsuits – which is good for businesses with high risks.

Other important policies for small businesses that purchase general liability insurance

General liability insurance covers common business risks, though it does not protect against all of them. To be fully insured, small business owners should also consider:

Business owner's policy (BOP): A BOP bundles general liability coverage and commercial property insurance for less than it would cost to purchase each policy separately. It protects against the most common lawsuits and business property damage.

Workers’ compensation insurance: Workers’ comp covers medical costs for work-related employee injuries and illnesses. Most states require this coverage for businesses with one or more employees.

Professional liability insurance: This policy covers professional mistakes and oversights, such as missing a project deadline. It’s also known as errors and omissions insurance or E&O.

Commercial auto insurance: Auto insurance is required in most states for businesses that own vehicles. It covers legal defense costs, medical bills, and property damage if one of your business vehicles is involved in an accident.

Cyber insurance: Also called cyber liability insurance or cybersecurity insurance, this policy protects small businesses from the high costs of a data breach or malicious software attack. It covers expenses such as customer notification, credit monitoring, legal fees, and fines.

How do I get affordable general liability insurance?

Get free quotes from industry-leading insurance carriers by filling out our easy online application with basic information about your business, such as revenue and number of employees. While many factors affect the cost of general liability insurance, with several outside your control, there are ways to find affordable general liability insurance.

You can consult with a licensed insurance agent at any point in the process. Once you pay for your policy, you can download a certificate of insurance (COI) to show clients and others that your business is protected.

Updated: March 11, 2024
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