No matter how large or small your business is or what products and services you provide, you face risks every day. A customer or supplier becoming injured after falling on company premises, a lawsuit claiming you infringed someone else’s copyright or a fire caused by your operations that damages your leased office space are just a few of the things that could derail your business without adequate protection in place.
Commercial general liability insurance can protect your business from financial risks and losses, minimizing the chance that an unforeseen event will impact your ongoing operations – and your livelihood.
Understanding What Commercial General Liability Policies Cover
Commercial general liability insurance is an important component of your business insurance portfolio. Instead of protecting a specific type of property like your commercial auto and commercial property insurance policies, commercial general liability is intended to cover a broad array of potential risks and hazards. Typical coverages include:
- Damage to Others’ Property – Coverage to protect you from financial losses resulting from your business’ products, employees or operations causing damage to someone else’s property (or to another business’ property.) If your business rents property, for example, your commercial general liability policy shields you from financial liability for damage to that property from a covered event.
- Bodily and Personal Injury – If someone is injured or killed on company premises as the result of your business operations or when using your products, your commercial general liability coverage kicks in to protect your business by paying medical expenses for physical injuries and defending you against wrongful death lawsuits.
- Legal Expenses – Commercial general liability policies are also designed to provide protection for you if your business is involved in a legal matter. Policies typically cover attorney’s fees and other expenses of defending you against legal matters and paying judgment amounts (up to policy limits) for a variety of matters, including property damage suits, personal injury matters, libel, slander, intellectual property matters such as copyright infringement, malicious prosecution, false arrest, wrongful eviction, wrongful entry, invasion of privacy, contract issues, advertising practices and more.
Obtaining a Commercial General Liability Insurance Quote
Commercial general liability insurance is important for nearly every kind of business but can be especially beneficial for businesses serving the public as they may be at greater risk of personal injury claims.
While you could purchase commercial general liability and other business insurance products online, there can be tremendous value in working with an insurance agency that specializes in commercial insurance. Not only can the agency and its professionals help you evaluate your risks, they can help you understand how various insurance coverages protect you against those risks.
A commercial insurance agency can also help you obtain multiple quotes from well-known and highly-rated insurance carriers so you can compare and evaluate various options.
Evaluating Whether Quotes Are Fair
Commercial general liability insurance is available from many well-known national insurance companies, but you may also be able to obtain quotes from smaller, regional insurers. Perhaps the most important part of obtaining business insurance is choosing a reputable insurance company – your commercial insurance agent can help you understand pros and cons of choosing one policy over another.
When you get commercial general liability insurance quotes, consider the following:
Stand-alone or bundled coverage
Are the quotes for stand-alone insurance policies or is commercial liability protection bundled with other coverages in a Business Owners Policy (BOP) designed to protect your business against potential risks? Premiums for BOP policies will generally be higher than for stand-alone liability policies because coverage is more expansive.
Claims-made or occurrence policies
It is also important to understand whether you are comparing the same types of policies. Commercial general liability coverage can be “claims made” policies or “occurrence” policies. Claims-made policies are designed to protect you against claims made during a specified time period, regardless of when the underlying event occurred. In contrast, occurrence policies only cover claims for events that occurred during the policy’s effective period.
Evaluate policy provisions and features
Similarly, make sure the quotes you are comparing have the same or similar deductible amounts, policy limits and coverages. Two policies with similar premiums may actually be quite different when you look under the hood.
When you find a policy you believe meets your business’ needs, you may be able to lower your out-of-pocket expense by paying the entire policy premium up-front, rather than making monthly or quarterly premium payments.
Work with a Commercial Insurance Agency You Can Trust
No matter how sound you believe your business’ operations, policies and procedures are, your business is at risk and vulnerable to financial losses. Insurance can help protect you from potentially devastating ramifications that can arise.
In addition to commercial general liability coverage, your business may need additional insurance protection including workers’ compensation, commercial property, product liability, cyber insurance, professional liability, malpractice, pollution liability, contractors’ liability and/or others.
When you work with a trusted insurance professional for your business insurance needs, they can help you understand your specific risks, give you a commercial general liability insurance quote and help you evaluate your coverage and policy options. Knowing your business is protected can give you the peace of mind you need to focus your attention on what’s most important: working to achieve your business’ goals.