General Liability Business Insurance protects a business against accidents and injury. This could happen on its premises, as well as exposures related to its products.

A General liability insurance Company will protect your business from payments for bodily injury and property damage to a third party, for medical expenses, for the cost of defending lawsuits including investigations and settlements, and for any bonds or judgments required during an appeal procedure.

You can usually bid work without having a general liability insurance policy but most often you can not perform the work until you have a general liability insurance policy and commercial insurance in force. You will likely be required to provide an original certificate of insurance before beginning a job. Commercial Insurance is vital to protecting your business.

What Types of Businesses Need a General Liability Insurance Policy?

  • General Contractors
  • Heavy Construction Contractors
  • Specialty Trade Contractors


Industry experts recommend at least $1 million to $2 million of general liability business insurance. Your general liability insurance company premium will depend on the specific risks involved and the size of your business, which is measured by sales, payroll or the number of employees. Commercial umbrellas and excess policies are also available.

What does general liability business insurance cover?

General liability insurance covers common lawsuits that arise from everyday business activities. It also protects against customer injuries, damaged customer property, and accusations of defamation and copyright infringement.

General liability insurance provides coverage for:

  • Third-party bodily injury
  • Product liability
  • Third-party property damage
  • Advertising injuries

Third-party bodily injury:

If a customer is hurt in an accident involving your business, business liability insurance can help pay for their medical expenses. It also covers most legal expenses if you are sued over the injury.

Example: A customer trips over a carpenter’s tools and break-in arm. The medical bills add up fast, so the customer sues to recoup his losses. Your policy can cover the cost of the doctor’s expenses, including the emergency room bill. If the customer refuses your assistance and chooses to sue you at a later date, your policy can help cover the cost of hiring a lawyer that will be required.

Product liability

Not all property damage or injuries happen inside a store. If a business manufactures, distributes, or sells products, it can be sued over the damage its products cause to its consumers or property.
Example: A customer buys a container of a lawn care company’s organic fertilizer. After applying it to her property, she suffers an allergic reaction and misses four days of work. She then blames her illness on the products she was sold, she sues your business for lost wages. A general liability policy can typically cover the legal expenses associated with product liability lawsuits.

Third-party property damage

General liability insurance can cover any expenses to repair or replace customer property accidentally damaged by your business.
Example: A general contractor does property damage to a customer’s home. Depending on policy limits, general liability coverage can pay for some or all expenses associated with replacing the damages.

Advertising injuries (libel, slander, and copyright)

If someone sues a business owner or employee over slander, libel, or copyright infringement, business liability insurance can help pay for legal expenses.
Example: A cleaning company is at your house cleaning and tweets an inappropriate comment about bad work done by a competing company. The tweet goes viral, and the owner of the competing business decides to sue for libel. Advertising injury coverage in business liability insurance can help pay for legal defense expenses and settlement or judgment costs when you’re sued over advertising mistakes.

How much general liability coverage do I need?

If you are purchasing general liability insurance to fulfill the terms of a contract or lease, you need to make sure that your coverage meets the requested policy limits. The amount of coverage you need also depends on several actors such as the size of your business, its industry risks, and the number of employees.

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 claim, with a $2 million limit for the lifetime of the policy (typically one year).

General liability insurance does not cover:

  • Professional errors
  • Employee discrimination lawsuits
  • Employee injuries
  • Vehicles used by a business
  • Damage to commercial property

Professional Errors

Professional liability insurance, also called errors and omissions insurance, can cover lawsuits over professional mistakes, including undelivered services and missed deadlines.

Example: A real estate agent accidentally lists a house as having hardwood floors when it really has laminate wood flooring. After the home is sold, the homeowner discovers the error and files a lawsuit. Professional liability insurance could help cover the agent’s legal costs.

Employee injuries

Workers’ compensation insurance is the policy that covers medical expenses, physical therapy, and some lost wages for employees.
Example: A chef at a restaurant gets splashed with hot oil and suffers third-degree burns. Workers’ comp helps pay for the emergency room bill and part of his missed wages while he recovers.

Damage to business property

A business owner’s policy, which combines business liability insurance with commercial property insurance, can help cover the cost of replacing stolen business property. It can also pay for repairing or replacing business property damaged by fire or certain weather events.

Example: A fire at an office facility damages an attorney’s office. Commercial property insurance can help pay for replacement computers, equipment, and building renovation costs required.

Employee discrimination lawsuits

Employment practices liability insurance (EPLI) can cover lawsuit expenses related to claims of harassment, discrimination, and wrongful termination.
Example: An employee at a business files a lawsuit claiming partners are not assigning her to certain projects because of her ethnicity. An EPLI policy could cover legal expenses for the firm.

Vehicles used by a business

Personal auto insurance policies almost always exclude business use. Vehicles owned by a business must be covered by commercial auto insurance. Personal vehicles used for work purposes, along with leased or rented vehicles, can be covered by hired and non-owned auto insurance, which you can add to a general liability policy.
Example: A computer consultant driving his car to visit a client gets into an accident. His personal auto insurance policy won’t pay for damages, but a hired and non-owned policy would.

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Click on “Get A Quote Now” or call us at 1-800-772-0627 or 516-798-0320. Speak with one of our team members about your insurance needs.

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