Small Business General Liability Insurance

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Small Business General Liability Insurance Policy Information

Small Business General Liability Insurance

Small Business General Liability Insurance. General liability insurance protects your business against property damage, advertising injury claims, personal injury claims, and bodily injury claims. Such claims could jeopardize the success and reputation of your business.

As a business owner or contractor, you require a form of general liability coverage, to shield you from such unexpected situations. A single accident might lead into a lawsuit that is beyond your financial abilities. When that happens, you will be staring at losing your source of livelihood. That is where a general liability insurance policy comes in.

Small business general liability insurance policy coverage pays for cost of third-party lawsuits over slip-and-fall injuries, property damage and more. Get a fast and affordable quote today.

What Does Small Business General Liability Insurance Cover?

Commercial general liability insurance coverage is often called "third party" coverage, because the insurance policy is a contract between the insured and insurer (first and second parties) to pay for loss to a third party (insureds customer, client, patron etc.) caused by the insured's tortous acts.

General liability insurance pays for the bodily injury or property damage losses the policyholder may cause to others (3rd party) up to the policy's coverage limit. This insurance typically covers any legal expenses and court costs needed to defend the claim. Some of these liabilities arise from:

  • the ownership and maintenance of premises
  • the conduct of a business or operation
  • the manufacture, distribution or selling of a product
  • completed operations
  • work done by independent contractors or subcontractors
  • liabilities assumed by contract

The insurance company pays amounts the insured is legally obligated to pay as damages due to bodily injury or property damage that the insurance policy covers. It also has the right and duty to defend the insured against lawsuits that seek those damages. At its option, the insurance company can investigate any claim and settle any lawsuit that may result.

Businesses are inherently risky. The good news is that some of the risks can be protected. Small business general liability insurance helps to safeguard your company against various known and unknown risks.

Some of the areas in your business that are covered by small business general liability insurance include:

  • Property damage and bodily injury: The property damage and bodily injury helps to protect your business against various business claims as well as claims alleging financial loss as a result of bodily injury or property damage, occurring out of your products or business operations. Slip an fall is covered here.
  • Advertising errors: This protects your business from certain claims where others claim that your business has infringed on certain copyrights when advertising your goods, services or products.
  • Reputational harm: The reputational harm protects your business against claims of malicious prosecution, false arrest, slander, libel, wrongful eviction and violation of privacy rights, just to name a few.
  • Damage to rented premises: This helps to protect your company from certain claims that might occur during your business operations. This may be occasioned by lightning, fire or explosion.
  • Medical payments: Small business general liability insurance will protect your business against medical claims brought forward, when someone gets injured in your business premises and requires medical treatment.

Some clients might also need you to agree to a certain level of general liability before you can provide goods or services to them. With general liability insurance, such issues are adequately handled.

What Doesn't Small Business General Liability Cover?

Every insurance coverage form or policy has certain exclusions and limitations. This is because only specific types of businesses need the coverage or the risk or exposure to loss is not considered insurable for some reason. Some bodily injury and property damage liability exclusions are:

  • Aircraft, Auto, or Watercraft
  • Damage to Property
  • Distribution of Material in Violation of Statutes
  • Expected or Intended Injury
  • Liquor Liability
  • Mobile Equipment
  • Pollution
  • Recall of Products, Work, or Impaired Property
  • War
  • Workers Compensation

Small Business General Liability Insurance Cost

The cost of your small business general liability insurance coverage is determined by various factors. They include the business type, location of your business, the total number of employees in your business, as well as the risk level your business is exposed to.

For example a roofer working on a roof faces much higher risks than an accountant sitting in an office behind a desk.

In our litigious society, more and more businesses are being sued due to issues like libel, slander, property damage, and bodily injury, just to name a few. Apart from that, businesses can be sued even when they have not done anything wrong. That is why your business requires general liability insurance coverage. You can get a nationwide policy quote online easily for mosy business types.

'Real Life' Court Cases Involving General Liability Policies:

Insurance Legal Cases
Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission, Plaintiff V. The Transcontinental Insurance Company Et Al

An automobile driven on the Pennsylvania Turnpike was allegedly struck by an unidentified car and catapulted through a barricade at an underpass construction site. One workman at the site was killed and another seriously injured. They were employees of an industrial painting firm which was hired under a subcontract to paint three bridges on the turnpike. The widow of the deceased worker and the injured man sued the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission, among others, alleging that the safety plan for night work was negligently designed and maintained by PTC.

PTC had been named an additional insured under the painting firm's general liability insurance, pursuant to the subcontract. The insurer eventually undertook defense but denied indemnification for any settlement or judgment that might be made.

PTC brought a declaratory action seeking clarification of the coverage with respect to the lawsuits brought against it; both parties filed cross-motions for summary judgment. Each paid half of a negotiated settlement amount and agreed that the successful party would be reimbursed by the other when the coverage questions were resolved.

The insurer acknowledged that the turnpike commission was an additional insured under the policy with respect to negligence on the part of the named insured, but not for its own "independent acts" of negligence.

An additional insured endorsement amended the policy definition of "insured" to include "....the person or organization shown in the Schedule, but only with respect to liability arising out of 'your work' for that insured by or for you." PTC argued that "arising out of" extended the coverage to liability that was created by the subcontractor's contractual obligations. It said that the injuries were clearly associated with contractual obligations of the named insured to perform its work. court determined that the pertinent language was sufficiently broad to cover not only claims directly resulting from the named insured's work but also "causally related incidents." This embraced the claims alleging "independent negligence" on PTC's part that would not have developed except for the contract and the painting firm's work.

The plaintiff PTC's motion for summary judgment was granted; that of the insurer was denied.

(Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission, Plaintiff V. The Transcontinental Insurance Company Et Al., Defendants. United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. No. 94-5939. August 7, 1995. CCH 1995 Fire and Casualty Cases, Paragraph 5409.)

The Travelers Insurance Company, Appellant V. Aetna Life And Casualty Company, Appellee
General Liability Insurance Claims

This case proves helpful in defining "loading or unloading" and in determining how automobile liability insurance and general liability insurance respond, respectively, to claims arising from such commercial operations.

A business engaged in the transportation of elderly and handicapped people by vans equipped for the purpose carried its automobile liability insurance in one major insurer and its general liability insurance in another. The estate of an elderly lady sued the insured for damages resulting from injuries suffered by the lady and her subsequent death. Two employees had strapped her in her wheelchair in her upstairs bedroom and carried her downstairs to the front porch of her residence, toward a parked van for transportation to an adult day-care center. One of the employees lost his footing on the porch, and the wheelchair tumbled down the porch steps to the pavement below with the woman in it.

Each insurer filed a motion for summary judgment in its favor, the issue being the application of the two policies in the circumstances. The automobile policy, under liability coverage, defined a covered "accident" to include "....the loading or unloading of an auto." The general liability policy contained an exclusion for "loading or unloading of....any automobile...." Appeal followed the trial court's granting of the motion by the general liability insurer and denying that of the automobile liability carrier "on the ground that the accident arose out of the 'loading' of the van."

The appeal court cited three prior Massachusetts cases in which it formulated its position on the issue at hand. It stated that it "has adopted the 'complete operation' rule and rejected the narrower 'coming to rest' doctrine in construing such 'loading and unloading' clauses in automobile liability insurance policies." It said that it defined the operation of unloading as "a continuous transaction ending with the deposit of the goods in the hands of the purchaser." It was concluded that the attendants were "in the process" of loading the lady into the van.

The order of the trial court was affirmed that denied the motion of the automobile liability insurer for declaratory relief and that allowed the motion of the general liability insurer for summary judgment. The appeal court said that, whereas the "loading and unloading" language was similar in both policies, it must be interpreted in the same manner in the general liability policy, where it was an exclusion.

(The Travelers Insurance Company, Appellant V. Aetna Life And Casualty Company, Appellee. Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court, Middlesex. June 4, 1991. 410 Mass. 1002, 571 N.E.2d 1383. CCH 1991-92 Fire and Casualty Cases, Paragraph 3392.)

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Small Business General Liability Insurance By Industry

Small Business Insurance

Protect your company and employees with insurance coverage. Read informative articles on small business insurance policies - and how they can help shield your company from legal liabilities.

Construction Contractors

Learn about construction contractors insurance, including how much the premium costs and what is covered - and how liability insurance can help protect your construction business from lawsuits.

Contractors and Home Improvement

Learn about contractor's insurance, including what it covers, how much it costs - and how business insurance can help protect your small business from lawsuits.

Commercial Property

Read up on commercial property insurance coverage, including how business property insurance protects your company's building's and/or their contents from damage, destruction, theft and vandalism.

Professional Services

Get informed about professional services insurance, including Professional liability, aka errors and omissions (E&O insurance), that protects your small business against claims that a professional service you provided caused your client financial loss.

Advertising, Marketing and Media

Learn about media liability insurance - a specialized form of professional liability insurance policy that provides protection for legal claims brought by third parties.

Real Estate

Learn about real estate insurance coverages including liability and commercial property policies for realtors, mortgage companies and more.


Read valuable retail insurance policy information. In a retail business, you need to have the right type of business insurance coverage so that your store, employees, and inventory are protected.

Auto Service and Repair

Read about auto service & repair insurance, which provides protection for damages done to customers vehicle's and other property as well as injuries resulting from the work done.

Health and Beauty

Learn about small business health and beauty insurance coverages that help protect tattoo artists, salons, spas, estheticians, cosmetologists, barbers, hairdressers, nail salons and more from legal liability.

Information Technology and Internet

Learn about IT technology insurance policies that help protect IT businesses, consultants & subcontractors from the unique risks that small tech businesses face when they work.

Food and Drink

Learn about restaurants, bars, liquor stores insurance coverages. See how food service insurance help protect against accidents, oversights and lawsuits resulting from business operations.

Medical and Dental

Discover small business insurance for medical and dental professionals. Medical malpractice insurance is a type of professional liability policy that protects health care professionals from liability causing in bodily injury, medical expenses and property damage.

Manufacturing and Wholesale

Read informative articles on manufacturing and wholesale insurance. Manufacturing and wholesale companies face many risks due to the nature of their business operations.

Education, Colleges, Universities & Schools

Learn about insurance for educators that helps protecting your professional reputation and other legal liabilities arising from your educational services.

Sports and Fitness

Learn about sports & fitness insurance policies and what they cover so that your customers, employees, and equipment are protected.

Children and Pets

Discover what business insurance policies cover for children and pet related small businesses.


Find informative articles on miscellaneous businesses including the types of insurance policies and coverage they need, costs and other considerations.


Find useful articles on business insurance for non-profit 501(c)(3) organizations, charities and associations.

Arts and Recreation

Read up on small business arts and recreation insurance.


Learn about small business agribusiness insurance - a type of commercial insurance protects farmers against loss of, or damage to crops or livestock.

Small Business Commercial Auto

Learn about commercial auto insurance which includes liability and physical damage protection for vehicles that are used for business purposes.

Small Business General Liability Insurance Information

Additional Resources For Small Business Insurance

Protect your company and employees with the right commercial insurance policies. Read informative articles on small business insurance coverages - and how they can help shield your company from legal liabilities.

Small Business Commercial Insurance

Your small business faces many potential disasters including: fire, floods, theft, equipment breakdown, lawsuits from clients or customers and current & former employees. Any many other risks you haven't even thought about.

A small business commercial insurance program should provide protection for both larger and smaller disasters. The obvious things like fire, flood and theft most business owners think about... but what if a hacker infects your computers with a virus - and files containing private customer information like credit card and Social Security numbers are stolen?

Who is going to pay to fix your customers credit rating etc...? Will your insurance pay for the cost? You need to know that.

Your commercial insurance program should cover events that can close down your company, or cause it to lose revenue. Anything less than that is not enough coverage. Commmercial insurance doesn't cover everything, and all policies have exclusions and limits.

You need a written plan that allows you to get your operations back up and running as quick as possible.

Small Business Economic Data & Insurance Regulations

Perhaps you have the next great idea for a product or service that you know will appeal to your local area. Maybe you want to contribute to the economic growth of your community. Whatever the reason is, if you're thinking about starting a small business, it's important to understand pertinent information relating to small businesses in the United States; namely economic information and insurance regulations. After all, if you want your small business to succeed, you have to understand the economic trends organizations of a similar size in your area.

Likewise, you want to ensure that your small business is well protected with the right business insurance and that you are in compliance with the rules and regulations that pertain to commercial insurance in your region.

Small Business Information

Read up on economic statistics and insurance information that relates to small business owners in the United States.

Small Business Economic Data In The United States

Here's a look at some information that was compiled by the Small Business Association (SBA) regarding the economic data that pertains to small businesses in the United States:

  • In 2015, small businesses in the United States employed an estimated 58.9 million American workers, or 47.5 percent of the nation's private workforce.
  • Largest shares = fewer than 100 employees. The small businesses that employed 100 people or less had the largest share of employment amount small businesses.
  • Employment increased by nearly 2 percent. In 2018, employment amongst small businesses increased by 1.8 percent, which is an increase of 1 percent from the prior year.
  • Increase in proprietors. In 2016, the number of small business proprietors increased by 2.3 percent.
  • In 2015, small businesses were responsible for creating 1.9 million net jobs. Organizations that employed 20 people or less had the largest gains, as they added an estimated 1.1 million net jobs.
  • There were 5.7 million loans that were value less than $100,000 issued by lenders in the United States in 2016. These loans were issued under the Community Reinvestment Act.
  • Small business owners that were self-employed at the incorporated businesses that they owned reported a median income of $50,347 in 2016.
  • Small business owners that were self-employed at the unincorporated businesses that they owned reported a median income of $23,060 in 2016.
Small Business Insurance Information

In the business world, there are many risks faced by company's every day. The best way that business owners can protect themselves from these perils is by carrying the right insurance coverage.

The The National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) is the U.S. standard-setting and regulatory support organization. Through the NAIC, state insurance regulators establish standards and best practices, conduct peer review, and coordinate their regulatory oversight.

Commercial insurance is particularly important for small business owners, as they stand to lose a lot more. Should a situation arise - a lawsuit, property damage, theft, etc. - small business owners could end up facing serious financial turmoil.

According to the SBA, having the right insurance plan in place can help you avoid major pitfalls. Your business insurance should offer coverage for all of your assets. It should also include liability and casual coverage. The SBA recommends the following insurance plans for small business owners:

  • Commercial Property Insurance: In the case of an unplanned disaster - fire, flood, vandalism, theft, etc. - this type of coverage will help you avoid paying for the damage out of your own pocket. Even if you rent the property, you should still carry commercial property insurance.
  • Commercial Liability Insurance: In the event that a legal situation arises - a negligence lawsuit, for example - commercial liability coverage will provide financial protection. It will cover the cost of legal defense fees, court fees, and even moneys that may be awarded.
  • Commercial Auto Insurance: If you operate a vehicle for any activities that are related to your business - transporting and/or delivering goods, or meeting with clients - commercial auto insurance is legally required for businesses of all sizes, including small businesses.

Small Business General Liability Insurance
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