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General Liability Insurance

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What Is General Liability Insurance?

General liability (GL) insurance is popular with business owners because it provides coverage against claims of negligence. Often referred to as business liability insurance or commercial general liability insurance, this policy protects your business from third-party damage claims. These can be in the form of property damage, personal injuries, or false advertising injuries that were caused by you or your employees. It serves as financial protection for the many uncontrollable events your business might face.

General liability insurance will also cover reasonable costs for your legal defense. These typically include expenses like attorney rates, court fees, investigation fees, and expert witnesses. While general liability insurance is not required by law, without it, a substantial lawsuit could be devastating for a business.

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Everything You Need To Know About General Liability Insurance

Overview

Who needs general liability insurance?

Most businesses should have a general liability insurance policy. It is a safeguard between your interests and accidental run-ins. There is rarely a case that an organization doesn’t interact with the public or other businesses which leaves open the chance for bodily injury, property damage, or advertising lawsuits.

There are many occasions where contracts between contractors, suppliers, or buyers have insurance requirements. For example, a subcontractor who is installing tiling in the bathroom of a new house will often be required to hold a general liability insurance policy by the general contractor.

How much general liability insurance coverage do I need?

The minimum policy limits Winooski Insurance Agency typically suggests are $1 million in coverage per occurrence and $2 million aggregate coverage for the policy lifetime, which on average is in one-year periods.

If your business is engaging in a federal, state, or large private contract, it is important to consider there will often be specific insurance requirements stated in the contract that need to be met before your company can be considered as a potential vendor.

Coverage

What does general liability insurance cover?

Third-party injury: If a customer is accidentally injured while interacting with your business, general liability insurance assists in covering expected medical expenses.

Example: A customer slips in a puddle and breaks their leg while walking through your store. They sue to recover their hospital expenses. A general liability insurance policy will assist in covering these expenses up to policy coverage limits.

Third-party property damage: When a customer’s property is damaged or lost while interacting with your company, general liability insurance will cover repair costs or replacement value of the visitor’s property.

Example: Your employee is replacing a faucet and does not finish the installation properly. Water begins leaking after they leave, and the customer ends up suing for property damage. General liability insurance coverage will help pay for the expense to replace the customer’s water-damaged property.

Advertising injuries: This protects your business while advertising your products or services. It ensures that if anyone claims slander, copyright violation, advertising misinformation, or libel, you will be covered.

Example: After your business runs an advertisement, and another company claims you have infringed on their existing copyright on the photography that was in the ad. General liability insurance will cover lawsuit fees or expected damages.

Legal costs to defend a lawsuit: After a third-party injury or property damage, if a customer decides to sue your business, general liability insurance can cover the cost to defend yourself at trial and most potential judgments or settlements that occur during the legal process.

Example: After a customer hurts themselves at your business, they decide to file a lawsuit. Expected legal defense costs can range from hiring an attorney, paying an expert witness fee, and paying the injured party what they are owed if the lawsuit’s outcome is not in your company’s favor.

What is NOT covered by general liability insurance?

Intentional injuries or property damage. While general liability insurance insures your organization against injuries due to accidents, if an injury occurs because of negligence or is considered intentional it will not be covered.

Theft or damage of your business’ property. A business owner’s policy will most often cover your company assets.

Vehicles owned by your business. Most vehicles that are used for business purposes must be covered by commercial auto insurance.

Professional service disputes. If the outcome of a service contract is up for debate, whether it is for not meeting requirements or insufficient work, it will not be covered under general liability insurance. Professional service providers should think about getting a professional liability insurance policy to protect against these claims.

Employee injuries at work. To cover accidental injuries to employees, a business will need a workers’ compensation insurance policy. This will help a business pay for employee lost wages from not being able to work, medical expenses, and ongoing care, physical therapy, and funeral expenses.

Costs

How much does general liability insurance cost?

The cost of general liability insurance depends on several factors and there is no one size fits all rate. Your industry is one of the largest variables when it comes to pricing out your policy. Companies that operate in more hazardous lines of work will see higher rates. For example, a company that does snowplowing has more exposure to slip and fall claims than a professional service provider.

Other factors can include:

  • Years in business: Longevity can show the ability to maintain risk exposure and reduce premiums.
  • Number of employees: The size of your organization can determine a portion of premium prices.
  • Commercial property and asset upkeep: Newer equipment or improved facilities can come into consideration.
  • Risk management: If your business has implemented certified risk strategies some carriers will offer rate reductions.
  • Policy and carrier details: Higher coverage limits and different deductible options will have a large impact on policy rates.
  • Geography: The locations where you operate your business will impact insurance costs. Higher population areas will often drive up rates.
  • History of claims: Past claims can sometimes (not always) impact policy offers.

With so many factors to consider, we invite you to speak with one of our experienced commercial insurance agents. They can inform you of available options and help you make sure you get the coverage you seek.

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Questions

Which businesses are eligible for General liability insurance?

Most organizations will qualify for general liability insurance. In the few instances that businesses are unable to find coverage in the standard market, it is because of:

  • An abundance of past claims
  • Suspicious claims
  • Out of the ordinary hazardous work

If your business doesn’t qualify for general liability insurance in the standard market, Winooski Insurance Agency may be able to help you with coverage through our relationships with surplus line brokers.

How do I make a general liability insurance claim?

Most carriers have online claim reporting capabilities, or you can call their toll-free claims reporting phone number. At Winooski insurance, we are available to provide information about the claim reporting process. Our clients can rest easy knowing our experienced agents are ready to help when needed.

View a list of our partner carriers and instructions on where to file a claim with each.

Why should I get general liability insurance through an independent agency?

Winooski Insurance has been an independent insurance agency for almost 40-years. During this time, we have created long-term relationships with a multitude of insurance partners which allows us to present you with a broad range of coverage options at competitive rates. We’re committed to helping you address your unique requirements.

What Other Types Of Insurance Should Your Business Consider?

Commercial Auto Insurance

Safeguard your business-owned and operated vehicles from accidents and lawsuits.
Learn More

Commercial Property Insurance

Protect your business-owned property, furnishings, and inventory from damage.
Learn More

Commercial Umbrella Insurance

Increase your company's coverage when the cost of damages or a lawsuit exceeds an underlying insurance policy.
Learn More

What Our Customers Are Saying

The entire team at Winooski Insurance have done an outstanding job of providing insurance coverage for my company. This is not always easy, as each project has to be reviewed by Winooski Insurance to verify that we have the required coverages.

David Bogue, President
Professional Construction Inc.

David Bogue, President

I have had my company insured with Winooski insurance for more than five years now. They are a valued partner in protecting my business property, employees, and vehicles. From the top dog, Jeff Mongeon, through their entire team, they are professional and responsive.

David Evarts, President
Flooring America

David Evarts, President

The team at Winooski Insurance provides our companies with value added services to ensure we are protected from all angles. They have helped us solve a number of complex problems and their service is always friendly and quick. Winooski Insurance is a valued and important part of our team.

Robert Murano, Jr., President
Mansfield Housing Group

Robert Murano, Jr., President